We return to AJPW with a pretty stacked card as we have two title matches tonight, including the Triple Crown Championship.
The show before this, there was a tag title match, Champions Dylan and Ryoji, against KAI and TAJIRI, where the champions retain, giving Dylan some momentum for his title match against the champion tonight, Kento Miyahara.
Will Kento retain the title or will Dylan shock AJPW? Let’s find out and…dive right in.
Keiichi Sato vs. Rionne Fujiwara
Review: We get single’s action to start off the show with some juniors, so let’s hope this match can lead to come new contenders for the Junior Heavyweight Championship. The match was rather slow since the majority of it was chain wrestling and strikes which I don’t mind, but it just felt a little bit slower than usual at times.
I know the name is Rionne Fujiwara, but don’t let fool you thinking he’s a Japanese wrestler since he’s actually a gaijin, but there’s actually a good reason for the Fujiwara surname. In 2013 he beat Jiro, challenged Yoshiaki to a match in WNC and lost, however, Fujiwara took him on as the last official disciple, so gave him the Fujiwara surname in a matter of respect and I love that. I do gotta say that he actually isn’t so bad as he would work on Sato’s arm throughout the match to try and make him tap out, even went for the Triangle Choke between the ropes to help weaken him. Sato would start to deliver stiff kicks in the match and would deliver a Splash first to have Rionne kick out at two and would go for a Brainbuster for another two count and another kick out, but he would hit his Shouha or modified Fisherman Buster to get the win.
Recommended: The match was pretty basic, but not terrible either.
Tag Team Match
Takao Omori & Atsushi Maruyama vs. Masanobu Fuchi & Osamu Nishimura
Review: Our next bout is a tag match with our four vets in the promotion for some friendly competition towards one another. I will say this though, I love the reactions from the crowd whenever Fuchi is in the ring because they’ll cheer for him quite loudly whenever he does his trademark stuff and would boo the hell out of his opponents whenever they would try to mimic his stuff from hitting Fuchi below the belt or putting him in a headlock to punch him in the head and do his open fist taunt to the referee.
The match was Omori and Maruyama getting the heat over Fuchi for the majority of it, until Fuchi would make his comeback, do his closed fists and even Scoop Slam the both of them while holding them in the air for about ten seconds. Nishimura would now get in the ring with Maruyama to try and do some damage on him, but Maruyama would then put Nishimura in the Figure Four Leg Lock to try and make him tap out, but Fuchi comes into the ring to get rid of Omori and flips the two over so the hold would be reversed and Maruyama taps out to give Nishimura and Fuchi the win! I do gotta say that for a match involved with guys their age, it was pretty fantastic for what it was and while it’s not great compared to current standards, but for the old school type feel, it was worth seeing.
Recommended: Actually yes, yes check it out.
Tag Team Match
Atsushi Aoki & Ishikiri vs. Yohei Nakajima & Último Dragón
Review: Another tag team bout with our Junior Heavyweight Champion teaming up with Ishikiri to take on Yohei Nakajima and the returning Ultimo Dragon. A little bit of context here, Nakajima is on the hunt for the championship against Aoki, but Aoki feels as if he’s not deserving of a title match and Yohei now has to prove himself to see if he can get a match, so if he can beat him cleanly in a tag match, then that will put him in the title picture.
Nakajima would start to attack Aoki before the bell would ring and would keep on the assault until Ishikiri got tagged in and same with Ultimo as the two go at it and let me tell you, Ultimo can still go for a man his age and is just better than the entire junior division in AJPW and that’s the problem with them, just about none of them really stand out, and I’ve said it in my last article with them at how the division has no leadership and something needs to change soon. I personally think Ultimo should be the one to take the title and hold onto it for the time being until they fix up that division and pick someone to be their future instead of just having him drop it to TAJIRI like they did last time. I will, however, try to give this feud a chance and if the execution is bad, then I still say go with my plan and have Ultimo keep the belt. Near the end of the match, Nakajima and Aoki would brawl around and outside the ring while Ultimo and Ishikiri would be the legal men in the match and Ultimo would eventually pick up the win with the La Magistral. After the match, Aoki continued to criticize Yohei as he does not feel he is fully invested in being a champion, which means that Aoki would not give him the title match as he feels like he still doesn’t deserve one.
Recommended: I would watch it just for the interactions between Ultimo and Ishikiri and that’s it. Just give me a singles match with these two instead since they work great together.
Tag Team Match
Zeus & Black Tiger VII vs. TAJIRI & Yoshitatsu
Review: We have Zeus in action now and not teamed up with Bodyguard meaning he’s still injured or it’s just a heavyweight/junior heavyweight tag bout and his partner is Black Tiger VII as they take on Yoshitatsu and TAJIRI, surprised he’s not teaming up with KAI and I guess that’s over with since they failed to get the tag titles.
Tiger and Yoshi start the match off and it looked like Tiger would have the opening advantage while for some reason selling his knee and dancing around at the same time…he’s weird, but he would then go for a Shining Wizard and I’m confused as to did Yoshi block it or just no sell it since he got up pretty quick. I always liked the chemistry between Zeus and TAJIRI since they match their strengths off pretty well together and he knows how to make Zeus powerful than he already is. I mean just look at that gorgeous body of his, the body of the gods! The match was solid for what it was except for Yoshi how has been rather sloppy in this match and it really shows here, but hopefully, it’s just the one time since it’s gonna happen to everyone. Yoshi would try to apply the Koji Clutch on Zeus, but that man is too powerful and throws him off before doing a Gorilla Press to both Yoshi and TAJIRI. Black Tiger would try to go for the Shining Wizard on Yoshi to get the win, but Yoshi ducks and hits him with a Spinning Heel Kick and the COJ (Codebreaker of Jericho) for the win and yes he actually calls it that. You know, Jericho is in Japan for the time being, so maybe he should pay Yoshi a little visit.
Recommended: I would like to say it was worth a view.
Six Man Tag Team Match
Suwama, Shuji Ishikawa & Hikaru Sato vs. Jake Lee, Ryoji Sai & Koji Iwamoto
Review: We now get six-man action this time with Violent Giants and Hikaru to take on Jake Lee who has been doing rather well ever since he returned from his injury and wants to keep that momentum going here.
Jake and Suwama would start off the match with Suwama pretty much testing Jake’s strength in the match once they locked up and Jake would even get Suwama towards the ropes to break it up, but then it leads to Jake being kicked in the chest and would get him down which made both teams switch as we now have Shuji and Ryoji in the ring now. Shuji would then knock Ryoji down after going back and forth as we now have another tag, putting Hikaru and Koji in the ring now with Hikaru trying to deliver some stuff strikes to Koji. Hikaru would continue his assault on Koji and both Suwama and Shuji would run in to knock down Ryoji and Jake as they beat down Koji, Shuji would even throw him towards the guardrails to damage his body up some more. Suwama would get in the ring now and hits a nice Back Suplex to pin him for a two count and would then apply the Liontamer only for it to break up. Suwama would deliver stiff shops to Koji and would go for an Irish Whip, but Koji reverses it into a Judo Throw to give himself some time to tag in Ryoji for the hot tag as he starts exploding with energy and would go back and forth with punches against Suwama until he got chopped, but Ryoji would still knock Suwama down to get Shuji tagged in as he doesn’t go down without a fight as he delivers a Double Stomp to Ryoji to end his momentum right here, but Jake would then get tagged in as well as Hikaru with Jake trying to go for his Backdrop and is still unsuccessful to do so with Suwama and Shuji coming in to triple team Jake by the both of them delivering Clotheslines to Jake while he was caught on the ropes and ended with Hikaru doing a Jumping Kick, but would get a two count out of it. Hikaru tries to knock Jake out, but Jake makes a comeback with stiff kicks and hits the PK to knock him down and go for a pin, but he breaks up the pinfall by himself since he’s not done yet as he hits the Backdrop for the win. If Jake Lee can keep this momentum up throughout the whole year, then I would have no problem with him winning next years Champion Carnival.
Recommended: Great match, definitely watch it.
All 7 teams were announced for this year’s “Jr. TAG BATTLE OF GLORY”. The league will run throughout the month of August (August 3rd – August 25), with the team with the highest points winning the league.
☆ Atsushi Maruyama & Masashi Takeda (2017 Winners)
☆ Atsushi Aoki & Hikaru Sato
☆ Yohei Nakajima & Black Tiger VII
☆ Koji Iwamoto & TAJIRI
☆ Kaji Tomato & Shiori Asahi (K-DOJO)
☆ Shuji Kondo (W-1) & Kotaro Suzuki (FREE)
☆ Masaaki Mochizuki & Shun Skywalker (DRAGON GATE)
All Asia Tag Team Titles Match
Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata (c) vs. Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi
Review: Uncle Jun and Yuji are back teaming up together as they are set to defend the All Asia Tag Team Championships against Naoya and Yuma from NEXTREAM, can the uncles of AJPW and NJPW retain their championships or will they get dethroned by the younger generation? Well, let’s find out for ourselves.
Naoya and Yuji would start it off with a lock up and Naoya would flip him over only for Yuji to quickly get back up and kick him off. Naoya seems to be holding onto his own for a bit of it since he was able to knock Yuji down after delivering some pretty nice forearm shots to his head and would tag Yuma in now which lead to Jun getting the tag in as well which leads to Yuma getting Jun outside of the ring and does a Plancha to the outside while Naoya does the same to Yuji and would start to knock down the champions outside of the ring. Yuma would throw Jun to the guardrail and once he tried to chop him, Jun wasn’t phased by it at all, but he did take a nasty DDT on the outside and would get him back into the ring. There are two things I love about this match and the first one is the old generation vs new generation feeling with this one with Jun and Yuji showing they can still go in the ring and deliver quality matches for their ages and with Naoya and Yuma, they showed the fire and intensity as a team and as individuals to show that they have a chance to beat them and can be people that others should keep an eye on.
The second thing I loved about this match is that it shows AJPW still has a bright future ahead of them and yeah you got Kento Miyahara carrying the company right now, but you got quite a few people on the rise and that follow Kento to help AJPW reach new heights once more since you got guys like Naoya, Yuma, Koji, and Jake Lee to help them and once the time comes for them to reach that status, they’ll have new people ready to start their journey to follow them and so on, and so on. Naoya would get some close calls with Spearing both Jun and Yuji back and forth and would pin Yuji, but would only get a two count. With Jun beating down and holding Yuma back, Yuji had Naoya in the ring all to himself and would go for his Backdrop Hold and it looks like it could be it, but Naoya surprisingly kicks out at two to show he still had some fight left in him, but it doesn’t last long as Yuji hits the Backdrop Hold one more time for the win and have a second successful defense under their belt. After the match, Naoya and Yuma stated that they weren’t done chasing the titles as they plan to have a rematch for them very soon while both Jun and Yuji welcome it.
Recommended: I thought it was a great match with nice storytelling with old and new generations feeling to it. Definitely watch it.
AJPW Unified Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match
Kento Miyahara (c) vs. Dylan James
Review: I’m still confused as to why its James Dylan getting a shot at the Triple Crown Championship over anyone else in the company. Here we have someone who had the worst performance in this year’s Champion Carnival next to The Bodyguard and has been having mediocre matches since his arrival in this run of AJPW, and he somehow gets this big match in the main event. If it’s so Kento could get an easy defense for his reign, then why not just have him fight someone that defeated him during the Carnival like Joe Doering, I wouldn’t mind a third encounter between the two as a way to end that trilogy over this, but too late now and let’s see how he fairs in this match. Kento is the future of Japanese wrestling and just his entrance and how the crowd reacts to him before he gets into the ring is something similar to Tetsuya Naito except it’s not as loud…yet and he will definitely get there once more people know of his greatness in the ring.
The two lock up as James gets Kento by the ropes and went to go for a quick chop, but Kento ducks out of the way while Dylan tells him he was this close to hitting him, but the next time he would hit Kento and it would even make him go to the outside of the ring. Kento was selling each strike down to him to make Dylan look as strong as he could in this match and I felt like that’s what he needed to do since Dylan is a big guy after all. Dylan would have Kento on a corner and goes for a chop, but Kento ducks and causes Dylan’s hand to chop the turnbuckle post, hurting his hand and would give Kento an opening to strike him down and would even go onto the apron to knee him in the back of the head. Kento would throw Dylan, but Dylan would run back after hitting the guardrail to shoulder tackle Kento, causing him to go over the guardrail. Dylan would get Kento back into the ring so she could work on Kento more with some stomps, chops, and just any strike he could do and while it’s simple, Kento makes it look very effective and I love his seeling for it and Dylan would keep this up for a few minutes before taking him back to the outside, but Kento would headbutt Dylan to regain some composure and before he could do it again, Dylan catches him for a Chokeslam and hits it onto the ring apron. Dylan gets Kento back into the ring and places him on the corner and would deliver a stiff Lariat onto the corner and immediately knocks Kento down onto the mat. Dylan attempts to go for a Powerbomb and Kento reverses it into a Hurricanrana and kicks Dylan, but Dylan chops him and goes for a Suplex, but Kento hits a Brainbuster and the two are down. Kento would hit the Blackout and then attempts to hit his Shutdown German Suplex Hold, but Dylan would break free of it to hit a Lariat and would them hit a second one for good measure and Kento kicks out at two. Dylan is pulling off all the stops in these last few minutes as he hits a Powerbomb this time after Kento breaking free from two of his Chokeslam’s and giving him another Lariat, Dylan is just killing him with these Lariats while Kento keeps kicking out at two even though this whole sequence was actually making me believe that we would’ve had a new champion here. Dylan goes for another Chokeslam, but Kento would turn it around for a regular German Suplex Hold for a two count and Kento would try to get more momentum, but Dylan stops him dead in his tracks and hits the Powerbomb for another two count! Dylan goes for another Lariat only for Kento to hit the Blackout on his arm and go for his finisher, but Dylan breaks free from his hold only to be hit with two Blackouts and then hits his Shutdown German Suplex Hold for the win and still Triple Crown Champion. Where the hell has this Dylan James been? This was the best match I’ve seen him wrestle in, give me more of this!
After the match, Zeus makes his way to the ring and claims himself as Kento’s next challenger and I am completely torn on this because I don’t know if they wanna give Kento another short reign while being the face of the company, but at the same time I feel like Zeus has to win this one and show he can actually win the companies biggest prize. The match is set to take place on July 27th and this is sure to be a classic match. I want Zeus to be the one to take the belt, but I don’t know what direction Uncle Jun would have this match go and we’ll have to wait and see.
Recommended: Dylan James best match in the company and it actually was a great match for what we were given between the two, so give it a look.
Overall: I have to say that the show was solid from top to bottom and none of the matches were actually bad and the last two matches definitely delivered to give us a great show here, plus we now have something to look forward to in July and you don’t wanna miss it.
Favorite Match: Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata vs. Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi
Least Favorite Match: Keiichi Sato vs. Rionne Fujiwara