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AJPW 6th Oudou Tournament Round 1 Results & Review

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While I’m waiting for the next set of Stardom shows to full upload, I decided to go back to All Japan to see what they’re up to and it turns out they’re having their 6th annual Oudou Tournament, which means Royal Road. The winner of the tournament will get a Triple Crown Championship match, unless Zeus wins and he just gets to pick his own opponent.

This tournament looks incredibly stacked and I got no complaints about these entrants. So, who do I think is going to win the whole thing? Well, as much as I love Kento, I got a pretty good feeling about Yuji Hino winning the whole thing, plus seeing him taking on Zeus would be amazing and I’d be crazy to not wanna see that happen.

So who out of these sixteen wrestlers will make it to the second round? Let us find out and…dive right in.

 

Royal Road 2018 First Round Match
Ryouji Sai vs. Yuma Aoyagi

Review: So our first match is Ryouji Sai taking on one half of the All Asia Tag Team Champions, Yuma Aoyagi. Ryouji recently lost his Asia Heavyweight Championship and would like to still get some gold around his waist, but he would have to take on the young Yuma to even try to advance to the next round. Which of these two will advance?

Now that I got to see Yuma do more solo, I was able to get a fair assumption of him and I gotta say that he really does have potential just like Jake Lee and Naoya Nomura do, and no doubt has a future in AJPW if he should keep doing what he’s doing here. The match while had a couple of sloppy spots and a slip-up here and there, it was still a solid bout for what it was and was more technical than anything. Yuma would even give Ryouji a DDT to the outside of the ring right in the beginning of the match to give himself that early opening. Ryouji though is someone you shouldn’t take lightly either as he did control most of the match and had Yuma in a submission and every time Yuma tried to grab the ropes, the referee would playfully kick his hand off for the first few times to give a little bit of a comedy spot here and it was kinda funny. Yuma had a hard fought battle but Ryouji would hit a Running Shining Wizard onto Yuma to get the pinfall victory and advance to the next round.

Rating: Eric Bischoff

 

Royal Road 2018 First Round Match
Kento Miyahara vs. Yoshitatsu

Review: Our next match is pretty much a rematch from last year as former Triple Crown Champion, Kento Miyahara takes on his partner, Yoshitatsu. Last year when they fought, Kento would defeat Yoshi in the first round but he failed to win the whole thing when he lost in the semi-final. Yoshitatsu has improved quite a bit over the last year and this could be the chance he needs to probably win over his partner. Can Yoshitatsu pull off an upset victory or will Kento defeat him in the first round again?

I loved the little change Kento did with his attire by having half of his pants be black while the other half still has the red, it looks pretty badass if you ask me. Yoshitatsu is someone that I have been quite negative with for the past couple of years with how bad his performance has been ever since he returned to Japan in general before and after his neck injury. But, I will give credit where credit is due by saying that he definitely belongs in All Japan as they helped him slowly becoming a better wrestler unlike his run in NJPW which was a total bust in my opinion as we can now see him hopefully try to flourish while still needing some polishing. The match was fun with the two of them working well together with Kento being one of the few that could bring out the best in Yoshi much like Suwama would also. The referee would still give Kento a hard time during the match with pulling his hair when he refuses to let go of Yoshi’s head when he was pulling on it during the turnbuckle and even did a slow count when Kento would hit Yoshi with the Blackout and he told the referee to speed it up with the count due to him going slow and said six twice just to mess with him.

They did have an amazing sequence once they got back in the ring with Kento hitting a Blackout in the corner and hits a Brainbuster, but Yoshi got back up quickly to hit a German Suplex which leads to Kento coming back up to hit another Blackout and ends with Yoshi hitting a Spinning Wheel Kick to make them both go down. Yoshi would attempt to go for the Koji Clutch until he got caught in a German Suplex Hold for a two count. Yoshi would eventually lock in the Koji Clutch to try and make him tap out but Kento would break out of the hold before he could tap. Kento would hit two more Blackouts on Yoshi and was able to hit the Shutdown German Suplex Hold to secure the victory and to advance.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

 

Royal Road 2018 First Round Match
Gianni Valletta vs. Suwama

Review: Suwama was the winner of last year’s tournament and he looks to win it back to back as his opponent for the first round is Gianni Valletta. Last time I covered Gianni, he fought Joe Doering and while he did pretty impressive, he still lost at the end of the match and now looks to try to get a big win here over the former ace of All Japan. Can Gianni secure a victory or will Suwama be one step closer to becoming a back to back winner?

Gianni wasted no time when he attacked Suwama from behind with the chain and started to continue the assault around the crowd while getting control of most of the match. Gianni really isn’t a bad heel and this is a much better performance than when I saw him fighting Joe Doering, my only big complaint is that little scream he does over and over again, and I get that it’s probably apart of his gimmick but the fact it’s used very constantly can be seen as a bit annoying. Suwama showed he can still deliver for a man of his age and give him the right opponent, you can see him really go and prove why he was the ace and still one of their best. So far most of these matches had a little bit of comedy mixed into the fray whether it’s the one with Yuma/Ryouji, Kento/Yoshi, and now this one when Gianni would steal the referee’s glasses just so he would be unable to see but Suwama would give them back to him a couple of times. Suwama accidentally knocked the referee out when Gianni took his glasses again, Gianni would try to use his chain to hit Suwama, but it backfired and he falls victim to the Backdrop Driver from Suwama for the win to advance.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

 

Royal Road 2018 First Round Match
Dylan James vs. Joe Doering

Review: It looks like it’ll be a gaijin vs gaijin match with our former Triple Crown Champion, Joe Doering takes on former Tag Team Champion, Dylan James. Both of these guys are normally on and off in my reviews when they can sometimes do well in a match and can also be the worst one on the card and I really hope it’s not the case here. Which one of them gonna move forward?

Wait…the match wasn’t terrible at all…huh. No really, the match really played well with their strengths and it was really slow, but it worked for them since they’re both big guys that aren’t the most mobile and focus more on power than anything, which is exactly how they needed to be here. Both men had powerful strikes towards one another and testing out their strength during their whole match with them being just fairly even with each other and made it quite interesting to see it unfold. Dylan did step it up a little bit more in this match and been impressed after his match with Kento and I know he can be good and needs to flourish more which I hope he does if he can keep giving us performances like this. Joe is someone who just did his job and did his best in the match too and will give him credit for giving us a solid match also. Nothing too memorable in this match, just solid match of power and Joe would come out on top with his Diving Body Press when Dylan was sitting down.

Rating: Eric Bischoff

 

Royal Road 2018 First Round Match
The Bodyguard vs. Yuji Hino

Review: Good to see my boy, Yuji Hino back in an All Japan ring and I missed seeing him there ever since I saw him doing amazing at the Champions Carnival and even gave Bodyguard a decent match. Speaking of The Bodyguard, that’s how Yuji will be facing in his first-round match. Bodyguard is still the All Asia Heavyweight Champion and I don’t believe he has defended it yet, but guess he would wanna go for a double crown if he wins and fights his partner, Zeus. Will Bodyguard advance or will Hino hit the FUCKING BOMB?

Short, sweet, and to the point, that’s kinda how a Bodyguard match should almost always go or it’ll drag on for him and you start to see his flaws. It wasn’t a bad match but it wasn’t a great match either since it was just Hino playing it cool with his opponent, which is fine and then Bodyguard didn’t do too great in the match either and it looked like there was a small both when Hino went for the finisher and it looked like he almost dropped him, but thankfully Bodyguard was able to catch himself and get off the hold to kick him. After a couple of kicks from Bodyguard, Hino would turn it around with a Lariat and he hits the FUCKING BOMB to defeat Bodyguard and advance to the second round. So if Yuji Hino does somehow not advance in the tournament, would he still get a title match against Bodyguard? I wouldn’t mind a consolation prize, but I still got Hino winning the whole thing hopefully.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half

 

Royal Road 2018 First Round Match
Kengo Mashimo vs. Shuji Ishikawa

Review: Our next bout has Shuji Ishikawa taking on a surprise guest, Kengo Mashimo. Kengo Mashimo is from K-DOJO and is known to be one of the best strikers in Japan right now with seventeen years of in-ring experience. All Japan likes to bring in free agents or people from other promotions for these tournaments and this one is sure to be a treat. Which one of these hard-hitting wrestlers is going to make it to the next round?

What a match, let me tell you. This was exploding with energy right from the start and neither of these two fully stopped until the end as they both really delivered with everything that they do best. I don’t get to see too much of Kengo, so him being here in this tournament is really a delight from my viewing pleasure and I am very happy with his performance here with how fast he was with his strikes and his technical ability really is something here that should be viewed by people if you haven’t seen this guy wrestle before. Shuji is also amazing in this match and does what he does best, which is kicking ass in any of his matches and showing no mercy to his opponents. Shuji went all out on Kengo in his arsenal with his running knee strikes, a stomp off the top and even hits the Fire Thunder which Kengo kicked out at one, but Shuji would deliver another running knee soon as he got up but still kick out of it all. Shuji went to go pick up Kengo for a Powerbomb but Kengo turned it around into a Sleeper Hold and it looks like the violent giant is about to take a nap once he fell down and it looked like Shuji was fighting it for a while, but he would eventually pass out as Kengo gets the surprise victory over Shuji to advance to the next round!

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

Royal Road 2018 First Round Match
Jake Lee vs. Jun Akiyama

Review: Uncle Jun is ready for some action as he is next to fight in the tournament and his opponent is All Japan’s rising star, Jake Lee. Jake has been showing a lot of progress ever since his return from injury a couple of months ago and even had a really solid match against Kento Miyahara on top of it, so this tournament would be a good opportunity to defeat the president and one of the greatest ever. Will Jake Lee pull it off or will Uncle Jun ground the young man?

God damn, Jun, calm down a little. Most of this match was Jun pretty much abusing the daylights out of him with nothing but knee strikes and he does them in the ring, out the ring, over and over again to just beat the living crap out of this kid. When he does a few knees to him to the outside of the ring, he would pull back a little bit to check up on his left elbow which seems to be something wrong there but he would run back after him to keep assaulting him with these knees and it just doesn’t stop. The match is more story based with the well-rounded vet teaching Jake in the ring as if he’s trying to groom him up into bigger and better things but wants to not go easy on him otherwise he wouldn’t really learn. Jake eventually did get some offense into this match but he would mostly just be taking the abuse Uncle Jun would give him to help sell the story of the match better and it works out really well. Jun hits the Exploder Suplex a couple of times and Jake would kick out of it and he pulled his kneepad down to try and hit a knee strike with his bare knee to end it but Jake kneed him in the gut and copies him with the same move, hitting him in the face twice and Jake Lee pulls off the victory!

We would later find out that Jun Akiyama would actually injure his elbow during the match. I don’t know when it actually occurred or how long he will be out, but it could be a while before we see him in the ring again. Get well soon, Uncle Jun!

Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters

 

Royal Road 2018 First Round Match
Naoya Nomura vs. Zeus

Review: We’re now down to our final match of the first round as our Triple Crown Champion, Zeus takes on the other half of the all Asia Tag Team Champions, Naoya Nomura. A couple of weeks ago, Naoya would pull off an upset by pinning Zeus in a tag team match and it looks like the two would fight in a singles match this time. If Nomura could beat him for the second time in a row, I think that’ll definitely give him a future title opportunity but Zeus ain’t gonna go down without a fight. Can Nomura be able to get a second victory over him or will Zeus overpower him?

I think this was Naoya’s best match in 2018. Nomura was definitely the underdog in this story since he pulled that surprise win over Zeus and has some of the fans backing him during the match while Zeus would hold a bit of a grudge and added more power in his strikes, especially when he had Nomura against the turnbuckle and Zeus would start elbowing him about as much as Jun did to Jake with his knees in the previous match, even the referee would try to pull Zeus off but he looked furious there. Both of these men delivered in the match to make Nomura look like a star while Zeus being the fighting champion and giving it his all in the match whether the title was on the line or not.

Nomura did pull off quite a few stops like hitting the Death Valley Driver onto Zeus to get the crowd on their feet but Zeus kicked out at two. Zeus would hit some of his big moves too like his Chokeslam and even giving Nomura some of his stiffest chops and Lariats in this match to try and knock him out but Nomura would still keep on kicking out. Nomura definitely showed his fighting spirit in the match proving that he is indeed a future star in the company with his never give up type attitude no matter who he faces, but Zeus would knock him down with a Lariat to flip him inside out and hits the Jackhammer for the win. Valiant effort by Nomura but Zeus was just better than him, but great match from beginning to end.

Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half

 

Overall: I thought the first round was very successful here as almost all of the matches were very enjoyable and plenty of surprises with both outcomes and performances that is making me excited to see how the next round will do.

Favorite Match: Naoya Nomura vs. Zeus

Least Favorite Match: The Bodyguard vs. Yuji Hino

Score: 8/10


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