The Summer Struggle is in the home stretch!
NJPW is still on the road to Jingu Stadium! And before all of the epic action, we have multiple tag team tune-ups to keep everyone sharp! Who gets last minute momentum before the summer blowout?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Suzuki-Gun; LIJ wins.
- Six Man Tag: Suzuki-Gun VS Mater Wato & The Golden Aces; Wato & The Golden Aces win.
- Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi VS EVIL & Taiji Ishimori; EVIL & Ishimori win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Suzuki-Gun!
Shingo Takagi, Bushi and Sanada go up against Douki, El Desperado and Minoru Suzuki himself! The Dragon will defend his NEVER Openweight Championship against the Man with the Worst Personality, while Cold Skull and the lethal luchador are part of KOPW 2020! Which side gets a leg up on the competition before arriving in Jingu Stadium?
Shingo gets in Suzuki’s face with the NEVER Openweight Championship, and Suzuki throws forearms! It explodes into a brawl! Desperado attacks Sanada for KOPW, and Douki goes after Bushi to keep him in the ring! The ref has no choice but to ring the bell so this is on record. Suzuki keeps after Shingo and they brawl. Suzuki whips, Shingo reverses and sends Suzuki into railing! Shingo elbows and stomps away while Bushi huricanranas Douki! LIJ has turned things around and Bushi stomps Douki in a corner. Bushi brings Douki up, Douki enziguris but misses! Bushi whips, Douki reverses and Desperado gets a cheap shot in!
Douki hits his enziguri this time and Desperado makes sure Sanada stays down. Douki knocks Shingo off the apron then goes back to Bushi. Douki throws Bushi out and that brawl of Shingo and Suzuki keeps going. Suzuki has Shingo on the rails and clubs, but Shingo CHOPS back! They go back and forth, chop for chop and forearm for forearm! Suzuki ROCKS Shingo then clubs him down. Douki returns to the ring while Suzuki stomps Shingo into railing! Desperado tags in and he double whips Bushi with Douki for double shoulders! Desperado drags Bushi up, scoops and slams him, then covers, TWO! Fans rally for Bushi but Desperado drags Bushi up to bump off Douki’s boot.
Tag to Suzuki and he stomps and forearms Bushi down. Suzuki has the arm and pulls on it for a mounted hammerlock! Bushi endures as Suzuki has the other arm. Shingo gets in to attack Suzuki! Shingo brings Suzuki up but Suzuki DECKS him! Suzuki tags Douki, Douki drags Bushi up and CHOPS! Douki has Bushi in a corner, whips him corner to corner, but Bushi boots back. Bushi hops up for a FLYING RANA! Fans fire up as Bushi and Douki crawl for their corners. Hot tags to Shingo and Suzuki! Suzuki kicks and fires off forearms, but runs into Shingo’s back elbow! JAB and LARIAT! Shingo drags Suzuki up for a BIG suplex! Shingo eggs Suzuki on while kicking at him.
Suzuki gets up as Shingo eggs him on, and Suzuki laughs as he fires off knees and elbows. Suzuki whips corner to corner to BOOT Shingo, then snapmare and run for the Penalty Kick! Cover, ONE! Now Suzuki toys with Shingo and eggs him on. Shingo gets up to throw forearms but Suzuki gives them back. Shingo rocks Suzuki, Suzuki throws forearms back. They brawl back and forth, faster and faster, and Shingo just eggs Suzuki on. Suzuki fires off several, but Shingo gives them back from all sides! Suzuki comes back with a HARD shot, then runs, but into another elbow! Shingo runs bu tinto Suzuki’s boot. Suzuki runs but Shingo follows to clothesline him at the ropes. Shingo runs, Suzuki follows, and Suzuki gets around to get the sleeper!
Suzuki doesn’t wait long before he spins Shingo around for the piledriver, but Shingo back drops out! Shingo runs and sliding laritas, only for Suzuki to duck! Suzuki boots, spins Shingo back for the sleeper! Shingo flails, fades but gets his second wind! Fans rally up, Suzuki spins Shingo around but Shingo fireman’s carries for a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Shingo and Suzuki crawl, hot tags to Desperado and Sanada! One half of KOPW fights as Sanada kicks and whips Desperado. Desperado boots back, runs out but into the fireman’s carry! Desperado slips off, Sanada catches the boot but Desperado pokes him in the eye! Desperado runs but Sanada trips him up! Sanada has the legs, then the arms, Desperado kicks out of Paradise.
Sanada elbows Desperado back, Quebradas but Desperado gets under. Desperado uses the ref as a shield, then DECKS Sanada with that right! Tag to Douki and they drag Sanada up. Desperado throws a stiff uppercut, then they double wihp Sanada. Douki back elbows, feeds Sanada to Desperado’s SPINE BUSTER, and then springboard DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives but Suzuki-Gun keeps on him. Desperado brings Sanada up for Douki’s SLINGSHOT DDT! Cover, but Bushi and Shingo break it! Suzuki joins in and he brawls with Shingo while Desperado throws Bushi out. Suzuki and Shingo throws forearms, Shingo gets the edge but swings into a FUJIWARA! Douki keeps on Sanada, Gory Especial for backslide! Cover, TWO!!
Douki vows to end this, Bushi is sent into railing, and Douki wheelbarrows Sanada. but Sanada arm-drags free! Sanada baits Douki into a corner and a back elbow. Quebrada to dragon sleeper! Douki tries to spin out but Sanada holds on and SWINGS Douki around! SKULL END!! Douki taps, LIJ wins!!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, by submission
The edge goes to LIJ! But that’s not going to stop Suzuki! Suzuki looks under the ring and brings out a chair! Shingo dares Suzuki to try something, and after some consideration, Suzuki gets on the apron to SWING on Shingo! Shingo manages to shield his head and Young Lions hurry to stop this from getting any wilder! Shingo still gets forearms and headbutts in before Suzuki gets away. Suzuki BOOTS the one Young Lion for holding him back, and uses them as an excuse as to why he and Shingo didn’t settle this now. But this will be settled at Jingu one way or another! Will Shingo survive the biggest fight of his career? As for Sanada, will he be standing tall at the end of the KOPW Fatal 4 Way?
Six Man Tag: Suzuki-Gun VS Mater Wato & The Golden Aces!
The Dangerous Tekkers, Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi, want to crush the spirits of Kota Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi even before having it out over the IWGP Heavyweight Championships! The same goes for Yoshinobu Kanemaru wanting to end the Way of the Grand Master! Will all of that go the other way this close to the Summer Struggle in Jingu Stadium?
Wait, Kanemaru attacks Wato during his entrance! Where did he come from!? The Aces hurry out but get jumped by Taichi and ZSJ! The Tekkers stomp and grind Ibushi and Tanahashi down, so Red Shoes rings the bell. Taichi bumps Tanahashi off the tag belts! And then the same for Ibushi! Kanemaru has Wato down in the corner and stomps away! Kanemaru digs his knee in, Red Shoes reprimands and Kanemaru lets up. Kanemaru drags Wato to the apron, lines up the shot and dropkicks Wato in the head! Taichi drags Wato back up to whip into railing! ZSJ digs his boot into Wato and pulls on a leg while Taichi whips Tenzan into railing!
Tanahashi protests but Red Shoes can only do so much. The Aces help Tenzan but Taichi stands on Wat’s head. Ibushi rushes over but Taichi gets him first! ZSJ stands on Wato’s head but Tanahashi goes after him. But Kanemaru comes out to club Tanahashi and rake his eyes! ZSJ EuroUppers Tanahashi down, Taichi whips Ibushi to railing, and Kanemaru finally puts Wato back in the ring. Kanemaru toys with Wato but Wato chops back. Kanemaru doesn’t flinch and he rakes Wato’s eyes! Red Shoes reprimands but Kanemaru tags Taichi. Taichi headlocks Wato and chokes him! Red Shoes sees and counts, Taichi stops at 4. Taichi scoops Wato to lawn dart hotshot him on the ropes!
Tag to ZSJ and ZSJ stands on Wato’s head! ZSJ lets up as the Aces protest. Red Shoes keep them from getting in and ZSJ cravats Wato hard. ZSJ snapmares to CRANK the neck! Tag to Kanemaru and Kanemaru stands on Wato’s head. Taichi and ZSJ also stand on Wato but the Golden Aces get back in. Red Shoes tells everyone that isn’t Wato or Kanemaru to get out. Taichi gets in some more stomps before he leaves. Kanemaru brings Wato up, Wato CHOPS and Kanemaru feels that one! Kanemaru rakes eyes, whips but Wato holds ropes! Wato hits back, kicks, but Kanemaru blocks! Kanemaru elbows the knee, kicks the leg, but runs into a HUGE dropkick! Both men are down, the fans rally up, and hot tags to Taichi and Ibushi!
Ibushi dodges Taichi to elbow ZSJ down, then he goes up and over to ROUNDHOUSE Taichi down! STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his cool as the fans fire up again. Ibushi drags Taichi up, waistlocks but Taichi elbows free. Ibushi forearms, Taichi mule KICKS! Taichi cools off, runs and boots Ibushi, but Ibushi boots back. Taichi boots again, Ibushi boots again! Taichi tries a third time but is caught! Ibushi spin kicks, but misses in the corner. Ibushi dodges the enziguri to SNAP-RANA! Tanahashi wants in and Ibushi tags him in! Tanahashi fires up with the fans, runs and forearms Taichi down! Elbow drop, somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps his focus as he drags Taichi in.
Tanahashi scoops and slams Taichi down, hops up and leaps, but the second rope senton misses! Taichi tags ZSJ in, ZSJ grabs Tanahashi by his ears for EuroUpper after EuroUpper! Tanahashi fires off forearms, but uppercuts into a backslide! They fight for control, ZSJ gets Tanahashi up but Tanahashi pulls back. Tanahashi spins around, gets ZSJ in the facelock, but ZSJ slips out. ZSJ goes to Pele the arm but Tanahashi blocks it! ZSJ uses his other leg to reel Tanahashi in for a headlock. Tanahashi powers out, catches ZSJ, they go around and it’s Tanahashi who puts on the cobra twist! But ZSJ grabs the arm, slips around and has the Iron Octopus! Taichi and Kanemaru boot Wato and Ibushi off the apron!
ZSJ holds on tight, he might be going for Hurrah! Another Year etc etc. Wato gets in to club ZSJ but Taichi throws Wato back out. Taichi intimidates and pushes Red Shoes down, and the Tekkers both go after Tanahashi. They want that brutal double chicken wing dragon screw, but Ibushi attacks the Tekkers first! Ibushi DECKS Kanemaru, too, and calls to Tanahashi. They go to give ZSJ the same treatment! Full nelson DRAGON SCREW!! The fans fire up as things are even now! Red Shoes returns, both ZSJ and Tanahashi are down. ZSJ and Tanahashi crawl, Kanemaru tags in and Taichi trips up Ibushi! Kanemaru boots Wato, he and Taichi go after Tanahashi together. Corner elbow, feed to the KICK to the bad leg! BUZZSAW DROPKICK SANDWICH! Cover, TWO!!
Kanemaru goes up top, Taichi drags Tanahashi up. Kanemaru leaps for the FLYING DDT! Cover, Wato breaks it! Taichi chokes Wato and throws him out. Ibushi springboards to missile dropkick Taichi! Kanemaru shotgun dropkicks Ibushi out! Kanemaru grabs his whiskey and shoves Red Shoes away. But Wato grabs the bottle! Tanahashi SHOTEIS, Wato springboard uppercuts! Wato drags Kanemaru up, hooks the arms for a MOUSE TRAP DRIVER! Ibushi fires up with Tanahashi and they sit Kanemaru up. KAMI-GOYE!! Tanahashi heads up top, Wato is in the drop zone, but the Tekkers attack! Ibushi and Wato drag them away, Tanahashi leaps for HIGH FLY FLOW!! Cover, Golden Aces and Wato win!!
Winners: Master Wato & The Golden Aces, by pinfall
ZSJ and Taichi are furious! Their challengers just keep building momentum! Will they stand a chance of holding onto the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships at this rate? Taichi brings those belts up to hang them in front of Tanahashi and Ibushi. Taichi says that they need to be ready for what happens after they lose on Saturday. He dares the “two guppies” to do their best. The Tekkers vow they’re going to wear The Golden Aces out, but Tanahashi says he and Ibushi are never tired. Taichi tells them they’re not wrestling gods, and are going to “face the grim reaper soon enough.” Tanahashi counters by saying Taichi better enjoy his last two days as champion. Who outlasts who to leave Jingu with those belts? As for Kanemaru, can he rebound before he has to face the young Grand Master 1v1?
Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi VS EVIL & Taiji Ishimori w/ Dick Togo!
There’s so much gold in this grudge, it’s 24 karat! The Uncontrollable Charisma wants revenge on the traitor and both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships back, while the Ticking Timebomb wants to blow up the Bone Soldier! Will LIJ take the lead on Bullet Club going into the two major matches in Jingu?
The teams sort out and after a Low Sweet and the LIJ fist bump, it’s Evil and Naito starting! The fans rally already as we get this preview of the Double Championship rematch. Naito and Evil stare down, circle, and Naito sucker punches Taiji! Hiromu gets in and LIJ mugs Evil! They double whip the traitor, Hiromu dropkicks the legs out and Naito basement dropkicks Evil in the head! Naito drags Evil around by his hair, bends him back against his knee, and Hiromu attacks Taiji on the outside. Hiromu whips, Taiji reverses and Hiromu is sent into railing! Naito clubs and cravats Evil in the corner, Taiji gets up and protests but Naito stomps Evil down. Taiji keeps messing with Red Shoes as Naito whips Evil corner to corner.
Evil boots back, dumps Naito out, but Naito hits back. Dick makes a move and anchors Naito’s feet so Evil can DECK Naito! Evil baseball slide dropkicks Hiromu while Dick stomps Naito at railing. Red Shoes gets out to reprimand Dick but Taiji CHOPS and kicks Hiromu! Taiji rakes Hiromu’s eyes while Evil uses camera cables to choke Naito! Red Shoes still has to keep Dick away, Evil whips Naito into railing! Evil stands on Naito’s head but the ring count starts. Taiji chokes Hiromu while Evil soaks up the heat. Evil toys with Naito as the ring count passes 10 of 20. Evil drags Naito and into the ring at 17, then tags Taiji. Taiji stomps Naito, drags him up, and Bullet Club has exposed a corner, as is their favorite trick. Taiji whips Naito into the bare buckles!
Tag to Evil, Evil stalks Naito as he writhes, and toys with him now. Fans rally up for Naito, Evil eggs Naito on, and drags Naito up. Naito throws body shots and forearms but Evil whips him back into bare buckles! Tag to Taiji, Dick and Evil choke Naito while Taiji BLASTS Hiromu off the apron! Taiji goes over to Naito, drags him up and clubs him down. Fans still rally for Naito but Taiji drags him up to wrench and whip to a neutral corner. Taiji hits double knees, but runs into a back elbow! Naito atomic drops and enziguris Taiji down! Fans rally up, Taiji and Naito crawl, hot tag to Hiromu! Hiromu dodges Taiji to DECK Evil! Hiromu boots and whips Taiji, Taiji reverses but Hiromu huricanranas!
Taiji bails out, fans fire up and Hiromu is on the apron. Hiromu leaps and shotgun dropkicks Taiji into Evil, sending Evil into railing! Hiromu runs Dick off before putting Taiji back in the ring. Hiromu suplexes, Taiji slips out and baits Hiromu into a corner. Hiromu boots but Taiji blocks to spin Hiromu around. Taiji runs side to side, and hits Hiromu with a SLIDING GERMAN! Fans rally up but Taiji drags Hiromu around for a gut wrench. Hiromu fights out, gut wrenches Taiji, but Taiji resists to get a facelock. Hiromu pushes out of the DDT, Taiji KNEES him, but Hiromu SUPERKICKS! Taiji staggers, both men clothesline but neither falls! Taiji runs into a POP-UP BOMB!
Hiromu and Taiji are down, the fans rally up, hot tags to Evil and Naito! Naito spins Evil around to whip and arm-drag! Naito elbows Evil down then basement dropkicks! Naito drags Evil up, backbreaker to Pluma Blanca, his version of the Koji Klutch! Evil endures, Dick distracts Red Shoes but Naito goes after Dick. Dick gets away, Naito goes back to Evil. Evil goes to poke Naito’s eyes but Naito blocks and rakes Evil’s eyes! Naito elbows Evil over and over, Evil stumbles into a corner, Naito basement dropkicks! Naito hoists Evil up top, climbs up top, Evil slips out to get in Red Shoes’ face as Dick trips Naito! Evil runs back in to clothesline Naito, then FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives and fans cheer!
Evil keeps his cool as he drags Naito back up. Evil fireman’s carry, but Naito fights free! Naito waistlocks, Evil elbows and whips but Naito reverses to use ropes in the TORNADO DDT! Naito tags Hiromu and Hiromu whips Evil. Hiromu forearms Evil, puts him on ropes, kicks the ropes then runs to shotgun dropkick Evil down! Fans fire up with Hiromu as he drags Evil back up. Hiromu fireman’s carries but Evil slips out. Hiromu SUPERKICKS, then LARIATS! Hiromu DECKS Taiji off the apron and goes back to Evil. He drags Evil up again for a whip to the corner. Hiromu corner clotheslines, he and Naito basement dropkick sandwich! Cover, Taiji breaks it!
Naito throws Taiji out, then stomps him at railing. Hiromu fires up again and fans rally. Hiromu brings Evil up in a dragon sleeper, lifts but Evil slips out to waistlock. Hiromu standing switches, shoves Evil into Naito’s back elbow, then Naito holds Evil up. Hiromu runs, but Evil pulls Naito into the path of the shotgun dropkick!! Naito goes down hard and Taiji gets back in. Taiji dodges Hiromu, tilt-o-whirls over and over for the LA MYSTICA! DARK ARMBAR!! Hiromu writhes, Red Shoes is busy with Taiji as Evil gets a chair! Evil aims at Hiromu, for a CHAIR SHOT!! Hiromu writhes even more as Evil slashes the throat. Evil drags Hiromu up, Taiji leaves Red Shoes alone for EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, Bullet Club wins!!
Winners: EVIL & Taiji Ishimori, by pinfall
The King of Darkness and his Bone Soldier have just devastated the Ticking Timebomb all over again! Hiromu’s arm may be in horrible shape all over again, will he be able to fight in Jingu? Can Naito make Evil pay for everything he’s done to LIJ? Naito doesn’t back down from Evil, but he forgets about Dick! Dick uses the #SpoilerChoker to take Naito down!! Now Evil gets the mic to speak.
“I knew it! Los Ingos are just a bunch of losers!” Evil asks Naito, “Who represents ‘justice’ now?” Who is “real” now? Who is stronger now? Does he get it now?! Evil tells Naito that in Jingu, “You’ll taste this same pain.” Make sure you remember! “Everything is Evil! It’s rrrrreeeal!” A shout out to the great Prince who founded Bullet Club! Will Evil be what helps bring Bullet Club back to such prominence?
Another great event to act as a go-home to the huge Jingu Stadium event this Saturday. As far as the factions go, everyone breaks even. I skipped Chaos VS Bullet Club, it was obvious Okada’s side was going to win when both he and Toru Yano are in KOPW Fatal 4 Way. Those two go in strong, while Desperado is the only one going in a little weaker when Suzuki-Gun loses. Of course, classic NJPW Six Man formula, involve someone who isn’t doing anything in the finish. Sanada beats Douki, so Desperado isn’t really hurt. Neither is Suzuki himself going into what will definitely be a slug fest with Shingo. But then Suzuki-Gun loses to Wato and Golden Aces, but I wonder if that means ZSJ and Taichi retain. I feel like NJPW will want some finishes fans will like, so maybe Ibushi and Tanahashi getting the belts back is one of those.
But even LIJ and Bullet Club break even after a really great main event for the Double Champion and Junior Heavyweight title stories. It’s a good story beat for Hiromu’s arm to be targeted at the end, it’s what (kayfabe?) kept him out of much of Summer Struggle at the start of August. Now it’s in question again, but could be something Hiromu overcomes to retain his title. And while Evil stands tall tonight with Taiji and Dick, I don’t know if the math is affected. Evil could still retain so that Bullet Club stays strong while we still wait on bringing all parts back together, such as Jay White’s return to Japan. Also, I definitely like Evil saying “real” like Finn Balor back in the day.
My Score: 8.8/10
WWE 24/7 Championship Results & Report! (4/10/21)
BEHOLD! The Night Panther!!
It’s the epic conclusion to the Legend of the Night Planter!
Mild-mannered Old Spice salesman, Joseph Average, finds himself in the middle of an incredible WWE 24/7 Championship prophecy! But is he hero or villain?
- WWE 24/7 Championship Picnic Panic: R-Truth VS Akira Tozawa & Night Panther; Truth retains the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
R-Truth is having a picnic.
“This is just not your ordinary picnic. We eatin’ good.” And after spraying some Old Spice Night Panther, they’re smellin’ good, too! But Akira Tozawa is sneaking up to snatch Truth’s snacks! Truth goes to reach for some, sees Tozawa, and Tozawa says, “Say cheese~!” What’s Tozawa doing at Truth’s picnic?! And with Ninja Referee (Drew Gulak) and the Night Panther! Truth finds he’s outnumbered! Tozawa and Ninja Ref Gulak grab Truth, and Truth says, “Oh no! Say it ain’t so, Joe!” He went from Average Joe, to Average Ninja! But if you go full ninja, you go evil. But, Joe’s not evil…
Tozawa shouts, “ATTACK!” But stand back, there’s a Hurricane comin’ through! A hurricane? Truth’s insurance covers that. But what is he doing here? What’s he doing here? Everyone knows that hurricanes and night panthers are mortal enemies. Truth confirms. And yet, here Joe is, ruining Truth’s picnic with his baby. Wazzupwiththat?! Night Panther, attack!! Night Panther punches at Hurricane but is blocked and counter punched! Truth breaks free of the kung-fu grip, and hurries with Hurricane to the Truth Cave! AWAY~!
The ninjas pick themselves up and Tozawa blames Night Panther for this. But he tried…! Tozawa takes away Night Panther’s seemingly endless blackbelt. Was this Yokozuna sized? But Tozawa doesn’t care what the prophecy says, Joseph Average is NOT the Night Panther! The “HAH! HAH! HAH!” turns into laughter at Joe’s failure, and Joe runs away in shame. Ninja Ref Gulak tries to talk with Tozawa but he won’t hear it. Will Tozawa ever get the 24/7 Championship away from Truth? Will Joseph Average redeem himself? Or is there truly someone else who the Night Panther mantle is meant for?
Not quite as conclusive as I thought, but this was a pretty great next part to this story with Eric Bugenhagen, aka Ricky Buge, aka The Buge, now Joseph “The Night Panther” Average, who may not even be the Night Panther anymore. I like that we got The Hurricane in this, and if it weren’t for the divide of WWE and AEW, I would love if the cinematic wrestling universe got Matt Hardy involved with this title. Having a brand deal feels right up the “Big Money Matt” gimmick’s alley. I hope Buge returns and proves himself as the Night Panther, or even just as Joseph Average. This is the kind of fun this title needs to be having either way.
Andrew’s AJPW Champion Carnival Results & Match Ratings: 4.10.2021
Day 2 of my fill in stint covering the AJPW Champion Carnival! Can Suwama get in the winner’s column? Can the Ace Kento get on the board? Does anyone pull away so early?
Day 2 of my fill in stint covering the AJPW Champion Carnival! Can Suwama get in the winner’s column? Can the Ace Kento get on the board? Does anyone pull away so early?
Given the fact the incumbent champion lost his first round, the ace lost and there were a few main event players that picked up hard fought wins but don’t have an easy day today, this should be interesting. What kind of tournament are we looking at?
Since the tournament is 1 block, each person gets 9 matches, similar to the G1. So using G1 logic, 2 losses puts you on the bubble of being out, and 3 losses is basically death with the exception of weird breakers or fun rock/paper/scissors situations.
So for everyone’s sake, let’s hope we end up at mostly parity to continue to keep everyone alive for most of this single block tournament!
- Yuma Aoyagi vs Shotaro Ashino: Aoyagi wins via End Game @9:22 – ** ¾
- Kohei Sato vs Koji Doi: Doi wins via Murder Lariat @4:52 – * ½
- Shuj Ishikawa vs Zeus: Zeus wins via Arm Trap Facelock @10:41 – *** ½
- Shinjiro Otani vs Kento Miyahara: Kento wins via Blackout @13:23 – *** ¾
- Jake Lee vs Suwama: Suwama wins via Last Ride Powerbomb @18:23 – ****
Yuma Aoyagi vs Shotaro Ashino
So very similarly to the match against Otani, Aoyagi starts slow. The match begins with a handshake, then he gets driven to the ropes, Ashino slides under his legs during the break to trip him up and starts working over the leg. An early Stretch Muffler indicates that Ashino is most likely aiming to win with the Ankle Lock.
Aoyagi was on the move and constantly clawing for an opening. A few strikes and early knockdown give Aoyagi hope as he goes for End Game, but Ashino powers up and slams him into the corner. Ashino controls most of the tempo until we get a German Suplex trade off spot. Aoyagi ends up taking the worst of it, and Ashino goes for the Ankle Lock.
While in the Ankle Lock, Aoyagi tries to roll through 3 times, but Ashino moves with the roll and holds the move in place. Right before Aoyagi looks like he’s going to tap, he adjusts, grabs Ashino’s head for the Small Package; Ashino manages to kick out. But before Ashino can really re-orient himself, Aoyagi slaps on the full version of End Game. Ashino tries to fight through, but succumbs.
Ashino with two big losses almost writes him out already. Hopefully he makes a small run to suspend disbelief for a little bit and this isn’t his swan song from AJPW.
Kohei Sato vs Koji Doi
Doi comes out of a loss to a major player, Shuji Ishikawa, of current AJPW and Sato avenged his loss to the current Triple Crown Champion Suwama. So at face value, one should think this is a perfect time for Sato to gather some momentum to make sure he gets another shot at the title.
Contrary to logic, this match was interesting. Doi starts off with a quick flurry and picks Sato up into a Torture Rack. Sato eventually fights out and then we get a chop battle, which Sato is notoriously bad at and throws some of the lamest looking chops. Granted, even though he was losing the chops, apparently a well-placed Forearm rocked Doi enough to have Doi selling the forearm for nearly the rest of the match.
Referee Nikkan Lee gets up to seven before Doi starts responding enough to be on the receiving end of a Soccer Ball Kick from Sato. Sato senses the match is over, picks Doi up real cocky for a Brainbuster, but it gets countered into a Brainbuster of Doi’s own! A short range lariat rocks Sato afterward and then off the ropes for Murder Lariat! Sato is stacked up, Doi covers and Doi gets the win!
Well we look to be in an interesting starting spot so far. Who would’ve figured Koji Doi would have more points than Shotaro Ashino…ever. Also for clarity, the low rating is because the match was so abrupt. It wasn’t inherently bad, just not really anything to sink teeth into beyond an upset win.
Shuj Ishikawa vs Zeus
There is history with these two, most notable in my head is during Zeus’ only Triple Crown championship reign, Shuji was his first and only defense. So Zeus looks to continue momentum this year, possibly running back the undefeated record of last year; while Shuji is trying to protect his position and title as Gaora TV champion.
This goes the way most of their previous meetings have, where Shuji tries to overpower Zeus. Because even though Zeus is a bodybuilder, he’s a bit on the short side (5’10”). So with Shuji standing about 6 inches taller and not being of a slight build, Shuji loves to buckle Zeus and play the power struggle. Tests of Strength, Shoulder Tackles, Lariat battles, it’s all great power wrestler spots.
Shuji does however start to catch Zeus. So after a chagrining Lariat into the corner, the middle rope Mushroom Stomp and a few Tsunamis; it looks like Shuji is setting up to win with a Fire/Thunder Driver – but Zeus slips out the back! Zeus locks in the Arm Trap Facelock, and Shuji is dead to rights. Stuck in the middle, twisted about in the move, it only takes a few moments before Shuji is forced to tap and Zeus moves on with 4 points!
Shinjiro Otani vs Kento Miyahara
Dueling boots start the match, which Kento bails after being on the losing end of the exchange. Otani decides to remind him that recovering on the apron isn’t safe, so he charges and lands the Bootwash through the bottom rope sending Kento flying. As the match plays out on the outside, Kento regains his swagger, talks smack to referee Wada and does his “headbutts around the ring” spot.
After rocking Otani, Kento gets cocky, poses back in the ring and the smug Kento from his previous Triple Crown champion days starts making a return. He gives Otani too much space though, charges the corner, and takes a Drop Toe Hold into the bottom turnbuckle, and then Otani revs up the old kicking boot across Kento’s face for a few Bootwashes.
From this point, both men’s stubbornness comes out in spades. Kento gets a little cocky, Otani catches him on the corner, they fight back and Otani refuses to fall before hitting Kento with a Superplex. Then we go into a strike exchange where both are just wailing on one another. Otani manages to rock Kento and then catch him with a Dragon Suplex for a near fall.
Moving quickly, Otani hits Spiral Bomb, but again only two. So he tries a Dragon Suplex again, but Kento fights out. Kento hits a Blackout to the back of Otani’s head, and now they are throwing haymakers. Kento catches Otani with another Blackout, but Otani returns the favor with one of those Hashimoto Overhand Chops that put down Aoyagi yesterday! Otani goes for another, but Kento Blackouts the chop. The clash leaves Otani in more pain, another Blackout and Otani powers out of the pinfall at 1, but is scrambling and stumbling around, unable to find his feet. Kento hits one more point blank Blackout, and picks up his first points of the 2021 Carnival!
Jake Lee vs Suwama
So watching this second tournament match for Jake, I’ve come to realize what I’m referring to him as during this Total Eclipse gimmick. He is very much “Light Yagami” Jake Lee. He’s cackling when he accomplishes something, unbridled frustration and nearly schizophrenic reactions do really scream Death Note crazy Light.
This match was interesting since early on Suwama didn’t really know what to make of Jake, and Jake tried the same stuff he pulled on Ashino, where he was a little awkward, took advantage of situations and tried to bait Suwama into bad spots. The difference is, Suwama is a veteran and Triple Crown champion; so even though Jake got a few early shots, Suwama eventually forced him back into old habits.
Jake was forced to wrestle, hitting interesting flying kick and knee variations, pulled out the old Kitchen Sink and put in a lot more effort than the first match. Suwama managed to stay resilient and push our new Total Eclipse Death Note wielder. This match was built more around Jake coming into his new persona, and yet still not being able to get passed certain old hurdles.
Suwama absorbed a lot, hit some short range lariats, his Double Chop comeback, and the spinning chop. Jake hits the back of the head Giant Killing, attempts D4C, but Suwama blocks. Jake keeps the pressure up, attempts and old Giant Killing/Knee Lift, but Suwama catches the leg, lifts him into a Last Ride, and puts him away!
Suwama finally gets on the bored, and Jake is left stunned and seething. Which plays perfect for Jake to win the Carnival and earn his Suwama shot, and prove his evolution then.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
So this ended a little stronger over all than day 1, but both days so far have been a fun start. The mixture of upsets and oddly abrupt matches are perfect for a tournament even if they don’t rank high. In the larger picture of things it’s nice to see that a competitive match can end in less than 5 minutes without comedy tactics.
Seeing how Jake took the loss to Suwama gives me hope for this anime antagonist character. I’m honestly a little surprised that the whole tournament is knotted up except for Zeus at the 2-0 and Ashino at 0-2. I really did not think Ashino would be the slow kid in the pool right now. But I suppose since he was just betrayed he’s still finding his footing. Like I alluded to before, it would be nice if he’s just getting broken down to be built back up and not just putting people over on his way out.
Now since the only unique records are first and last, the rest of the tournament isn’t hard to figure out, but here are the standings! Solid first 2 days so far!
- Zeus: 2-0 – (4 Points)
- Shuji Ishikawa: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Shinjiro Otani: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Kohei Sato: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Jake Lee: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Kento Miyahara: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Suwama: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Koji Doi: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Yuma Aoyagi: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Shotaro Ashino: 0-2 – (0 Points)
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