So we got through our first All Japan review with no problems. At least on my end anyway. Here is another one. This time I’m talking about the finals of the Royal Road Tournament 2014. Or the Oudou Tournament. Doesn’t look like too many promising matches on this one. So come with me and see if I hate myself afterwards for watching this. Either way, it can be fun! Right? This is from the Osaka Bodymaker Colosseum #2. One last thing Evolution in All Japan is not Randy Orton, Triple H, Ric Flair or Batista. It is Suwama, Joe Doering, Atsushi Aoki and Hikaru Sato. Now we have that cleared up. Joy!
Billy Ken Kid & Ultimo Dragon vs. Eisa8 & Shoichi Uchida: Eisa8 and Billy Ken Kid go back and forth for a bit to start the match. They trade pins and a stalemate. Let me get this out of the way. Eisa8 looks like if El Generico and Yuko Miyamato had a baby. That was bothering me. Back to the action. Uchida and Dragon are in. Uchida gets no offense in and Ken Kid works him over in the corner. Basement dropkick. I didn’t even notice how Eisa8 got Ken Kid in his corner. Ken Kid gets a lariat. The fans are hot for this though. Dragon back in and he goes for the Asai DDT but Uchida catches him with a powerslam. Double team for the outsiders and Eisa8 gets a Sling Blade like his hero Hiroshi Tanahashi. I dunno. Uchida gets a nice tope suicida but Dragon gets his Asai DDT for the 3. This match is just there. What’s the point of it? To make sure Dragon gets booked? Yeah you can move on. *
Atsushi Aoki & Hikaru Sato vs. Kotaro Suzuki & Yohei Nakajima: Former partners Aoki and Suzuki start the match. They run the ropes and both try for a dropkick. Stalemate. Nakajima and Sato are back in. Forearm and chop exchange between the two. Sweet dropkick from Nakajima. Sato tees off on Nakajima. Aoki with some stiff forearms to the back of Nakajima. The goal of Evolution is to separate the weak partner from the strong partner. They work over Nakajima well. Nakajima manages a hurricanrana and we get the hot tag to Suzuki. Suzuki with the double dropkick on Evolution. High flying knee in the corner and his knee legdrop to Sato. The former partners go at it for a bit. Nakajima hits some corner back elbows and a dropkick on Aoki. Top rope dropkick from Nakajima. A 619 and an Octopus Hold has Aoki in trouble. 2 lariats put Nakajima down and we get a Boston Crab from Aoki. Nakajima struggles but Aoki pulls him back for a Texas Clover Hold and Nakajima taps. Some sloppiness from Aoki in this. Other than that it was a fine and decent tag match. Nakajima showed fire. Aoki and Suzuki played off each other well and Sato was kicking away at his opponents and swinging for the fences. **1/2
Yoshinobu Kanemaru & SUSHI vs. KENSO & Takeshi Minamino: I remember the last KENSO match I watched. Absolutely hated it. I wanted to rip out my eyes afterwards. If you take my advice you will never watch a KENSO match. Unfortunately I am a glutton for punishment. Dark Kingdom jumps the faces at the start. The fans really do love KENSO though. KENSO with a DDT on the floor to Kanemaru. Great more KENSO slaps. Ah. I can’t stand those. At least SUSHI makes the match humorous. Kanemaru with the headscissors into a DDT. Flying cross body from the top tope followed up by a split legged moonsault from Kanemaru. SUSHI keeps hammering away with lariats at KENSO until he knocks KENSO down. KENSO actually with a nice brainbuster. KENSO finishes off SUSHI with a Hagakure. So this match felt like it went nowhere. This just seemed like it had no heat and I was bored to death. Kanemaru and SUSHI kept me entertained. It was short. So I’m thankful for that. *1/2
Joe Doering vs. Kento Miyahara: Doering with a huge shoulder block to send Miyahara into the corner. Miyahara wants Doering in the ring. Vicious sledges to the back of Miyahara which fires Miyahara up and he nails countless forearms to Doering. Miyahara is not backing down from the power of Doering. Miyahara back drops Doering to the floor. Doering nails Miyahara with a DDT to the pavement. Miyahara gets back in the match with a backdrop. Doering keeps Miyahara with lariats and elbow drops. Delayed suplex from Doering keeps Miyahara down. Miyahara with a great thrust kick and bicycle kick combo. Miyahara fights off the Revolution Bomb with an armbar and then a Triangle choke. Some great near falls at the end. Miyahara has one of my favorite German suplexes. Down the end of the match, Doering catches Miyahara with a Death Valley Bomb and then the Revolution Bomb for the 3. Miyahara put over Doering as this dominant monster. He bumped well, sold well. Miyahara fought to get every move in. Doering is a fantastic big man wrestler. He puts emphasis on everything he does in the ring. It was a solid bout and both men looked great. ***
Akebono, Yutaka Yoshie & The Bodyguard vs. Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori & Zeus: Akebono and Akiyama start it off. Hey the greatest game ever returns. SHOULDER TACKLE TIME WITH AKEBONO! Akiyama tries for a suplex on Akiyama but thinks better of it and tags in to Zeus. No not the guy from No Holds Barred kids. Zeus is huge man. Reminds me of a Japanese Batista. Zeus barely gets Akebono over with a suplex but it’s more of a brainbuster. Akebono no sells it and hits a huge elbow drop. You monster! Zeus and Yoshie are in but Zeus gets chops on Yoshie and Omori comes in and gives Yoshie some more chops. Omori tries to slam Yoshie but the weight is too much and Omori gets flattened. The Bodyguard and Omori trade chops. Double shoulder tackle from Akiyama and Omori. The Bodyguard and Zeus trade chops. The Bodyguard with some corner lariats. Zeus with a leaping lariat and a kip up. I’ve never seen Batista do that. Zeus and The Bodyguard go at it for a while until both are down. Akiyama tries to finish off the mountain Yoshie. Now I want to watch Game of Thrones. Yoshie gets his back side in the face of both Akiyama and Zeus. Top rope suplex from Akiyama. We get a bunch of run ins from both teams and some near falls. It comes down to Akebono and Omori with Akebono landing a sliding body press and a piledriver to get the win for his team. So this match happened for what again? Yoshie and Akebono can challenge Omori and Akiyama for the World Tag Championship? This was ok at best. Some back and forth. Decent heat but it really did nothing for me. I’m not at all excited about Omori & Akiyama vs. Yoshie & Akebono. I don’t expect any sane individual would be. **
Suwama vs. Go Shiozaki (Royal Road Tournament 2014 Final): I’m not going to lie. This is one of my favorite feuds in pro wrestling. These two had some of my favorite matches in 2013 outside of some scrubs named Tanahashi and Okada. Suwama is All Japan and Shiozaki was under the tutelage of one of All Japan’s favorite sons, Kenta Kobashi. Let’s get to the action. First few minutes are filled with both men trying to outmatch the other. Joe Doering looks on intently at ringside to watch the action. Both men trade big boots and then up the ante to forearms and chops. Go with a dropkick and knee drop. Suwama comes back at Go with a beautiful sleeper. Suwama has Go down and wants Go to get up. Suwama is relentless in his attack. Go tries to get back into the match but Suwama nails a lariat and elbow drop. Another chop and forearm exchange but Suwama gets a powerslam. I love the dynamic of Suwama being in total control and Shiozaki fighting from underneath. A count out tease but Go makes it back in time but Suwama hits a suplex and a Boston Crab. Running bodyslam from Suwama. Shiozaki is taking a beating but still stays in it. Shiozaki with a suplex, shoulder block, DDT and a backdrop. We get some more chops and forearms until Go blasts Suwama with a thrust kick. Sleeper tease from Suwama. I love the throws from Suwama here. A dropkick from Suwama sends Go into the guardrail back first. Suwama with an impressive tope suicida. Every time that Go gets a bit of offense, Suwama cuts him off. A tease of the Last Ride Powerbomb but Go fights it off only to get caught in another Suwama sleeper. Go is barely in the match at this point. His energy is zapped and Suwama welcomes Go to try to stand toe to toe with him. Suwama with some corner forearms. Go gets some offense and caps it off with a huge plancha. Great exchange of lariats and near falls with both men firing up. The fans are getting louder and louder as this goes on. I love those Suwama double chops. The finishing stretch is fantastic with both men hitting their big bombs. Go finally hits his Go Flasher followed up by an empathetic Limit Break for the win. This match was fantastic. Go’s selling was brilliant. Suwama treating Shiozaki as a ragdoll and someone beneath him was convincing. The fans loved this. The building up during this match to a great and satisfying finale was top-notch. Two guys who are All Japan showing what two heavyweights with time and potential can do. Power moves, dives, back and forth moments and two clearly defined wrestlers who know their roles. ****1/2
So that was the finals of the Royal Road Tournament. You only need to watch Shiozaki vs. Suwama. That’s the only match you should watch on this card. Maybe the Miyahara vs. Doering match as well? As usual if I did good or bad my Twitter handle is @RobsBrutalWorld