All Japan Pro Wrestling
Raising An Army Memorial Series – Night 4
October 10, 2018
Yusuke Okada def. Keiichi Sato
This is both a battle of the young boys as well as Sweeper facing off against Evolution. I’ve talked about Keiichi Sato before and Yusuke Okada has just returned from injury a couple of days before this. I really like the way All Japan does their young boy system now as they tend to allow them to develop personalities much quicker than other Japanese promotions. Yusuke had been progressing quite nicely before an injury put him on the shelf for 6 months. So it will be interesting to see how he manages to bounce back. He seems to have hit the gym during his time off as he is noticeably bigger and he’s gotten a new haircut as well.
Being in Evolution is going to help him tremendously as he is going to be in the ring with some phenomenal in-ring wrestlers. Here he manages to put away Sato and firmly establish himself above Sato in the pecking order. This was only his second ever singles win and the other one was against Sato as well during this year’s Junior Battle of Glory back in February.
Ultimo Dragon, TAJIRI & KAMIKAZE def. Masanobu Fuchi, Osamu Nishimura & Chikara
The grumpy veterans match plus spry young boy 36-year-old Chikara. By the time Chikara was born Fuchi was already close to a 10-year veteran. TAJIRI’s All Japan run has been underwhelming to put it mildly as he is clearly nowhere close to the wrestler he used to be. However, since beating Akiyama for the GAORA TV title there has been some improvement. He has effectively turned the title into the Over 40 championship, which is more of an identity than the title has ever had before. Ultimo Dragon and TAJIRI were feuding here even though they are on the same team, most likely setting up a future title challenge. First though TAJIRI will have to get by that young whippersnapper Chikara. La Magistral cradle from Ultimo on Fuchi finishes this one.
Mushuku no Akatora & Atsushi Aoki def. Atsushi Maruyama & KAI
Well, this is interesting. I’ve always wanted Maruyama and Akatora to face off since they’ve never been in a match before, but I didn’t expect it to ever happen. KAI certainly seems to be confused about Akatora being out there as well. Maruyama and Akatora are mirroring each other early on, which isn’t surprising since they normally have strikingly similar in-ring styles. Akatora does seem a bit different today but I can’t quite put my finger on it. No matter though as he manages to roll up Maruyama for the win anyway
Dylan James, Joe Doering & Black Tiger VII def. Sweeper (Jake Lee, Ryouji Sai & Koji Iwamoto)
This is Sweeper facing off against that no good snake Dylan James after he betrayed them at the Royal Road Finals show. This continued the story nicely with Dylan & Doering just destroying the Sweeper team here. Black Tiger VI barely participated and essentially was just here to even the numbers. This puts a nice an proper roadblock in front of Jake Lee as his slow push to the top continues. After he was beaten like a drum for the entire match Lee takes the pin. There was a bit of weirdness as the ref seemed to screw up on the finish. Lee’s shoulders were down after a double team from Doering & Dylan. Didn’t look like he kicked out but the ref called it as a two count anyway, only for Dylan to immediately hit a chokeslam to pin Lee.
They announced the participants for the upcoming Lucha Fiesta tour as well as the teams for the Real World Tag League:
- Violent Giants (SUWAMA & Shuji Ishikawa)
- Jun Akiyama & Daisuke Sekimoto
- Yoshiken (Kento Miyahara & Yoshitatsu)
- The Big Guns (Zeus & The Bodyguard)
- Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi
- Get Wild (Manabu Soya & Takao Omori)
- Jake Lee & Ryouji Sai
- Joe Doering & Dylan James
- TAJIRI and Gianni Valletta
- Kengo Mashimo & KAI
- The End (Odinson & Parrow)
I’ll probably write a more extensive preview about the latter, but the lineup looks like an absolute banger. Aside from the Valletta and TAJIRI team there no real clunker in there and I think that The End team will surprise a lot of people.
All Asia Tag Team Title Match
Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi © def. Takao Omori & Black Menso-re
This was mostly a nothing match and only served to put another notch on the NEXTREAM team to give them some momentum in their title reign. Hopefully, they will get a bit more of a run this time around as their first reign was cut short by an ankle injury to Yuma. I do enjoy Black Menso-re in the undercard tag team matches he normally finds himself in. However, he shouldn’t be anywhere close to a title challenge. Takao Omori has slowed down noticeably over the last months as well and it will be interesting to see if teaming with Manabu Soya in the Real World Tag League can inject some energy back into him.
AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Title Match
Shuji Kondo © def. Hikaru Sato
Now as much as I am not a fan of Kondo taking the title off of Koji Iwamoto, it is undeniable that he can still go in the ring. Also of note is that Sato did not come out in his Evolution gear for this match. They told a good story here with Sato mercilessly attacked Kondo’s taped up arm. Nevertheless, Kondo with one arm still proved to be more powerful than Hikaru and overpowering him to turn the tide. But it wouldn’t be before long that Hikaru would find another way to attack the arm. Kondo still manages to hit the King Kong Lariat to retain his title.
Zeus & Yuji Hino def. Yoshiken
A great main event where everyone had their working boots on. Zeus looked great here and he gelled very well with Hino. As much as I love the Big Guns I would like to see this pairing more going forward. Then again Hino fits perfectly with the theme of the team anyway. I wouldn’t mind All Japan turning The Big Guns from a tag team into a faction, as they have done with Evolution and NEXTREAM before. Hard hitting action throughout this match. If this doesn’t get you hyped up for the upcoming Triple Crown title match then I don’t know what will. I also would like to see Yoshitatsu and Hino face off in a singles match as well. Zeus pins Miyahara here in order to put some doubt in regarding the outcome of the title match later this month.
This was a decent Korakuen show by All Japan. There weren’t any match of the year contenders. However, the main event and Junior Title match were very enjoyable and I would recommend you seek these out. The Sweeper Six Man Tag Match is an ok match, but you should still watch it if you want to keep up with that storyline, which is obviously going to be big going forward.