All Japan Pro Wrestling
Raising An Army Memorial Series 2018 – Night 11
October 21, 2018
Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium
Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
Yusuke Okada def. Atsushi Maruyama
Well, would you look at that, looks like Okada has now officially graduated from young boy status. Maruyama really has become All Japan’s jack of all trades. You can insert him into any kind of match and he’ll find a way to make it work. He loses nothing by getting pinned here and Okada can take his first step up the ladder. Also looking at Okada he is definitely going to be a heavyweight and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is moved up to that division right away.
Following the match, we had a ten bell salute for Dick Slater
SUSHI, Ultimo Dragon & Yutaka Yoshie def. Black Menso-re, Takao Omori & Masanobu Fuchi
I’m not going to lie I did not care about this match. I get that they bring in Ultimo Dragon for name value, but every one of the six-man tag team matches with him is the same. Otherwise, Omori looks old and it seems like he is getting down-cycled by All Japan now. It will be interesting to see if he can make it happen one final time during tag league. Also, Yoshie cut his hair, which is actually an improvement in terms of look for him. Ultimo Dragon gets the pin with the La Magistral because of course, he does.
NEXTREAM (Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi) & Yoshitatsu def. Evolution (Hikaru Sato& Atsushi Aoki) & Kamikaze
Unfortunately, the stream became really choppy for me at this point. It looked like a fun match though from the 10-second intervals that I got to watch. The stream came back just after the finish and it seems Hikaru screwed up and kicked out too late as Nomura looked genuinely shocked that he got the pin.
Sweeper (Ryouji Sai & Koji Iwamoto) def. Joe Doering & Black Tiger VI
This is the Sweeper lads facing off against the new tag team partner of that traitor Dylan James. The new Doering/James team has been named The Bomber, which might either be the best or the worst tag team name ever. Doering is super over in this match and just destroys both Sai and Iwamoto. There might be no one better in All Japan right now at taking a beating than Iwamoto. In the end, though the Sweeper team manages to get the win by exploiting Doering’s weak tag partner.
GAORA TV Title
Tajiri (c) def. Chikara
At the start of this Tajiri looks like he is about to kill Chikara. This may have been the performance of Chikara’s life and is by far the best match I have ever seen him in. Tajiri is not taking Chikara seriously the entire match and is just punishing him. He works over the arm pretty viciously and Chikara’s selling is great.
Like I’ve said before Tajiri has been improved since winning the GAORA TV title and this was another good performance from him. His facials were great and his disdain for having wrestle what is essentially a joke was apparent. It was pretty much an extended squash but actually a fun match. Tajiri sends Chikara back into the ring post-match so could get a well-deserved round of applause from the crowd.
Jake Lee def. Dylan James
Jake Lee finally gets his hands on that snake Dylan James one on one. Overall Dylan James has been one of the better discoveries in All Japan so far this year. With that said, this wasn’t good. It was just a very flat match and the crowd didn’t react to much either, which didn’t help it. While Jake Lee has improved he is still liable to lay an egg and he did here. I hope that he can improve his consistency as All Japan clearly has big plans for him.
AJPW World Tag Team Title Match
Violent Giants (Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa) (c) def. Kengo Mashimo & KAI
I enjoy the completely dysfunctional nature of the K&K tag team. Kengo actually worked in the main event of the K-Dojo Korakuen Hall show earlier in the day and going nearly 30 minutes there. Kudos to him for not only making the 40-minute drive down from Korakuen to the Yokohoma Bunka, but also working another hard-hitting match. It seems pretty clear that Ishikawa is legitimately injured. He had his entire right shoulder taped up and barely used his right arm the entire match. Therefore, Suwama had to carry the main part of this match.
This didn’t pick up until the finishing sequence when Suwama starting throwing his entire hard-hitting arsenal at KAI, who just refused to go down. That is until Suwama killed KAI with his Last Ride Powerbomb to retain the titles. I hope that Ishikawa manages to recover in time for Real World Tag League, as Suwama won’t be able to carry every match in that tournament as he did here.
Triple Crown Title Match
Kento Miyahara def Zeus ©
This ruled, they outdid their title match in July and then some. This was the best match in All Japan this and is a bonafide match of the year contender. After some initial probing, they just start going hard. Kento starts throwing headbutts with reckless abandon and Zeus responds in the only way he knows by beating the shit out of him. This didn’t just feel like an ace coming back for what is rightfully his, this felt like a champion defending the title he earned. Zeus is constantly trying to break Kento’s neck and just starts chopping his neck at one point. Kento starts responding by spamming his blackout knee strikes.
They build up nicely until Kento hits the Shutdown. But its not over as Zeus becomes the first man in three years that gets to kick out of Kento’s finisher. At this point, the match kicks into another gear and truly becomes great. Not to be outdone Kento kicks out of the Jackhammer. He then manages to hit one last desperation Blackout knee that knocks Zeus loopy. Zeus had managed to fight off Kento’s Shutdown attempts until then with pure power, but that knee just knocked the fight out of him and he falls to the ace. FIRE!
Watch the main event! Not only is it the best match in All Japan this year it is one of the best matches in all of the wrestling this year. The rest of the show is honestly pretty skip-able but do not miss this main event.