APRIL 15, 2019

Watch: AJPW.TV


Fun sprint. Aoyagi gets a couple of shots in early but James eventually takes control. While Aoyagi was clearly the underdog here, he was not a complete whipping boy and got in his fair share of moves. James gets the win in only 4:58 with a Chokeslam. Really fun while it lasted but there was no reason that this could have gone a few more minutes especially given that James did not completely squash Aoyagi in this match. ***


Some stalling from both men to start. Crowd actually chants both of their names at different points early on and they both play that up. They actually do some half decent chain wrestling that ends with… more stalling. Instead of going back to technical wrestling can you believe that end up brawling into the crowd?

Back in the ring and they actually do some more wrestling that’s not bad. But that again doesn’t last for long. Adonis grabs a chair and the referee goes to grab is but the force of it being yanked away from Adonis has it spring back and hit him in the head. Yoshida follows up with the Pineapple Bomber for the win at 9:23. This was not as awful as it may sound and when they were in the ring it was fine. **1/2


Another fun match where Aoyagi uses his agility and experience to go up against a bigger opponent. Aoki wastes no time and gets Zeus on the floor and hits him with a Tope. Back in the ring and Zeus takes control with a Gorilla Press Slam. From this point, Zeus is mostly in control for the rest of the match but Aoki uses aerial moves and reversals to try to hang with Zeus and gets in some hope spots before falling to Zeus’ Jackhammer in under 11 minutes. Another fun match using Aoki’s formula for this tournament so far, but it never hit the level that Miyahara vs. Aoki hit. ***1/4


This match rocked. Nomura is really over with the crowd now. Starts off with some grappling and chain wrestling.

Nomura gains the upper hand but after Yoshitatsu ends up on the floor, Nomura jumps off the apron with what I assume was going to be a flying forearm type move but Yoshitatsu nails him with a kick to the chest. They brawl into the crowd and Yoshitatsu slams Nomura’s head into the wall of the venue. Back in the ring, Yoshitatsu puts a Half Crab on Nomura and after that proved fruitless, he does the Face Wash Kicks to Nomura in the corner. Nomura finally manages to land a Double Knee Gutbuster to take back control of the match.
And now things really pick up. Nomura goes to the top rope but Yoshitatsu runs up and Superplexes him and Nomura no sells it. They then do some reversals and eventually start trading German Suplexes with each other in an awesome sequence.

Nomura then goes for a Tope Rope Splash that Yoshitatsu gets his knees up for. Complete Shot and Koji Clutch from Yoshitatsu. He doesn’t get a submission so he then pins Nomura for a 2.9 count. Nomura blocks a Code Breaker and gets a Northern Lights Bomb for 2.9. Finally, a successfully landed Tope Rope Splash from Nomura for another near fall. Nomura then finishes the match with a Death Valley Driver that he calls Maximum.

The build of this match reminded me of classic 1990s All Japan. Everything from the build of the match, to the no-selling of certain moves and the ton of near falls. A banger of a match from two guys having great performances in this tournament. ****


Before the main event, there wasn’t much to write home about. The earlier tournament matches are skippable, especially because there are matches in this tournament that have told similar stories but have been much better.

The main event, though, was one of the best matches in the tournament so far and is a must watch to see that Nomura is going to be a big star soon.