ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
SUMMER ACTION SERIES 2019
JULY 27 2019
EDION ARENA OSAKA #2
OSAKA, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

JUN AKIYAMA, TAKAO OMORI, HIDEKI SEKINE & ATSUKI AOYAGI DEF. JOE DOERING, DYLAN JAMES, SHOICHI UCHIDA & DAN TAMURA

There was some very bad “grappling” between Sekine and Doering to start. Sekine is a bad pro wrestler despite his size and presence. Joe Lanza thinks he’s the worst wrestler in a major promotion right now and he’s probably right.

Match got better when Aoyagi tagged in to be the whipping boy. Tamura shows the most fire of any of the All Japan young boys and even managed to hit his deadlift Gutwrench Suplex on Omori here (Tamura is Jr. Heavyweight sized).

Uchida, who I have never seen before and is a Dove Pro guy did nothing here, he wasn’t even tagged in. Omori forced Tamura to submit to a Boston Crab. Tamura and James were the only guys who really did anything in this match and they both looked good, but an otherwise forgettable match. I will give this match a passing grade because of Tamura. **1/2

JR. TAG BATTLE OF GLORY 2019
SPEEDS OF SOUND (TSUTOMO OSUGI & BANANA SENGA) [5] DREW AKIRA FRANCESCO & HOKUTO OMORI [3]

Poor Omori. There were women in the crowd yelling the names of the other three wrestlers in this match. This was wrestled at a decent pace early on, with high flying stuff sprinkled throughout. But then there was an extended working over of Omori from the Speeds of Sound with plenty of restholds. This was when I began to think this was going to a 20 minute time limit draw. Omori really is a JAG which may not be totally fair because he’s only been wrestling since October 2018, but that’s how he comes off to me.

Matched picked up when Akira got in there with some fast paced stuff. To their credit, there was very little slow stuff after the ten minute mark. The last three or so minute saw a ton of near falls that the crowd got into before the time ran out. This was the best of the three time limit draws Akira and Omori had this tournament. The pacing here while not perfect was better than the other draws. Akira looked really good here and carried his team. Though he does have a low level indie vibe to him, he’s only 20 years old and I think he can develop into something great. Speeds of Sounds were essentially eliminated by having a draw here. For a team of young talent, this was an interesting story told with them during this tournament getting three draws in their five matches of the tournament instead of going winless. ***1/2

JR. TAG BATTLE OF GLORY 2019
TRIBE VANGUARD (KAGETORA & YOSUKE SANTA MARIA) [7] DEF. SWEEPER (KOJI IWAMOTO & KEIICHI SATO) [4]

Santa Maria was really over and the crowd popped for all of her spots. The Dragon Gate team looked better here than the team that features All Japan’s ostensible Jr. Ace. Granted, as this year has gone on, I sour more and more on Iwamoto.

Santa Maria got a flash pin with a Crucifix Driver after a kiss to Sato. And with that, Tribe Vanguard is going to the finals. The Sweeper team was just kind of here in this match. Though he didn’t do anything to write home about, I thought Sato looked better than Iwamoto here. While Sato is an All Japan Dojo graduate and a member of Sweeper, he left the company to be a freelancer just as Kento Miyahara won his first Triple Crown and the promotion looked shaky. Now that there is some stability it would be nice to have him back full time. **3/4

GAORA TV CHAMPIONSHIP
YOSHITATSU © DEF. TORU

TORU won the chance to challenge Yoshitatsu by winning a god awful Battle Royal full of indy sleaze on 7/17 in Korakuen Hall. We’re talking guys like Survival Tobita and a bunch of wrestlers that don’t even have Cagematch profiles. However, TORU is not exactly the most obscure guy out there. He’s worked BJW, FREEDOMS and DDT among other promotions in the past.

TORU is a decent enough wrestler, so I’m not sure why we had a bunch of blasé crowd brawling early on with Yoshitatsu in control. I think the brawling was in part designed to make Yoshitatsu look like a badass that doesn’t care about the rules.

Even after the crowd brawling, Yoshitatsu ended up in control for a lot of this match and it was pretty boring. TORU got a couple of very brief hope spots including a Shining Wizard for a near fall and traded some roll ups near the end which was fun and made the match passable, but everything else was all Yoshitatsu. I’m not saying that this match would have been a classic if it was more back-and-forth but it certainly would have been less boring. Yoshitatsu got the submission with the Yoshitatsu Fantasy. This was Yoshitatsu’s V1 defense. **3/4

JR. TAG BATTLE OF GLORY 2019
EVOLUTION (HIKARU SATO & YUSUKE OKADA) [6] DEF. ATSUSHI MARUYAMA & BLACK MENSO~RE [5]

Both Sato and Okada unloaded with stiff strikes on both of their opponents early on in this match. But eventually Evolution lost the initiative as Sato’s left leg became the focus of attack from Maruyama & Menso~re. Sato’s selling never really registered with me before, but he did a great job here selling the leg, doing stuff like limping and holding himself up with the ropes. Eventually Maruyama and Menso~re brought some stiff strikes of their own.

Okada is morphing into a Headbutt guy, he even stopped a Buzzsaw Kick from Maruyama with one and then unleashed a flurry of them as he took control during the closing stretch. Okada soon put Maruyama away with a Small Package Driver (AKA KUSHIDA’s Back to the Future) for what was probably the biggest pin fall win of his career up to this point. A good match to set up Evolution in the finals as the sentimental favorites. Hopefully they continue the story of Sato’s leg. ***1/2





ZEUS, THE BODYGUARD & RYOUJI SAI DEF. KENTO MIYAHARA, YUMA AOYAGI & EISA8

Eisa8 was an Okinawa Pro wrestler and was the company’s final champion. These days, he tends to pop up in All Japan, Big Japan, and even Michinoku Pro when those companies run in the Osaka area.

This was your standard six-man tag. Aoyagi played the Ricky Morton role as he does in most of these multiman tags featuring main eventers. The Bodyguard who doesn’t show up in All Japan much these days, still is pretty good for a guy that is 51. I know opinions of him can be divisive, but he certainly doesn’t look like a wrestler that is regressing due to his age yet.

The Miyahara vs. Zeus stuff in this match was unsurprisingly heated. Zeus dominated Aoyagi in the last minute or two of the match and got the win on him with the Jackhammer. Exactly what it needed to be to build towards tomorrow’s Triple Crown match. ***1/4

WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
VIOLENT GIANTS (SUWAMA & SHUJI ISHIKAWA) © DEF. JAKE LEE & NAOYA NOMURA

SUWAMA grunted early and often in this match. Lee and Nomura got their fair share of licks in early on and eventually took control for an extended period in the first ten minutes of the match. They are clearly being established as already being on Violent Giants’ level and a win would not be some huge come from behind upset.

Nomura got to be the member of his team that took most of the punishment from the Violent Giants. Nomura’s back is banged up and the black band around his waist poking above his trunks indicates that. Thus Nomura took a lot of clubs to the back and suplexes throughout the match.

Though Nomura is always a standout when it comes to bringing the fire, even on spot shows, Lee turned it up for this match. He often manages to do it for big matches, but needs to be more consistent about it on every show. But the problem here was despite the fire from Lee in the first half of this match, the way this match was constructed saw Lee fade into the background towards the end which didn’t help him.

Match really kicked into a higher gear when SUWAMA no-sold a German Suplex from Nomura. There was some sloppy stuff however, like Lee botching a Gutwrench Suplex that look like it dropped Ishikawa on his head. Nomura botched a running dropkick and slipped making it look like he made little impact. SUMAWA to his credit followed up right away with a Dropkick of his own and went on the attack which helped to cover that up.

Basically there was an extended period where Nomura got a bunch of near falls on SUWAMA then SUWAMA took over and got near falls of his own, eventually winning with the Last Ride Powerbomb. That type of ending where it really comes down to only two guys with little from their partners is becoming part of the Violent Giant’s formula, and it doesn’t always hit the same heights that kind of finish did against Strong BJ. This was a back-and-forth wrestling match, while Violent Giants vs. Strong BJ felt like a brutal war. This was still a very good match, but not the Violent Giants’ best. There was something missing from this match that other Violent Giants matches had that takes it to the next level. I think other Violent Giants matches have had much more frenetic pacing than this one. But don’t get me wrong, this was still a match worth watching with some really good performances (still better than any heavyweight tag title match in New Japan this year). It did however, move along fast enough that it didn’t seem like it went 28:20. Crowd was not silent, but never hit nuclear levels of heat which would have helped a bit.

SUWAMA was the standout here. Despite the fact he will be turning 43 in November, he has had a sneaky good year in both tags and singles. Nomura was the number two star in this match and took a hell of a lot of offense on a back that is probably bothering him. Lee and Ishikawa did not get a lot of attention in the last quarter of the match, but that hurts Lee more, as Ishikawa is already established in the main event. Violent Giants succeed in their V3 defense. ****

FINAL THOUGHTS

This was an good but not great show. I did really enjoy two of the Jr. Tag Battle of Glory matches, and I’m pretty confident that tomorrow’s final will be good.

Result of the main event was surprising. I thought that Lee and Nomura should have won the tag titles here. I know that Violent Giants are having an amazing year and are one of the best tag teams in the world, but All Japan should be booking to elevate younger wrestlers so they can rely on more than just Miyahara. Putting the tag titles on Lee and Nomura would have given them something to do for a while before they challenge for the Triple Crown down the line. However, it should be noted that in September’s Oudou Tournament, Nomura and SUWAMA are on opposite sides of the bracket and could possibly meet in the finals. By the end, the Nomura vs. SUWAMA stuff felt like it was building to something beyond just the tag title match, and the Oudou Tournament would be the logical place to continue it.

This show only drew 583 people. That’s only a bit above the average spot show attendance for All Japan, and EDION Arena Osaka #2 can fit around 1,200. Not a good sign for All Japan in Osaka, but we will have to see what Miyahara vs. Zeus draws before we can declare this Osaka doubleheader a disaster.