ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING BROADCAST 2020 #2
MAY 5, 2020
2AW SQUARE
CHIBA, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

HIKARU SATO DEF. IZANAGI (8:45)

Izanagi attacked Sato from behind with a nightstick on his way into the ring. Sato, despite still wearing his entrance robe, managed to fight back and got the upper hand for a bit. From there we got Izanagi cheating to take control and working over Sato’s leg, often again doing cheap holds to try to weaken the leg. Sato eventually caught Izanagi in a Cross Armbreaker for the tap out. This was a pretty simple match but Sato to his credit sold the leg throughout the match though it was plodding at times. Izanagi is a pretty good worker but he either decides to work as a serious wrestler or decides to cheat with no in-between. His matches could be a lot better if he finds a better balance. **3/4

TAJIRI & FRANCESCO AKIRA DEF. HOKUTO OMORI & DAN TAMURA (11:13)

I don’t know what exactly is going on here, but this is two straight TAJIRI matches that I have watched where he was a perfectly acceptable wrestler. Mind you, he spent a good chunk of the match being worked over by Omori and Tamura, but he did it well. Once Akira got involved this turned into a really good back-and-forth between him and the young boys. Omori even busted out a new move – a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. Tamura got to put up a pretty good fight against Akira, taking a lot of offense and getting a few kickouts before being pinned by a Meteora. ***

ZEUS DEF. TSUGUTAKA SATO (9:14)

Back at the March Korakuen Hall show, Sato looked quite good in a six-man tag against Shuji Ishikawa so I was looking forward to this match against Zeus to see what he can do against another wrestler who uses a lot of power moves. It didn’t take long for this match to get going and as you can probably guess this was very much a match with a storyline of Sato trying to hang with Zeus’ experience and power. Sato got his licks in here including hitting a Powerslam on Zeus. I also thought that Sato’s hope spots in this were timed excellently. Zeus got the win with the Jackhammer after Sato kicked out of a Frog Splash in a good match where Sato got the perfect amount of offense in and managed to stand up to Zeus at times convincingly. As I have written on this very website before, I would like to see more Sato in All Japan. And given how this match was not a simple squash, I would not be surprised if that turns out to be the case. ***1/4

JUN AKIYAMA & JIRO IKEMAN KUROSHIO DEF. TAKAO OMORI & BLACK MENSO~RE (11:42)

Akiyama came to the ring wearing a facemask with the same fabric design as Jiro’s jacket, in case you were wondering where the comedy in this match was coming from. The usual Akiyama vs. Menso~re spots that I’ve seen a million times took up a lot of the early portion of this match. We got even more comedy when Jiro took Menso~re’s glove and put it on while Menso~re put Jiro’s jacket on. This led to a bit of standing around then Jiro hitting Ikemensault of Menso~re for the win in anticlimactic fashion. There was some Jiro vs. Omori stuff in the middle of this that was decent. **1/2

YUSUKE KODAMA DEF. YUSUKE OKADA (10:07)

This unlike the opener was a good mix of serious wrestling, brawling and cheap moves. Kodama controlled most of this match early on, though Okada got a few shots in. Kodama mixed in heel tactics and wrestling almost perfectly. Okada finally took control for a bit and hit a Top-rope Diving Headbutt for a near fall. Kodama soon recovered and hit a Mad Splash for the win. Ending sequence wasn’t very hot, though I think the intention was to give Kodama a definitive first singles win in All Japan, it still felt a little flat at the end. Still, most of this match was fun and it established Kodama. ***1/4




ENFANTS TERRIBLES (SHOTARO ASHINO & KUMA ARASHI) DEF. JIN (JAKE LEE & KOJI IWAMOTO) (14:36)

This started out with Ashino and Lee feeling each other out and trading holds. Even with them doing this basic stuff it managed to be compelling and showed that these two have good chemistry with each other. The big boy Arashi was fine in this match and had a good presence looking menacing but didn’t really do anything memorable in this. From there, Enfants Terribles worked over Iwamoto for a while. This led to a Jake Lee hot tag and he went to work on Arashi. Things then went into high gear. Lee and Iwamoto took it to each other, and Ashino effortlessly suplexed Lee on a few occasions. Lee even showed the fire that he should regularly be showing in this. The finish was also great with Iwamoto furiously fighting and almost managing to escape from Ashino’s Ankle Lock before it was finally completely locked in for the tap out. Enfants Terribles are now 3-0 since showing up in All Japan, and this is the right booking decision in order to establish them. After the match, we got a tease of Iwamoto vs. Kodama and Lee vs. Ashino which I genuinely hope happens. ***1/2

WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
VIOLENT GIANTS (SUWAMA & SHUJI ISHIKAWA) © DEF. KENTO MIYAHARA & YOSHITATSU (26:59)

This started off with the continuing SUWAMA vs. Yoshitatsu feud and both guys started off this match at a fast pace. And despite going almost half an hour, this match kept up a solid pace. One of the strengths of the Violent Giants is that they can keep your attention even when they are giving a beatdown to an opponent over an extended period. They do all these great little things like knowing when to give their opponents hope spots and laying in an extra strike while setting up a bigger move. Violent Giants were in control for most of this match but it never felt like some sort of extended squash. Both teams tagged in and out fairly often, keeping things moving and allowing Miyahara and Yoshitatsu to get their stuff in, especially in the latter half of the match. SUWAMA put Yoshitatsu away with a Backdrop Hold after blasting him with a ton of big offense including a double Dropkick from the Violent Giants that looked stiff as hell. This was the second defense for the Violent Giants during this current title reign. I think this might be the best tag match I’ve seen in 2020 so far. ****1/4