ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING BROADCAST 2020 #4 ~ INVITATION TO THE ROYAL ROAD
MAY 24, 2020
2AW SQUARE
CHIBA, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

The show opened in a Monday Night Raw-like angle with the three members of Enfants Terribles coming to the ring to cut a promo. Ashino calls out Kento Miyahara and then Miyahara comes out and cuts a promo in the entranceway. I have to say the Enfants Terrible angle is one of the better invasion angles that has happened in Japan in a while.

KOJI IWAMOTO DEF. HOKUTO OMORI (4:41)

This was a fun little opener. Iwamoto controlled most of the match but Omori got in a couple of big spots of his own. Iwamoto would win with the Koko no Geijutsu. Now, here’s my issue with this match. On the last show Susumu Yokosuka nominated Omori to be his next challenger for the PWF World Jr. Heavyweight Championship in a match to take place in Dragongate. So having Omori lose here, and in less than five minutes is just weird booking. It wouldn’t even have been as bad if this had gone longer and it was more of a 50/50 match between the two. Not the last piece of strange booking on this show. At least Omori got to show he continues to improve. **1/2

YUMA AOYAGI & TAJIRI DEF. EVOLUTION (HIKARU SATO & YUSUKE OKADA) (4:49)

All Japan has managed to continue to give the company some sense of direction during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have done it quite well. However, Aoyagi, after facing Miyahara in February for the Triple Crown, has been directionless lately. He did miss a couple of these empty arena shows due to a minor injury, but when he’s been on them he hasn’t really been up to much. I’m sure he was going to get some big wins had the Champion Carnival happened, so this is more of an observation than a concern for how he is booked.

My observation that TAJIRI has been more tolerable in the empty arena era continued here. I can’t really complain about his performance here. Everyone else looked good here too. With the match being another sub-five minute affair, everyone got in their spots and there was no downtime. Aoyagi got the win by having Okada tap out to the End Game. **3/4

JUN AKIYAMA & JIRO IKEMAN KUROSHIO DEF. PURPLE HAZE (ZEUS & IZANAGI) (9:55)

Akiyama and Kuroshio have this weird chemistry as an odd couple tag team that works. Akiyama doesn’t have much time for Kuroshio’s goofing off and plays the role of the crotchety old guy perfectly. Yet again Purple Haze charged the ring and attacked their opponents to start the match. Kuroshio got worked over by Purple Haze for most of this match. After Kuroshio got the hot tag to Akiyama, we were treated to some good stuff between Akiyama and Zeus. Kuroshio and Akiyama even teased some dissension as Kuroshio slapped Akiyama twice in this match. Izanagi offered to hold Kuroshio in place so Akiyama could give him a Lariat and Kuroshio ducked. That led to Kuroshio pinning Izanagi with the Ikemansault for the win. The win didn’t exactly smooth things over between the partners. Akiyama threw Kuroshio to the ground after the match. This was fun for what it was and I liked the whole partners not getting along schtick. ***

YUSUKE KODAMA DEF. BLACK MENSO~RE (8:46)

This was a no-nonsense match. Kodama controlled most of this match and worked over Menso~re’s left arm. Menso~re got in some hope spots but at every step of the way, Kodama was able to quickly turn back the tide in his favor. Menso~re tried to do his rope walk gimmick a couple of times, but Kodama shut him down. That also played into the finish as Kodama crotched Menso~re on the ropes then hit a Mad Splash for the win. While Shotaro Ashino has been getting the most attention of the members of Enfants Terribles in All Japan, Kodama has really made his mark on the Jr. Heavyweight division. While I have a feeling it will be Iwamoto that will win the Jr. title from Yokosuka, I think they need to get that belt on Kodama sooner than later. ***1/4

VIOLENT GIANTS (SUWAMA & SHUJI ISHIKAWA DEF. TAKAO OMORI & DAN TAMURA (10:49)

This match ruled. Tamura was the MVP here, taking a lot of punishment but managing to deal out some of his own. His selling was also tremendous. The match also moved along at a quick pace. The story was simple. Tamura, the young boy, wanted to prove himself against the World Tag Team Champions. And he did. Tamura got to hit some big moves on the Violent Giants and countered some of their moves with confidence. SUWAMA hit a bunch of big moves on him, and Tamura even kicked out of one of SUWAMA’s backdrops before falling to the Triple Champion’s Sleeper Hold. I’ve always said I thought Tamura had a bright future and he continues to prove it. He’s not a very tall guy but he has a moveset full of power moves. He could definitely do the Tomohiro Ishii thing and be a little powerhouse. ***1/2




JAKE LEE DEF. YOSHITATSU (11:12)

This match was just kind of there. Lee controlled a bit, then Yoshitatsu did so, and rinse and repeat. It was also a tad plodding at times, particularly in the opening minutes. Things did pick up later on after a heated forearm exchange between the wrestlers and the last couple of minutes were decent with Lee showing some fire. Lee won the match with a Backdrop. This was okay in the end. As I mentioned earlier, there would be more weird booking on this show. This was the other case. Yoshitatsu has a GAORA TV Championship airing on 5/27 against ex-Wrestle-1 roster member Seigo Tachibana. Yoshitatsu was also feuding with SUWAMA and that was never really resolved. So Lee winning here is weird. Though on the 5/30 show, Lee also has another singles match against Takao Omori which seems to suggest that they could be heating him up to face SUWAMA for the Triple Crown. Not a bad idea but you could have fed Lee someone else other than Yoshitatsu. ***

ENFANTS TERRIBLES (SHOTARO ASHINO & KUMA ARASHI) DEF. KENTO MIYAHARA & FRANCESCO AKIRA (18:00)

This match got off to a hot start with Ashino and Miyahara squaring off. Ashino did a drop-down and as Miyahara was running the ropes and tried to hop over him, Ashino grabbed his leg and tried to put on the Ankle Lock. Just a great spot to set the tone of the match. Akira also looked good here. He wasn’t just the whipping boy (though he was that too) but he got in a good amount of offense against both members of Enfants Terribles. Akira’s chemistry with Ashino was also great. Arashi, who hadn’t done much for me in his appearances in All Japan thus far, looked a lot better here too, though Ashino was the legal man for their team most of this match. The finishing sequence was also great with Akira getting in a surprising amount of offense and counters against Ashino in. Miyahara would try to save his partner but would have his knee attacked by Enfants Terrible which took him out and Ashino got the Ankle Lock on Akira for the win. This was awesome and another great showing from Enfants Terribles. After the match Kodama came to the ring to celebrate with his stablemates but Zeus rushed the ring and took out all three members to set up the Zeus and Izanagi vs. Shotaro Ashino vs. Kuma Arashi match which will main event the 5/30 show. ****