All Japan Pro Wrestling
Summer Action Series 2020 – Day 1
July 13, 2020
Shin Kiba 1st Ring
5th Asunaro Cup Match
Rising Hayato def. Ayato Yoshida
A fun opening match. The Asunaro Cup is essentially All Japan’s version of the New Japans Young Lions Cup. The main event is the match that will actually decide the winner so this was more of a playoff to decide the third place. Not terribly important but solid overall. While still young Hayato already feels quite refined, which might due to the fact that he has a few more years of experience that the other participants. While he is not a dojo trainee All Japan has shown willingness to push non-true borns like Koji Iwamoto. Hayato still has a lot of room to grow but he has a good base to build upon and become a solid contributor.
JIN (Jake Lee, Fuminori Abe, Ayato Yoshida & Koji Iwamoto) defeat Evolution (Suwama, Hikaru Sato, Yusuke Okada) & Shuji Ishikawa
JIN might be my favorite stable just based on who their members are. Pretty much all of them are some of my favorite wrestlers minus maybe Jake, whom I like but he just has such a strong pervasive geek energy. Though I hope everyone is ready for him to win the Triple Crown off of Suwama relatively soon, since that clearly appears to be the plan. I am very happy to see Yoshida and Abe return to the promotion as they add some much-needed depth and are obviously amazing wrestlers
This match was a ton of fun, which makes sense since it was originally supposed to be the main event. Abe was quite the stand out here with excellent sequences against Sato as well as Ishikawa. Thats also a singles match I would quite like to see, though it is unlikely to happen in All Japan. Yoshida has such a clear star aura surrounding him and now even more so that he is the clear ace of his home promotion 2AW.
After the match, Okada cut a promo and announced that he is leaving Evolution. While I liked him in Evolution he was kind of stuck as the loss post and I am happy to see him spread his wings a bit more by himself. At least there is one Okada who realizes when there is no benefit to his stable anymore.
Yuma Aoyagi, TAJIRI & KAI def. Enfants Terribles (Shotaro Ashino, Kuma Arashi & Yusuke Kodama)
I am not a fan of this booking decision. Much has been made already of all three members losing at All Japan’s last big show including Ashino failing to win the Triple Crown against Suwama. This was a chance to give them a nice rebound win against three established opponents. Instead, they lose on a fluke roll-up. Luckily they got some new blood after the main event. Nevertheless, I am concerned about the future trajectory of the stable.
Yoshitatsu & Seigo Tachibana def. Takao Omori & Black Menso-Re
YoshiKen is dead long live YoshiTachi. I’m happy to see that Tachibana found his way to All Japan. He easily could have been one of the Wrestle-1 guys that fall by the wayside given that he has a unique look, to say the least. Yoshitatsu is also the perfect tag partner for him.
After the match, Okada came out to challenge Yoshitatsu for the GAORA TV title. Yoshitatsu accepted the match but he also turned it into a hair vs hair match. Only he didn’t wager his own hair but rather Tachibana’s hair or what’s left of it at least.
Purple Haze (Zeus, Izanagi & Utamaru) defeat Kento Miyahara, Akira Francesco & Jiro Kuroshiro)
Now while I am more than ready to get out my shovel and bury this six feet under there are two ways to look at this. The more likely scenario based on everyone’s post-match reaction is that this was a screw-up. I don’t necessarily think that the wrong team went over as Akira could have easily been the intended pin taker here. But I do not believe that they intended for Izanagi to pin Kento Miyahara.
If it was then All Japan is the dumbest promotion in the world.
Under no circumstances and no matter the gimmick Atsushi Maruyama should never pin Kento Miyahara. Even if you run a singles match between these two now where Kento just squashes him something like that risks damaging the credibility of your ace. Given that Kento is their only proven draw that is not a risk All Japan should be willing to take for little to no possible pay off.
5th Asunaro Cup Match
Dan Tamura def. Hokuto Omori
This was a tremendous show of trust on the part of All Japan. These two have a ton potential and could be cornerstones of the promotion for years to come. Dan Tamura especially might be one of the most compelling prospects in all of Japanese wrestling right now which is saying something. The promotion also clearly thinks the world of him given that he often corners All Japan wrestlers on outside bookings. While this wasn’t a blow away match it was pretty great nonetheless. Omori feels like very natural heel and has a pretty good look that is only going to improve as he fills out his frame. Dan also has some filling out to do but since he is only 21 that will likely happen soon. He is already one of the smoothest technicians on the roster and has shown some solid brawling skills as well. This means he will likely develop into an incredibly well-rounded wrestler that can match up well with everyone.
Following the match, Tamura was awarded the Asunaro Cup and we got some major announcements. Omori joined Enfants Terribles and Tamura joined Evolution. Omori joining Enfants properly establishes that stable as a part of the promotion since they now have an actual All Japan trainee as a member. Tamura was already hanging out with the Evolution guys a lot and he nicely plugs into the same role that Okada previously held. Since Oakdas development was helped a lot by his membership in Evolution I expect the same to happen to Tamura. He has some excellent teachers in that stable that will help him find his style and develop him into the complete performer he can be. All Japan hasn’t been the luckiest promotion when it comes to trainees over the past few years but if these two work out the future is bright.
AJPW’s Summer Action Series 2020 Day 1 was a solid first show with fans back. The show went by quickly and nothing dragged. There was some wonky booking but I am willing to see where it goes for now. The main event showed off the future potential of the promotion, which hopefully is indicative of future growth ahead.