ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 2020 Night 1
NOVEMBER 18, 2020
SHINJUKU FACE
TOKYO, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

NON-TOURNAMENT MATCHES

  • YUSUKE KODAMA DEF. YUSUKE OKADA (5:25)
  • TAKAO OMORI, BLACK MENSO~RE & RYUKI HONDA DEF. ATSUKI AOYAGI, FRANCESCO AKIRA & RISING HAYATO (8:22)
  • ENFANTS TERRIBLES (KOJI DOI & HOKUTO OMORI) DEF. EVOLUTION (HIKARU SATO & DAN TAMURA) (8:12)

REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 2020 MATCH
TEAM ECW (MASATO TANAKA & TAJIRI) [2] DEF. YOSHITATSU & RYOUJI SAI [0] (10:49)

Living the ECW gimmick, Tanaka and TAJIRI came out to the ECW on TNN theme and were armed with a chair and a kendo stick respectively. They also attacked before the bell. Tanaka and Sai had a great stiff strike exchange right off the bat, but when TAJIRI and Yoshitatsu got tagged in, it slowed down a lot. They brawled on the outside and teased Yoshitatsu doing a splash onto TAJIRI on a table, but TAJIRI managed to roll off the table. Throughout the match, TAJIRI managed a few kendo stick shots while the referee’s back was turned. Tanaka did a splash off the turnbuckle onto Yoshitatsu on the outside as TAJIRI distracted the referee and got the win with the Sliding D.

Can’t lie, the Tanaka and Yoshitatsu table spot had me marking out. This was a bit of a mess when they were brawling outside and the set-ups for the kendo stick shots but Tanaka looked very good and held this match together. This match is most likely setting the tone on how Team ECW is going to wrestle their matches in this tournament. It may not be for everyone, but I could see them still having good matches with this style against better opponents. ***

REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 2020 MATCH
JIN (JAKE LEE & KOJI IWAMOTO) [2] DEF. PURPLE HAZE (SHIGEHIRO IRIE & IZANAGI) [0] (12:13)

Unfortunately, Zeus’ previous diagnosis with COVID-19 earlier this month has not cleared up so Izanagi was announced as his replacement just the day before the tournament was to begin. This match settled into Izanagi getting worked over, and Lee put quite the beating to him. Irie got the hot tag and he and Iwamoto showed themselves to have some good chemistry together. Izanagi and Lee would also work well together in the closing stretch with Izanagi getting some near falls from cradle attempts and some interference from Irie. Lee eventually gained the initiative and hit the Backdrop on Izanagi for the win.

This was shockingly good with a ton of near falls that made me think Izanagi was actually going to pin Lee. My kind of tag match. Irie and Izanagi also worked well as a team which bodes well for the rest of the tournament. ***3/4

REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 2020 MATCH
ENFANTS TERRIBLES (SHOTARO ASHINO & KUMA ARASHI) [2] DEF. VIOLENT GIANTS (SUWAMA & SHUJI ISHIKAWA) [0] (15:48)

Ashino is growing out his beard into one of those pointy ones on the chin. Despite some teasing of grappling between Ashino and SUWAMA at the beginning, things picked up really fast, with suplexes and lariats early on. Ashino ended up being the one worked over by the Giants, but that also caused the match to slow down greatly, as lots of holds were used against Ashino. At least he sold them well. Things finally picked up when Arashi made the hot tag and the match had a pretty good pace from there. After each team getting some near falls, Arashi hit a top rope Senton Splash on Ishikawa for the big win, definitely Arashi’s biggest since he showed up in All Japan.

This started too slow for me to go higher and it wasn’t as good as these teams’ tag title match from last month but it got pretty good in the end. ***1/2



REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 2020 MATCH
DAISUKE SEKIMOTO & ABDULLAH KOBAYASHI [2] DEF. NEXTREAM (KENTO MIYAHARA & YUMA AOYAGI) [0] (18:42)

Kobayashi and Miyahara started giving us the dream match-up we’ve always wanted. They didn’t do much and Sekimoto quickly tagged in. Miyahara decided to stall and then tagged in Aoyagi. Referee Kyohei Wada caught Kobayashi trying to use a fork on Aoyagi. All of this happened quite slowly. They should have just let Sekimoto do more wrestling against Nextream. Kobayashi got worked over, boringly, I should say by Nextream for what felt like was longer than it actually was. Miyahara and Sekimoto got tagged in and things finally picked up. The stuff between those two saved this match from going south. Miyahara looked like he had Kobayashi beat but Sekimoto intervened with a big German Suplex that allowed Kobayashi to hit a top-rope elbow drop for the win in a big upset.

Abdullah Kobayashi pinning Kento Miyahara was not on my 2020 pro wrestling Bingo card. There were good moments in this match but the slow start and a lot of Kobayashi stuff stopped this from being good but I thought Sekimoto getting in there in the end to cost Miyahara the match brought the story of the match full circle as Miyahara was trying to avoid Sekimoto and being dismissive of him at the beginning of the match. Still, a few minutes could have been cut off this match even if it was the main event.  **3/4

FINAL THOUGHTS

A pretty good opening to the tournament, and unlike in the Champion Carnival, they are just having straightforward matches that get enough time. The non-tournament matches were all solid too. We still have nearly the entire tournament ahead of us but this was one of the better All Japan shows in some time. If you got turned off of the company by the Champion Carnival, it might be worth giving the Real World tag league a chance. My only real concern at this point is Abdullah Kobayashi dragging his matches down but hopefully, that becomes less of an issue as the tournament goes on, as Kobayashi’s fairly large amount of ring time in his match on this show was to set up him pinning Miyahara and the Big Japan team isn’t slotted into many other main events on the tour.