ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
DREAM POWER SERIES 2021
MARCH 21, 2021
KYOTO KBS HALL
YUSUKE KODAMA DEF. FRANCESCO AKIRA (8:14)
This was Kodama working over Akira, while the good Italian boy got in a few high flying and hope spots. Kodama can be a bit too methodical at times, and he is really leaning into that style since joining Total Eclipse. It’s not exactly the kind of style I want out of a Jr. heavyweight, especially because Kodama can work a more traditional junior style if he wanted to. This was still a good opener, though because both guys are still good workers at the end of the day. The ending wasn’t much however, because after countering some offense from Akira, Kodama hit a dropkick to the knee and then pinned Akira with the La Magistral. ***
SHOTARO ASHINO, HIKARU SATO & DAN TAMURA DEF. SHUJI ISHIKAWA, TAKAO OMORI & BLACK MENSO~RE (11:06)
This was your standard six-man tag, but I mean that in the nicest way. Lots of tags in and out and everyone got in their spots. There was a fun sequence between Ishikawa and Tamura where Tamura definitely looked better than he did on the last show. Menso~re and Sato had a good closing sequence with several near falls, but then Sato reversed a suplex attempt, hit an Enziguri, a kick to the chest and then applied the Cross Armbreaker for the submission win. ***1/4
ZEUS & KAZUAKI MIHARA DEF. KOJI IWAMOTO & RYUKI HONDA (9:40)
Mihara is an old Osaka Pro guy that is now a freelancer and debuted there in 2008. So teaming him with Zeus certainly makes sense in Kyoto as it is also located in the Kansai Region along with Osaka. Mihara is, shall we say rotund, and sometimes it’s fun just to see some fat indy sleaze on a show. That was the case here as he got to beat up on the young boy Honda. At one point, Iwamoto hit an impressive-looking Urange on the much larger Mihara. The closing stretch featured Honda and Zeus. Honda got a couple of hope spots and kick-outs but Zeus then applied the Front Facelock for the submission victory. This was a totally random but fun match. ***1/4
TOTAL ECLIPSE (JAKE LEE, KUMA ARASHI, TAJIRI & HOKUTO OMORI) DEF. NEXTREAM (KENTO MIYAHARA, YUMA AOYAGI, ATSUKI AOYAGI & RISING HAYATO) (16:52)
Total Eclipse once again made a great entrance, with each member individually coming out to their awesome Castlevania-like theme. Lee and Miyahara started doing some great chain wrestling and counters before tagging out. Lee was great throughout this match, and exuded a confidence that he rarely used to show. Omori also re-ignited his feud with Miyahara by targeting him when he went for pins and working him over on the outside. Miyahara responded with some cheap shots of his own but at one point Omori hit a low blow on him. This is a really great way to slowly build up Omori through undercard multi-man tags. The match got to the point where there were more than the legal men in the ring for an extended period. Atsuki Aoyagi and HAYATO had a great sequence where they hit stereo dropkicks on Lee then Arashi and then hit stereo missile dropkicks on Lee. However, Lee recovered, hit the running knee to the back of the head on HAYATO and then followed up with the D4C Brainbuster for the win.
Just another great multi-man tag featuring Total Eclipse. I loved Omori going after Miyahara, Atsuki Aoyagi and HAYATO were great as the junior underdogs and Lee is really growing into his role as leader of the top heel faction. It also helped that the match became non-stop action in the back half. Strangely enough, Yuma Aoyagi who has been on fire lately, didn’t figure too much into this match. ***3/4
PWF WORLD JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
CIMA © DEF. IZANAGI (11:42)
Izanagi didn’t wear a T-shirt for this match which means you know this was a big deal. CIMA came out seconded by Issei Onizuka who wore a GLEAT T-shirt, which hopefully means the companies will work together in the future.
They started with some grappling, and after some Izanagi stalling, he kicked CIMA in the head and took control for a short period before CIMA chucked him off the top rope to the outside in a crazy bump. CIMA then worked over Izanagi for a while. Izanagi then fired back with a bunch of offense including a Tiger Suplex to no avail. CIMA got in a flurry of offense then hit two Spartan Cuts to Izanagi in an ending that felt anticlimactic though I did love some of the spots down the closing stretch. I thought this could have been better with a more thrilling ending sequence. CIMA succeeds in his V1 defense.
After the match, Hikaru Sato came out to challenge CIMA. The title match between those two will happen during the Champion Carnival on 4/25 at Korakuen Hall. That match will be interesting because if CIMA retains, then it will say a lot about how much freelancing the GLEAT guys will be able to do. ***1/4
TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP
SUWAMA © DEF. YOSHITATSU (27:14)
Well, expectations are low on this match, so how bad could it really be? The answer is: It exceeded my expectations.
I think these two have a strange chemistry based on their previous encounters that somehow manages to work. This started out with Yoshitatsu in control for an extended period. When SUWAMA did take control, another credit should go to Yoshitatsu because he works well from below. His selling is underrated and he can build sympathy with the crowd. Now it was the most compelling stuff out of the gate, but as a person with a short attention span, it still manages to keep my eyes on the screen. Now SUWAMA is still showing his age here, but these two veterans were still able to give a nice structure to this match even if the work didn’t deliver. And I am willing to give bonus points to a good structure.
The deeper into this match we got, Yoshitatsu kept looking better. I thought SUWAMA had this match wrapped up, but Yoshitatsu then made a surprising run of roll-ups and a backdrop that failed. SUWAMA then hit a dropkick and then two backdrop suplexes that Yoshitatsu kicked out of. That actually popped me. SUWAMA then hit a Lariat and a Backdrop Suplex Hold for the win. This was not the most dynamic match, and these guys moved slowly in spots, but I thought they structured the match excellently and Yoshitatsu worked hard and there were definitely points in this match where I thought it was over only to be fooled by a false finish. ****
Yet again this was another solid show. I did not have the highest of hopes on the main event, but I surprisingly liked it a lot. The only underwhelming match to me was the Jr. Heavyweight title match. But the rest of the midcard is being developed excellently. Several feuds are slowly being built up in addition to how great and dominant Total Eclipse has been. In my opinion, the only way All Japan can botch this going forward in its immediate future is if Jake Lee doesn’t win the Champion Carnival.