All Japan Pro Wrestling
Jr. Battle of Glory 2021 Night 2
June 4, 2021
Shin-Kiba 1st Ring
Tokyo, Japan


Jr. Battle of Glory 2021 2nd Round Match
Akira Francesco def. Tatsuhito Takaiwa

This turned out to be a really quick match. It even reminded me a bit of the legendary KENTA vs Ricky Marvin spring. While it wasn’t as good as that match they packed a ton of stuff in a sub-five-minute match and there was no wasted motion anywhere. Takaiwa completely dominated the match until Akira manages to catch him on crucifix pin. Overall Takaiwa had a strong tournament with a great performance against Dan Tamura on Night and another good outing here. Meanwhile, Akira continues his surprising run with more to come later.

Jr. Battle of Glory 2021 2nd Round Match
SUGI def. Yusuke Kodama

Another surprising result as I did not expect SUGI to go this far and defeat two regular AJPW roster members in the process. While he did not show as much flying as did on Night 1 against Aoyagi the Younger he did show enough to make clear why he is one of the most underrated flyers in Japan. Kodama meanwhile seems have slipped down the pecking order since Enfants Terribles reformed into Total Eclipse. It’s a process that started before but seems pretty apparent now. He never felt like a strong candidate to win this tournament and while he had two solid performances they were also nothing special either.

Jr. Battle of Glory 2021 2nd Round Match
Hikaru Sato def. Fuminori Abe

This match absolutely ruled and it felt like the main event of a HARD HIT show. Both men just laid into each other with some incredibly stiff strikes and kicks. We even got some hard way blood as Abe busts himself open on a shoot headbutt. Aside from strikes and kicks this match also has some beautiful technical wrestling as both men are excellent on the mat. The finish is a great Octopus into kneebar, into armbar, into armbar reversal turned into a leg choke sequence that gets Sato a well-deserved victory. This was two masters of their craft that clearly respect the hell out of each putting on a great performance. ****1/2

Jr. Battle of Glory 2021 2nd Round Match
El Lindaman def. Izanagi

Another tremendous performance by El Lindaman. His match with Rising HAYATO was the highlight of Night 1 and the completely outclassed Izanagi here. While Izanagi is a solid wrestler Lindaman is clearly on another level and it showed. He has developed into a complete package as he has a great look, charisma and is an amazing in-ring worker. He rightfully dominated this match and gave Izanagi a few hope spots. But the outcome was never in any doubt and it gives us an amazing semi-final pairing in Hikaru Sato vs El Lindaman.

Jr. Battle of Glory 2021 Semi-Final Match
Akira Francesco def. SUGI

After getting dominated in his first two matches Akira finally got a chance to show off his offense in this match. The early portion was still dominated by SUGI but Akira fought back in the second half and was even dominant at times. A pretty good outing from both men who showed some decent chemistry. But they unfortunately did screw up the finish a bit as there seemed to be some miscommunication between them and the ref. Aside from that it was a solid match though.

Jr. Battle of Glory 2021 Semi-Final Match
El Lindaman def. Hikaru Sato

A very good match by two of the highlights of the entire tournament. It did not get to the same level as Abe vs Sato but nonetheless a good outing for both men. Lindaman is getting a big push in his debut for All Japan and hopefully, that means he will stick around beyond Jr. Battle of Glory. He would be a great addition to a division that very much feels like it’s on the rise right now. He also gives them some much-needed star power as the bulk of the division is made up of fairly young talent.

The match had plenty of call-back spots to either man’s earlier round matches as both have done a good job of building things up over the course of the tournament. Sato tried to catch Linda with some of the holds that he beat his previous opponents but El Lindaman had those scouted and Sato avoided getting dominated like El Lindaman’s earlier opponents. Just a very good match overall but also didn’t quite reach the heights to be called great.

NEXTREAM (Atsuki Aoyagi & Rising HAYATO), Black Menso-Re & Dan Tamura def. Total Eclipse (Hokuto Omori & TAJIRI) & Purple Haze (Izanagi & Devil Murasaki) 

This featured everyone eliminated in the first round, except for Izanagi who had to do double duty due to Brahman Kei getting pulled from the show as his tag partner Brahman Shu tested positive for COVID. This was just a big tag match intended to fill up time and let the two finalists rest up. The only things of note where Atsuki Aoyagi’s team coming out to his theme, which means that while they didn’t push him in this tournament they do have plans for him going forward. The other thing was the finish which was Devil Murasaki screwing up a belt shot and hitting Omori instead, which gave Black Menso-Re the win. This might lead to some more interactions between Purple Haze and Total Eclips and that has the potential to be a pretty intriguing feud.

Jr. Battle of Glory 2021 Final Match
Akira Francesco def. El Lindaman

If you had asked me before the tournament who was going to win then Akira Francesco would have been near the bottom of that list. There was really nothing in the lead-up to this that would have indicated that he was going to win. Even going into the final I fully expected El Lindaman to win. Now while it is extremely surprising it is not undeserved. Akira has been constantly improving since he came to Japan two years ago and has started to fill out his frame as well. He is still only 22 years old and clearly still has a ton of room to grow. This is a great first accomplishment in what could be a great career.

From the beginning it’s clear that Akira is capable of handling the pressure as he comes out with a newfound swagger and is working more intensely than previously. The match itself had great pace and both men show some great chemistry with each other. Hopefully this only the first of their singles matches as these two could have some wars over junior belts all over Japan. El Lindaman threw everything he had at Akira and let him kick out of all of his major moves and worked hard at putting him over. Both men came out of this match looking great and this tournament did a great job at establishing two new guys that can credibly challenge for the junior belt. ****

Final Thoughts

All Japan did a tremendous job with the Jr. Battle of Glory this year. I ended up liking the tournament more than this years Champion Carnival. Both shows were very good and I ended up liking Night 2 a lot as each match was at least solid and Sato vs Abe and the Final were both great. This further established that the Junior division is currently carrying the promotion, which is a fascinating development.