All Japan Pro Wrestling
Royal Road Tournament 2021 – Night 2
August 18, 2021
Hodogaya Public Hall
Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

Watch: AJPW.tv

Non Tournament Eight Man Tag Team Match
Jun Saito, Rei Saito, Ryoma Tsukamoto, Ryuki Honda & Yuma Aoyagi def. Black Menso-re, Dan Tamura, Devil Murasaki, Izanagi & Takao Omori

Royal Road 2021 Round 2 Match
Atsuki Aoyagi def. Tajiri

Good result for Aoyagi. He is getting a fairly deep run in this tournament to show his progression. The match itself was nothing special as Tajiri dominated a good chunk of it, which is just hard to get invested in 2021.

Royal Road 2021 Round 2 Match
Shuji Ishikawa def. Akira Francesco

Ishikawa just completely dominated the Good Italian Boy. Akira Francesco is already advertised for a wXw show in Germany at the end of September so his current run in All Japan will come to an end very soon. As such the match structure here made sense. I hope that Akira will return to AJPW soon but I do get his desire to go home after being stuck in Japan for more than a year.

Royal Road 2021 Round 2 Match
Shigehiro Irie def. Yoshitatsu

This turned out to be a really fun sprint. It is easy to forget how small Irie actually is as Yoshitatsu towers over him. Quick hard-hitting action from both men with not a lot of wasted space. This was definitely a step up from the previous two matches. However, I d not get why Yoshitatsu of all people needs to be protected in the booking here. He loses on a banana peel roll-up when Irie could have just beat him. I’d get it if he was a main eventer or even upper midcarder. I wouldn’t agree with pushing him that hard but then it makes sense to protect him. But he’s not he is a lower midcard geek that leads the lower midcard geek squad. There is no other Japanese wrestler with his skill level and his position on the card that is as protected and also has an ego as big as his. At least the right person won.

Royal Road 2021 Round 2 Match
Ayato Yoshida def. Hokuto Omori

I would like to see them run this back a few years down the line. These two clearly have some chemistry but just didn’t get enough time to turn that into a great match. Hopefully, Yoshido will continue to be booked more in All Japan as he always feels like a breath of fresh air whenever he comes into the promotion.

Royal Road Tournament 2021 Round 2 Match
Shotaro Ashino def. Zeus

This match could have gone a little longer. The work that we go here was good but it fell just short of the next level. Both men really laid in their strikes and gave us a solid match. With a little more time and a little bit more story these two could deliver a legitimately great match. While Zeus and Ashino are two upper-tier guys in All Japan the result actually didn’t really matter all that much as neither man has a serious chance to win the tournament.

Royal Road Tournament 2021 Round 2 Match
Suwama def. Abdullah Kobayashi

Could we please stop with the non-deathmatch singles matches for Abdullah now? This was just a boring laborious affair and I nearly fell asleep watching it. The ringside brawling felt endless and was very uninspired. Suwama did decently but this is not the type of opponent he should face in 2021. If Abdullah sticks around it’s hopefully tag matches only from here on out. But preferably I would like to see him only in deathmatches in Big Japan as he is still decent at doing those.

Royal Road Tournament 2021 Round 2 Match
Kento Miyahara def. T-Hawk

This match was a victim of high expectations. When I looked at the brackets I immediately zeroed in on this potential match and it is the main reason I wanted to review this show. Kento and T-Hawk are two of the best wrestlers in Japan right now and therefore a match between the two of them carries some expectations with it. Sometimes these expectations can weigh down a match and that is what happened here. On the surface, this was a good match and arguably the best match of the night but it just wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. The early part of the match was just kind of there and was very disappointing. The closing stretch made up for it though and was awesome. But it still didn’t quite reach that MOTYC level that a match between these two should aim for. The next round now has Ishikawa vs Kento who have always had great chemistry and I’m sure they will deliver again.

Royal Road Tournament 2021 Second Round Match
Jake Lee def. Koji Iwamoto

The second-best match of the night and Jake continues to do well since he won the belt. But this match was hurt by Koji Iwamoto not being a credible threat to beat Jake. Iwamoto did get a number of spots where he threatened to beat Jake but none of them felt believable. He did great as a junior but he still has a ways to go if he wants to become a proper threat to heavyweights. Nevertheless, a solid effort by both men and it was still an enjoyable match.

Final Thoughts

A forgettable Royal Road show from All Japan. Nothing was really bad but nothing was great either. Just a collection of solid matches that you likely won’t remember a month from now.