All Japan Pro-Wrestling
Champions Night 2 – 49th Anniversary Show
October 16, 2021
Ota Ward Gymnasium
Ryuji Hijikata def. Ryoma Tsukamoto
Quick hard hitting opening match. Tsukamoto has good size already and will fit in very well with the All Japan heavyweight scene.
Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Masao Inoue, Kikutaro & Devil Murasaki def. Masanobu Fuchi, Great Kojika, SUSHI & CHIKARA
Your usual old men multi-man tag match. Everyone took turns showing off their signature spots. New Sugiura-gun member Fujiwara got the win. This was exactly what you would expect it to be.
Total Eclipse (Hokuto Omori & Yusuke Kodama) def. Evolution (Dan Tamura & Hikaru Sato) and Black Menso-Re & Andy Wu
Fun action filled undercard tag match. Omori remains one of the most protected guys on the All Japan roster. Most of the time he is in a match he gets the pin like here, and if he is on the losing side he rarely gets pinned. With this win Total Eclipse are likely the next challengers for whoever emerges as All Asia Tag Champions from the October 31 Korakuen show.
NEXTREAM (Yuma Aoyagi, Atsuki Aoyagi & RISING HAYATO) def. LEONA, Shiro Koshinaka & Mitsuya Nagai
This match exceeded my expectations. Koshinaka and Nagai worked hard by their 2021 standards and even LEONA showed a good bit of fire. He’s improved his look somewhat and just looks like a regular lower card puro indie guy rather than like a complete embarrassment. With that said NEXTREAM carried this and made it really entertaining. NEXTREAM with some fan service on the way out of the ring as they shake their asses in front of the curtain like they are the Beautiful People in 2010 TNA.
AJPW TV Six Man Tag Team Championship: Yoshitatsu Kingdom (Yoshitatsu, Takayuki Ueki & Seigo Tachibana) def. Takao Omori, TAMURA & Reimu Imai
Shocking showing of corruption as the policeman Takayuki Ueki is openly working with the Yakuza punk Seigo Tachibana. Ueki somehow finds a way to bleed in this match. Match felt a bit long but was still fun. The title also gives Yoshitatsu something to do that keeps him out of the upper card, which is a welcome move.
Zeus, Kengo Mashimo, Koji Iwamoto & Ryuki Honda def. KumaDoi (Kuma Arashi & Koji Doi), Jun Saito & Rei Saito
Mainly a match to get the current reigning Kyushu Pro Champion over. Kengo and Zeus looked very strong in this match and teased a lot tension afterwards. Will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere, given that they aren’t in the same block in the RWTL. The Saito Brothers are starting to put things together after they had a rough start. Jun Saito has especially shown a lot of growth and is showing some very good chemistry with Zeus in this match.
AJPW Junior Heavyweight Championship: IZANAGI def. SUGI (c)
Another good title match for the best booked title in All Japan in 2021. It has carried the promotion since the Triple Crown has taken a step down compared to previous years. SUGI has had a fun reign but it makes sense that it ends here as he is an outsider. Hopefully he will keep getting bookings in the promotion as he’s been great addition to the junior heavyweight division. SUGI flew around the ring as expected and Izanagi was grinding down his opponent before trying to catch him in roll ups. Izanagi always delivers when he’s put in a big spot. He is a great veteran hand and can be put in so many different positions. With that he has earned himself this title reign late in his career and I am certain he will do well as champion. He seemed genuinely moved in his post match speech.
AJPW World Tag Team Championship: Runaway Suplex (Suwama & Shotaro Ashino) (c) def. Twin Towers (Shuji Ishikawa & Kohei Sato)
Pace slowed down considerably compared to the previous match but that shouldn’t be a surprise given who is involved. Hard hitting match and the three old men managed to rewind the clock. Twin Towers can still deliver against the right opponents as they’ve shown in title matches against Astronauts, Yuma & Kento and now here. If this is the team that shows up in the RWTL they will have a great tournament. The same goes for the champions as they deliver another great performance. Ashino is right behind Kento as an elite level worker in the promotion and he is carrying this team. Suwama is delivering in his tag work as well and is helped by having a younger partner to take the bulk of the workload, which was an issue towards the end of his run as Violent Giants.
Triple Crown Championship: Jake Lee (c) vs. Kento Miyahara ended in a Time Limit Draw
Still not sure how to feel about Jake. He is a tryhard with the Darth Vader outfit and the super villain laugh. In ring he has grown into the role. He can still get a bit too melodramatic at times but he’s become an effective heel. He goes all in on the melodrama here though and even gets to kick out of the Shutdown German twice, which hasn’t happened before. Overall the match was good but I just can’t stand 60 minute draws. It always feels like I’m wasting my time. Generally time limit draws fall into two categories: Either they go long because the wrestlers in the match want to show that they can go long, or the booker comes across as cowardly for not being willing to just put one of the guys over. This definitely feels like the latter as Jake has beaten Kento twice recently and clearly the booking team didn’t want to make it three times in a row. But in that case just don’t book the match. Nothing was really achieved here as this result doesn’t help legitimize Jake as champion aside from kicking out of Kento’s normally surefire win finisher twice. Kento also stays exactly like he did before. I guess his story progresses a little since he didn’t lose to Jake this time but really no one will remember this match by the time the next Jake vs Kento bout rolls around.
A solid show from All Japan but the length of the main event is an issue for me. The World Tag Team Title match and the Junior Title match are well worth a watch though.