ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
RAISING AN ARMY MEMORIAL SERIES
OCTOBER 31, 2021
RISING HAYATO DEF. RYOMA TSUKAMOTO (6:41)
This was a nice little opener. HAYATO worked over Tsukamoto’s leg. Tsukamoto eventually got a run of offense but eventually got caught in an inverted Figure Four that he tapped out to. Tsukamoto is already building a crowd connection and works the crowd more than most other rookies. He continues to impress. HAYATO was also really solid here, and it’s not often you get to see him as someone dominating a match. ***¼
TAKAO OMORI, BLACK MENSO~RE, ISAMI KODAKA & TAMURA DEF. YOSHITATSU KINGDOM (YOSHITATSU, SEIGO TACHIBANA & BALIYAN AKKI) & REI SAITO (9:02)
Another fun match. It was pretty simple stuff here with everyone getting in their spots. Kodama and TAMURA in particular looked good here. Finish came down to Omori and Saito. The rookie put up a good fight but eventually got pinned by the veteran Omori’s Axe Bomber, which was fitting. *** With Kodaka and TAMURA teaming with Omori here, we had an Axe Bombers reunion, the first time they’ve teamed together since 2018.
RYUKI HONDA SEVEN MATCH TRIAL SERIES #6
KENTO MIYAHARA DEF. RYUKI HONDA (9:18)
Honda attacked Miyahara before the bell. The young wrestler wanted to show some gumption against the company ace. Miyahara also didn’t take Honda too seriously at first, but as Honda put up a fight, that changed. Honda also got in a couple of near falls. Miyahara locked in the Snake Limit and Honda actually tried to struggle out of it for a while before tapping. This definitely fulfilled its mission of showing how Honda could put up a strong showing against the ace. After the match, Miyahara tried to offer a handshake to Honda, but Honda pushed him away. ***½
EVOLUTION (SUWAMA & DAN TAMURA) & SHOTARO ASHINO DEF. KAZ HAYASHI, KOJI IWAMOTO & JUN SAITO (11:35)
This was Hayashi’s first appearance in an All Japan ring since the Wrestle-1 split in the Summer of 2013. We got a bit of a slobberknocker here. Lots of stiff strikes and suplexes in this one. Ashino looked great as usual. Saito also stepped up here in the finishing sequence against Suwama. The rookie managed to counter and kicked out of some big moves from Suwama and then the two proceeded to slap the shit out of each other. Suwama put Saito away with a Backdrop. After the match Hayashi got on the mic. He promised to work with All Japan on 50th anniversary celebrations next year, which is nice to hear. Hayashi and Suwama then had a friendly handshake. ***½
After the match, we got a video message from Court Bauer who announced that the MLW relationship with All Japan was now official and that TAJIRI would defend his MLW Middleweight Championship against Atsuki Aoyagi on November 28 in Odawara.
TOTAL ECLIPSE (JAKE LEE, TAJIRI & HOKUTO OMORI) DEF. PURPLE HAZE (ZEUS, IZANAGI & UTAMARO) (12:33)
Total Eclipse attacked before the bell and then proceeded to go after Izanagi’s mask. Then Total Eclipse continued to work over Izanagi for a while. It really began to drag. After that finally ended, we got treated to a stiff chop versus kick exchange between Zeus and Lee that was great. The closing sequence between Lee and UTAMARO also was pretty good, with Lee winning with the D4C. This picked up in the end after a slow start. After the match, Lee and TAJIRI stood beside each other and held up their titles. You know Court has gotta love that, he’ll probably issue a press release about it. ***¼
ALL ASIA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
STRONGHEARTS (T-HAWK & EL LINDAMAN) © DEF. NEXTREAM (YUMA AOYAGI & ATSUKI AOYAGI) (16:16)
El Lindaman wore an Aoyagi Brothers shirt out to the ring but then proceeded to rip it up which angered the Aoyagis into attacking before the bell. It was a fun spot. This began hot and the pace didn’t let up. The T-Hawk and Yuma exchanges were really good here. Atsuki managed to get a couple of near falls on T-Hawk that felt like they might have actually been the finish. StrongHearts regained momentum with El Lindaman neutralizing Yuma on the outside. StrongHearts hit a Doomsday Device Codebreaker called the AKACHOCHIN on Atsuki with El Lindaman coming off the top rope. That looked great. T-Hawk then pinned Atsuki for the win and the V2 defense of their titles. Nn awesome match. Everyone looked great here and Atsuki continues to evolve into a tremendous high flyer. ****
GAORA TV CHAMPIONSHIP
SHIGEHIRO IRIE DEF. SHUJI ISHIKAWA © (19:39)
Irie came to the ring with the OWE Openweight Championship and the 2AW Openweight Championship. This started at a fairly brisk pace, but while on the outside, Ishikawa picked up Irie and slammed him into the edge of the apron on his back. Ishikawa then went on to work over Irie’s back. There were some sick looking unprotected headbutts in this from each wrestler which made me squirm, so you’ve been warned. This was just two big dudes hitting each other really hard which never goes wrong for me. There was a botch on what looked to be a Samoan Drop off the top rope from Irie and he landed awkwardly on his knee. Ishikawa hit a Kamigoye on Ishikawa but as the champion went to follow up, Irie hit a Beast Bomber out of nowhere, followed up by a second one for the win. Ishikawa fails in his V4 defense. This was a bit of a surprising result, though after Irie won the 2AW Openweight title on October 28, I thought this result may actually happen. 2AW has not let any of their champions do jobs in All Japan in the past. Other than the one botch near the end, this had unprotected headbutts and some wild bumps. What more could you ask for? After the match, Irie and Zeus cut promos. I got the feeling here that even if Zeus is only around occasionally once next year begins, Purple Haze will continue as a unit. And it’s also nice to see that Irie who has been a regular on most big shows since early 2020 will continue to hang around All Japan a while longer now that he’s a champion. ****
This was a really solid show. I thought the undercard was better than usual, helped by the lack of a comedy match. Everyone worked hard and young talent got to shine even if they weren’t victorious. This show definitely left me with a positive feeling going into the Real World Tag League that the tournament should be pretty good.