ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
NEW YEAR WARS 2022
JANUARY 23, 2022
TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINALS
KENTO MIYAHARA VS. SUWAMA
For the Triple crown tournament, I am going to give you my prediction of what I think will happen but also what I think should happen. Is that a cop-out? Maybe. However, All Japan really needs some juice to their booking right now, so I think it’s something relevant to discuss.
When these two face each other, they’ve generally traded wins back and forth. Suwama won the last time they met in the 2021 Royal Road Tournament. So what will probably happen is Miyahara wins here. However, I think Suwama should pick up the win here. Am I insane? No. I’ll explain myself later. The match itself should be good, these two can have a 12 minute, ***1/2-***3/4 star one in their sleep, and that’s what this will probably be.
Will win: Kento Miyahara
Should win: Suwama
TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINALS
SHOTARO ASHINO VS. RYUKI HONDA
After formally signing with All Japan and putting on one hell of a performance in the World tag title match on January 3, Ashino feels hot again. Now is the time to strike. It is probably even more important to go full speed ahead with him now than it was when he originally entered the company in June 2020. Things desperately need to be shaken up at the top of the card.
That being said, I actually think Honda wins here. Honda has a shit ton of potential and they have been slowly raising him up the card. His elevation all the way to being in this tournament seems so fast though, that you’ve got to imagine it’s about more than him simply being there to lose in the first round. And by doing Honda vs. Miyahara in the finals, you don’t burn off a bigger match that can be done later.
Will win: Ryuki Honda
Should win: Shotaro Ashino
SHUJI ISHIKAWA, TAKAO OMORI, BLACK MENSO~RE, RYO INOUE & ANDY WU VS. DAN TAMURA, SHIGEHIRO IRIE, REN AYABE, KAZUMASA YOSHIDA & TAKATO NAKANO
I’m ot really sure what the point of this is. The announcement of this made the show now eight matches deep. You don’t need that many matches when you’re running a tournament and two other title matches.
Yoshida is a Big Japan young boy who debuted last April and is making his first appearance in All Japan, while Nakano hails from BASARA. Maybe this is a tryout of sorts for Nakano to see if All Japan will use him going forward. The only other interesting note here is that Ayabe returns for his second appearance in All Japan. This company being the way it is, probably likes the 6’7” JTO Dojo graduate for obvious reasons. And JTO being how it is, eventually poaching him is a real possibility for All Japan. Beyond his height, he has the basics down well, but still needs plenty of seasoning. I’d see his biggest issue is that he lacks any charisma. Say what you will about the Saito Twins, but they at least have physical charisma.
Given Inoue is the rookie going into only his third ever match, I’m assuming he’s getting pinned here. This should be a perfectly fine undercard match. Prediction: Dan Tamura, Shigehiro Irie, Ren Ayabe, Kazumasa Yoshida & Takato Nakano
YOSHITATSU VS. SEIGO TACHIBANA, TAKAYUKI UEKI & BALIYAN AKKI
Again, another match we don’t need on this card.
Wrestling’s most pointless stable explodes! This feud stems from January 2 where Tachibana, Ueki and Akki united to eliminate Yoshitatsu from the New Year Battle Royal. Yoshitatsu was incredibly bitter about this and the sides have been insulting each other on social media since.
This will not be good, so I won’t waste any more time on this other than to say Yoshitatsu will probably win here and make the others look like jabronis. Prediction: Yoshitatsu
TOTAL ECLIPSE (KOJI DOI & KUMA ARASHI) VS. NEXTREAM (YUMA AOYAGI & ATSUKI AOYAGI)
This should be a good match. Yuma has been phenomenal lately, and Atsuki can bump for the Total Eclipse team. I think this match is there to heat back up Arashi and Doi. They have a victory over the World tag team champs, Runaway SUPLEX in the Real World Tag League, so I think they are getting the next title shot. Prediction: Koji Doi & Kuma Arashi
ALL ASIA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
TOTAL ECLIPSE (HOKUTO OMORI & YUSUKE KODAMA) © VS. PURPLE HAZE (IZANAGI & DEVIL MURASAKI)
I’ve been saying recently that Omori cutting out the cheating bullshit in his matches has greatly improved them. That probably won’t be the case here, as Purple Haze’s shenanigans are even worse. All you can hope for is that this is kept short. This is the textbook definition of a filler defense. Total Eclipse obviously retains. Prediction: Hokuto Omori & Yusuke Kodama
PWF WORLD JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
SUGI © VS. RISING HAYATO
Rising HAYATO signs with the company, wins the New Year Battle Royal and then gets his first Jr. title shot. Not a bad little run. HAYATO is an underrated signing. He’s a good wrestler who has really improved in All Japan. While I don’t think he’s going to be a tippy-top guy, I think he will get some Jr. title runs and maybe even move up to heavyweight at some point. SUGI is going to retain here, but I think this will be the sleeper match of the show as HAYATO will have a lot to prove. Prediction: SUGI
TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT FINALS
RYUKI HONDA/SHOTARO ASHINO VS. KENTO MIYAHARA/SUWAMA
Well, you already know what I think this match is going to be. If it does indeed turn out to be Honda vs. Miyahara I think it will be a very good match even if the booking isn’t ideal. Miyahara will want to make a big splash winning the Triple Crown for the first time in nearly two years. Honda will also be motivated to make a statement that he belongs at the top of the card and will work hard. I don’t expect it to rival Miyahara’s greatest matches, Honda simply isn’t experienced enough, but it should be good enough to elevate Honda. My only hesitation for this match is if Honda goes the Total Eclipse route and starts cheating, though that’s something that Jake Lee never did in his Triple Crown matches.
What I think should happen is that Ashino beat Suwama. You crown Ashino by having him beat someone he has never been able to before and you immediately freshen up the main event scene. Have Ashino run through everyone else on the roster (he can also finally get his revenge by beating Jake Lee at the Ota Ward Gym show in March) and build to a match against Miyahara at the 50th-anniversary show at Budokan.
Unless All Japan is going to bring in a big-name outsider (and convince a company like New Japan to let one of their guys lose to their top guy in Miyahara, which a bigger company like NOAH couldn’t even do), the biggest match you can do at Budokan is Ashino vs. Miyahara. It’s time to start building towards that now. By the time Miyahara finally gets the Triple Crown back in this scenario, hopefully, All Japan has built up some talent to give Miyahara fresh opponents because more matches against Jake Lee, Suwama and Shuji Ishikawa isn’t going to cut it.
That all being said, I get why All Japan is probably going back to Miyahara. He’s without question their biggest draw. He puts on incredible matches. He’s the kind of guy, like Hiroshi Tanahashi, you can belt up in case of an emergency like a title vacancy here. But another Miyahara Triple Crown reign at this moment is just kicking the can down the road.
I generally don’t mind conservative booking. I like slow builds. But All Japan isn’t in the state where it can do such things Conservative booking isn’t going to fix what ails All Japan. It’s time to be bold. It’s time to go with the Master of Suplex.
I genuinely hope I am proven wrong in my predictions this weekend.
Will win: Kento Miyahara
Should win: Shotaro Motherfucking Ashino