ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
DREAM POWER SERIES 2022
MARCH 12, 2022
KORAKUEN HALL
TOKYO, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

TAJIRI DEF. RYO INOUE (8:23)

This was a very mat and holds based match. Inoue got in a good amount of offense and had some nice reversals. TAJIRI got the win with a cradle. This was not a fast paced match, but a much more deliberate one, but I enjoyed it for what it was. Inoue continues to show great promise and is great for someone who only debuted a little over two months ago. ***

SEIGO TACHIBANA DEF. RISING HAYATO (5:43)

I have always thought Tachibana is underrated as a wrestler, his comedy schtick often covers that fact up. This match was light on the comedy stuff, and Tachibana was good here. This was back-and-forth action with little down time. Tachibana won with a cradle out of nowhere, and HAYATO really didn’t have his shoulders down on the mat properly. Oh well, other than the finish coming out of nowhere and the botch, I dug this. ***

TAKAO OMORI & BLACK MENSO~RE DEF. IZANAGI & KIKUTARO (8:52)

At one point, Kikutaro did the Fargo strut. There wasn’t much to this match, though I wouldn’t call it bad. There was some comedy, but nothing too over the top to take me out of the match. Menso~re got worked over for a while before making a hot tag to Omori after Kikutaro and Izanagi started arguing. Omori pinned Kikutaro after an Axe Bomber. I’ll give this a passing grade because I thought it was fun at times. **½

TOTAL ECLIPSE (RYUKI HONDA, KOJI DOI & KUMA ARASHI) DEF. RUNAWAY SUPLEX (SUWAMA & SHOTARO ASHINO) & HIKARU SATO (9:52)

They have done a good job building the hate between Total Eclipse and Runaway SUPLEX.This felt heated. Honda especially showed this and went after Ashino hard with stiff shots. The closing stretch between those two was also pretty good, and while Honda pinned Ashino with a roll up after a low blow while the referee was distracted, it added to their story.

After the match, Honda got on the mic and mocked Ashino. I have to say, Honda is already a better heel than Jake Lee has ever been. Really looking forward to Ashino vs. Honda at Ota Ward Gym on March 21. ***½

Jake Lee then came out to cut a promo about his impending return from injury on March 21.

The 2022 Champion Carnival participants were announced after Jake Lee’s appearance:

A Block:

  • Shuji Ishikawa
  • Shotaro Ashino
  • Ryuki Honda
  • Shigehiro Irie
  • T-Hawk
  • Jake Lee

B Block:

  • Kento Miyahara
  • Suwama
  • Yoshitatsu
  • Yuma Aoyagi
  • Kuma Arashi
  • Takuya Nomura

That’s not a bad field all things considered. There’s quite a few fresh matches for T-Hawk and Takuya Nomura. Certainly Nomura vs. Miyahara will garner a lot of attention.

YOSHITATSU DEF. KAZMA SAKAMOTO (9:22)

I thought this had a chance to be decent after their interaction in a six-man tag, but this started off not very well. Early on, it consisted of brawling outside and then Seigo Tachibana, Takayuki Ueki and Baliyan Akki taking cheap shots at Yoshitatsu when the referee was distracted. This did pick up in the later half when Yoshitatsu made his comeback. The finish was a bit silly with SAKAMOTO unable to get back up after a high kick, and the referee stopped the match.

This was not horrible or anything, but not great either. I was hoping SAKAMOTO would win here and that he would be in the Champion Carnival. It looks like this was just another case of the Tatsuverse, a joke we came up with on The Emerald FlowShow inspired by jokes about the Codyverse. After the match the former members of Yoshitatsu Kingdom reconciled with their former leader, and SAKAMOTO seems to have joined as well. I guess the AJPW TV 6-Man titles aren’t dead after all. **¾

NEXTREAM (KENTO MIYAHARA, YUMA AOYAGI & ATSUKI AOYAGI) DEF. SHUJI ISHIKAWA, KOHEI SATO & REN AYABE (14:38)

Atsuki got worked over by the three very tall dudes for a while early on. Atsuki sold all of this really well and bumped around for the big guys. Ishikawa and Miyahara went after each other hard to build to their Triple Crown match on March 21. Ayabe has potential, but still has a ways to go though Yuma guided him through the closing stretch well enough, though it wasn’t as hot as you’d expect. Ayabe went for a big hip toss out of the corner but Yuma reversed and applied the End Game for the submission victory. This was good but not great.

After the match, Ishikawa and Miyahara brawled around the ring and Ishikawa even attacked some of the young boys. ***¼

ALL ASIA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
HOKUTO OMORI & YUSUKE KODAMA © DEF. SUWAMA & DAN TAMURA (14:10)

Abdullah Kobayashi was originally supposed to be Tamura’s partner, but he was pulled because he came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. They did a whole angle leading up to this match of Suwama “excommunicating” Tamura from Evolution, but in the end, he did not abandon his guy.

Total Eclipse attacked before the bell. Tamura got worked over for a while by Total Eclipse. As has been the case recently, Kodama and Omori have dialed back the cheap heel stuff and that has helped the quality of their matches. Omori and Suwama worked well together, but the highlight was the Omori vs. Tamura stuff as they came up together and have always had good chemistry. At one point, Suwama and Tamura started shoving each other because Kodama pushed Tamura into Suwama, but they soon made up. They built up the match well, and by the closing minutes there were some near falls that I totally bit on. Omori managed to neutralize Suwama, an impressive accomplishment for a Jr. heavyweight and Kodama hit the Mad Splash on Tamura for the win. Kodama and Omori succeed in their V3 defense.

This was another good All Asia tag title match from Kodama and Omori who have been having a sneaky good reign. I also enjoyed the story they told with Suwama and Tamura. After the match, Suwama and Tamura both got on the mic and Suwama apologized for being so hard on Tamura before and Tamura said he still wanted to be in Evolution. ***¾

FINAL THOUGHTS

This was a solid show, but nothing was truly great. It was very much a show booked to advance storylines. On that level, it was a success as many storylines were heated up going into the big show at Ota Ward Gym on March 21.

This show may have been All Japan’s all-time lowest attended Korakuen Hall show at 296. But I wouldn’t read too much into that. There wasn’t much to the card, this was a card in many was very similar to one at smaller spot shows. Booking wise, I actually think we are out of the trough, and on an upswing for the company, though a modest one. The Champion Carnival will tell us just how big that upswing could be.

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