ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
CHAMPIONS NIGHT 3
MARCH 21, 2022
OTA WARD GYMNASIUM
SUGI, TAKATO NAKANO & RYO INOUE VS. ANDY WU, HIROSHI YAMATO & SEIGO TACHIBANA
This Jr. six-man tag will probably be the opener on the show, and what an opener this has the potential to be. Everyone in this match is pretty good, including Inoue who only debuted on January 2, and he’s been showing a lot of potential. He moves around the ring like someone with far more experience. Hopefully, he will shine here. But he’s also probably eating the pin here. I could see Tachibana pinning Inoue as they seem to be heating Tachibana up for a possible Jr. title challenge. Prediction: Andy Wu, Hiroshi Yamato & Seigo Tachibana
YOSHITATSU, CARBELL ITO & RAIMU IMAI VS. SHIGEHIRO IRIE, IZANAGI & SUSHI
This could be decent, this could be a whole lot of nothing. There will probably be comedy with Izanagi and SUSHI involved. This is Carbell Ito’s return match after being out with an injury for several months. I suspect the infamous car rental company CEO turned money mark and wrestler will do some crazy dive to the outside in this match and barely get caught. I think SUSHI takes the fall here, but Imai easily could too. But with Ito being All Japan’s biggest sponsor, I’d assume his team wins in his return match. Prediction: Yoshitatsu, Carbell Ito & Raimu Imai
TAKAO OMORI & BLACK MENSO~RE VS. ABDULLAH KOBAYASHI & DAN TAMURA
Despite missing his scheduled All Asia tag team title challenge with Tamura due to COVID-19 protocols, Kobayashi seems committed to teaming with Tamura, and I think they will eventually get that title match. This match will probably be passable if Kobayashi’s involvement is kept to a minimum. Since they are bothering to continue with the odd couple storyline of Kobayashi and Tamura, I would assume they win here to set up their title match down the line. Prediction: Abdullah Kobayashi & Dan Tamura
NEXTREAM (YUMA AOYAGI, ATSUKI AOYAGI & RISING HAYATO) VS. DRADITION (TATSUMI FUJINAMI, MITSUYA NAGAI & LEONA)
This match was scheduled to happen on a previous show, but Fujinami came down with cellulitis in his leg so that got postponed. After the really fun performance he put on in the main event of New Japan’s 50th Anniversary show, I am a lot more excited for this. Nagai can have clunkers, but he was perfectly acceptable in the Real World Tag League last year, and LEONA has gone from being bad to being mediocre. Nextream should win here, though perhaps politics will stand in the way of that. But I have a decent feeling they will win. Say what you will about All Japan in the pandemic era, they are now clearly showing they want to push young talent. Prediction: Nextream
TOTAL ECLIPSE (JAKE LEE, KOJI DOI, KUMA ARASHI, TAJIRI & YUSUKE KODAMA) VS. VOODOO MURDERS (SUWAMA, TARU, KONO, SHUJI KONDO & TOSHIZO)
Now this is a match to celebrate All Japan’s 50th Anniversary! It’s also Lee’s return match as he’s been out since December 26 of last year with a broken orbital bone that forced him to vacate the Triple Crown. For those that may have never watched Muto-era All Japan, Toshizo is Ryuji Hijikata and KONO is Masayuki Kono. We’ve even got Suwama…, I’m sorry SUWAMA, returning to Voodoo Murders for one night vowing to show Lee what a real heel is like. That almost sounds like a shoot comment since Lee’s heel run has been underwhelming.
As for the match itself, this could be a mess. There’s a decent chance it’s not, but I am skeptical given some of the talent involved, specifically with TARU (who is somehow not in prison) being a part of this. However, we may end up getting some fun stuff between Kondo and some of the Total Eclipse members. There doesn’t seem to be anyone on the Voodoo Murders side who is going to drop a fall here. Toshizo doesn’t really do jobs when he’s wrestling as himself on occasional All Japan undercards these days. That’s unfortunate because I really think Total Eclipse should win here to establish themselves, but I could also see Lee getting kicked out of the group in the next few months and maybe losing here will be part of that story. I’m still going to go with Total Eclipse here, just because I think they should win. Prediction: Total Eclipse
LAST MAN STANDING
SHOTARO ASHINO VS. RYUKI HONDA
Speaking of heels, Honda has been doing a great job of being one. He’s already more confident in the role two months in than Jake Lee was at the same point. The Ashino vs. Honda feud has also been really heated and has brought us some good tag matches out of it. Honda strikes Ashino really hard and Ashino retaliates with a lot of suplexes. A simple but effective formula.
Last Man Standing matches can often underdeliver, but I think these two have a chance of having a good match here. Given that Honda just pinned Ashino in a tag leading into this match and also pinned him in the Triple Crown tournament in January, the Master of Suplex is winning this one. Their feud will probably carry over into the Champion Carnival where they are in the same block. Prediction: Shotaro Ashino
PWF WORLD JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
HIKARU SATO © VS. HOKUTO OMORI
These guys had a great match in last year’s Jr. Battle of Glory, and Omori has improved since then. He’s dropped a lot of the crappy over-the-top heelwork and plays a more subtle one, though he will still do low blows when the referee is distracted. I generally have high hopes for this match. Sato is one of the best workers in the company and Omori will want to prove himself in what will be the biggest match of his career up to this point. They have both gotten direct wins over each other in tag matches leading up to this, with Sato getting the most recent one. That seems to suggest that Omori is winning here, and despite this being Sato’s V1 defense, this title has been a hot potato since early 2021.
On one hand, I’d like to see Sato get a good run with this title, but on the other hand, putting it on Omori signals a new generation has arrived in All Japan. They’re also clearly building up Atsuki Aoyagi as a future Jr. ace, and while Aoyagi beating Sato would also be a big deal, perhaps they want to build up Aoyagi vs. Omori as they are generational rivals. You can’t count Omori out here, but my gut is still telling me Sato retains, especially since Omori holds the All Asia tag titles. Prediction: Hikaru Sato
TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP
KENTO MIYAHARA © VS. SHUJI ISHIKAWA
Had Jake Lee not been injured, I think this match would have been him vs. Miyahara again. Given they had to change plans, this was the best they could have come up with barring enticing an outsider to come in here and put Miyahara over. Suwama vs. Miyahara has been done to death, and they clashed as recently as January. Ishikawa vs. Miyahara for the Triple Crown hasn’t been done in almost three years, so it’s the most reasonably freshest big match they could do using their roster.
Ishikawa pinned Miyahara in a tag match leading up to this with a new move that he is calling the “Miyahara Slayer 2022.” It looks a lot like Brody King’s Gonzo Bomb. Maybe the Big Dog has been watching Dynamite. There was a time not too long ago from about 2020 to mid-2021 where Ishikawa looked like his age (he’s now 46) was finally starting to catch up with him. But he got himself into great physical shape and has been putting on some pretty good performances again for almost a year now. And with Miyahara being who he is, I have high expectations for this. Miyahara will probably successfully make his V2 defense of his fifth Triple Crown reign. But can the bookerman resist putting himself over? You never know, but since Miyahara won the Triple crown again back in January, All Japan has had some decent attendances by pandemic standards that they had been struggling to reach before with Jake Lee on top. The company clearly knows this, so Miyahara is a safe pick. Prediction: Kento Miyahara
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