ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
SUPER POWER SERIES 2022
MAY 29, 2022
All Japan has been on a roll lately. After a warmly received Champion Carnival, they continued to impress with strong back-to-back shows in Sapporo on May 14 and 15. The main events have been strong, delivering what many are calling match-of-the-year candidates. Young talent is getting to shine and move up the card. After a poor 2020, the company started to improve in the later half of 2021. That slow climb back to relevance is now paying off and I’ve seen more interest in the company on social media among international fans than I have since 2019 at the peak of Kento Miyahara’s epic Triple Crown reign.
As a treat on this show, we will have the return of Stan Hansen to Japan for the first time since the pandemic began as he is being billed as a special witness to the main event.
SEIGO TACHIBANA VS. RYO INOUE
This match will begin at 11:10 a.m. JST, 20 minutes before the show officially gets underway. I am looking forward to this. I’ve been raving about Inoue since his debut this past January, and Tachibana is a very good worker who is underrated because of his comedy gimmick. With Tachibana being low on the pecking order in the company, I expect Inoue to get a lot of offense in here and even some near falls, but the rookie is still too early into his career to be getting wins. Prediction: Seigo Tachibana
TAKAO OMORI & SUSHI VS. YOSHITATSU & CARBELL ITO
This will probably serve as the comedy match of the show. It should be relatively inoffensive, however, and most likely short. There’s not much to say about this match other than it’s always nice to see Ito, who is 50 years old, do ridiculous dives to the outside. The hardest working money mark in wrestling. You don’t see Tony Khan doing things like that. I would assume Ito, who is All Japan’s biggest sponsor, will be on the victorious team. Prediction: Yoshitatsu & Carbell Ito
VOODOO MURDERS (MINORU & TOSHIZO) VS. BLACK MENSO~RE & IZANAGI
So given the events on the May 25 show with Suwama turning on Evolution, the card for this show was shifted around a bit to reflect that. Minoru is of course, Minoru Tanaka while Toshizo is Ryuji Hijikata. Technically all of the wrestlers in this match are quite talented, but this will be about getting over the return of Voodoo Murders to All Japan so expect chairs and perhaps other types of weapons. So don’t count on this being pretty. Voodoo Murders are likely to win to establish how evil they are. Prediction: Voodoo Murders
TOTAL ECLIPSE (RYUKI HONDA, HOKUTO OMORI & YUSUKE KODAMA) VS. NEXTREAM (YUMA AOYAGI, ATSUKI AOYAGI & RISING HAYATO)
This is my second most eagerly awaited match on this show. On May 15, in the opening match they had Honda and Omori vs. Atsuki and HAYATO and let them go for nearly 20 minutes. That match delivered and it was a great sign for the young talent and their future in the company. Hopefully, they get plenty of time here too, like 15 minutes. This builds up to Atsuki and HAYATO challenging Omori and Kodama for the All Asia Tag Titles on June 12 in Korakuen Hall.
Since Atsuki and HAYATO won the tag match that got them the title shot, I could see Total Eclipse winning here, but if they retain the titles, Nextream could pick up another win here to build to the title match. While the title match could go either way, I’m leaning towards Nextream winning here, because I don’t think the Omori and Kodama run with the All Asia Tag Titles has fully run its course. Regardless of the result, this could be a show-stealer if given enough time. Prediction: Nextream
JAKE LEE VS. TAJIRI
Lee has been having several singles matches since losing the Champion Carnival finals. While these two are stablemates, TAJIRI welcomed this match believing it will help Lee get back into top form. I’m not exactly sure what to expect from this. It could be very underwhelming, but if Lee just gets in there and squashes TAJIRI, it could be fun. I expect Lee to challenge Miyahara at the Ota Ward Gym show on June 19, so this will be another match to heat him up. Prediction: Jake Lee
VOODOO MURDERS (SUWAMA, TARU & KONO) VS. SHOTARO ASHINO, HIKARU SATO & DAN TAMURA
Suwama was originally supposed to be on the other side of this match originally with Ashino being in a singles match with Hijikata. Suwama’s heel turn on May 25 changed all of that. Suwama even hit a big Lariat on Tamura who was extremely upset and on the verge of tears on the last show in the big angle. Ashino came out to help the former Evolution members, and though he’s had his differences with Sato in the past, they agreed to go after Suwama together.
Technically there is enough talent in here for this to be passable even with TARU (still not in jail) involved. But Suwama was all about using a chair in his match against Jake Lee on May 25 and that led to a disqualification finish. A non-finish is very possible here, but I can see Suwama pinning Tamura here to keep this feud going, because I think, and really hope, this all leads to Ashino finally defeating Suwama in a singles match. That will make having to endure TARU almost worth it. Prediction: Voodoo Murders
WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
TWIN TOWERS (SHUJI ISHIKAWA & KOHEI SATO) © VS. TOTAL ECLIPSE (KUMA ARASHI & KOJI DOI)
For all of my praise of All Japan this year, one of their major weaknesses is a lack of credible teams to challenge for the World Tag Team Titles. These are tag titles that are also often put in a position to main event shows, unlike many other companies in Japan these days. The lack of credible challengers was one of the reasons that I believe was behind the lack of a title defense back on the Excite Series tour in February.
KumaDoi is a solid and fun team. But I could see this not being that great, because they work best against opponents guaranteed to have a good match. While Ishikawa has been working a lot harder lately, Sato is showing his age and has been underwhelming. I would be quite happy with being a ***½ affair. I don’t think that is impossible if Ishikawa does most of the heavy lifting for his team, and Arashi works hard like he has been recently. While KumaDoi has their fans who want to see them as tag champions, I’m quite confident the Twin Towers will retain here, especially since Arashi pinned Ishikawa in a tag match on May 25 building up to this. Prediction: Twin Towers
TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP
KENTO MIYAHARA © VS. T-HAWK
There’s not much to this match other than Miyahara called out T-Hawk in his post-match promo after retaining the title against Yuma Aoyagi on May 15. That’s good enough for me, because this should be an absolute banger of a match. The six-man tag these two were involved in on May 25 featured some great sequences between them.
Miyahara is putting together a resume this year for most outstanding wrestler, something he has not been in the running for since 2019. T-Hawk, who is obviously great, feels a bit aimless these days as his partner El Lindaman is getting all the glory as G-Rex champion and being in the Best of the Super Juniors. Even though there’s little chance he’s winning here, this could be a match that can generate some much-needed attention for T-Hawk. This ending up as a match-of-the-year contender is not out of the question. And Stan Hansen posing with Miyahara will be a very cool moment. Prediction: Kento Miyahara
Powered by RedCircle