ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
SUPER POWER SERIES 2022
MAY 29, 2022
KORAKUEN HALL
TOKYO, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

SEIGO TACHIBANA DEF. RYO INOUE (5:50)

Tachibana dominated most of the first half of the match. When Inoue finally got some offense, he busted out a handspring elbow for the first time. Tachibana hit an STO and put Inoue in a Boston Crab. Inoue almost made the ropes but Tachibana pulled him back into the center of the ring and Inoue tapped. This was just solid wrestling to open the show. Inoue continues to develop at a very nice pace. ***

YOSHITATSU & CARBELL ITO DEF. TAKAO OMORI & SUSHI (5:39)

I expected a comedy match, but that’s not what this ended up being. SUSHI and Yoshitatsu had some decent sequences. Ito did his big dive to the outside. Yoshitatsu pinned SUSHI after the Yoshitatsu Rhapsody. Given the age and limitations of some of the participants, this was perfectly acceptable pro wrestling. **¾

VOODOO MURDERS (MINORU & TOSHIZO) DEF. BLACK MENSO~RE & IZANAGI (8:53)

This was Minoru (Tanaka)’s first match in All Japan since September 2017. Voodoo Murders took this outside almost immediately. Toshizo channeled his inner Cody Rhodes and hit Menso~re with his weight belt. Minoru used the Menso~re poke on its namesake which did get a chuckle out of me. The match was mostly cheap heel stuff on Menso~re, but a hot tag to Izanagi did pick things up. Minoru hit a Fisherman’s Buster on Menso~re, pulled him up before the three count, then finished him with a Diving Foot Stomp.

Honestly, I expected this to be worse even though every wrestler in here is very good because I thought they would play up the heel stuff from Voodoo Murders, but it turned out decent in the end after a shaky start. After the match Izanagi and Minrou brawled a bit and I hope that’s a match we get in the future. **¾

NEXTREAM (YUMA AOYAGI, ATSUKI AOYAGI & RISING HAYATO) DEF. TOTAL ECLIPSE (RYUKI HONDA, HOKUTO OMORI & YUSUKE KODAMA) (9:05)

Atsuki got worked over by Total Eclipse for a while. Then the match kicked into a higher gear with everyone doing their spots. Honda and Yuma in particular had some great exchanges. It came down to HAYATO and Omori. It looked like Omori had this, but when he went for a head scissors on HAYATO, Atsuki came in there with a Springboard Dropkick to knock him off. This allowed HAYATO to hit the Shimanami Driver to get the win. If this got a few more minutes, this could have been excellent, but it was still a great showcase for All Japan’s young talent. ***½

After the show on Twitter, Yuma announced he is leaving Nextream. As we will find out, Yuma is in the market for a new tag team partner. No word yet about what Atsuki and HAYATO will be doing.

JAKE LEE DEF. TAJIRI (7:36)

TAJIRI agreed to this match against his stablemate because he believed it would get Lee back in fighting form and ready to challenge for the Triple Crown. TAJIRI started with stalling and then they did some mat work. I actually thought the mat work was good, but more on that later. Though TAJIRI managed to escape from a Choke Sleeper earlier, Lee caught him in another one for the tap out.

In a vacuum, this was a well-worked match. But given who Lee is and who TAJIRI is these days, the psychology was all off. TAJIRI got a good amount of offense in this match and outsmarted Lee on the mat at times. This should have been Lee coming in here and dominating TAJIRI, with TAJIRI getting a couple of hope spots using his wily veteran skills. **¾

After the match, Yuma Aoyagi came out to confront Lee, and while they had what sounded like stern words for each other, they did shake hands which got a gasp from the crowd. Lee said he owed Aoyagi one for saving him from Voodoo Murders, but rejected Aoyagi’s request to be his friend. Given that Aoyagi once again called out Naoya Nomura on this show, could we be getting Aoyagi and Lee vs. Nomura and Mizuki Watase?

VOODOO MURDERS (SUWAMA, TARU & KONO) DEF. SHOTARO ASHINO, HIKARU SATO & DAN TAMURA (12:46)

TARU threw powder in the eyes of his opponents before the bell. This led to brawling around ringside. There was some okay stuff from Ashino and Tamura against KONO, but once Tamura got put in a dog collar on a chain, the match got boring. A hot tag to Sato finally livened things up. Referee Daisuke Kamibayashi got thrown out of the ring, then even Minoru and Toshizo got involved, beating down Sato. Kamibayashi got back in the ring and Suwama pinned Sato after a Backdrop.

There was a lot not to like here, including the brawling and referee bumps and even Sato who is the Jr. Champion, doing the job here. But at least it had a finish. Maybe I’m being generous here, but I did like Sato’s performance here and Tamura’s selling of his beatdown. **¼

After the match, Tamura got on the mic to vow revenge on Voodoo Murders, but then Ashino took the mic and said he would deal with this his own way and walked out on the remnants of Evolution. This was a weird way to position Ashino in all of this but hopefully he finally gets his big win over Suwama after all of this.

WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
TWIN TOWERS (SHUJI ISHIKAWA & KOHEI SATO) © DEF. TOTAL ECLIPSE (KUMA ARASHI & KOJI DOI) (14:43)

They wisely got right down to business and didn’t do any extended heat segments. There was a cool spot where Arashi and Ishikawa in an Argentine Backbreaker and Doi then German Suplexed Arashi. Then Arashi put Doi on his shoulders and Doi hit a Samoan Drop on Sato off of the top rope. Sato hit a top rope Falcon Arrow on Doi. Those spots definitely got noise out of this crowd.

Arashi kicked out of a Fire Thunder Driver and a running knee, but then Ishikawa pinned him after an impressive-looking Giant Slam. Twin Towers succeed in their V1 defense.

I thought there was a chance this would end up not being very good, but these guys didn’t go out there and try to have some complex epic. They just started throwing bombs at each other and it worked. This was a ton of fun. Insert the Big E meaty men meme here. ***¾

After the match, Shotaro Ashino came out and said he wanted to challenge for the tag titles as he was a former champion and no longer wanted to team with old guys. Seigo Tachibana and Ryuki Honda accompanied Ashino out. This really makes zero sense and I have no clue where any of this is going, especially since Ashino and Honda had a blood feud a couple months ago. It sounded like Ishikawa accepted the challenge from Ashino and Honda.

Then it turns out that TAJIRI has announced on Twitter that he’s leaving Total Eclipse. This gives me another feeling that Total Eclipse may not be long for this world, though I hope there is at least a satisfying conclusion to the group and it doesn’t just quietly fade away. Honda has announced his departure via Twitter as well and it looks like Ashino, Honda & Tachibana are now a faction. Honda stated he left Total Eclipse in order to “reach a higher level.” It was also announced that Ashino, Honda and Tachibana would be teaming together in the one night six-man tag team tournament on June 12 at Korakuen Hall.

TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP
KENTO MIYAHARA © DEF. T-HAWK (24:09)

The referee for this match was Daisuke Kamibayashi. This was the first Triple Crown match I can remember that Kyohei Wada hasn’t refereed since his return to the company in 2013 after the Wrestle-1 split, except for the time Joe Doering defended the Triple Crown in Canada in 2014. And while I think Wada is the greatest pro wrestling referee of all time, it’s time for him to at least bow out of refereeing main events.

After some back-and-forth early on, T-Hawk took control and not only chopped Miyahara a lot, but was straight-up punching him in the face. It looked quite painful. These guys really had a banger here with some great reversals of each other’s finishers. T-Hawk also threw some brutal-looking knees to Miyahara’s head. The last few minutes were particularly great and T-Hawk got very creative with his offense. After a struggle where T-Hawk nearly made the ropes, Miyahara managed to plant T-Hawk with the Shutdown German Suplex. Miyahara succeeds in his V4 defense of his fifth Triple Crown reign.

T-Hawk being a very different kind of opponent for Miyahara in a Triple Crown match certainly helped this. But at the same time, there was no real story to this other than Miyahara calling T-Hawk out, so this lacked some of the emotional impact of recent All Japan main events. ****¼

After the match, Miyahara called out Jake Lee to face him on June 19 at Ota Ward Gym as Miyahara felt that because he won title because it was vacant, he needs to face the former champion.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Stan Hansen was supposed to appear at this show, but unfortunately, he tested positive for COVID-19 before getting on the plane to Japan. Best wishes to him on a speedy recovery.

This show drew 905 which was down from the 986 at the Champion Carnival Finals. Certainly not a bad number, but I’d argue it was a slight disappointment.

There was some very good wrestling on this show. There was also some not so good wrestling, though I never thought it got offensive or truly bad.

The most noticeable thing on the show was the number of angles. It was a lot. And some of the stuff as I mentioned, doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, I can live with it if this all leads to the elevation of young talent, and at this point it seems it is. So I am cautiously optimistic, but I could see some of the angles set up on this show going south rather easily.

While not the best top-to-bottom All Japan show recently, it still showed that there is forward momentum for the company, but the question is, can they maintain it?

Powered by RedCircle