ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
SUMMER ACTION SERIES
JULY 14 & 18, 2022

Watch: AJPW.TV

JULY 14
KORAKUEN HALL
TOKYO, JAPAN

On this show, the Royal Road Tournament participants will be announced. This year’s tournament will be particularly noteworthy as the winner is almost certainly getting a Triple Crown shot at the 50th-anniversary show on September 19 at Nippon Budokan.

SHUJI ISHIKAWA, TAKAO OMORI & RYO INOUE VS. YOSHITATSU, MASANOBU FUCHI & IZANAGI

Technically this is the undercard comedy match of the show, but there is enough talent here to make it decent. I will be looking forward to Fuchi taking it to the rookie Inoue, which should be a lot of fun. Inoue will be taking the fall here too of course. Prediction: Yoshitatsu, Masanobu Fuchi & Izanagi

CYRUS VS. BLACK MENSO~RE

Cyrus is a large man. He’s billed at 6’8” and 348 lbs. He worked some late-era Wrestle-1 and can do a Moonsault. I’ve never seen a match of his, but I’ve been told he looked good in his previous Japanese sojourn. Given his size and the kind of moves he can do, I think he has a good shot of getting over. It will be interesting to see what All Japan has planned for him. I would not be shocked if he gets a big push out of the gate. He’s definitely winning here in a squash. Prediction: Cyrus

NEXTREAM (KENTO MIYAHARA & RISING HAYATO) VS. EVOLUTION (YUJI NAGATA & HIKARU SATO)

The previous Miyahara and Nagata interactions on the last tour were a blast. With HAYATO and Sato also in there, this should be a blast. For my money, HAYATO is one of the best closing stretch guys in the business. Seriously, check out any big tag match he’s been in recently and in every finish he’s involved in, he’s a real ball of energy. I feel he will be involved in the finish here, and someone in Evolution is going to pin him to pick up the win. Prediction: Yuji Nagata & Hikaru Sato

ALL ASIA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
TOTAL ECLIPSE (HOKUTO OMORI & YUSUKE KODAMA) © VS. VOODOO MURDERS (MINORU & TOSHIZO)

Total Eclipse have been a great tag team this year, in fact, they are a sleeper pick for best tag team. They’ve always delivered and Omori has shown how he’s developing into a hell of a wrestler both in the ring and personality-wise. Kodama has been very good too. I’ve criticized him in the past for not always bringing his best effort, but when he’s being pushed, he works hard. This match should be pretty good. Minoru (Tanaka) is still great and Toshizo (Ryuji Hijikata) can still go despite only being a part-time wrestler.

The finish here will be interesting. Voodoo Murders are getting a big push (more on that later) so you can’t discount them here. However, I think a loss would be deflating for Total Eclipse who should be dropping the titles to a team with longer term prospects (like the Saito Brothers once they return from excursion). Toshizo is also the GAORA TV Champion, so he doesn’t need another title. For that reason, I’m going with Total Eclipse. Prediction: Hokuto Omori & Yusuke Kodama

SHOTARO ASHINO, RYUKI HONDA & SEIGO TACHIBANA VS. STRONGHEARTS (T-HAWK, SHIGEHIRO IRIE & EL LINDAMAN)

This match builds up to the World Tag Team title match on July 18 between Ashino and Honda vs. T-Hawk & Irie. I have zero doubt this will be an absolute banger. Everyone here is a great worker, including Tachibana who I think is criminally underrated. I expect Stronghearts to pin Tachibana here which I think will tell you who wins the tag title match on July 18. Prediction: T-Hawk, Shigehiro Irie & El Lindaman

PWF WORLD JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
TIGER MASK © VS. DAN TAMURA

As you will see on the next show, New Japan requires a certain amount of successful title defenses that Tiger Mask must have before he drops the belt. It is nice to see Tamura get a shot here even if he has recently lost many matches. I love Tamura’s lovable loser persona and he is a nice little worker, especially in tags, but I don’t think he has the skill set like Hikaru Sato has to be able to have a good match with someone Tiger Mask’s age and physical condition. Perhaps with my expectations low they will be exceeded. Prediction: Tiger Mask

YUMA AOYAGI & ATSUKI AOYAGI VS. REAL BLOOD (NAOYA NOMURA & MIZUKI WATASE)

Nomura’s return to All Japan continues. He’s called out all of the big stars, but Yuma Aoyagi is his main target given their history together. This should be a heated match and I expect REAL BLOOD to give the Aoyagi Brothers a beating. They will probably win here as they’ve got to keep Nomura hot because I think he will have some big singles matches coming up soon. This will be Watase’s second-ever match in All Japan, and he hasn’t appeared in the company since 2017. Prediction: Naoya Nomura & Mizuki Watase

TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP
JAKE LEE © VS. SUWAMA

There hasn’t been a match in All Japan that has made me panic this much in a while. Given the push the Voodoo Murders are receiving, I am deathly afraid Suwama will win here. That’s a bad idea for many reasons. First, Suwama winning here suggests that Suwama vs. Miyahara will be the Budokan main event in September. That’s a tired match that doesn’t project what the company should be about now. Second, if Lee loses here in his first defense after finally beating Miyahara in a Triple Crown match for the first time, that makes him look like a massive geek. Third, Suwama being Triple Crown Champion again will undermine a lot of the goodwill that All Japan has been steadily building back up this year after a disappointing run from late 2020 to late 2021.

I’m not expecting much from this match either. The chemistry between these two is fine, but not as high as Lee or Suwama both have with Miyahara for example. Plus Suwama is in full heel mode and will probably use a chair and maybe even a guardrail as a weapon at some point. All I want is this match to be over and Lee to win. Gun to my head and I think Lee wins this and I’m going with him for my prediction but I don’t feel comfortable enough to say it’s a slam dunk given how Voodoo Murders have been booked. Prediction: Jake Lee

JULY 18
OSAKA FLOWER EXPO MEMORIAL PARK TSURUMI RYOKUCHI HANAMIZUKI HALL
OSAKA, JAPAN

TOTAL ECLIPSE (HOKUTO OMORI & YUSUKE KODAMA) VS. YOSHITATSU & OJI SHIIBA

It’s nice to see Shiiba getting another booking in All Japan. He is someone I hope we see a lot more of. I’m sure he will do most of the work for his team in this match which is a good thing as he will gel well with Total Eclipse. He’s going to take the fall though. Prediction: Hokuto Omori & Yusuke Kodama

BLACK MENSO~RE VS. KUMA ARASHI

Arashi returns after a short absence. They rotate him and Koji Doi out every so often. He is probably on this show and in this match, in particular, to heat him up for the Royal Road Tournament. Perhaps he will get a run for several rounds in it or a high-profile match against a big name. This will be another squash that poor Menso~re has to endure. Prediction: Kuma Arashi

JAKE LEE, CYRUS, & TAKAO OMORI VS. SHUJI ISHIKAWA, KOHEI SATO & REN AYABE

This is a match of large men. It should be a lot of fun given everyone involved. I would expect Cyrus to get a lot of time to show off what he can do in this, and he will probably end up pinning Ayabe too. Prediction: Jake Lee, Cyrus & Takao Omori

YUMA AOYAGI, ATSUKI AOYAGI, ZEUS & THE BODYGUARD VS. YUJI NAGATA, DAN TAMURA, HIKARU SATO & RYO INOUE

This match is listed as having either Tamura or Tiger Mask participate depending on who loses the PWF Jr. title match on July 14, but it’s obvious who is winning that. Zeus and The Bodyguard return to All Japan for the first time since February. It will be nice to see Zeus and The Bodyguard mix it up with Nagata. There’s not much more to say about this match other than it will be fun and everyone will get a chance to shine. With Inoue in here, it’s clear who is eating the pin. Prediction: Yuma Aoyagi, Atsuki Aoyagi, Zeus & The Bodyguard

NEXTREAM (KENTO MIYAHARA & RISING HAYATO) VS. VOODOO MURDERS (SUWAMA & TARU)

These tag matches with TARU haven’t been great, but they certainly haven’t been awful either. I expect that to be the case here. Miyahara and Suwama will brawl around ring side and HAYATO will take a beating from Voodoo Murders and ultimately get pinned. Given HAYATO’s performance’s lately, the closing stretch of this match could actually be pretty good by the standards of a match involving TARU. Prediction: Suwama & TARU

PWF WORLD JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
TIGER MASK © VS. IZANAGI

Again, the champion going into this match depends on the result on July 14, but with Tiger Mask an obvious winner, I’m going with that. I think Tiger Mask will mix better with Izanagi than with Dan Tamura. Izanagi is a much better technical wrestler. He will probably try his trickery to get a flash pin, but Tiger Mask is definitely going to win in the end. This is just another filler defense before Tiger Mask hopefully drops the title to Atsuki Aoyagi at the Budokan in September. Prediction: Tiger Mask

WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
SHOTARO ASHINO & RYUKI HONDA VS. STRONGHEARTS (T-HAWK & SHIGEHIRO IRIE)

I can’t think of a match on these two shows that I am more excited for. This match could not only be a banger but has a chance to be one of Japan’s top tag team matches this year. While the official match order hasn’t been released, I think it’s safe to say that this will be the main event which only adds to its chance to be great. Ashino and Honda, despite the weird fit at first, have really found their chemistry, while T-Hawk and Irie have been tremendous everywhere they go.

I don’t think you can discount StrongHearts here, but All Japan seems pretty committed to Ashino and Honda and with GLEAT introducing the G-INFINITY tag titles very soon, it seems strange for StrongHearts to win here. I would suspect Irie gets pinned but I would not be shocked if T-Hawk does either as he beat Ashino in the Champion Carnival and has felt like an afterthought while El Lindaman gets all the glory. Prediction: Shotaro Ashino & Ryuki Honda

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