ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
SUMMER ACTION SERIES
JULY 18
OSAKA FLOWER EXPO MEMORIAL PARK TSURUMI RYOKUCHI HANAMIZUKI HALL
OSAKA, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

TOTAL ECLIPSE (HOKUTO OMORI & YUSUKE KODAMA) DEF. YOSHITATSU & OJI SHIIBA (6:42)

This was a good opener. Total Eclipse worked over Shiiba for much of it, but the Dragongate alum still got to show off a lot of his fast-paced and high-flying moves. Yoshitatsu didn’t get in the way. Omori especially got to show off his stuff and he has been wrestling with a new level of confidence lately.

Omori made Shiiba submit to a Half Crab. ***¼

KUMA ARASHI DEF. BLACK MENSO~RE (4:39)

It dawned on me recently that we haven’t seen much of Arashi and Koji Doi lately because they’ve probably been cycled out in favor of the Voodoo Murders, Yuji Nagata and Tiger Mask. It is what it is.

On his way to the ring, Arashi pointed to someone in the crowd wearing a Tiger Mask mask and a New Japan lion mark shirt. I got a chuckle out of that.

This wasn’t a total squash. There was a fair amount of comedy. Menso~re got in some moves using trickery and they brawled on the ramps leading to other levels of the venue. When they got back in the ring, Menso~re tried several roll up pin attempts but Arashi caught him with a running crossbody and soon followed that up with a Diving Senton from the top rope to get the pin fall.

This was enjoyable for what it was and it was nice to see Arashi again. ***

JAKE LEE, CYRUS, & TAKAO OMORI DEF. SHUJI ISHIKAWA, KOHEI SATO & REN AYABE (10:35)

All Japan Pro Wrestling, where the big boys play.

Credit goes to Ishikawa here who really sold Cyrus’ slaps. The company seems keen to get him over as a monster.

Mostly everyone got in their spots here, though Sato really didn’t do a whole lot.

Cyrus hit a cannonball to Ayabe in the corner which looked impressive. Ayabe kicked out of a Chokeslam from Cyrus, but got pinned by the monster after a Vader Bomb.

How can you not like a match with so many tall (and in Cyrus’ case also wide) men? So far, Cyrus has been perfectly serviceable for what they want to do with him. After the match, Cyrus and Ishikawa sized each other up, as did Ayabe and Lee, teasing upcoming matches in the first round of the Royal Road Tournament next month. ***

YUMA AOYAGI, ATSUKI AOYAGI, ZEUS & THE BODYGUARD DEF. YUJI NAGATA, DAN TAMURA, HIKARU SATO & RYO INOUE (14:29)

Yuma came out with a handheld electric fan, as it was 32 degrees celsius in Osaka.

Zeus and The Bodyguard returned here to All Japan for the first time since February. Zeus is now sporting a completely shaved head. And I’m pretty sure this is the first time that Zeus and The Bodyguard have ever been in the ring with Nagata.

So of course, Nagata and Zeus started this match and engaged in a test of strength. Zeus was stronger but Nagata managed to suplex him to escape.

Tamura ended up getting worked over for a while. Then things picked up into a pretty fast paced match. The Aoyagis were the glue that held this together. They are firing on all cylinders right now in the ring. Hopefully All Japan doesn’t keep them in a holding pattern for much longer.

Inoue kicked out of a High Kick from The Bodyguard but then passed out in The Bodyguard’s Camel Clutch to end the match.

This was a lot of fun, and it was very cool to see Nagata interacting with Zeus and The Bodyguard for the first time. ***½

NEXTREAM (KENTO MIYAHARA & RISING HAYATO) VS. VOODOO MURDERS (SUWAMA & TARU) (13:30)

Well this was a Voodoo Murders match. Plenty of brawling on the outside, and Suwama got a table from under the ring. HAYATO and Suwama actually did some wrestling at one point that was pretty good but it was not to last.

Like Dan Tamura before him, it was HAYATO’s chance to live out his kinks as TARU whipped him.

Things did improve in the late stages of this match until Suwama pulled referee Daisuke Kamibayashi in front of a Miyahara high kick. Then the chairs came out.

Voodoo Murders tried to sow some confusion with the referee and this led to TARU using the power which allowed Suwama to pin Miyahara after a Backdrop. Good Lord. This is building to the first round match in the Royal Road Tournament between Miyahara and Suwama. That might not even happen now as Suwama got on the mic and said he was boycotting the Royal Road tournament and said he would face the winner at the Budokan. TARU said he would take Suwama’s place and if he won, Miyahara would have to re-join Voodoo Murders. That has not been made official as of yet. I am scared where this angle could go.

As for the match itself, some perfectly good wrestling in here got drowned out by the nonsense. HAYATO looked great.

I don’t know how much longer I can take of the Voodoo Murders stuff now. I was fine with it as a nostalgia act for the 50th anniversary when it didn’t involve the Triple Crown. **¼

PWF WORLD JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
TIGER MASK © DEF. IZANAGI (12:36)

Izanagi took control early on, but Tiger Mask began to wear him down with strikes. It would not be an Izanagi match without him going for many cradle pin attempts which he of course, did.

Izanagi kicked out of quite a few big moves from Tiger Mask like a Tiger Driver and a top rope Butterfly Suplex. Tiger Mask then hit the Chicken Wing Facelock Suplex and a Tiger Suplex to get the win and his V2 defense of the title.

For a Jr. title match between a 46-year-old Izanagi and a 51-year-old Tiger Mask, this was actually decent even if the winner was never in doubt.

After the match, Hokuto Omori came out to challenge Tiger Mask. If that match happens before the Budokan show, expect Tiger Mask to be victorious. ***¼

WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
SHOTARO ASHINO & RYUKI HONDA VS. STRONGHEARTS (T-HAWK & SHIGEHIRO IRIE) (20:56)

Yusuke Kodama accompanied Ashino and Honda to the ring. In his backstage comments, Hokuto Omori said he and Kodama would be taking a break as a tag team though they still like each other. Looks like no one wants anything to do with Jake Lee these days LOL.

T-Hawk got worked over for a while, but StrongHearts turned the tide, and Honda became the whipping boy. Irie was really delivering some nasty-looking elbows to Honda.

Ashino and T-Hawk had some great strike exchanges in this, just completely laying it into each other.

Ashino and Honda hit a double Final Event on Irie. T-Hawk came into the ring and chopped both of them But Honda was able to clear him out and Ashino was able to hit the T-Bone Suplex on Irie for the victory.

This was pretty damn good. Really stiff action and lots of suplexes. The action was non-stop with little downtime. Ashino and Honda were both great, though I’d say that they could certainly work on their chemistry and the amount of double-team moves they use when compared to StrongHearts. Another factor keeping this from being even better was that Ashino and Honda never truly felt in trouble. I didn’t think StrongHearts got any big near falls that made you think they might win.

Anyway, this was one of the better tag matches I’ve seen this year in Japan. ****

FINAL THOUGHTS

This was a pretty decent show. The main event certainly washed the taste out of my mouth of the debacle that was the Triple Crown match on the last Korakuen Hall show.

At this point, it seems like the Budokan’s main event will be Kento Miyahara vs. Suwama or Yuji Nagata vs. Suwama. I think it will come down to whether or not they are stupid enough to actually have Miyahara join Voodoo Murders or not.

At this point, going back to Miyahara vs. Suwama again, is far from the worst thing they could do at the Budokan, given the position they’ve put themselves in.

At least Ashino and Honda’s tag title reign is something the company is doing right.

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