ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
ROYAL ROAD TOURNAMENT 2022
AUGUST 14, 2022
SHIN-KIBA 1ST RING
TOKYO, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

NON-TOURNAMENT MATCHES

  • Yoshitatsu & Rising HAYATO Draw Evolution (Hikaru Sato & Dan Tamura) (10:00_
  • Three Way Match
    Black Menso~re Def. TAJIRI & Izanagi (5:25)
  • Yuma Aoyagi & Atsuki Aoyagi Def. Ryuki Honda & Yusuke Kodama (9:56)
  • Voodoo Murders (Suwama, KONO & TARU) No Contest Jake Lee, Shuji Ishikawa & Hokuto Omori (7:34)
  • Voodoo Murders (Suwama, KONO, TARU, Minoru & Toshizo) No Contest Yuma Aoyagi, Atsuki Aoyagi, Jake Lee, Shuji Ishikawa & Hokuto Omori (1:57)

ALL ASIA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
VOODOO MURDERS (MINORU & TOSHIZO) DEF. TAKAO OMORI & RYO INOUE (12:41)

Not surprisingly, Voodoo Murders took control early and worked over Inoue. Also not surprisingly, Inoue played that role well and is a great babyface in peril after only seven months as a pro wrestler.

Omori hit the Axe Guillotine Driver on Monoru but referee Daisuke Kamibayashi had been knocked out. Inoue managed to get a couple near falls on Toshizo near the end and kicked out of some stuff too but got pinned by Toshizo after a Fisherman’s Buster.

While there was a referee bump, this was not too heavy on the Voodoo Murders shenanigans and Inoue really got to shine.

After the match, Hikaru Sato and Dan Tamura came out to challenge for the titles. But then out of nowhere, Soma Watanabe and Yu Iizuka of GLEAT also came to thr ring and laid out a challenge. From the promo translations I could find, it sounds as if Watanabe and Iizuka will challenge first at a GLEAT show. Voodoo Murders in GLEAT, who would have guessed? My condolences to all the GLEAT fans out there. ***¼

ROYAL ROAD TOURNAMENT 2022 QUARTER-FINALS
KENTO MIYAHARA DEF. CYRUS (7:02)

Miyahara tried to go fast and hard at Cyrus, but the big man was having none of it. He dominated Miyahara for a while and got a good crowd response out of it. The crowd popped huge whenever Cyrus would do an athletic spot.

Cyrus got several near falls on Miyahara including one after a big Chokeslam. Cyrus missed a Vader Bomb, then Miyahara hit a Blackout Knee followed by a Jackknife Hold to get the win. Cyrus attacked Miyahara after the match and roughed up the ringside attendants.

This was a simple but fun match. Cyrus isn’t the greatest big man, but he’s athletic enough and Miyahara’s selling helps draw you into the match. ***½

ROYAL ROAD TOURNAMENT 2022 QUARTER-FINALS
YUJI NAGATA DEF. SHOTARO ASHINO (14:21)

Lots of grappling to start. Then came the strikes. Nagata seemed to be laying in his kicks a little more than usual which was cool. Ashino got Nagata in a grapevined Ankle Lock for a while that the crowd really bit on before finally making the ropes. I even thought that was it.

Ashino kicked out of a Backdrop but then got pinned with a follow-up Backdrop Hold. While this match didn’t reach a high gear, it was pretty damn good considering how much Nagata is showing his age these days. It was hard-hitting and there were some cool transitions and reversals of holds.

After the match, Nagata invited Dan Tamura into the ring to do the Nagata dance with him which was hilarious. Miyahara then came out to confront Nagata. Then Miyahara did his own version of the Nagata dance, mocking him. Those two will face off in the semi-finals on August 20.

My biggest issue with this was the story leading into this match. On the last show, Ashino came out to face down Nagata when Nagata won his match against Yoshitatsu to set this up. Ashino talked about being unable to pass the test to get into the New Japan Dojo and wanted to prove himself to Nagata. Well, Ashino was unable to do that. Made him look like a bit of a geek, which seems to happen to a few young wrestlers in this company. ***⅔

FINAL THOUGHTS

The fans were able to cheer on this show which definitely helped things. Now they don’t quite cheer like they used to but the pandemic is still raging in Japan right now so that’s more than understandable.

Rising HAYATO had near gear consisting of white pants with black and purple stripes. He also has earrings now and seems to be doing some kind of narcissist gimmick moving forward.

There was an angle after the six-man tag where the Aoyagi Brothers came out and so did Minoru and Toshizo turning it into a 10-man tag briefly before that became another no contest. This angle helped to heat up Yuma Aoyagi again as he has been feeling a little aimless as of late. After the match, Hokuto Omori tweeted that the “main unit” would be standing together against the Voodoo Murders. Not only does that make it sound like Total Eclipse is dead, but it would not surprise me that the September 19 Korakuen Hall show, the day after the 50th-anniversary show at the Budokan has a unit disbandment match and we can hopefully put this Voodoo Murders nonsense behind us.

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