ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
50TH ANNIVERSARY IN SANJO ~ THE SOUL OF THE CHAMPION
OCTOBER 22, 2022
SANJO CITY PUBLIC WELFARE HALL
SANJO, NIIGATA, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

TAJIRI & TAKURO NIKI DEF. IZANAGI & BLACK MENSO~RE (7:31)

Niki is a young wrestler from 2AW with some potential. This had a little bit of comedy in it but was mostly wrestled in a straight style, which the three veterans in this match don’t do that much lately. But it was a welcome change of pace and a nice little Jr. heavyweight style opener. TAJIRI pinned Izanagi with a Sunset Flip. ***

SHUJI ISHIKAWA DEF. RISING HAYATO (7:49)

Despite the large size difference between these two wrestlers, HAYATO managed to get in a good amount of offense here and had some big kick outs. It was wrestled at a quick pace and was a lot of fun. Ishikawa won with a running knee after HAYATO kicked out of a Fire Thunder Driver.

The biggest problem with this match was having HAYATO lose to a heavyweight after he just had a tremendous match challenging for the Jr. title three weeks ago. But given what HAYATO was able to get in here, I think the company sees that they have still elevated him. ***¼

VOODOO MURDERS (JUN SAITO & REI SAITO) DEF. HIKARU SATO & DAN TAMURA (10:31)

Sato and Tamura got the jump on the Saitos early on, but then the Saitos took control and brawled around the outside for a bit. The Saitos would remain in control for most of the rest of the match. This match was actually better when Sato and Tamura were in control and they had some really fun comebacks.

I think the point of this match was to demonstrate that the Saitos are above the All Asia Tag Team titles by beating the champs here in a non-title match. While that happened, I can’t say the Saitos looked that good, but they did some cool power moves. Rei pinned Tamura after a Piledriver. This wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t great either. The Saitos certainly need more experience but they’ve also demonstrated that they work best when they are wrestling other large guys. **¾

YOSHITATSU 20TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL MATCH
SUWAMA DEF. YOSHITATSU (10:44)

Can you believe it? It’s been 20 years of Yoshitatsu. It seems like only yesterday that Naofumi Yamamoto was a young lion in New Japan with a huge amount of potential. Anyway, good opponent choice for Yoshitatsu here because in the past, these two have had shockingly great chemistry.

This wasn’t so much the case here though. Both men are getting older, and are well into their mid-40s now, but the bigger issue here I think was Suwama’s Voodoo Murders persona which led to some mindless brawling and cheap stuff like face rakes. Jun Saito also briefly interfered on the outside. Suwama got the win after a Backdrop. Definitely the weakest singles match I’ve ever seen these two have. **½

ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL MATCH IN SANJO
MASANOBU FUCHI, ATSUSHI ONITA & YUMA ANZAI DEF. JINSEI SHINZAKI, MASAO INOUE & RYO INOUE (14:02)

What’s a bigger vote of confidence in Anzai then having him team with Atsushi Motherfucking Onita, in the fourth match of his career?

Fuchi was wearing his All Japan track jacket from the early 1980s. You may have seen the one, red and black with the name on the back. Definitely one of my favorites, this was very nice to see.

But instead of letting Anzai and Ryo Inoue wrestle the bulk of this match, they went with the old guys, and that meant a lot of Masao Inoue. When Anzai and Ryo Inoue did face off, they did the best work of the match.

Onita spit green mist in Masao Inoue’s face, and everyone did all of their classic spots. Shinzaki still looks ageless. Fuchi pinned Masao Inoue with an inside cradle. While this could have been structured differently to have a better quality of match, and did go too long, it really wasn’t about that. The crowd really seemed to enjoy Onita’s post match promo. **½

GUNGNIR OF ANARCHY (SHOTARO ASHINO, RYUKI HONDA, YUSUKE KODAMA & SEIGO TACHIBANA) DEF. JAKE LEE, YUMA AOYAGI, ATSUKI AOYAGI & HOKUTO OMORI (13:42)

This was a pretty darn good match. Lots of action with a little bit of high flying thrown in from the Jrs. They didn’t go balls out here, but it was eight talented wrestlers doing their thing. They didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it was fun. I think this helped to establish Gungnir of Anarchy as a strong faction, they really laid in a beating on Omori and were able to withstand Yuma Aoyagi and Lee from trying to establish dominance.

Honda pinned Omori with the Final Vent. ***½

TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP – TAKAO OMORI 30TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL MATCH
KENTO MIYAHARA © DEF. TAKAO OMORI (24:41)

Masanobu Fuchi and Masao Inoue were in Omori’s corner for this match which was a nice touch.

Miyahara targeted Omori’s right arm to try to neutralize the Axe Bomber. Omori managed to fight back and hit an Axe Bomber on Miyahara while he was trying to climb the top rope, sending the champion tumbling to the floor.

They teased, after Miyahara really roughed Omori up at one point, that Fuchi would throw in the towel, but Omori managed to recover and hit a last ditch Dragon Suplex to save himself.

Miyahara had clearly underestimated this 53-year-old opponent because Omori managed to hit an Axe Guillotine Driver and several Axe Bombers for near falls that got the crowd to make some noise. Miyahara would endure, eventually landing some Blackout Knees and then the Shutdown German Suplex to get the win.

This was not as fast paced as many other Miyahara title matches but that was to be expected. They did build up to all of the big moves in this very well. I think they told a great story here with Omori managing to surprise the champion with his toughness and ability to fight on after taking a beating. And while Omori was not the fastest wrestler here, he certainly didn’t look sloppy at all.

Miyahara succeeded in his V2 of his sixth Triple Crown reign. This was a fitting tribute to All Japan’s 50th anniversary and Omori’s 30th anniversary as well. ****

FINAL THOUGHTS

This show drew 1,018 which is a great number for All Japan these days outside of Tokyo. No doubt the Takao Omori anniversary and this being billed as a 50th anniversary show in Giant Baba’s hometown helped. It will be interesting to see how All Japan does in Osaka tomorrow with a much more stacked card from top to bottom.

There was not much angle advancement on this show and the undercard was weaker than usual, but at least the young talent was positioned well on this card.