ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
RAISING AN ARMY MEMORIAL SERIES 2022
OCTOBER 23, 2022
OSAKA EDION ARENA #2
YOSHITATSU & TAJIRI DEF. IZANAGI & BLACK MENSO~RE (6:31)
This was surprising in that it was all action and no comedy and it was relatively fast paced as well, which was a bit of a surprise considering some of the wrestlers involved. Yoshitatsu pinned Menso~re with the Cockroach Driver 2022. A true gentleman’s three. ***
VOODOO MURDERS (JUN SAITO & REI SAITO) (w/ TARU) DEF. YUJI NAGATA & YUMA ANZAI
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but TARU as the manager for the Saito Brothers is a good fit. I would prefer it though if they had just ditched the whole Voodoo Murders faction and slotted TARU into that role instead.
This was a step up from the Saito Brothers’ match from the day before. While their control periods of working over Anzai were a bit dry, things really did pick up when Nagata got in there and during the closing stretch. He always works well with less experienced talent. Anzai for his part looked good and showed some fire.
Rei pinned Anzai with a Cobra Clutch Slam. ***
ALL ASIA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
HIKARU SATO & DAN TAMURA © DEF. GUNGNIR OF ANARCHY (YUSUKE KODAMA & SEIGO TACHIBANA) (13:26)
This was good. There was very little downtime and it was back-and-forth action with neither team in control for an extended period of time.
Tachibana in particular was the standout. When he works a serious style, he’s great. His closing stretch with Tamura was really good with lots of big moves and near falls.
Sato jumped into the ring to put Kodama in an Ankle Lock while Tamura pinned Tachibana after a Death Valley Bomb.
Sato and Tamura succeed in their V2 defense. After the match Yoshitatsu and TAJIRI came out to challenge for the titles next. ***¾
STRONGHEARTS (T-HAWK, EL LINDAMAN, ISSEI ONITSUKA & SHIGEHIRO IRIE) DEF. JAKE LEE, YUMA AOYAGI, HOKUTO OMORI & RYO INOUE (10:16)
This was a ton of fun. Stronghearts began with them clowning on Lee which was hilarious. Lee would get his revenge later when he gave every member of Stronghearts an Atomic Drop.
The rest of the match was fast paced with Stronghearts bringing their usual viciousness mixed with taunting their opponents.
In the end, Inoue got quadruple-teamed and was pinned by Onitsuka after a Spear.
I thought Lee showed way more charisma than usual here and he played off of Stronghearts taunting him very well. Maybe there’s still hope for him, but i wouldn’t hold my breath. ***½
TAKAO OMORI, SHUJI ISHIKAWA & THE BODYGUARD DEF. KENTO MIYAHARA, RISING HAYATO & OJI SHIIBA (12:02)
There was a big size discrepancy between these two teams, but they made it work. The giants even gave Shiiba, who has been mostly an opening match guy in All Japan, a decent amount of offense. Once again, like in his match with Ishikawa yesterday, HAYATO has proven himself to work well against larger opponents.
The final few minutes were quite fast paced with Shiiba getting some shine and managed to kick out of a big Lariat from The Bodyguard, but then submitted to the Camel Clutch. ***½
PWF WORLD JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
ATSUKI AOYAGI © DEF. MINORU (16:09)
If you were skeptical that All Japan was really going to try to make Aoyagi the Jr. ace and a star, you don’t have to be anymore.
Minoru had his working boots on here and busted stuff out like a Moonsault to the outside which I haven’t seen him doTtttttttttttttt in a while. He got in lots of offense here, but so did Aoaygi and the veteran never ate the young champion up.
There were some dramatic near falls in this down the stretch and it felt like that if anyone could score a surprise flash pin, it would be Minoru.
This also built to Aoyagi having to really pull everything out to pin the challenger. Minoru kicked out of a Moonsault that was set up by a top rope Frankensteiner. Aoyagi then won the match with the Firebird Splash.
It was nice to see this match not have any Voodoo Murders shenanigans and I was impressed with how Minoru put Aoyagi over. Minoru even showed some respect to Aoyagi after the match which would come back to haunt him later. Aoyagi succeeds in his V2 defense.
After the match, Aoyagi got on the mic and all the Jrs. on the roster came out to confront him. It was then reported that Aoyagi wants a tournament to determine his next challenger which sets up the next Jr. Battle of Glory tournament in December. ****
WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
VOODOO MURDERS (SUWAMA & KONO) DEF. GUNGNIR OF ANARCHY (SHOTARO ASHINO & RYUKI HONDA) © (15:39)
Voodoo Murders attacked before the bell because, you guessed it, Voodoo Murders.
Ashino and Honda did well when they were in control, but KONO and Suwama brought the cheating, including hitting referee Daisuke Kamibayashi with a chair which allowed the Saito Brothers to jump in the ring to interfere. The other members of Gungnir of Anarchy then got involved.
Ashino then got Suwama in an Ankle Lock but TARU threw powder and distracted the referee. This allowed KONO to hit a top rope knee drop on Ashino and then Suwama pinned him with a Backdrop.
After the match, Minoru got turfed out of Voodoo Murders and the Saito Brothers hit a Double Chokeslam on him. That’s what you get for failing to win a title.
This was exactly what I dreaded. It was a return to the worst of Voodoo Murders that we saw this past Summer.
With the Real World Tag League coming up, the only acceptable storyline in my opinion is for Ashino and Honda to win it and then get their revenge on Suwama and KONO in January. Hopefully it also leads to Ashino getting his first direct pinfall or submission on Suwama too.
Ashino and Honda have proven to be a tremendous tag team and the company should really go full speed ahead to establish them as the top act in the division.
The champions fail in their V5 defense of the titles. *½
This show drew a crowd of 689 which is the best number All Japan has done in Osaka recently. I would be concerned about how they do next time given the main event we got here.
Up until the main event, this was a good show. I really enjoyed how much they put over Aoyagi and the Jr. division in general but this Voodoo Murders shit has to end.