ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
NEW YEAR GIANT SERIES 2023
JANUARY 3, 2022
EVOLUTION (HIKARU SATO & DAN TAMURA) DEF. RISING HAYATO & RYO INOUE (8:07)
This was some solid pro wrestling. Inoue and Sato really laid into each other which was the highlight. Inoue continues to improve his ring presence every time out and is starting to work in a lot more little things between big spots.
Tamura pinned Inoue with a Death Valley Bomb. Just another sign the All Japan Jr. division is moving in the right direction. ***½
MITSUYA NAGAI & BLACK MENSO~RE DEF. GUNGNIR OF ANARCHY (YUSUKE KODAMA & MASAO HANABATA) (6:08)
A perfectly acceptable match with some comedy thrown in. Nagai seems to actually be better in the ring now than he was during his NOAH run a couple years ago when he was in Hooligans.
I didn’t like Nagai submitting Hanabata with the Stretch Plum. GOA is a team you can do something with and Menso~re could have easily taken a fall here. **¾
NAOYA NOMURA DEF. RYUKI HONDA (6:49)
Hell yeah, these boys just started running into each other at the bell and didn’t let up. They pummeled each other and did a bunch of no-selling fighting spirit stuff.
Honda gained a lot of dominance but Nomura escaped from a Final Vent attempt and soon hit the Spear and Jackknife Hold combo to get the pin.
This definitely delivered but if given more time they could have an awesome match. ***¾
Atsushi Onita then came out and Yoshitatsu confronted him so that’s where we’re headed.
VOODOO MURDERS (SUWAMA, JUN SAITO & REI SAITO) DEF. YUJI NAGATA, YOSHITATSU & YUMA ANZAI (8:49)
Since Yoshitatsu was already in the ring, Voodoo Murders ambushed him then Anzai and Nagata rushed out. That didn’t quite work as Voodoo Murders worked over Yoshitatsu some more once the match actually got underway.
So the rest of this was actually a fun little squash. Suwama choked out Yoshitatsu to get the win.
After the match, we finally got a Voodoo Murders breakup angle. Suwama wanted to beat up referee Daisuke Kamibayashi but the Saitos were reluctant. Suwama held Kamibayashi for TARU to throw powder at but Kamibayashi got out of the way and Suwama got hit. This led to brawling with the Saitos which I hope means thus sordid Voodoo Murders storyline is ending soon. ***
ALL ASIA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
NOSAWA RONGAI & KENDO KASHIN DEF.TAKAO OMORI & MASAO INOUE © DEF. (14:59)
ATM came out with Rongai and Kashin which is very interesting. Your company’s biggest sponsor is chumming around with Rongai. Start your speculation now.
Kashin sucks. He doesn’t do much and his comedy isn’t funny. Inoue is better than him. When Kashin wasn’t being actively offensive, the rest of this match was just very dry.
For some reason Kashin broke up a pin that his partner had on Omori. A little later on, Rongai hit a low blow on Omori and got the pin with a small package. Dear God NOSAWA-ism is here in All Japan. Be afraid. DUD
MINORU SUZUKI, NARUKI DOI & HOKUTO OMORI DEF. SHUJI ISHIKAWA, YUMA AOYAGI & ATSUKI AOYAGI (8:13)
This was all about establishing Suzuki’s new faction, if you can call it that.
This was a lot of fun. This new Suzuki-gun worked like they had been teaming for a while. They dominated early on but the All Japan Hontai team looked like they might turn the tide towards the end. But Omori managed to pin Atsuki with the Muso Issen.
This was a good debut for this new group and I’m excited to see where this goes. ***½
TRIPLE CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP
KENTO MIYAHARA DEF. TAKUYA NOMURA © (28:42)
In many ways, this was structured like a big Miyahara singles match. In others, it was very different. There was the slow build with some brawling on the outside early on. But what set this apart from other Miyahara Triple Crown matches was the intensity and the stiffness. Nomura absolutely laid into Miyahara and the Triple Crown Champion returned the favor. Even his Blackout Knees looked like they landed with more impact.
I could see this match being divisive. I don’t think a lot of people will say it’s bad, but debate just how good it is. For me, I thought this was a nice change of pace from the usual Miyahara match. It brought out an intensity in Miyahara that we haven’t seen in ages. Nomura also got to look like a million bucks and with the events of the past two days, we will be seeing more of him in All Japan this year.
After the match both Yuma Aoyagi and Yuji Nagata came out to challenge. Miyahara said that Nagata still had to prove himself because he had basically lost his spot in New Japan (ouch). Aoyagi offered to give Nagata the first title shot if successful (he also recently promised this to Taichi).
So I have a number of feelings about this. I really don’t think Aoyagi should face Miyahara again for the Triple Crown unless he’s finally beating Miyahara. While I don’t think that’s impossible, I would have figured it would happen at one of the Ota Ward Gym or Yoyogi National Gym #2 shows they have scheduled later this year. But if they are doing the match next month, then Aoyagi should win. ****½
This show drew 1041 which was actually 14 less than the day before. The first show drawing more than the second is a rare occurrence. But both these numbers are up over what All Japan was doing in Korakuen throughout most of 2022 so they should be seen as a success.
There was a lot of stuff that was just middling on these two shows. But with the Voodoo Murders breaking up, Suzuki’s new faction and an incredible Triple Crown match, things are looking better for All Japan than they were before the Real World Tag League started.
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