Puroresu Reviews

AJPW 2016 New Years 2 Days Review (1/3/16)

Tokyo, Japan
Korakuen Hall
January 3, 2016

This show is over 20 days old and even before Suwama got injured so it’s pretty outdated by now. This show does look very good. Lots of singles matches and interesting talent being bought in like Ishikawa, Fujiwara and the DDT contingent. I love the in-ring product of All Japan and it’s terrible that they don’t draw and half of their talent roster have left the promotion. Lawrence and myself will be talking about this show on the next Puro in the Rough, whilst you’re patiently waiting for Episode 4 of the podcast, listen to our brand new show that just dropped yesterday!

Ultimo Dragon vs. Keiichi Sato**

This was a fine extended squash for Ultimo. Sato is a (now departed) rookie, he didn’t get much offense in but when he did it looked good. I love Ultimo and would love to see him in NJPW. For most of the bout Ultimo tied Sato in really cool submissions and Sato would always find a way to escape. To be honest there is nothing to write home about here. Ultimo wins with the la-magistral.

Hiroshi Fukuda & Hoshitango vs. Takao Omori & Yuma AoyagiN/R

This match didn’t make tape, thank god.

Keisuke Ishii, Shigehiro Irie & Soma Takao vs. Masanobu Fuchi, SUSHI & SUSHI Kozou***1/4

This was fun. The story of the match early on was that Ishii and Takao didn’t want to tag in Irie even when they’re in control. On the other side of the ring Fuichi didn’t want to tag in SUSHI. A really good comedy match especially when Irie and Fuchi were together. Dare I say this was a very good match. Takao and Ishii are fantastic and made me into a fan of both men. SUSHI and SUSHI Kozou are good especially SUSHI; and Irie is so awesome. This was a perfect mix of comedy and in-ring action. Irie pinned SUSHI after a lariat and a brutal top rope splash.

Jun Akiyama vs. Jake Lee***1/2

This was a good damn fight! Minutes into the match and Akiyama was beating the shit out of Lee throwing him pillar to post. Akiyama hit a goddamn piledriver on the floor! Akiyama used his knees like Kohei Sato uses his kicks. Lee isn’t just another young boy as this kid is incredible with his kicks and fighting spirit. Jake Lee is going to be a star one day. The last few minutes were great: Lee kicked out of Akiyama’s knee strikes on 3 different occasions! He then kicked out of an exploder suplex! Lee hits some forearms but Akiyama drops him and kills poor Jake with a running knee strike.

Atsushi Aoki vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara***

THE RETURN OF THE FUJIWARA FILES! I vowed to review every Yoshiaki Fujiwara match in 2016 and I am keeping my promise. I expected grappling and I got exactly that. I am very glad about that because these two men are some of the best grapplers on the planet. Even at 66, Fujiwara is a great grappler and so exciting to watch. After some mat work, Fujiwara goddamn headbutts himself into the steel support! It sounded like it hurt a lot. Fujiwara then slammed Aoki’s head into the steel support! Fujiwara is a one bad ass fella. If you’re not a fan of guys just rolling around on the mat then you will hate this match; but if you like seeing guys roll around on the canvas for 15 minutes then this match is for you. Nothing crazy. Just 2 guys that like armbars. The two men went to a 15 minute time limit. For a man 66 years old that’s pretty impressive to wrestle for 15 minutes. Tons of respect for Mr. Fujiwara.

(GAORA TV Championship) Yohei Nakajima (c) vs. Naoya Nomura***1/4

The thing with the Japanese Juniors is that they don’t incorporate as much flying into their matches as much as other Juniors do across the globe. They basically just work a heavyweight style match with a little bit more athleticism. This was a fine match, It didn’t live up to my expectations. To be fair though, the crowd were into this bout. Nomura was cheered heavily by Korakuen. Nomura reminds me of a young Misawa in a weird way. He incorporates a lot of elbows into his moveset. Nakajima is pretty good. I don’t think Nomura was the right opponent to have an awesome bout with but I can’t complain. In the end Nakajima retained his belt after a jumping spinning heel kick (much like Asuka’s).

(Elimination Match) Kento Miyahara, Shuji Ishikawa & Zeus vs. Ghilli Man, Hikaru Sato & Suwama*

Quite excited for this Survivor Series type of match. There are 6 MEN involved that will beat the ever living shit out of one another…so I am HYPED! The Ghilli Man is the swamp monster from Chikara, just different people under the suit obviously. It’s interesting looking back because Kento and Zeus are teaming up here but in due time it will be Zeus vs. Kento for the vacant Triple Crown. This legit sucked so much, the crowd hated the match and shit like this is why AJPW is in the state it is in. WHY THAT F**K IS GHILLI MAN IN THE MAIN EVENT???? He got eliminated by Zeus, Sato was eliminated by Ishikawa shortly after. Why couldn’t they just book Ishikawa vs. Sato, or Kento vs. Sato? Why is it a 6 man cluster f**k of a match?! Kento Miyahara was the only good thing about this “match”. He eliminated Suwama after 2 Bridging German suplexes, so if Suwama wasn’t injured it looked like the money match was Suwama vs. Miyahara which could have been excellent which would be the complete opposite of what I just watched.

Disappointing show for All Japan unfortunately. I was in love with the product last year and this show stunk. Not a match over ***1/2. This is probably one of the biggest Korakuen crowds they have had in a long time and thye put an absolute stinker of a show on. I am really glad I didn’t get to see the Hiroshi Fukuda & Hoshitango vs. Takao Omori & Yuma Aoyagi match because I think I would be done with All Japan in general had this been added to the burning fire. They need to understand that if they put on good matches and DELIVER in ring then the business will hopefully turn around; but when they do a show like this it made me lose all excitement for AJPW. Lawrence and myself will somewhat talk about this show on next week’s edition of Puro in the Rough. We also talk about good wrestling unlike what I just viewed in this AJPW show.

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