AJPW Raising An Army Zeus Debut 10th Anniversary Show
Watch: The RealHero Archive
Edion Arena – Osaka, Japan
Takoyakida & Ultimate Spider Jr. vs. SUSHI & Yohei Nakajima**
Takoyakida has worked BJW this year as well as Osaka Pro and Ultimate Spider Jr. has worked a lot of Osaka Pro and also Dove Pro. Akiyama keeps using guys from the local indie promotions to help sell tickets to the show. I remember Izzac mentioning this on a Puro in the Rough podcast before. Cheap plug: Everyone make sure you check out the PITR podcast here on the site, which is also available on The RealHero Archive! It is the most comprehensive podcast for Japanese graps out there today! Now back to the opener. It was fun watching these two masked wrestlers. They both looked pretty good here. Nakajima and SUSHI are becoming a favorite midcard tag team for me. They did some nice combo moves and Nakajima surprised me with a headstand in the corner which he used to execute a hurracanrana to one of the guys off the top rope. The match was real short at about 6 minutes and Ultimate Spider scored the surprise pin on SUSHI when he caught him with a Rey Mysterio style frankensteiner pin combo.
Takoyakida & Ultimate Spider Jr def. SUSHI & Yohei Nakajima
Katsumi Oribe vs Takao Omori**1/4
Fun fact #1: Katsumi Oribe was trained by Tigers Mask as was Takoyakida who we saw in the opener. Fun fact #2: Oribe works often for Dotonbori Pro. Fun fact #3: Wrestling With Words El Presidente Trask recently watched Oribe wrestle at his local indie in Vancouver, BC. That is a pretty cool connection here in this match. Solid contest. Oribe is a 3 year pro and he looks pretty good. He wears a Tajiri style ring outfit and he has some nice kicks. Story of the match is that Omori is way too experienced for Oribe but Oribe shows a lot of fighting spirit as it takes Omori a couple of tries to put him away. First Omori hits a nice Chris Hero style piledriver but Oribe kicks out at 2. Omori follows up with a Tenzan like spinning wheel kick but again Oribe kicks out. Finally Omori says enough is enough and delivers his axe bomber lariat for a decisive victory 6:35 seconds into the match.
Takao Omori def. Katsumi Oribe
NEXTREAM (Jake Lee & Yuma Aoyagi) & Soma Takao vs HAYATA, Rikiya Fudo & YO-HEY***
Oh boy, was this awesome! First let’s do a quick profile on a couple of these guys. HAYATA is a 10 year pro who works a lot of indies. It looks like FREEDOMS is his main promotion where he is one half of the tag champions and he also works Dove Pro and has worked BASARA a couple of times this year. YO-HEY is a 7 year vet, also works Dove Pro along with other indies including Ganbare Pro which Izzac always shouts out and is an off shoot of DDT. First time seeing these guys and wow am I impressed. I see why Izzac is so big on these small Japanese indies with talent like this wrestling for them. This match makes me want to search out some smaller indie puroresu right away. Jake Lee and Fudo worked so good against each other. Super stiff and realistic. Deadly looking offense. I swear I thought Fudo had the match won with a blue thunder bomb that crushed Jake hard to the mat, but unbelievably and to my utter joy Lee kicked out at two. Then came the icing on the cake. After a failed attempt to get Fudo up for a back drop driver, Lee summoned all his strength and hit back to back, back drop drivers to finish off Fudo some 7 minutes into a really good match.
Jake Lee, Yuma Aoyagi & Soma Takao def. HAYATA, YO-HEY & Rikiya Fudo
Hikaru Sato vs Masashi Takeda***1/2
So much to say about this match. So much praise to heap on these two men. Where to begin? Well first of all I have to say that no matter how many times I see Takeda wrestle, I will never fully be able to understand the mentality of the deathmatch fighter as I look at how badly scarred his body is. I just shudder to think of the pain of flesh being torn open by barbed wire and glass, etc. He is truly a warrior who deserves the utmost respect, as do all of the men and woman who sacrifice their bodies for this great sport. This is a fantastic meat and potatoes style Japanese mat based, grappling based wrestling match. Absolutely a fun easy watch. Great mat work by both men, devastating strikes, a sick Dino Bravo style backbreaker by Takeda off the ring apron to the floor on Sato. As you would expect from Sato lots of deadly looking kicks. What a finishing sequence as Takeda hits a half and half and follows it up with a running knee to Sato who is in the sitting position for a near fall. It looks like Takeda has the better of Sato but out of nowhere Sato grabs a armbar from the bottom and Takeda is caught in the middle of the ring. The armbar is in tight and Takeda taps almost instantly for a very realistic MMA style submission and the victory. Real good work here. Highly recommend as it’s a easy 10 minute match to watch and really really good.
Hikaru Sato def. Masashi Takeda
Billy Ken Kid, Jun Akiyama & Koji Iwamoto vs. Kazuaki Mihara, Shoichi Uchida & Tadasuke**1/4
Three more indie guys so let’s do some quick profiles! Kazuaki Mihara is a 8 year pro who works mostly for Dotonbori Pro. Fun fact #4: Mihara works sometimes as Johnel Sanders, a Col Sanders gimmick which I must see! (Eat your heart out Ziggler.) Fun fact #5: Mihara has a move called the flying sausage! Shoichi Uchida is a 12 year vet and works Dove pro a lot alongside some DDT appearances and various other indies. Tadasuke is a 9 year vet and worked FMW the day after this show in a parking lot it appears (which is so awesome). He also works Osaka Pro, Dove Pro and Dotonbori Pro. Osaka seems to have a thriving wrestling scene based on all these indie promotions. Anyways this match is in a tough spot on this card trying to follow the previous two matches and a pretty big tag match up after it as well. Billy Ken Kid got the crowd into the match with some flying to the outside and some high energy movement inside the ring punctuated by something he said which made the crowd laugh and cheer him on. Akiyama never even tagged in the match which was awesome for him. At 47 years old he deserves the rest tonight. Not much to say about the three guys they faced. Did not really get a impression about them one way or the other. Finish of the match was awesome as we got an Irish whip, judo throw, knee to the face combo as Ken Kid took the win for Team Akiyama.
Billy Ken Kid, Jun Akiyama & Koji Iwamoto def Kazuaki Mihara, Shoichi Uchida & Tadsuke
NEXTREAM (Kento Miyahara & Naoya Nomura) vs. Konosuke Takeshita & Ryouji Sai***1/2
What a great tag match as the semi-main. Incredible action here in this contest. Sai looked so good, kicking the crap out of Nomura in the early going. Miyahara and Sai looked great together as well. Always good to see Takeshita in the All Japan ring. I feel like he would benefit from spending more time with these guys. He will be so good in 5 years. He is already good but give him time to mature and gain more experience against top guys, and he will be so much better. They had me biting on some of the near falls which was awesome. Miyahara did the no selling of the German suplex by Sai, but collapsed to the mat after delivering his own German in response, which shows Miyahara must be listening to Timothy on the TWIW podcast who explained the no sell is okay if the guy collapses right after, which shows it was a burst of adrenaline which allowed him to withstand the effects of the move albeit temporarily! I agree with that ideology as that little touch just added some realism to the spot. Another awesome moment was with both Kento and Sai groggy on the mat, Nomura ran in and dragged Kento to his corner so he could make the tag. Then Takeshita did the same to Sai. So great. There was a moment towards the end where the action was really heating up and Nomura took a vicious knee to the face in the corner by Sai and I was like crap it’s over as Nomura was in position for Sai’s double foot stomp and it was obvious his demise was upon him. But lo and behold Nomura rolled out of the way of Sai’s finisher, Miyahara whipped Sai in the corner and hit him with his trademark CM Punk style knee which was followed up by Nomura with his spear and i could not believe what i was seeing as I was so convinced Nomura was going to score the upset pinfall. Sadly Sai kicked out at two and it was just mere moments later that Sai did indeed hit the double foot stomp (which looked so nasty) to get the victory for his team at 15:14.
Ryouji Sai & Konosuke Takeshita def. Kento Miyahara & Naoya Nomura
Big Guns (Zeus & Bodyguard) & Tajiri vs Evolution (Suwama, Atsushi Aoki & Super Tiger)***
All the little things; the nice touches that Japanese wrestling adds to their presentation is what has me hooked. It’s the photo op before a big championship match, the declaration read by the president of the company, the giving of bouquets of flowers, the trophies, the tournaments, the post match press conference style interviews, the attempt to make everything seem important that makes puroresu so much better then what WWE has to offer. And it is the nice tributes to wrestlers like having anniversary shows that is really cool. This match started pretty slow, and they went long but the closing stretch, I would say the last 5 minutes or so was great and capped off a nice evening of celebrating the career of Zeus. Tajiri and Aoki really picked things up towards the finish, Tajiri had his working boots on here and looked good. I love Aoki’s missile dropkick, no one gets the height that he gets coming off the top rope for that move. Greatest green mist job ever as Suwama’s face was absolutely perfectly colored green, oh my goodness did Tajiri ever get him good on that one. Nice finish as Zeus hit his biceps explosion on Suwama then on Aoki before a jackhammer to pin him and end off a really fun evening in Osaka. Zeus gave a little speech afterwards and was grinning and smiling from ear to ear, looking as happy as can be.
Zeus, Bodyguard & Tajiri def. Suwama, Atsushi Aoki & Super Tiger
AJPW RAISING AN ARMY ZEUS DEBUT 10TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW
Good - 7.5/10
This was a good show. Really fun to and easy to watch as it clocks in just under two hours. The best part about All Japan right now is all the indie guys and outside workers you get to see on these shows.