All Japan "EXCITE SERIES 2014" on 2/16/14
review by Kevin Wilson
Date: February 16th, 2014
We have reached the finals of the Jr. Battle of Glory! I have reviewed two other cards that had some matches for the tournament, the final is Suzuki vs. Mochizuki as each won their Block. This event also has another World Tag Team Championship match, as did the last event I reviewed. For whatever reason the first 2.5 matches from the event were not available for me to review from the source I got it from, but we still got the main matches so I didn’t want to skip the event just for that. Here are the matches I will be reviewing:
- Atsushi Aoki and SUSHI vs. Ultimo Dragon and Kaji Tomato
Let’s hope that All Japan brings the action for the final event of the tour!
Atsushi Aoki and SUSHI vs. Ultimo Dragon and Kaji Tomato
Match Thoughts: We missed too much of this match to give it a really honest assessment, but what we saw was fine. Tomato is good at flying around the ring really fast, which can’t be understated, and the match escalated the feud between Aoki and Ultimo Dragon. I am sure they will be fighting again soon enough. Score: N/A
Kento Miyahara vs. Mitsuya Nagai
Nagai takes Miyahara up into the crowd and hits a series of elbows and kicks. Neck crank by Nagai and he brings Miyahara back to ringside, throwing him again to the guard rail. KENSO then throws Miyahara into the guard rail as well. Nagai picks up Miyahara and throws him back into the ring, cover, but the finally awake referee only gets to two. Nagai picks up Miyahara and hits a hard elbow, but Miyahara elbows him back. They trade elbows, Miyahara goes off the ropes but KENSO trips him from the floor. Nagai applies a Texas Cloverleaf to Miyahara but Miyahara gets to the ropes. Nagai picks up Miyahara, Irish whip, but Miyahara dropkicks Nagai in the knee before dropkicking him in the head. Jumping elbow by Miyahara in the corner and he hits a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Miyahara picks up Nagai and applies a waistlock, but Nagai fights out of it. Miyahara goes off the ropes but KENSO grabs him from the floor and pulls him out of the ring. KENSO throws Miyahara into the guard rail and slaps him to the floor. Miyahara crawls back in the ring and Nagai hits a capture suplex. Cover, but Miyahara kicks out. Nagai picks up Miyahara and hits a Falcon Arrow, cover, but again he gets two. Modified Dragon Sleeper by Nagai, cover, but Miyahara gets a shoulder up. Nagai waits for Miyahara to get up and kicks him in the chest, he goes off the ropes but Miyahara catches him with a big boot and then a superkick. Miyahara picks up Nagai and applies a waistlock, KENSO tries to throw white powder into Miyahara’s face, but Miyahara ducks and it hits Nagai. Jumping elbow by Miyahara in the corner, and he delivers the German suplex hold for a three count. Your winner: Kento Miyahara
Match Thoughts: So what we learned here is that Nagai cannot beat Miyahara. He had every advantage and hit just about all of his big moves, but was put away in about 20 seconds. I am not saying that is a bad thing, Nagai is old and Miyahara is an upcoming star, but it definitely came across as Nagai wrestling against someone superior to him. The action itself was fine, nothing exciting, and I would have liked for Miyahara to get in a bit more damage. The constant interference from KENSO was a bit of an overkill, but at least it fits their gimmick. Not great, but nothing offensive. Score: 5.5
Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Shigehiro Irie, Keisuke Ishii, and Takao Soma
Omori goes off the ropes and the two wrestlers lariat each other. Omori goes for a suplex but Irie blocks it and hits a vertical suplex of his own. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irie goes off the ropes but Omori catches him with a backdrop suplex. Omori tags in Kanemaru, Irish whip by Kanemaru, reversed, and Kanemaru dropkicks Irie in the knee. Kanemaru goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody, cover, but it gets two. Kanemaru picks up Irie, Irish whip to the corner and Kanemaru hits a lariat. Kanemaru and Irie trade elbows, Irish whip by Irie but Kanemaru goes for a sunset flip. Irie blocks it and tries to sit on Kanemaru but Kanemaru moves out of the way. Dropkick by Kanemaru, he picks up Irie and gives him a backslide for a two count. Irish whip by Kanemaru, reversed, and Irie hits a swinging side slam. Irie tags in Soma, Soma charges Kanemaru in the corner but Kanemaru moves out of the way. Doublestomp to the back by Soma, Irish whip by Kanemaru but Soma hits an elbow. Soma goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kanemaru slaps him and throws him off. Kanemaru charges Soma but Soma hits a hurricanrana for a two count. Heel kick by Soma, he goes off the ropes but Kanemaru catches him with a lariat and tags in Akiyama. Knee by Akiyama, cover, but Soma kicks out. Akiyama throws Soma into the corner but Soma kicks him back and tags in Ishii. Big boot by Ishii and a second one, and he then hits a dropkick. Irish whip by Akiyama to the corner and he hits a jumping knee. Ishii comes back with a dropkick, he picks up Akiyama, Irish whip to the corner, reversed, but Ishii kicks Akiyama back. Roll-up by Ishii, but Akiyama kicks out. Dropkick to the knee by Ishii and he hits a backflip kick followed by a German suplex hold for a two count. Ishii charges Akiyama but Akiyama catches him with a knee to the face. Omori and Kanemaru come into the ring and they all hit running strikes on Ishii in the corner. Deep Impact by Kanemaru followed by a knee by Akiyama, cover, but the pin attempt is broken up. Akiyama picks up Ishii, elbows by Ishii and he goes off the ropes but Akiyama hits a lariat. Akiyama goes off the ropes and hits a running knee strike, cover, but it gets a two count. Akiyama picks up Ishii and delivers the exploder, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Match Thoughts: Considering this match is a giant mis-match on paper, they did a good job on making it seem competitive even though you knew damn well who was winning. The DDT guys has some good nearfalls and Ishii really did go toe to toe with Akiyama for awhile before being put away. Ishii pretty much controlled the match for his team as Irie and Soma in particular didn't do much and with the time given the match probably would have been better as a tag team instead of a six-man. Still, a solid match from start to finish and one that showed that the smaller promotions do have some quality wrestlers. Score: 6.5
(c) Suwama and Joe Doering vs. Akebono and Yutaka Yoshie
Ankle hold by Suwama but Akebono runs in and breaks it up. Suwama picks up Yoshie and rakes his eyes, he goes off the ropes but Yoshie catches him with a Thesz Press. Yoshie tags in Akebono and hits an elbow drop onto Suwama. Cover, but it gets two. Akebono goes off the ropes but this time Suwama rolls out of the way and tags in Doering. Doering clubs Akebono in the back but Akebono pushes him off. Doering puts Akebono up on his shoulders but he can't hold his weight and collapses to the mat. Akebono tags in Yoshie while Doering tags in Suwama. Suwama and Yoshie trade elbows, Irish whip by Yoshie from the corner but Suwama moves when Yoshie charges in. Punches by Suwama, he goes off the ropes and hits a lariat but Yoshie doesn't go down. Reverse STO by Suwama and he applies an ankle lock, but Akebono breaks it up. Punches by Suwama, he goes off the ropes but Yoshie catches him with a spinebuster. Akebono comes in the ring and crushes Suwama in the corner, and Yoshie follows with a running hip attack. Yoshie goes off the ropes and hits a rolling senton, cover, but it gets two. Akebono comes in the ring, they wait for Suwama to get up and try to smash him but he moves and Akebono and Yoshie run into each other. Suwama chops both men and hits a lariat on each before tagging in Doering. Double dropkick to Yoshie, Suwama picks up Suwama and they hit a double vertical suplex. Cover by Doering but Akebono pushes him off. Suwama puts Yoshie into the corner and Suwama hits a lariat on him. Doering goes to do the same but Akebono cuts him off. Yoshie and Akebono crush Suwama and he rolls out of the ring. Doering gets up in the corner and Akebono hits a splash. Yoshie then hits one as well and Yoshie hits a senton. Cover, but it gets a two count. Akebono goes off the ropes and hits a body press onto Doering, then Yoshie hits one as well. Cover, but Suwama breaks it up. Akebono throws Suwama out of the ring and goes out after him, while in the ring Yoshie picks up Doering and throws him to the mat. Yoshie goes up to the second turnbuckle but Doering recovers and hits him from behind. Powerbomb by Doering, cover, but Yoshie gets a shoulder up. Suwama holds back Akebono while Doering picks up Yoshie and hits a lariat. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Doering picks up Yoshie, puts him on his shoulders and hits the Death Valley Bomb. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners and still champions: Suwama and Joe Doering
Match Thoughts: This was a step down from the title defense earlier on in the tour. A lot of the match was just basic offense, lots of punching/kicking/stomping with very little actual substance. It took awhile for the match to finally get going, and while the last few minutes of the match were very good it just took too long to get there. It was also a bit hard to swallow that Yoshie, who isn't really thought of as a threat to anyone at this stage of his career (or perhaps any stage of his career), had a real shot at being a champion in All Japan. I am glad that the match ended well as the action did really pick up at the end, but the journey to get there was just too slow and meaningless. Score: 4.5
Kotaro Suzuki vs. Masaaki Mochizuki
Elbow drop by Mochizuki and he drops a knee on the back of Suzuki's head. Leg drop by Mochizuki, he picks up Suzuki and goes for the Twister but Suzuki blocks it. Mochizuki instead takes Suzuki down into a crossface, but Suzuki gets a foot in the ropes to force a break. Stomp to the back by Mochizuki, Suzuki fights back but Mochizuki punches him in the face. Irish whip by Mochizuki, reversed, but Mochizuki kicks Suzuki as he charges in. Big boot by Mochizuki, he goes off the ropes and hits a second one but Suzuki won't go down. Mochizuki goes off the ropes again but Suzuki catches the kick this time. Irish whip by Suzuki, reversed, and Suzuki hits the handspring heel kick. Both wrestlers slowly get up and Suzuki hits a jumping knee in the corner. Diving knee to the chest by Suzuki, cover, but it gets a two count. Suzuki picks up Mochizuki and applies a waistlock, Mochizuki elbows out of it and hits a big boot but Suzuki drop toeholds him into the ropes and hits the Tiger Feint Kick. Backdrop suplex by Suzuki, cover, but it only gets a two count. Suzuki picks up Mochizuki and goes for the Blue Destiny but Mochizuki slides out of it and pushes Suzuki back into the corner. Irish whip by Mochizuki, reversed, Mochizuki goes for a kick but Suzuki blocks it. Running boot by Mochizuki in the corner and he delivers the PK. Cover, but it gets a two count. Suzuki goes for a suplex and drops Mochizuki on the apron, then Suzuki dropkicks Mochizuki from the apron to the floor. Suzuki gets a running start in the ring and sails out onto Mochizuki with a tope suicida. Back in the ring and Suzuki drops Mochizuki with Excalibur.
Both wrestlers are slow to get up, kick by Mochizuki but Suzuki elbows him back. Kicks to the chest by Mochizuki and he finally gets Suzuki off his feet, but Suzuki ducks the PK and rolls up Mochizuki for a two count. They trade roll-up pin attempts with neither wrestler being able to pick up the three count. Suzuki goes off the ropes and hits an elbow, back kick by Mochizuki and he kicks Suzuki in the chest. More kicks by Mochizuki, cover, but Suzuki kicks out. Mochizuki picks up Suzuki and plants him with the Twister, cover, but that gets a two count as well. Mochizuki waits for Suzuki to get up and kicks Suzuki, but Suzuki comes back with a roaring back elbow. Kick combination by Mochizuki and he hits the Shin Saikyou High Kick. Cover, but Suzuki kicks out at two. Mochizuki goes to go off the ropes but Suzuki grabs him around the waist to stop him. Suzuki goes off the ropes but Mochizuki catches him with a kick. Mochizuki springboards off the ropes but Suzuki catches him with a dropkick. Roaring elbow by Suzuki, cover, but it gets a two count. He goes for another one, Mochizuki ducks it but Suzuki still delivers the move for another two count. Suzuki picks up Mochizuki and delivers the Blue Destiny. Cover, but Mochizuki gets a shoulder up. Suzuki drags Mochizuki to his feet and goes for the Tiger Driver, but Mochizuki blocks it. After struggling for a moment, Suzuki is able to hit the Tiger Driver and he picks up the three count. Your winner of the match and the tournament: Kotaro Suzuki
Match Thoughts: A solid match but not overly entertaining since the structure was all over the place. The beginning leg work went nowhere and didn't really impact Mochizuki in a noticeable way. Mochizuki was dominating the match with Suzuki only getting some hope spots (in general) until the end when Suzuki just took over and hit all his moves to pick up the win. The match was certainly exciting in parts and it is interesting to see Mochizuki in a different environment, but in the matches I saw of him on this tour he didn't really mesh well with the All Japan wrestlers. But at least in this match they weren't holding back like in the past tournament matches, so that was good, and they were going all out to pick up the win. So good, and maybe worth a watch, but far from a classic. Score: 6.5
Best Match: Kotaro Suzuki vs. Masaaki Mochizuki. It was not a great match but it was the best match on the card. It had its issues, but it had some really exciting stretches here and there and the action was very crisp from start to finish. Mochizuki gave Suzuki what he had but he couldn't hit the Sankakugeri to the Face when he tried for it and it was just downhill for him from there. I wish the first part of the match was just a bit more focused but it was still a fun match.
MVP: Keisuke Ishii. Of all the wrestlers on the event, he was the one that I remembered the most once it ended. It was fun to watch a small DDT wrestler stand and trade blows with Akiyama, and even kicking out of some of Akiyama's big moves while getting a few close in attempts of his own. He controlled the match for his team from start to finish, and even though he was pinned, he came out of it looking like a wrestler that could fit in All Japan without any issues.
Overall: I can only rate the matches that I watched, and when I track down the first two matches I will adjust this if one of the matches rocks my world (unlikely). The event as a whole really wasn't bad but it wasn't great either, what dragged it down was the plodding Tag Team Championship match. If they had delivered the card would have been worth watching, but without it, what we saw wasn't really good enough. The tournament match and the six man were both very solid matches though so the event is far from a waste, and if you are a fan of Mochizuki or Suzuki it is probably worth tracking down since it is a very unique pairing. But overall, I can't really recommend it.
Grade: C-Back to All Japan Event Reviews
review completed 4/10/14