review by Kevin Wilson
Date: February 5th, 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 936
As I continue on our trek with All Japan, I have to point out that All Japan's attendances since the split last summer are just horrendous. Having under 1,000 at Korakuen Hall is literally indy level, there are almost a dozen promotions that have done better than that at Korakuen just in 2014 alone. I am not sure what they are going to do to fix this and they still have some high-priced stars. If they start losing sponsors I have serious concerns about the future prospects of one of the oldest promotions in Japan. But for now, we will look forward to the start of the Jr. Battle of Glory tournament, which is basically a Champion Carnival for Jr. Heavyweights. Looking at the match-ups we should have some good ones on this event, here is the full card:
- Ryuji Hijikata and Hikaru Sato vs. Shigehiro Irie and Takao Soma
- Jr. Battle of Glory - Block A: Kaji Tomato vs. Ultimo Dragon
- KENSO and Mitsuya Nagai vs. Osamu Nishimura and Masao Inoue
- Akebono and Yutaka Yoshie vs. Go Shiozaki and Kento Miyahara
- Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Keisuke Ishii vs. Suwama, Joe Doering, and SUSHI
- Jr. Battle of Glory - Block A: Atsushi Aoki vs. Kotaro Suzuki
- Jr. Battle of Glory - Block B: Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
I can assure you that something on this event will be good, some quality Jr. Heavyweights here. Let's get started.
Ryuji Hijikata and Hikaru Sato vs. Shigehiro Irie and Takao Soma
Sato and Irie start things off. Takedown by Sato but Irie reverses it, Irie applies a front facelock but Sato gets out of it and gets Irie to the mat. Irie reverses positions and struggles back up, side headlock by Sato and he takes Irie to the mat but Irie applies a side headlock. Soma Irish whips out of it but Irie hits a shoulderblock. Irie tags in Soma and Sato tags in Hijikata. Hijikata and Soma circle each other, tie-up, side headlock by Hijikata, Soma Irish whips out of it but Hijikata hits a shoulderblock. Hijikata goes off the ropes but Soma knocks him down with a lariat. Stomp by Soma into the corner, Irish whip by Soma but Hijikata kicks Soma in the chest. High kick to the head by Hijikata, he picks up Soma and he knees Soma in the chest. More kicks by Hijikata and he tags in Sato and Sato kicks Soma to the mat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Sato picks up Soma and they trade elbows, Irish whip by Sato but Soma dropkicks Sato and hits an elbow smash. Soma tags in Irie, Irie knocks Hijikata off the apron and then kicks Sato. Scoop slam by Irie to Sato, he goes off the ropes and hits a seated senton. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irie picks up Sato and goes for a suplex but Sato blocks it, Irie goes for it again and this time he hits the vertical suplex. Cover, but it is broken up. Irie tags in Soma, they throw Sato into the corner, Irish whip by Soma and he hits a running elbow. Irie follows with a lariat, then Soma hits a superkick followed by a lariat by Irie. Cover by Soma but Hijikata breaks it up. Double Irish whip to Sato but Sato dropkicks both Soma and Irie. Sato kicks Irie out of the ring, Soma picks up Sato but Sato hits a suplex.
Soma ducks Sato's kick and rolls up Sato, but Sato applies a cross armbreaker. Soma gets a foot on the ropes to break up the hold, Sato picks up Soma and kicks him in the chest and head. Sato goes off the ropes and hits a PK, cover, but he only gets a two count. Sato applies a crab hold to Soma and Soma has to submit. Your winners: Ryuji Hijikata and Hikaru Sato
Match Thoughts: Pretty basic opener. Some of the wrestlers here have the potential to put on really good matches, so wrestler quality wasn't a problem, but unlike some openers we have seen in 2014 they didn't really make an attempt to make it a good match. Perhaps intentionally to not overshadow the tournament matches, but the reason/intent doesn't really matter to the viewers. Most of it was standard strike offense and Sato put away Soma pretty easily at the end. Overall it was technically fine, just lacking in excitement, intrigue, or a reason to watch. Score: 3.5
Kaji Tomato vs. Ultimo Dragon
This match is part of the Jr. Battle of Glory.
Waistlock by Ultimo Dragon to start and he throws Tomato to the mat, they jockey for position on the mat and Tomato applies a wristlock. Ultimo Dragon flips out of it and hits an armdrag, sending Tomato down in the corner. Tomato returns to his feet and they lock knuckles, headscissors by Ultimo Dragon and he spins Tomato to the mat. Tomato manages to get up and Ultimo Dragon spins Tomato to the mat again, but Tomato gets a foot on the ropes. Ultimo Dragon knees Tomato as he gets up, Irish whip by Ultimo Dragon and Ultimo Dragon hits an elbow strike. Cover, but it gets a two count. Snapmare by Ultimo Dragon and he applies a stretch submission hold. Cover by Ultimo Dragon but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Ultimo Dragon and he delivers a dropkick. Ultimo Dragon slams Tomato's knee into the mat and does it a second time. Ultimo Dragon twists up Tomato again and applies a knee lock, but Tomato gets to the ropes to force a break. Hammerlock by Ultimo Dragon and he rolls up Tomato, keeping the hammerlock applied while also applying a headscissors, but Tomato gets to the ropes. Ultimo Dragon picks up Tomato, Irish whip, and Ultimo Dragon hits a spinning backbreaker. Single leg crab hold by Ultimo Dragon but Tomato gets to the ropes to force a break. Chop by Ultimo Dragon and he hits Tomato into the corner, Irish whip by Ultimo Dragon but Tomato kicks him back and hits a rebound dropkick. Irish whip by Tomato, Irish whip, and Tomato hits a jumping elbow strike. Shoulder tackle by Tomato in the corner,he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a cannonball. Cover by Tomato, but it gets two. Tomato picks up Ultimo Dragon, knees by Ultimo Dragon but Tomato rolls him up for a two count. Backslide by Tomato, but it gets two again. Tomato picks up Ultimo Dragon and hits a scoop slam, Tomato goes up to the top turnbuckle but Ultimo Dragon dropkicks Tomato as he jumps off. Kick combination by Ultimo Dragon and he delivers the Asai Moonsault, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Ultimo Dragon
Match Thoughts: Tomato is a pretty respected wrestler in K-DOJO and has won a few different titles there, but here Ultimo Dragon treated him like a rookie. Which to the average viewer it is the legendary Ultimo Dragon against a wrestler most people haven't seen before, but I wouldn't have minded if Tomato had gotten a bit more offense in and came off as more of a threat. So it ended up being a pretty basic mat-based match, with Ultimo Dragon using a bunch of different submission holds, taking a brief moment of Tomato's offense, and then quickly winning the match. I was hoping for a bit more, what we got wasn't much. Score: 4.0
KENSO and Mitsuya Nagai vs. Osamu Nishimura and Masao Inoue
KENSO and Nagai attack their opponents before the match starts as the action spills out of the ring. KENSO takes Inoue around the ring while Nagai singles out Nishimura. Nagai throws Nishimura into the ring post while KENSO slaps Inoue near the bleachers. KENSO grabs the camera from the cameraman and films the crowd before slapping Inoue again. Nagai comes overs and he rolls Inoue into the ring, KENSO gets in as well, Irish whip by KENSO to Inoue and he hits a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. KENSO slaps Nishimura off the apron before going back to Inoue, he picks up Inoue and throws him out of the ring. Nagai greets Inoue on the floor and throws him into the guard rail before sliding him back in. KENSO tags in Nagai and then throws Inoue into his boot. Snap suplex by Nagai to Inoue, cover, but it gets a two count. Nagai applies a stretch hold to Inoue before elbowing him in the shoulder. Nagai kicks Inoue in the chest and then stands on his neck near the ropes. Nagai picks up Inoue and tags in KENSO, Irish whip by KENSO and he chokes Inoue with his feather belt. He releases Inoue after a moment so the referee can check on him, KENSO then kicks Inoue low. KENSO picks up Inoue but Inoue elbows him off, eye rake by Inoue but KENSO slaps him. Nagai elbows Inoue from the floor while KENSO takes off the turnbuckle pad, KENSO picks up Inoue and tries to throw him into the exposed corner but Inoue reverses it, sending KENSO into the steel.
Nagai runs in to kick Nishimura off the apron, he picks up Inoue and hits a scoop slam followed by a leg drop. KENSO tags in Nagai and Nagai applies the texas cloverleaf, but releases it when Nishimura gets into the ring. Nagai picks up Inoue and kicks him in the chest. Nagai picks up Inoue and throws him into the corner so that KENSO can slap him. Nagai kicks Inoue out of the ring and then tags in KENSO, KENSO gets a running start in the ring and goes for a pescado but Inoue moves and KENSO hits Nagai on accident. Inoue makes the hot tag to Nishimura, Nishimura goes out of the ring and punches KENSO against the guard rail up towards the bleachers. Nishimura punches KENSO around the floor before bringing him back to the ring, uppercuts by Nishimura in the corner and Inoue comes in the ring. Inoue hits a lariat onto KENSO in the corner, Nishimura trips KENSO and hits a diving knee drop off the top turnbuckle. Figure four leglock by Nishimura, but Nagai breaks it up. Irish whip by Nagai to Nishimura but Nishimura kicks him and hits an uppercut. They trade blows with Nishimura getting the better of it, he goes back to KENSO and uppercuts him as well. KENSO throws white powder at Nishimura and then punches down the referee, which gets him DQed. Your winners: Osamu Nishimura and Masao Inoue
Match Thoughts: At least in this match they showed a bit of passion which others haven't really showed, even if it was coming from goofy ass KENSO. The average age here of the wrestlers was 42 which isn't usually a great sign but no one tried to wrestle beyond their means and at least KENSO using cheap tactics/fighting outside the ring fits into his character which made it seem like less of a time waster. The DQ ending was a bit lame, but since they were losing it made some sense, I get more annoyed when heels get DQed when they were winning the match anyway. For a mid-card 'veteran' match it wasn't bad and actually is the best match on the card so far... which hopefully won't remain true for much longer. Score: 5.0
Akebono and Yutaka Yoshie vs. Go Shiozaki and Kento Miyahara
Akebono and Shiozaki start things off. Tie-up, Akebono pushes Shiozaki into the ropes but he gives a mostly clean break. Shiozaki goes for a single leg takedown but Akebono pushes him away, he goes for a second one but Akebono pancakes him before letting him back up. Slap by Akebono, Shiozaki applies a side headlock, Akebono Irish whips out of it and shoulderblocks Shiozaki down. Akebono tags in Yoshie and Shiozaki tags in Miyahara. Side headlock by Yoshie, Miyahara Irish whips out of it but Yoshie shoulderblocks him down. Yoshie goes off the ropes but Miyahara hits a dropkick. Dropkick to the head by Miyahara and Yoshie is knocked off his feet, Miyahara picks him up, Irish whip, reversed, Miyahara goes for a sunset flip but Yoshie sits on him. Yoshie picks up Miyahara and he hits a scoop slam. Rolling senton by Yoshie and he tags in Yoshie. Yoshie kicks at Miyahara but Miyahara gets back to his feet, and Akebono quickly knocks Miyahara back to the mat. Akebono stands on Miyahara stomach and Miyahara rolls out of the ring, Yoshie joins him and throws Miyahara into the guard rail. Akebono then runs over and knocks Shiozaki off the apron as Yoshie battles Miyahara at ringside. Yoshie and Miyahara trade elbows while in the ring Shiozaki and Akebono trade strikes. Akebono throws Shiozaki out of the ring while Yoshie continues knocking Miyahara around at ringside. Yoshie slides Miyahara back into the ring, and Akebono hits an elbow drop. Akebono tags in Yoshie, and Yoshie hits a scoop slam to Miyahara. Stomp by Yoshie, he picks up Miyahara and knocks him into the corner.
Chops by Yoshie in the corner, Irish whip, and Yoshie hits a splash in the corner. Another splash by Yoshie, he picks up Miyahara, Irish whip, but Miyahara moves when Yoshie charges in. Miyahara goes off the ropes and hits a big boot, giving him time to tag in Shiozaki. Shiozaki chops Yoshie in the corner, Irish whip, reversed, and Shiozaki chops Yoshie. Shiozaki goes for a suplex but he can't get Yoshie over, and Yoshie hits a suplex instead. Yoshie goes off the ropes but Shiozaki hits a jumping shoulderblock. Kick by Shiozaki, cover, but it gets a two count. Back up they trade elbows and chops, Shiozaki goes off the ropes but Yoshie hits a Lou Thesz Press and tags in Akebono. Akebono picks up Shiozaki, Irish whip to the corner and he hits a running splash. Yoshie then hit a butt smash in the corner, snapmare by Yoshie and Akebono hits an elbow drop onto Shiozaki. Cover by Akebono but it gets a two count. Yoshie hits a senton onto Shiozaki and Akebono follows with a body press, cover, but Miyahara breaks it up. Yoshie throws Miyahara out of the ring, they both go to splash Shiozaki but Shiozaki moves and the big men run into each other. Miyahara comes back into the ring to get Yoshie while Miyahara goes off the ropes but he can't knock over Akebono. A lariat by Miyahara finally does the trick, cover, but it gets a two count. Shiozaki picks up Akebono and hits the Go Flasher, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Go Shiozaki and Kento Miyahara
Match Thoughts: I am being very generous calling the final move the "Go Flasher" since obviously Shiozaki couldn't get Akebono all the way up. I really enjoyed the bulk of this match, you could really feel that Akebono and Shiozaki didn't like each other, they were going out of their way to attack each other and considering the wrestlers it kept a good pace throughout. Akebono is very limited but in a match like this he was able to play to his strengths. I didn't like how quickly the match ended, they seemed to have a good build-up going but Shiozaki won so easily at the end. Akebono wasn't really hurt but went down after just one lariat and a very 'modified' Go Flasher. As a Triple Crown Champion I would think he should have been better protected, getting pinned is fine but it should have taken more effort. Even considering the ending though it was still a good match and got the fans ready to see Akebono and Shiozaki go at it again. Score: 6.5
Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Keisuke Ishii vs. Suwama, Joe Doering, and SUSHI
Omori and Suwama go at each other to start the match, as Ishii and SUSHI trade elbows in the ring. Suwama takes Omori up into the bleachers while in the ring SUSHI Irish whips Ishii and hits a jumping heel kick. Lariat by SUSHI in the corner and he hits a suplex to Ishii. Diving headbutt by SUSHI, cover, but Ishii kicks out. SUSHI picks up Ishii
but Ishii hits a drop toehold followed by three backflip kicks. German suplex hold by Ishii, but it gets a two count. Ishii charges SUSHI but SUSHI ducks the jumping kick. Enzigieri by Ishii but SUSHI follows with a lariat. Ishii tags in Akiyama while Doering is also tagged in, Doering throws Akiyama into the corner and hits a lariat followed by an elbow drop. Vertical suplex by Doering to Akiyama, cover, but it gets a two count. Doering picks up Akiyama and goes for a powerbomb but Omori breaks it up. Doering pushes Omori back into the corner, Doering charges Akiyama but Akiyama kicks him back. Front facelock by Akiyama, he goes off the ropes and goes for a knee but Doering blocks it and hits a death valley driver. Cover, but Ishii breaks it up. Doering tags in Suwama, Suwama kicks Akiyama and goes off the ropes, hitting a big boot. Belly to belly suplex by Suwama, cover, but it gets a two count. Suwama punches Akiyama, Irish whip, reversed, and Akiyama knees Suwama in the shoulder.
Akiyama tags in Omori, Omori goes off the ropes and boots Suwama. Omori hits a spinning heel kick, he waits for Suwama to get up and applies a waistlock, but Suwama gets out of it. Omori punches Suwama into the corner, Irish whip by Omori, reversed, but Omori kicks Suwama as he charges in. Big boot by Suwama, he goes off the ropes but Omori hits a boot as well. Irish whip by Suwama but Doering lariats Omori from the apron. Chaos breaks up around the ring while Suwama picks up Omori, Doering comes in the ring, double Irish whip and they hit Omori with a double dropkick. Cover, but Ishii breaks it up. Suwama picks up Omori, Irish whip to the corner and Suwama hits a lariat. Doering follows with a lariat as well. SUSHI then hits a swandive dropkick onto Omori, cover by Suwama but it gets a two count. Doering grabs Akiyama in the ring and goes for a powerbomb but he is stopped by Ishii. The ring clears leaving just Omori and Suwama, Suwama goes off the ropes but Omori catches his leg when he goes for the boot. Suwama drops Omori with the Last Ride, cover, but it gets a two count. Suwama waits for Omori to get up and hits a lariat in the corner followed by a release German suplex. Lariat by Suwama, cover, but Omori gets a shoulder up. Suwama picks up Omori and goes for another powerbomb, but Omori reverses it into the Axe Guillotine Driver. Akiyama comes in the ring and knees Suwama in the corner, and Omori follows with a lariat. Full nelson slam by Omori, cover, but Suwama kicks out. Omori waits for Suwama to get up and hits the Axe Bomber, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Keisuke Ishii
Match Thoughts: Not a bad match since it continued a few different storylines, even if it was a bit short. Omori and Suwama had some good interactions as did Akiyama and Doering, but I don't think that Ishii and SUSHI added much to the match. I understand why they were there, but in terms of the match itself they really didn't add much to the party. A solid match action-wise, it just needed more time with six wrestlers to really get their stuff in. Score: 5.5
Atsushi Aoki vs. Kotaro Suzuki
Tie-up to start, Aoki pushes Suzuki into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Tie-up again, side headlock by Aoki, Suzuki Irish whips out of it but Aoki rolls up Suzuki and goes for a cross armbreaker. Suzuki quickly gets out of it and they trade hold attempts on the mat until both me return to their feet. Hammerlock by Suzuki, Aoki reverses it into an armbar and then into a wristlock, but Suzuki spins out and reverses the hold. Aoki takes Suzuki to the mat while applying an armbar, Aoki pushes Suzuki into the corner and gives him a hard elbow. Another elbow by Aoki, Irish whip, Aoki charges Suzuki and hits a running elbow smash. Irish whip by Aoki, reversed, but Aoki kicks Suzuki back. Aoki goes off the ropes, snapmare by Aoki, Suzuki goes for a handspring attack but Aoki dropkicks him in the back. Suzuki falls out of the ring but Aoki goes out after him and throws Suzuki into the guard rail. Aoki picks up Suzuki onto the railing with him and hits a vertical suplex off the rail onto the floor. Aoki picks up Suzuki and slides him back into the ring, cover by Aoki but it gets a two count. Kick to the back by Aoki, cover, but it gets a two count. Aoki picks up Suzuki and knocks him into the corner, Aoki goes for a suplex but Suzuki blocks it. Elbow to the back by Aoki, he picks up Suzuki and puts Suzuki onto the top rope. Aoki then gets a running start and connects with a running kick to Suzuki's back. Cover by Aoki but it gets a two count. Aoki picks up Suzuki and he hits a snap suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Aoki applies a single leg crab hold but Suzuki gets to the ropes. Aoki knees Suzuki in the back, they get back up and they trade elbows. Headbutt by Aoki, he picks up Suzuki and hits another headbutt. Aoki slams Suzuki into the turnbuckles twice and goes for a backdrop suplex, but Suzuki lands on his feet. Handspring elbow strike by Suzuki, he waits for Aoki to get up but Aoki avoids him in the corner. Hurricanrana by Suzuki and he hits a vertical suplex. Jumping knee by Suzuki in the corner and he hits a jumping knee off the second turnbuckle for a two count cover.
Suzuki picks up Aoki and goes for a slam but Aoki gets out of it and hits a jumping lariat. Aoki picks up Suzuki but Suzuki hits an elbow, and they trade shots. Suzuki goes off the ropes but Aoki catches him with a lariat. Aoki picks up Suzuki and hits another lariat followed by a backdrop suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Aoki picks up Suzuki and hits a scoop brainbuster, cover, but again it gets two. Aoki picks up Suzuki and goes for the Assault Point, but Suzuki gets to the ropes. Elbow to the back by Aoki and he tosses Suzuki out of the ring. Aoki gets a running start in the ring but Suzuki uppercuts him from the floor as he goes to do a dive. Suzuki gets back into the ring, he waits for Aoki to get up and sails out onto him with a tope suicida. Suzuki throws Aoki back in the ring, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Aoki recovers and punches Suzuki. Aoki joins Suzuki on the top turnbuckle and he goes for a superplex, but Suzuki lands on top of Aoki and gets a two count cover. Suzuki picks up Aoki and goes for a tiger driver but Aoki gets out of it and applies an armbar. Cross armbreaker by Aoki and he blocks Suzuki's attempts to get out of the hold until Suzuki gets into the ropes. Aoki picks up Suzuki and applies a wristlock, then he kicks Suzuki in the arm. Aoki goes off the ropes, Suzuki gets him up in a tombstone position but Aoki reverses it and hits a shoulder breaker. Cover, but it gets a two count. Aoki applies a hammerlock and then rolls over Suzuki into the cross armbreaker, but Suzuki rolls up Aoki for a two count. Strike combination by Suzuki, cover, but it gets another two. Suzuki picks up Aoki and nails the Blue Destiny, cover, but Aoki gets a shoulder up. Suzuki puts Aoki up on his shoulders but Aoki slides off and applies the cross armbreaker. Suzuki gets out of it and applies La Magistral, but it gets a two count. Suzuki rolls up Aoki a few more times with also no luck, Aoki charges Suzuki in the corner but Suzuki elbows it back. Suzuki goes up to the top turnbuckle and pulls Aoki up with him, but Aoki recovers and hits an avalanche cross armbreaker. Suzuki can't get to the ropes this time and he has to submit! Your winner: Atsushi Aoki
Match Thoughts: A really good mat-based match. Aoki did a solid job on focusing on the arm during the match and the avalanche cross armbreaker is a good looking move. Suzuki didn't get a lot in which seemed strange, it never really looked like during the match he was on the cusp of winning, and since the match got plenty of time there was no real reason for him not to get a longer stretch of offense in. But I liked Aoki's focused offense, he is a more mat-based Jr. Heavyweight and he grounded Suzuki pretty effectively. Overall entertaining, if not oddly one-sided. Score: 7.0
Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Big boot by Mochizuki right as the match starts, Kanemaru gets back up and they trade shots. Irish whip by Kanemaru, shoulderblock by Mochizuki but Kanemaru fires back with his own shoulderblock. Back kick by Mochizuki and he kicks Kanemaru in the head. Mochizuki picks up Kanemaru and hits a vertical suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kanemaru rolls out of the ring to re-group but gets back in after a moment, and Mochizuki kicks Kanemaru when he is on the apron. Punches by Mochizuki and he throws Kanemaru into the corner before kicking him in the chest. Kanemaru comes back with elbows and applies an armbar, but Kanemaru gets to the ropes to force a break. Mochizuki stomps Kanemaru and kicks him in the arm, he picks up Kanemaru and goes for a suplex but Kanemaru blocks it. Mochizuki goes back to the arm and this time applies a crossface, but Kanemaru gets to the ropes. Back up, Mochizuki hits an armbreaker but Kanemaru blocks one and applies a sleeper. Mochizuki gets to the ropes to break the hold, he flips Kanemaru out to the apron and then hits a springboard kick which sends Kanemaru down to the floor. Mochizuki goes outside the ring after Kanemaru and elbows him in the arm. Irish whip attempt by Mochizuki but Kanemaru reverses it, sending Mochizuki into the steel. Kanemaru elbows Mochizuki and throw shim into the rail again, he goes for a springboard move off the rail but Mochizuki moves and kicks Kanemaru in the arm. Mochizuki gets back into the ring with Kanemaru slowly following and Mochizuki hits a vertical suplex. Cover by Mochizuki but it gets two. Mochizuki applies a keylock and then applies a cross armbreaker, but Kanemaru quickly gets to the ropes to force a break. Kicks to the head and arm by Mochizuki, Irish whip by Mochizuki, reversed, but Mochizuki avoids Kanemaru's dropkick. Mochizuki picks up Kanemaru and throws him into the turnbuckle, reversed, but Mochizuki kicks Kanemaru back. Mochizuki goes off the ropes and hits a kick to Kanemaru's chest, cover, but it gets a two count. Mochizuki picks up Kanemaru and goes for the Twister but Mochizuki reverses it into a vertical suplex. Mochizuki is up first, he charges Kanemaru but Kanemaru moves and dropkicks Mochizuki in the knee. Kanemaru charges Mochizuki, Mochizuki goes for an axe kick but Kanemaru catches it and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Kanemaru goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody, cover, but it gets a two count. Kanemaru picks up Mochizuki and throws him into the corner, and Kanemaru hits a lariat. Scoop slam by Kanemaru, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Mochizuki moves out of the way of the moonsault. Roll-up by Kanemaru, but it gets a two count. Kanemaru goes for a suplex but Mochizuki lands on his feet and hits a dragon suplex. Mochizuki goes off the ropes and kicks Kanemaru in the chest, then kicks him twice in the head. Mochizuki picks up Kanemaru and hits the brainbuster. Kanemaru is up first and goes up to the second turnbuckle, and he hits the Deep Impact. Cover, but Mochizuki gets a shoulder up. Kanemaru picks up Mochizuki and goes for the brainbuster but Mochizuki blocks it, Mochizuki goes off the ropes but Kanemaru hits a release German suplex. High kick by Mochizuki, he sets up Kanemaru in the corner and hits a running knee. Twister by Mochizuki, cover, but Kanemaru barely kicks out. Mochizuki is up first, he waits for Kanemaru and goes to run off the ropes but Kanemaru grabs him by the waist. Kick to the arm by Mochizuki and he kicks him again, he goes off the ropes but Kanemaru catches him with a lariat. Kanemaru goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits another Deep Impact, cover, but it gets a two count. Kanemaru picks up Mochizuki and goes for a brainbuster but Mochizuki gets out of it. Mochizuki goes for a high kick but Kanemaru blocks it and hits the brainbuster, cover, but Mochizuki gets a shoulder up in time. Kanemaru picks up Mochizuki and goes for a second brainbuster, but Mochizuki quickly applies an inside cradle and picks up the three count. Your winner: Masaaki Mochizuki
Match Thoughts: An unusual match... I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Mochizuki dominated the bulk of the match but his offense was all over the place, he seemed for awhile to be focusing for the arm but the last few minutes he switched to the head and the arm was forgotten by both wrestlers. Kanemaru didn't do much until the end of the match but then at the end he was dropping bombs, almost picking up the win in the process. It wasn't bad, it just felt a bit random and the structure was a bit off here and there. Score: 6.0
Best Match: Atsushi Aoki vs. Kotaro Suzuki. Of the three tournament matches this was definitely the best one. Aoki did a great job on focusing on the arm, and it had enough 'high spots' sprinkled in to keep the excitement going in the nearly 20 minute match. I had a few minor squabbles with the match, such as Suzuki not really looking very competitive, but overall it was quite entertaining.
MVP: Atsushi Aoki. Aoki really established himself as one of the wrestlers to beat in the tournament, as he really took it to one of his biggest competitors. He kept his work on the arm interesting as he did a variety of moves to weaken it. A good showing by the former NOAH star.
Overall: I was pretty disappointed in this event. Maybe because it was Day 1 of the tournament none of the wrestlers wanted to go all out, but the matches weren't as good as I was hoping they would be. Ultimo Dragon and Aoki dominated their opponents, and while the Aoki match was still really good it wasn't the back-and-forth affair that I was expecting. The other matches were ok, but the tournament matches were the hook here and they underwhelmed. Hopefully the rest of the tournament matches that made air will be better.
Back to All Japan Event Reviews
review completed 4/3/14