review by Kevin Wilson
Date: March 21st, 2010
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 8,200
I had to review this ASAP, since it was such a big card with such surprising results. This was All Japan's first of usually two yearly Sumo Hall events, which unfortunately was missed by Keiji Mutoh due to a knee injury. But the card was still pretty stacked, with Funaki battling Suzuki in a steel cage and Hama making his first challenge of the Triple Crown against Kojima. Plus, Chessman and Dark Ozz invade from Mexico! Here is the full card:
- Seiya Sanada and Hiroshi Yamato vs. Super Crazy and Yasufumi Nakanoue
- René Duprée, Hate, and Toshizo vs. Taiyo Kea, NOSAWA Rongai, and MAZADA
- Chessman and Dark Ozz vs. KIYOSHI and BUSHI
- Masayuki Kono vs. Suwama
- Osamu Nishimura, Akebono, and Shuji Kondo vs. TARU, Big Daddy Voodoo, and Minoru
- Cage Match: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Minoru Suzuki
- AJPW World Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Kaz Hayashi vs. KAI
- Triple Crown Championship: Satoshi Kojima vs. Ryota Hama
Here we go!
Seiya Sanada and Hiroshi Yamato vs. Super Crazy and Yasufumi Nakanoue
Sanada and Nakanoue start things off. Waistlock by Sanada and he applies a wristlock into a hammerlock, side headlock by Sanada and he gets Nakanoue to the mat. Nakanoue returns to his feet and applies a wristlock of his own, but Sanada rolls through it and hits a fireman's carry takedown. Back up, wristlock by Sanada but Nakanoue rolls through it and reverses the hold. Sanada flips out of the wristlock and hits a side headlock takedown, but Nakanoue gets out of it and both wrestlers return to their feet. Sanada tags in Yamato as Nakanoue tags in Super Crazy, kick to the stomach by Yamato, Super Crazy Irish whips out of it but Yamato shoulderblocks him down. Armdrag by Super Crazy, he picks up Yamato, Irish whip to the corner but Yamato slides out to the ringside. Back in the ring, dropkick by Yamato and he clubs Super Crazy in the back. Forearm shot by Super Crazy and he tags in Nakanoue, Nakanoue goes for a slam but Yamato elbows out of it and hits a scoop slam. Yamato tags in Sanada, they pick up Nakanoue, double Irish whip and they hit a double shoulderblock. Cover by Sanada but it gets a two count. Sanada picks up Nakanoue and punches him against the ropes, Irish whip, and he hits an elbow followed by a standing moonsault for a two count. Crab hold by Sanada, but Nakanoue makes it to the ropes. Sanada tags in Yamato, Yamato picks up Nakanoue and elbows him into the corner. Yamato puts Nakanoue on his shoulders and delivers the fireman carry roll followed by a running senton for a two count. Yamato picks up Nakanoue and they trade elbows, Nakanoue goes off the ropes and delivers an elbow strike. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nakanoue tags in Super Crazy, and Super Crazy hits a back bodydrop. Dropkick by Super Crazy and he drops Yamato with a heel kick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Super Crazy picks up Yamato and goes for a suplex, but Yamato lands on his feet. Super Crazy elbows Yamato and hits a superkick, but Yamato comes back with a spear. Yamato tags in Sanada while Super Crazy tags in Nakanoue, elbows by Nakanoue but Sanada returns with elbows of his own. Irish whip to the corner by Nakanoue and he elbows Sanada. Vertical suplex by Nakanoue, cover, but it gets a two count. Super Crazy comes in, double Irish whip to Sanada and they kick him in the cut. Corkscrew elbow drop by Super Crazy, Nakanoue hits his own elbow drop for a two count cover. Dropkick by Nakanoue and another one, but Sanada absorbs the blows. Irish whip by Sanada and he delivers a dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Sanada goes to the apron and hits a springboard dropkick, German suplex hold by Sanada to Nakanoue and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Seiya Sanada and Hiroshi Yamato
Match Thoughts: A decent opener, giving the younger wrestlers some experience. Nakanoue is still really early in his career but I was hoping he'd get to do a bit more against other young wrestlers, but he wasn't given a whole lot of offense. Sanada looked good as usual but Super Crazy seems to have lost a step since he was in All Japan for the Jr. Heavyweight League last spring. Sanada and Yamato do impress me, I was just hoping to see more from Super Crazy and Nakanoue. Score: 4.5
René Duprée, Hate, and Toshizo vs. Taiyo Kea, NOSAWA Rongai, and MAZADA
Kea and Duprée start things off.
Wristlock by Duprée, Kea rolls out of it and applies a wristlock of his own. They trade side headlock takedowns and jockey for position, with neither getting the upper hand. Duprée tags in Hate while Kea tags in MAZADA, tie-up, and Hate rakes MAZADA in the eyes. Side headlock by Hate, MAZADA Irish whips out of it but Hate shoulderblocks him down. Hate goes off the ropes, avoids the MAZADA leapfrog and punches him in the face. Irish whip by Hate, MAZADA ducks a lariat attempt and hits an hurricanrana. Dropkick by MAZADA and he tags in NOSAWA. Double Irish whip to Hate and they hit a dropkick double team for a two count. NOSAWA picks up Hate, snapmare, and he kicks Hate in the back of the head. Cover, but it gets another two count. NOSAWA tags in Kea, Irish whip by Kea and he elbows Hate in the chest. Kea picks up Hate and hits a vertical suplex, cover, but it gets a two count. Kea tags in MAZADA, MAZADA goes off the ropes but Hate catches him with an atomic drop. Hate punches down MAZADA and tags in Toshizo, Irish whip by Toshizo and he kicks MAZADA in the stomach before whipping him with a belt. Toshizo chops MAZADA into the corner, Irish whip, and he nails MAZADA with a high kick. Cover by Toshizo, but MAZADA kicks out. Elbow by Toshizo and with his partners they take turns punches MAZADA in the corner. Toshizo tags in Duprée, who hits a backdrop suplex onto MAZADA for a two count cover. Duprée picks up MAZADA and goes for a scoop slam, but MAZADA gets out of it. Superkick by Duprée but MAZADA kicks him in the back and tags in Kea. Irish whip by Kea from the corner and he hits an elbow strike followed by a lariat for a two count. Kea waits for Duprée to get up and delivers a kick combination, he picks up Duprée but Duprée shoves him off. Big boot by Duprée, but Kea goes off the ropes and hits a big boot of his own. Duprée catches Kea with a cutter and tags in Hate, while Kea tags in NOSAWA. Low blow by Hate to NOSAWA as Duprée and Toshizo come in the ring, and they all hit running strikes in the corner. Double vertical suplex to NOSAWA, cover by Hate but it is broken up. Hate picks up NOSAWA and hits a capture suplex, then Toshizo runs in with a kick to the head. Lariat by Hate, cover, but Kea breaks it up. Toshizo picks up NOSAWA and holds him for Hate, but NOSAWA ducks the fire extinguisher attack and it hits Toshizo instead. Hate goes off the ropes but MAZADA trips him from ringside, NOSAWA then wraps up Hate with La Magistral and picks up the three count! Your winners: Taiyo Kea, NOSAWA Rongai, and MAZADA
Match Thoughts: Always nice to see the Voodoo Murderers have their opponents get one over on them, but this is the lower level Voodoo Murderers and it was sad to see Kea in such an unimportant match. Course my usual complaint comes into play, eight minutes just isn't long enough for a six man tag, the wrestlers really didn't get much of a chance to shine. I like NOSAWA's new look though, so there is something. Just lower card filler, nothing offensive but nothing you will remember the second the pinfall happens. Score: 4.0
Chessman and Dark Ozz vs. KIYOSHI and BUSHI
The luchadors attack KIYOSHI and BUSHI as the match starts,
then Ozz dives out onto KIYOSHI with a pescado. In the ring Chessman has his way with BUSHI, and he delivers a leg drop with BUSHI's head hanging over the apron. Back in the ring, Chessman hits a vertical suplex onto BUSHI. He goes for a tornillo off the top turnbuckle, but BUSHI rolls out of the way. Irish whip by Chessman and he drops BUSHI with a lariat. Chessman tags in Ozz and he hits a pair of lariats followed by a scoop slam and an elbow drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ozz tags in Chessman, who comes in the ring with a missile dropkick. Chessman goes for BUSHI's mask but BUSHI pushes him off, Chessman goes off the ropes but BUSHI catches him with a dropkick. Chessman knocks back BUSHI with an uppercut but BUSHI comes back with a lungblower. BUSHI tags in KIYOSHI, KIYOSHI picks up Chessman and punches him into the corner. Irish whip by KIYOSHI and he hits a back elbow followed by a high kick from the apron. KIYOSHI goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. KIYOSHI picks up Chessman but Chessman knees him in the stomach, punches by KIYOSHI but Chessman catches him with a superkick and tags in Ozz. They knock BUSHI off the apron, they give BUSHI a double Irish whip and deliver a double lariat. Face crusher by Ozz, cover, but it gets a two count. Ozz picks up KIYOSHI, Irish whip, and Ozz kicks KIYOSHI in the ribs. Standing moonsault by Ozz, cover, but it gets a two count. Ozz picks up KIYOSHI and hits a pumphandle slam, cover, but BUSHI breaks it up. Both wrestlers tag out, Chessman slaps BUSHI and hits a sit-down powerbomb onto his knees. Irish whip by Chessman but BUSHI catches him with a tilt-a-whirl armdrag. Chessman falls out of the ring, BUSHI goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a tornillo down to the floor. In the ring KIYOSHI and Ozz go at it, with Ozz hitting a lariat. Ozz picks up KIYOSHI but KIYOSHI hits a pair of back kicks. Running STO by KIYOSHI, cover, but it gets a two count. Backbreaker by KIYOSHI, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault. Cover, and he gets the three count. Your winners: KIYOSHI and BUSHI
Match Thoughts: I hadn't seen Chessman and Ozz before, they seem fun, I am a big fan of face painted wrestlers as everyone knows. No idea when KIYOSHI is returning full time but he will certainly get a push when he returns, although he needs to bulk up if he wants to make a run at the heavyweight division. BUSHI is also the hot new thing since he just returned from Mexico, I was actually surprised he didn't get the pinfall. But they all flew around quite well, and the action felt really fresh. An exciting match that really kick-started this event. Score: 7.0
Masayuki Kono vs. Suwama
Kono kicks back Suwama to start the match and elbows him back into the corner. He pushes back the referee but Suwama elbows him back before slapping him in the face. Back in the middle of the ring they trade elbows, Irish whip by Suwama and he catches Kono's jumping knee before knocking him down with a lariat. Knee to the stomach by Suwama and he punches Kono back into the corner, snapmare by Suwama and he kicks Kono in the back. Suwama picks up Kono, scoop slam, he goes off the ropes and hits an elbow drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. He picks up Kono again but Kono elbows him back, knee by Kono but Suwama knocks him down with a lariat and throws him out of the ring. Suwama joins Kono on the floor, he picks him up and tries to ram him into the apron, but Kono blocks it and slams into it instead. Suwama comes back with an Irish whip into the guard rail and then lariats him over the rail to front of the first row of fans. Suwama returns to the ring with Kono slowly following him, but Suwama stomps him as soon as he rolls in the ring. Back up, Suwama drops Kono with a vertical suplex. Crab hold by Suwama, but Kono crawls to the ropes to break the hold. Stomps by Suwama, he picks up Kono and power slams him into the mat. Cover, but Kono kicks out. Kicks to the chest by Suwama, he picks up Kono and chops him into the corner. Irish whip by Suwama, and he hits a lariat. Belly to belly suplex by Suwama, cover, but it gets a two count. Stomps by Suwama, he goes off the ropes but Kono grabs his throat. Suwama blocks the slam attempt and clubs Kono in the back of the head, but Kono catches Suwama and hits a gutwrench suplex. They both slowly get up, elbows by Suwama, Irish whip, but Kono hits a jumping knee. Another jumping knee by Kono and this time Suwama is knocked to the mat. Kono picks up Suwama and goes for a chokeslam, but Suwama blocks it. Suwama goes off the ropes but Kono knees him in the arm and hits a side Russian leg sweep. Kono picks up Suwama and delivers a chokeslam, cover, but again it gets a two count.
Kono waits for Suwama to get to one knee and goes for the knee again, but Suwama catches his leg and hits a capture suplex. Lariat by Suwama, he goes off the ropes and hits a second one. Suwama delivers a harder lariat, Kono gets back up but Suwama lariats him to the mat again. Suwama waits for Kono to get up, Irish whip, he hits a lariat and quickly covers Kono but it only gets a two count. Suwama picks up Kono and knocks him against the ropes, Irish whip, and he drops Kono with a lariat. Cover, but Kono barely gets a shoulder up. Suwama picks up Kono and hits a German suplex followed by a tornado lariat, cover, but Kono kicks out. Suwama drags Kono to his feet, he goes for the powerbomb but Kono fights out of it. Suwama goes off the ropes but Kono ducks the lariat and plants him with a chokebomb. The referee and doctors check on Suwama but Kono stomps on him before they are done. Running knee to the head of a kneeling Suwama and he elbows him into the corner. Kono puts Suwama onto the second rope, he then climbs up with him and hits a side Russian leg sweep to the mat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kono picks up Suwama and delivers a Northern Lights Suplex, but Suwama kicks out. Back up, scoop slam but Kono and he goes up to the top turnbuckle, but Suwama has recovered and joins him. Suwama goes for an avalanche belly to belly suplex, but Kono blocks it and headbutts him off. Avalanche knee strike by Kono, he goes off the ropes and knees Suwama again. A third knee by Kono as Suwama absorbs the blows, and the next has no real effect either. Elbows by Suwama but Kono knocks him to the mat with slaps. Hard knee by Kono, he goes off the ropes and hits another one. Another knee by Kono before delivering a step-up knee followed by a release German suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kono goes off the ropes and delivers a knee strike, cover, but again it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Kono, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving knee drop. Cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winner: Masayuki Kono
Match Thoughts: It was good to see two wrestlers that could be All Japan's future go at it for almost 20 minutes, and for the most part it was an entertaining match. Kono getting the upper hand after chokebombing Suwama worked since they made it seem like Suwama was really hurt from the move.... at that point Kono was getting decimated and they needed a big "moment" for the change in momentum. But while I don't usually count moves as long as it is entertaining, they really over-did the lariats and jumping knees. They hit the moves well and Kono is the right height to make the knee look good, but there are few moves that after a wrestler hits it six times in a row that you aren't wondering why they can't do something else. It just got excessive at times, strikes obviously can be done more then once in a match but it is good to vary things up a bit between them. Other then that I thought they both did well, Kono seems to have improved since last time I saw him and I think he really could be a big time player in All Japan if he sticks around and continues getting better. A solid match that was aided by the fact it was the first match on the card that seemed "major," it just had a few flaws here and there. Score: 6.5
Osamu Nishimura, Akebono, and Shuji Kondo vs. TARU, Big Daddy Voodoo, and Minoru
They brawl to start the match, leaving Akebono and Big Daddy Voodoo alone in the ring.
Akebono is fatter then Big Daddy Voodoo, for what it matters. Big Daddy Voodoo runs into Akebono, but Akebono remains on his feet. Akebono does the same, then Big Daddy Voodoo does off the ropes but Akebono stays on his feet. Now they both go off the ropes and knock each other back, but neither wrestler goes down. They tag out with Minoru and Kondo taking their turn, they go off the ropes but they can't knock each other down. Kondo goes off the ropes, they jockey for position but Kondo throws Minoru to the mat. Kondo goes off the ropes but he is kicked from the apron and Minoru knocks him down. Minoru kicks Kondo out of the ring before going out as well, and he throws Kondo into the guard rail. TARU is out there and he hits Kondo in the back with a metal stick of some sort. TARU slides Kondo back into the ring, Minoru covers him but it gets a two count. Minoru picks up Kondo and elbows him in the back of the head. Minoru tags in TARU, snapmare by TARU and he rakes Kondo in the eyes. TARU picks up Kondo and throws him into the corner before making the tag to Minoru, Irish whip by Minoru and he delivers a dropkick. Minoru picks up Kondo but Kondo elbows him back, but Big Daddy Voodoo grabs him from the apron and hits a chokeslam. Cover by Minoru, but it gets a two count. Minoru tags in TARU, and TARU chokes Kondo with his wrist tape. Irish whip by TARU and he kicks Kondo in the stomach before connecting with a scissor kick. Buzzsaw Kick but TARU, cover, but Akebono breaks it up. Kicks to the stomach by TARU, he gets a running start but Kondo kicks him back and spears him to the mat. Kondo tags in Nishimura, and he uppercuts TARU and Minoru. Nishimura picks up TARU and hits a scoop slam, he then goes up to the top turnbuckle before delivering a knee drop. Nishimura picks up TARU, Irish whip, and he applies a sleeper hold. Cobra Twist by Nishimura but Minoru breaks it up. Irish whip by Minoru to Nishimura and both he and TARU connect with running strikes in the corner. TARU grabs Nishimura and holds him for Minoru, but Nishimura ducks and Minoru kicks TARU by accident. Nishimura kicks Minoru out of the ring and makes the tag to Akebono. Akebono throws TARU into the corner and crushes him with a running body press. Elbow drop by Akebono, cover, but it gets a two count. He goes for a body press but TARU moves out of the way. TARU hits Akebono with a metal stick, then Hate gets him with the Fire Extinguisher. TARU tags in Big Daddy Voodoo, and he knocks Akebono back into the corner, allowing Kondo to tag himself in. Big Daddy Voodoo headbutts Kondo, he picks him up and throws him into the corner. Big Daddy Voodoo goes for a running body press, but Kondo moves out of the way and knocks back TARU and Minoru. Kondo goes after Big Daddy Voodoo with elbows, he goes off the ropes but Big Daddy Voodoo catches him with a swinging side slam. Big Daddy Voodoo waits for Kondo to get up, he picks him up and hits the Ghetto Drop. One foot cover and he picks up the three count. Your winners: TARU, Big Daddy Voodoo, and Minoru
Post match: Akebono is bleeding a lot and I have no idea why, I watched it a few times and he never got hit in the head, nor did I see him reach up as if he was blading, so I really don't know where it came from. Poor Akebono. Nishimura then gets on the mic and announces that he is taking a leave from professional wrestling.
Match Thoughts: If Big Daddy Voodoo (aka Viscera or Big Daddy V in WWE) is coming back, I have no problem with the ending, but if this was a one time appearance then it sucks that Kondo was squashed like that with no real payoff. This was way too short with the number of potential storylines coming in, and some of the wrestlers really didn't do anything at all which has always been a bit of a pet peeve of mine.... why have six wrestlers in a match when only a couple matter? Seeing Big Daddy V again was nice, but otherwise I was disappointed in the shortness of the match and Kondo getting squashed. Score: 4.0
Masakatsu Funaki vs. Minoru Suzuki
This match is a cage match. They circle each other to start, Funaki goes for a kick but Suzuki catches his foot and takes him to the mat. Funaki gets in the mount position but Suzuki reverses it. Suzuki goes for Funaki's arm and switches to a cross armbreaker attempt, but Funaki rolls out of it and returns to his feet. Back up, Suzuki goes for a takedown but Funaki knees him in the head and connects with a series of mounted punches. Now it is Funaki that goes for the cross armbreaker, Suzuki gets out of it but Funaki grabs his leg and applies a cross kneelock. Suzuki is already bleeding, but Funaki releases the hold and kicks Suzuki in the chest. Funaki goes off the ropes but Suzuki catches him when he goes for a knee and throws him into the steel cage. Now Funaki is bleeding as well as Suzuki punches Funaki repeatedly in the head. Suzuki then grabs Funaki and throws him into the cage again before ramming his head into it repeatedly. He then takes Funaki's face and grinds it into the side of the cage. Funaki starts to get up but Suzuki gets a running start and kicks him in the back, sending Funaki into the cage again. Funaki finally gets back to the ring-side of the ropes, and Suzuki gives him a headbutt. Another headbutt by Suzuki and he hits a third. Suzuki picks up Funaki and applies a keylock. Cross armbreaker by Suzuki but Funaki again rolls out of it. Suzuki keeps his hold on the arm however and gets it re-applied, but he can't get it completely locked in and has to release the hold. Suzuki picks up Funaki and knees him in the chest, kicks by Suzuki and he goes off the ropes, but Funaki catches him with an Abisergeri. Kicks to the chest by Funaki and he knees Suzuki into the corner before delivering a back kick. Funaki picks up Suzuki and goes for a suplex, but he can't hold Suzuki. He gets back up and delivers a falling piledriver to Suzuki before slapping on the triangle choke. Suzuki gets out of it and rakes at Funaki's bleeding face before the referee is able to get him off. Suzuki picks up Funaki and punches him in the face. Suzuki goes off the ropes and kicks Funaki in the back, then he slaps on the keylock arm submission. Suzuki twists back Funaki's arm in an armbar, he then releases it and applies the sleeper hold. Funaki gets out of it with a backdrop suplex, Suzuki charges Funaki but Funaki hits another backdrop suplex. Funaki applies the sleeper hold but Suzuki falls back and slams Funaki to the mat. Both wrestlers slowly get up and they trade boots to the head, then they trade slaps. Suzuki gets the better of it and slaps on the sleeper hold, he then picks up Funaki and drops him with the Gotch-style piledriver. Suzuki waits for Funaki to get up and slaps him back to the mat, he goes off the ropes and connects with a running kick. Funaki gets back up and Suzuki applies the sleeper hold. Funaki slams Suzuki back into the corner and then throws him over his head to the mat to get out of it. Slaps by Funaki, and he knocks down Suzuki with a high kick. Suzuki slowly gets back up, slaps by Funaki and he knees Suzuki in the face. Suzuki tries to get back up as the referee counts, but he collapses to the mat and is unable to answer the referee's count! Your winner: Masakatsu Funaki
Match Thoughts: Obviously this was an extremely unique match. You had a match with some shoot-style elements, but with Suzuki grinding Funaki's face into the cage. There were a few missteps here and there but generally it was very fluid and the time just flew by. When you have two veterans that know each other well and know how to structure a match, it usually works itself out. The action stayed fast paced even though it was at least partially submission based, and I was glad to see Funaki win. A minor complaint is that submission moves that usually pick up the win (the sleeper hold and cross armbreaker in particular) weren't really effective here, but since these two are legitimate MMA fighters that know how to get out of and block submission holds it was easier to cut them some slack in that department. Very different and unique, and definitely entertaining bell to bell. Score: 8.0
(c) Kaz Hayashi vs. KAI
This match is for the All Japan World Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
Hammerlock by Hayashi, KAI gets out of it, Irish whip by KAI and he hits a headscissors. Hayashi falls out of the ring, KAI goes off the far ropes and kills him with a tope suicida as they crash into the railing. Outside, Irish whip attempt by KAI, reversed by Hayashi, but KAI slams on the breaks and elbows Hayashi down. KAI picks up Hayashi and slides him back into the ring, but Hayashi regains the advantage. Irish whip by Hayashi but KAI kicks him in the chest. Hayashi comes back with an elbow, Irish whip by Hayashi, reversed, Hayashi goes for his handstand attack but KAI dropkicks him as he is in the middle of the move. Hayashi rolls out of the ring to re-group, and is kicked by KAI as he gets back in. Elbow drop by KAI, he picks up Hayashi and knocks him into the corner. Shoulder tackles by KAI and he knees Hayashi in the stomach. Irish whip by KAI and he delivers a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Hayashi rolls out of the ring to the apron, KAI joins him but Hayashi picks him up and slams KAI onto the apron. KAI grabs Hayashi from the floor however and tosses Hayashi throat-first into the guard rail. KAI then puts Hayashi onto the table on the other end of the railing, goes up on the apron, and hits a double foot stomp. Table didn't break of course, which probably didn't make it feel any better. KAI picks up Hayashi and slides him back into the ring, scoop slam by KAI and he goes up to the second turnbuckle, hitting another double stomp. Cover, but it gets a two count. KAI goes out to the apron and delivers a springboard dropkick, Irish whip from the corner but Hayashi moves out of the way of the knee attack and throws KAI into the ropes. He goes for the Lionsault, KAI moves out of the way but Hayashi lands on his feet and kicks KAI in the ribs. Both wrestlers are slow to recover, Hayashi charges KAI in the corner but KAI moves and kicks Hayashi in the ribs. Hayashi falls out of the ring, so KAI joins him. KAI slams Hayashi back-first into the railing but Hayashi recovers and hits an STO into the guard rail. Hayashi gets back in the ring first with KAI slowly following, Irish whip by Hayashi and he hits a spinebuster. Lionsault by Hayashi, but his ribs hurt too much to cover.
Hayashi picks up KAI and goes for the Final Cut, but KAI gets out of it. Kick by Hayashi and he hits an inverted overdrive. Hayashi picks up KAI, they trade kick attempts but KAI lands a jumping kick. Hayashi comes back with a backdrop suplex and they trade superkicks. Both wrestlers slowly get up with KAI up first, he picks up Hayashi and goes for a cross-legged attack, but Hayashi reverses it with a DDT. Hayashi picks up KAI and nails a Final Cut, cover, but KAI gets a shoulder up. Hayashi grabs KAI and puts him on the top turnbuckle, he joins Hayashi but KAI kicks him off. Both wrestlers land on different sides of the apron and both go for springboard dropkicks, with neither connecting. Irish whip by Hayashi, reversed, but Hayashi hits the handstand springboard enzigieri. KAI comes back with a springboard enzigieri of his own, and both wrestlers are down again. They slowly get up, KAI grabs Hayashi, Irish whip from the corner and he delivers a handstand elbow strike followed by a face crusher. Cross legged Falcon Arrow by KAI, cover, but Hayashi barely gets a shoulder up. KAI picks up Hayashi, backbreaker, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Hayashi is up. Hayashi joins him and nails an avalanche Final Cut. Hayashi picks up KAI but KAI hits a sunset flip for a two count. Double armed piledriver by KAI, cover, but it only gets a two count. KAI picks up Hayashi, scoop slam, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails a tornillo. Cover, but again Hayashi gets a shoulder up. KAI goes up top again but Hayashi gets his feet up when he goes for the splash plancha. Hayashi picks up KAI and hits a release dragon suplex, then he delivers an inverted Final Cut for a two count. Buzzsaw Kick by Hayashi and he hits a superkick while KAI is sitting on the mat. Hayashi picks up KAI and goes for the Power Plant, but KAI gets out of it. They trade slaps, superkick by KAI but Hayashi catches him with a back suplex. Hayashi picks up KAI and plants him with the Power Plant, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: Kaz Hayashi
Match Thoughts: I know this type of match isn't everyone's cup of tea. Yea, the selling is suspect at best for the big moves, but it was such a fun and action packed match that I have to love it. KAI has grown leaps and bounds since the last match of his I reviewed, he has some killer moves and hits them very precisely. The match had lots of exciting moves, KAI had a focused attack on Hayashi's mid-section which is the same move his finishing maneuver targets, and the crowd stayed into it throughout. Kinda like a condensed All Japan Jr. Heavyweight "epic" match since they usually run at least 25 minutes, but nothing was really lost and it was thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. Score: 7.5
(c) Satoshi Kojima vs. Ryota Hama
This match is for the Triple Crown Championship.
The circle each other to start, tie-up, Hama pushes Kojima into the ropes but he gives a clean break. Tie-up again, waistlock by Kojima but he can't lock his hands and Hama butts him off. Tie-up, wristlock by Kojima but Hama reverses it. Kojima gets Hama to the mat and applies a knee lock before stomping Hama in the leg and dropping an elbow on it. Kojima pulls Hama towards the middle of the ring and applies a facelock. Hama struggles back to his feet as Kojima applies a side headlock, Hama Irish whips out of it and the two collide with neither man going down. They try again with no effect, nor the third. Kojima tries three more times with no success, then Hama goes off the ropes and he knocks Kojima to the mat. Hama stands on Kojima near the ropes, he picks up Kojima and headbutts him into the corner. Clubbing blows by Hama, snapmare, and he applies a reverse chinlock. Back up, headbutt by Hama, Irish whip, but Kojima ducks a lariat and dropkicks Hama in the knee. Another dropkick to the knee by Kojima and he stomps Hama in the leg. Kojima grabs Hama and applies an inverted figure four leg lock. Hama eventually makes it to the ropes to force a break, stomps to the leg by Kojima and he applies a single leg crab hold. Kojima gets up and kicks Hama in the leg, knocking Hama in to the corner. Chops by Kojima, Irish whip attempt but Hama won't budge. Enzigieri by Kojima, Irish whip, and he hits the jumping elbow strike followed by the elbow drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Back up they trade strikes, rolling elbow by Kojima and he goes off the ropes, but Hama catches him with a side slam. Hama is up first as Kojima falls in the corner, and Hama delivers a running body splash. Kojima falls to a seated position and Hama hits a running butt smash to his face. Kojima falls out of the ring and Hama goes out after him, clubs to the back by Hama and he throws Kojima into the guard rail.
Running splash by Hama to Kojima while he is against the railing. Hama gets on the apron to get back in the ring, but Kojima runs up from behind and lariats him in the back of the leg. Hama slowly gets up but Kojima jumps out onto him with a pescado. DDT by Kojima on the floor. Kojima slides Hama back into the ring and hits another DDT followed by a neckbreaker. Kojima picks up Hama and goes for the Koji Cutter, but Hama punches him in the ribs. Chokeslam by Hama and he delivers an elbow drop. Leg drop by Hama, he picks up Kojima and delivers a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Both wrestlers get up, Irish whip by Hama but Kojima runs through the lariat attempt and drops Hama with the Koji Cutter. Kojima goes to pick up Hama, Hama elbows him off but Kojima hits another Koji Cutter. Kojima goes off the ropes and plants Hama with a lariat, cover, but Hama gets a shoulder up. Kojima goes off the ropes but Hama catches him with a lariat. Hama goes off the ropes and lands a body press, cover, but it gets a two count. Hama takes down a strap to show that he means business, he picks up Kojima and goes for the Ryota Hammer, but Kojima knees his way out of it. Kojima applies a facelock to Hama, cover, but it gets a two count. Kojima goes off the ropes but Hama blocks the lariat. Hama goes off the ropes but Kojima is able to connect with the lariat. Kojima picks up Hama, Irish whip, but Hama knocks down Kojima with a body splash. Hama grabs Kojima and hits the Ryota Hammer, cover, but Kojima barely gets a shoulder up. Hama grabs Kojima again but Kojima fights out of it and delivers a lariat. Both wrestlers slowly get up, and Hama delivers a (modified) Shining Wizard! Cover, but it gets a two count. Hama grabs Kojima and nails a second Ryota Hammer, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winner and new champion: Ryota Hama
Match Thoughts: Well what can you say, less then a year and a half after debuting, Ryota Hama wins the Triple Crown Championship. This match was worked well, all wrestlers should just target Hama's knees as that is his natural weakness, but either way no one can realistically be annoyed that Hama moves slow since he is huge and his size is the basis of the majority of his moves. Even though I normally am not impress with Kojima matches, I thought the match went along pretty quickly and I wasn't ever tempted to fast forward, which I was seriously expecting. Obviously Hama is limited but it was a good match, they kept it to the point and Kojima didn't overdue the lariats which is always a plus in his matches. Not an epic or anything like that, but perfectly acceptable wrestling. Score: 6.0
Best Match: Masakatsu Funaki vs. Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki and Funaki combined all the elements together that make up an entertaining match. The action was hard hitting, the match slowly built up to an ending that fit the match structure perfectly, and they had a smart combination of emotion with realistic shoot-style tactics. Lots of strikes and submissions, but they also weren't afraid to use the cage and both wrestlers bled as one would expect in a steel cage match. These two have a history and you could tell as the match progressed as they knew each other's moves and counter moves as the match flowed at a good pace. About as good as one could hope for and a good ending for this stage of their feud (I am sure they will meet again down the road, perhaps for the Triple Crown at Sumo Hall in August?).
MVP: Ryota Hama. Almost by default. Even though Hama is still learning, he has come a long way since he first debuted in the fall of 2008. While I don't know if he is ready to be the Triple Crown Champion in regards to his in-ring work, he definitely has the passion for it and the crowd's reaction showed that while they were surprised, they didn't respond negatively to it either. This was a big moment for him and I hope that he can follow up with more memorable performances in the future.
Overall: This card was very top-heavy (no pun intended), and most of the middle is completely missable. The opener was solid and the Luchadors were fun, but after that there isn't much entertaining to watch before the cage match. Three matches I rated highly however, highlighted by a great cage match and a really fun Jr. Heavyweight Championship match that I think fans of All Japan will enjoy. The main event, while not a must-see, is significant and it certainly wasn't a bad match (hand's down the best Hama singles match I have ever seen, he brought all he had for the big moment in his career). An easy recommendation, but I can't give it my highest recommendation since over half the card was completely missable with so many short six man tags. But definitely worth the watch for any fans of All Japan.
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review completed 3/25/10