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  1. #41
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I dig Ryoji Sai quite a bit. He comes off as a heavy hitting guy. From what I've read he's studied martial arts so he incorporates that into his persona, from his gear to all the hard kicks he does. His matches during the Champion Carnival were good. He's currently a double champion in All Japan so that should say something. I wouldn't be able to recommend a match off the top of my head. The ones I can remember were solid matches against Yuji Hino and Naoya Nomura during the Champion Carnival this year, so if you can find those that would give you an idea of his style.

    Kento Miyahara has tons of charisma. In the shows I've seen him in person, that crowd gets electric for him.

  2. #42
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Worth saying I was really getting behind him in the match that he won the title.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  3. #43
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    Last night Suwama and Shuji Ishikawa beat Ryoji Sai and Dylan James to become the 83rd All Japan World Tag Team Champions. This is the second time Suwama and Ishikawa have been the tag champs, having held it for a month earlier this year (and Suwama's third reign overall, having a 8-month run with Joe Doering in 2013). It was an okay match, but nothing to go out of your way to watch.

    I was surprised by the title switch because it's the 5th time the title has changed hands this year alone, and also because I thought since Sai and James formed the new Sweeper group they would at least give the guys in the stable a bit of a push. Hasn't seemed that way, though.

    Tonight's show will feature the anticipated singles match between Kento Miyahara and Jake Lee. It won't be for the Triple Crown championship, but I'm still looking forward to that one. The main event will be Atsushi Aoki against Yohei Nakajima for the Jr. Heavyweight title.
    Last edited by Degenerate; 07-01-2018 at 01:09 AM.

  4. #44
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    How did Miyahara and Lee go, in the end?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  5. #45
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    I'd be curious for an update as well, if you're still keeping up with it all!

  6. #46
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    Miyahara got the win in that match against Jake Lee. Nothing special happened here, just your standard Miyahara type of match. It was good for a watch but nothing to rave about.

    I still am watching but things have slowed down considerably with All Japan after the Champion Carnival so there hasn't been a whole lot to talk about. The main focus for All Japan right now is their big July 29th show in Osaka, their return to the main Edion Arena stage in 4 years. Here's the full card for that show:

    - Takao Omori, Atsushi Maruyama, Shoichi Uchida (Dove Pro), & TORU (Freelancer) vs. Yoshitatsu, Ultimo Dragon, Hiroaki Moriya (freelancer) & CarBell Ito
    - Joe Doering vs. Gianni Valletta
    - Suwama, Shuji Ishikawa, & Billyken Kid (freelancer) vs. Jake Lee, Dylan James, & Keiichi Sato
    - Atsushi Aoki, Hikaru Sato, Masaaki Mochizuki (Dragon Gate), & Shun Skywalker (Dragon Gate) vs. Koji Iwamoto, Tajiri, Yohei Nakajima, & Black Tiger VII
    - Jun Akiyama & Yuji Nagata vs. Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi for the All-Asia Tag Team Championship
    - Ryoji Sai vs. The Bodyguard for the All-Asia Championship
    - Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus for the Triple Crown Championship

    The last time All Japan ran the main stage of Edion Arena they drew 1688 people, which is around 30% capacity of the arena (based on the capacity when New Japan sells the place out with their big shows). This looks like a decent card, but I'm not sure if it's enough to draw more than that. Hopefully I'm proven wrong. It would be awesome if they could crack 2000.

    They have a couple of interesting bouts there, though. The guy facing Joe Doering is a guy from Malta, of all places, so I'm curious to see that. They got the Dragon Gate guys who will be in the upcoming Jr. Battle of Glory tournament (although I still find it weird that Mochizuki is labeled as a Junior Heavyweight). The All-Asia Tag Team Championship bout should be fun with the old vets taking the young guys (fun fact: Akiyama and Nagata are each older than their opponent's ages combined - Nomura being 24 and Aoyagi being 22).

    Of course, you have the Osaka natives challenging for the top singles titles to help drawing people there. It wouldn't surprise me to see either title change. I'm not a big fan of Bodyguard winning a big singles title just to make the local crowd happy, but Ryoji Sai hasn't really done much with that belt and with him being in a group where he's not the main focus, it wouldn't be the worst thing. I'm still uncertain if Miyahara retains. Zeus seems to be in the process of being groomed to have that top spot for a bit now, and I don't think there will be any better time than in front of their biggest crowd in Osaka. I'd still like All Japan to keep Miyahara going strong and continue carrying the company as the main guy. We'll see what happens there.

  7. #47
    The Brain
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    Yeah, that card isn't blowing me away, though I like that they are still using a couple Dragon Gate guys. And my man Tajiri of course!

    I would be ok with a Zeus title win, but I could understand if they want to ride Kento until the wheels fall off. Or maybe Zeus wins it for awhile, and Kento wins it back, like they did with Ishikawa last year? I could get into that.

  8. #48
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I wouldn't mind that at all, especially if they want to continue building towards the Osaka fanbase down the road.

    In some news, this past weekend All Japan announced the participants and upcoming matches for this year's Odo Tournament (e.g. Royal Road Tournament). It's a relatively new tournament that started in 2013 (and won by Akebono, no less). It's different from the Champion Carnival tournament in that it's a 4-round, single-elimination tournament open to all weight classes. The Triple Crown champ can participate, and whoever wins (provided it's not the champ) will get a title shot. This year features 16 participants, including a couple of non-AJPW guys. Here are the first round matches:

    - Kento Miyahara vs. Yoshitatsu
    - Yuma Aoyagi vs. Ryoji Sai
    - Joe Doering vs. Dylan James
    - Suwama vs. Gianni Valletta
    - Yuji Hino (Wrestle-1 / Freelancer) vs. The Bodyguard
    - Jun Akiyama vs. Jake Lee
    - Zeus vs. Naoya Nomura
    - Shuji Ishikawa vs. Kengo Mashimo (K-DOJO)

    I'm psyched that Yuji Hino is there again. I really, really dug him in the Champion Carnival tournament. I've read a little about Kengo Mashimo - he's apparently the top guy at K-DOJO right now. After seeing a picture of him I remember seeing him at a show once but I can't remember his match at all so I have no other comments. You also have the Maltese wrestler I mentioned in my last post so it seems like he'll be sticking around for a bit. Everyone else is an All Japan staple. Most of the first round matches look interesting so I think this is going to be a fun tournament to follow.

    The tournament will be happening for just five shows spanning from September 15 to September 24. The September 24 show is going to be in Osaka, and it will have both the semi-final matches and the finals on the same night. I'm definitely going to hit up that show.

  9. #49
    The Brain
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    Hm, not a thrilling first round but it does sound like a bit of a secondary tournament after all. Could see some exciting matches in the later rounds, for sure.

  10. #50
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I think they have a decent first round given what they have available to work with. The matches I'm looking forward to the most are Akiyama vs. Lee and Ishikawa vs. Mashimo.

    Out of curiosity I checked how how tickets for next week's big Osaka show have been doing. Of course the ticket sites won't say exactly how many tickets are left, just if there are sections with plenty of tickets available, just a few available, or sold out. The first two tiers (premium seats, ring-side seats) as well as the special section in the second floor of the venue (which is front and center) have just a few tickets available. That's actually a bit better than I expected, to be honest. There's still nine days left as of this post, so maybe some of those sections will sell out by then.

    EDIT: Two days left, and no sections have sold out yet. The cheapest section is now marked as having just a few tickets left, so it looks like they're going to have a decent crowd depending on what "few tickets left" means.
    Last edited by Degenerate; 07-27-2018 at 02:15 AM.

  11. #51
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I finally caught the title matches of this past weekend's show in Osaka. From what I read All Japan managed to get 2458 people into Edion Arena, which is a bit less than full capacity (the big New Japan shows do about 5500 there) but still a success since they drew over 800 more people since the last show there in 2014.

    As for the matches, the ones I saw were good enough with plenty of time given to them. Bodyguard beat Ryoji Sai for the All Asia Championship in an okay match (about 20 minutes), but I'm not much of a fan of Bodyguard as a singles wrestler. His matches seem way too slow for my tastes.

    The young guys Naoya Nomura and Yuma Aoyagi captured the All Asia Tag Team Championships from Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata. This match went over 20 minutes and was pretty good. Everyone did their part really well, and the vets were really good. They definitely don't show their age, in my opinion. I like the title change since Nomura and Aoyagi are super-young and have a lot of upside. I'm guessing this is Nagata's last All Japan match for a while / forever, although that's just speculation as they didn't do anything to indicate that (Akiyama took the pin for the loss, too).

    In the main event, Zeus defeated Kento Miyahara to become the new Triple Crown Champion in front of his hometown fans. This was a solid match at around 30 minutes. It was back and forth for the most part, and it's one of Miyahara's matches where I saw him have the most offense. I'm a bit split over this. I wanted Miyahara to really solidify himself at the top guy, but instead he lost after just two title defenses. I am interested to see what they do with Zeus throughout the summer. He's good enough and has a great look so it's not all that bad to have him get a run with the top title.

    There were plenty of changes, so it'll be very interesting to see what comes out of it in the next months leading up to the Royal Road tournament.

  12. #52
    The Brain
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    I head Zeus/Kento was great!! Really interested to hopefully check it out in the future. I burn out too easily on wrestling from Japan, the pool is so deep over there. Really like your thoughts on this Deg... I do think Kento will get the title back, I feel like this is a temporary situation with Zeus just to keep fans guessing.

  13. #53
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Oh, really? Have let this slip a bit lately, will have to keep an eye out for the title match.

    I feel a bit like you though Deg, on reading it. I was feeling like there was something there with Miyahara and was looking forward to him laying down a marker. Be interesting to see how this shakes out in the longer term.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  14. #54
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quiet month for AJPW?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  15. #55
    The Brain
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    I've heard great things about the recent Ishikawa/Zeus match, though I haven't had a chance to check it out. Still following along, Deg?

  16. #56
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    There were a couple of things happening in the last few months, from the Junior Tag League tournament to the Triple Crown match that mizfan mentioned. But I haven't had much time to follow along, unfortunately. I will have to catch up, though. In a few days the yearly Royal Road tournament will kick off, ending with the semi-finals and finals on September 24. I got second-row seats to that show so it's going to be a fun one.

    I'll probably post something new in the next few days when I catch up to some of the more important things happening in All Japan.

  17. #57
    The Brain
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    Oh nice!! Can't wait to hear about it, especially the live show experience, that's always great!

  18. #58
    The Brain
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    Finally got around to watching one of Deg's suggestions from earlier this year...

    Kento Miyahara vs. Dylan James, AJPW Triple Crown Championship 6/12/18 AJPW Dynamite Series Day 1

    My first look at Dylan here, Deg has mentioned him a few times (and recommended this match, even!) so I'm curious. Seen Kento many times at this point, I like the guy overall and can see why he's been a good ace for AJPW, but something holds him back from being a favorite of mine. Not sure if it's him or the AJPW house style, which isn't my favorite. Speaking of, this match had all the plusses and all the negatives of most of the longform AJPW main events I've seen in the past few years. The offense is typically awesome and both guys end up looking tough as nails, which is great, but I tend to feel a little fatigued towards the end as both guys drop huge bomb and huge bomb on offense, only to result in a two count and more big offense. It never really seems to wear them down that much, sure they get tired but it feels like a battle of endurance, who can eat more offense til the match is over. I guess that could be said of any match but I like a bit more strategy, I suppose, as opposed to so much fighting spirit. That's not to say I didn't like the match, I thought overall it was pretty good, and Dylan did impress me with some of his power moves and his thunderous chops. Kento was resilient as always, and his running knee strike, while overused, is one of the best around. I'm always open to more modern All Japan because every now and then they blow me away, as Doering vs. Zeus did earlier this year, so don't think I'm not interested!

  19. #59
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    Awesome you got a chance to see that match. Ever since I began watching All Japan this year they typically have some solid bouts in their bigger shows for All Japan. The problem for me has been that it's difficult to know which shows are their big ones - it's like they pick shows at random to have big title matches and stuff like that. Maybe I need to get used to it instead of the way most other companies do, which is have their big shows for their calendar year all set and with different names. But I digress.

    I finally got some time to watch some matches that I had been wanting to see for the past few weeks. I caught some of the matches from one of their bigger shows from August 26 which had three title matches, and the first two Royal Road tournament matches.

    In the first title match from Augusut 26, Naoya Nomura and Yuma Aoyagi depended the Asia Tag Team Championships by beating the team of Takao Omori and Isami Kodaka. I'd never Kodaka before. He's currently on the Pro Wrestling Basara roster but seems like he's been all over the place from Kaitentai Dojo to DDT to BJW. The match was alright. I dig the team of Nomura and Aoyagi a lot. I have high hopes for them in their careers.

    The next title match was for the Jr. Heavyweight title, where Atsushi Aoki lost his championship against Koji Iwamoto. I admittedly didn't pay much attention to this match since I don't dig the juniors in All Japan that much. Iwamoto is on a solid roll recently - the day before, he and Tajiri won the Jr. Tag Battle of Glory tournament, and then he won the Jr. Heavyweight Championship.

    Finally, we had the Triple Crown championship match between Zeus and Shuji Ishikawa. Zeus successfully defended his Triple Crown championship with a jackhammer on his first title match after winning it in July. It was a solid match, among the lines of a slugfest between two rather large men which All Japan is known for. It was one of the longer All Japan matches I've seen, ending right after the 30-minute mark was announced. The first half is a bit slow but they built up a lot of steam on the second half, including some pretty vicious-looking offense. One spot had Ishikawa deliver a suplex on Zeus from the ring apron all the way down to the floor, which looked devastating. I'd recommend a view of this match if you like a good fight between two powerful dudes.

    The August 26 show seems to have been a good showing for All Japan. It drew 1310 people. One gripe I had is that even though they had plenty of people, the venue looked huge and it seriously looked like more than half the seats were empty. They need to do better in seating or have a better production crew to avoid shooting a lot of empty seats because it didn't really come out like they drew over 1000 people.

    For the Royal Road tournament matches, this is what I've seen so far:

    - Ryoji Sai defeated Yuma Aoyagi in a quick 11-minute match. Nothing special, but a good match nonetheless.

    - Kento Miyahara defeated Yoshitatsu in about 19 minutes. Yoshitatsu had a good showing but it was mostly all Kento here, which is how it should be. It wouldn't surprise me to see Miyahara win this tournament.

    - Suwama defeated Gianni Valletta in another quick bout at around 10 minutes. I think this is the first time I've seen Valletta. He looks to be tall and in shape - he kinda looks like a mix of Damien Sandow, Elias and a tiny bit of Bruiser Brody to me. I think he needs more experience (coming from Malta, which I'm sure is not a hot bed of wrestling).

    - Joe Doering defeated Dylan James in a 11-minute battle of the All Japan hosses. An alright All Japan big-man type of match for me. Glad to see Doering move on to the quarterfinals, since he's been cooled down since dropping the Triple Crown title earlier this year.

    There was a show earlier this afternoon with the rest of the matches of the first round of the tournament, so I'll post again when I get around to watching those in the next day or two.
    Last edited by Degenerate; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:30 AM.

  20. #60
    The Brain
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    That Ishikawa/Zeus match sound quite interesting, though I'd wager like most long matches these day it could have used a bit of editing. Doering/Dylan at 11 minutes sound pretty interesting as well, and I'm all about more spotlight on my man Doering!

  21. #61
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I think the Zeus / Ishikawa match was paced fine. You could cut the first ten minutes out since it was a bit slow, but that was just used for building towards the end, which is just about what most matches of this length do. The Doering / James match was alright for a watch, but nothing to go out of your way for to be honest.

    The last four matches of the first round of the Royal Road tournament happened yesterday in Korakuen Hall. They had a good crowd on hand with a reported 1419 people. Not a sellout, which might be slightly disappointing given that it was a holiday in Japan yesterday and the show started early in the afternoon, but still a good size regardless.

    Yuji Hino defeated the current All Asia Heavyweight Champion, The Bodyguard with the FUCKING BOMB (I just wanted to type that). It was short - just two large, strong men beating each other up for 7-8 minutes. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. For the record, Yuji Hino came out wearing this shirt, which I think is just awesome:



    Kengo Mashimo pulled off a bit of an upset by defeating Shuji Ishikawa by catching him with a sleeper hold for a long time and the referee stopping the match. Mashimo is a K-Dojo guy but has made plenty of All Japan shows. I enjoyed this match a lot. Both of these guys hit each other with bombs through the whole match. Ishikawa in particular was so good in this match. For a guy his size, he just moves so fluidly and makes everything look like it's extremely painful. I wasn't a big fan towards the end, where Ishikawa hit Mashimo with one of his finishers and went for the pin only for Mashimo to immediately kick out at one. But for the most part it was a good match.

    Jake Lee picked up the win over Jun Akiyama. This looked like a match to see who could legit hit each other the hardest as both guys hit each other with some stiff-looking shots. Jake Lee has some nice-looking offense with some hard kicks and knee strikes. Akiyama more than held his own with the same. I'm always amazed when someone over 25 years into their career and mostly with this style can still go when they're nearly 50 years old.

    Triple Crown champ Zeus defeated Naoya Nomura in a really solid match. I'm actually enjoying more of Zeus as time goes on. Both guys did really well. Nomura showed that fire that I keep talking about which I really dig a lot and dished out a lot of punishment. Zeus also hit hard, including a nasty-looking dive to the outside that looked like he was inches away from getting his neck caught on the guardrail since there's not much space outside the ring. It was a fifteen minute match, with the last five minutes being pretty exciting. I recommend giving this one a view.

    That wraps it up for the first round. Later this week we'll have the quarterfinals of the Royal Road tournament:

    - Kengo Mashimo vs. Joe Doering
    - Zeus vs. Suwama
    - Ryoji Sai vs. Yuji Hino
    - Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee

    The winners of those matches will go on to the semi-finals next Monday, with the finals will take place on the same day.

    As of now, my wild guess based on absoluetely nothing is that Miyahara vs. Suwama will be the finals, with Miyahara winning and preventing Suwama from winning a third-straight Royal Road tournament.

  22. #62
    The Brain
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    Yeah, I think it's just a stylistic thing for me. I get that the slow early parts are meant to build things up but sometimes I think it comes off as filler, you know? Better to either be more intentional or pick up the pace and shorten the run time, I dislike if it feels like a match is going long simply for the sake of it. But long matches are suuuper common when it comes to important matches in Japan, as I'm sure you know!

    Really nice rundown, I've already heard some good things about some of those matches. I tend to concur with your prediction of Kento over Suawama in the end, but as we've seen these things can be unpredictable!

  23. #63
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I actually messed up with my prediction. Suwama and Kento are in the same side of the bracket so there's no way of them meeting up in the finals, just the semi-finals at the most. But that's now a moot point after the two second-round matches of the Royal Road tournament that happened last night.

    Yuji Hino defeated Ryoji Sai with the FUCKING BOMB to move on to the semi-finals. Nothing special to write about, which kind of disappointed me a bit. There was a spot near the beginning of the match where both men were brawling outside, and Hino charged Sai with a clothesline, only for Sai to duck and Hino hit his arm hard on the ringpost. I thought that would have made a decent story but unfortunately, that was a wasted spot because they didn't use that for absolutely anything for the rest of the match. That kind of sums up the match.

    The main event saw Zeus defeat Suwama to put an end to Suwama's two-year Royal Road winning streak. This was another match that was nothing special, and both guys seemed to be a little off to me. There was a bit of back and forth throughout the match but not whole lot of excitement. One chokeslam and a jackhammer at the end put Suwama away. I don't know, it just felt a bit lackluster for this type of match between these guys.

    Tonight we get the other second-round matches. The first match will have Kengo Mashimo against Joe Doering, with the winner going to the semi-finals to face Zeus. The other match will be Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee, with the winner facing Yuji Hino. I have high hopes that tonight's two matches will deliver better results.

  24. #64
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    Sorry for the double-post - not that there's a lot of activity here anyway. I just finished catching up to the last batch of matches for the second round.

    Kengo Mashimo picked up a fluke win by catching Joe Doering with a rollup after Doering went for his running cross body splash and missed. Doering pretty much dominated most of the match with his size and strength advantage, so the fluke win at the end made a bit of sense. Not a bad match and it served its purpose well.

    In the main event, Kento Miyahara defeated Jake Lee in a solid match full of a lot of hard-hitting offense. These guys are pretty much masters with kicks and knee strikes so that's what we got here. Good back and forth action, truly a Japanese strong style kind of match.

    We have our semi-finals set for tomorrow's show in Osaka. Zeus will take on Kengo Mashimo, and Yuji Hino will face Kento Miyahara. The winners will face each other later in the evening to crown the Royal Road tournament winner. It's a good group of guys, so anyone would be a good choice. I'm still pulling for Miyahara, though.

  25. #65
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    And sorry for the triple post. Oh well. The semi-finals and finals of the Royal Road tournament just wrapped up a few hours ago.

    The first match of the night saw Kento Miyahara defeat Yuji Hino with a rollup out of nowhere. Hino pretty much dominated the entire match from the get-go, battering Miyahara with some of the loudest chops that I've ever heard. Miyahara got a little bit of offense but he just wasn't able to string together a lot until he rolled up Hino to beat him. Okay match and it helped both guys. Hopefully we continue to see more of Hino because I really dig his role.

    The next match had Kengo Mashimo pull off a huge upset win over the current Triple Crown Champion Zeus by making him tap out to an armbar. Early on in the match they were brawling outside and Zeus smacked the ring post hard with his right arm, which played throughout the rest of the match. Zeus got some good bursts here and there but Mashino just continued targeting the arm. That obviously came into play during the match, like when Zeus couldn't perform his finishers, and at the end with the submission. Good match and told a nice little story.

    Before the finals we had some filler tag matches, with the exception of one pretty big development. One of the tag matches was Joe Doering and The Bodyguard facing the Sweeper team of Jake Lee and Dylan James. In the middle of the match, Jake Lee was preparing to hit one of his knee strikes on Doering, when all of a sudden James just blasted Lee with a tackle. James just smiled at Doering, and Doering smiled back. Then Doering and James hit a spike piledriver on Lee and Doering picked up the win. After the match, the rest of Sweeper came out to figure out what the hell was going on. James got the mic and said that Sweeper is over and he was going to the next level with Doering. So I guess they're going to be a team now. That's going to be pretty cool to watch.

    The final match of the night was the finals of the Royal Road tournament between Kengo Mashimo and Kento Miyahara. Mashimo's game plan was pretty much the same as he did with Zeus - he targeted the arm of Miyahara and just kept on clobbering it throughout the match, including taking out the mats from the outside and proceeding to drive his knee from the ring apron right on Miyahara's arm. It looked like Mashimo was on his way to another submission victory, but Miyahara's main strength is in his vicious knee strikes. After catching Mashimo with a few good shots and after a few attempts, he was able to his the strait jacket suplex finisher for the pin. Kento Miyahara is the 2018 Royal Road Tournament winner!

    The winner of the tournament gets a title shot at the Triple Crown Championship, so there will be a rematch between Miyahara and Zeus sometime soon. I'm guessing it'll be next month on their big Yokohama show on October 21st.

    Since I was there, I have a couple of fun live notes from my end:

    - A couple of the wrestlers were selling their merch at the tables outside. I was near Shuji Ishikawa's table looking at his shirts, and I saw one guy next to me give Ishikawa his empty can of coffee that he just finished drinking and asked if he could toss it in the recycling bin behind him. Ishikawa looked at him like "Are you serious?" but he still took the can and tossed it away. I just found that hilarious.

    - In the first match between Kento Miyahara and Yuji Hino, I was cheering loudly for Kento at the start of the match. Hino started looking disgusted at the crowd before he locked eyes with me, gave me a death glare, and proceeded to give me the middle finger. I think that's an unlocked wrestling achievement for me.

    - When Dylan James turned on Jake Lee and he and Doering destroyed Jake Lee after, Bodyguard (Doering's partner) stayed outside of the ring right near where I sat. After a while I saw Bodyguard looking my direction and I gave him a gesture of "What the hell happened?" and he said in English "Crazy, crazy" while spinning his finger around his ear, which was hilarious to me.

    - One of the tag matches was a six-man match. One side had the team of Ishikawa and Suwama. Suwama started the match but most of the crowd was cheering for someone on the opposite team (I think either Naoya Nomura or Yuma Aoyagi). Being the great teammate that he is, Ishikawa went to the empty seats that were right in front of me, sat down, and led the crowd to a Suwama chant. It was a fun little thing he did. On a side note, Ishikawa is a large man up close, and his back is completely scarred up from all the years of death matches that he's had.

    - Another tag match had none other than Ultimo Dragon. He didn't do a whole lot, but I think it's freakin' cool that I got to see him in a wrestling match in 2018.

    - I saw Yoshitatsu outside selling merch, just like he did during his New Japan days. But this time, he was actually selling merch! I saw plenty of people buy his stuff, get autographs, and take pictures with him - something I never saw anyone do in all the New Japan shows I went to. He actually looks like he's enjoying his time in All Japan.
    Last edited by Degenerate; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:56 AM.

  26. #66
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I need to catch up on this - I'll doubtless be back in here when I've had chance to check out some of these matches you're talking about, Deg.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  27. #67
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    Deg!! Sorry to be just catching up on this, I love these posts and think it's a shame they don't get more attention at the moment.

    Lots of fun stuff here, I was rooting for Zeus but I really like the sound of the way he went down, to a logically worked over arm injury. A Doering/Dylan team sounds dominant indeed, though I hope it doesn't take Doering out of singles stuff entirely. Kento getting the win is fairly expected but I'm good with it, there's a reason they hung their hat on him!

    Absolutely love the live report stuff! I'd be afraid to try to get Ishikawa to throw away my garbage. Not at all surprised to hear about his size or scars, but cool that he is still up to do some funny stuff. Interacting with wrestlers during matches is an awesome feeling, isn't it? And I'm so glad for Tatsu! I felt bad for him as the Virgil of New Japan. He's really very solid and deserves at least some good fan interaction, really glad he's getting it.

    Great posts Deg, you going again any time soon?

  28. #68
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    It's no problem that there's little activity here! I do this mostly to keep my own notes and attention going with what's happening. I've found that I keep up with things a bit more when I do this.

    Not sure when I'll be going next because they don't have much planned for Osaka soon. In November they'll have a show here called Lucha Fiesta, which I think is a joint Toryumon-All Japan tour. Then in November they'll have their annual tag team tournament passing through as well. Not super-interested in either of those, although I'll think about the tag team show since it might be a fun thing to watch.

  29. #69
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    Having Toryumon connection is kind of interesting, tracing back the connections with Ultimo Dragon and Dragon Gate and such. No idea what they look like today but it could have some interest? Certainly seems like it'd be a change of pace, at least for their main events!

  30. #70
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I checked last year's Lucha Fiesta show, which was billed as Ultimo Dragon's 30th Anniversary show, and it looked like a disappointment. It was pretty much a normal All Japan card, and the only Mexican wrestlers on the whole card were Caristico and Diamante in the main event as part of a two out of three falls six-man tag match.

    Given that this year they'll actually have a couple of shows under the Lucha Fiesta name, there might be a couple of more Mexican wrestlers coming this way. But based on last year I wouldn't go out of my way to catch those shows.

    EDIT: Some updates to the next events have been coming in, including a few title matches for the Yokohama show coming up on October 21:

    - Tajiri will defend the Gaora TV Championship in an open challenge.
    - Violent Giants (Suwama and Shuji Ishikawa) will defend their World Tag Team titles against the team of KAI and Kengo Mashimo.
    - Triple Crown Champion Zeus will face Kento Miyahara for the title.

    Three title matches sounds like a decent card. The tour leading up to the Yokohama show doesn't have much interesting going on, just a bunch of preludes leading up to Yokohama.

    There is one weird thing, where Dylan James will still team up with his former Sweeper teammates (sans Jake Lee, who he turned on) in a couple of matches. Not sure where that puts the recent partnership with Joe Doering, but I'm guessing they'll have huge plans for them for the upcoming Tag Team tournament towards the end of the year.
    Last edited by Degenerate; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:22 AM.

  31. #71
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    Might be a chance for Dylan to further widen the gap between him and his former mates? If he only actively split with Lee so far, could be a chance to put more barriers between him and some others to give juice to a feud there.

    Those three matches definitely hold some interest for me, I haven't had much time for AJPW this year just due to watching too many other things but at some point I'll have to check a few of these out again.

  32. #72
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    Suwama vs. Go Shiozaki, Royal Road Tournament Final 9/28/14 AJPW Royal Road Tournament ~ Open Championship Day 6

    This match was given to me by Oliver as evidence of Suwama as a Best In The World candidate. I don't think I'm quite convinced on that score, but I do always enjoy Suwama a lot and this was not an exception! I thought he was clearly the best guy the match, Shiozaki is a guy who has never fully connected with me. In fact I thought his performance here was a bit odd, he started the match and almost immediately was incapacitated by some fairly simple submissions, to the point where for some reason the referee pulled of Suwama and left Shiozaki lying on the mat for ages. I feel like there was some kind of story element I missed here, or else it was worked very strangely. Shiozaki's weakness continued through a lot of the match, though for Suwama's part he was very fun swatting Shiozaki around in brutal and impressive ways and shutting down his comeback attempts. Shiozaki eventually does regain his strength, almost to the point where it felt like he worked the match backwards, so I don't know what to say about that. I will say Suwama did an awesome job overall and I dig his scary grizzled vibe, even if I'm not convinced he's great in that role in the same vein as someone like Shuji Ishikawa or Minoru Suzuki, for example. I feel like this may not be their best match together either, but despite a very long run time it won me over for the most part I though it ended up pretty great in and of itself.

    Suwama vs. Shiozaki

  33. #73
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    That's a great match, thanks for sharing it! I've been meaning to see more of Go Shiozaki. The few times I've seen him, I've enjoyed what he's done.

    Speaking of Suwama, there's a report that not only Suwama, but his Violent Giants partner Shuji Ishikawa are both dealing with arm/shoulder injuries and have been taken out of most of the upcoming shows. They're still slated to defend their World Tag Team Championships on the October 21st show in Yokohama if they're fine by then. Hopefully it's nothing too serious since it'll suck to have either of them out for an extensive period of time.

  34. #74
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    Shiozaki is a solid guy but at times I think he's been hyped as really great and I'm not sure I agree. I should probably see more of him too, to be honest.

    Sucks how it seems to be the way in many Japanese promotions to work until you're practically falling apart. Thinking of guys like Ishii walking around taped up like a mummy for close to a year, forcing himself to keep smashing into things. I hate to see awesome guys like Ishikawa and Suwama potentially on the shelf but part of me would rather see them there than risk permanent injury!

  35. #75
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I've always wondered if it's the traditional Japanese mentality of people here essentially giving their lives for the place they work for. I'm guessing that's the case for Suwama, given his position in All Japan as part of the board and being essentially the only promotion he's worked for. For Ishikawa it might not be as strong a tie as Suwama, although it seems like he's made All Japan his home since I don't think he's done many other shows this year. Combine that loyalty factor along with wrestlers in general toughing out these situations, and it's pretty much a given that a lot of them will still be working despite falling apart.

  36. #76
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    I think there's definitely a cultural aspect, though it's not unheard of for WWE wrestlers to try to power through big injuries, and even in other places. Combine the mindset in Japan with the very real fear of losing your spot if you're not "tough" enough or take too much time off and it can be rather unhealthy. :/

  37. #77
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I'm guessing both guys will be available for the Yokohama show, even if just to drop the titles. I do hope they don't overdo it. All Japan's roster is rather thin and losing two guys of that caliber leaves a huge void.

    Talking about the Yokohama show, we got Tajiri's challenger for the TV Championship. It'll be Chikara Momota, a third-generation wrestler. But he's not just a third-generation wrestler from any ol' family. His grandfather is none other than Rikidozan. He's been wrestling for just a handful of years in mostly small companies, so I wouldn't expect much here.

    It was funny how they announced it on the All Japan streaming service. They had a feature on the site showing that Momota sent in an application and his resume to request being considered to face Tajiri. So then Tajiri went to his house to visit and essentially have a chat which could be viewed as an interview, then Tajiri approved. I'm not sure if I had ever seen a title shot treated as an employment request before.

  38. #78
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    I've never even heard of Momota. And that's a... unique way of promoting a match. Awesome tidbit though!

  39. #79
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    All the teams for the annual Real World Tag League tournament have been announced. Interestingly enough, it's all going to be one block, but consisting of 11 teams. The odd number is throwing me off, just because I'm retentive with numbers. It's also a lengthy tournament - 19 shows, spanning almost one month from November 13 to December 11. I'll be on vacation right when this begins so I'll be pretty out of the loop by the time I get back from my trip.

    Anyway, I read up more on this tournament and it's actually pretty rich in history. The first one was held in 1977 and the inaugural winners were Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk. A lot of other legendary figures have won the tournament - Giant Baba, Bruiser Brody, Ted DiBiase, Terry Gordy, Stan Hansen, Kenta Kobashi, Misawa, Jun Akiyama, the Dudley Boys, among many others. There was a period where the company would vacate the World Tag Team Championships before the tournament, and crown the tournament winners as the new champs. They did it a year or two recently as well. Last year's winners were the Violent Giants (Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama).

    As for this year, here are the teams:

    - Jun Akiyama & Daisuke Sekimoto
    - Kento Miyahara & Yoshitatsu
    - Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi
    - Get Wild (Takao Omori & Manabu Soya)
    - Violent Giants (Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa)
    - The End (Odinson & Parrow)
    - TAJIRI & Gianni Valletta
    - Joe Doering & Dylan James
    - Jake Lee & Ryouji Sai
    - The Big Guns (Zeus & The Bodyguard)
    - KAI & Kengo Mashimo

    I have lots of thoughts here:

    - Super-psyched that Daisuke Sekimoto is back.
    - I'm not a Yoshitatsu hater by any stretch, but I really wish that they gave Kento Miyahara someone more lively and younger to team with.
    - I'm glad that Ishikawa and Suwama aren't too damaged to be able to participate here, although I've read some people concerned about Suwama still being hurt.
    - I'd never heard of The End before. Looks like they've been spending most of their time recently with EVOLVE, and they look like big, hulking dudes so I'm very curious about them. On a side note, "The End" is a horrible name for anything because it's nearly impossible to search with Google.
    - I also never heard of Manabu Soya. He's signed to Wrestle-1, and has actually won this tournament twice before (with Takao Omori, his partner again this year). Haven't seen much else from him, though.

    To be honest, I'm pretty excited about this tournament. They got a lot of good, hard-hitting teams here, and got enough outside talent to make it a bit more interesting. My early prediction is that the newly-formed team of Joe Doering and Dylan James will win this. I wouldn't rule out a repeat of the Violent Giants, though, depending on their health.
    Last edited by Degenerate; 4 Days Ago at 01:34 AM.

  40. #80
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    Yeah, weird set up there with 11 teams. I share your odd feeling about that.

    If the Violent Giants are healthy enough I'd be happy to see them take it again. Doering/James is another team I'll be rooting for, and Zeus/Bodyguard. Ok, so I like hoss teams, sue me! Don't really know anything about Valletta but I'll always root for my man Tajiri. No idea if I'll get a chance to watch much but I'll be interested enough to check out the results at least!

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