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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
    The Brain
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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; 3 Days 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!

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