Part Two and our first combo entry. We start off with a match found online then we'll go over a full show. As you can tell from the date we're skipping ahead a few months.
Jun Akiyama vs. Takao Omori (Vacant Triple Crown Title - 06/15/14) - I guess Akebono had to vacate the title. We get a nice lead in to the match showing the history between Omori and Akiyama. I'm a dork and know it already... it's one of things that makes this period of AJ special. It's as if Akiyama never left and he and Omori would be the old guard. Speaking of drawing on classic AJPW, Akiyama works over Omori's lariat arm like a fiend. At every turn, he's kicking, smashing or wrenching on his opponent's wing. Not only is this weakening the Axe Bomber arm but its forcing Omori to use his other kick based offense, which isn't as strong as it was. A great example is when Omori was going to the top for his knee drop because it is something that can turn the tide but is a big risk. Akiyama forces Takao into this situation then makes him pay for it. Just really awesome work from Akiyama. Omori finds openings but either cannot capitalize or over extends himself when he gets going. This is really smart work from Omori as well. He never sells the arm to where it's stupid if he uses it BUT sells enough to let you know its hurting him when he does. Classic match in my book. Hard fought match, the story is there both long term and within the bout...the story of the match makes sense and feels right. Heck the pre match stuff even helps out!
Now onto the DVD of the 07/27/14 show!
SUSHI vs. Menso-re Oyaji - Quick indie Junior match. Menso-re Oyaji unmasks and I think is going to wrestle under his real name from here on out.
Dory Funk Jr, Osamu Nishimura & Yutaka Yoshie vs. Masanobu Fuchi, Takao Omori & Ultimo Dragon - Only in Fire Pro Returns would this be a good match. I would have been stoked to see Nishimura & Yoshie vs Omori and Ultimo.
Hideki Suzuki & Zeus vs. Kengo Mashimo & KENSO - Sweet indie feeling tag match. 12 minutes of action. Everyone brought a little something different to the table but all combined it was so much fun. Really good stuff.
Kento Miyahara & Kotaro Suzuki vs. Jun Akiyama & Yoshinobu Kanemaru - Very fast paced match with a purpose. Everything looked great here with the focus on Akiyama putting Miyahara in his place. Great under 10 minute match!
Keisuke Ishii & Shigehiro Irie vs. Mitsuya Nagai & Takeshi Minamino - Nagai & Minamino are part of KENSO's group Dark Kingdom. They are basically the capital 'H' heel group. Irie & Ishii are so baby face that its nigh impossible to hate them. So we get a match you'd expect but it feels really refreshing in an AJ ring. But then again this is AJ-as-Indie promotion if you couldn't tell by now. There's no complaints from me. You get that stuff mixed in with your more traditional AJ stuff with your big names. Gonna sound like a broken record but another really good tag match.
Atsushi Aoki vs. Hikaru Sato - Now for something different! Aoki and Sato put on a shoot/Inoki-strong style match for the Junior title. Lots of very good grappling and fighting for holds. I would have loved to see more scrambling on the mat. Maybe why that's why I can't call it a great match. I think if the pace was quicker or more like a real fight then this easily could have been fantastic. Now I still really dug it especially Aoki's work. I think there was a portion where this was going to be a little more pro leaning but once they decided to make it more shoot style, it got really good.
Two guys riding the bus to work...
Suwama vs. Joe Doering - Evolution main event! This is for the title. You know what you're getting from these two. Smash mouth heavyweight puro and they don't disappoint. What's really cool and makes this a great match is the surprises they include. It's either moves they rarely do or adding twists to their standard arsenal. Plus they hit really hard :-) This is two of the physically largest dudes (outside of Akebono and Yoshie) just beating each other up for 20 minutes. It harkens back to Jumbo vs Tenryu a little bit. The hate isn't there...this is two current stable mates fighting after all. But the slower pace & heavy hits are definitely reminiscent of an earlier style in AJPW history.
Another really good show (minus the Dory Funk Six Man) and I'm liking 2014. These shows are a breeze to watch. The variety of characters from top to bottom is refreshing. So little spoiler if you jumped ahead of everything. I'm a little bummed the Vacant title winner (the first match in the post) was just a transitional champion. We'll see how 2014 goes for the winner of the Evolution main event (trying not to spoil). We will see if I agree or disagree with the decision as we go on. Something to look out for...
Thanks for reading! I'm going along at a good pace so stay tuned for more of AJPW 2014!