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  1. This part transfers the attention to Kawada & his chance at the Triple Crown in October versus Jumbo. It also puts the Step-over Facelock over as a viable finisher, at least for some period of time. Team Jumbo is at their grumpiest here so the overall wrestling is sacrificed here for stronger psychology. It works beautifully in some matches & in others I pine for the excitement filled matches of 1990. There's probably too much Kikuchi & not enough Kobashi as the low-man on the totem pole for me. Jumbo, Fuchi & Ogawa vs. Misawa, Kawada & Kikuchi (All Japan 7/26/91) I didn't really think too much of this match. It was a little jerky and there wasn't the awesome action & nearfalls of the other 6-man matches. The only person that really brought it was Kawada who went ape-shit on Jumbo even hitting a enzui lariat. ***1/2 Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (All Japan 8/18/91) A much better match here. I felt the first match brought the focus of the compilation back to where it started. This one really rekindled the grudge with Jumbo clearly being a jerk here. He & Taue once again try to break Kobashi's face & Misawa hurts his shoulder, and wouldn't you know it! They go after that. This really sucked me into this match. Misawa was really selling his injury here & everyone is working at such a top level. I don't really know why people are hating on Taue, he's not Misawa, Kawada, or Kobashi but, everybody already knew that. ****1/2 Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (All Japan 8/29/91) Pretty good tag bout with Kikuchi really stepping up. Unfortunately there's no real damaging offense to Team Olympic so while it's exciting, I wasn't in doubt about the winners. **** Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (All Japan 9/4/91) Really great match with Kawada bringing the violence. The guys do some stuff they were using a year earlier like Taue's sumo slaps, well that's about it...Misawa's shoulder was really beat on here. Kawada could hold up in his absence though. He was hitting lariats to the front & back like a monster. His step kicks to Jumbo are especially vicious. In fact, Jumbo vs. Kawada are the best thing going here. It's not on the level of their 9/30 or 12/7/90 matches but is still awesome. And is the 3rd best tag match on here. Jumbo, Taue & Ogawa vs. Misawa, Kawada & Kikuchi (All Japan 10/10/91) Another very, very good 6-man tag team match. They're really gearing up for the Kawada/Jumbo match and it's damn clear that Kawada & Misawa have arrived as real contenders. Taue & Jumbo don't take that much punishment here and I do agree that Taue has gotten worse. Not in the sense that he sucks to watch but, he doesn't have the varied offense as he did early on. He seems to be content doing the stomping game alot & only doing moves against Kikuchi like the Samoan drop. He does amp it up here though as I believe he chokslams Misawa on the floor. Kawada gets better with each match as I understand his character more & more. He is tired of the bullshit being run by Taue & Tsuruta- all of their double teaming, cheap shots, and the benefits that their status grants them. Jumbo Tsuruta, Akira Taue & Masa Fuchi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (AJ 10/15/91) Filthy, dirty cheats!! Jumbo's team are a bunch of fucking cheats! Misawa attacked Fuchi at the start but soon he was out of the action because they re-injured his nose. So this was a 2 on 3 match but, Kikuchi is one tough SOB and Kawada was really fighting as two men, especially later when you really need him too. He was hitting Jumbo with some of the stiffest elbows! They really had Jumbo & Co. on the ropes but the cheat, injuring body parts & taking turns at stomping & grinding them. I know why they do it too! They're beat! If Misawa was here they would've lost...the facelock would've been in play for sure. Great match especially in generating heat...I was marking out for Kawada to kill the entire other team & some great saves/nearfalls too. Also Kikuchi does his best Toyota impression a couple times... ****1/2 Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Toshiaki Kawada (Triple Crown AJ 10/24/91) This is Kawada's chance at Jumbo for the title and he tries to use his brain to bring down the giant. The early portion he controls the big man with the side headlock, eventually this peters out as Jumbo uses his patented knees on Dangerous K's abdomen. Kawada responds with knees of his own and uses abdominal stretches and even a proto-stretch plum for a moment. Slowly he slides into using the sleeper to finish the Big J off. Eventually Jumbo breaks free and flashbacks to Tenryu. Although, his knee butt is now officially antiquated. With the stiffness of all the other moves, this puppy looks silly. It'd be silly to compare this to 6/3/94 but Kawada doesn't take head-drops for nothing & he takes a couple head drops here...does he ever. Brutal Finishing segment to a really smart match. Not sure what to rate it though at least ****1/2 though... Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs. Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue (AJ 11/29/91) A really great tag match that sums up the later portion of the year- Misawa's hurt, Jumbo & partner pick on it, Kawada has to kick maximum ass, and Taue's getting lazy. Here they go 30 minutes to show that the teams are equal but in all honesty it's clear that Misawa & Kawada are superior. If Misawa was not injured they'd have nothing holding them back or at least that's the story. He looks like shit in this one too so it's understandable but isn't out of comission like in 10/15/91. This at times looks like they can pin Taue or get Jumbo in the facelock. Maybe next year they'll get their revenge. Very, very good stuff. These comments on the tag matches are in comparison to the 1990 matches. In the later '91 matches it seems like the same match over & over without much play off or growth in terms of having an answer in the form of a counter, sequence, or strategy like we saw a year earlier. Still this is a damn good match & will have to see where it fits in with the other tag matches on here but is probably 3rd or 4th best tag match...nothing can knock the '90 matches from the top 2 spots though. The real thing that I just remembered after writing the rest of this was at the beginning: Misawa's back! He went all out in the beginning with his flying & did a couple moves in the middle to near end that were showing, you need him here to have an awesome match. Kawada just hadn't come into his own here just yet. There's more feuding that I'm going to skip over in order to get to what I consider to be the end of the feud despite it not having a proper conclusion. Misawa & Kawada & Kobashi vs. Jumbo & Akira Taue & Fuchi (05/24/92 AJPW) ****3/4 Although this got a ***** by the Wrestling Observer, I can't agree. It misses the mark as there is a little bit of a let down on the performance side of things from Kawada- there are some weak striking moments and a couple airballs which killed the momentum. In all honesty if he lived up to Dangerous K potential then I would have given this *****. Towards the end he comes in to take on Jumbo and you think it's going to be vicious but it doesn't match the intensity of the previous few minutes of Misawa/Jumbo. If he had hit Tsuruta with blistering strikes then this bout would've erupted. Everyone else impressed me though and if Taue wasn't really injured, I'd be surprised. Just too bad Kawada wasn't performing at his full potential. Still a fast paced and exciting match and Jumbo's team act as vicious heels here which was unique. A must see match even if it's not Kawada's finest hour. It and all of these great 6-man matches of the early 90s are benchmarks in wrestling history. This is one that'd I'd like to rewatch to see how it stands today. Its a fantastic feud that perhaps overstayed its welcome but, could still deliver the drama and excitement up til the end. I think this program has been lost to time in terms of essential Japanese wrestling. So, I hope that I've shed some new light on it and folks who are familiar with the current stuff take a step back and check out this classic work. Thanks for reading!
  2. Jumbo, Taue & Fuchi vs. Misawa, Kawada & Kobashi (All Japan 4/20/91) Whew ! Nearly 52 minutes of action! This was really just awesome stuff with Kawada really stepping into his character & Fuchi being the real-standout of his team. He was the real bone cruncher here & getting quite a few chants too. He deserved them too. Kobashi was getting beat on for a good portion & although this slowed the action down, it made the closing 5 minutes sheer joy. Awesome finish too. I can't wait to see Taue & Kawada go at it in tag. Jumbo Tsuruta & Masa Fuchi vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi (All Japan 5/17/91) A nice little tag match where Misawa has an injured arm & Kikuchi is in the place of trying to protect his boss, Misawa. Very good in putting the Jr. over. Fuchi was quite good again too, Jumbo & Misawa did nothing special but, coming from behind Misawa used his facelock & made Fuchi quit. Another first time move appearance? Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Kenta Kobashi (All Japan 5/24/91) Watched this one a couple times and I really don't know how it's a MOTY candidate or could be nominated for Top 20 but, it's certainly top 50. The start is clipped to where both guys are sweating pretty good. Kobashi's offense is the highlight and he nearly gets Jumbo but, really he wasn't going to win. Still, you really feel for Kobashi & his facial expressions never seemed to get mentioned but he's one of the best. Better organized than the Kawada carny match but not as brutal & believable that the underdog could pull it off. Still Top 50 stuff that should be seen. **** Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Terry Gordy (All Japan 6/1/91) Now if you want a viable MOTYC for this point in 1991, this would be one of mine. So, far nothing except 4/20/91 has been a blow-away classic unlike the 1990 stuff but, there's been a lot more singles matches & more matches in general so, that's misleading. Anyhow this is the Triple Crown match of the year thus far & top singles match. It's more Gordy's style than Misawa's but, those aren't too different other than the pacing. The beginning & middle are fairly basic but each transition is pretty seamless & the ending gets great but, in a little different way than Misawa's King's Road style he was developing. Reading Ditch's AJPW, I agree that this was Misawa's match in the sense he was stepping out from underneath Jumbo's shadow, showing he could have great matches without him. The same kinda goes for the Hansen carny match. It show he didn't need the feud's heat, his ringwork & star power could get it for him. Gordy's a real pro too. Best singles match thus far in '91. ****1/2 Mitsuharu Misawa & Toshiaki Kawada vs. Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (All Japan 7/24/91) Awesome fun stuff here with Miracle Violence Connection looking like the toughest tag team ever. They went after Misawa's face and then his leg which I'm sure both were legitimately injured. Tremendous selling from Misawa & is what made it very special. Kawada was a very good number two playing the part of being Robin to Misawa's Batman. Cool, cool stuff. **** or maybe **** 1/4 AJPW 1991 is slept on but, this is a great place to jump in. All of the big players facing off in tags and singles competition and a couple classic matches - you can't go wrong! Thanks for reading! Part 5 is in the works!
  3. There were a lot of positive comments about this Carnival on the main page. Kudos to those folks for taking the time to go through and watch most or perhaps all of the Carnival matches in real time. It certainly was my impetus for tracking what I could down on the 'tube. Here's a link to that post for the participants, outcomes, and discussion. There are spoilers after the first couple entries so be warned. As usual, I'll try to be spoiler free here in the blog. https://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/41548-ajpw-2018-champions-carnival/ I'll begin by saying, I did not nor did I have a desire to watch the entire run of matches. I'm a cherry picking bastard. I'm sure I missed some neat bouts but, I've got a brick of DVDs I want to get to so, this could only be a brief diversion. With that said, I wanted to see 14 matches but, only half were available. So, branched out from the 7 matches and did so chronological as possible. These are my brief take-aways from the matches. -04/14- SHINGO vs Bodyguard: Surprisingly sweet, energetic & charismatic with a great pace. 2 cameras helped (most CC matches are 1 camera from the stands). Highly recommended!! -04/15- SHINGO vs Yuji Hino: Good action with a vocal crowd. Its mainly macho stuff but done with gusto. Highly recommended!! Kento Miyahara vs Shuji Ishikawa: Deliberately paced with Ishikawa focusing on Kento's neck. Killer apron move but, overall its repetitive and somewhat dull. OK match Jun Akiyama vs SUWAMA: Despite the funeral crowd, they fought with purpose and vigor. That's a different kind of finish. Recommended match! -04/20- Joe Doering vs SHINGO: Very good big man-small man dynamics with excellent intensity. Recommended match! Naomichi Marufuji vs Zeus: Zeus is getting really good. They had great chemistry and enthusiasm for fighting. Great match!!! -04/21- SHINGO vs Ryouji Sai: Great attack psychology and selling. Its not an even steven match like some (most?) matches nowadays but, damn SHINGO is bringing the goods. Simple well told story, a Great Match!!! Jun Akiyama vs Zeus: Fought like the Finals, hot damn! Great match perhaps!!! Naomichi Marufuji vs SUWAMA: Best day so far. Headlock focus, nice surprises, good striking. 'Fuji looked like a kool killer here. A great finish too..this felt like a classic 90's AJ CC match. They really put it out there. Great match!!! -04/22- Naomichi Marufuji vs KAI: Alright KAI! Another really good fight with body work giving it focus. Both dudes kicks were right on the money but, the single fixed camera hurt this. We (I) needed to see the full impact though. Highly recommended nonetheless!! Kento Miyahara vs Joe Doering: Started slow but turned out pretty good. Recommended match! ...whew...still going... -04/25- Zeus vs KAI: Oh yeah! great action, good selling, a nice match indeed. Great or highly recommended!! Jun Akiyama vs Naomichi Marufuji: Unfortunately, the YouTuber loaded the wrong match but should he or she fix that, I desperately want to see it and I will put that review here. (Added 06/15/18): Finally someone put this up! Oh and I'm so glad that they did. Of course there's a backstory but, all in all its the head honcho of NOAH facing the head honcho of AJPW. And damn! It delivered like the mailman! The move selection is something that really sets AJ apart from modern stuff. Its really back to basics compared to NJ for instance. Just good solid hits, holds, and throws. I wouldn't say its Sekimoto/Okabayashi simple all of the time but, it definitely resembles AJPW from the 90's. Anyhow, the moves chosen, the pacing, the fakeouts, taking the time to do nothing but sell, and the truly select few false finishes made this a classic CC match to me. -04/29- Kento Miyahara vs Yuji Hino: Very good contest where the outcome was in doubt (its round robin so Kento could lose but still make the Finals...to me at least!). The finish was a bit too sudden but a Great Match nonetheless!!! Shuji Ishikawa vs SHINGO: Holy shit man! Wolverine vs the Hulk. Ishikawa is great but, SHINGO added so many nice touches and knows when to explode and how to intelligently cut guys off. It came across so well here...dude blew the CC up! Fantastic, classic match. Best bout!!!! -04/30- FINAL Kento Miyahara vs Naomichi Marufuji: A great finish to the Carnival. There were perhaps 2 better matches but, stylistically and business wise, this an awesome closer. Miyahara's comebacks puzzled the fuck outta me though. See:https://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/41898-kento-miyahara-vs-naomichi-marufuji-ajpw-champions-carnival-4302018/&do=findComment&comment=5851519 It makes it sound like I loathe the match but, damn it was so close to a classic that I couldn't let it go Out of the Carnival we get a Triple Crown challenge. Kento Miyahara vs Naomichi Marufuji: NOAH leader, old school AJ trained, Misawa endorsed Marufuji vs AJPW's new ace, Kensuke Sasaki trained and hardened Kento Miyahara. It was a great match which featured allusions to their CC 2018 Final. I liked that Marufuji & Kento sorta address the issue of Kento's burst offence. In this match, 'Fuji just about cuts him off every time and with authority. If this was a cognizant decision then, they are in the headspace of the 90's greats of AJ & AJW. Hopefully, we get a rubber match because with the over-time/match-to-match psychology it appears they're employing, that bout has the potential to be a classic. I really, truly hope that happens! Ha! What a dork!
  4. This was an AJPW triple crown title match. This match had a difficult hill to climb, While Kento is really over as ace Dylan James is not he is tag champ but has only been in the company for 4 months and did not have a great CC meaning that he was quite a weak challenger. They only drew just over 1000 people to Korakuen compared to the 4 1600-1750 Korakuen shows in a row for the company. The nobody believed that James had a chance at winning especially with the big osaka show coming up next month and Jake lee making noises about facing Kento. Faced with this challenge of not having anyone believing that Kento would lose the guys did a very admirable job of giving the chance that James could possibly win. They did this by having a very one sided match more so than the match at this show last year when Shuji ishikawa beat Kento for the title. James controlled the majority of the match by working over Kento's chest. This is a simpler and easier body part to work over as it does not really limit the moves that the wrestler worked over can do like leg selling would but still shows the dominance of James in the match. James largely worked over Kento with chops, back elbows, elbow drops, lariats and stomps. It was a brutish display by James with Kento putting over every chop like his chest was being crushed. The comebacks of Kento were quite regular but he never got an extended period of control until the very end where he hit several knee strikes and the shutdown German for the win. What hurt James in the match was that he would control the match with his simple brutish offense but when he went for something more complicated or bigger it was countered and it showed the story of Kento being much better than James in holds and reversals but outgunned in terms of striking. This was how James lost the match, he went for a powerbomb to the floor and a powerbomb later in the match which were reversed he went for something to big and he paid for it. Overall it was a match on the lower end of the great scale with very good performances from both men and did not have any moment when I thought that they ignored selling like I thought Kento did in the second Marufuji match. This match was something of a missed opportunity, not in the work done but in the buildup. With a better built James going in the crowd would have been better and bigger and it would have had more of a possibility that James could win something that myself and the crowd did not seem to think could happen until towards the end. This match could have been really great with a better build up but as it was i will settle at just great. ****1/4 Another great Triple crown title match probably the second best of the year after the Zeus vs Joe match and on a level of the maru and Joe vs Kento Matches. ...
  5. This is Kawada, the last remaining AJ faithfull against Zero-1 dickhead Ohtani, who really never has proved himself at that level in single competition. So at first, he really can't hang with Kawada, which is the story. When he does that boot in the face deal in the corner, my thoughts were "Hum... Kawada ain't gonna like that." Yep. Kawada gets up and slaps the shit out of Ohtani. Basically, every time Ohtani was too much of an irrespectful dickhead, Kawada would get up, walk right in his face and kick the shit out of him. Ohtani's strategy is to go after a knee, with quick dropkicks and kneebars. He also no-sells regularly Kawada's jumping kicks to the back of the head, which can be seen as annoying, but more on that later. Kawada doesn't forget to sell his knee while he goes back on offense. Some nice double boots to the face and backdrops back and forth. Ohtani basically has to go back to the knee to get an advantage up to the point they are trading bombs and Ohtani insists on not-selling those kicks to the back of the head. What a dick. At some point though, Kawada's offense gets too heavy. And while he tries to show off as the dick he is and keeps on no-selling those kicks, he finally ends up taking one too many and gets pinned after.... a kick to the back of the head. That's poetic justice. Excellent, bordering great match for Kawada's last Triple Crown win.
  6. This is the one. Tenryu is fucking with Mutoh from the get-go by doing a 52 years old Shining Wizard. Mutoh is butthurt about it, so he manages to hit the same spot outside, pushing the old geezer against the steel barricade, injury his left arm in the process. From there, it's focus on that arm, the kneecap dropkicks' only purpose being to keep Tenryu down, and eventually hit some SW too. There are also callbacks to the moonsault spot, which Mutoh insists on trying despite Tenryu always getting a way out. Good stuff here. And of course, a bunch of punches to the face, stiff chops, Mutoh doing this ridiculous backflip kick... This is everything you'd want from these two and then some as they really play off the first match without the kinda useless overlong legwork sequences, and with better selling too. Maybe not quite MOTYC level, but great match anyway.
  7. This one is for the vacant Triple Crown Championship. Zeus looks like such an asshole with his sunglasses at a closed building. Great look for a heel. The match itself features your usual story of strenght vs speed. They thankfully leave the feeling out process to a minimum, and while there is some matwork, it feels like they are actually testing each other instead of doing it for the sake of doing it. Story of the match is Miyahara working from underneath after Zeus works on his back, doing a whole lot of slams and holds targetting that region. However, he just cannot get a sustainable offense, instead doing short flurries before getting cut out by Zeus overwhelming power. He is a big boy. The finishing stretch is just bomb throwing after bomb throwing, and Kento does raise the suspense after not being able to bridge on a German Suplex - is he going to overcome the odds? With a nice sense of urgence, Kento finally seals the deal and beats Zeus with an armtrap German. Kento is pretty darn good at playing the babyface ace who gives his all fighting from underneath, and Zeus is charismatic as shit as this heelish roided freak. Some spots felt disjointed at points, and at times the pacing of the match felt slow, but otherwise a good watch. *** 3/4
  8. Some thoughts on this match: Larger arena and card than the Champ. Carnival matches from 2016. Very nice to see AJPW in a venue of this size. Its nice to have SUWAMA back as the roster is kinda sparce. On to the match: Great heelish tactics from SUWAMA. Strong focus on the sleeper hold and trying to damage Kento's neck. Fantastic strike exchanges and selling by both but, esp. Miyahara as the babyface champ. Glad to see zero flip bumps taken from a lariat. Miyahara finally looked like a world champ here and felt the torch has been passed in this match. Rather than "put the belt on the young handsome babyface." Traditional puro with little flash or gimmicks. An alternative to the current NJ style. This was a classic encounter especially for 2010s AJPW.
  9. AJPW Triple Crown Champion Joe Doering vs Go Shiozaki - AJPW 01/03/15 Hey if you are going to imitate, then imitate the best and there ain't much better than Hansen/Kobashi. Shiozaki is not nearly as histrionic as Kobashi and Doering is not as wild as Hansen, but together they still put together a great match. Unusual for a puroresu match, the eventual winner actually takes most of the offense in this one, but it still feels like Doering was a big mountain to climb. Early on, Go just could not get anything going with his vicious chops. Doering would just steamroll him with shoulder tackles and overwhelm him with power. Go got pissed off after one too many shoulder tackle and took it to Doering with some rapid fire chops. A thrust kick to the head finally stuns the big man. The one thing Doering really captured from Stan was always moving forward. Even when wounded, he was still coming at Shiozaki and you always felt like Go was in trouble. Three DDTs were not enough to keep the champion down because he just kept coming. Finally, Shiozaki threw a lariat so fierce that Doering just collapsed. It was one of the best sell jobs of the short year of 2015 so far with him just hanging out on the middle rope only to topple over. Doering tries to regroup with tag partner, Suwama, but is obviously discombobulated. Shiozaki lets him back in the ring, what a gentleman, only to dump him back over with a lariat and hitting a monster plancha over the top rope. I don't like the Frankensteiner at all during a comeback sequence. As a transition fine, but in the middle of the sequence, it just does not make sense. First Go Flasher only gets two and when he goes for Limit Break (put away Suwama back in September), Doering pushes off and hits a spinebuster to level the playing field. Doering gives Bray Wyatt a run for his money in the best cross body department. He hit two vicious ones. Shiozaki teases the Burning Hammer, which gets the announcers, the crowd and me excited, but he just hits a normal slam. Lame. Doering collapses on his own powerbomb and things do not look good for the champion. Go Shiozaki pays tribute to Kobashi with spinning back chops and a Burning Lariat to win the match and his first Triple Crown Championship. There were way too many strike exchanges in this one for me. I thought Doering outworked Shiozaki, but Shiozaki had looked like the lesser of the workers in all his matches of the past year. Doering sold the wounded animal lashing out really well and you really believed that one of his big bombs could take out Go. Go was able to persevere, keep him at bay, until he could crush him with a Burning Lariat. Go is just bereft of emotion and the needless strike exchanges keep this from being a true classic, but Doering is awesome and this is a great match. ****
  10. Jun Akiyama vs Takao Omori - AJPW 6/15/2014 Vacant Triple Crown Championship Wow, this is like an exact copy of Kawada vs Kojima 2005 for the Triple Crown. You have the super worker kick the dogshit out of the generic create a puroresu wrestler in really entertaining fashion only to choke in ridiculous fashion to a barrage of lariats. The only difference was that Kojima was actually over. In defense of this match, I think if you plug in a wrestler with more charisma than Omori this match would be a lot better. Omori is about the most bland wrestler I think I have ever seen. He does the bare minimum in almost every regard, but never really excels at any one thing and especially anything involving emotion. Nothing he did felt earned or like he was overcoming anything because he just started hitting moves. To give Kojima some credit, he does have charisma and there is an energy when he starts to make his comeback. Omori is just so flat. On the other hand, I thought Akiyama's asskicking of Omori was more entertaining than Kawada's asskicking. Akiyama just absolutely destroyed the arm. I love he would just take Omori down at will by the arm whenever he tried to fire up. Akiyama has so many weapons at his disposal strikes, submissions and my favorite throwing Omori's arm into steel objects. At one point, Akiyama hits a crazy cool combination of piledriver into a Boma Ye Knee so sick. Akiyama is grooving into his usual finish stretch (Boma Ye Knee, Guillotine Choke, Exploders) and I am just like this is way too easy and alarm bells start going off. Akiyama is going to choke. Choke big time. Omori hits some weird lariats, which I am going to chock up to selling. Akiyama bursts out with an Exploder, a quick Boma Ye Knee and then another Exploder. Omori kicks out? Bullshit! Omori wins with a barrage of lariats, wow, that was lame. I have said this before matches like don't make Omori look resilient, it makes Akiyama looks like a choke for not being able to polish him off with all his big moves. Omori was perfectly fine at selling, but his comeback was pathetic. Akiyama crushed it offensively. This was probably the best offensive performance of the year in terms of limb psychology and the two EXPLOSIVE big move combinations. Did I watch the wrong match? It is a good match and worth to match Akiyama be a boss, but this seems far away from match of the year to me. I am disappointed because I really want All Japan and Akiyama to be awesome. Here's hoping the rest is great. ***1/2
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