Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
Loss

Post-split All Japan

Recommended Posts

If someone wanted to see all of the best and most important post-split All Japan Pro Wrestling (from summer 2000-present), what matches would you recommend? I've seen some stuff pimped in the immediate years after and in the last year or two, but not much in between. I realize the glory days are over so I'm not looking for the hidden Misawa-Kobashi-level classic, but I'm guessing that we could squeeze out at least 50-60 hours of stuff that is fun-good-great and worth watching during that time, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm afraid to even ask but how are latter day Ultimo Dragon, Kaz Hayashi and Keiji Muto? Just a step down from their prime or actively bad? Or just there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kaz is good for awhile and still okay today. Mutoh has his moments but is generally lackluster after 2002. I haven't seen an Ultimo Dragon match since maybe 2007.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tenryu had a good couple of years there. I haven't seen any footage, but I've read good things about Akiyama after he came back. And there was a period where Minoru Suzuki and a few other quasi-shoot guys were on top there and had running feuds going. The matches, from what I've seen, were at least entertaining in their own way. Most of the Mutoh and Kojima matches I've seen disappointed me, but there are those who enjoy them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Masa Funaki's run was awesome. I love his matches with Kono, Suwama and Akiyama. The cage match from one of the sumo hall shows vs Kono is a personal favorite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tenryu had a good couple of years there. I haven't seen any footage, but I've read good things about Akiyama after he came back. And there was a period where Minoru Suzuki and a few other quasi-shoot guys were on top there and had running feuds going. The matches, from what I've seen, were at least entertaining in their own way. Most of the Mutoh and Kojima matches I've seen disappointed me, but there are those who enjoy them.

 

Tenryu's run as Triple Crown champion in 2002 was a hidden gem.

 

This is one of my favorite matches, a really solid contest against Satoshi Kojima.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I probably can't provide a complete picture but here's some stuff I really like:

 

Toshiaki Kawada vs Masa Fuchi AJPW 7/1/2000 - Cool to see Kawada stretching out Fuchi like Fuchi stretched out Kawada and pals in the early 90s.
Toshiaki Kawada & Genichiro Tenryu vs Stan Hansen & Maunakea Mossman AJPW 7/23/2000 - Last great Hansen match.
Genichiro Tenryu vs Toshiaki Kawada (AJPW Triple Crown Decision Match) AJPW 10/28/2000 - Gritty title match.

Toshiaki Kawada & Masa Fuchi vs Genichiro Tenryu & Nobutaka Araya (Real World Tag League) AJPW 12/6/2000 - Solid match if you're into Araya.

 

Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya vs Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi AJPW 6/30/2001 - Maninly worthwhile for Tenryu vs Araya portions.

 

Genichiro Tenryu & Nobutaka Araya vs Taiyo Kea & Kazushi Miyamoto AJPW 4/27/2002 - Neat tag with team WAR picking on the rookie.

Yoji Anjoh & Mitsuya Nagai vs Taiyo Kea & Masa Fuchi AJPW 9/16/2002 - One of my favorite things about the AJPW of this era is the oddball midcard matches like this.

Keiji Mutoh, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroshi Hase & Jinsei Shinzaki vs Genichiro Tenryu, Arashi, Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai AJPW 9/16/2002 - WAR vs former NJPW guys and Shinzaki.

Genichiro Tenryu & Nobukazu Hirai vs Satoshi Kojima & Kaz Hayashi AJPW 10/6/2002

 

Shinya Hashimoto & Kazuhiko Ogasawara vs Satoshi Kojima & Kendo Kashin AJPW 1/13/2003 - I fucking love the AJPW vs Zero1 feud.
Genichiro Tenryu vs Kazushi Miyamoto AJPW 2/16/2003 - Miyamoto puts up quite a fight attempting to get revenge for how he was treated in the 2002 tag.
Satoshi Kojima, Arashi, Nobutaka Araya & Kendo Kashin vs Shinjiro Ohtani, Masato Tanaka, Ryouji Sai & Kazuhiko Ogasawara AJPW 2/23/2003 - Massive AJPW vs Zero1 tag.
Toshiaki Kawada & Masa Fuchi vs Satoshi Kojima & Kendo Kashin AJPW 5/25/2003 - Fuchi vs Kashin is hilarious.
Shinya Hashimoto, Kohei Sato & Hirotaka Yokoi vs Satoshi Kojima, Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura AJPW 6/11/2003 - Really fun Hashimoto performance where he acts as coach/team captain.
Shinya Hashimoto vs Satoshi Kojima (AJPW Triple Crown Championship) AJPW 6/13/2003 - More AJPW vs Zero1. Probably Kojima's best singles match.

Toshiaki Kawada vs Shinya Hashimoto (AJPW Triple Crown Championship) AJPW 2/22/2004 - Pretty good as far as dream matches go.

 

Kensuke Sasaki vs Osamu Nishimura (Champions Carnival) AJPW 4/5/2008 - Nishimura had a pretty good showing in 2008
Suwama vs Osamu Nishimura (AJPW Triple Crown Championship) AJPW 6/28/2008


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cage Death: Yuji Nagata vs Masayuki Kono

AJPW Pro-Wrestling Love In Ryogoku Vol. 14 @ Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan


Seigigun (Wataru Inoue & Yuji Nagata) vs Stack Of Arms (Masayuki Kono & Minoru Tanaka)

AJPW 40th Anniversary Year Excite Series 2012 - Tag 1 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan


AJPW Pro-Wrestling Love In Ryogoku Vol. 14 was a pretty good show in itself

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also really enjoyed the Sekimoto and Okabayashi run there. Your mileage may vary on that style, but as a longtime BJW fan, that was an exciting time to be following All Japan again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Akiyama and Funaki both had really good TC runs, especially the match where Akiyama beat Suwama for the title. Also, it got yanked from YouTube but Kawada/Sasaki 2007 is a favorite of mine for Kawada's epic tears of blood

 

http://i.imgur.com/GQ6IE6h.png

 

The match quality picked up a lot in the last few years when they started bringing in Akiyama and the BJW guys, but I think most of Mutoh era AJPW was more about the wacky characters and giving the live crowds a good time than it was about great matches. The Voodoo Murders gimmick, for example, is hella fun live but the amount of good TV matches they've had is pretty tiny given how long the gimmick has been around.

 

If you haven't seen it, though, definitely check out Akiyama's AJPW as that absolutely is a promotion that's had plenty of smartly worked MOTYC's this year. Even the undercards often have a few minor gems and rarely have bad matches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part of the problem is no one seems to cover it, so it's hard to get a handle on what to seek out. If someone could do an Akiyama list from the last four years, that'd be grand for GWE purposes.

 

I recently watched a Carnival match between him and Suzuki that was good but no better than the sum of the parts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually just finished an Akiyama-Omori match from 6/15/14 that was excellent. Jun in particular looked like he's still right up there with the best in the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Akiyama is without question still one of the best in the world. I would not blink if someone put him in a Top 5.

 

Of stuff not mentioned, seek out Akiyama's series of matches (singles & tags) vs Kento Miyahara from last year. Had that feud had taken place in a promotion that wasn't effectively completely dead with little hope of serious revival any time soon, Miyahara would be on a path to stardom right now. Akiyama does an incredible job of getting a kid over as a "star" within the context of what a "star" can be in that universe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually just finished an Akiyama-Omori match from 6/15/14 that was excellent. Jun in particular looked like he's still right up there with the best in the world.

It gets even better from there. Him and Omori against Xceed from the RWTL 2014 final and the tag title match from August are both must-see, and his Royal Road run from this year is a good opportunity to see him work smaller singles matches. At 46 he's possibly the best pure offensive wrestler out there and definitely one of the smartest in laying out a match.

 

The only thing stopping him being a front runner for wrestler of the year is lack of footage. You mentioned lack of people covering it and the sad reason for it is that 2015 AJPW is a glorified Indy in terms of popularity. This is reflected in the TV coverage it gets where just a couple shows are taped every month and some key matches end up lost. Just in the last few months Akiyama has had some great sounding matches against Shiozaki in August (they're first time meeting in AJPW and part of the build to the tag title match), a Royal Road match against Aoki (who's also been having a hot year as a career mid carder finally breaking though), and in October teaming with Kanemaru against Xceed for Shiozaki's last match with the company.

 

I was actually at that last Shiozaki match. Up to that moment, I had always assumed the only way Akiyama's body could have held up as well as it has would be if he took it easy when the TV cameras were off, but I was promptly proven wrong as he still cranked out a ****+ match, with his exchanges with Shiozaki being the highlight.

 

In comparison to the 4 kings who took crazy bumps to create matches that feel epic and brutal, Akiyama is like a magician in how he manages to give matches a similar feel while preserving his body. Instead of using dangerous suplex variations and long near fall runs, I notice that he keeps things simple and instead focuses on his execution, on giving a nice snap to everything that he does and always making his opponent work for the advantage. He makes simple things like tie ups and chop exchanges feel like a grueling struggle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

and his Royal Road run from this year is a good opportunity to see him work smaller singles matche

I loved his matches vs. Yuji Hino and Akebono on the Finals show, is anything else out there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked Fuchi vs. Chono 9/2/00. Some dislike Chono's performance but I thought the match was good.

 

With the 7/17 Kojima vs. Tenryu match I enjoyed the build for that match. Kojima really wants to beat Tenryu so he gets Stan Hansen to teach him the ways of the lariat. I think he lariats watermelons or something. Later on towards the end of the match Kojima gets desperate and has to try the Hansen lariat to put Tenryu away. Fun stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×