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

[2000-01-23-AJPW-New Year's Giant Series] Vader vs Jun Akiyama

Recommended Posts

Holy cow, this was great. And not just great by 2000 Vader standards, either. I thought this was legitimately on par with his WCW classics. Vader is just as brutal as you want him to be (the chokeslam onto the table and the powerbomb onto the floor is quite the 1-2 punch), but he also bumps and sells huge to make Akiyama look like a legitimate threat. And there's no sluggish moments, unlike most post-WCW Vader matches. Some spotty selling takes it down a bit, but this is still well worth going out of your way to see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t believe I have seen this one before actually but I am really looking forward to it based off of the 1/17 tag. Vader shoves a fan authoritatively on the way to the ring. A completely awesome start with Jun taking the fight right to Vader with vicious forearms and Vader is reeling. Even Wada is pleading with him to back off. Vader is able to weather the storm and Jun has a great facial with a look of disbelief as things reset. Jun is able to hit a HUGE German and then starts going after the leg before hitting another German. Vader is done with this shit and sends Jun to the outside by slamming him into the table. Jun has none of that and returns the favor. This may be the best Jun has ever looked up to this point in his career. He is looking completely competent going toe to toe with Vader. Vader hits a huge chokeslam onto the table and now Jun is really hurt for the first time in the match. Vader follows that up with a powerbomb on the floor. Vader hits his Vader bomb in the ring but is not done dishing out punishment by going for another one. Jun is able to kick out in a big moment. We get a nice visual of Misawa looking on from the aisle way. Vader hits a big back suplex that Jun has to break with an arm on the rope which is a great use of that being the kickout. Jun is still kicking out of this heavy arsenal but with much less authority and his selling of exhaustion and pain is spot on. Jun is able to get his knees up to buy some time and recover. Vader misses a charge in the corner and Jun hits a back suplex. He goes for the Exploder but Vader isn’t dead yet. Jun goes back to the leg that he teased in the early goings and is able to get the big man down with a Dragon Screw. Kobashi is doing commentary on this one so the gang is all here. Missile dropkick onto the leg and then Jun locks on a leg submission. Vader is able to counter and chop Jun down and goes for a Vader Bomb again. Jun pops up and hits a powerbomb from that position for a nearfall. Flying knee for a nearfall and the crowd is really starting to rally behind Jun. This time he gets the Exploder for a close nearfall. Running knee in the corner and another Exploder gets two again. What will put the monster away? Jun climbs to the top and Vader catches him coming off with a powerslam. Vader then hits a huge powerbomb that Jun just barely kicks out of. Another big chokeslam and Jun is able to kick out right into a cross armbreaker which may be the best use of fighting spirit style kickout and spot I have ever seen. Jun keeps trying for the arm work but one stiff shot in the ribs and the signature huge German by Vader stops that dead in its tracks. Crowd now really rallying behind Jun. 3rd Chokeslam with Vader putting all of his weight on the pin is enough to put Jun away. Jun was made in this match and looked amazing. This was a great war that went the perfect length and really should be talked about with all of the classic TC matches since Misawa unmasked. ****1/2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was pretty excited to watch this tonight after seeing it hyped today. Jun jumped out of the gate fired up, and I loved it. When he elbowed Vader down into the corner and shouted at the crowd, it got me fired up too. Vader started down his path of destruction, but Jun got right at him with really great looking German suplexes. But, Vader stayed in beast mode. I loved when Jun took that back suplex from Vader but hung his foot on the top rope selling it... it slipped off... and he grabbed the bottom rope with his hand right before the three count! Vader went to the well too many times with the Vader Bomb, so it allowed Jun to take advantage a few times. Jun tried everything, from going right at him, to weakening the legs, to working the left arm, but it just wasn't enough to derail the big man. Vader's finishing offense looked demolishing! This was really fun to check out. Great match!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Call it an unofficial add-on to the Vader-Sting trilogy. So far, it seems like Akiyama is the only guy in All Japan to truly get the degree to which he can do stuff with Vader. He's not a typical big man. You can beat his ass and get a huge reaction, and he can pinball for you and make you look great when it's your turn to go on offense. Akiyama took a beating, but Akiyama also gave a beating. That's what made this work and kept it exciting. I love it when Vader applies a reverse chinlock because he's so massive so an ordinary move looks dangerous as hell. I like all the teases of the exploder, which make it a big deal when Akiyama finally hits it. The missile dropkick to Vader's knee was also an awesome highspot. I thought some of Vader's nearfalls (off the powerslam and Vader bomb) lacked something, but people were *really* into Akiyama. I loved the drama over the surprise cross armbreaker, even with nothing to really build to the moment, as a cool show of random desperation. Akiyama took a pretty devastating bump off a release German, and that and the chokeslam were enough to ensure a successful Vader defense. This can't match the Kawada-Taue tag for story (not a lot can), but if you like bomb-throwing, it doesn't get much better than this. ****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched this from the treadmill this morning and it didn't click with me as a great match. Good but not great. I liked the way Akiyama came out firing. But then Vader wrecked him with an absurd run of offense that included two power bombs on the outside and two Vader bombs in the ring. That forced Akiyama to sell for about 5 minutes and sucked the energy out of the match. It would have worked fine in a 25-minute match but this one went 16, and they didn't have time to build back up to a proper crescendo. Some of Akiyama's nearfalls were pretty good, but the drama of the finishing stretch just felt a little off. I did not come out of it agreeing with Chad's conclusion that Akiyama was a better Vader opponent than Misawa or Kobashi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with those criticisms, but I still think Akiyama was better as an opponent because Kobashi really struck me as boring with Vader. He was doing the old style big man spots, like struggling to execute a vertical suplex and not being able to do it, instead of just going for it and realizing what makes Vader Vader. So I credit Akiyama for at least getting the uniqueness of the wrestler he was facing instead of wrestling Vader like he was King Kong Bundy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't watched the Kobashi-Vader matches for awhile. The 2/27 one should make for an interesting direct comparison. But I liked your Akiyama-Sting comparison. They did approach Vader similarly.

 

Part of the problem with Akiyama at this point was that as good as he was (and physically, he had pretty clearly surpassed Kobashi and Misawa), he still lacked a bit of stature. And of course that would continue to be an issue for him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the biggest problem of the match was its length and how it was structured. It was too long to be worked as a sprint but with how these two were in 2000 it was unlikely they were gong to have a classic structure. So you end up with them meeting in the middle, and Akiyama really takes it to Vader in the beginning, almost shockingly so, completely dominating that portion of the match. And with how Akiyama was positioned it makes sense that they'd showcase him like that, but as Akiyama was doing German Suplexes in the first minutes of the match you can't scale back, and Vader had to get his heat back after Akiyama's shine. So you get a long Vader control segment with a lot of offence but not a lot of urgency, the crowd can clearly tell there's no way they're gonna go the finish and that's after you've had Vader Chokeslam Akiyama on a table and Powerbomb him on the floor. There was really nowhere left for them to go-with what they chose this was probably as well as they could've done, but they made a grave mistake and you could tell that by the crowd reactions. Vader's and Akiyama's offence as well as some of the ideas they came up like Akiyama getting a Dropkick in but Vader quickly cutting him off with an Elbow Drop since Akiyama was still laying, the build to the Exploder, Vader adapting the Chokeslam cover after Akiyama countered that with an Armbar etc. were enough to make it very good, but it didn't manage to go beyond that. ***1/2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This a fun match with Vader just dropping bombs on Akiyama while he fights through it and hits big moves of his own. This does a great job of establishing Akiyama as a strong contender for the championship and a star in the promotion. Akiyama does a great job of going after Vader's knee, but then focuses on the arm after he is able to pull out a surprise armbar. I enjoy it when guys wisely switch focus on bodyparts based upon the advantages that they come across in the match.

 

****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll add on and say this was a really hot start with a really hot finish and a bit of a lackluster middle keeping it down in my eyes. A very strong 4 star type match but I just felt things meandered a bit with Vader on offense during the middle. There is great drama in here, great bombs, some badass german suplexes, a big fight feel. . . it's only the "fine" middle part of the match that keeps this from being a classic. That said I liked it a lot. Akiyama is great going right at the monster champion and trying to take him down right from the opening bell. And then when he is desperate and resorting to desperation arm bars, knee attacks and top rope dropkicks. It's a nice progression from one strategy to next based on him getting mauled. Worked well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember chatting with a Japanese rock guitarist about the result of this match in between sets. That seems like a lifetime ago and really drove home how old these matches are. Sometimes they don't feel like they're that old because they're from 2000 and not the 80s or 90s, but this is pretty ancient stuff. It was also one of those predictable ass Vader matches where you can guess what he's going to do right before he does it. Vader in Japan sounds like something that should be totally awesome but for some reason it's never clicked for me. I'm not really sure whether that's down to Vader or the Japanese workers. It may be because I'm more of a fan of shoot style and traditional strong style than this type of wrestling, though I have been reacquainting myself with All Japan through Loss' projects and to me this felt unworthy of a Triple Crown match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very good match. Akiyama came out hitting big forearms and german suplexes and really looked like a top guy. The middle of the match was sort of plodding as Vader lacked his old urgency, which kept it from being a great match. They had a nice finishing run and Vader's release german suplex was killer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also enjoyed this. Maybe not as much as the Kawada match but it was still a war. Akiyama gives it to Vader early and the Vader just destroys him. Those chokeslams where Vader just drops him on his head and through the table is sick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going in I didn't have super high hopes for this given it's 2000 Vader and I really felt he had declined from being a top tier working in his heyday. The match overall was better than expected. The Chokeslam on the table near the start of the match was brutal. I enjoyed the closing moments of the match including the Armbar from Akiyama. I particularly liked the finish where it was Vader's hit the final Chokeslam and Akiyama couldn't raise kick due to Vader's sheer weight over his chest and shoulders. ***1/2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought this kind of hinted at greatness without ever quite getting there. Akiyama's early start ruled, the way he'd go for the German suplex, dropkicking the knee as a set up of sorts. Vader coming back with the chokeslam on the table and powerbomb on the floor was certainly emphatic, but then I thought they meandered for a little while after that. Akiyama taking shots at body parts towards the end was a cool touch; how he'd missile dropkick the knee or reverse the pin into the desperation cross armbreaker. It never felt like he deliberately worked over a specific body part as opposed to grabbing what was there and trying to take advantage of the situation. Enjoyable match. Vader in All Japan is a bit of a blindspot for me and so far I've liked what I've seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dug this a lot. Loved Akiyama’s opening rush, blowing off the ref and hyping up the crowd as he takes it Vader. Vader tries putting him in the corner and peppering him with these nasty little forearm shots but Jun fights for a German, with Vader hanging onto the ropes until Jun chops the arms out and delivers the big ole suplex. Both these guys were bumping big, in and out of the ring. The midsection of the match is Vader-dominant, with splashes and clobbering blows and even a dang Fujiwars armbar. Akiyama tries going after the knee but Vader, more or less, blows it off. I liked Akiyama countering the cover off the chokeslam with the desperation armbar but it doesn’t do much and Vader launches him sky high with a German suplex and then chokeslams him again, this time, pressing all that choice Vader beef down on top of him to get the pin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome match from both of these guys. Vader did a good job selling for Akiyama, making his Germans look really good. The story was great, Akiyama coming out strong to get Vader but just being overpowered a few times during the match. Akiyama's bump and selling of Vaders German at the end was great. I liked this better than all of the 1999 and 2000 AJPW Vader matches I have seen.

 

****1/4

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  

×