review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 2nd, 2014
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 997
Things have changed in All Japan since my last review for them. Mutoh is gone, as are most of the wrestlers that were regulars in 2012 and early 2013. Akiyama and company have joined, but the promotion is really struggling with attendance. Hopefully things will pick up this year, I haven't even heard of some of these guys so hopefully they impress. Here is the full card:
- Osamu Nishimura and Ryuji Hijikata vs. Kotaro Suzuki and Masao Inoue
- Kento Miyahara vs. Hikaru Sato
- Shigehiro Irie, Keisuke Ishii, and Takao Soma vs. SUSHI, Tyson Dux, and Jon Bolen
- Go Shiozaki vs. KENSO
- All Japan World Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Ultimo Dragon vs. Atsushi Aoki
- Akebono, Suwama, and Taiyo Kea vs. Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- New Year Openweight Battle Royal: Participants include - Takao Omori, SUSHI, Jun Akiyama, Taiyo Kea, Suwama, Ryuji Hijikata, Hikaru Sato, Shigehiro Irie, Tyson Dux, Jon Bolen, Keisuke Ishii, Takao Soma, Masanobu Fuchi, Kotaro Suzuki, Masao Inoue, Osam Nishimura, and Kento Miyahara
Here we go!
Osamu Nishimura and Ryuji Hijikata vs. Kotaro Suzuki and Masao Inoue
Hijikata and Suzuki start things off.
Tie-up, side headlock by Hijikata, Suzuki Irish whips out of it but Hijikata shoulderblocks him down. Hijikata goes off the ropes, kick by Hijikata, snapmare, Suzuki goes off the ropes and does for a sunset flip, Hijikata rolls through but Suzuki avoids Hijikata's kick. We get a clip as now Nishimura and Inoue are in the ring, wristlock by Inoue, Nishimura reverses it and applies an arm wringer and then a stretch hold. Inoue goes in the ropes to force a break and Nishimura tags in Hijikata. Hijikata keeps the hold applied, snapmare by Hijikata and he kicks Inoue in the back. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Hijikata to the corner but Inoue kicks him as he charges in and hits a shoulderblock off the second turnbuckle. Inoue tags in Suzuki, Suzuki goes off the ropes and hits a handstand springboard elbow. Waistlock by Suzuki, Hijikata elbows out of it but Suzuki avoids Hijikata's charge and goes for the Tiger Feint Kick. Hijikata moves out of the way of the move and connects with a kick, and another kick sends Suzuki to the mat. We clip ahead again as Nishimura hits a double armed suplex onto Suzuki, cover, but it gets a two count. Figure four leglock by Nishimura and Hijikata plays protector, but Suzuki gets to the ropes. Kneebreaker by Nishimura, he goes off the ropes but Suzuki drops Nishimura into the ropes and hits the Tiger Feint Kick. Suzuki tags in Inoue, cover by Inoue to Nishimura but it gets a two count. Cobra clutch legsweep by Inoue and Suzuki comes in the ring, they pick up Nishimura, double Irish whip to the corner and both men hit running strikes. Lariat by Inoue onto Nishimura, cover, but Hijikata breaks it up. Inoue picks up Nishimura and gives him a school boy, but it gets a two count. Roll-up by Inoue but it gets a two count as well. Irish whip by Inoue but Nishimura sneaks in a backslide for the three count. Your winners: Osamu Nishimura and Ryuji Hijikata
Match Thoughts: Pretty clipped up, but what I am annoyed about is I really like Suzuki and here he was paired up against Nishimura in a heavily clipped match. Seems like a waste of Hijikata and Suzuki, Inoue and Nishimura are in the right place opening the card, but it would have been nice to see more of the young guys. But really there wasn't enough shown to know if it was good or not. Score: N/A
Kento Miyahara vs. Hikaru Sato
Waistlock by Miyahara to start the match, Sato applies a front facelock but they get into the ropes. Double leg attempt by Sato but Miyahara blocks it, Sato goes for Miyahara's leg but Miyahara gets into the ropes. Sato stays on the mat, Miyahara gets Sato's arm and applies an armbar into a cross armbreaker, Sato quickly reverses it into a kneelock but Miyahara quickly gets into the ropes. Back up, leg kicks by Sato and he goes for a takedown but Miyahara blocks it. Sato pushes Miyahara into the ropes as they jockey for position, front facelock takedown by Sato but Miyahara gets out of it and hits a series of elbows. Miyahara throws Sato out of the ring and goes out after him, throwing him into the guard rail. Miyahara then throws Sato into the ring post and kicks him around the ring before hitting a DDT on the floor. Miyahara gets back into the ring while Sato very slowly follows, Miyahara throws Sato into the corner but Sato avoids the charge and delivers a jumping kick. Sato picks up Miyahara and goes for a vertical suplex, Miyahara blocks it, but Sato hits an over the shoulder slam. Running kick by Sato and he applies a kneelock. Miyahara slowly crawls to the ropes but Sato pulls him back and applies a single leg crab hold. Kicks to the leg by Sato, Irish whip, but Miyahara dropkicks Sato in the knee and then dropkicks him in the head. Miyahara hits a jumping knee in the corner, he pulls Sato out and delivers a sit-down powerbomb. Cover, but it gets a two count. Miyahara picks up Sato and elbows him to the mat, he then picks Sato back up but Sato chops him. Miyahara delivers a hard elbow, kick by Sato but Miyahara hits a second elbow. Superkick by Miyahara but Sato avoids the second one and kicks Miyahara in the leg. Miyahara goes for a suplex, Sato blocks it for a second but Miyahara muscles him up and delivers the German suplex hold for a three count. Your winner: Kento Miyahara
Match Thoughts: I had not seen Miyahara in a long time, he looks really good and like he has a lot of potential. Sato played the role of underdog well and he managed to get in a few really solid chances of winning before Miyahara's strength was just too much. Miyahara had a brutal streak with the action outside on the floor, and it came across as more than just another undercard match. Good display for Miyahara, I would be interested to see him in a more competitive match against an equal. Score: 7.0
Shigehiro Irie, Keisuke Ishii, and Takao Soma vs. SUSHI, Tyson Dux, and Jon Bolen
I think I've only seen two of these guys before. Soma and SUSHI start things off. Tie-up to start, wristlock by SUSHI into an arm wringer, but Soma reverses it. Hammerlock by Soma, side headlock takedown by SUSHI but Soma gets out of it and both men return to their feet. Tie-up, side headlock by SUSHI, Soma Irish whips out of it but SUSHI shoulderblocks him down. Kip-up by Soma, SUSHI goes off the ropes and Soma hits a dropkick. They trade elbows, Soma goes off the ropes but SUSHI hits a spinning heel kick. SUSHI throws Soma into the corner and tags in Dux. Soma backs off and tags in Ishii, kick by Dux to Ishii and he applies a side headlock. Ishii Irish whips out of it, they both go off the ropes and Ishii dropkicks Dux. Irish whip by Ishii to the corner but Dux kicks him back and hits a snap suplex into the corner. Dux picks up Ishii and tags in Bolen. Chop by Bolen in the corner to Ishii and he clubs Ishii in the back. Irish whip from the corner but Ishii avoids his attack. Ishii goes off the ropes but Bolen catches him and hits a 360 bodyslam. Lariat by Bolen in the corner and he slams Ishii into his corner so he can tag in Dux. Ishii pushes off Dux but Dux chops him to the mat. Dux picks up Ishii and tags in SUSHI. SUSHI stomps Ishii in the corner, he picks up Ishii and hits a snap suplex. SUSHI picks up Ishii but Ishii pushes him off and chops SUSHI in the chest. Ishii goes off the ropes but SUSHI catches him with a thrust kick for a two count cover. SUSHI applied a crab hold to Ishii but Ishii makes it to the ropes. Stomp by SUSHI and he headbutts Ishii in the corner.
Irish whip by SUSHI to the corner but Ishii kicks him back and hits a dropkick. Ishii makes the tag to Soma, Soma knocks Bolen and Dux off the apron, Irish whip to SUSHI and Soma kicks SUSHI in the corner. Jumping kick by Soma out of the corner and he powerslams SUSHI to the mat. Soma goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving doublestomp, cover, but it gets a two count. Soma picks up SUSHI and throws him into the corner, Irish whip to the corner but SUSHI moves when Soma charges in. Soma hits a double stomp off the second turnbuckle to SUSHI's back then hits a tornado DDT. Cover by Soma but it gets a two count. Soma Irish whips SUSHI into the corner but SUSHI flips out to the apron. Swandive dropkick by SUSHI from the apron knocks Soma out of the ring, then SUSHI goes out onto Soma with a somersault tope suicida. They get back into the ring, SUSHI charges Soma in the corner and hits a lariat. Scoop slam by SUSHI, he goes up to the top turnbuckle, but Soma punches him and joins him up top. SUSHI pushes Soma off the top turnbuckle but Soma hits a dropkick and then followed with a superplex. SUSHI tags in Bolen while Soma tags in Irie, and Irie trades strikes with Bolen. Backdrop suplex by Bolen, cover, but it gets a two count. Irie elbows Bolen in the stomach and hits a vertical suplex. Soma and Ishii then join him in the ring and all three hit running strikes in the corner. Irie slams Bolen to the mat, goes off the ropes and hits an assisted body splash. Cover, but it is broken up. Irie goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, cover, but it gets a two count. Irie hits another slam, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the Flying Sausage. Cover, and Irie picks up the three count. Your winners: Shigehiro Irie, Keisuke Ishii, and Takao Soma
Match Thoughts: A very solid match although not in any way spectacular. The Americans both looked good and didn't seem out of place at all, which is really all you can hope for sometimes. SUSHI used to be Akira Raijin and is now wrestling with a goofy mask on for some reason which I am not completely sure of. Pretty crisp action throughout but pretty forgetable, meaning I just watched the match and I already don't really remember much of the action. Fine for the undercard but nothing that will rock your world by any stretch. Score: 5.5
Go Shiozaki vs. KENSO
KENSO charges Shiozaki to start the match and kicks him in the stomach.
KENSO punches Shiozaki in the corner and then throws him into the opposite corner. Choke by Shiozaki and he hits a series of mounted punches. Stomps by KENSO but Shiozaki comes back with chops. They trade chops, Irish whip by Shiozaki and he charges KENSO, but KENSO pulls down the top rope and Shiozaki falls out to the floor. Shiozaki rolls back in the ring and chops KENSO in the chest, headbutt by KENSO and they trade blows. Slap by KENSO, Shiozaki applies a waistlock but KENSO gets out of it and hits a Shining Wizard. Cover, but it gets a two count. Shiozaki rolls out of the ring but KENSO sails out onto him with a pescado. Outside the ring KENSO throws Shiozaki into the guard rail as they battle into the crowd, Shiozaki fights back but KENSO hits him in the back with a chair. KENSO goes for a suplex but Shiozaki reverses it and suplexes KENSO onto a pile of chairs. Shiozaki throws KENSO into the ring post twice before rolling KENSO back into the ring, Shiozaki goes back in after him and throws KENSO into the corner. Irish whip by Shiozaki but KENSO kicks him as he charges in. Irish whip again by Shiozaki and this time he hits a running chop followed by a fisherman buster. Kick to the face by Shiozaki, cover, but KENSO barely gets a shoulder up. Shiozaki goes for a lariat, KENSO drops it, but Shiozaki hits a series of chops. Shiozaki goes for a roaring lariat but KENSO avoids it and drops him with a release German suplex. KENSO grabs Shiozaki around the waist and goes for a second one, but Shiozaki elbows out of it. Shiozaki goes off the ropes but KENSO chokes him with the belt that was on his pants. KENSO doesn't like the referee so he throws him out of the ring before going back to choking Shiozaki. The referee returns and discusses the situation with KENSO, KENSO threatens him but Shiozaki has recovered. Chops by Shiozaki into the corner but KENSO reverses positions with him and hits his own chops. KENSO chops and kicks Shiozaki in the corner, Irish whip by KENSO, reversed, and Shiozaki hits a running chop. High kick by KENSO but Shiozaki comes back with a thrust kick. Lariat by KENSO, cover, but it gets a two count. Brainbuster by KENSO, cover, but again it gets two. KENSO waits for Shiozaki to get up but Shiozaki catches him with a lariat. Shiozaki picks up KENSO and drops him with a vertical suplex into a front slam, cover, but KENSO barely gets a shoulder up. Shiozaki picks up KENSO and knocks him down with a lariat. Shiozaki picks up KENSO again and hits another lariat, but he doesn't cover him. Shiozaki drags KENSO to his feet and knocks him down with another lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Shiozaki grabs KENSO and nails the Go Flasher, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Go Shiozaki
Match Thoughts: A very definitive win by Shiozaki. KENSO tried to cheat around getting the victory but he is in no match for the younger and stronger Shiozaki. It wasn't a great match as it was more storyline driven and trying to prove a point more than anything else, but it was important for their feud and will hopefully sooner than later allow Shiozaki to get back up to the top of the card where he should be. Decent, but below the quality of a typical Shiozaki match. Score: 6.0
(c) Ultimo Dragon vs. Atsushi Aoki
This match is for the All Japan World Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
They circle each other to start, Aoki pushes Ultimo Dragon into the corner, Ultimo Dragon switches positions with him but gives a clean break. Wristlock by Aoki into a waistlock, they jockey for position on the mat but neither man can get the advantage. Wristlock by Aoki but Ultimo Dragon flips out of it and armdrags Aoki to the mat. Single leg takedown by Aoki and he drops an elbow onto Aoki's leg. Ultimo Dragon goes for his headstand headscissors but Aoki pushes him off. Back up and they go into a Test of Strength, they lock knuckles but Ultimo Dragon gets his ankles around Aoki's head and this time hits the headstand headscissors. Aoki gets back up but Ultimo Dragon hits the move a second time, but this time Aoki is able to get a foot on the ropes. Irish whip by Ultimo Dragon and he delivers a back elbow. Ultimo Dragon grapevines Aoki's leg and applies a stretch hold, but releases it after a moment. Ultimo Dragon twists up Aoki and rolls him up, but he only gets a two count. Knee to the stomach by Ultimo Dragon and he hits a snapmare. Side headlock by Ultimo Dragon, Aoki Irish whips out of it but Ultimo Dragon hits a shoulderblock. Ultimo Dragon goes off the ropes but Aoki catches with a dropkick. Legsweep by Ultimo Dragon and he catches Aoki with an enzigieri. Aoki falls out of the ring, Ultimo Dragon goes for the Asai Moonsault but Aoki pulls him by the legs down to the floor. Aoki then rams Ultimo Dragon shoulder-first into the ring post. Aoki grabs Ultimo Dragon and throws him into the ring post again by the arm. Aoki wraps Ultimo Dragon's arm around the guard rail and kicks it before rolling Ultimo Dragon back into the ring. Aoki goes back into the ring with him, snapmare by Aoki and he twists on Ultimo Dragon's arm.
Aoki twists on Ultimo Dragon's arm but Ultimo Dragon gets a foot on the bottom rope. Aoki picks up Ultimo Dragon and elbows him in the arm. Another elbow to the arm by Aoki and he applies a standing armbar. Ultimo Dragon eventually is able to Irish whip out of it but Aoki hits an armbreaker. Cover by Aoki but it gets a two count. Wristlock by Aoki but Ultimo Dragon punches out of it until Aoki uppercuts him in the arm. Aoki goes off the ropes, Ultimo Dragon back bodydrops him over the top rope but Aoki lands on the apron and snaps Ultimo Dragon's arm on the top rope. Aoki goes up to the top turnbuckle but when he jumps off, Ultimo Dragon catches him with a dropkick. Kick combination by Ultimo Dragon, Irish whip and he hits a dropkick followed by a back bodydrop. Back kick by Ultimo Dragon and he goes for the Asai DDT, but Aoki blocks it and applies a Fujiwara Armbar. Ultimo Dragon quickly gets to the ropes to break the hold, Irish whip by Aoki from the corner, reversed, but Aoki elbows Ultimo Dragon back. Ultimo Dragon puts Aoki up on the top turnbuckle and joins him but Aoki applies an armbar while standing on the top turnbuckle and then jumps off, driving Ultimo Dragon's arm into the mat. Hammerlock by Aoki and he tosses Ultimo Dragon arm-first to the mat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Keylock by Aoki but Ultimo Dragon gets a foot on the ropes. Back in the middle of the ring, Aoki goes for a suplex but Ultimo Dragon blocks it and kicks Aoki to the mat. Ultimo Dragon charges Aoki but Aoki drop toeholds Ultimo Dragon head-first into the turnbuckle. Running double knee to the back of the head by Aoki and he hits a backdrop suplex. Aoki goes up to the top turnbuckle but Ultimo Dragon gets his knees up when he goes for diving body press. Ultimo Dragon goes for La Magistral but Aoki blocks it and gets a two count. Aoki charges Ultimo Dragon but Ultimo Dragon hits a Frankensteiner for a two count. Ultimo Dragon goes for a punch but Aoki blocks it, elbowing Ultimo Dragon in the arm. Spinning kick to the back by Ultimo Dragon, he waits for Aoki to get up and hits a kick combination. Ultimo Dragon signals for the Asai DDT but Aoki blocks it so Ultimo Dragon rolls him up for a two count. Aoki grabs Ultimo Dragon's arm and applies an armbar, cross armbreaker by Aoki but Ultimo Dragon reverses and sneaks in a La Magistral for the three count! Your winner and still champion: Ultimo Dragon
Match Thoughts: It started really good and I liked the attention to the arm by both Ultimo Dragon and Aoki, but I thought the ending was awkward and fell flat. Aoki stayed incredibly focused on the arm and kept his offense on it varied so it never felt like he was just killing time. Ultimo Dragon on the flipside sold his arm throughout the match, even when he was on offense, and seemed resigned halfway through that he was only going to win the match by sneaky means. Which he did, but the way it was executed was incredibly not smooth to the point the crowd didn't really react to it. The La Magistral is a classic Jr. Heavyweight way to win a match and a respected method of victory, but usually it has to be done really clean to get the reaction that you'd hope for. So a very good match, it just had a rough ending. Score: 6.5
Akebono, Suwama, and Taiyo Kea vs. Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Akebono and Omori start things off.
Tie-up, Akebono pushes Omori into the corner and he gives him a clean break. Tie-up again and Akebono throws Omori against the ropes. They lock knuckles, Akebono pushes Omori down to his knees but Omori kicks Akebono in the stomach. Side headlock by Omori, Akebono Irish whips out of it and the two collide with neither man going down. Omori goes off the ropes and they collide again with no result, he goes off a third time and this time Akebono shoulderblocks him down and hits an elbow drop. Irish whip by Akebono to the corner but Omori moves out of the way. Omori goes for a backdrop suplex but Omori chops his leg out from under him. Cover, but it gets a two count. Akebono tags in Suwama so Omori tags in Akiyama. Suwama and Omori circle each other, tie-up, Suwama gets Akiyama into the ropes and he gives a mostly clean break. Waistlock by Akiyama, reversed by Suwama and they jockey for position on the mat. Back up, tie-up, wristlock by Suwama, reversed by Akiyama and he tags in Kanemaru. Irish whip by Kanemaru and he dropkicks Suwama in the face. Cover by Kanemaru but it gets a two count. Kanemaru picks up Suwama and applies a wristlock, but Suwama reverses it into an arm wringer. Suwama picks up Kanemaru, drags him back to his corner and tags in Kea. Kea chops Kanemaru in the corner, Irish whip by Kea to the corner but Kanemaru dropkicks Kea. Vertical suplex by Kanemaru, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody. Cover, but it gets two. Kanemaru picks up Kea, scoop slam, he goes up to the top turnbuckle again but Kea rolls out of the way of the moonsault. Kanemaru goes off the ropes but Kea catches him with a reverse DDT. Cover, but it gets broken up. Front facelock by Kea to Kanemaru and he hits a vertical suplex. Cover, but it gets two. Kea tags in Akebono, and Akebono stomps on Kanemaru against the ropes. Akebono picks up Kanemaru, Kanemaru tries to elbow Akebono back and goes off the ropes but Akebono grabs him by the throat and hits a chokeslam. Cover by Akebono but Kanemaru barely gets a shoulder up. Akebono tags in Suwama, Suwama picks up Kanemaru but Kanemaru hits a few elbows. A hard chop by Suwama sends Kanemaru back to the mat, he picks up Kanemaru and hits a scoop slam. Suwama goes off the ropes and he hits an elbow drop, cover, but it gets a two count. Crab hold by Suwama but Akiyama breaks it up. Suwama tags in Kea, Kea picks up Kanemaru and he hits a headbutt. Chops by Kea, Kea picks up Kanemaru and hits a knee.
Backdrop suplex by Kea to Kanemaru, cover, but it gets a two count. Kea picks up Kanemaru and hits a scoop slam, Kea goes up to the second rope and hits a reverse splash. Kea tags in Akebono, Akebono picks up Kanemaru and throws him into the corner. Running splash by Akebono in the corner and he hits an elbow drop. Cover, but Omori breaks it up. Akebono tags in Suwama, Suwama picks up Kanemaru, Irish whip, and he levels Kanemaru with a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Backdrop suplex by Suwama, another cover, but Omori breaks it up. Kea comes in to take care of Omori, while Suwama knocks Akiyama off the apron. Suwama picks up Kanemaru and goes for the powerbomb, but Kanemaru reverses it into a DDT. Kanemaru makes the hot tag to Akiyama, Akiyama picks up Suwama and the two trade elbows. Irish whip by Akiyama to the corner, reversed, and Suwama hits a lariat. Akiyama fires back with a lariat of his own, cover by Akiyama but it gets a two count. Back up, Suwama goes off the ropes and Suwama hit a jumping shoulderblock. Suwama tags in Kea, Irish whip by Kea to the corner and he hits an elbow strike on Akiyama followed by an elbow drop. Kea picks up Akiyama and they trade elbows, Kea goes off the ropes and he hits the DDT. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kea goes for the TKO but Akiyama blocks it, waistlock by Akiyama, Kea elbows out of it but Akiyama hits the jumping knee. Akiyama tags in Omori, and Omori knocks down Kea with a spinning heel kick. Omori picks up Kea and chops him against the ropes, but Kea hits a side Russian leg sweep and tags in Akebono. Akebono throws Omori into the corner and hits a running splash followed by an elbow drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Akebono goes off the ropes again and hits a running body press, cover, but again it gets two. Akebono picks up Omori and goes for the powerbomb, but Omori's teammates run in to break it up. Chops by Omori to Akebono, he goes off the ropes but Akebono chops him back. Akebono goes for the powerbomb again but Omori blocks it. Low blow by Omori, he goes off the ropes and nails the Axe Bomber. Cover, but it gets at two count. Omori sits up Akebono and hits another Axe Bomber, cover, and this time he picks up the three count. Your winners: Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Jun Akiyama
Match Thoughts: This match was mostly done to set up the Akebono vs. Omori match the next day for the Triple Crown. The problem with these types of matches is that Omori pins Akebono to show that he has a chance the next day, but Akebono took very little damage to get pinned. I mean really in the whole match all it took to beat Akebono was a low blow and two Axe Bombers, which doesn't really make a lot of sense. Six man tags rarely do though as each wrestler needs a chance to get their moves in and there just isn't time to really establish a flow to the match. The Suwama/Akiyama dislike was noticeable but the other wrestlers seemed to just be playing along, there wasn't a lot of emotion shown one way or the other. Just a standard six man tag match. Score: 5.5
New Year Openweight Battle Royal
This is a battle royal with Takao Omori, SUSHI, Jun Akiyama, Taiyo Kea, Suwama, Ryuji Hijikata, Hikaru Sato, Shigehiro Irie, Tyson Dux, Jon Bolen, Keisuke Ishii, Takao Soma, Masanobu Fuchi, Kotaro Suzuki, Masao Inoue, Osam Nishimura, and Kento Miyahara as participants. All the wrestlers start in the ring, they do not come down one at a time like the Royal Rumble. Random brawling to start as you may imagine, they watch Suzuki and SUSHI brawl for a moment but SUSHI messes up a Tiger Feint Kick and falls out of the ring (not eliminated since it was under the top rope). They go back to brawling, Kea and Suwama hit a double vertical suplex onto Akiyama, but the mob covers all three of them and they are all eliminated. Hijikata and Sato trade leg locks, and the mob takes advantage of this as well and covers both of them for a three count. Irie and Suzuki trade blows but the Americans try to throw them over the top rope. Suzuki is able to skin the cat to get himself back in the ring, but Irie can not and is eliminated. Dux and Soma pair up, Dux from the apron holds Soma for Bolen, but Soma moves and Bolen accidentally hits Dux to the floor, eliminating him. Dux then pulls Bolen out after him, so Bolen is also eliminated. Soma gets a metal bin of some sort and accidentally hits Ishii with it, Fuchi rolls up Soma and the mob holds him pick up the three count. Suzuki kicks Soma while Fuchi gets the metal bin, but on his backswing he accidentally hits Inoue. Fuchi goes after Soma again, but Soma stands in front of Inoue and ducks, causing Inoue to get hit a second time. Fuchi finally manages to hit Soma and they all cover Soma for the three count. Suzuki attacks Fuchi and goes for a bodyslam, but Fuchi blocks it and hits a bodyslam of his own. Kanemaru tries to slam Fuchi but Fuchi again blocks it and hits his own. SUSHI runs up and Fuchi also bodyslams him. Miyahara now gives it a try, but he too in turn is bodyslammed. SUSHI is back to try again but he also has no look and Fuchi hits him in the head before slamming him to the mat. Fuchi is getting tired at this point, Suzuki runs up but he can't bodyslam Fuchi. Fuchi goes for a bodyslam but he is pushed over and covered by everyone for a three count. Irish whip by Kanemaru to Suzuki, they trade pin attempts but neither can get the pin. Tilt-a-whirl small package by Kanemaru, but the mob holds down both of them for the three count and both are eliminated. We are left with SUSHI, Nishimura, Inoue, Miyahara, and Omori if you are keeping track at home. They all attack Omori and hit running strikes on him in the corner. Omori kicks back Inoue however when he charges in so they try again, and again everyone is successful except for Inoue. Nishimura puts Inoue in the figure four leglock both they are both covered and eliminated. SUSHI quickly rolls up Miyahara and he picks up the three count, so now it is just SUSHI and Omori. They both try quick pin attempts but neither are successful. SUSHI and Omori trade slaps, jawbreaker by SUSHI and he hits a jawbreaker. Thrust kick by SUSHI and he goes off the ropes, but Omori catches him with a quick lariat from behind. Irish whip by Omori and he nails the Axe Bomber. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner of the Battle Royal: Takao Omori
Match Thoughts: In case you didn't know before, these yearly Battle Royals by All Japan are not taken seriously. The bigger wrestlers generally always get pinned early by a large group of people, there are some cute comedy spots, and then someone wins. Which doesn't matter, because the winner doesn't get anything. They have closed out their early January shows this way for many many years so it is just a fun tradition, one that doesn't really mean anything but isn't really doing any harm. In this case it was used to allow the Triple Crown challenger to end the night with his hand raised, so it probably meant more this year than it usually does, which isn't saying much. Score: 4.0
Best Match: Ultimo Dragon vs. Atsushi Aoki. To say this match was the best match is more a reflection of the card as a whole than anything else. It was a very solid match though and I thought that the limb work was well done by both men. It just can't fully shake the flat ending to me, if it ended on a higher note it would have been a borderline great match. As it is, it is just a really good match that was hurt by the way it ended.
MVP: Go Shiozaki. Shiozaki put away his nemesis with ease and now can try to move on to bigger and better things. He also looked good in the match, showing a lot of fire and making sure that KENSO was not going to get up after that last barrage of moves. He and Miyahara were the ones that stood out on this card as wrestlers ready to move up on the card starting immediately.
Overall: Not really much I can recommend here. The only Championship match was good, but ended flat. Some individuals looked good but the main event is basically just done for comedy and there wasn't a different "main event quality" match to make up for it. There were a bunch of solid matches and nothing unwatchable though, which is definitely a plus. Still, this is only worth the watch if you are already a big All Japan fan, I don't think this would be a good way to get back into it if you haven't watched the promotion in awhile.
Back to All Japan Event Reviews
review completed 1/15/14