All Japan "NEW YEAR WARS 2014" Day 2
review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 3rd, 2014
This is the first kinda big card for All Japan of the year, even though the attendance does not reflect it. Not only did this event have two title matches, but it also had a match to celebrate Fuchi's 60th birthday! How fun. Here is the full card:
- Kotaro Suzuki and Atsushi Aoki vs. Shigehiro Irie and Keisuke Ishii
Kinda nervous about the long Fuchi match and an Akebono title match, but maybe I will be pleasantly surprised. Let's see how this turns out!
Kotaro Suzuki and Atsushi Aoki vs. Shigehiro Irie and Keisuke Ishii
Aoki knees Ishii in the midsection and tags in Suzuki. Suzuki picks up Ishii, Irish whip, knee to the stomach by Suzuki and he hits a senton. Suzuki picks up Ishii and hits a pair of back kicks, Ishii tries to fight back but a hard shot to the midsection sends him back down. Elbows by Suzuki in the corner until Ishii falls to a seated position, and Suzuki tags in Aoki. Aoki picks up Ishii, Irish whip, and Aoki hits a running elbow to Ishii’s midsection. Cover, but it gets a two count. Aoki picks up Ishii and he knees him in the midsection before tagging in Suzuki. Suzuki picks up Ishii and drops him with a gutbuster, Suzuki goes off the ropes and hits a running elbow to the midsection. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Suzuki picks up Ishii and kicks him in the midsection, Irish whip, but Ishii kicks Suzuki as he charges in and hits a missile dropkick. Ishii makes the tag to Irie, Irie first knocks Aoki off the apron and then punches Suzuki into the corner. Irish whip by Irie and he hits a running lariat in the corner. Scoop slam by Irie, he goes off the ropes and hits a seated senton. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irie picks up Suzuki and goes for a suplex but Suzuki lands on his feet. Irish whip by Irie but Suzuki hits the handstand rebound elbow strike and tags in Aoki. Aoki goes off the ropes and elbows Irie, he does it a second time but the third time Irie elbows him back. Kick to the knee by Aoki and he kicks Irie in the head, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Aoki from the corner, reversed, but Aoki avoids Irie’s attack. Aoki goes off the ropes but Irie catches him with a side slam and tags in Ishii. Ishii and Aoki trade elbows, Ishii goes off the ropes but Aoki kicks him in the midsection. Aoki goes off the ropes but Ishii hits a dropkick, Ishii picks up Aoki but Aoki blocks the suplex. Ishii goes off the ropes but Aoki dropkicks him in the face. Aoki picks up Ishii, Irish whip from the corner and he hits a running elbow strike. Vertical suplex by Aoki, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Backdrop suplex attempt by Aoki but Ishii lands on his feet and kicks him in the head.
Irie runs in the ring, Ishii puts Aoki on his shoulders and drops him head-first onto Irie’s head (on purpose). Cover, but Aoki breaks it up. Irie gets rid of Aoki. Ishii picks up Aoki and applies a wristlock, Aoki elbows out of it but Ishii whips out a hurricanrana. Ishii charges Aoki but Aoki avoids the heel kick and hits a lariat. Suzuki comes in the ring, he hits a tombstone piledriver on Ishii then Aoki comes off the top turnbuckle with a diving body press. Cover, but it gets a two count when Irie breaks it up. Suzuki runs in to grab Irie, Aoki picks up Ishii and goes for the fish hook suplex, but Ishii blocks it and rolls him up for a two count. Headbutt by Aoki, he goes off the ropes but Ishii catches him with a release German suplex. Ishii makes the tag to Irie as Suzuki is tagged in also, and they trade elbow strikes. Suzuki blocks on Irie lariat, he goes off the ropes but is caught by a second one. Cover by Irie but it gets a two count. Irie grabs Suzuki and hits a vertical suplex, cover, but again it gets two. Ishii comes in the ring, he puts Suzuki on his shoulders and tries to drop Suzuki onto Irie’s head, but Suzuki gets out of it and throws Ishii into Irie instead. Aoki comes in the ring, they pick up Irie but Irie fights them both off, Irie goes off the ropes but Aoki drop toeholds him into the ropes and Suzuki hits a Tiger Feint Kick. They go for a double backdrop suplex but Irie fights them off, double Irish whip to Irie, but Irie hits a lariat onto Aoki. Suzuki goes for the roaring elbow onto Irie but Irie catches him with a headbutt. Irie picks up Suzuki and puts him on his shoulders, but Suzuki rolls him up for a two count. Elbows by Suzuki and he hits the roaring elbow, he goes for a suplex but Irie blocks it and hits the Fire Thunder Driver onto Suzuki. Cover, but it gets a two count. Elbow by Irie, another cover but it gets two again. He goes for another elbow, Suzuki ducks it and applies a crucifix pin but the bell rings signifying time has run out. This match is a Draw.
Match Thoughts: I honestly think that if this match had bigger name wrestlers on it and had a real ending, it would be thought of as one of the better matches so far this year. I loved the stories they were telling and that it felt right up to the very end that it was anyone’s game. The DDT wrestlers were very well respected and everyone was made to look strong which is what wrestling should be all about. I do wish that it had an ending though, I don’t think in this case a Draw was necessary as any of these wrestlers could be pinned if the circumstances were right. It doesn’t look like it was building to anything to not have a winner. But really this was a great match, no wasted time and just good action from start to finish. Score: 7.5
Jon Bolen vs. Tyson Dux
Bolen picks up Dux, Irish whip, but Dux sneaks in a crucifix pinfall for a two count. Back up, backslide by Dux but it gets a two count as well. Dux tries to roll-up Bolen but Bolen blocks it and applies a bearhug. Dux punches out of it and hits an uppercut, more elbows by Dux and he hits a snap backdrop suplex. Dux waits for Bolen to puts him on his shoulders, hitting a death valley driver into the corner turnbuckles. Cover, but Bolen kicks out. Dux picks up Bolen and puts him on the apron, Dux then goes up to the top turnbuckle and pulls Bolen up with him. Elbows by Dux and he hits a top rope superplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Dux goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a crossbody, but Bolen rolls through it and picks up Dux. Powerslam by Bolen, he then goes off the ropes and hits a spear. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Bolen charges Dux but Dux rolls out of the way and sneaks in the horizontal cradle for the three count! Your winner: Tyson Dux
Match Thoughts: I guess this match came about because they eliminated each other the night before from the battle royal. But I am not really sure what purpose the match served… it was short but still had rest holds and down-time, it was won by sneaky means so I don’t know if they settled their beef (they teamed together on the next show), and it just came across as filler. If it was a sprint or a game of “one-upmanship” between two friends I could see it working, but it just fell in some grey middle ground and I never really saw what they were going for here. Score: 3.5
KENSO and Mitsuya Nagai vs. Osamu Nishimura and Ryuji Hijikata
Back elbow by KENSO, cover, but it gets a two count. KENSO knees Nishimura off the apron, and then chokes Hijikata. Nagai comes in the ring and hits a leg drop, cover by Nagai but it gets a two count. Nagai applies a crossface to Hijikata, he picks up Hijikata and elbows him in the head a few times. Nagai tags in KENSO, and KENSO slaps Hijikata in the face. KENSO picks up Hijikata and punches him in the head before hitting him with another slap. KENSO goes for a vertical suplex but Hijikata reverses it into a suplex of his own. Hijikata tags in Nishimura, stomps and uppercuts by Nishimura to KENSO until KENSO falls to the mat. Nishimura applies the Spinning Toe Hold, then knees Nagai as he comes into the ring. Irish whip by Nishimura to KENSO and he applies the Cobra Twist, but Nagai breaks it up. Nishimura picks up KENSO and tags in Hijikata, and Hijikata throws KENSO into the corner. Slaps by Hijikata, Irish whip, and Hijikata hits a high kick to KENSO. Cover by Hijikata but it gets a two count. Hijikata picks up KENSO and elbows him in the back of the head, he goes off the ropes but KENSO catches him with a lariat. KENSO goes up to the top turnbuckle but Hijikata has recovered and joins him up there. Superplex by Hijikata, he picks up KENSO and hits the Fisherman Buster. Cover, but Nagai breaks it up. Hijikata picks up KENSO, he goes off the ropes but KENSO chokes Hijikata with his fluffy belt. KENSO waits for Hijikata to get up and nails the Hagakure, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: KENSO and Mitsuya Nagai
Match Thoughts: That ended quickly. Hijikata was doing ok then it just takes being chocked by a feathery belt and a running kick to the face and he is done. Almost felt like they got the ‘go home’ signal with how quickly it ended. Anyway up to that point the match was fine but it never felt like it got fully going. Nishimura didn’t do much of anything in this match as Hijikata was in the ring the bulk of the time, and the offense to Hijikata wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t overly inspired either. I know that Nagai can bring the hurt but his offense stayed pretty basic here. I wasn’t expecting much and I didn’t get much, so I guess I can’t complain too much. Score: 4.0
Go Shiozaki and Kento Miyahara vs. Ultimo Dragon and Hikaru Sato
Miyahara greets Sato out there and throws Sato into the guard rail. Miyahara throws Sato into the guard rail again and Shiozaki chops Sato in the chest out on the floor. Shiozaki chops Sato outside of the ring again before finally sliding him back into the ring, Shiozaki waits for Sato to get to a seated position and hits a running chop to the chest. Cover, but it gets a two count. Backdrop suplex by Shiozaki, cover, but it gets two as well. Shiozaki tags in Miyahara, and Miyahara uppercuts Sato in the corner. Irish whip by Miyahara and he hits a jumping elbow strike. Irish whip by Miyahara but this time Sato moves and kicks Miyahara in the back. Another kick by Sato and he makes the tag to Ultimo Dragon. Ultimo Dragon delivers a kick combination to Miyahara followed by a dropkick. More kicks by Ultimo Dragon and he hits a fireman’s carry toss. Dragon screw leg whip by Ultimo Dragon and he applies a modified Indian Deathlock. Miyahara inches to his corner to tag in Shiozaki, stomps by Shiozaki to Ultimo Dragon and he goes off the ropes, but Ultimo Dragon catches him with a dropkick and hits a roll into a hammerlock with a headscissors. Shiozaki gets a foot on the ropes to force the break, Ultimo Dragon goes for a suplex onto Shiozaki but Shiozaki blocks it and goes for a suplex but Shiozaki lands on his feet. Hard chop by Shiozaki and he delivers a vertical suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count.
Shiozaki goes for a kick but Ultimo Dragon ducks it and hits an enzigieri. Ultimo Dragon tags in Sato, Sato knocks Miyahara off the apron and then kicks Shiozaki in the corner. Irish whip by Sato to the corner and he delivers a kick to the chest. Sato goes for a suplex, Shiozaki blocks it, kick by Sato and he goes off the ropes, hitting the PK. Cover, but it gets a two count. Cross Armbreaker by Sato but Shiozaki gets out of it with a powerbomb. Cover by Shiozaki, but it gets a two count. Sato re-applies the cross armbreaker but this time Miyahara breaks it up. Ultimo Dragon throws Miyahara out of the ring, while in the ring Sato picks up Shiozaki. Kick to the chest by Sato but Shiozaki comes back with a chop. Sato goes off the ropes but Miyahara runs in the ring and connects with a big boot. Irish whip by Miyahara and Shiozaki hits a chop, then they hit a double superkick to Sato. Cover by Shiozaki but Ultimo Dragon breaks it up. Miyahara takes Ultimo Dragon out of the ring, while in the ring Shiozaki picks up Sato and goes for a lariat, but Sato ducks it. Sato ducks it again but after blocking a kick, Shiozaki is finally able to hit the lariat. Cover, but again Ultimo Dragon breaks it up. Miyahara grabs Ultimo Dragon, while in the ring Shiozaki picks up Sato. Elbows by Sato but Shiozaki hits a chop and nails the Go Flasher. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Go Shiozaki and Kento Miyahara
Match Thoughts: If this was WWE I would think that Shiozaki was in the doghouse for something, as both cards I have watched so far he was about as far from the main event scene as I am. This wasn’t bad but was really disjointed in parts, and it seemed almost like there was too much back and forth when on paper the teams seemed lopsided. I did like that Ultimo Dragon managed at the end to come back to save Sato a few times but ultimately just couldn’t keep escaping Miyahara to break up pinfalls. The match just lacked suspense and they didn’t really have any real structure. Good wrestlers all around, but an average match at best. Score: 5.0
(c) SUSHI vs. Takao Soma
Elbow by SUSHI but Soma returns fire and they trade strikes again. Irish whip by SUSHI, reversed, SUSHI flips himself out to the apron and hits Soma back before hitting a swandive dropkick. Soma falls out of the ring, SUSHI goes off the ropes and sails out onto Soma with a tope con giro. SUSHI throws Soma back into the ring, and SUSHI hits a lariat in the corner. Vertical suplex by SUSHI to Soma, SUSHI goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving headbutt. Cover, but it gets a two count. Waistlock by SUSHI, Irish whip, reversed, and Soma hits a diving forearm strike. Soma goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Single leg grab hold by Soma but SUSHI gets a hand on the bottom rope. Soma picks up SUSHI but SUSHI pushes him back and kicks him in the head. SUSHI charges Soma but Soma gets in a backslide for a two count. Cradle by Soma but it’s another two count, and the schoolboy gets the same result. Superkick by Soma, he gets the metal tub and tries to hit SUSHI with it, but SUSHI ducks. SUSHI thinks he took it away but there is another tub inside of it. Soma hits SUSHI in the head with the metal tub, roll-up by Soma but it gets a two count. Soma picks up SUSHI and hits the Schwein, cover, but again he only gets a two count. Soma picks up SUSHI and puts SUSHI onto his shoulders, but SUSHI gets out of it. Quick roll-up by SUSHI but it only gets two, and they trade pin attempts with no luck. Lariat by SUSHI, he picks up Soma and hits the Katsuo Fishing for the three count! Your winner and still champion: SUSHI
Match Thoughts: No idea what I just watched. I was finally excited to get back to a singles match and I got… this. It was pretty much bad from start to finish. The brawling through the crowd was drawn out and silly since Soma kept using this big metal tub that must have some significance that I don’t know about. Soma dominated the match but not with real moves, but with roll-ups and things like that. Then SUSHI after getting dominated at the end, suddenly picks up the win after two moves. Don’t get me wrong, Soma was never a credible challenger, but it just made the rest of the match meaningless as Soma really wasn’t weakened up at all. Just not a good match on any level. Score: 2.5
Jun Akiyama, Kanemaru, and Masao Inoue vs. Suwama, Taiyo Kea, and Masanobu Fuchi
Kanemaru gets Fuchi out of the ring and throws him into the guard rail before hitting a leg drop. Akiyama then grabs Fuchi, Kanemaru gets on the apron and they nail a spike piledriver on the floor. Shit suddenly got real. Akiyama slides Fuchi into the ring, cover by Kanemaru but it gets a two count. Kanemaru tags in Inoue, Inoue grabs Fuchi and elbows him in the back of the head. Inoue tags in Akiyama, and Akiyama hits a scoop slam. Akiyama tags in Kanemaru, he picks up Fuchi and he hits a scoop slam as well. Kanemaru tags in Inoue, and he slams Fuchi as well. Inoue tags in Akiyama, he picks up Fuchi and hits a scoop slam. Cover by Akiyama but it gets a two count. Akiyama tags in Kanemaru, and Kanemaru stomps Fuchi in the back. Kanemaru tags in Inoue, Inoue picks up Fuchi and hits a scoop slam. Cover, but Fuchi gets a shoulder up. Akiyama is tagged in, he picks up Fuchi and elbows him in the head. Akiyama grabs Fuchi as Kanemaru comes in the ring as well, Inoue hits an elbow to Fuchi and Akiyama delivers a running knee. Cover, but it gets a two count. Akiyama waits for Fuchi to get up but Fuchi avoids Akiyama’s charge in the corner and dropkicks Akiyama in the knee. Fuchi tags in Suwama, Irish whip by Suwama to Akiyama and Suwama hits a flying shoulderblock. Suwama picks up Akiyama as Kanemaru runs in the ring, but Suwama fights them back off. Irish whip by Suwama to Akiyama to the corner and Suwama hits a lariat. Belly to belly suplex by Suwama, cover, but Inoue breaks it up. Suwama tags in Kea, and he trades elbows with Akiyama. Kea chops Akiyama into the corner, Irish whip and he hits a jumping elbow followed by a lariat. Kea hits a reverse splash, cover, but it gets a two count. Cobra Clutch by Kea but Akiyama snapmares out of it and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Akiyama tags in Kanemaru, dropkick by Kanemaru to Kea’s knee and he hits a diving DDT off the second turnbuckle. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kanemaru grabs Kea, Kea goes for a suplex but Kanemaru slides down his back and rolls up Kea for a two count.
Kanemaru ducks a Kea kick and rolls him up again, but again it gets two. Kanemaru goes off the ropes but Kea hits a lariat. Kea tags in Fuchi, Fuchi picks up Kanemaru and hits a scoop slam. Fuchi hits a second scoop slam onto Kanemaru but when he goes for a third, Akiyama breaks it up. Kea gets rid of Akiyama, Fuchi grabs Kanemaru and this time is able to hit the scoop slam. Cover, but Inoue breaks it up. Suwama knocks down Inoue, Fuchi then picks up Inoue and scoop slams him. Fuchi picks up Inoue again and slams him once more to the mat. Akiyama runs in the ring but Fuchi rakes him in the eyes. Fuchi then grabs Akiyama and goes for a slam, Akiyama blocks it, so Fuchi rakes him in the eyes again. Another attempt fails, Fuchi rakes Akiyama’s eyes and punches him in the face. Finally Fuchi is able to body slam Akiyama, he then goes back to Kanemaru and goes for a backdrop suplex but Kanemaru lands on his feet and dropkicks Fuchi to the mat. Kanemaru tags in Inoue, Irish whip by Inoue to the corner and Inoue hits a running lariat. Quick lariats by Inoue in the corner and he hits the cobra clutch leg sweep. Cover, but it gets broken up. Akiyama comes in the ring, Inoue throws Fuchi into the corner, and all three men hit running strikes. Exploder by Akiyama to Fuchi, Inoue covers Fuchi but Fuchi gets a shoulder up. Inoue picks up Fuchi and puts him up on his shoulders in the Argentine Backbreaker, but Kea breaks it up. Jumping heel kick by Kea to Inoue, and then Suwama hits a belly to belly suplex on him. Fuchi is back up and he hits a dropkick to Inoue. Kanemaru runs in the ring, Irish whip by Fuchi to Kanemaru and he gets a dropkick as well. Akiyama runs in but so do Suwama and Kea, and they hold Akiyama so that Fuchi can dropkick him as well. Fuchi goes back to Inoue, and Fuchi hits a backdrop suplex. Fuchi hits a second backdrop suplex, cover, but it only gets a two count when Akiyama breaks it up. Kea dispatches Akiyama, Fuchi picks up Inoue and tries an Inside Cradle, but it gets a two count. A second Inside Cradle by Fuchi, but it also gets a two count. Fuchi tries a third one, and this one works as he gets the three count. Your winners: Suwama, Taiyo Kea, and Masanobu Fuchi
Match Thoughts: When I saw this match went 26 minutes I groaned. This match was to celebrate Fuchi’s 60th birthday, by the way, which is why he was prominently displayed in the match. This is very good to see, as anytime a wrestler is still healthy enough to still be wrestling at his age it is quite an accomplishment and I tip my hat to him. Anyway the match was what it was, it certainly dragged in parts but I will say that Fuchi certainly did his part. He took a lot of moves and gave a lot of moves as well, so he was not slacking off in his birthday match. Akiyama and Suwama being in the match seemed off, you’d think this would be left to the mid-carders and they could have been in a more important match. But it was not as bad as I thought, even though it seemed weak for a semi-main event on show with a Triple Crown match. Score: 5.5
(c) Akebono vs. Takao Omori
Akebono then charges Omori and pushes him off the apron down to the floor. Akebono gets out to the apron but from the floor Omori hits him in the leg with an Axe Bomber (I only say that because the announcers did). Omori rolls back into the ring with Akebono slowly following. Kicks to the leg by Omori, he goes off the ropes and hits a running boot to the face. Omori goes off the ropes again and a second kick, but Akebono still doesn’t go down. Omori then hits a spinning heel kick, with Akebono remaining on his feet. An Axe Bomber to the back also doesn’t knock down Akebono, Omori goes off the ropes again but Akebono catches him with a swinging side slam. Back up they trade chops and slaps, Omori goes off the ropes and hits a heel kick to the back of the head. Axe Bomber by Omori, Akebono finally falls to the mat but Omori only gets a two count. Omori sits up Akebono and goes off the ropes, but Akebono catches Omori by the throat as he goes for the Axe Bomber and hits a chokeslam. Elbow drop by Akebono, cover, but it gets a two count. Akebono grabs Omori and goes for a piledriver, but Omori blocks it. Omori hits Akebono in the leg and rolls him up for a two count. Akebono ends up in the corner and Omori hits a running boot. Omori goes off the ropes again but Akebono catches him with a lariat. Irish whip by Akebono to the corner and he hits a body splash followed by an elbow drop. Cover, but Omori kicks out. Akebono goes off the ropes and hits a body press, he gets up and hits a second body press onto Akebono. A third Yokozuna Press by Akebono, cover, but Omori gets a shoulder up. Akebono picks up Omori and nails the Yokozuna Impact, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: Akebono
Match Thoughts: This was a pretty sad affair. Akebono should not be any promotion's champion. He has a use, but he needs to be protected in tag matches and not expected to put on long-ish singles matches. First of all, his physical condition is not good. He gets up the same way that Vader did in his last RAW match… meaning he has to kinda straighten his legs and then push up with his hands. Mind you Vader is 58 and has had 45 surgeries. Point being, Akebono at his age, weight, and with his injuries just doesn’t have the ability to really put on good matches. He has some high impact moves, but he only has about five of them so he does the same moves repeatedly in the match. I will say that they tried, but some of the spots just looked silly (like Akebono getting Omori by the throat while he was seated and Omori was going for an Axe Bomber) or contrived. Just a disappointing match, and the size of the crowd (smallest ever for a Triple Crown match) shows I am not the only one that was disappointed. I could go on, but just… not good, even though I do appreciate the effort and Akebono had a strong decisive win which I always appreciate. Score: 3.5
Best Match: Kotaro Suzuki and Atsushi Aoki vs. Shigehiro Irie and Keisuke Ishii. How often is the best match on the card the opener? But this really was a good match, they told a strong story, the action was fast, and they got the crowd into it. I hope sometime in 2014 All Japan begins pushing these young guys up the card, they deserve it.
MVP: Masanobu Fuchi. This is a kinda lame pick, but the reason is not only did he show up for his match to celebrate his 60th birthday, but he did a lot of the work. Spike Piledriver on the floor, Exploder, numerous body slams, he didn’t just wave from the apron and get his roll-up victory. So on a card that didn’t really have one stand out wrestler, I have to give the old man the nod.
Overall: It is a sad day when the card opens with the best match and the rest of the card just does downhill. I only thought two of these matches were above average and some of them were really really bad. The special Fuchi match had good intentions but it just went on for too long, and the main event was almost hard to watch due to Akebono’s limitations. 2014 may be a make or break year for All Japan in terms of match quality, as if by the end of the year the young wrestlers aren’t given more of a chance I fear their attendances will continue to shrink. Really no need to track down this event as even though the opener is great, it isn’t nearly special enough to justify watching this card.
Grade: F+Back to All Japan Event Reviews
review completed 1/26/14