All Japan "New Year's War 2015"
A casual review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  January 2nd, 2015
Location:  Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance:  1,017

I love it when shows appear online out of order. So even though I already reviewed All Japan on 1/3, we now go back a day to the event on 1/2. This is not as big of an event, as it has the somewhat silly (intentionally) Battle Royal, and while it does have tag team championship match it isn't with two challengers anyone expects to win. Sorry for the spoiler. Here is the card:

- Naoya Nomura vs. Yuma Aoyagi
- Kotaro Suzuki and Ryuji Hijikata vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Masanobu Fuchi
- Atsushi Aoki and Hikaru Sato vs. Keisuke Ishii and Takao Soma
- Akebono, Yutaka Yoshie, and Shigehiro Irie vs. Zeus, Ultimo Dragon, and SUSHI
- New Year Battle Royal with Akebono, Aoyagi, Fuchi, Ultimo Dragon, Shigehiro Irie, Kanemaru, Kotaro Suzuki, SUSHI, Naoya Nomura, Zeus, Hikaru Sato, Hijikata, Yohei Nakajima, Soma, Atsushi Aoki, and Minamino
- All Japan World Tag Team Championship Contendership: Go Shiozaki and Kento Miyahara vs. Joe Doering and Suwama
- All Japan World Tag Team Championship: Jun Akiyama and Takao Omori vs. KENSO and Mitsuya Nagai

The friendly dude that uploads this stuff didn't upload the second match of the event, no idea if it wasn't shown or there was another reason. But it wasn't an important match, if it appears at some point I will re-add it later.

Naoya Nomura vs. Yuma Aoyagi
They take turns pushing each other into the ropes and exchange elbows. Dropkick by Nomura and he slams Aoyagi.  They trade elbows again but Aoyagi hits a dropkick.  Missile dropkick by Aoyagi off the top and he covers for two.  Back to trading elbows, a staple of young wrestlers since it is hard to mess that up.  Nomura takes control and eventually locks in the crab hold, picking up the win.  A really basic match but it is only Aoyagi’s second match so nothing else would be expected.  Both looked fine, no issues during the match.  Score:  3.5

Kotaro Suzuki and Ryuji Hijikata vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Masanobu Fuchi
Suzuki and Kanemaru start off, Suzuki knocks Kanemaru out of the ring and does a fake dive but Kanemaru hits an armdrag.  Fuchi is tagged in and he body slams Suzuki.  Suzuki tags in Hijikata and Fuchi is assaulted by both in the corner.  Stretch hold by Hijikata and he tags Suzuki back in.  Suzuki applies a chinlock to Fuchi before tagging in Hijikata, but Fuchi rakes Hijikata in the eyes so he can tag in Kanemaru.  Diving body press by Kanemaru but it gets two, slam by Kanemaru and he hits a split legged moonsault.  Hijikata kicks Kanemaru back and then hits a high kick but Kanemaru fires back with a lariat.  Both wrestlers tag out and Fuchi scoop slams Suzuki and Hijikata.  Backdrop suplex by Fuchi to Suzuki but Suzuki gets away, La Magistral by Suzuki but it gets a two count.  Backslide by Fuchi and they trade pin attempts but Suzuki gets the roll-up three count pinfall.  I don’t want to offend the Fuchites of the world but I really have no desire to see any 61 year old wrestler, obviously this creates limitations for all the wrestlers.  Just a nothing match, nothing interesting happened and nothing was entertaining, only nice thing I can say is nothing was botched.  Score:  2.5

Atsushi Aoki and Hikaru Sato vs. Keisuke Ishii and Takao Soma
Sato and Soma start off.  They trade holds and Soma delivers a dropkick.  Soma tags in Ishii and he throws Sato to the corner so he can tag in Aoki.  He does, Ishii gets Aoki in the ropes and he gives a clean break.  Shoulderblock by Aoki but Ishii hits a big boot and both wrestlers tag out.  Sato throws Soma in the corner but Soma hits a doublestomp followed by a dropkick.  Missile dropkick by Soma but the cover gets two.  Ankle hold by Sato and he hits a backdrop suplex for a two.  Sato goes for a cross armbreaker but Soma hits a thrust kick.  Both wrestlers tag out (lots of ‘both wrestlers tag out’ moments, easier to plan the match?) and Ishii hits a jumping kick.  Aoki works on Ishii’s arm but Ishii hits a release German.  Aoki hits a lariat on Ishii and then two more, and he gets a two count cover.  Assault Point by Aoki and he gets a three count.  I wasn’t impressed with the structure here, it was just lazy, felt like two singles matches as there was very limited team work.  Action was very solid, it just wasn’t a cohesive match.  Score:  4.0

Akebono, Yutaka Yoshie, and Shigehiro Irie vs. Zeus, Ultimo Dragon, and SUSHI
Akebono and Zeus start off trading elbows, lariats by Zeus but Akebono lariats him to the mat.  Zeus avoids the elbow drop and both men are back up, as Akebono tags in Irie while Zeus tags in Ultimo Dragon.  Ultimo Dragon and Irie trade wristlocks and submissions and Ultimo Dragon tags in SUSHI.  Irie and SUSHI trade elbows, Irie gets the better of it and tags in Yoshie.  Senton by Yoshie and he applies a crab hold to SUSHI.  Yoshie tags in Akebono and he stands on SUSHI near the ropes.  SUSHI falls out of the ring but Akebono goes out after him and stands on him some more.  Akebono slides SUSHI back in and hits an elbow drop before tagging in Irie.  Slam by Irie and he hits a quick body press for two.  Irie tags in Yoshie, he hits a suplex and tags in Akebono.  Irish whip by Akebono and he hits a body avalanche.  SUSHI avoids the body press and makes the hottest tag to Ultimo Dragon.  Kicks by Ultimo Dragon, he dropkicks Akebono in the knee and hits an enzigieri.  Akebono blocks the suplex attempt naturally, I absolutely hate logic like that, why would Ultimo Dragon even go for a suplex on Akebono?  Akebono knocks Ultimo Dragon to the mat but Ultimo Dragon avoids the elbow drop.  Body avalanche by Akebono in the corner and he tags in Irie.  Vertical suplex by Irie but Ultimo Dragon hits a back bodydrop.  Kicks by Ultimo Dragon and he tags in Zeus.  Body avalanche by Zeus in the corner and he hits a second one followed by a bearhug suplex.  Zeus and Irie trade elbows, running elbow by Irie and he tags in Yoshie.  Not a big fan of elbow exchanges being used just as a transitional move.  Rolling senton by Yoshie and Zeus eats offense from all three in the corner.  Elbow drop by Akebono and a body press by Yoshie but SUSHI breaks it up.  Akebono and Yoshie both try to squish Zeus but Zeus moves, Zeus then grabs Akebono and drops him on his head with a suplex.  Spinebuster by Zeus to Irie, he then hits a lariat onto Yoshie.  Jackhammer by Zeus to Yoshie and he gets the three count.   This has the issues a lot of these mid-card tag matches do – illogical spots and really shady transitions.  I don’t think the wrestlers put a ton of effort on these smaller event mid-card encounters and it shows.  Zeus is fun to watch and it was nice to see Yoshie again but the match was overall average at best.  Score:  5.0

New Year Battle Royal
As I mentioned above, this isn’t taken too seriously, generally wrestlers will just all literally pile on one person to get them eliminated.  They throw in some fun spots for the crowd then there is a winner, and the winner gets nothing.  That is my official pre-match summary.  Onto the match, everyone starts out in the ring and they encourage Fuchi to body slam people over and over.  He does, they want him to slam Akebono but he refuses and slams other people instead.  Finally when he goes to slam Kanemaru, Ultimo Dragon pushes him over and everyone covers Fuchi for a three count.  Then everyone covers Ultimo Dragon, then Kanemaru, so they are eliminated too.  That’s just the way the match works.  Let’s zip ahead, the final four are Zeus, SUSHI, Akebono and Suzuki.   Zeus charges SUSHI, but SUSHI holds down the rope and Zeus falls out of the ring, so Zeus is eliminated.  SUSHI tries the same trick on Suzuki but it doesn’t work, so they decide to work together against Akebono.  Suzuki and SUSHI both elbow Akebono but Akebono swats them away.  SUSHI covers Suzuki really quick and he gets the three count, so it is just SUSHI and Akebono.  Kicks by SUSHI but Akebono slaps him.  Chokeslam by Akebono and he hits a Yokozuna Press for the three count.   It was cute, and they kept it short.  Just a fun annual tradition but nothing more than that.  Score:  6.0

Go Shiozaki and Kento Miyahara vs. Joe Doering and Suwama
This match is an All Japan World Tag Team Championship Contendership match.  Shiozaki and Doering start off things with elbows, Suwama is tagged in and he gets Shiozaki to the mat.  Shiozaki tags in Miyahara and Suwama trades elbows with him.  Miyahara boots Suwama out of the ring, he goes outside as well and battles Suwama around the floor.  Back in the ring and Miyahara uppercuts Suwama into the corner.  Miyahara tags in Shiozaki, and Shiozaki hits an elbow on Suwama.  Miyahara is tagged back in and he hits a leg drop.  Suwama slaps on a sleeper, making Miyahara go loopy.  Big boot by Suwama and he hits a few more but Miyahara elbows him back.  Miyahara hits a vertical suplex and Miyahara tags in Shiozaki.  Shiozaki and Suwama trade elbows but Shiozaki hits a jumping shoulderblock followed by a kick to the head.  Fisherman buster by Shiozaki and he gets a two.  Suwama snaps off a powerslam and finally tags in Doering.  Lariat by Doering and he hits another one followed by an elbow drop.  Delayed vertical suplex by Doering and he slams Shiozaki to the mat for a two.  Doering goes for a powerbomb but Shiozaki gets out of it with a Frankensteiner. Lariat by Shiozaki and he hits the Go Flasher, cover, but Suwama breaks it up.  Superkick by Shiozaki but Doering hits a crossbody.  Both wrestlers tag out, and Miyahara trades elbows with Suwama.  Miyahara dropkicks Suwama in the knee and hits a second dropkick.  Northern Lights Suplex by Miyahara but it gets two.  Belly to belly suplex by Suwama but Miyahara applies a triangle choke.  Cross armbreaker by Miyahara, Shiozaki comes in the ring but Suwama fights them both off.  Suwama picks up Miyahara and with Doering they hit a double dropkick.  Suwama picks up Miyahara and hits a running powerslam for a two count.  Suwama picks up Miyahara and goes for the Last Ride, but Miyahara reverses it with a DDT.  German suplex hold by Miyahara, but it gets two.  Doering runs in and lariats Miyahara, he then lariats Shiozaki out of the ring while tumbling out with him.  Miyahara charges Suwama but Suwama moves and hits a powerslam.  Backdrop suplex by Suwama, he picks up Miyahara and goes for the Last Ride but Miyahara gets away and hits a hurricanrana for a two count.  Lariat by Suwama and he applies a sleeper, Suwama hits the Last Ride and he picks up the three count.  Suwama and Doering are your new #1 Contenders.   Really liked this match, it was a bit clipped but nothing too obnoxious.  All four of these wrestlers are great, tons of hard hits and the match just flew by.  It was missing that ‘main event feel’ but beyond that it was tons of fun, check it out.  Score:  8.0

(c) Jun Akiyama and Takao Omori vs. KENSO and Mitsuya Nagai
This match is for the All Japan World Tag Team Championship.  Dark Kingdom jump their opponents to start the match and they go out to the floor.  Both teams battle up into the crowd as KENSO hits a vertical suplex on Omori onto the floor, onto some chairs.  KENSO and Omori get back in the ring and KENSO hits a lariat for a two count.  KENSO chokes Omori with his feather belt before hitting a German suplex.  KENSO and Nagai hit a double vertical suplex on Omori, then Nagai applies a modified Texas Cloverleaf until Akiyama breaks it up.  Kneedrop by KENSO, he picks up Omori and hits a vertical suplex.  Nagai is tagged in and he knees Omori in the stomach.  Running knee by Nagai, cover, but Akiyama breaks it up.  Omori finally gets the better of things with a backdrop suplex and he tags in Akiyama.  Akiyama boots KENSO and hits a jumping knee on Nagai followed by a running knee for a two count.  Grounded Necklock by Akiyama but Nagai gets out of it and hits a capture suplex.  Nagai tags in KENSO, and KENSO trade blows with Akiyama.  Jumping knee by Akiyama and he tags in Omori.  Jumping heel kick by Omori and he gets a two count.  Full nelson slam by Omori but it gets two as well.  Omori boots KENSO and Nagai, and Akiyama hits a running knee on KENSO.  Kneedrop by Omori but it gets two.  Double shoulderblock to Nagai and Akiyama hits an exploder on KENSO.  Axe Guillotine Driver by Omori but KENSO barely gets a shoulder up.  STO by KENSO and Nagai kicks Omori in the corner.  Capture suplex by Nagai and KENSO hits a running kick for a two count.  KENSO goes up top and hits a diving elbow drop.  Nagai goes up top as KENSO holds Omori but Omori moves and Nagai knees KENSO.  Omori and KENSO trade shots, lariat to the back by Omori but KENSO counters with his own lariat for a two count.  Omori avoids the Hagakure and hits an Axe Bomber for a two count.  Sliding Axe Bomber by Omori and he gets the three count.  Akiyama and Omori retain their championships.   I’m not overly impressed with Dark Kingdom in the ring, they just aren’t great wrestlers and it is mind boggling that in 2015 we have Nagai in a main event somewhere.  Akiyama and Omori kept it together but I never bought that Dark Kingdom was going to win this and it just fell a bit flat for me.  Score:  5.0

Final Thoughts:

All Japan continues to be a difficult promotion to love.  They have some great wrestlers but on this card most of them were condensed into one match.  So that match was great, but the rest…. not so much.  And even the one great match was just a normal tag team match, it wasn’t an epic must-see title match.  Pretty safe to skip this one.

Overall Grade:  D

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review completed on 1/23/15