All Japan "Giant Baba 17th Memorial"
A review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  January 31st, 2015
Location:  Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance:  1,711 (Super No Vacancy)

To celebrate Giant Baba, All Japan put together this odd looking card with no title matches or important matches.  But it does have some of the younger wrestlers facing off, and also for some reason we get KENSO against Inoue because someone out there in the world hates me.  Here is the full card:

- Yohei Nakajima vs. Yuma Aoyagi
- Naoya Nomura vs. SUSHI
- KENSO vs. Masao Inoue
- Jinsei Shinzaki and TARU vs. Taiyo Kea and Yuto Aijima
- Genichiro Tenryu, Akebono, and Ultimo Dragon vs. Suwama, Atsushi Aoki, and Hikaru Sato
- Go Shiozaki, Kento Miyahara, and Kotaro Suzuki vs. Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Fuchi

Onto the goodness!

Yohei Nakajima vs. Yuma Aoyagi
Nakajima gets Aoyagi in the ropes but gives a clean break.  They go back and forth and Nakajima hits a scoop slam.  Nakajima picks up Aoyagi and Nakajima hits a dropkick followed by a hiptoss.  Cobra twist by Nakajima but Aoyagi gets to the ropes.  Back up they trade blows and Aoyagi hits a dropkick.  Scoop slam by Aoyagi, he goes up top and he hits a diving crossbody for a two count.  Back bodydrop by Nakajima and he hits an elbow in the corner followed by a backdrop suplex.  Nakajima kicks Aoyagi in the back but Aoyagi sneaks in an inside cradle for two.  Nakajima applies an Octopus Hold, and Aoyagi quickly submits.  Just a young lion type match but fundamentally sound and it was shown in full so I know they didn’t cut out any mistakes.  A good opener but very basic.  Score:  5.0

Naoya Nomura vs. SUSHI
Nomura and SUSHI trade strikes to start and SUSHI hits a bodyslam.  They trade elbows and Nomura hits a vertical suplex.  Dropkick by Nomura and he hits a scoop slam.  Nomura goes up top and he hits a missile dropkick.  Jumping elbow by Nomura in the corner and he hits a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count.  Nomura goes up but this time SUSHI avoids the missile dropkick.  Crab hold by SUSHI, Nomura gets out of it but SUSHI hits a superkick.  Lariat by SUSHI, he goes up top and delivers the diving headbutt for a three count.  This one was worse than the last since it was equally basic but SUSHI is a bore to watch.  Just an utterly not interesting character.  So another rookie-style match void of anything interesting but fine technically.  Score:  4.0

KENSO vs. Masao Inoue
I don’t want to watch this, please don’t make me.  KENSO knocks Inoue to the mat and throws him in the corner before hitting a few slaps.  KENSO throws Inoue out of the ring, he removes the mat and DDTs Inoue onto the bare floor.  They return to the ring and KENSO slaps Inoue some more before hitting a pair of big boots.   Two more boots by KENSO but Inoue hits lariats in the corner.  Inoue waits forever for KENSO to get up but KENSO hits an STO for a two count.  Brainbuster by KENSO but that gets a two also.  KENSO slaps on a STF and hits another brainbuster for a two count.  KENSO goes up top and he hits a diving elbow drop for the three count.  What an odd little match, it was basically a glorified squash.  It still had issues of course, the floor DDT meant nothing which is an issue and Inoue really needed a hope spot at the end so it wasn’t just KENSO destroying him.  Not unwatchable but certainly not good.  Score:  3.5

Jinsei Shinzaki and TARU vs. Taiyo Kea and Yuto Aijima
Shinzaki and Aijima start off the match, this is an incredibly odd assortment of wrestlers.  Headlock work by Kea and he manages to hit a dropkick.  Shinzaki smacks Kea, he grabs his arm and walks the ropes 3/8ths of the way around the ring before chopping Kea.  TARU and Aijima are tagged in and they try to knock each other over, which Aijima wins.  They trade elbows, Aijima goes off the ropes but he gets pulled out of the ring and thrown into the railing while YASSHI distresses the referee.  TARU rams Aijima into the column up in the stands and then into the ring post.  Back in the ring TARU applies a nerve hold but Kea breaks it up.  TARU tags in Shinzaki and Shinzaki goes back to the nerve hold.  Laziest hold known to man.  Aijima gets out of it and he hits a spear, making the tag to Kea.  Jumping elbow by Kea and he hits a lariat.  He gets rid of the Voodoo Murders and Kea hits a DDT to Shinzaki.  Kicks by Kea but Shinzaki avoids the TKO.  Mandala Hineri by Shinzaki and he tags in TARU.  Kick by TARU and he hits a scissors kick.  Kick to the head by TARU, he gets a kendo stick and hits Kea in the arm with it.  Kea hits TARU and he hits a side Russian leg sweep.  Kea tags in Aijima, knee to the stomach by Aijima to TARU and he hits a reverse splash for a two count.  Lariat by Aijima and he boots TARU in the head.  Backdrop suplex by Aijima and he gets a two count.  TARU catches Aijima with a chokebomb and he tags in Shinzaki.  Swandive chop to the head by Shinzaki, he goes up top and hits a diving shoulderblock for a two count.  Aijima hits a back bodydrop but Shinzaki kicks him in the chest and hits the powerbomb.  Kea breaks up the pin attempt so Shinzaki locks in the Gokuraku-Gatame and Aijima submits.  I think I enjoyed this match because it was just so random and weird.  Plus I like Shinzaki.  But aside from the super boring nerve hold stuff that I hate, they kept the action moving from start to finish and it was a good mix of heeling (Voodoo Murders) and good wholesome Shinzaki awesomeness.   Nothing ground breaking but fun nonetheless.  Score:  6.5

Genichiro Tenryu, Akebono, and Ultimo Dragon vs. Suwama, Aoki, and Hikaru Sato
Tenryu and Suwama start off and they trade chops.  Suwama isn’t being soft with Tenryu which I am sure Tenryu appreciates.  Rolling kick by Tenryu out of nowhere and Suwama falls out of the ring.  Suwama comes back in and they trade strikes, with Suwama knocking Tenryu down in the corner.  Tenryu punches Suwama in the face, and Suwama tags in Sato.  Sato kicks Tenryu down in the corner, honestly anyone that thinks Tenryu shouldn’t retire hasn’t seen him in a while, he gets up like Vader or Akebono.  Sato tags in Aoki, Tenryu chops Aoki to the mat and tags in Akebono.  Akebono hits a press slam on Aoki and hits an elbow drop for two.  Akebono tags in Ultimo Dragon and Ultimo Dragon attacks Aoki in the corner.  Aoki gets the advantage and hits a snap vertical suplex.  Headscissors by Ultimo Dragon and he hits an elbow.  Ultimo Dragon tags Tenryu in and Tenryu chops Aoki in the head.  Tenryu applies an armbar but Suwama breaks it up.  Tenryu tags in Akebono but Aoki avoids him in the corner.  Aoki also avoids the elbow drop and tags in Suwama.  Suwama gets on Akebono’s back but Akebono drives him back into the corner.  Dropkick by Suwama, he goes for a powerbomb but Akebono back bodydrops out of it.  Akebono tags in Tenryu, and Tenryu trades chops with Suwama.  Punches by Tenryu and Suwama tags in Sato.  Kicks by Sato but Tenryu punches him in the face and tags in Akebono.  Akebono squishes Sato in the corner and he hits an elbow drop.  Sato avoids the body press, Aoki runs in and both he and Sato take turns kicking Akebono.  Akebono hits a double lariat, he throws him into the corner and hits a body avalanche.  Ultimo Dragon runs in, he dropkicks Aoki out of the ring and hits a plancha suicida down onto him.  Body press by Akebono to Sato, cover, but Suwama breaks it up.  Tenryu and Suwama trade chops, Akebono picks up Sato and he hits a side Russian leg sweep.  Body press by Akebono and he picks up the three count.  Poor Tenryu, his body is really breaking down on him, probably a good thing he has announced his retirement later this year.  This was a fine six man tag but it didn’t need all six of them, Sato and Ultimo Dragon did very little.  I enjoyed it for what it was, it had its fun parts, but nothing special.  Score:  6.0

Go Shiozaki, Kento Miyahara, and Kotaro Suzuki vs. Jun Akiyama, Takao Omori, and Fuchi
Dammit why is Fuchi in this, stupid All Japan.  Suzuki and Fuchi start off and Fuchi hits a shoulderblock followed by a wing clutch cover for a two count.  Shiozaki is tagged in and he chops Fuchi.  After we are done with the Fuchi silliness, he tags in Akiyama.  Akiyama shoulderblocks Shiozaki but Shiozaki chops him in the chest.  Shiozaki drives Akiyama back and both Miyahara and Omori are tagged in.  Omori and Miyahara try to knock each other over, which Miyahara wins with a big boot.  Omori tags in Fuchi and Fuchi is thrown out of the ring.  Miyahara goes to the floor and with Suzuki they hit a spike piledriver.  Shiozaki slides Fuchi back in for Miyahara, and Miyahara chokes Fuchi against the ropes.  Miyahara goes to piledrive Fuchi on the floor again but Akiyama breaks it up.  They get back in the ring but Fuchi rolls back out and Shiozaki hits another spike piledriver on the floor.  I guess spike piledrivers are Fuchi’s kryptonite.  Suzuki stays in the ring with Fuchi and punches him around the ring.  Handspring elbow strike by Suzuki to Fuchi and he knees him in the corner.  The Fuchi beatdown continues until he finally tags in Omori.  Omori boots Shiozaki and he hits a heel kick.  Omori and Shiozaki trade chops and Shiozaki hits a backdrop suplex.  Shiozaki tags in Miyahara, and Miyahara dropkicks Omori.  Jumping elbow by Miyahara and he hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two.   Miyahara locks in the cross armbreaker but Akiyama breaks it up.  Miyahara knees Omori in the corner and he hits a big boot for a two count.  Miyahara goes up top but Omori joins him, hitting a superplex.  Omori boots Miyahara but Miyahara ducks the Axe Bomber and hits a big boot of his own. 

Omori tags in Fuchi while Suzuki is tagged in, and Fuchi scoop slams Suzuki.  Another scoop slam by Fuchi, Miyahara runs in the ring but Fuchi rakes his eyes.  Fuchi bodyslams Miyahara but Shiozaki walks in the ring and bodyslams Fuchi. Omori comes in to help, and Fuchi dropkicks Shiozaki. Shiozaki is triple teamed but Shiozaki takes back over and Fuchi is triple teamed instead. Elbow by Suzuki to Fuchi and he hits him with a tiger feint kick. Suzuki picks up Fuchi but Fuchi hits a backslide for a two count. Kick by Fuchi and he hits a backdrop suplex. Fuchi tags in Akiyama, and Akiyama hits a running knee to Suzuki for a two count. Another running knee by Akiyama but Miyahara breaks up the pin attempt. Akiyama and Suzuki trade elbows but Akiyama hits a lariat. Exploder by Akiyama, he picks up Suzuki but Suzuki hits an armdrag. Pin attempts by Suzuki but Omori breaks it up. Suzuki elbows Omori but Akiyama knees Suzuki for a two. Fuchi grabs Suzuki and hits a backdrop suplex. Wrist-Clutch Exploder by Akiyama to Suzuki, and he picks up the three count. This was a... fitting All Japan main event. I have no idea if that is a compliment or not, but it was just exactly what you would except. I still think the Fuchi bodyslam stuff is silly and best saved for the beginning of the card. The action was generally solid but nothing really set it apart too much aside from when Akiyama was in the ring. Not a bad way to end the show and the match didn't feel as long as it was. Score: 6.5

Final Thoughts:

This is probably the most complete event for All Japan in 2015, but unlike the last event it lacked that single match that I could really recommend seeing. The main event was perfectly fine wrestling and a few of the other matches were solid, but nothing here was special or memorable in any way. For MOTY seekers you can skip this one, but just for an overview of what All Japan is doing so far in 2015 this is probably the best card so far. Just don't expect much from KENSO vs. Inoue.

Grade: C- 

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review completed on 2/21/15