AJPW New Year Wars Night 2 review (1.3.18)

AJPW New Year Wars Night 2 review (1.3.18)

AJPW New Year Wars Night 2


January 3 2018


We’re in Tokyo, Japan for AJPW’s second night at Korakuen Hall. AJPW saw an opening with Wrestle Kingdom and all the fans that were in from out of town and ran back to back Korakuen’s. Both drew ok


Yusuke Okada vs. Yohei Nakajima

This is another in a string of ‘Okada gets beaten in the opener’ bouts that Pro-Wrestling’s Youngest Lions have ton endure. In one week Okada won’t be a rookie anymore. Maybe that will see him advance up the card. Nakajima coming out in regular ring gear is a bit jarring. I’m so accustomed to his suspenders. The size difference is minimal here so Yohei has to rely on his experience as an AJPW badass to dominate the match. I almost wrote that without chuckling. Honestly, Okada looks great here. I get the feeling AJPW are ready to give him something useful to do and I’m excited to see what that is. He has one clumsy moment, attempting a flip over pin and he makes a real bollocks of it. Otherwise it’s a sound performance.


Okada gets trapped in the young boy destroying Boston crab for the loss. Good showing from Okada.

Final Rating: **1/2


Ultimo Dragon & Koji Iwamoto vs. Masanobu Fuchi & Osamu Nishimura

Nishimura decides to start, denying me my usual mass of Fuchi spots. I’m guessing he was tired after being the focal point of so many antics the previous night. Fuchi wins me over when he does tag in, doing his whole ‘I didn’t actually punch him in the head, punch to the head’. It’s masterful stuff. It’s a perfect showcase of how to hide cheating but also how to turn a simple move into something that the fans routinely get into.

He also does a scoop slam. The exertion is almost too much and he has a sit down and Ultimo almost pins him! God, I love this old bastard. Ultimo beats him with La Majistral. Well, that’s hardly fair. It’s not a scoop slam or a concealed punch. Get on Fuchi’s level motherfucker! He may only have two moves but I genuinely love Masa Fuchi.

Final Rating: ***


Kotaro Suzuki & Keiichi Sato vs. Atsushi Aoki & Hikaru Sato

The Sato’s Collide! Which Sato will prove more effective! We already know which one has the better haircut. Aoki has taken to wearing a mask, because he’s got Taijiri coming up and he wants to protect his beautiful face from the effects of Poison Mist. This match is fast-paced, a switch from the previous one as no one in this match is 100 years old and hilarious. There is an obvious mismatch with Aoki vs. K Sato and Aoki manages to isolate the younger opponent and submit him, with H Sato ensuring Kotaro doesn’t get involved. A decent match but it never really captured my imagination. A technically sound ten minutes.

Final Rating: **3/4


KAI & Tajiri vs. Joe Doering & Black Tiger

KAI has the next title shot so it makes sense for him to be lining up opposite Big Joe but it is somewhat surprising for Doering, Triple Crown champ, to be in match four. It has to be noted that Doering had a challenging Triple Crown title defence last night whereas KAI was in a battle royal. Their energy levels are in different places. When they meet for the title big Joe should have a clear advantage though, in sheer size alone. They work in a ref bump, Tajiri mists Joe and KAI puts Nosawa away for the pin in double fast time.


Final Rating: *3/4


Ryoji Sai vs. Naoya Nomura

This is what Nomura has to look forward to. Sai in full-on dickhead mode. Nomura tries to counter this by going after holds and grounding the veteran so Sai punches him, a lot. It’s like being back at school and fighting the oldest kid, who’s been held back and is stronger than everyone else. He is a big meanie. You sense he could finish this match at any point but instead opts to hook an assortment of holds, like an asshole, to just make Nomura suffer. Naoya is starting to look a little pudgy, taking tips from Nakanishi maybe, and if he gets some muscle to go with that bulk he could be a major player. The weight gain does hinder his movement somewhat and Sai is more nimble. He’s also more vicious and the kicks in this demonstrate that. He’s a right bastard. Nomura gets to show some fighting spirit and he has a lot of potential. AJPW are clearly grooming him and this match is evidence that he’s getting close to a ‘run’.


I’m eagerly anticipating a series of matches where he tries, and fails, against higher quality opponents. Sai increases his aggression levels and finishes Nomura off with a running knee. A move that seems to scream ‘I could have done this at any point, I just didn’t want to’. Sai wins but Nomura looks terrific in losing.

Final Rating: ***1/2


Big Guns & Atsushi Maruyama vs. Kento Miyahara, Yoshitatsu & Yuma Aoyagi

Can we please stop putting Tatsu in with Kento Miyahara?


And can fans please stop chanting for him as well, cheers. Team Kento decide that isolating Zeus would be a good idea. Aoyagi learns the hard way that this is not the case. Tatsu is horrifically sloppy here, as you’d expect. You’d think he’d have picked up some stuff from wrestling in New Japan, even if it was accidental, but no. The match is at its best when Kento battles the Big Guns. Reminding me of the many excellent singles bouts they’ve already had. Unfortunately Tatsu is never far behind and he just randomly appears to mistime things. Kento has a reputation for dragging those around him up but Tatsu is a lost cause. German suplex puts Maruyama away. This was patchy but served a purpose. A buffer between the two big matches on this card without a significant drop in quality. Miyahara has started relaxing and playing to the crowd as well, which makes him an even more complete player.


Final Rating: ***


AJPW World Tag Team Championship

Burning Wild (c) vs. Violent Giants


This is something I’m very excited about. Burning Wild are a team based on character and guts. Two old guys who fight to the death. Violent Giants are all about devastation and destruction. I’m a little sad because the previous champions were Strong BJ and the idea of that team vs. Violent Giants is even more tantalising. Suwama doesn’t seem to understand his role here, going evens with stodgy veteran Omori. I love Omori but this is a match for Big Lad dominance. In Suwama’s defence, he’s basically the same size as Omori. It’s Shuji who’s the actual Giant. Even Shuji has a few issues with Omori, which isn’t the right story for me but who am I to argue with Jun Akiyama? Jun sees this differently. He sees two cocky pricks who want to walk in here and take his fucking title belt. Not on Uncle Jun’s watch and he’s got Omori all fired up too. There’s nothing technical about this match, in the slightest. It’s four guys beating each other up. Where the momentum begins to shift is when the older guys start to feel the pain and fatigue of a longer match. It leaves openings and Shuji is the big bad motherfucker who’s ready to take advantage. Through power! Raw, juicy power. This forces Akiyama into burning his remaining energy by popping off desperation spots. By the end all four guys look exhausted from the beating they’ve inflicted on each other. Shuji bleeding from the face as part of the abuse. Splash Mountain puts Akiyama away and I’m a bit miffed it wasn’t the Fire Thunder Driver, which looks so much more devastating. Akiyama struggled to get up for the finish, showing how beaten down he was. I enjoyed this but it was a notch below Doering-Zeus from the night before.

Final Rating: ***3/4




Not quite as good as the previous night’s AJPW show. Maybe expectations were a little higher due to the awesome Doering title defence and the general vibe of the January 2 show but this didn’t quite feel as important. I tend not to cover this level of show usually but it had decent hype from the people who were there live.

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