All Japan TV

Taped 12/9/07 and 12/16/07

The end of the tag league and the annual fan appreciation day wraps up another year for good old All Japan. Out of all the ways that All Japan could have called it a year, I’m at a loss for a less exciting and interesting way to do so.

Osamu Nishimura . . . may be the master of Muga, but Muga didn’t offer any advice about getting your junk grabbed.

Joe Doering . . . is forever etched in the history of All Japan, although considering the circumstances it’s not a big surprise.

Minoru Suzuki . . . discovers his Mexican roots, and then quickly discards them again (praise the Lord for that).

As with the TV from the week before, we start with undercard clips: Soya appears to once again fight hard, but once again is forced to tap out, this time to Hirai. Kea and Lion make short work of T28 and Sanada, including a funny spot where Kea throws the world’s laziest looking lariat and T28 bumps like he took it from 1984 Stan Hansen. And in addition to being cold on earth on December 9, 2008, it must have also been cold in Hell. Fuchi/Araya/Owashi defeat the Mexico Amigos, when Araya pins NOSAWA Mendoza.


Oh man, I’d have loved to see this in full, the clipping is pretty choppy, so you can’t detect any real flow to anything, but it looked like a boatload of fun (not surprising with TARU, Kondo, and Suzuki all involved). TARU steals Abby’s fork and uses it on him. Suzuki counters The Original into his sleeper hold, and Kondo is smart enough to grab the ropes and send them both to the floor. That leaves MAZADA and ZODIAC, and if you think MAZADA has a prayer of surviving, you must either not be familiar with All Japan, or related to MAZADA. ZODIAC destroys him with the Murder Bomb (Alabama Slam) in very short order. On an unrelated note, I really want to get one of those HEEL shirts that TARU wears.

Abby and Minoru cut a promo after the match proclaiming themselves to both be number one. Abby takes off and the Mexico Amigos stop by and butter up Minoru with gifts. He’s not interested in them at first, but NOSAWA whispers something in his ear and Suzuki quickly changes his mind.


This is really just an odd little match. It’s fun just to watch the big clash of styles, not just in wrestling, but also personality. Nishimura does his trademark head scissors escape, and YASSHI responds with the claw to the junk, which causes the usually stoic Nishimura to display plenty of pain and emotion. YASSHI peels off a decent run of offense, including a nice bronco buster spot. Instead constantly riding the bronco, he just hits Nishimura with one big high impact shot. Nishimura takes over after YASSHI misses a diving headbutt and reels off some European uppercuts, and a decidedly non-Muga knee from the top. YASSHI goes for a spinning toehold and then puts on a figure four, but Nishimura quickly rolls over to reverse the effects of the hold and YASSHI taps in short order. It’s a cool idea in theory, since the reversal of the hold has long since simply been a good babyface hope spot. Nishimura hadn’t worked the leg at all, and YASSHI tapping so quickly makes it look more like a comedy spot, similar to when Ebessan tapped out to Minoru Suzuki’s handshake.


The idea here seems to be that Joe proved himself to Mutoh on the first night of the tournament, and therefore Mutoh was more than willing to really *team* with him, rather simply wrestle as his partner. The match comes out a bit better moment to moment because Mutoh is involved more, but it’s still sorely lacking in something, anything, that gives the idea that Mutoh and Doering won’t win. The only time it looks like the VM has any chance at all is when they work over Mutoh’s knee and Doering’s injured arm. I’ve long since quit expecting anything from Kojima, but he looked pretty good when he sharking on Mutoh’s leg, and SUWAMA pulling out a heel hook was a nice touch (Suzuki had beaten Mutoh with the hold on 7/1). Doering and Mutoh put over the damage pretty well. Doering is especially good about trying not to use the injured arm. But the body part stuff happens very early in the match, it’s not a central theme, and neither of them has any submission holds that are very over as finishers, and it’s forgotten about soon enough.

Aside from the arm and leg stuff, there’s very few storytelling elements or anything to suck the viewer in to genuinely care about Mutoh and Doering winning. There’s a nice throwback to their previous match when Joe has no problem at all handling SUWAMA, until he gets sent to the floor and Kojima bashes him with the chair, only in the arm instead of the head. Aside from that, there’s a lot of plodding along without any really engrossing work, other than the occasional fun moment or cute spot. Joe is a bit better here than before, his initial run of offense against SUWAMA wasn’t anything special, but after Mutoh tags him in he works in some nice stuff with Kojima, but he’s that’s the problem, he’s just working them in, there’s no sense of flow or logic as to why Joe is doing what he does. They also work in the sequence where everyone takes out someone else with a big move, twice no less. Mutoh hits SUWAMA with the Shining Wizard, Kojima lariats Mutoh, and charges into a spine buster from Doering, and Kojima pops up to lariat Doering and drops back down. SUWAMA picks up Mutoh for suplex and Mutoh counters and hits Shining Wizard, Kojima with the lariat, and this time he also lariats Doering, but then Kojima collapses.

Considering they’re wrestling their second match of the night and that they looked like total chumps in the semi final, the VM team has almost no heat, outside of heel heat, which isn’t even that significant. It’s especially glaring as the match winds down, because despite what SUWAMA endures and survives, the fans just don’t seem to care at all. The multiple Shining Wizards isn’t much surprise, I’m at a loss for the last time it took a single one to give Mutoh the win. The Shining Impact is a different story however, and the near fall doesn’t garner much reaction. Mutoh digging out the moonsault to put away SUWAMA, was probably designed to help put SUWAMA over a certain degree for how much Mutoh needed to keep him down, and maybe if SUWAMA had been able to get a decent run of offense against Mutoh, it’d have done the trick. But SUWAMA is never able to get a real extended run against Mutoh. He’ll get short runs with one or two moves, but either Doering makes the save or Mutoh takes over offense on his own. There was a perfect chance for an extended SUWAMA run when SUWAMA hit the suplex on Mutoh out of the handspring. But all that followed the suplex was their double team backdrop/Koji Cutter, they turned their attention to Doering and when they went back to Mutoh a minute later he was countering them and regaining control. It’s fine that the babyfaces go over, and Joe’s promo about now being forever etched in the history books of All Japan’s oldest tradition is great, but it helps if the babyfaces go over in a situation where it seems like they actually might not, and thus, some people may actually make an emotional investment in watching the match.

And from there it’s onto 12/16 for the annual fan appreciation day show.


If they were as concerned with wrestling as they are with comedy, this might have wound up being good. The two Ryujis look good here. Hijikata unloads some nice kicks on Hayashi, and Yamaguchi with chops and a bit of power offense. But this is all about the Amigos and getting laughs. Minoru keeps winding up on the wrong end of Amigos comedy spots and winds up walking out on them, and then coming back, complete with a Pancrase Mission travel bag and changing out of his Amigo gear and into Suzuki gear. The natives try to take advantage of the four-on-three situation, but experience overcomes all and T28 winds up getting pinned by NOSAWA. It’s less a match, and more a big collection of comedy spots, with a little wrestling here and there. Suzuki chews all of them out afterwards and the Amigos decide to go back to Mexico. Good riddance.

Conclusion: A huge disappointment this time around. I was hoping the tag league finals would prove me wrong, after I was so disappointed with the semi finals from the previous week’s TV show, but no dice. Nothing to see here, move it right along people.