JUNE 19, 2011 

All Japan's big show of the summer features All Japan looking for revenge! Suwama wants to avenge Yuji Nagata's Champions Carnival win, and keep the Triple Crown where it belongs. Sanada and Soya attempt to avenge their loss to Strong Big Japan, and bring the All Asia Tag Titles back home! Plus, Miyamoto returns home, and Suzuki and Fuchi try to kill each other, and it doesn't get much better than that!

Renee Dupree . . . takes a bigger bump from an Axe Bomber than anyone else has in probably ten years.

Seiya Sanada . . . gives a better performance challenging for a low level title than he did in the Champions Carnival Finals.

KENSO . . . has the brilliant idea of trying to work lucha libre spots with someone who weights more than 400 lbs.


This isn't so much an actual match as it is an exhibition of BUSHI's flying. Nakanoue doesn't have anything to offer other than typical rookie offense, and there' s not much from Yamato besides a good spear to take down Miyamoto. Miyamoto has more experience than all three of the other wrestlers combined, but he doesn't do much besides the minimum, although his running kick was rather Kawada-esque. That leaves BUSHI, who works some decent sequences with Yamato and takes to the air rather often, and even gives Nakanoue a chance to do the few things he can, before dispatching him with the Firebird splash.


From the opening bell these two looked like they wanted to kill each other, and that sort of hate and intensity is always welcome. But the fact is, and the way this plays out is proof, that Fuchi is no match for a cagey veteran like Suzuki. Fuchi has some early success when he jumps Suzuki at the bell and takes him for a rail ride, but it's not long before Suzuki gets in control of things. Fuchi's series of chops have no effect and while he gets a good near fall on Suzuki from the flash roll up, he tries too often and winds up in a Guillotine choke, and Suzuki easily finishes him off from there with the piledriver. Instead of fighting each other, I'd much rather see these two as grumpy tag team stretching out the rookies.


After two fun matches, we get this. It's not actively bad, but it's far from interesting. All four of the wrestlers are content to slap, chop, and do little else of note for most of the match. It picks up a bit toward the end with Kea and Doering working a decent little sequence, until Doering blows off Kea's jumping DDT just to do yet another lariat. There's a not-bad finishing sequence with Dupree and Omori, where Omori really has to work to get the Axe bomber, and Dupree takes a bump that makes the move seem worth the effort that Omori had to put into it.

SHUJI KONDO vs. KAI (AJPW Jr. Heavyweight Title Decision Match)

This isn't great, but it's probably better than KAI versus Minoru Tanaka would have turned out. Because this is KAI's big win, Kondo holds back a bit, which is probably why the match itself doesn't turn out as well it could have. Kondo is at his best when he's sharking on KAI's leg, he's no SUWA, but he's still pretty good. Kondo gets silly toward the end tossing out bombs, like the King Kong Lariat multiple times for KAI to kick out of, it's nice that he wants to give KAI the rub by surviving the barrage and going on to win, but Kondo should know better, especially when signature Kondo spots like the Lansarse and the Original are only trotted out once for near falls. Kondo was smart enough to leave the Gorilla clutch in the bag, opting for a crab hold to get some submission teases on KAI's leg. KAI leads to the finish by countering the lariat into a German, but Kondo could have easily jettisoned two or three of them.

KAI's selling when Kondo is working over the leg is great stuff, and KAI is usually smart enough to continue selling when he's on offense. KAI does a few questionable spots for someone who has a bad wheel. One of his first offensive shots on Kondo is an Akiyama-style jumping knee, which misses, and lets Kondo pick up where he left off. A bit later KAI takes Kondo down and does a diving footstomp off the second rope. It's unreasonable to expect KAI to not use his leg at all, but he could have been more selective with his spots, his jumping roundhouse to Kondo from the second rope is aexample of KAI using good offense while keeping the bad wheel in focus by continuing to sell, and he showed he had the right idea when he took down Kondo and cradled him for a near fall. KAI seems to a be a bit like Sanada (although, he's not as irritating to watch yet) in that he doesn’t appear to have a whole lot of offense, but he at least has offense that looks credible, like the LAT and the frog splash. ***


If only it hadn't taken them more than half the match to find their rhythm, then this could have been match of the night. I didn't expect much from Sanada, but Soya was looking good during his various tag matches during the Champions Carnival, and invading outsider champions are usually fun to watch because they're total jerks. Not on this night, however. The champions don't do much besides stiff Soya and Sanada with chops and body slam Soya a bunch of times, they don't even try taking cheap shots at Sanada on the apron or double team Soya behind the ref's back.

Once Soya hits the flying lariat to lead to a tag to Sanada, it starts picking up. Team BJPW try to finish the match, first with dual Argentine Backbreakers, and then killing Soya with a tandem German suplex, but only after a few tries thanks to both Soya and Sanada making well-timed saves. Soya barely survives the German and would have been finished after Okabayashi's splash had Sanada not made the save again. Even Sanada gets down with things and breaks out some real, credible looking, offense with a rolling elbow, Tiger suplex, and brings the titles home by finishing Okabayashi with a moonsault press. Where the hell was all of that in his match with Nagata? It's too bad it took them so long to pick things up, because this was tons of fun when it did.


Kyotaro is a Kickboxer, which makes me wonder if Inoki purchased a share of All Japan. He obviously didn't, otherwise Kyotaro would have headlined this show, won the Triple Crown, and then never been heard from again. Kyotaro actually uses some pro style offense, a couple dropkicks, a capture suplex, a body slam, and a snap mare, and brings a little flash with a cartwheel kick. It doesn't all look very good which is expected with a first time wrestler, but the thought and effort is nice. Funaki puts on a rather giving performance, letting Kyotaro tee off on him and he does a respectable job putting him over. Both of them have legit backgrounds, so it's no surprise that this is heavy on the kicks, which gives Funaki a chance to take down Kyotaro and wrap him up in a couple of legbars, one of which was in the ropes. This another case of Funaki holding back a bit on the grumpiness, it doesn't come out until the end when he does the juji-gatame and adds rapid fire kicks to the face, and quickly does a chickenwing armlock for the win, Suzuki could have put over Kyotaro just as well, and been plenty more nasty throughout.

GREAT MUTA/KENSO vs. AKEBONO/RYOTA HAMA (AJPW World Tag Team Titles Decision Match)

Thankfully, this is relatively short. The Sumo team gets their chance to knock KENSO around for a bit, and KENSO reaffirms how horrible he is when he gives Hama a really close near fall, and then takes a 450 lb elbow drop and kicks out at one. KENSO also thinks it's a bright idea to give Hama a La Magistral cradle, and it looks as smooth as expected. Akebono and Hama try to think ahead and wear goggles to prevent them from being blinded by the mist, and it pays off until KENSO steals Hama's goggles. Green mist, Shining Wizard, and that's the match.

SUWAMA © vs. YUJI NAGATA (Triple Crown)

This is more fun than it is good, but it's a nice way to cap off a rather fun card. Neither Suwama nor Nagata do anything staggeringly stupid, like a suplex pop-up and no-sell sequence. They seem to be edging in that direction when Suwama catches Nagata with an overhead belly to belly for a near fall and then picks him up, only for Nagata to dart behind Suwama and hit a German for a near fall of his own. But, even then, they're still putting over the effect of the suplex, rather than jumping up and doing their own like would be seen in a Kobashi/Akiyama match. There's also some nice continuation of their prior meeting in the Champions Carnival, with Nagata sharking in on Suwama's arm, including two great moment where Nagata will counter a whip and take down Suwama into an armbar, and also a fun (and smart) touch from Nagata where he counters Suwama's ankle lock into one of his own, only to drop that and apply the Nagata Lock II because Suwama was in perfect position.

There's also the hate and intensity to be expected from an outsider trying to dethrone the man, in the form of several slap, chop, and elbow exchanges, and they even pay homage to their mutual amateur backgrounds with some Greco-Roman stuff early on, and a fun moment where they wind up in a clinch and each struggle to get control and do a suplex. In addition to Nagata's arm sharking, Suwama tries to return the favor by working over Yuji's leg, ostensibly to soften him up for an ankle lock submission, although Suwama's ankle lock isn't really established the way Nagata's killer submissions are. But that direction still allows them to work in a spot where Nagata hits a running knee in the corner and hurts himself more than he hurts Suwama. They also play off it later on when Suwama blocks the jumping knee and Last Rides Nagata for a near fall. It looked a lot more realistic and logical than the stupid heel doing the ten count punch spot in the corner and getting planted by UT's Last Ride. Suwama's backdrop finish was a bit out of nowhere, although with Nagata surviving the Last Ride, I doubt anything else short of Suwama spiking Nagata on his head would come off as a better finish, but even then, it gives some personal revenge to Suwama after Nagata beat him with the backdrop hold back in April. Honestly, the only thing the match really was lacking in was extended storytelling, there were tons of smart touches from both, but on the whole it comes off feeling more like a thirty-minute spotfest than a cohesive thirty-minute wrestling match. ***1/4

Conclusion: The only real stinker comes from the World Tag Titles match (featuring KENSO and Mutoh as Muta, big surprise there). But there's something enjoyable in some form or another throughout the whole card. This show is an easy thumbs up.