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Puro Fury: AJPW AJ Phoenix Vol 5

November 28, 2016 | Posted by Arnold Furious
AJPW All Japan Pro Wrestling
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Puro Fury: AJPW AJ Phoenix Vol 5  

AJPW AJ Phoenix Vol. 5


Disclaimer: I was really ill when I watched this so I’m not sure how useful or accurate my takes are going to be. It’s perhaps for the best that I was watching a small show in front of two hundred people rather than something big and overblown in my state.


October 25 2016


We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring, which is a tiny venue that fits a few hundred fans. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Fight Club Pro its that the size of the audience doesn’t mean a thing sometimes. Jake Lee headlines again tonight, having headlined the last AJ Phoenix show, against BJW sophomore superstar Yoshihisa Uto.


Masahi Takeda & Yohei Nakajima vs. Ryuichi Kawakami & Toshiyuki Sakuda

Takeda has freelanced his way into AJPW. The opponents however are both very much Big Japan wrestlers. Sakuda is, quite frankly, a midget. I know technically he’s two inches too tall to be classified as one but in wrestling that might as well be a foot. He’s ridiculously tiny. Nakajima bullies him. Nakajima! Sakuda makes for a great underdog due to this size difference. Takeda and Kawakami do the strong style chop duel business. The whole thing is fine but nothing special. Nakajima ends up downing Sakuda with a German suplex. This was fine.

Final Rating: **1/4


Hikaru Sato & Takayuki Ueki vs. Kazuki Hashimoto & Koji Iwamoto

Sato is a super-shooter/junior workrate freak. Ueki attempts to mimic this wearing POLICE trunks and doing mat grappling all serious and shit. I cannot mentally adjust to what I’m seeing. Who replaced Ueki with a shooter from the Inoki school? It’s a ridiculous state of affairs. Iwamoto is sporting a gi, as if we’re all shooters all of a sudden and Sato, just to fuck with him, isn’t. He’s got his MMA big boy shorts on. K-Hash continues to confuse me by being thin and not having blonde hair. How I am supposed to recognise him? The whole match has a shoot-ish overlook, which works some of the time. The problem with working shoot-style is twofold. One: it’s not a shoot and everyone knows this. Two: if you take the more boring elements of MMA it’s tedious to watch. They sort of wander into both issues before Ueki throws in an airplane spin because he’s getting bored. K-Hash gets a nasty looking kneebar out of nowhere for the submission. This had one gear and it was Inoki-ism. I love shoot-style when it’s done properly but there comes a time when it needs to step up into professional wrestling. This match never did, although it was competent throughout.

Final Rating: **3/4


Daisuke Sekimoto & Fuminori Abe vs. Yuji Okabayashi & Atsushi Aoki

Abe is one of those guys that wrestles in places like FREEDOMS and HEAT-UP. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If you’re drawing a blank on the name, that’s why. Everything in this match is unbalanced unless it’s Sekimoto vs. Okabayashi as they’re a tag team and two of the biggest big dudes in BJW. The other two are at a sizeable disadvantage. This is where the show picks up as Sekimoto and Okabayashi have a presence about them, brought on through great in-ring intensity, which is tough to replicate. While the guys in the first two matches were trying to have good matches these two just exist and great wrestling happens because of it. The intensity rubs off on the other two as well. The biggest criticism I have of Aoki is that his matches don’t feel special. He could learn from Strong BJ. As could we all. Abe tries, bless him, and dropkicks Okabayashi right in the teeth, assuming they have no muscles to protect Yuji. It’s a sound strategy. Okabayashi reaches a point where he’s not going to take any more shit. It’s quite beautiful. It’s what made him such a stellar champion for BJW. He was capable of switching on this God Mode where you could tell from his approach that he was winning the fucking match now, whether anyone else liked it or not. He does that here and generously allows Aoki to beat Abe. What a gent.

Final Rating: ***1/2


Kento Miyahara & Yasufume Nakanoue vs. Daichi Hashimoto & Hideyoshi Kamitani

Daichi has been working some smaller shows for AJPW. He’s definitely building a reputation. Although he’s signed to IGF his home promotion is basically BJW. Which is the promotion Kamitani happens to be the champion of. Nakanoue used to be a Wrestle-1 guy but decided to go freelance so he could work for BJW too. Increasingly Big Japan is a genuine outlet for wrestlers because they run a lot of shows and are drawing decent crowds. Miyahara looks a bit depressed to be in with this lot, which is hardly fair as they’re all good wrestlers but they seriously lack Miyahara’s intensity. Compare this to Miyahara and the kids at the last big AJPW show where everyone had to be dragged up to his level and did so. The match picks up and Kamitani vs. Miyahara gives me genuine interest in a champion vs. champion angle. It would be nice if Miyahara could just slide by Suwama and enter into some serious big-time cross-promotion matches (in particular vs. Nakajima). Nakanoue ends up being the surprise MVP of the match, getting all fired up and going after Kamitani like he wants his belt. Kamitani ends him with the Saito suplex and that’s your match up. This was fine but never seemed to hit the higher gear that could have made me really care about it. The post match is where that happens, with Daichi taking exception to Miyahara ignoring him, and coming after him on the floor. Miyahara continues to ignore him! If the purpose of this was to build to those two singles matches I’m in. I wonder if AJPW/BJW are eyeing up Miyahara vs. Kamitani for the belt, in both promotions?

Final Rating: ***1/4


NEXTREAM (Naoya Nomura & Yuma Aoyagi) vs. Kazumi Kikuta & Takuya Nomura

This is the kind of match that defines these Phoenix shows. NEXTREAM is Kento’s faction, which also includes Jake Lee. It’s the next-generation of AJPW talent. The Battle of the Nomura’s is where this match is at because AJPW is running that match at the Sumo Hall show. Takuya debuted in March and already looks like a fucking star in the making. He has the confidence of someone who’s been doing this forever. Kikuta is only a sophomore but he’s older, at 30 compared to Takuya’s 23, and that shows to a certain degree. The Nomura’s have a lot of fun and that singles match is going to be fucking wonderful. Takuya gets a fantastic counter to end a strike fest into a flying armbar and he gets the submission. This results in the Nomura’s being booked against each other when AJPW hit Sumo Hall. Based on this alone that should be great.

Final Rating: ***1/4


Jake Lee vs. Yoshihisa Uto

Uto is another guy that’s only been wrestling for two years, out of BJW, and that company is producing talent hand over fist. Actually the last two years has seen a huge influx of new talent into Japanese wrestling (DDT, AJPW, BJW, Dragon Gate in particular but everyone has been producing new talent). Both guys are inexperienced so this leads to the kind of match you’d usually see as an opener. It’s solid and they don’t attempt too many hard spots because they don’t want to botch in the main event. It’s pleasingly stiff on occasion. Uto seems to be carrying a little weight around the midsection, which is fine in BJW as they like the Big Lads over there. It makes Lee look more streamline. Lee wins with a weird jumping kick that looks low impact. As with just about everything on this show this was entirely fine but it certainly wasn’t a main event just because it went on last.

Final Rating: **1/2



The final score: review Average
The 411
This felt like the kind of show that fills a space and builds to something bigger, like NJPW’s “Road To” shows. There were little building blocks here leading towards bigger more important matches at Sumo Hall or down the line. The result was distinctly average, although it never felt like a waste of time.

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AJPW, Puro Fury, Arnold Furious