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Puro Fury: AJPW New Explosion 2016

December 17, 2016 | Posted by Arnold Furious
AJPW All Japan Pro Wrestling
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Puro Fury: AJPW New Explosion 2016  

AJPW New Explosion


November 27 2016


I saw some of this show live but couldn’t be bothered to get up at 6am to watch a show that was almost six hours long. It should be illegal to have a wrestling show that’s this damn long. It’s offensive to me. I could watch three Fight Club Pro shows in less time! To make matters even worse they kick off with a girls group who sing and eat up time on a show that’s going to be a million years long. To ease my burden I stuck on Bad Religion’s Christmas album. It’s about the same length. Twenty minutes later we’re underway! Check out Bad Religion’s album if you’re feeling seasonal.


Takuya Nomura vs. Naoya Nomura

The Battle of the Nomura’s! Naoya is from AJPW and Takuya is from Big Japan. They’re both 23 and relatively inexperienced. They’re also both really good for their experience levels. Takuya is especially gifted, although it’s tough to tell at this point which of them will be the bigger star. Smart money is probably on Takuya. His timing is better, his strikes are heavier and he looks like he was born as a wrestler. He only had his first match in March for fuck’s sake and he’s already great. The strikes in this match are fucking fantastic and the recognition stuff is amazing. How is Takuya this good? It’s insane! He gets in some awesome last gasp kick-outs here before going on a kicking rampage and finishing with a roll up. My God, he’s good.

Final Rating: ***1/4


Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Masao Inoue & SUSHI vs. Kazuhiro Tamura, Naoshi Sano & Kaji Tomato

I legitimately thought Kikuchi had retired. He was a great wrestler as far back as 12-13 years ago and his career up to that point was very impressive. However he’s now 52. SUSHI is probably the best worker on that team now. On the other side are Indie sleaze. Tomato from K-Dojo, Tamura from Heat Up and Sano from the Osaka Indies. It’s an impressive collection of sleaze. There’s a very high percentage of guys in this match who look like they hang out in strip clubs. Everyone bar Tamura, I’d say. Tamura just loves the graps. He needs that focus because without it he’d be classified as a circus midget. Kikuchi looks legitimately mental. I think he’s been dropped on his head one time too many. His body is as broken as his mind and he completely stinks in the ring, which is a shame because he used to be good. There’s two times in this match where he shows his age. 1. When he gurns into camera to protest a near fall and 2. where he goes in to support a pinfall and doesn’t know where either of the opposing team members are. Not a fucking clue. SUSHI and Tamura end up having a sneaky good match inside a match at the end until Tamura gets the armbar submission. Everything apart from SUSHI-Tamura was bad.

Final Rating: *3/4


Super Tiger, Ryuji Hijikata, Diablo & Rey Paloma vs. Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Mitsuya Nagai, Takeshi Minamino & Black Tiger VII

I don’t even know who Black Tiger is. It was Nosawa the last time Black Tiger was around in All Japan. He has the same lipstick here. If the last match had a degree of Indie sleaze, it’s got nothing on this match. The ring becomes grimier as it fills with sleazeballs from the Japanese independent scene. My main hope for the match is that Takaiwa and Super Tiger never tag out and just kick the shit out of each other for the whole match. Paloma is a strange guy. He looks like a pimp and his act involves him dancing to the ring as if dancing has only ever been explained to him in drawings and he’d never actually seen real dancing. The match is an enormous clusterfuck, which makes me question why I have to sit through it. Takaiwa vs. Hijikata is pretty good but there are so many guys in this match that I have zero interest in. Super Tiger downs Minamino with, appropriately, a Tiger Suplex. This didn’t click with me at all. I spent the whole match wondering why the show had all this filler on it.

Final Rating: *


Chavo Guerrero Classic, Dory Funk Jr., Tajiri & Ultimo Dragon vs. Isami Kodaka, Osamu Nishimura, The Great Kabuki & Yutaka Yoshie

My God, what the hell is this? Dory is a hundred years old. Tajiri is still is decent shape, which makes one guy on his team, and comes out to his Japanese generic WWE music to my amusement. Actually that ‘decent shape’ jab isn’t fair on Ultimo who’s still good. It’s weird to me that Kodaka is in this match because he’s still in his prime and no one else is. Dory takes a month to get to the ring and then horse whips Japanese people like it’s the 1940s. Why do companies keep booking Dory? He’s so, so old. The problem is that Japan is just too respectful. Dory hasn’t taken a back bump since the 90s. He’s 75 years old. That’s not an exaggeration! He looks like a skeleton wearing skin like clothes. Tajiri and Kabuki get bored waiting for the match to happen and blow mist around. The match is fine unless Dory is in there. Suspension of disbelief is impossible when you’re dealing with this kind of thing. I had the same issue with Shane vs. Taker though and people thought that shit was grade A sportz entertainment. The match is 12 minutes but it feels so much longer because of the speed that Dory is moving at. He almost takes a bump when Nishimura trips him up to hook the Figure Four. Then the Funk Spinning Toehold to fuck with Dory so Funk rolls him up for the win. This was awful but the finish made me laugh.

Final Rating: ½*


Jake Lee, Yuma Aoyagi & Koji Iwamoto vs. Konosuke Takeshita, Ryoji Sai & Kengo Mashimo

This is another weird match. Takeshita is one of DDT’s top guys so it’s nice to see him here tagging with two other outsiders and opposite them are a trio of AJPW youngsters. They’re all good and Jake Lee is going to be incredible. Due to his size he has a high ceiling too. As soon as he starts to pad out his physique and has a body to match his skills he’s going to be terrifying. The core of the story is that Iwamoto came through DDT first but he now works for AJPW so Takeshita is pissed off with him. It’s weird because Iwamoto is more important in All Japan than he was in DDT. Their sequences are fairly brutal with heavy shots and dangerous looking throws. It’s a lot of fun. It’s also the best action in the match. The other interactions have a youth vs. establishment vibe. Lee and Aoyagi have similar experience levels but Lee started late so he’s much older. Sai takes personal exception to Lee being good and tall and young and beats the shit out of him. The double stomp is enough to put poor little Jake away and the experienced trio win. It was the only realistic outcome. Lots of promise in this youthful trio though. They’re all going to be important for All Japan.

Final Rating: ***


Get Wild (Manabu Soya & Takao Omori) vs. Jun Akiyama & Kendo Kashin

In my mind this is a waste of All Japan’s boss. Akiyama is so exceptional at beating up children that he should have been in a match with one of the up and coming talents from the last match. Sure, he has a lot of history with Omori but Kashin is mediocre (and always has been) and the match only exists to improve relationships between AJPW and Wrestle-1, where Soya is important. It’s a smart move from Akiyama but not the most entertaining one. Akiyama putting his efforts into selling for Soya feels like wasted effort. Taking numbers off his bump clock for no good reason. If I had any investment in Wrestle-1 then maybe this would resonate more with me but my interest in Wrestle-1 has dropped off significantly since Yuji Hino lost their title. Kendo tries to do Eddie Guerrero stuff to break up Get Wild but he’s so terrible at it all that it doesn’t work. The bump that he takes off the ‘phantom’ chair shot is appalling. He needs to re-assess his…everything. Poor Omori gets into the spirit of the work and shuffles away from the ropes on a pinfall where he’s being pinned before Akiyama gets sick of his existence and beats him with a wrist clutch exploder. Remember when Omori had a great run to the top of All Japan a few years back? Total waste of Akiyama.

Final Rating: *1/4


GAORA TV Championship

Yohei Nakajima (c) vs. Jiro Kuroshio

This is the point where I woke up and caught stuff live. Yohei beats the fuck out of Jiro, who seems to be unaware that he’s taking a thrashing, the goofy bastard. Yohei hates his opponent wrestling in a jacket and tries to rip it off him, which allows Jiro to fire up. Jacket-a-mania? Does it give him strength like Samson’s hair? He even uses the jacket to punch Yohei, thus giving him extra weight and power. It’s ingenious psychological warfare. Ikemen might be a goof but what he does usually makes sense. One of the biggest high spots in this is a springboard super rana and Yohei doesn’t want to go over on it but he’s dragged down. It’s a pretty cool visual. Ikemen follows with a pair of moonsaults and pins displaying the inner lining of his jacket, proudly exposing himself in victory.

Final Rating: ***1/4


AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Championship

Soma Takao (c) vs. Keisuke Ishii

These two are basically running their angle from DDT, where they used to be in the same faction. Only the angle has spilled over into AJPW where they both also worked. It’s almost a pity this match isn’t taking place in DDT where the crowd would be suitably fired up. Even though Team Dream Futures worked AJPW as a unit there wasn’t the sense of team-work and identity that DDT had with them. Basically DDT are better at long term booking. It’s a competitive back and forth aided by both men’s familiarity with each other. The crowd are not particularly into it, which is the problem with not having this in front of a DDT crowd, who would be more invested. Ishii wins, and totally freaks me out, by hitting an SSP.

Final Rating: ***


All Asia Tag Team Championship

Atsushi Aoki & Hikaru Sato (c) vs Atsushi Onita & Masa Fuchi

This is a battle of the generations. The youngsters (relatively) have the tag belts and the old timers are coming for them. Presumably the rules that usually govern professional wrestling are waved to allow Onita to do garbage. The Japanese table refuses to cooperate and Sato gets piledriven on one, twice. It looks really painful. I feel bad for Sato and Aoki but the only way this match gets over is with painful looking Onita stuff. Rather appropriately it’s Fuchi that is isolated for heat, which is as boring and hopeless as you’d expect. That is until Onita starts breaking chairs and Sato takes the deadly red mist. There is no mist deadlier than red mist*. It makes my eyes sting from thousands of miles away. Onita doesn’t take a bump for the entire match and at the end is breaking stuff over Aoki’s head and barking orders at Fuchi to finish with mist covered Sato getting all fired up. The nostalgia and visuals at the finish are pretty fucking great. Sato eventually takes so many backdrop holds that he’s pinned. The old men win!

Final Rating: ***1/4


*Red Mist always reminds me of the Red Breath, a weird red cloud thing that Rocket Raccoon fought in the mid 80s, teaming with rabbit “Blackjack O’Hare”. My brain instantly makes that connection and seeing as the Red Breath disintegrated stuff on contact you can see why I’ve mentally established the destructive evils of the red mist.


AJPW World Tag Team Championship

Strong BJ (c) vs. Big Guns

This match is the standard four big guys smacking each other around stuff, which I adore, but with added power spots that Big Guns are obsessed with. Like a double press slam. Only Zeus is really slow getting Sekimoto up so there’s Bodyguard holding Okabayashi over his head waiting. Jesus fucking Christ, that’s impressive. Okabayashi is not a light man. He must weigh 250lbs. Plus Zeus insists on delaying with a vertical suplex on Sekimoto. That’s a lot of meat to hold up for a lot of time. Almost every spot in the match demonstrates some kind of freakish power because they’re all big lads who fucking love hitting the gym and getting them delts. Sekimoto’s neck is so muscular he can literally land on his head and be fine. Sekimoto does a terrifying brainbuster off the apron on Zeus, which makes me jump out of my seat. They head into a stretch of violence and then Zeus wins with a Jackhammer, winning the straps for the big AJPW lads.

Final Rating: ****1/4


AJPW Triple Crown Championship

Kento Miyahara (c) vs. Suwama

Miyahara won the title because there was nobody else but he’s taken the spot and made his own. He’s now established himself as All Japan’s Ace and is the promotion’s outstanding talent. It’s one of the best demonstrations in modern wrestling of a guy taking the top spot in a promotion by force during a talent void. Since claiming the vacant Triple Crown in February Miyahara has brushed aside every challenger including Sai, Akiyama, Mashimo, Sekimoto, Omori and Zeus. Suwama is absent from that list because he’s been injured but now he’s back and he never lost this belt. Had it not been for a torn Achilles could this have been Suwama’s year? Well, no, he’d have passed the torch to Miyahara but now the intrigue is there. Can Miyahara overcome another strong challenger or is Suwama destined to be champion at the biggest show of the year.


Once the match gets underway it’s clear it’ll be a long contest, due to the pacing. Miyahara could probably go full tilt for 30 minutes but Suwama can’t. Especially after his lay off this year. Suwama certainly makes up for the slower pacing by lacing in his strikes and making the match feel realistic and he’s particularly vicious in choking Miyahara out, illegally. This gives Miyahara something to sell and creates the illusion that Suwama is the stronger of the two due to his experience, wily veteran ways and upper body power. He bullies Miyahara and because of the illegal moves littered amongst his offence it gives Miyahara an out. Plus the slower pacing of a Suwama assault allows them to stretch the match out. If Suwama was in better condition this crutch wouldn’t be necessary but it’s an example of match structure being able to make inferior wrestlers look like top tier guys. It’s another string in Kento’s sizable fiddle.


I get so into the slow burn of the match that I kick back and watch, dunking dark chocolate hob nobs into a mug of coffee. My God it’s delicious (the biscuits and the match). Kento starts selling like he’d dead but then the caffeine/adrenaline kicks in. He has to fight on or his title is gone and his youthful revolution prematurely ended. He stares Suwama straight in the skunk-cut and yells “not today, motherfucker!” The best part of this is all the young boys banging on the apron to support him. Miyahara is wrestling for the opportunities of the young guys. If he chokes, literally, here then their opportunities will be limited. If he succeeds, on All Japan’s biggest stage, then the world opens up to the likes of Jake Lee and Yuma Aoyagi and the generation that follows them. This isn’t a title defence. This is the establishment of a new era.


Suwama dominates almost the entire match. It’s a virtual squash but the key is how Kento refuses to stay down and simply bides his time. He survives until Suwama is tired and then he knees him into oblivion. While the fans never bought into this match like they did the epic Triple Crown matches of the 80s and 90s that was more to do with the one-sided story of Suwama’s dominance and Suwama’s own efforts being generally inferior. A time will come when Miyahara drags the Lee’s and Aoyagi’s of the world into the main event and the new generation will kill it for AJPW. Miyahara is the first guy. The new Misawa. Long my he reign!

Final Rating: ****



The final score: review Good
The 411
This show was way too long and a lot of the undercard was just filler to get more matches out there. Plus a load of the worthless undercard matches ran too long. 12 minutes for Dory stands out but the undercard dragged through sheer length. At the business end the show delivered. The old men winning the All Asia belts was fun and it was followed by the two outstanding matches. Miyahara is all kinds of great. He carries himself like Tanahashi at the start of his run, which makes me very excited for the future of AJPW. All the major Japanese promotions are going strong with their young, hungry champs (Okada, Nakajima) and Miyahara is arguably the most talented of them all for presence and workrate.

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AJPW, Puro Fury, Arnold Furious