Active Advance Pro Wrestling was back in front of fans for the first time since March as they presented their first anniversary show. The event aired on July 12 on Samurai TV (a week after taking place) and has a runtime of 1hr 59mins.
Let’s take a look at what went down.
Takoru Niki defeated Chicharito Shoki with a Half Crab
The show kicked off with your typical ‘young boy’ match. Nothing overly flashy but a great showcase of the fundamentals. Former Wrestle-1 trainee Niki worked a more technical, power-based style, while Shoki used his quickness to try and get the advantage. He was eventually caught with a dropkick from Niki, who quickly got the submission with a well-applied half crab.
+ Everyone looked good in the match
+ Match didn’t overstay its welcome
+ Good job of familiarising Niki with the 2AW audience
– The match was a bit clumsy at times, although this can be excused somewhat, considering the inexperience of both men.
Kyu Mogami and Shiori Asahi defeated Naka Shuma and Daiju Wakamatsu when Asahi submitted Shuma
Matchtime – 12:33
We then moved on to a young boy vs veteran tag match, as promising young talents Naka Shuma and Daiju Wakamatsu faced off against the more light-hearted duo of Kyu Mogami and Shiori Asahi.
This was more evenly matched than I expected. Shuma and Wakamatsu got in some solid offence, including a submission on Asahi and a nearfall on Mogami. As with most matches like this, the two vets got the win. Shuma was caught in a headscissors, which Asahi used to transition into a pin and eventual submission for the win.
+ Everyone looked great
+ The finish wasn’t damaging to the young boys
+ It didn’t overstay its welcome too much.
Ricky Fuji and Tank Nagai defeated Taylor Adams and Latrell Upton when Nagai pinned Upton with a spear
Matchtime – 13:01
Upton and Adams worked pretty well as a team here, while Nagai carried partner Fuji to a win. It was a pretty entertaining match overall. Adams and Upton got some great tandem offence in, while Nagai played the big guy role exceptionally well.
Adams squaring up to the former tag champion in an exchange of chops was great, as was Upton’s counter to Nagai’s first spear attempt.
Nagai did eventually connect with the spear and got the win for his team.
+ Nagai got some momentum back after losing to Okabayashi in May
+ Ricky Fuji wasn’t featured too heavily
+ Both Upton and Adams looked decent in defeat
Ayame Sasamura Return Match – Ayame Sasamura defeated Rina Shingaki
Matchtime – 8:54
This was a brilliant way of bringing Sasamura back after 5 months away. An explosive, sub-10 minute sprint against a familiar opponent in Shingaki. This match brought the record between the two to 17-1-1 in favour of Sasamura.
It was great to see Rina compete in a non-comedic match. She really impressed when she did get offence in but was overwhelmed by her adversary for most of the match.
Sasamura eventually got the win with a roll-up.
+ Sasamura looked great throughout
+ Rina worked a great, non-comedy match
– I would’ve liked the match to have been a bit longer, but I can understand why it was the length it was
Kengo Mashimo and Kunio Toshima defeated Kotaro Yoshino and Tatsuya Hanami
Matchtime – 8:35
This was a fun match that had potential implications for the tag team championship picture. Former ace Mashimo and young boy Hanami had somewhat of a score to settle here, with Mashimo getting a singles victory on June 9.
Things were focused on Mashimo and Hanami for a great portion of the match. The veteran Kengo was seemingly caught off guard on a number of occasions, with Hanami landing some solid offence.
The fiery youngster eventually cost his team the match, going for a springboard Swanton bomb and not managing to connect. Mashimo quickly capitalised, catching him in a crucifix (which was aided by a dropkick from Toshima) for the win.
+ Continued the narrative between Hanami and Mashimo
+ Strong post-match
TEMPEST (Shu Asakawa, Ayumu Honda, Taishi Takizawa) defeated Neba-Land Neo (Kaji Tomato, CHANGO, Dinosaur Takuma)
Matchtime – 13:31
Kaji Tomato was back in front of a live crowd! That makes this match the best on the card by default. That’s just the way it is, I don’t make the rules.
All jokes aside though, this was a fun little preview for the upcoming tag title match between Takizawa/Honda and Kaji/CHANGO.
Everyone got a chance to put on a good performance here. Kaji Tomato got some high-flying offence in, CHANGO hit some stuff I hadn’t seen much of before, Asakawa displayed his power. The babyfaces flying around and getting some more high-speed offence in made them much easier to invest in as good guys
Honda got the win in the end in a pretty standard heel finish – sending Dinosaur Takuma into the referee before low-blowing CHANGO (who tried to attack from behind), low blowing Takuma and getting the three count for TEMPEST.
All in all, this was a solid outing that achieved everything it needed to ahead of the title rematch.
+ Match didn’t go too long
+ Heat on TEMPEST, advantage heading into the title rematch
– Some offence almost missed – CHANGO came close to not fully connecting a few times
2AW Openweight Title – Ayato Yoshida defeated Yuji Okabayashi
Matchtime – 22:27
The match we were all waiting for. 2AW’s new ace in Yoshida vs a dominant Openweight Champion in Okabayashi
Did it deliver? Yes, absolutely. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, a serious contender for Match of the Year. Okabayashi continued his run of 2020 excellence even in defeat – he’ll definitely be in the running for MVP of the empty arena era; as well as WOTY.
Yoshida had an answer for everything Okabayashi threw at him. He kept going back for the strikes the champion was throwing. He escaped the splash by getting his knees up. He kicked out of every big move he was hit with, and got the crowd to believe he could tap out the giant Okabayashi. It was glorious – the new champion sure earned that victory.
+ The intensity never dwindled – it felt like the two men were at war all the way through
+ The selling and facial expressions from both guys were stellar
+ The wrestlers stood on the outside of the ring made this match feel as big as it should’ve felt
+ It didn’t go far over 20 minutes – something that some people have criticised about the main events of other promotions
Overall, this was a great outing for 2AW. They had a strong undercard which showcased everyone it needed to, they had a great semi-main and main event. While some will remember it as a 1-match card when we take a look at it in a year or so’s time, is that a bad thing? The significance of the match was displayed perfectly, the quality of the match exceeded my very high expectations and it provided a great post-match which saw Okabayashi show his respect for Yoshida with a handshake.
If you’re strapped for time, I’d recommend the main event and not much else. But if you can, I would highly implore you to watch the show in its entirety. You won’t be disappointed.
For those who have watched the show, what did you think? Let us know!