On Saturday, August 15, All Japan Pro-Wrestling held their first day of the Summer Action Series 2 tour. This event was a memorial show for Atsushi Aoki, who had tragically passed away on June 3, 2019, after being involved in a motorcycle accident. I cannot believe we have gone on for over a whole year without him. This show and this article are both dedicated to the friends, family, and memory of a legend: Atsushi Aoki.
Enfants Terribles (Kuma Arashi & Hokuto Omori) defeated Yuma Aoyagi & Atsuki Aoyagi in 6:53 when Hokuto pinned Atsuki with a German Suplex Hold
A fun opening match to kick off the show. Hokuto Omori is doing well in his role of being an absolute prick after joining Enfants Terribles. The pairings of both Hokuto/Kuma Arashi as well as Shotaro Ashino/Yusuke Kodama have me very excited for this year’s Real World Tag League if these four end up participating in the future. Atsuki and Yuma are also looking good as a team. The result of this match was never in any doubt, as Atsuki being the young boy guaranteed an Enfants victory.
Enfants Terribles (Shotaro Ashino & Yusuke Kodama) defeated Yoshitatsu & Yusuke Okada in 6:07 when Ashino pinned Okada with a T-Bone Suplex
Whoa, wait a second, Enfants Terribles actually got multiple wins tonight? I was incredibly surprised by the outcome of this match as I thought for sure that Kodama would be looking up at the lights here. This was Shotaro Ashino’s first pinfall victory since June 25 where he defeated Yuma Aoyagi in a singles match. As for the match itself, I thought it was fine. I’m not the biggest fan of this Yoshitatsu/Yusuke Okada combination so I’m hoping it doesn’t end up being anything long term.
Ultimo Dragon & TAJIRI defeated Akira Francesco & Rising HAYATO in 8:42 when Ultimo Dragon got the pin on Rising HAYATO via La Magistral Cradle
A pretty neat opportunity here for both Akira and HAYATO to be in the opposite corner of such a legendary wrestler (and Ultimo Dragon was there, too!). I kid, of course; it’s always a joy to see Ultimo Dragon in the ring. The match was okay with nothing really mind-blowing which is understandable considering the age as well as wear and tear that TAJIRI and Ultimo Dragon’s bodies have gone through.
Hikaru Sato & Takuya Wada defeated Kagetora & GOSAMARU in 11:42 when Sato submitted GOSAMARU with a Judo Leg Hold
I am a huge fan of technical, submission-style matches so I was thoroughly pleased while watching this match. You grappling at the beginning and kicks towards the end. There was a nice blend of styles in this match and this would be the first match on the card that I would definitely recommend. If you also enjoyed this match and want to see more of Kagetora and GOSAMARU, Kagetora primarily wrestles in Dragon Gate and can, therefore, be seen by subscribing to the Dragon Gate Network (1500 yen a month). GOSAMARU can be seen in Ryukyu Dragon Pro-Wrestling, which will occasionally air on NicoPro (550 yen a month).
Takao Omori, Koji Iwamoto, Black Menso~re & Osamu Nishimura defeated Masanobu Fuchi, Dan Tamura, Jun Akiyama & SUSHI in 11:39 when Takao Omori pinned SUSHI following an Axe Bomber
I felt like this match dragged quite a bit, and it really did not feel like it lasted only a little over 11 minutes. It was a perfectly alright match that I think can pretty much be skipped over. A lot of brawling outside between Dan Tamura and Koji Iwamoto, who will be facing one another on August 30 with the World Junior title on the line, so the match did succeed in building up the tension between the two opponents.
Purple Haze (Zeus & Izanagi) become the 110th All Asia Tag Team Champions by defeating Yankee-Two Kenju (Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto) in 12:01 after Izanagi pinned Kodaka with The Hermit’s Necklock
All Japan Pro-Wrestling did such a good job building up Izanagi with these roll-up victories, that they got the crowd to ignore the “no cheering” rule and audibly gasp when Izanagi picked up the win here. You’re really doing something right when you can get a crowd that has been following guidelines to end up being disobedient for a moment. I’ve really enjoyed Purple Haze’s output in these past few shows and I’m quite happy with them becoming the new champions. I think they can have a good run with the belt with plenty of fun defenses against other teams. I would definitely give this match a watch.
Suwama, Shuji Ishikawa & Shigehiro Irie defeated Kento Miyahara, Jake Lee & Yuji Okabayashi in 20:56 when Suwama pinned Kento with the Last Ride Powerbomb
Hell. Yes. This match was freaking awesome. I absolutely adore All Japan’s main events that are full of hard-hitting action. All six of these men gave it their all and beat the holy Hell out of one another. If you’re pressed for time and need the best match recommended, then this is the one right here. This is probably the best All Japan 6-man tag match since the 60-minute draw on the first empty arena show back in April in my personal opinion. I’m also happy to see Yuji Okabayashi and Shigehiro Irie back in an All Japan ring, and I really wish that they could be in the Champion Carnival. All in all though, a fantastic match to end the show with.
The Celebration of Atsushi Aoki
The show ended with Ultimo Dragon, Hikaru Sato, Takuya Wada, Masanobu Fuchi, GOSAMARU, Kagetora, Jake Lee, Kento Miyahara, Yuji Okabayashi, Shigehiro Irie, Shuji Ishikawa, and Suwama in the ring as a ten-bell salute was called for Atsushi Aoki. The image of Suwama holding a picture of Aoki while crying was rough to see. I had cried as well. Aoki was taken away from this world too quickly. What happened to him is a reminder of just how fragile life can be. Cherish your loved ones and keep them close, as you never know if today will be your last day.
I feel sad that I can’t see Aoki’s face even though I can feel he’s here. I want to see him make a face and say “shit” when he sees me holding five belts… But I think [us] making the wrestling world more exciting in the future is what will make him happy.Kohei Suwama (translation credit @EasternLariat on Twitter)
You can watch the Atsushi Aoki Memorial Show as well as the future and past All Japan events on AJPW TV for the monthly price of 900 yen a month.