Today two men who have had polar opposite Champion Carnival runs faced off in the main event for the Triple Crown title. Zeus, the challenger, had a great Carnival run, winning the entire thing undefeated. The champion, Suwama, however had a very weak Carnival run, only scoring one pinfall in the tournament. What happens when the hometown hero, Zeus takes on the holder of the Triple Crown, Suwama? Read below to find out.
Also: some Dotonbori Pro boys get to shine in Osaka. Ryuki Honda has a match against Jake Lee. Evolution and Enfants have another banger of a match. Bodyguard returns to in ring action. And a captain’s fall match takes place for the GAORA TV title!
Raising An Army Memorial Series
October 17, 2020
EDION Arena (2nd Gym), Osaka
Reported Attendance of: 492
Hokuto Omori & Harutoki [Dotonbori Pro]
Yuto Kikuchi & Tatsuya Matsubo [Dotonbori Pro]
Result: Hokuto Omori pins Harutoki in 7:12
To my knowledge, this is my first time seeing these guys (excluding Hokuto, of course). And I gotta say, they looked good out here. One thing I always enjoy about All Japan is when they allow young indy talent to get a showcase. I’m also glad they got quite a bit of work in here on Hokuto, that was cool to see. Only glaring issue with this match is that cutter from Hokuto looked kind of weird.
Koji Iwamoto & TAJIRI
Atsuki Aoyagi & Francesco Akira
Result: TAJIRI pins Francesco Akira in 10:54
Next up we had the prelude match for the World Junior title. Atsuki Aoyagi will be facing Iwamoto for the title on the 24th. Aoyagi and Akira are a really good team here. Since Yuma is regularly teaming with Kento again, Atsuki will likely be in this fold for the foreseeable future as well. Hell, you got enough guys let’s just call this NEXTREAM 2.0 at this point.
Overall a fun match here. I know TAJIRI doesn’t set the world on the fire, but he’s a damn good hand for these undercards. I like that TAJIRI had to constantly break up the pin. It gave the idea that if TAJIRI didn’t make it, or wasn’t there, then Aoyagi would have won. It’s a good way to make him look good without giving him the victory.
GAORA TV Title Match
[The 17th Champion] Yoshitatsu, Yusuke Okada & Chikara
[The Challenger] Black Menso~re, Takao Omori & Katsumi Oribe
Result: Yoshitatsu submits Black Menso~re in 7:52 to make his 9th defense of the GAORA TV title
As I had stated on Twitter, this match was perfectly okay. The truly legendary stable of Yoshitatsu Kingdom defend the truly prestigious GAORA TV title. I would have liked to see a title change here (it’s not like Menso~re’s got a lot going on otherwise). But alas, Yoshitatsu continues to hold this belt, and might until the end of time at this rate. I do appreciate All Japan trying to mix things up with these captain’s fall rules, but ultimately this match didn’t do a whole lot for me.
Result: Jake Lee submits Ryuki Honda in 3:19
So even though this match wasn’t particularly long, this is a pretty notable singles showcase for Ryuki Honda. And Jake Lee is a pretty high profile opponent. This surprises me because not even the most experienced home-grown young boys have gotten a match against this significant of an opponent. Honda looked good here, and I’m eagerly waiting to see what else is in store for his career.
Post-match, Jake Lee showed a sign of respect towards Honda. Honda will be teaming with Lee and Iwamoto on the 18th. Kind of makes me wonder if he’ll be slowly cycled into the JIN stable.
Evolution [Shuji Ishikawa, Hikaru Sato & Dan Tamura]
Enfants Terribles [Shotaro Ashino, Kuma Arashi & Yusuke Kodama]
Result: Kuma Arashi pins Hikaru Sato in 14:03
Many promotions seem to have “that team.” The ones who are just masterclass at 6-man tags. For New Japan, you could say it’s LIJ. In WWE, you could say it was The Shield. For All Japan, I’m saying that it’s Evolution. Or, maybe it’s the Enfants. Regardless, both of these teams fucking rule at 6-man tags, especially when they’re paired together. This combination of guys have knocked it out of the park every single time.
Kuma Arashi has been looking GREAT in these 6-man tags. This is the Kuma we should have seen in the Carnival. His offense against Tamura and Ishikawa looked brilliant. Ishikawa and Ashino continue to have really good chemistry. And Sato and Kodama serve as great outliers to the big beefy style of the other four competitors. Really good stuff here and I’m hyped as hell for the World Tag title match coming up on the 24th. Certainly a big step up from Kento and Jiro in terms of challengers.
Kento Miyahara, Yuma Aoyagi & Rising HAYATO
Bodyguard & Purple Haze [Izanagi & Shigehiro Irie]
Result: Izanagi pins Rising HAYATO in 14:38
The Bodyguard has returned for his first AJPW match of 2020 after recovering from injury. Man, Bodyguard is looking JACKED, what a fucking legend. He did exactly what I was looking forward to seeing: beating the hell out of Kento. And Kento acted quite irritating during the match which worked because it made seeing him get whipped by Bodyguard even more satisfying. There was also a pose-off between Bodyguard and HAYATO that could only match Triple H and Scott Steiner. Overall a fun return match for Bodyguard here. And Izanagi getting the pin on HAYATO makes these two evenly matched now for the All Asia Tag title match taking place on the 24th.
Triple Crown Title Match
[The 63rd Champion] Suwama
[The 2020 Champion Carnival Winner] Zeus
Result: Suwama pins Zeus in 32:22 to make his 3rd defense of the Triple Crown title
Zeus comes into this match will all of the momentum in the world. An undefeated Carnival run, a devastating facelock and just as devastating Jackhammer. Suwama is on the complete opposite side of the coin. His storyline arm injury leaves him vulnerable against Zeus, and his Carnival run of only obtaining 2 points leaves a lot to be desired. I came into this match thinking it would be about Zeus asserting his dominance at the top of the mountain, Triple Crown in hand. Instead, it was about the champion overcoming the odds.
Suwama’s chances looked promising early on with establishing control over Zeus. But Zeus was able to get the better of Suwama after attacking the injured arm. Because they did a great job building up Zeus during the Carnival, both the Jackhammer and facelock brought about moments where my eyes were glued to the screen. I love how they’ve been establishing that facelock because just like in the Kento match, Suwama did not power out of this thing. He needed to use the ropes in an act of desperation. In the end, Suwama mounted a big comback and they had an intense closing stretch. That initial backdrop from Suwama to start the big comeback almost made me jump with excitement.
This was a great match, but I do have to say it was definitely a step down from the Champion Carnival final. I think a few minutes shaved off could have improved the quality of the match even more. And while I do like the story, it would have been cool to see Zeus get another run with the Triple Crown title. But that was not to be and Suwama successfully retains in what will probably be the final Triple Crown title match of 2020.
Overall, a fairly good AJPW show here. I would say that if you are looking for the “greatest hits” of this show, then watch from the Evolution/Enfants match onwards.
Coming up next: on the 18th, All Japan will be running their second day of the Raising An Army Memorial Series tour. This show will be VOD-only and will likely be available to view on the 19th. There will be a review for that show as well. Notable matches include…
- Another Evolution/Enfants 6-Man Tag
- Zeus vs. Chikara
- Kento, Yuma & Atsuki vs. Lee, Iwamoto & Honda
If you’re finding yourself saying, “Hey, I like that Keegan dude” then you should indulge in following my Twitter account @itsmekeeganlee1.
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Finally, if you want to get into the world of All Japan Pro-Wrestling, try out AJPW TV! It has lots of live and on demand content, with plenty more archival stuff being added to the network. The price is only a monthly fee of 900 yen! That’s like, only about $8.50 a month – which is a great deal if you ask me!