Current Watch List:
Joe Doering (c) vs. Go Shiozaki for the AJPW Triple Crown (All Japan Pro Wrestling)
HARASHIMA vs. Tetsuya Endo (DDT)
- Michael Nakazawa vs. Shigehiro Irie (DDT)
Joe Doering © vs. Go Shiozaki
All Japan Pro Wrestling
AJPW Triple Crown
All-Japan provided the first major title change of 2015 as Joe Doering’s 160 day Triple Crown title reign came to an end at the hands of Go Shiozaki. The wrestlers appeared to pay tribute – intentionally or otherwise – to the glory days of AJPW. Joe Doering’s similarities – in both look and wrestling style – to Stan Hansen are obvious. Go utilized lariats, spinning back fists, and teased a Burning Hammer, all of which served to remind of All Japan’s happier past. Unfortunately, the match itself did not quite resemble an early or mid-90’s classic Triple Crown defense but it was solid. There were a few odd moments but the match had more heat than most modern AJPW matches and the ending came off well. Go is good working from behind – which he did here and against Akebono last year – so hopefully All Japan has some big guy challengers lined up for him.
Shigehiro Irie vs. Michael Nakazawa
The captains of the respective teams meet in the finals of the one night team battle. Nakazawa is a fun and versatile guy. They go mainly comedy early on with Nakazawa somewhat ingeniously taping tape around Irie’s eyes and head, then using it to tie him to the turnbuckle on the outside. The strategy nearly earns him what would have been a well-deserved count out victory but Irie frees himself in time. The rest of the match is mainly Nakazawa trying to survive Irie’s power attacks. Time expires at the 10-minute mark and the match ends in a draw, giving Team Irie the series. The match felt less like a time limit draw and more like a match where the time simply ran out (ie. there was no sense that they were building to a draw).
HARAHSIMA vs. Tetsuya Endo
HARASHIMA vs. Endo looked like the best match up in the Team Nakazawa vs. Team Irie series from the January 3rd DDT. It was fine, but nothing special. In terms of current wrestlers that aren’t afraid to mix it up and try out new things, HARAISHIMA is way up the list. He adapted to the circumstances of the match (10 minute time limit) and the fact that this was somewhat of a throw away match by going for a simple but effective layout. Endo comes out strong with some showcase offense before HARASHIMA cuts him off. The reigning KO-D Open Weight title holder then proceeded to jump on Endo’s just with a variety of deliberate foot stops; maybe a half dozen or so total. After that attack, he puts on a chin lock that looks harmless at first, but that’s before he slowly wrenches back further and further on the neck. Eventually when Endo’s back and head are basically perpendicular to the ground it becomes clear that it was not just a random chin lock but a brutal looking submission that played off of the foot stomps. The entire sequence reminded me a lot of Fit Finlay.
The match probably peaks there. Endo has nice explosive offense (think ROH era Austin Aries) and there were some more neat ideas from HARASHIMA as well. The match runs 6-minutes long and it is tidy although unremarkable TV-esque bout.