Zen Nihon Puroresu Tapes Videos

AJPW GAORA Classics #6 10/29/05 originally aired 2/3/01 2001 Shinshun Giant Series taped 1/2/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Masa Fuchi vs. Hiroshi Hase

Gran Naniwa & Ryuji Hijikata & Nobutaka Araya vs. Darkness Dragon & Hiroyuki Kanda & Susumu Mochizuki

Johnny Smith vs. The Cedman

Taiyo Kea & Mohammed Yone vs. Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai

Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada & Shigeo Okamura vs. Mike Barton & Jim Steele & George Hines


AJPW GAORA Classics #7 11/12/05 originally aired 2/17/01 2001 Shinshun Giant Series
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect


Genichiro Tenryu vs. Johnny Smith

Taiyo Kea & Hiroshi Hase vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Mohammed Yone

1/10/01 Osaka

Gran Naiwa vs. Ryuji Hijikata

Mike Barton & Jim Steele vs. Giant Kimala & The Cedman

4 vs. 4 Survival Tag Match: Toshiaki Kawada & Masa Fuchi & Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura vs. Taiyo Kea & Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai & Mohammed Yone

AJ 2001 Shinshun Giant Series Commercial Tape
-2hr. Q=Master

1/2 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Heavyweight Battle Royal

1/3 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Junior Heavyweight Battle Royal

1/10 Osaka, 4 vs. 4 Survival Tag Match: Toshiaki Kawada & Masa Fuchi & Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura vs. Taiyo Kea & Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai & Mohammad Yone

1/14 Tokyo Korakuen Hall, Sekai Tag Senshuken: Toshiaki Kawada & Masa Fuchi vs. Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith. No Cut

1/7: Masa Fuchi vs. Nobukazu Hirai

1/7: Shigeo Okumura vs. Kyoshiro Suizenji

1/8: Shigeo Okumura & Nobukazu Hirai vs. Yuto Aijima & Kyoshiro Suizenji

1/2 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Hiroshi Hase vs. Masa Fuchi

1/10 Osaka: Genichiro Tenryu & Yuto Aijima vs. Hiroshi Hase & Johnny Smith

1/2 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada & Shigeo Okumura vs. Mike Barton & Jim Steele & George Hines

1/14 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Hiroshi Hase & George Hines vs. Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai

1/14 Tokyo Korakuen Hall: Nobutaka Araya & Ryuji Hijikata & Nobukazu Hirai vs. Kim Duk & Jim Steele & The Cedman

AJ Giant Baba Sankaigi (3rd anniversary of death) Tsuito (memorial) Kogyo (performance)
& Stan Hansen Intai Ceremony Commercial Tape 1/28/01 Tokyo Dome
-1hr 55min. Q=Master.

Stan Hansen retirement ceremony. The retired wrestlers that attended were The Destroyer, Lord James Blears, & Pete Roberts

Giant Baba Sankaigi Tsuito Kogyo Tokubestsu Jiai: Terry Funk & Atsushi Onita vs. Abdullah The Butcher & Giant Kimala. A notable match due to Onita returning to All Japan after 17 years and it being the first garbage match in AJ in over a decade. Of course, the wrestling was terrible. The fans liked the match for the legends, novelty, & nostalgia. It sucked, but it was really wild and bloody for AJ. At least they kept it short. *

Mil Mascaras & Hijo Del Santo vs. Arkangel De La Muerte & Blue Panther. Obviously, the match was at it's best when Santo was in. He and Panther can still really go. They put together some really nice sequences, and Santo was taking more chances than usual. His tope was superb, but what was cool is it sent Panther over the guard rail in a believable manner. Santo also gave Panther a corbata off the apron. Lucha is not exactly the All Japan fans cup of tea; they applauded politely for the best spots and that was about it. They certainly respect the legendary Mascaras, who gave his typical selfish performance although it was more acceptable today since his return to All Japan was the only reason the other three got the payday. **1/2

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Nobutaka Araya vs. Kim Duk & Shigeo Okumura. Duk look ancient, and wrestles that way too. He did hit hard, but he's got the same amount of agility and flexibility that Hansen has right now. It was horrible when he was in with Fujiwara. At least Araya and Okumura were okay. 9:12 shown. *

Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Alexander Otsuka & Mohammad Yone. Why was this so short? I pretty much liked everything they did, but there were two different matches and they were lucky to have enough time to do one properly. In the beginning, it was a fairly realistic and highly technical match. Kakihara & Otsuka were showing varying ability here, and excellent battle of positioning. Suddenly, with Nagai & Yone, the match exploded for a few minutes of almost equally good spot action then ended. The potential was certainly there, but the structuring wasted it. 8:21 shown. ***1/4

Johnny Smith & Jim Steele & George Hines vs. Mike Rotundo & Curt Hennig & Barry Windham. Rotundo, Hennig, & Windham all looked okay, but they were out of place because they still wrestle like it's 1985 (minus most of the ability they had then). The way Steele was wrestling, I wished the vaunted Steele trap was something they left him in to spare us the misery. In spite of him, the wrestling was adequate even though it wasn't exciting. 9:06 shown. *1/2

Steve Williams vs. Mike Barton. A lot better than I expected. Both were at least decent and put forth strong efforts. They worked very stiffly, particularly the chops. Williams was kind of like Rick Steiner, except his match was actually good. The spot where he backdropped Barton into the guard rail was nasty. Barton is athletic enough to help make Williams look good and provide a few flying moves that you aren't going to get from Williams. One such spot was a shoulderblock off the top to the floor. 11:16 shown. **3/4

AJPW GAORA Classics #9 11/26/05 originally aired 3/17/01 2001 Excite Series taped 2/24/01 Fukuoka Hakata Starlanes
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

2/18/01: Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi & Kim Duk vs. Keiji Mutoh & Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith

Masa Fuchi vs. Kyoshiro Suizenji

Rob Van Dam & Sabu & Giant Kimala vs. Susumu Mochizuki & Kanda & Darkness Dragon

Shigeo Okumura vs. George Hines

Kim Duk & TARU & Nobukazu Hirai vs. Dan Kroffat & Jim Steele & Ryuji Hijikata

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Yuto Aijima

AJ Zen Nihon Puroresu #10 4/14/01 2001 Excite Series
-1 1/2hr. Q=TV Master

2/24 Fukuoka Hakata Starlanes Sekai Tag Senshukenjiai: Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith vs. Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo. Kea & Smith were fired up, but they could only do so much with this opposition. The match did improve as it went along, but in the end it was still mediocre. About as bad and heatless of a match as you can find for these belts. **

3/1 Hiroshima Kenritsu Fukuyama Sangyo Koryukan

Champion Carnival Sankaken (right to participate) Sodatsu Leaguesen: Mitsuya Nagai vs. George Hines. Nagai looked good. Hines was rarely on offense during the portion that aired, and didn't make an impression one way or the other. 2:40 shown

Genichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada & Masa Fuchi vs. Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith & Yuto Aijima. Tenryu was the best of the bunch, and Kawada was also impressive. The supporting players weren't up to their level though, particularly Aijima who you wonder why they use because he even has a lousy body. 7:18 shown

3/2 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukan

Danny Kroffat & Rob Van Dam vs. Giant Kimala & Sabu. Van Dam seems more exciting in this setting because he's not surrounded by fellow spot machines. Sabu and him used some gimmicks and did brawl, but not nearly as much as they would in ECW. That's a good thing though because, although there was still no rhyme or reason to anything they did, it didn't get so out of control. Kroffat is heavier than he used to be, and not as athletic for a number of reasons, but he still seemed competent. Basically it was Van Dam's show, and he made it kind of interesting in his silly way. *3/4

Champion Carnival Sankaken Sodatsu Leaguesen: Nobutaka Araya vs. Jim Steele. The last few minutes were decent. 3:48 shown

Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Mitsuya Nagai. Looked like something out of '88. They constantly had a submission hold, but nobody reacted. Much of the problem was they didn't do much to make the submission moves seem threatening, so people took them more as rest holds. It was fine in this edited form, but I wouldn't want to see 30 minutes of this. 11:20 shown

Toshiaki Kawada & Masa Fuchi vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Kim Duk. Tenryu & Kawada worked together a lot more than I expected, which of course really helped the match. Tenryu focused on Kawada's bad arm. Duk is awful, but was almost passable when he followed Tenryu's lead in working over the arm. Mainly they beat the hell out of each other, which in a way isn't difficult so Duk is capable of doing that. Short match, but pretty exceptional when you confider the average age of the perfomers is over 45. ***

AJ Zen Nihon Puroresu #11 4/28/01 2001 Excite Series taped 3/3/01 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan
-1 1/2hr. Q=TV Master

Sabu vs. Rob Van Dam. These two are more at ease without Giant Baba around. Obviously I'd rather have Baba, but you can see they function better when they aren't afraid to use their props. The usual stuff from these two. Tons of action and some wild spots, but some sloppiness and no psychology. Van Dam did a nice moonsault attack of the guard rail. **1/4

Johnny Smith vs. George Hines. Smith was really good here. He lead Hines through a solid technical match with good flow and nice transitions. Smith focused on Hines arm. Hines doesn't have much offense, but he didn't need much here. he assumed the role of the underdog, and the fans got behind him because he kept fighting so hard even though Smith was dominating him. Definitely quality here. 10:01 shown

Mike Barton vs. Jim Steele. They tried hard, but it wasn't good or entertaining. They performed their moves right, they just aren't exactly talented. 9:58 shown

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Mitsuya Nagai. Nagai wasn't given a chance to compete. The story was that Kawada would beat Nagai up, and when the "young punk" would try to come back, Kawada would hit him that much harder. Nagai earned respect for taking all these blistering blows and still trying to fight back. Really basic match, but the siffness was incredible. Nagai's left thigh really took a beating, and it showed. The one noticiable weakness in Nagai's game is his selling, but that's not surprising since most of his career was spent in RINGS, where they don't sell like they do in pro style. Although I'd like to see Nagai be more competitive, this could be a great building point for future confrontations between the two. ***3/4

Masa Fuchi & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo. Short, uneventful match between four over the hill fighters. No one did anything impressive, or really much of anything. *

Sankan Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Taiyo Kea. It's really a shame they edited this match down because it seemed so impressive. Both men were excellent, and they worked so well together because they bring different things to the table. Tenryu structured the match smartly and was really stiff, while added excitement by doing so many good moves. Neither held anything back. Kea worked over Tenryu's bad knee. The problem with the match is Kea didn't get Tenryu in trouble. His offense was nice, but we never got the feeling that Tenryu could possibly lose. It stlll seemed like an excellent match, but it would have had a lot better chance of being great if they gave us some drama. 11:30 shown

AJPW GAORA Classics #12 12/11/05 originally aired 5/12/01 2001 Champion Carnival taped 3/23/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Champion Carnival Koshiki Leaguesen: Mike Barton vs. George Hines. They kept the pace up and executed their moves well. 7:11 shown

Champion Carnival Koshiki Leaguesen: Steve Williams vs. Jim Steele. Williams showed how little he has left. His offense was rarely impressive because he has no athleticism or flexibility left. Of course, it doesn't help that Steele isn't much of a bumper. Not even the least bit competitive. *

Champion Carnival Koshiki Leaguesen: Taiyo Kea vs. Johnny Smith. A little slow, but solid and well worked. Smith worked on Kea's arm and shoulder. Teaming with Muto seems to be helping Kea. He's wrestling smarter and adopted Muto's knee attack. ***

Champion Carnival Koshiki Leaguesen: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Mitsuya Nagai. Good while it lasted, but Tenryu came back and knocked Nagai out with a couple of moves after taking a few minutes of his offense. I liked the stiffness, but the match was too short to amount to anything and made Nagai look terribly inept.

Champion Carnival Koshiki Leaguesen: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara. Kawada did a tremendous job of making this worthwhile. Nothing fancy, just good stiff offense. Fujiwara has nothing to match Kawada's attack. His headbutts don't cut it when Kawada is kicking and slapping the hell out of him, and about the only other thing he did was slap back. Since Kawada can take it as well as he can dish it out, Fujiwara's offense looked as good as Fujiwara's offense is capable of looking in 2001 even though he usually still didn't hit hard enough. The match was never boring even though it couldn't be diverse due to Fujiwara having to work a believable "shoot" style (which of course is what Kawada is best at anyway). ***

AJPW GAORA Classics #13 1/7/06 originally aired 5/26/01 2001 Champion Carnival taped 4/11 Sendai Miyagi Shi Taiikukan
-1 1/2hr. Q=Perfect

Shigeo Okumura vs. Johnny Smith. Smith wrestled a solid match, but it was too one-sided to be all that good.

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Kim Duk vs. Masahito Kakihara & Yuto Aijima. Terrible outside of Kakihara, who unfortunately didn't get the opportunity to do much. 3/4

Steve Williams vs. Nobutaka Araya. Williams dominated the match, and once again was not impressive at all. *

Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Mike Barton & Jim Steele. Barton did his big punch to Kawada's balls. After that it was mainly Nagai getting beat on. The gaijins offense wasn't very impressive, although a match like this is probably doomed from the get go since the storyline doesn't allow Kawada to take over. 5:26 shown

2001 Champion Carnival Yushoketteisen: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Taiyo Kea. Kea has the three key elements - stiffness, athleticism, and diversity - down, so his striking offense is highly impressive. He didn't attack Tenryu's bad ribs, perhaps to be honorable, but he did work over his knee. Kea got most of the offense in and basically everything he did was sharp and crisply executed. Beyond this, I can't find much good to say about the match. It had incredibly little aura for a Carnival final. You could write this off to the cold crowds and generally disinterest in puroresu, but I think it's mainly because they didn't do the right match. The final is not the place for Kea to do down after a few moves. If you get to the final you should be treated as an equal. Although Kea dominated the match, it seemed like a regression from their title match the previous month because he never even had Tenryu in trouble. Everything was well done, but the match was laid out in a way that anyone should have been able to see would minimize it's dramatic impact. The Champion Carnival has always been a big deal, but you can't rely it's prestigious history alone. You can't merely work a solid match. You have to give the fans something to get worked up about if not do something at least remotely special. 7:43 shown

AJ Zen Nihon Puroresu #14 6/9/01 2001 Champion Carnival Special taped 4/14/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-1 1/2hr. Q=TV Master

Yuto Aijima vs. Kyoshiro Suizenji. Suizenji is one of those awkward lanky wrestlers, but he didn't look bad. He did a nice bridging backdrop, kneel kick, and Michinoku driver II. Aijima was also adequate. *1/2

Jinsei Shinzaki & Nobutaka Araya vs. Jim Steele & Mike Barton. Like several lousy NJ heavies, Barton has made himself more tollerable by working fast paced matches. Also, his execution has been fine this year. The fans got into it and it did seem like a pretty good match. Steele stayed out of the way, while Shinzaki & Araya were on their usual level. 10:40 shown

Masa Fuchi & Yoshiaki Fujiwara vs. Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai. Kakihara & Fujiwara went at it pretty hard. Surprisingly, Fujiwara seemed stiffer with Kakihara than he was with Kawada on AJ #12. It was short and otherwise not particularly interesting though. The stiffness was nice, but the matwork was uninspiring. *1/2

Steve Williams & George Hines vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima. 3:27 shown

Sekai Tag Senshukenjiai: Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Kim Duk. Smith, who was the best in the match, did his best to work around Duk's immobility. We didn't get much from Tenryu here, probably because he had most likely worked many hard matches during the Carny despite not being close to 100%. Smith & Kea went after his bad ribs to some extent. Okay match with no aura or heat. **

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Keiji Muto. 4:39 shown

AJ Zen Nihon Puroresu #15 6/23/01 2001 Super Power Series One Night Special taped 5/20/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1 1/2hr. Q=TV Master

Gran Naniwa vs. SHIIBA. They did interesting moves, but it wasn't a very good match because they didn't execute them all that well. 5:31 shown

Kenichiro Arai & Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito vs. Yasushi Kanda & Susumu Mochizuki & Darkness Dragon. They could have done a lot more moves, but there were several segments where they instead chose to entertain, or attempt to, in different ways. It took a long time to get going and even when it did the fans didn't react at all. Although Lucha isn't these fans cup of tea, this was an excellent match in points and definitely during the final minutes. These guys work so well together and everyone gave at least a good performance. ***1/2

Kim Duk vs. Nobukazu Hirai. A bad match in WAR that's gotten several times worse with another 9 years of Duk refusing to enter the retirement pond. Duk, awful as always, sold for Hirai, but then beat him with a few moves. 3:44 shown

Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura vs. Masato Tanaka & Hideki Hosaka. Hosaka was surprisingly sharp. While it's a given with Tanaka, I certainly didn't anticipate writing Hosaka was better than the AJ guys. Seemed like a pretty good match. 8:14 shown

Taiyo Kea & Hiroshi Hase vs. Tatsutoshi Goto & Michiyoshi Ohara. Hase & Kea did a good job, but the opposition was too talentless. Kea does a nice Frankensteiner, but not when Goto screws up the bump. Goto & Ohara can be passable in those 10 minute sprints, but working an 18 minute match totally exposed them. *3/4

AJPW GAORA Classics #16 1/26/06 originally aired 7/7/01 2001 Super Power Series
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

5/20/01 Korakuen

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Masa Fuchi vs. Mitsuya Nagai & Masahito Kakihara


6/8/01 Budokan

Kim Duk & Gran Naniwa vs. Masa Fuchi & Nobukazu Hirai

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Yuto Aijima vs. Jinsei Shinzaki & Giant Kimala

Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura vs. Mike Barton & George Hines

6/1/01: Abdullah the Butcher & Giant Kimala vs. Sabu & Mitsuya Nagai clipped

Abdullah the Butcher vs. Sabu

AJPW GAORA Classics #17 2/4/06 originally aired 7/21/01 2001 Super Power Series taped 6/8/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Masa Fuchi vs. Masahiro Chono 9/2/00 clipped

Keiji Muto vs. Toshiaki Kawada 4/14/01

Asia Tag Title Match: Mitsuya Nagai & Masahito Kakihara vs. Yuji Nagata & Shinya Makabe

Double Tag Title Match: Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Yutaka Yoshie

Triple Crown: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Keiji Muto

-2hr 55min. Q=TFDVD. 2 DVDs


Steve Williams & George Hines vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima. Williams was more fired up here than for any match I've seen him in since at least '97. Too bad he has none of the ability he possessed in those days. Tenzan & Kojima went about business as usual though, so it didn't much matter. Aside from being far more heated, it was their typical good stuff since they plug all their lousy opponents into their formula. ***

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Keiji Muto. This has been hailed as one of the best matches of the year, but to me it was only one of the most infuriating. Muto pulled his typical antics against an interpromotional foe that should be his equal: stalling, showing the match was fake, making them supply all the quality, and rewarding their effort by making sure that he did not not put them or their promotion over in the least. Muto was a pussy, forcing Kawada to go so easy on him that it was kind of embarrassing for Kawada and his fans and refusing to get thrown around or take a decent bump for Kawada's backdrop. Kawada did a great job, especially given the limitations and the fact that this was the last of several grueling matches on a tour he should have missed due to injury. He was exceptional when it came to selling Muto's damage, which was in no way worthy of such effort. The match meandered along for the 1st 10 minutes due to Muto, but then Kawada picked the match up and there were some quality minutes while he was on offense, even though not as good as usual due to the wimpiness of the opposition. Muto split his attack up between Kawada's knee because that's what Muto likes to go after and Kawada's arm because that was Kawada's most problematic injury. The problem is that instead of Muto bringing out his good offense once the match heated up, he basically only used lame dropkicks that had no zip or explosiveness. The divided attack was not as strong as his usual knee attack for many reasons, and about the only thing good about it was the acting and incredible intensity Kawada displayed throughout these portions as well as the rest of the match. Kawada getting KO'd by the typically inept shining wizard was an insult after seeing all the brutal shots he's repeatedly weathered from Hansen, Misawa, Tsuruta, Tenryu, and so on. The match was only good because Kawada is the best heavyweight and could have a good match with a broom. All his matches against the same guys Muto has been fighting are better than this and better than Muto's matches against these guys, which should be obvious except suddenly Muto is theoretically the greatest. It's depressing how badly AJ has prostituted themselves to NJ. ***1/4

6/8/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

Steve Williams & Miko Rotundo vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiro Saito 11:37. Hiro made an effort, but he's no Tenzan and Kojima couldn't do it on his own. Still, it was better than you might think because it was a short heated fast-paced match where everyone tried hard. **1/4

Shin Asia Tag Oza Ketteisen: Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Yuji Nagata & Shinya Makabe 12:40. It's unfortunate that they didn't give these guys 20 minutes because the match was damn good and would only have been that much better. Nagata looked particularly great against these guys because they are talented and understand his style. Makabe was not on the level, but did okay for himself, especially since he's out of his element in the more realistic kind of match. Kakihara & Nagai worked over his left arm. They weren't as stiff as usual, but that's understandable because Nagai had screwed up the AJ vs. NJ series two days earlier by accidentally kicking Iizuka so hard that he couldn't continue. Very believable near falls at the end, especially with the last fraction of a second kickouts. ***1/4

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan 15:10. Tenzan is a much better opponent for Kawada because he urges his opposition to hit him with their best shots. He put forth so much more effort than Muto. He always made it look like he was applying pressure on his holds rather than just holding his opponent. Both ment put so much effort into making their opponents moves look impressive. Very intense match where they pretty much just beat the hell out of each other. Kawada took everything Tenzan had in his arsenal since he was going over. No matter how brutal the blows were, both ment kept staggering up at each other for some more. ****

Sekai Tag Senshukenjiai: Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Yutaka Yoshie 18:14. It was dull, and these teams didn't work too well together. Nakanishi was pretty lifeless, and Yoshie has never brought anything to the table. Kea was the main guy trying here, but there were too many points where they weren't on the same page. *1/2

Sankan Heavykyu Senshukenjiai: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Keiji Muto 23:24. Spot match. Muto used his best moves right off the bat. He did his shining wizard and backbreaker to set up his moonsault, but Tenryu rolled out of the way. This didn't make Muto's moves look too great (not that I'm complaining, especially since they aren't), but got the crowd all stoked up and also established the moonsault as Muto's #1 finisher for this particular match. The problem with this match is so many of the moves weren't performed that well. In a way I admire them for trying a match that's totally based on the highspots, but in a way I think it's really goofy because they are too old and injured up. With these things in mind, it was probably the best match they could do today in this style. Really though, aside from not screwing everyone with an awful American finish, it was worse than the match they had in the '98 G1 because they were in better condition then so they could take more risks and more importantly they were able to do their typical moves better. Here you had things like Tenryu practically getting stuck in the ropes doing his tope and Muto trying a pescado but only connecting with a shin. The reasons it was better than Muto's match with Kawada is Muto had more explosiveness and was more into it because it was totally his style of NJ big match rather than anything that resembled the established style of a triple crown match. The match was probably the least stiff in the history of the title and was not any good psychologically either, but they did pull out virtually every move in their arsenal and the finish was logical. ***3/4

AJPW GAORA Classics #18 2/11/06 originally aired 8/4/01 2001 Summer Action Series
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

6/8/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Yuto Aijima vs. Taiyo Kea

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Gran Naniwa vs. Johnny Smith & Nobukazu Hirai

Jim Steele & George Hines vs. Shawn Hernandez & Kasey Geyer

Asia Tag Title Match: Mitsuya Nagai & Masahito Kakihara vs. Jinsei Shinzaki & Shigeo Okumura

AJPW GAORA Classics #19 2/20/06 originally aired 8/18/01 2001 Summer Action Series
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

6/30/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Steve Williams vs. Mike Barton

Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Nobutaka Araya

7/14/01 Nippon Budokan

Gran Hamada & Hideki Nishida vs. MEN'S Teio & Tiger Mask IV

Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Yuto Aijima & Ryuji Hijikata vs. George Hines & Shawn Hernandez & Kasey Geyer

Mitsuya Nagai vs. Shigeo Okumura

AJPW GAORA Classics #20 2/25/06 originally aired 9/1/01 2001 Summer Action Series taped 7/14/01 Nippon Budokan
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Masa Fuchi vs. Gran Naniwa vs. Nobukazu Hirai

Jinsei Shinzaki & Mohammed Yone vs. Mike Barton & Jim Steele

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Nobutaka Araya

World Tag Title Match: Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith vs. Geinichiro Tenryu & Yoji Anjo

Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Keiji Muto vs. Steve Williams

AJPW GAORA Classics #21 3/4/06 originally aired 9/15/01 2001 Summer Action Series II taped 8/26/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

8/19/01 Korakuen Hall, Kazushi Miyamoto Debut Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Kazushi Miyamoto

10-Bell Salute for Terry Gordy

Vampiro & George Hines & Jim Steele vs. Mitsuya Nagai & Hideki Hosaka & Yuto Aijima

Masa Fuchi & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs. Johnny Smith & Mike Barton

Hiroshi Hase & Taiyo Kea vs. Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo

AJPW GAORA Classics #22 3/11/06 originally aired 10/6/01 2001 Summer Action Series II
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

8/26/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Genichiro Tenryu & Arashi & Koki Kitahara vs. Shigeo Okumura & Kazushi Miyamoto & Nobutaka Araya

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Yoji Anjo

9/8/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

Kazushi Miyamoto vs. Johnny Smith

Vampiro & George Hines & Jim Steele vs. Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo & Hiroshi Hase

Masa Fuchi & Yuto Aijima vs. Osamu Kido & Hiroshi Tanahashi

AJPW GAORA Classics #23 3/20/06 originally aired 10/27/01 2001 Summer Action Series II taped 9/8/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Kim Duk & Hideki Hosaka vs. Gran Naniwa & Nobukazu Hirai

Asia Tag Title Match: Shigeo Okumura & Nobutaka Araya vs. Arashi & Koki Kitahara

Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Masahiro Chono & Mike Barton

World Tag Title Match: Genechiro Tenryu & Yoji Anjo vs. Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea

AJPW GAORA Classics #24 4/6/06 originally aired 11/10/01 2001 Giant Series
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

10/7/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Yoji Anjo vs. Masato Tanaka

Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuo Nagai & Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura vs. Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo & Jim Steele & Mike Barton

10/8/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Masa Fuchi vs. Kazushi Miyamoto

Ryuji Hijikata vs. Jim Steele

Abdullah the Butcher & Giant Kimala & Yuto Aijima vs. Masato Tanaka & Gran Naniwa & Nobukazu Hirai

AJPW GAORA Classics #26 4/22/06 originally aired 12/11/01 2001 Giant Series taped 10/27/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Abdullah the Butcher vs. Yoji Anjo

Masa Fuchi vs. Arashi

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kodo Fuyuki

Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Keiji Muto vs. Masahiro Chono

AJPW GAORA Classics #27 4/29/06 originally aired 12/22/01 2001 World's Strongest Tag Decision League Match taped 11/24/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Tomoaki Honma vs. Nobukazu Hirai. Honma had no problem getting by without the gimmick spots. Hirai was a good opponent for him because he's solid but unspectacular. Good short match. The fans got into it because there were so many close calls. Honma wasn't at his most exciting, but they made us care about the moves they used and the outcome. ***

Nobutaka Araya & Ryuji Hijikata vs. Masato Tanaka & Hideki Hosaka. Closest to Hijikata's style. Good impact. Built pretty well and had nice near finishes. Hosaka fought a much solider match than in his FMW or W*ING days. He's probably better in this environment because he used to try too many things that his execution was suspect on. I liked the spot where Tanaka ducked Hijikata's lariat then tried to duck again on the way back off the ropes only to get drilled in the head with a high kick. ***

2001 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leaguesen: Yoji Anjo & Johnny Smith vs. George Hines & Vampiro. Anjo & Hines put together a good knee attack on Hines. Hines selling was suspect at best though. He made some comebacks, but never thought or bothered to tag. Vampiro got the pin even though he hardly worked. Started off promising, but never developed into anything. *3/4

2001 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leaguesen: Genichiro Tenryu & Kodo Fuyuki vs. Ron Harris & Don Harris. Bad punch, kick, and stomp match. Tenryu mailed it in. Tenryu and Fuyuki lariated each other then Ron avoided their sandwich lariat, so Tenryu chopped Fuyuki and Fuyuki fired back with his lariat. With Tenryu "out" from the lariat, the Harris' pinned Fuyuki with a double H bomb. *

2001 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leaguesen: Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Koki Kitahara & Arashi. This match didn't make a lot of sense to me. Nagai, who's 33, was booked like a young boy getting by and will more than skill. Kawada was giving him directions and slapped spirit into him like Inoki. Arashi didn't even bother to selli for him. In the end, although the opposition didn't seem to take him seriously, Nagai got the pin knocking Arashi out with a high kick. Arashi didn't fit in with the striking style of the others. The pacing wasn't very good to begin with, but he slowed the match to a halt. Kawada was kind of off. *1/2

AJPW GAORA Classics #28 5/6/06 originally aired 1/12/02 2001 World's Strongest Tag Decision League Match taped 11/28/01 Kobe World Kinen Hall
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

11/24 Tokyo Korakuen Hall '01 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen: Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo vs. Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea. This slow motion match went on forever with no intensity. It was more notable for the terrible low budget almost handheld quality shoot that forced us to endure several zooms that weren't exactly Bava-esque. After 17 minutes they actually started to wrestle, but even then it was slow with Muto & Kea doing their requisite knee attack. *

'01 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen: Ron & Don Harris vs. George Hines & Vampiro. Punch, kick, and stomp brawl. At least it was short and they kept moving. The last few minutes were actually pretty good. Hines carried the match with Vampiro supplying most of the action at the end. *1/4

'01 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen: Johnny Smith & Yoji Anjo vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai. As this looked like the one really worthwhile match on the show, they of course cut it down to nearly 1/3. Good stiff intense match. All that they showed most pretty fast, I have had no idea that they'd already been wrestling so long if not for the time calls. 11:14 aired

'01 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen: Genichiro Tenryu & Kodo Fuyuki vs. Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea. These leagues age the older beat up guys like Tenryu & Muto. At least Muto is smart enough to take a young partner that can take the bulk of the match. This was pretty good, but didn't build very well. I thought it might end when Tenryu was getting destroyed while Fuyuki argued with some WAR goofs, but then it seemed like it would go a lot longer. Kea was good and the others were alright. **1/4

AJPW GAORA Classics #29 5/13/06 originally aired 1/26/02 2001 World's Strongest Tag Decision League Match taped 12/7/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-1hr 25min. Q=Perfect

Masato Tanaka & Hideki Hosaka & Tomoaki Honma vs. Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo & Yoji Anjo. Honma looked good here both offensively and defensively. He actually made Williams look pretty good. Anjo did a pretty good job here realizing he was the only one on Williams team that's still capable of anything and giving Tanaka & Honma someone to work with. 5:55 shown

'01 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen Kessho Tournament Ikkaisen: Genichiro Tenryu & Kodo Fuyuki vs. Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea. Big difference in the effort department between this and their league match. Even the acting was a lot better. Good from the beginning with Muto making a hot tag at 6:00 to take it to the next level. Had heat and drama. Wasn't a marathon, but that was for the better because it was consistently good and entertaining, especially Tenryu vs. Kea. Fuyuki is passable when he works fast like this against good opponents. ***1/4

'01 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen Kessho Tournament Ikkaisen: Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Ron & Don Harris. Showed how good Kawada still is because his sequences with the Bros looked as good as anything they've ever done. Nagai looked good as well. It was a simple match, but that's the only way you can hope to get anything from the Harris' and it's Kawada & Nagai's strength anyway. **1/2

Johnny Smith & George Hines & Vampiro vs. Arashi & Koki Kitahara & Nobukazu Hirai. What aired was pretty good, seemingly in the NJ heavyweight tag style of work fast, make quick tags, and have everyone do their best spots so people won't notice how not good some of these guys are. Smith vs. Hirai and Hines vs. Kitahara were the matchups to watch. 9:16 aired

'01 Sekai Saikyo Tag Kettei Leagusen Kessho Tournament Yushosen: Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai vs.Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea. Kind of a compromise between the old psychology style and the new more spot oriented style. The match they laid out was well, but they seemed to lack the desire to properly develop it. Nagai was the guy that didn't belong fighting hard although he was overmatched. Unlike some of the other matches in the tournament, even though Nagai was ultimately pinned, this was gave him the opportunity to gain respect because a lesser fighter would have succumbed a while ago. Kawada played the big brother, but he tended to wind up outnumbered when he tried to stick up for Nagai, who was too hurt to hold off either foe. Kawada & Muto did lockups for the first 1:15 then psyched everyone up when Kawada backdropped Muto out of a headlock, but Muto popped and gave Kawada his shining wizard then both sold. Nagai is a better leg striker than Kea, but Kea throws better elbows and knows to stick with them. Nagai's arm strikes need improvement; he's all wind up. Muto's team focused on the knees as always. Muto, not surprisingly, was the worst in the match doing the same few moves as always that Kea does better even though he also does a lot of other things well. Of course, his shining wizards were off the mark. It's funny how this move has gained so much popularity since Muto started using it, and every single person that copied it from Muto does it 15 times better than him. It hurts a match of strikers to have a guy you can't go full force on, but he's so far gone physically that you can't blame him. Anyway, this was one of the best matches Muto has been in since he became the supposed Mr. Psychology Savior of Puroresu. It had good dramatic moments with Kawada saving Nagai or failing to. There was a tremendous segment where Kawada saved Nagai from sure defeat when he stopped Kea's Hawaiian crusher with a kick only to have Kea & Muto get on opposite sides and give him a long barrage of jumping kicks to the knees. Kawada was great trying to fight this off by kicking the guy flying at him and stay on his feet so they wouldn't go back and finish Nagai off. ***3/4

AJ Official DVD Magazine 2001 Part 1
-2hr. Q=Master.

7/14/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Nobutaka Araya. 4m (all times in this listing are approx time shown)

Sekai Tag Senshukan: Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Yoji Anjo. 10m

Sankan Heavykyu Senshuken: Keiji Muto vs. Steve Williams. 8m

8/19/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Kazushi Miyamoto Debut Match: Hiroshi Hase vs. Kazushi Miyamoto. 4m

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Shigeo Okumura. 3m

Taiyo Kea & Masa Fuchi & Nobutaka Araya vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Arashi & Koki Kitahara. 5m

8/26 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Terry Gordy 10 Count

Taiyo Kea & Hiroshi Hase vs. Mike Rotundo & Steve Williams. 8m

Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura & Kazushi Miyamoto vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Araashi & Koki Kitahara. 9m

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Yoji Anjo. 9m

9/8 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

Masa Fuchi & Yuto Aijima vs. Osamu Kido & Hiroshi Tanahashi. 9m

Asia Tag Senshuken: Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura vs. Arashi & Koki Kitahara. 4m

Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai vs. Masa Chono & Mike Barton. 12m

Sekai Tag Senshuken: Genichiro Tenryu & Yoji Anjo vs. Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea. 12m

AJ Official DVD Magazine 2001 Part 2
-2hr. Q=Master.

10/7/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Taiyo Kea & Masa Fuchi & Kazushi Miyamoto vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Arashi & Koki Kitahara. 6m (all times in this listing are approx time shown)

Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai & Nobutaka Araya & Shigeo Okumura vs. Steve Williams & Mike Barton & Mike Rotundo & Jim Steele. 4m

10/8/01 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

Masa Fuchi vs. Kazushi Miyamoto. 2m

Sekai Tag & Asia Tag Double Title Match: Genichiro Tenryu & Yoji Anjo & Arashi & Koki Kitahara vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai & Johnny Smith & George Hines. 7m

10/22/01 Niigata Shi Taiikukan

Sekai Tag Senshuken: Genichiro Tenryu & Yoji Anjo vs. Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea. 8m

10/27/01 Tokyo Nippon Budokan, AJ vs. WAR 5 vs. 5 Single Match

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Taiyo Kea. 5m

Hakushi vs. Koki Kitahara. 5m

Yoji Anjo vs. Abdullah The Butcher. 4m

Arashi vs. Masa Fuchi. 5m

Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kodo Fuyuki. 11m

Sankan Heavykyu Senshuken: Keiji Muto vs. Masa Chono. 9m

12/7 Tokyo Nippon Budokan

2001 Sekai Saikyo Tag league match highlight. 20m

Tag Final: Keiji Muto & Taiyo Kea vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Mitsuya Nagai . 7m