AJPW ALL JAPAN PRO-WRESTLING 2004 DVD VHS
Zen Nihon Puroresu Tapes Videos


All Japan 3/14/04 taped 2/15 Hakata Star Lane
-2hr Q=TV Master

Hi 69 vs. Taichi Ishikari 8:06

Nobukazu Hirai & Gran Hamada vs. Shigeo Okumura & Ryuji Hijikata 20:00

Masayuki Kono/? vs. Nobutaka Araya/? 15:39

NOSAWA & MAZADA vs. Tomoaki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto 7:08

Toshiaki Kawada & Satoshi Kojima & Kaz Hayashi vs. Taiyo Kea & The Gladiator & Jamal 20:27

Great Muta & Abdullah The Butcher & Arashi vs. TAKA Michinoku & Buchanan & D-Lo Brown 15:18

AJ SKY PerfecTV! LIVE SPECIAL 2004 Excite Series Saishusen 2/22/04 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-3hr 40min. Q=TV Master

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Abdullah the Butcher & Ebedullah Buchan & Yaz Urano vs. Shigeo Okumura & Gran Hamada, & Taichi Ishikari 11:58

Ryuji Hijikata & Nobukazu Hirai vs. Nobutaka Araya & Hideki Hosaka 9:08

TAKA Michinoku, The Gladiator, & Bull Buchanan vs. Arashi, Hi69, & Masayuki Kono 12: 09

Hardcore Tag Match: Tomoaki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto vs. NOSAWA & MAZADA 12:27

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Masa Fuchi 10:43

World Junior Title Match: Kaz Hayashi vs. BLUE-K (TAKA Michinoku) 14:31

Taiyo Kea vs. Satoshi Kojima 19:23

Keiji Mutoh & Bob Sapp vs. Jamal & D-Lo Brown 15:05

Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Shinya Hashimoto 19:57. The long awaited dream match between the resident badasses of the two top Japanese promotions finally comes to pass, even if about 8 years late and with a literally near the end Hashimoto who was sitting atop the WAR-like indy ZERO-ONE rather than New Japan. These two might not have the physical gifts of their prime, but they are still intense, brutal, intelligent, and extremely effective when they want to be. Though it wasn't the blow away match of the year we all had anticipated for so many years, it was at least a very well structured story match where the focus, the ordering of the spots, and the selling yielded the sort of logical and dramatic match we've come to expect from these two. The early exchanges led to a battle of low kicks, obviously a losing proposition for Kawada with all his knee injuries, and it put him behind the 8 ball when Hashimoto did some serious damage with a suimengiri then kept stomping the knee so Kawada couldn't get back up. Kawada had a hard time mounting a sustained comeback because he could only put pressure on the knee for so long. Eventually Kawada did enough damage by finding Hashimoto's taped right shoulder with a UWF-I style resisted backdrop to begin to give himself enough time to get over his own issues. That weakness made Kawada's stretch plum a lot more credible, and they did a good job of making it seem like it meant something that Hashimoto escaped it the first time. Hashimoto came back catching a kick and chopping Kawada's bad knee, but was unable to cover after his suichoku rakka DDT because the impact on his own shoulder was too much, and now things were reversed and it was Hashimoto's shoulder that prevented him from sustaining a comeback. I was glad the match came to one of the two logical conclusions, but still I was surprised when President Yoshiyuki Nakamura threw the towel in during the 2nd stretch plum, as the match was still on the short side and they certainly left a lot on the table. It was a triumph of substance over style, yet that lack of style left it a bit thin and kept it from reaching it's potential. ***3/4

AJ 4/17/04 Champion Carnival 2004 ~Pleasure 6~ taped 4/12 Tokyo ZEPP Tokyo
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Nobukazu Hirai, Hideki Hosaka & Taichi Ishikari vs. TAKA Michinoku & Teppei Ishizaka & Daigoro Kashiwa 1:19 of 13:42

Ryuji Hijikata vs. BLUE-K 5:38

Kaz Hayashi & Gran Hamada vs. Tomoaki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto 15:48

Champion Carnival - Block B: Taiyo Kea vs. Nobutaka Araya 7:16

Champion Carnival - Block A: Jamal vs. Kensuke Sasaki 13:17

Champion Carnival - Block B: Arashi vs. Keiji Muto 10:34

Champion Carnival - Block A: Takao Omori vs. Satoshi Kojima 30:00

AJ 4/20/04 2004 Champion Carnival ~Pleasure 6~ taped 4/13 Tokyo ZEPP Tokyo
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Nobukazu Hirai & Hideki Hosaka & Taichi Ishikari vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taiyo Kea & GENTARO 6:52 of 12:41

Arashi & Gran Hamada vs. BLUE-K & Ryuji Hijikata 3:17 of 8:44

Takao Omori & Masa Fuchi vs.Tomoaki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto 12:58

Champion Carnival Block A: Kaz Hayashi vs. Jamal 10:56

Champion Carnival Block B:: Satoshi Kojima vs. Nobutaka Araya 17:55

Champion Carnival Block A: Keiji Muto vs. Kensuke Sasaki 30:00

BAPE STA!! 5/12/04 taped 5/4 Zepp Osaka
-2hr. Q=TV Master

Michiko Omukai, AKINO & Ebessan vs. Momoe Nakanishi, THE APEWOMAN & Kuishinbo Kamen 12:22

Nobutaka Araya, Nobukazu Hirai, Kazushi Miyamoto & Taichi Ishikari vs. Daio QUALLT, Big Boss MA-G-MA, Goa & Black Buffalo 11:51

Hardcore Tag Match: Kintaro Kanemura & Hideki Hosaka vs. Tomoaki Honma & Jun Kasai 10:54

TAKA Michinoku, Takehiro Murahama & Miracle Man vs. Toshiaki Kawada, Ryuji Hijikata & Katsuhiko Nakajima 14:40

Keiji Muto & Kaz Hayashi vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Super Delfin 16:42

BAPE STA!! Tag Team Title Match: Satoshi Kojima & THE APEMAN vs. Arashi & E! Bapeman vs. 13:36

AJPW BBanquet Special 8/1/04 2004 Summer Action Series ~Ryogoku Battle Banquet~ taped 7/18/04 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-2hr 55min. Q=Near Perfect. 1 DVD

World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Kaz Hayashi vs. Katsushi Takemura 14:54. I was pleasantly surprised by this match. The chemistry was good, and they were able to play off each other much better than I expected. Takemura isn't the most exciting or dynamic wrestler, but he stepped it up, proving he belonged in a title match. They executed well, delivering a number of difficult sequences and counters, and mostly due to Hayashi, the match was even spectacular enough. CTU interfered on Takemura's behalf, but even though Goto was involved in the finish, they never got in the way and made it feel like the match was about them rather than Hayashi & Takemura. The only downside is selling was generally ignored because Hayashi kept pushing the pace. ***1/2

Keiji Muto vs. Osamu Nishimura 18:02. Nishimura is a very skilled wrestler who tends toward dullardry, while Muto is a very washed up physical wreck who tends toward stalling. You knew they had the skill to do something really good, but more than likely the matchup was going to feed into their worst habits. Muto followed Nishimura's lead in wrestling a squeaky clean, honor the rope break style, but insisted on dominating the early portion. I don't mind Muto being on offense, the problem is he just laid around refusing to feed Nishimura any counter opportunities. Without any transitioning or chain wrestling, they succeeded in getting as little out of the rarely thrilling offense as possible. The match picked up with Muto's requisite knee attack, which led to Nishimura attacking the knee with a variety of diving kneedrops after blocking Muto's shining wizard. Nishimura's knee attack had potential, but they were almost to the brief finishing sequence by the time he got something going. *1/2

Genichiro Tenryu & Masa Fuchi vs. Nobutaka Araya & Arashi 7:10. Fuchi's opening was rather uneventful and Arashi was thankfully kept on the apron. I expected Tenryu to give one of his half assed efforts because it was short, and anything with Arashi is hopeless, but Tenryu was at least into wrestling his old protege Araya. Tenryu was looking for an opening to take a cheap shot, but Araya saw him creeping across the apron, turning around and dropping him with a lariat. Tenryu got his chance when Araya went for a pin on Fuchi, giving him a wicked soccer kick and ending their ensuing skirmish with a nasty open hand. Though ultimately brief, the Tenryu vs. Araya segment delivered. It made the match worthwhile and the audience want more, only thing is the bout was so onesided there seemed no reason for a singles match between the two beyond allowing Tenryu to release some pent up anger. *3/4

Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Satoshi Kojima 26:34. Kojima was excited to wrestle Misawa, and gave a major performance. His style fit well into what NOAH does these days, which perhaps wasn't for the better, but the match was something similar to Misawa wrestling a stiffer and actually highly motivated version of Akiyama. Aging Misawa has become Tenryu in that he can still have excellent matches, but he's totally reliant on the opposition to not only make the match by doing most of the work, but also to structure it. Tenryu was never that great at carrying a match in his prime, really only ever excelling at the veteran vs. hot youngster matches, but for Misawa this is a real shame because he could put together a far superior match to anything Kojima could come up with if he simply had any interest in doing so. As with most post 1997 Misawa big matches, this was a superbly wrestled one-dimensional spot oriented match. It was fun not only because it was a new match but because they came up with some spots that were different not simply for that reason such as Misawa countering Kojima's powerbomb on the floor with a Frankensteiner into the guard rail. The match didn't tell any story with Kojima selling his bad elbow when he did his stiff lariats, but Misawa still refusing to attack it. However, they were more than happy to replace thoughtful wrestling with as many big moves as they could pack into 26 minutes, pulling out such wild moves as the Koji cutter and Tiger driver off the apron. All these moves didn't lead to a match with any particular drama though, actually it began to get numbing to the point I didn't care when Kojima kicked out of the emerald flowsion. But despite the obvious limitations and flaws, I can't deny that they put the effort into making it a memorable interpromotional dream match. ****

Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Takao Omori 22:36. One of Kawada's miracles. Misawa has a great opponent, but didn't bother to get anything out of him, content to rely soley on the spectacular. Kawada only teased the spectacular, but worked his ass off to carry a mediocre opponent to a classic early 90's style AJ stiffness, selling, and intensity fight. Kawada seemed to have fun trying to do a match without compromising his story of playing cripple. Though Omori is never going to be a top choice for an opponent, there's something to be said for a guy who is smart enough to stay under control and sticks to the script, especially when the script is written by Kawada. Kawada sold his knee early to set up it becoming a problem and ease into Omori's knee attack rather than the typical relying on one big move to set it off. Kawada bruised Omori's cheek with one of his wicked kicks, but hurt his own knee trying to follow up with his kneedrop to the face. The ref tried to call for the doctor with Kawada sitting in the corner because he couldn't stand, but Omori fought through him and kept at the knee. Kawada did a great job of portraying the idea he could only stand for intervals. His first comeback consisted of collapsing after kenka kicks. Later, he would do a move and sell rather than chaining moves together. The story would have been better for a match he was going to lose, but Kawada making the match about his knee took a lot of the focus and pressure off Omori, which is always a good thing. ****1/4

AJPW Keiji Muto 20th Anniversary LOVE AND BUMP PPV 10/31/04 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-4hr. Q=Perfect

Super Love Machine (Junji Hirata) & Love Machine Arashi & Mini Love Machine (Gran Hamada) vs. Masanobu Fuchi & Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai 4:57

Kohei Suwama vs. Akira Raijin 7:26

Tomoaki Honma & Taichi Ishikari & Hi69 vs. TAKA Michinoku & NOSAWA & MAZADA 12:16. Nice undercard junior action, not trying to steal the show put providing some entertainment while leading into the matches that would make that attempt. Although Ichikari was never the one making the match, the bout was clearly better when he was in, as he worked the quickest and most complex segments with all opponents. TAKA worked well with everyone, doing a nice job of guiding them through the match. NOSAWA & MAZADA were much quicker than TAKA and had excellent timing, but you got the sense they were merely running through their routine rather than truly working back and forth sequences with the opposition like TAKA was. Honma supplied the majority of the offense for his team, though for me the highlight was an intense strike exchange with NOSAWA. Hi was the lowpoint of the match. He didn't screw up, but just took up space and time. **3/4

World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Kaz Hayashi vs. AKIRA 17:35. AKIRA didn't quite work out during his initial stint in NJ's junior division because he kept trying to be something he's not, a high flyer, but I'm glad AKIRA returned to the division now that he carved his own identity and truly learned how to work. AKIRA is good at keeping the matches under control. This was one of his solid, slickly worked and well acted bouts. They were thinking so much alike that they'd exchange the same move (for instance Dragon screw) or even both try the same move simultaneously (dropkick). This soon led to both men working each other's knee, taking some chances in between that were sometimes even related to this main theme, for instance AKIRA doing his diving body press to the back of the knee before trying to win with his usual version. Both men were about equally good, the main difference between the two being Hayashi's ability to throw in a few spectacular moves. ***1/2

Keiji Muto detailed career history narrated in English

Abdullah The Butcher & Ruckus vs. Osamu Nishimura & Jinsei Shinzaki 9:37

Satoshi Kojima vs. Love Machine X (Jim Steele) 13:37

Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Taiyo Kea 26:44. Kea provides Kawada with a lot of options, but this wasn't a major Kawada performance by any means. It was more toward late 90's Kawada where there wasn't a lot of depth to back up the more spectacular heavyweight offense the opponents were so concerned with. Any match where Kea uses all his moves and Kawada sells and sells is going to be quite good, but if it only had the story and intensity Kawada typically adds to a big match, it could have been great. I thought Kea rose to the occassion and did everything that could be expected of him, but was disappointed in Kawada because he didn't get anything out of Kea beyond the expected, beyond what anyone else could have. ***1/2

Keiji Muto 20th Anniversary Special Match: Keiji Muto & Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki 23:50

AJPW BBanquet Special 1/8/05 THE UNCHAINED WORLD taped 12/5/04 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-3hr 25min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Tomoaki Honma & Taichi Ishikari vs. AKIRA & Akira Raijin 13:14

Love Machine Storm & Mini Love Machine & Love Machine Steele vs. Masa Fuchi & Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai 8:35

World Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Kaz Hayashi vs. Nosawa 14:47

Vader vs. Kohei Suwama 6:28

Satoshi Kojima vs. Super Love Machine 16:52

The Great Muta (Keiji Muto) vs. The Great Muta (Johnny Stamboli) 11:00

Elimination Match: Kensuke Sasaki & Genichiro Tenryu & Katsuhiko Nakajima & Akira Hokuto & Kenshin vs. Taiyo Kea & Jamal & Buchanan & D-Lo Brown & TAKA Michinoku 26:54

Triple Crown Heavyweight Title Match: Toshiaki Kawada vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan 32:21. These two always have strong matches because they are more than happy to beat the hell out of each other. The match was similar to Kawada's 10/31/04 title defense against Kea in that it was largely the opponent's offense and his selling, but this one had the missing ingredients. It was much stiffer, more intense and dramatic. The key spot occurred early on with Tenzan stuffing Kawada's powerbomb on the floor and hitting the Tenzan tombstone driver. Kawada sold this so long he could have been counted out 6 times! Tenzan continued after the weakened neck, with Kawada giving Tenzan's DDT and calf-branding neckbreaker the treatment. Kawada finally got sick of Tenzan punking him and lost his cool, punting his downed opponent to the chagrin of the helpless referee, but even this angry flurry didn't carry him far. Injured Kawada was rarely able to gain, much less sustain any advantage over the intruding King of Sports ace. Tenzan got carried away bludgeoning him, adding insult to injury by accidentally busting Kawada open above the left eye with one of his headbutts. In the end, the problem with this match is Kawada was destroyed so badly it was hard to believe in his comeback victory. ****

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