Katsuhiko Nakajima & Nobukazu Hirai VS Buchanan & RO’Z
This was cut down to about half the match, and mostly showed Nakajima working against Buchanan to carry the match. This is the first time I’m seeing RO’Z in AJPW, and for the short time he was in the match, he seemed to get gassed pretty quickly, though he did manage to score the win over Hirai with a cross-body block off the second turnbuckle. Match Rating: 1/2*
Brute Issei VS Suwama
Suwama of course dominated a lot of this one. And even when Issei had an advantage, he didn’t do anything but stand there and wait for Suwama to take control again! Issei kicks out of release German suplex, but gets put away by a rather weak looking standing lariat that even had the crowd confused when he got the 3 count with it. Issei still has a long way to go in his development, but than again Suwama might have gotten pushed himself a little too soon.Match Rating: 1/2*
Taiyo Kea, TAKA Michinoku & D-Lo Brown VS Minoru Suzuki, NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA
This match mostly teased the rivalry between Kea and Suzuki, building to their eventual Triple Crown match. Suzuki did his usual spots to annoy and agitate Kea, and thankfully he had NOSAWA & MAZADA to keep the match interesting for his team by actually wrestling instead of just mouthing off. MAZADA looks like Ricky Marvin now that he shaved his head bald. The RO&D team showed better team work since they’ve been working together longer, and Kea scored the win for his team hitting a modified TKO on NOSAWA. Suzuki scored a small measure of revenge on the RO&D team after the match by attacking Kea and taunting him though.Match Rating: 1/2*
Hiroshi Hase Retirement Commemoration Match: Hiroshi Hase, Keiji Mutoh & Satoshi Kojima VS TARU, Shuji Kondo & “brother” YASSHI
I still question why Hase’s last matches had to be against the Voodoo Murders, even if they were the top heel team of AJPW at the time. That lead to the match being mostly a big brawl going out to the crowd several times, and Akira Hokuto and Suwama even got involved. But Hase was majorly over with the crowd, getting the biggest pops of the night everytime he was on offense, and was even able to bust out 31-rotation giant swing! Hase definitely has it in him to still put on a good match, since everything he did still looked crisp and well timed, as well as his selling of the VM offense on him. He can still do rather sick looking urinages, where he dropped YASSHI on his head with one before hitting the Northern Lights Suplex-hold for the 3-count.
Keiji Mutoh sat out more of the match than Kojima did, but at one bizarre point, he was able to brawl to the back with TARU, than come back riding a forklift truck with TARU on it, hoisting TARU up high so he couldn’t get involved in the match anymore! Kojima had a solid showing for what time he had in the match, looking like the ace of the company he should be. The Voodoo Murders played up their usual heel tactics as expected, cheating every chance they got, and Suwama even manage to inject himself in the match several times to interfere. There was one fun bit where TARU and Akira Hokuto had a weapons duel between TARU’s pipe and Hokuto’s wooden sword, with Hokuto’s sword actually bending TARU’s pipe!
Obviously this was the best match of the show, but that’s not saying much considering every match involving the Voodoo Murders is almost always the same with all the same cheating tactics leading up to the face team making the comeback and getting the hard earned win.Match Rating: **Overall:
Everything up till the main event was really dull and uninspiring, but I actually found myself fast-forwarding past most of the main event, especially when the Voodoo Murders were on offense with their redundant cheating tactics. They did a good job of showing pre-recorded comments throughout the show from various wrestlers from AJPW and NJPW, but surprisingly none from NOAH even if they did mention Hase’s work with Misawa, Kobashi & Kawada during his AJPW run in the 90’s during the video package of Hase’s pro-wrestling career before the main event.