Mat Thompson sent this recap in.
This past weekend marked the fourth year that All Japan Pro Wrestling has had their LOVE IN TAIWAN tour. They come to Taiwan every November for some really great and memorable matches and shows. This was my second year going to the shows and I have to say it was great.
One special thing to note is that as they began to advertise this show that stated that this would be the last time that Kenji Muto/The Great Muta would be touring to Taiwan. He has recently announced that his knees are pretty much shot and he will be retiring from the ring in the very near future. It’s sad to know that a man who has made his mark not only in Asia, but also in the US in NWA and WCW is leaving the ring after such a huge career.
The shows this year consisted of two days, a Saturday night show and a Sunday afternoon show. It was held at the National Taiwan University Arena and the crowd was pretty good, with the arena about half full for both shows. One surprising thing on the show was the mix of Japanese, American and Mexican wrestlers.
The biggest draw of the show was of course Muta teaming with The Japanese Buzzsaw Tajiri. Tajiri was one of the best of the shows, playing to the crowd, messing with the referees and hitting the green mist a few times. The card also featured Ultimo Dragon, Big Daddy (Viscera), and one of the coolest tag teams from the Mexican AAA federation, Dark Oz and Dark Cuervo. If you haven’t seen these guys, check them out on YouTube. They are a great heel team that really stood out as the AJPW Tag Champs.
The card also featured Akebono, the very large Hama, other Japanese greats and one of AJPW’s top draws, the masked Mexican wrestler BUSHI. Bushi is over with the crowds here like Rey Mysterio is in the west. He’s probably one of the best luchadors I have ever seen live and (in my opinion) makes Sin Cara look stale. A funny thing is that AJPW have been running a storyline with Bushi fighting a dark version of himself for a while now, Black Bushi. Funny… I wonder where WWE got that idea from?
For the two shows AJPW did a great job connecting the two cards with a feud starting in the Saturday and fighting on the Sunday. The main one was with Muta and Tajiri. On the Saturday they were more of a heel team with Muta in his dragon mask (entering with a huge bull/elephant mask at the beginning) and both using red and green mist and a lot of heel tactics. At the end of the show when the heels attacked the face team of Kazu Hayashi and Shuji Kondo, the faces came to attempt to clear the ring, but were unable to until Muta and Tajiri came in and worked them all over. As they posed for the crowd, Tajiri turned on Muta, misted him and the heels beat him down to end the show.
Of course the next night the main event featured Muta’s team against Tajiri’s with Muta coming out in his face outfit as Kenji Muto.
Here are the cards and results…
Saturday, November 5th, 2011
Seiya Sanada & Manabu Soya def. Masakatsu Funaki & (unknown replacement) Joe Dorring def. Masayuki Kono Ultimo Dragon, BUSHI & Makoto def. Dark Dragon, Mazada and Cheerleader Melissa (intergender six-person tag) The Great Muta & Tajiri def. Suwama & KAI Big Daddy & Bambi Killer def. Akebono & Hama Dark Oz & Dark Cuervo def. Kazu Hayashi & Shuji Kondo
Sunday, November 6th, 2011
Hayashi, Kondo & Suwama def. Kono, Sanada & Soya Cheerleader Melissa def. Makoto (good female match) Dark Oz & Dark Cuervo def. KAI & (replacement wrestler) Hama & BUSHI def. Mazada & Bambi Killer Akebono def. Big Daddy Kenji Muto, Funaki & Ultimo Dragon def. Tajiri, Joe Dorring & Dark Dragon
Both were three hours shows, a few matches less than last year, but every match was solid and entertaining. One person to note is Joe Dorring. The guy is a great heel and both last year and this year he stood out, yelling at the crowd, pissing everyone off and playing his role from the second he got off the bus to the second he left the arena (even firing a bottle of water at me as I clapped for him). Also the tag team of Sanada & Soya are amazing. Last year’s tag title match with them was one of the best tag matches I have ever seen. You can find it on YouTube with most of last year\’s matches, where they were fighting Kono and Minoru from the (now defunct) VooDoo Murders stable. I’ve rewatched that match so many times and love it from beginning to end. Check it out! All Japan puts on a great show. They had signings before and after the event letting anyone take pictures of the wrestlers, but limiting the autographs to only paying fans (about $100 US per signing session), but a lot of people paid to get the autographs, especially from Akebono and the very hot Makoto. I know sites like this don’t get much in the way of Japanese results, but I thought I would pass this along since it is a great yearly weekend tour in Taiwan and the last for the great Kenji Muto/Great Muta. It was awesoome to see his still wrestle, hit the mist and the Shinning Wizard (I have a great video of the end of the final match) and see both personalities of Muta and Muto. Can’t wait to see what they bring here next year. Check out the past shows on YouTube (AJPW Taiwan), you won’t be disappointed!