A Large Roundup Review of the Rest of the First Half of 2021 Part 1

MATCHES
From AJPW New Years War (01/02)

1.AJPW World Tag Titles: Violent Giants(c) vs NEXTREAM ****1/2

From AJPW New Years War (01/03)

2.Triple Crown Title: Suwama(c) vs Yuma ***3/4 

From DG Open the New Years Gate (01/12)

3.Open the Twin Gate Titles: R.E.D.(c) vs MASQUERADE ****1/4

From Ice Ribbon Winter Story(01/23)

4.ICExINFINITY Title: Suzu(c) vs Fujimoto ***3/4

From AJPW New Year Wars (01/24)

5.Triple Crown Title: Suwama(c) vs Ashino ****1/4

From MCW Homecoming (02/06)

6.MCW World Title, Three Stages of Hell: Brooks(c) vs Slex *****

From DDT Kawasaki Strong (02/14)

7.DDT Universal Title: Ueno(c) vs Sakaguchi ****1/4

8.KO-D Openweight Title: Endo(c) vs Akiyama ***3/4

From NOAH Destination (02/12)

9.GHC Junior Heavyweight Title: Harada(c) vs Seiki ***3/4

10.GHC Heavyweight Title: Go(c) vs Muto ***3/4

Thoughts:

I tend to overload myself at times. I've watched a lot of great shit this year as well as a lot of crap I should have skipped. This should fix that. I am posting this as an ongoing entry because I figured it's be an interesting method. I will be reviewing these matches as I find time to do so and will start on part two soon after completing.

The first match featured three dudes I consider to be in my list of all-time favorites as well as a dude that impresses me more often than I likely give him credit for. It was old-school leaning, All Japan style fun with hard ass work and nice storytelling along the way, allowing for a quality down-stretch and finish. Kento sincerely might be a top ten worker all-time for me, by the way. He's the only dude other than SHINGO, Naito, and Omega that I feel trade places often for best current performer overall. But yeah, this first match is worth seeing for Shuji running for corner shots like a damn train engine alone. Make time for it.

Spectacular spectacle.

Suwama, perhaps the best active grandpa, defended the prestigious Triple Crown next against Yuma and it was a great one. While far from an elite class title defense, especially by today's standards, this still shined nicely enough as a worthwhile experience.

Up next, we have R.E.D. and Masquerade for DG's tag straps. Fantastic tag team action. This worked very well to showcase the promotion, specifically how talented the roster is and how easily they can put together a smooth thrillride. BxB is still a god.

In the four spot, Suzu and Fujimoto worked a great joshi battle for the ICExINFINITY Championship. I don't follow Ice Ribbon as much as I'd like to and have little deep insight or connection to the situation, but the match itself was truly worth seeing for fans looking to see what the joshi brands outside of STARDOM and TJPW are up to.

Moving along, we have Suwama defending the Triple Crown against That Motherfucker, Ashino. I'm an old WRESTLE-1 fan, as longtime readers know, and I used to watch their weekly digest show rather religiously and a large part of the reason was how awesome Ashino is. I'm glad he's doing well in All Japan. As a result of my strong fandom for both, this one was required viewing. They told an epic here in a nice, tight package. Ashino was a more than worthy challenger and this one was truly fantastic.

Australia time. So, I have seen very little from this company, but damn this was fucking awesome. Few things that are positive can truly be attributed to COVID but this is one. The stipulation was used to perfection and I have to say Ring of Honor is very lucky to have 'em. Top shelf shit in the ring and in presentation, and I urge you to add this to your list if you missed it. This is truly, a perfect wrestling match.

Over to DDT, we start with Ueno defending gold against Sakaguchi. The champ showed again that he is capable of working with anyone and making it work and the challenger has continued to improve nearly every time I've seen him. It felt like a fight and had a nice intensity level throughout. Fantastic shit.

Next, we had Grandpa Akiyama defeating a dude with an unhuman looking chest. I've always been impressed with Endo's physique. The dude looks like a statue and must cut like crazy. The good news about Jun winning and the big reason why it's different than say, Goldberg winning a top prize, is because Akiyama can still fucking go. While I will also agree that Tetsuya had to work down a bit, this still had a good bit of build throughout and a solid pace. Overall, a great contest.

On NOAH's Destination gig, we had two of my favorite juniors working a great sprint. Seiki winning the belt here was fucking awesome to see and I'm very happy to see him having success after the fall of W1.

Also from Destination, and last for part one of this set, I pulled Go's defense versus Muto. While I have a lot of respect for Keiji, he's not nearly at a level that I'd want someone holding the GHC Heavyweight strap to be at these days. Go's run was amazing and I am sad to see it end like this. That finish in particular sucked. The match itself was perhaps better than expected and featured some great storytelling, but the bar is set so high that it's just not enough for me. I suppose that's a good problem in a way.