Recommended Puro: AJPW 2018

2nd January New Year Wars

AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Title Match 

TAJIRI (c) vs. Kotaro Suzuki 

Tajiri isn’t far off his 50’s, looks in his thirties, wrestles like he’s in his 20’s and dresses like an outcast teen, it’s incredible really. Both he and Suzuki rule from a technical standpoint and they use this to slowly build towards a hard hitting closing stretch, with Suzuki seeming to have worked out how to dismantle the champion. It may not be as flashy as the NJPW or the NOAH junior matches you see these days, but in many ways it showcases what those matches often lack with its brilliant pacing and psychology. The finish will put some people off but it’s actually kind of cool when you look at it. Some people have gone completely off Tajiri but this is a good showing for him.

Triple Crown Title Match 

Joe Doering (c) vs. Zeus                         

Nothing fancy here just two bulls smashing into eachother. Joe establishes early that he’ll win in a straight up striking exchange and there’s a great moment in the match where the realisation seems to dawn on Zeus and his face tells the story. With his hand forced, Zeus throws caution to the wind in an attempt to take out the bigger man. Every bump feels big and every lariat feels stiff, all adding up to a great main event to bring AJPW into the new year.

3rd January New Year Wars

AJPW World Tag Team Title Match 

Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori (c) vs. Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama 

From AJPW- New Year Wars- 3rd January

Nothing flashy or fancy at all here, just four guys slapping, kneeing and power bombing each other into oblivion. The build is slow and things sort of just plod along at times. These four make up for it though, in brutality and a great closing stretch, in which there are multiple believable endings.

3rd February Yokohama Twilight

AJPW World Tag Team Title Match

Violent Giants (Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama) (c) vs. Yoshiken (Kento Miyahara & Yoshitatsu)

From AJPW Yokohama Twilight Blues Special February 3rd

The first half of this match is nothing to write home about, but the Suwama/Miyahara closing stretch makes this must watch. Old ace vs new ace rivalries are always the best, and Suwama and Miyahara add another chapter to theirs here, with Ishikawa and Yoshihatsu acting as a strong supporting cast.

19th March Dream Power Series

Dylan James vs. The Bodyguard

These two were never going to have a twenty minute plus classic and no one wants to see them try. What we get here instead is everything that everyone does want to see from these two (chokeslams, bodyslams and lariats) compacted into under four minutes in a great little sprint. No it doesn’t hold a candle to anything else on this list, but this is recommended matches not just the best matches and this is worth the time it takes to watch the average youtube video for sure, so stop watching those cute cats and go watch this!

Top Ten Recommended AJPW Champion Carnival 2018 Matches

Super Power Dream Series

Triple Crown Title Match 

Kento Miyahara (c) vs. Naomichi Marufuji

Champions Carnival winner Marufuji has visions of uniting the GHC championship and the Triple Crown, and has a previous win of Miyahara too. Miyahara has other idea in mind, but he struggles against Maruuji here, who delivers a heck of a lot of serious offence. Miyahara is resilient as ever and has that homefield advantage, but we’ve seen Marufuji put him away with the Emerald Fusion in the past and it could happen again here. You can argue amoungst yourselves whether this is as good as their CC finals match, but this is definetely worth your time, and the ramifications of a potential Marufuji win here adds an interesting subplot.

This list is updated regularly, so don’t forget to check back soon for more recommended matches!

By @MikeGrindle

Think there’s a match that deserves to be added to this list? Leave a comment below, and as always, don’t forget to like and share!

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