Ayato Yoshida vs. Naoya Nomura (AJPW New Year Wars 2020 Day 7 1/19/20)

Match Reviews

Despite my well-documented love for 90s All Japan, modern All Japan is a major blind spot in my pro wrestling fandom. Even as pockets of the internet have sung the praises of Kento Miyahara and his new era as the top star of All Japan, I’ve really had difficulty connecting with their product. So for 2020, I’m making a concerted effort to correct that and really try to check out the recommended matches from the promotion.

This one from what’s essentially a house show between two of the younger crop of wrestlers in the company was a great place to start. Nomura is coming hot off the heels of 2019 where he became a significant player in the Triple Crown Title scene whereas Yoshida’s someone I’m not familiar with and seems to be a step or two below Nomura on the roster’s pecking order.

This match has a nice, simple structure to it. Early back and forth followed by a lengthy control segment all leading into a final finishing stretch. The good stuff comes in that second act where Yoshida doggedly attacks Nomura’s leg. He does a good job of it too, using the bad leg to retain the advantage and returning to it when he’s losing control. Nomura for his part does a great job selling the leg. He gives me some of my wonderful nerd bait crumble sells and follows it up with a lot subtle reminders about it later on down the stretch. Also have to give props to the fantastic finishing stretch. As the ring announcer calls down the ticking away minutes, these two go into overdrive trying to grab a fall on each other. A lot of fumbling, big bombs, and just a general sense of urgency trying to pull out the win before the time runs out. Really great stuff in here, hoping to see big things from both guys down the stretch in 2020.

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