Giant Baba 23rd Memorial Show

Giant Baba 23rd Memorial ShowGiant Baba 23rd Memorial Show

From February 04, 2021

Video Package - We got a bunch of clips of Giant Baba vs Stan Hansen matches. Part of the card tonight is one Baba vs Hansen match, so I think they're trying to hype watching a match on the screens.

Opening - Tenryu made the opening speech. He's on crutches now, but still rolled inside the ring like a champ.

Alejandro, Andy Wu, & Osamu Nishimura vs. Jinsei Shinzaki, Mitsuya Nagai, & Tomoaki Honma - 6/10

Shinzaki is still in fantastic shape, and while up there in age, he can still go, he paired off with young Alejandro and had a good performance. Likewise, Nishimura looked good, his style is really old school at this point, but he was moving well. Honma has his issues, but he looked ok. Nagai was the only one that didn't really do much in the match. Shinzaki pinned Alejandro with a powerbomb.

Atsushi Onita, Great Kojika, Masanobu Fuchi, and Shiro Koshinaka (w/Great Kabuki) vs. Takao Omori, Tiger Mask, Arashi, and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi - 4.5/10

Onita came out wearing an All Japan jacket as part of the team. It's not the Onita I'm accustomed to. Koshinaka is making his return to an All Japan ring since 1985. I believe that Arashi is replacing Masao Inoue, he must have been a last minute replacement because he didn't even have gear, he wrestled in an All Japan tracksuit. I'm not 100% sure on who is under the Tiger Mask, previous to the show, it was announced to be Tiger Mask II, but we all know that was Misawa. He looks considerably younger than NJPW's Tiger Mask IV, I guess it could be Minowa, who is 45 years old by now, but I'm just not 100%, all I know is that his card said '2nd Generation Tiger Mask'.

This is your usual old timers match, to be seen with certain low standards. Fuchi, Tiger Mask, Omori, and Onita can still pull on a good match, but I was surprised that Koshinaka and Kikuchi looked pretty competent too. Koshinaka was the babyface in peril and eventually lost to Fuchi's small package.

Stan Hansen vs Giant Baba Match - They showed the PWF Heavyweight title match from AJPW's New Year Giant Series 1982. Afterwards, Hansen had a small speech talking about how legendary that match was and talked about Baba's memory.

Memorial Video - We had an In Memorial video for wrestlers that have passed, followed by a set of videos from different wrestlers talking about the memories of Baba and the show. At the end, we had the 10 bell salute out in the ring, with all of tonight's participants surrounding the ring.

BUSHI vs Atsuki Aoyagi - 6.5/10

Aoyagi is considerably young, but he's already quite solid inside the ring, and makes up for a great babyface. The match was a good, fast paced, action match. They went back and forward, allowing Aoyagi to look good, against BUSHI, who is established and experienced. BUSHI won with MX at the 10 minute mark.

Yuma Aoyagi & Yuji Nagata vs Minoru Suzuki & Hikaru Sato - 7.5/10

Based on everyone's wrestling style, Suzuki and Sato are just perfect for each other, and for that matter, a younger Aoyagi could had been a great protégée for Nagata.

Match was great. We obviously saw Suzuki/Nagata and Sato/Aoyagi pair ups, but we got a long striking sequence between Aoyagi and Suzuki, with the former not wanting to back down and lose to Suzuki. Sato and Nagata came for the finishing sequence, with Soto trying to kick Nagata's arm off, to finish him with an armbar, but after a save from Aoyagi, Nagata finished off Sato with Brainbuster and Backdrop Suplex pin for the win.

Suwama, Keiji Mutoh, & Satoshi Kojima vs. Masayuki Kono, Kaz Hayashi, & Hiroyoshi Tenzan - 7/10

Mutoh hasn't stepped in an All Japan ring in about 8 years, Kojima in about 11 years. Tenzan was a late surprise addition to the match, surprisingly against Kojima. For the purpose of having an active main event, I wish they would have had Kojima opposite of Suwama.

Tenzan and Kojima paired up first. I thought this could had been milked a bit, but they got it out of the way quickly. This being his first match since Nagoya, Tenzan at one point went for the Mongolian Chop and stopped himself from doing it, respecting the stipulation, even if this isn't a New Japan ring.

Mutoh and Hayashi paired up, and I was curious to see how Mutoh was moving, and granted, they didn't do much, but he did look ok. Kayashi for that matter, looked amazing, he was all over the place, over and under the ropes. Tenzan and Hayashi took most of the match from their team until the finish, that saw Kono take Kojima's Lariat, Suwama's Backdrop, and Mutoh's Shining Wizard for the pin.

Post-match - Mutoh had a speech, talking about having the teams tonight, top guys from all over the place. He talked a bit about Baba and thanked the crowd. Suwama had some nice words for Kojima, I couldn't translate, but it seemed like Suwama was trying to make peace with Kojima, and Kojima was kinda reluctant. I'll try to find a translation.


Good show for what it's supposed to be. These Memorial shows are not about workrate, stories, or anything of the like. They're about celebrating someone's life and nostalgia, and we got tons of it. Due to COVID, this seemed considerably cut from having more legends present like in previous years, and bigger names for that matter (No Tanahashi, no Miyahara), but beyond that, they had good people for this show.

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