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Key Takeaways: AJPW ‘Jr. Battle of Glory 2018’



This year’s Jr. Battle of Glory took place over nine shows between February 13 through February 25. Only four shows have been released, the opening and closing nights being the most important. If your only experience with Japanese tournaments is the G1 Climax, don’t go in expecting the same style. Most matches are extremely short (majority under ten minutes, many under five) with guys trying to hit their finish quick. The time limit is set at twenty minutes and only two managed to hit that length.

The Winner: Shuji Kondo
The 2018 Jr. Battle of Glory was the return of Shuji Kondo. He was a part of the 2013 All Japan exodus, lead by Keiji Mutoh, to form Wrestle-1. Kondo hadn’t set foot in an AJPW ring for nearly five years and not only did he take part in the tournament, he won. His opponent in the finals was Koji Iwamoto, last year’s winner of this tournament. Iwamoto is someone you can clearly see as a future star of All Japan. He demands attention each time he steps in the ring. Their finals match was one of the highlights featured in the tournament although the winner can be seen as a questionable call in terms of booking.

Elevated Performer: Yusuke Okada
– Despite only one of his tournament matches making tape, Okada made his presence known. He was the opening match and defeated Keiichi Sato in under five minutes. This was his only win on the tour but it’s evident that he’s a raising star in All Japan. He has upgraded his gear and changed his hair style, now looking like a legitimate star in the making.

Other Notes
– If you’re interested in checking out the tournament for the first time and see the name TAJIRI, run the other way. You may be familiar with The Japanese Buzzsaw but his performances should be avoided at all costs. Instead, focus on names like Koji Iwamoto, Kotaro Suzuki, Soma Takao, Yusuke Okada and Atsushi Maruyama

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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