This was for Ishii’s AJPW Junior Heavyweight Championship.
The first half of this match was very underwhelming. A lot of the action was unimpressive, and the story seemed so generic and basic.
The match really got going though once Aoyagi started his comeback. From there, all the excitement and fire that the first half desperately needed crept into the match until you were totally sucked in.
While the broad story of Ishii always being a step or two ahead of Aoyagi obviously was the main reason that the match worked, there were also some smaller moments that contributed to this one. The best part was that Aoyagi came up VERY empty on an early dive attempt. He later connected on it fully late in the match.
Despite Aoyagi’s thrilling comeback, Ishii managed to put him away in the end though to continue his reign. (***1/2)