AJPW’s 2019 Royal Road tournament bracket : The breakdown !

All Japan Pro Wrestling has announced the dates and bracket for the 2019 edition of the Royal Road (Ôdo) tournament ! This 7th edition will occur from September 14th to the 23rd. Last year’s winner and current Triple Crown Champion Kento Miyahara will enter the tournament, but will he manage to repeat and continue his domination ? This question will be answered in two months, until then, let’s break down this bracket announcement !

First things first, if you are not familiar with All Japan or this tournament in particular, this is pretty much the New Japan Cup, but All Japan’s own version. No blocks, no points given. You only have to win your match to advance to the next round, simple ! The winner, if not the current Triple Crown Champion, gets a title shot. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the actual bracket :

ôdo bracket 2019

Source : @alljapan_pw

As you can see thanks to All Japan’s beautiful bracket, the first round matchups will occur from September 14th to the 16th. The second round / quarter finals will be happening on the 18th and the 22nd, while both the semifinals and the finals will be closing the tournament on the 23rd. Quite the tight schedule, which should leave its mark on the different competitors able to go far in this tournament. Now, to the actual matches, classified by dates.

September 14th : 

  • Naoya Nomura vs Sam Adonis 
  • Jake Lee vs Suwama

September 15th :

  • Ryoji Sai vs Shuji Ishikawa
  • Dylan James vs Zeus

September 16th :

  • Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshio vs Yoshitatsu
  • Gianni Valletta vs Taishi Takizawa
  • Yuma Aoyagi vs KAI
  • Kento Miyahara vs Joe Doering

The promotion keeps the habit of introducing new faces in their tournaments, as this time around, the freelancer (but regular All Japan figure) Sam Adonis will be taking the Royal Road for the first time of his career, joined by outsiders Jiro Kuroshio of Wrestle-1, and Taishi Takizawa of Active Advance Pro Wrestling. KAI, another freelancer (recently appearing for Dragon Gate) who challenged Kento Miyahara for the Triple Crown last January, will be making his second appearance, after taking part in the tournament in 2017. They replace the now former president of All Japan Jun Akiyama, Yuji Hino, The Bodyguard and Kengo Mashimo, who were all part of the tournament last year.

With all of that in mind, here are, in my own humble opinion, the matches you DO NOT want to miss from this first round :

  • Jake Lee vs Suwama 

A rematch from the Champion Carnival’s B block, between two of All Japan’s top stars. Of course you don’t want to miss this. Suwama got the win last April, so we can easily expect Lee to look for revenge in what should be nothing more than one of the best matches of the first round, at least on paper.

  • Dylan James vs Zeus

We continue the Champion Carnival rematch trend as two of All Japan’s powerhouses will collide once more. After their A block match, which was won by Zeus, the New Zealander will be looking to give some payback, as well as continuing to make himself a real threat for the Triple Crown Championship. After all, James did finish second in his block with 9 points, in a three-way tie alongside Yuji Okabayashi and Shuji Ishikawa.

  • Kento Miyahara vs Joe Doering

To conclude, Kento Miyahara gets to face one of his biggest obstacles in his rise to become the undisputed Ace of AJPW, Joe Doering. The last time these two fought in a singles match was in last year’s Champion Carnival, which saw Doering claim the win over Kento. The latter will definitely look to bring up their head-on-head record to four wins each, as currently, Doering has won four of their seven singles matches. 

Of course, Kuroshio and Takizawa’s matches are quite must-see as well, since they are the two biggest names debuting in the tournament.

On that note, this is where this breakdown of the Royal Road tournament ends. Who do you have winning each first round match ? Who would be your pick to win it all ? Do you think any first-timer will get out of the first round ?

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