All Japan Pro Wrestling‘s (AJPW) summer is coming to a climax with the upcoming finale of the SUMMER ACTION SERIES. This show will feature multiple title matches. The main event is especially notable, as it’s a story one month in the making. This will be a Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship defense featuring the defending champion, Jake Lee, facing off against Shotaro Ashino.
– 2️⃣ days!
"2021 SUMMER ACTION SERIES"
Thursday, July 22 11:30 (jpn)
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
— AJPW International (@ajpwint) July 20, 2021
Jake Lee vs. Shotaro Ashino
In the Beginning
In April of 2020, Shotaro Ashino would make his debut for All Japan Pro Wrestling. He first appeared with his former faction from Wrestle-1 known as Enfant Terribles. This group would invade AJPW, with Ashino being based around the main event scene. As the months passed, his run as leader of the group was steadily seen as a failure. He was criminally unsuccessful in any title match he was part of. It didn’t stop his opportunity, as he would challenge for the Triple Crown title again in 2021, marking another major loss for the leader of Enfants.
Jake Lee‘s 2020 could be described as in the shuffle. While he would unsuccessfully challenge Kento Miyahara at the beginning of the year, Lee would become more ruthless as the year went by. He was part of a tag team known as Sweeper with Koji Iwamoto. This tag team would go the distance in the Real World Tag League, where they lasted to the finals of the tournament. Ultimately, they lost to Kento Miyahara and Yuma Aoyagi. This match could be seen as a breaking point for Jake Lee, as for the next three months, careers would change drastically.
The Birth of Total Eclipse
As Shotaro Ashino challenged for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, Jake Lee and Koji Iwamoto would start developing tension. Lee started to notice how much deadweight Koji Iwamoto was, Iwamoto lost the AJPW Junior Heavyweight Championship. At the climax of the Excite Series tour, Lee turned on his partner. In the same match, the Enfant Terribles members turned on their leader Shotaro Ashino. From there, Jake Lee usurped Ashino’s leadership, forming a new faction known as Total Eclipse.
A True Leader
In the Champion Carnival, Jake Lee would defeat Shotaro Ashino, due to interference from the Total Eclipse members, winning in under 4 minutes. Lee would go to the finals and win the tournament by defeating Kento Miyahara, capturing the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship at the end of June. Jake Lee and his faction were heavily successful, winning the AJPW TV Six-Man Tag Team Championship.
After Lee won the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, he had two contenders: Shuji Ishikawa and Shotaro Ashino. However, due to Ishikawa contracting COVID-19, Ashino was announced to face Lee for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship in the conclusion of the SUMMER ACTION SERIES.
The Importance of This Match
With this marking the first title defense for Jake Lee, it is unlikely he will lose the Triple Crown Heavyweight title. This also marks the third Triple Crown Heavyweight title shot for Shotaro Ashino since his debut in May of 2020; his previous ones being unsuccessful. This match stands out because of one major reason: a more emotional and ready Ashino than ever before. In his previous Triple Crown matches, Ashino could’ve been seen as becoming soft, especially in Suwama’s second defense against him.
Often seen for his failures in AJPW, this match could be the moment for Ashino to break out of his shell and become the machine that he was in Wrestle-1. He will have revenge on his mind, endeavoring to claim something he has worked hard for. He can accomplish this by defeating Jake Lee for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship. However, Leee also has something to lose here. If he’s unsuccessful, this may continue a theme in his career: losing his championships in the first defense.
— 東スポ写真部 (@tospophoto) July 18, 2021
Jake Lee vs. Shotaro Ashino – In Closing
With the upcoming Royal Road Tournament, perhaps the stress could finally break the leader of Total Eclipse. He may no longer have to deal with Shotaro Ashino. Thus, Jake Lee could make Total Eclipse stand out on their own by retaining the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship in his first title defense. Lee described himself as the “now” of All Japan Pro Wrestling. This could be the first of many matches that will determine his own destiny in All Japan Pro Wrestling. Everything will be known in the climax of the SUMMER ACTION SERIES.
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