1. Was he ever regarded as the best draw in the world?
Jun Akiyama rarely, if ever, worked outside of his native Japan.
Was he ever regarded as the best draw in his country or his promotion?
Akiyama had three runs as Pro Wrestling NOAH's GHC Heavyweight Champion, reigns that saw attendance stagnate and decline in comparison to the title runs of Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi. He was also All Japan Triple Crown Champion during a period that saw All Japan struggle to sell 1,000 tickets in Korakuen Hall.
2. Was he an international draw, national draw and/or regional draw?
Akiyama was positioned as one of NOAH's "top stars" from 2000 to his departure in 2012 and is currently the "match maker" and President of All Japan Pro Wrestling.
3. How many years did he have as a top draw?
12 years, give or take. 4. Was he ever regarded as the best worker in the world? Was he ever regarded as the best worker in his country or in his promotion?
Akiyama was widely regarded between 1995 thru 1999 as the "next big thing" in All Japan, but was never able to establish himself as a superior worker in comparison to Misawa, Kawada, or Kobashi.
This has been blamed on factors ranging from simply not having "it" to Mike Lorefice's claims that Misawa, Kawada, Kobashi, and Taue spent too long leading Akiyama through matches instead of letting Akiyama call the match on his own and thus develop his own style and develop his own ability to carry inferior opponents to quality matches.
Akiyama was never regarded as the best worker in his own promotion, own country, or overall in the world.
5. Was he ever the best worker in his class (sex or weight)? Was he ever one of the top workers in his class?
See above. Akiyama was widely regarded as a "good" to "excellent" worker but has never been able to eclipse the "Four Gods of Heaven" or his New Japan compatriots from the same generation as a worker.
His "Burning" tag team with Kenta Kobashi is usually regarded as the best tag team in the world during 1998-99, though Kobashi was regarded as the one carrying the team during that run.
6. How many years did he have as a top worker?
Akiyama was regarded as a good to great worker between 1995 thru his June 14, 2009 neck injury.
7. Was he a good worker before his prime? Was he a good worker after his prime?
Akiyama was considered the best "young lion" fromn 1995 thru 2000, when he ascended to main event status. His work since return from injury in 2009 has been more circumspect. It's usually agreed that Takao Omori did the carrying in their 6/15/15 Triple Crown match. 8. Did he have a large body of excellent matches? Did he have a excellent matches against a variety of opponents?
Akiyama has a very large body of All Japan World Tag Team title matches and Triple Crown title matches which were rated 4*** by the Wrestling Observer and by others.
In almost all of those matches, however, he was carried by his opponents and tag partners, usually Misawa, Kobashi, and Steve Williams (on the tag opponent side).
His best singles matches all involved the same men and Toshiaki Kawada.
9. Did he ever anchor his promotion(s)?
Akiyama had three runs as GHC Champion, and during his first two reigns saw attendance decline to the point where they had to take the title off of him in fluky fashion to junior heavyweights (an undeserving Yoshinari Ogawa and the far more deserving Naomichi Marufuji) in order to let Akiyama "save face" with the fans.
His third GHC run occurred after NOAH had lost TV, while his Triple Crown title run played to empty arenas and a half-empty Korakuen Hall.
10. Was he effective when pushed at the top of cards?
See above. Attendance either stagnated or declined during his title reigns. Fans simply never took to him the way they did to Misawa or Kobashi.
11. Was he valuable to his promotion before his prime? Was he still valuable to his promotion after his prime?
There was probably more money made during his "Young Lion" phase when fans would pay to see him 'struggle' and 'learn' than during his actual time period as a main eventer (2001-2009).
12. Did he have an impact on a number of strong promotional runs?
His tag runs with "Burning" in 1998-2000 were notable for the decline in All Japan's non-Tokyo business, outside of Ariake Colosseum and Nippon Budokan, NOAH had stagnant crowds at their non-Tokyo house shows.
13. Was he involved in a number of memorable rivalries, feuds or storylines?
The Misawa/Akiyama vs. Kawada/Taue rivalry is usually regarded as one of the best tag feuds of the 1990s, while he was involved in many memorable Champion Carnival and Triple Crown matches as he tried to "suprass" the Four Gods. His GHC title defenses are held in less regard.
14. Was he effective working on the mic, working storylines or working angles?
Akiyama was very charismatic, especially after he scored his first singles pinfall over Misawa in 2000.
His heel runs in NOAH were also notable for the charisma he displayed and crowd reactions he earned.
15. Did he play his role(s) effectively during his career?
He was effective as either a "young superstar" or "cocky veteran heel" getting good crowd reactions.
16. What titles and tournaments did he win? What was the importance of the reigns?
Three time GHC champion, One time Triple Crown champion, multiple World Tag Team and GHC Tag title reigns.
17. Did he win many honors and awards?
1993 WON Rookie of the Year, Tag Team of the Year (3 times) with Misawa and Kobashi, 1996 and 2004 WON Match of the Year (Misawa/Akiyama vs. Ace/Williams and vs. Kenta Kobashi
Tokyo Sports Best Newcomer, Fighting Spirit, Technique Award, Best Tag Team, and Best Match (vs. Kobashi 2004) Awards.
18. Did he get mainstream exposure due to his wrestling fame? Did he get a heavily featured by the wrestling media?
Akiyama has made appearances on various Japanese variety and talk shows, but has not transcended his sport to gain celebrity outside of wrestling.
19. Was he a top tag team wrestler?
He's regarded as one of the top tag team wrestlers of the late 1990s.
20. Was he innovative?
Invented the Blue Thunder Driver, Diamond Dust and Exploder '98/wrist-clutch Exploder
21. Was he influential?
There are no notable wrestlers who cite Akiyama as one of their inspirations.
22. Did he make the people and workers around him better?
See above. Akiyama was usually regarded as being incapable of taking lesser opponents and carrying them to quality matches, unlike Misawa and Kawada.
23. Did he do what was best for the promotion? Did he show a commitment to wrestling?
Akiyama was personally responsible for booking his second GHC title run and was criticized for a "weird" list of challengers, most notably Bison Smith and Minoru Suzuki.
Special thanks to "The Z" for pointing out he also booked a title defense against eternal jobber Masao Inoue, and proceeded to give him tons of offense instead of squashing him like a bug in 30 seconds.
24. Is there any reason to believe that he was better or worse than he appeared?
Akiyama never demonstrated being a better wrestler than he usually was, if anything, he can probably be criticized for beginning to mail it in on occasion after 2005.