AJPW Champion Carnival N11 (4.17.19) review

AJPW Champion Carnival N11 (4.17.19) review

AJPW Champion Carnival N11

 

April 17 2019

 

We’re back in Tokyo, at Shin-Kiba 1st RING. Only around 300 in the crowd but it’s a nice building and Tokyo brings the best out of certain wrestlers. Miyahara vs. Aoyagi is the big main event here. A chance for Yuma to step up. Four Champion Carnival matches on tonight’s show.

 

Standings:

 

BLOCK A

Zeus [8]

Shuji Ishikawa [7]

Dylan James [6]

Ryoji Sai [5]

Yuji Okabayashi [4]

Yuma Aoyagi [4]

Kento Miyahara [4]

Gianni Valletta [2]

Atsushi Aoki [2]

 

BLOCK B

Naoya Nomura [8]

Takashi Yoshida [6]

Suwama [6]

Daichi Hashimoto [4]

Yoshitatsu [4]

Jake Lee [4]

Joel Redman [4]

Sam Adonis [4]

Joe Doering [4]

 

Atsushi Aoki [2] vs. Ryouji Sai [5]

AJPW11Sai

Aoki just got off the mark on N10 whereas Sai is currently ranked #4 in the strong Block A. They are both very technically proficient. Sai, as with so many before him, adopts the position of a bully. He feels he can lay in a bunch of kicks and just stop Aoki being a threat to him. I start to feel bad for Aoki, who comes in filled with cruiserweight joy and technical prowess and just gets treated like shit. Try to out-wrestle him Sai, you coward! Aoki gets his reward by scoring a fluke roll up and Sai gets super mad at the ref, which is Nikkan Lee! You got what you deserved Sai, you fucking jerk.

Final Rating: ***

 

Gianni Valletta [2] vs. Shuji Ishikawa [7]

Valletta and his dumb chain gimmick has been a series of disasters during CC. You could argue he’s a break from the norm and his matches are different to everyone else’s and you would technically be correct. But there is being different and still good and being different because you’re bad. Valletta is the latter. It’s not even his work that’s bad, it’s the reliance on the chain gimmick, which he doesn’t know how to use effectively. Whether he came in with that idea or it was thrust upon him, it has not worked. At all.

AJPW11Valletta

That said it’s a different Valletta here, for the most part. He tries different things and aims to throw Shuji off his dominant game. He wedges a chair in the corner, he pulls the ref in the way of a charge and he bites Ishikawa. I’ve been begging for Valletta to show something in this tournament and this is finally it. However his actual work is still sub-par for the tournament and in particular his dropkick sucks. Also they still work in a ref bump and the chain gimmick. Valletta waffles Shuji with the chained fist (sort of) and gets the pin. They’ve almost exclusively used Valletta as a booking crutch to upset big names by cheating. He’s not been good. This is probably his best singles match.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Jake Lee [4] vs. Takashi Yoshida [6]

AJPW11Lee

This is another match pitting two midcard acts against each other in a crowded block. There has been a lot of mediocre tournament booking at play and Jake’s opening 0-2 hole didn’t put him that far behind the field. If he wins here he goes into a tie for second place. The match is drab. I don’t much care for Yoshida’s work in this tournament, which has suffered from wild inconsistencies in effort levels and spamming moves.

AJPW11Yoshida

His attempts to apply a Figure Four in this match just about sum up how he’s out of his depth and out of his Dragon Gate wheelhouse. Lee meanwhile is never going to be able to cover for someone else. Yoshida works the leg, I’ll give him that much but to what intent? He can’t apply the most basic of submissions. Lee doesn’t, or can’t, sell it anyway. This is just bad pro wrestling.

 

In defence of both men when they abandon any attempt at trying to have a coherent storyline match regarding limb work and just leather each other, it’s much better. Jake Lee eventually gets the verbal submission from Yoshida using a leg submission where he also pulls back on the arm. It seems to be the arm that’s troubling Yoshida. Although he still has a free hand to tap out. Kinda screwed the finish for Jake.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Kento Miyahara [4] vs. Yuma Aoyagi [4]

There’s been a definite theme of pushing the younger generation in this tournament. Especially Nomura and Jake Lee but over in Block A there’s Yuma Aoyagi who’s looked on the verge of having a terrific break-out match. Now he’s in the main event opposite this man:

AJPW11Miyahara

All Japan’s Ace. The absolute best the company has to offer. Miyahara, half the time, seems to be getting into it with the referee because his character feels so far above the rest of the card. Even when he loses! He pulls the ring post shit again here and the ref has to pull him back by the hair. Kento playing the role of ‘terrible piece of shit’ gives Yuma a great underdog opportunity. Unfortunately he goes after Miyahara’s leg, which in terms of terrible ideas is top tier stuff. Kento doesn’t sell the leg. He’s never sold the leg. Just don’t work the leg and you’ll have a good match with Miyahara. It’s not rocket science. The absolute best part of this match is Kento charging in for a knee strike, Aoyagi catching it and smacking Miyahara in the face. It shows how far he’s come. He’s right there in the champ’s face. He even follows it up with German suplexes, in an attempt to beat Miyahara with his own hold.

 

From there it’s frantic near falls. Flying knees. Teasing of finishes. In the end Aoyagi cannot escape Miyahara’s trapping German suplex and he comes up short. Was this the big break out Aoyagi match I was hoping for? No. But there were signs throughout it that he’s on the cusp of being a star.

AJPW11Kento

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Summary:

Solid show. Two good matches, one of which was borderline great but maybe my expectation levels were too high for it.

 

Now a look at the standings and how everything is shaping up. Zeus is in control in Block A. He’s beaten Miyahara and James. So those guys are effectively two wins behind him. Ishikawa is the big threat. He’s also beaten Kento but lost to Okabayashi. I mention Yuji because he’s only wrestled three matches (wins over Ishikawa and Aoyagi and a loss to Valletta). Effectively he has two games in hand.

 

Valletta has two matches left and he’s lost to Zeus so he’s out. Aoki has three to go and could play a role in deciding who makes the final as he wrestles Okabayashi and James. Aoyagi, after his big loss today, has only one match remaining against Sai. So he’s done.

 

In Block B Nomura looks quite comfortable. He’s already beaten Jake Lee and Takashi Yoshida. So only Suwama is in touching distance. They’ve yet to wrestle. His fate is in his hands. Due to the block being structured everyone has three matches left at least so that two point spread allows the entire Block to still be alive at this stage.

 

Standings:

 

BLOCK A

Zeus [8]

Shuji Ishikawa [7]

Dylan James [6]

Kento Miyahara [6]

Ryoji Sai [5]

Yuji Okabayashi [4]

Atsushi Aoki [4]

Yuma Aoyagi [4]

Gianni Valletta [4]

 

BLOCK B

Naoya Nomura [8]

Takashi Yoshida [6]

Suwama [6]

Jake Lee [6]

Daichi Hashimoto [4]

Yoshitatsu [4]

Joel Redman [4]

Sam Adonis [4]

Joe Doering [4]

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