AJPW Champion Carnival N7 (4.13.19) review

AJPW Champion Carnival N7 (4.13.19) review

AJPW Champion Carnival N7

 

April 13 2019

 

We’re in Osaka, which means shit is about to get real. Osaka is a big city with big expectations and that’s where big tournaments start to improve after sluggish runs around the country performing to 400 yokels in a gym. If you were going easy on the big CC tour and just watching the tippy top shows, welcome back! It’s Night 7, you’ve missed…not very much. A couple of Kento bangers. I’ll slide you up to date with the standings….

 

Standings:

 

BLOCK A

Yuji Okabayashi [4]

Dylan James [4]

Zeus [4]

Yuma Aoyagi [4]

Kento Miyahara [4]

Shuji Ishikawa [3]

Ryoji Sai [1]

Atsushi Aoki [0]

Gianni Valletta [0]

 

BLOCK B

Naoya Nomura [6]

Daichi Hashimoto [4]

Yoshitatsu [4]

Jake Lee [4]

Takashi Yoshida [2]

Suwama [2]

Joel Redman [2]

Joe Doering [2]

Sam Adonis [2]

 

Joel Redman [2] vs. Naoya Nomura [6]

We have ringside cams and everything. Big time. Redman to date has had a bunch of opponents that were from the weak end of the line up. Here he’s finally got something to sink his teeth into.

AJPW7Redman

Here his technique is appreciated and Nomura is good enough to sell it. The crowd offer a lot of support for the Surfboard. Clearly aware that’s a tough spot to do. The crowd respond strongly to almost everything Redman does, which must be music to his ears.

AJPW7Redman2

Nomura is wonderful here too. Game for selling and making Redman look like a star. Nomura has come a long way even this year. He’s creeping closer to being a break out top tier star for them. Redman is tremendously focused here and although he demonstrates a nice range of holds he specifically goes after the arm and creates fantastic drama. Eventually catching Nomura in the middle of the ring with the Fujiwara armbar and the valiant Nomura has no choice but to tap out to save his chances later in the tournament.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Post Match:

AJPW7Redman3

Redman, a total gent, checks on his fallen opponent and shares a little bit of respect. It’s the first real sign that Redman is getting absorbed into Japanese culture. He’s having a good time! It’s a hard tour, especially if you’re used to just working weekends and the demands are tough.

 

Yuma Aoyagi [4] vs. Shuji Ishikawa [3]

This is Shuji’s first match since that bore draw with Sai.

AJPW7SHuji

Ishikawa has good matches with youngsters as he dominates the match but always ensures the opponent gets his shit in. Aoyagi fights from underneath the whole match and it reminds me very much of Ishikawa vs. Nomura from last year. Ishikawa tries to be a dick, mostly by standing on Aoyagi, but the crowd love him so it doesn’t get the desired heat. The focus on Aoyagi’s midsection is notable and like the opener it shows how wrestlers have developed injuries as this tournament progresses and locker room whispers have given wrestlers openings. Ishikawa doesn’t possess Redman’s technical tools so instead of looking for a submission he just looks to batter Aoyagi until he stops kicking out. It takes a lot of moves and eventually Splash Mountain is the one that does it. This was also really good and worked the same way as the opener but with a different focus. Big Shuji dishing out a beating to some young punk and Yuma showing great fire by continually kicking out.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Ryouji Sai [1] vs. Gianni Valletta [0]

I swear if this goes to a fucking time limit draw I just quit. I don’t want it. This actually follows the same strategy as the first two matches (arm, ribs) and Valletta works the leg. In keeping it incredibly basic it almost passes for a capable match but Valletta has to attempt things beyond him and it unravels. The ring post Figure Four is a great move…if you know how to apply it and your opponent is capable of cooperating. Gianni is fortunate that the ring is low down, let’s just say that much.

AJPW7Valletta

Chain related bullshit occurs. Sai almost saves the match with his finish; a terrific running knee in the corner. Almost. Not sure a knee strike is a particularly good finish in a match where the leg is worked over but hey, it’s a finish and that’ll do.

Final Rating: *1/2

 

Suwama [2] vs. Takashi Yoshida [2]

I’ve not enjoyed Yoshida so far although he’s definitely fulfilled a role in this tournament. It’s only when they go brawling off into the crowd I realise the draw is a little low. Only 516 in the house. This is two big lads doing big lad stuff. It lacks all the subtlety of the work from earlier in the evening and Suwama is extremely close to ‘not giving a fuck’ at this point. They club each other a lot. It’s fine. I catch myself say “get on with it” twice during the fifteen minute run-time, which isn’t good news. Yoshida does his stupid jab to the throat spot multiple times, showing us with repetition how he slaps his chest in time with it. It’s genuinely terrible. They botch the Last Ride and Suwama hits a backdrop driver with a bridge and mercifully this is over. I was really excited when Yoshida was named for this tournament but he’s not delivered at all and Suwama is having a bad tournament too.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Zeus [4] vs. Dylan James [4]

Whoever wins here takes the lead in Block A above Ishikawa who’s on five points.

AJPW7Zeus

Normally Zeus is the powerhouse in every confrontation he’s involved in but James makes him look comparatively small. It makes Zeus the underdog and James makes a point of chopping the shit out of him. That’s basically the entire match. It’s great. The last match had a very similar dynamic but Zeus knows he needs to up game here whereas Suwama barely got out of second gear. So Zeus is unloading with comeback chops and this incredible superman dive, which I wish I had time to gif. The time stamp is 2h39m for future me with gifcam out and ready. There’s an incredible spot where James hits a suplex and Zeus rolls out of the impact and jacks him up for a suplex of his own. Sheer power.

AJPW7Dylan

The powerbomb in this is so much better than the Suwama/Yoshida one. My god. Dylan absolutely plants Zeus with it. After bludgeoning each other with power spots all match Zeus jacks James up and finishes with the Jackhammer. This was a great big man match. What a contrast between this and the match beforehand.

Final Rating: ****

 

Summary:

One of the better nights so far. Three really good matches here showcasing different elements of tournament selling and psychology.

 

Standings:

 

BLOCK A

Zeus [6]

Shuji Ishikawa [5]

Yuji Okabayashi [4]

Dylan James [4]

Yuma Aoyagi [4]

Kento Miyahara [4]

Ryoji Sai [3]

Atsushi Aoki [0]

Gianni Valletta [0]

 

BLOCK B

Naoya Nomura [6]

Daichi Hashimoto [4]

Yoshitatsu [4]

Jake Lee [4]

Joel Redman [4]

Suwama [4]

Takashi Yoshida [2]

Joe Doering [2]

Sam Adonis [2]

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