AJPW Champion Carnival N8 (4.14.19) review

AJPW Champion Carnival N8 (4.14.19) review

AJPW Champion Carnival N8

 

April 14 2019

 

We’re still in Osaka for a second night in the Edion. About a hundred more fans in tonight compared to yesterday. Still not a great draw.

 

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]

 

Sam Adonis [2] vs. Joe Doering [2]

The Battle of the Yanks. Adonis got off the mark last time and Doering himself only has one win. Adonis decides to test Joe’s cardio with a little jog around the ring but Joe loves little jogs around the ring!

AJPW8Doering

This match is extremely poor. Adonis does very little and drops Doering with a nut shot. Big Joe is getting the shitty end of the stick this tour.

Final Rating: *

 

Joel Redman [4] vs. Takashi Yoshida [2]

Yoshida has not exactly set the world on fire during Champion Carnival, way underperforming compared to Shingo Takagi twelve months ago. I’m aware there’s a gulf in talent there but it’s Dragon Gate guy vs. Dragon Gate guy.

AJPW8Redman

Joel gets a lot of love for his technical work here and he’s definitely been appreciated by the All Japan fans, if not, so far, beloved. Yoshida, by comparison, has a remarkably patchy match. He does those dumb throat thrusts but he also hits some tasty lariats. Yoshida takes it with a running, well walking, powerbomb out of the corner. This was a mixed bag. Redman was over for his stuff and he’s had a good tournament. This is the last of his dogshit opponents so he should clock in a few decent matches before we’re out of here.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

This tournament has certainly answered my question of; why don’t people like Cyber Kong?

 

Ryouji Sai [3] vs. Zeus [6]

Zeus finds himself on top of Block A, something I didn’t see coming but probably should have. Just because he had a title run doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the top guys in the company.

AJPW8Sai

Sai is in a bad mood and clearly wants to deck Zeus before he even enters the ring.

AJPW8Zeus

Zeus is totally focused. He refuses to break eye contact with Sai and this inhibits his corner posing. Zeus goes out of his way to punish Sai for his impudence. Zeus has become a very dominant singles wrestler over the past few years and Sai getting in his face clearly sets him off to dominate even more than usual. Sai has to throw very heavy kicks to get back into it. I like that he makes a point of showing the crowd how hard he’s kicking by taking the fight into the crowd, with the ring announcer getting steadily more and more freaked out that people won’t move. Sai kicks the absolute hell out of Zeus here. You can hear the noise the kick pads are making but he’s following through hard. Zeus gets mad about it and grabs him by the throat and I am all in baby!

 

You don’t have to be great at pro wrestling to have a great match but you do have show intent and intensity. Good and bad wrestlers can do that. Just get all fired up and wail on each other. Watch the snowflakes fall. It’s not just kicks either. Sai stiffs the fuck out of Zeus with everything. My favourite non-kick is the super vertical drop brainbuster. Holy shit that thing fucking rocks. I keep saying Sai can’t wrestle long matches and then this goes 20+ minutes and is ace.

If Zeus followed through on all his comebacks, instead of showing fire through his mannerisms, this would be utterly fantastic. I just don’t feel the hate from him in his actions. Sai just smashes Zeus in the corner and comes off the top with a double stomp and goddamn it, he fucking deserves the win here. I’m glad he took it.

Final Rating: ****

 

Kento Miyahara [4] vs. Shuji Ishikawa [5]

In my head as that last match finished I was asking; how can you follow that?

AJPW8Kento

Well. Here’s how. The companies ace and one of the best professional wrestlers in the world versus a man mountain and also one of the best professional wrestlers in the world. Shuji hasn’t delivered every time out in this CC but Miyahara has. He will not allow a poor quality main event.

AJPW8Miyahara

Sad to report Miyahara is up to his shit again. This is certainly a different Kento to the one that traded this belt with Ishikawa in 2017. He’s even more confident, to the point of arrogance, and he’s assured and calm in the main event. And that was after Kento’s long first title reign of 15 months. Shuji gives him an absolute shoeing, dominating the match and using his size effectively. Plus he’s able to bend the rules to match Kento’s own willingness to do so. But there’s this twinkle in Kento’s eye and you can’t write him off. The match isn’t either guy at their level best. The character work is probably superior to the actual wrestling and at times the action is a little clunky but when it does connect it’s great. Plus the match has a natural sense of escalation. Shuji breaking out his big moves, then Kento doing the same. Both guys on the ropes but just kicking out. Both just one big bomb away from two points. I love Kento charging in, looking for a takedown, getting more and more reckless, and getting ended with Shuji’s big knee. A few times I bite on near falls, as Shuji has it wrapped up and yet up comes the shoulder. Miyahara takes an absolute pasting and eventually stays down. Which I did not see coming. Great match though. Excellent one-two main event punch on this show.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

Summary:

A clear cut winner of a show with two fantastic top end matches. The undercard never quite gets going on the smaller All Japan shows but as long as the big guns are firing it’s all good.

 

Standings:

 

BLOCK A

Shuji Ishikawa [7]

Zeus [6]

Ryoji Sai [5]

Yuji Okabayashi [4]

Dylan James [4]

Yuma Aoyagi [4]

Kento Miyahara [4]

Atsushi Aoki [0]

Gianni Valletta [0]

 

BLOCK B

Naoya Nomura [6]

Daichi Hashimoto [4]

Yoshitatsu [4]

Jake Lee [4]

Joel Redman [4]

Suwama [4]

Sam Adonis [4]

Takashi Yoshida [4]

Joe Doering [2]

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