AJPW Champion Carnival N12 (4.20.19) review

AJPW Champion Carnival N12 (4.20.19) review

AJPW Champion Carnival N12

 

April 20 2019

 

For only the second time, after N2, we have five Carnival matches tonight. What a gift for the lovely people of Sapporo!

 

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]

 

Sam Adonis [4] vs. Yoshitatsu [4]

This is a surprisingly big match to start on as whoever loses is eliminated.

AJPW12Tatsu

Adonis is a big lad. He’s 6’4”, 250lbs. Despite this they opt to do a lot of parity work. Establish that Tatsu is the equal of Adonis and that Sam must take shortcuts to get ahead. The match doesn’t quite get going and the bump Adonis takes pre-finish is one of confusion. The Koji Clutch puts Adonis away and he’s finished. Tatsu stays alive. This was fine.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Yuji Okabayashi [4] vs. Dylan James [6]

With five matches left Okabayashi could still pick up 14 points. For James a win would put him level on points with Zeus, although Zeus would be ahead on head-to-head.

AJPW12Dylan

This is a real hoss fight. Two big dudes who don’t fuck around. They scream at each other and do a test of strength that’s so goddamn intense they’re both pouring sweat. There are a lot of shoulderblocks in this match. A lot. It’s fantastic. Dylan takes the novel approach of working over Okabayashi’s pectoral muscles. While this mainly manifests itself in the form of chops it’s not limited to them.

AJPW12Okabayashi

The state of Okabayashi’s chest after James has unleashed hell upon it is a sight to behold. This is a very violent match. It’s two guys trying to wear each other out but James has the smarter strategy. Plus he has a size advantage. It’s all about whether Okabayashi has enough steam to overcome adversity before James wears him out. The assault is relentless too. I’m exhausted just watching it. Those chops just keep coming and it becomes apparent that James isn’t as resilient as Okabayashi. It gets to the point where he’s knocked down on the floor and he has this look in his eyes. I beat the hell out of this guy, why is he still standing and I’m on the floor?

AJPW12James

AJPW12James2

This is the face of a man who bit off more than he could chew. Okabayashi accidentally chopping him in the eye did not help. As they continue to beat the absolute shit out of each other we hit 25 minutes and this might actually go to a draw! They continue to smack the shit out of each other and it’s become a war of attrition now. Both guys look tired. They’re taking longer to get back up and then the two minute warning kicks in and they’re both out for the win! The wrestling gets fairly sloppy as both guys are just exhausted. I can’t blame them. They’ve gone a lot harder than they should have. Dylan gets strapped in the STF with the time running out and he survives. That’s what this match was all about. Okabayashi survived Dylan’s relentless attacks on his upper body. James then survived the comeback until the time expired. What a match. Not quite at MOTY level but pretty damn close and it was only really held back by them having to stretch out to 30 minutes and both looked exhausted doing so.

Final Rating: ****1/2

 

Joel Redman [4] vs. Suwama [6]

Redman can still win the Block without a victory here, as he beat Nomura, but it’s unlikely he’ll win the Block if he loses. Suwama has had an underwhelming tournament but is still only a win behind Nomura and has yet to face him. It’s a tough ask to follow that last match but they build nicely. Redman bringing technical prowess and Suwama countering it with brute force and ignorance.

AJPW12Redman

Here’s Joel taking Suwama to school. Suwama is a complete dick about how he deals with it. Lots of shortcuts. Especially refusing to break on the ropes after a Boston crab. Very poor sportsmanship. Suwama keeps aiming to turn the match into a donnybrook, which he has the obvious upper hand in. Redman is tougher than Suwama expects and does a good job of hanging in there and trying to outwrestle Suwama. Which is exactly how he picks up the win. Surviving and getting a crucifix for the pin. Very tidy little match with Redman bringing science to a brawl.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Daichi Hashimoto [4] vs. Naoya Nomura [8]

Nomura remains alone on top of Block B so this is a huge chance for him to double down on his lead. Even with a loss Daichi would not be eliminated but it would make his progression to the final extremely difficult. Daichi has been very hit and miss on this tour and this is a prime example of the miss element. The match feels shockingly unimportant and it’s on Daichi for his lack of drive and intensity. Nomura senses this is an issue but the match structure has Daichi in long control periods so it dies. Nomura’s comeback feels properly fiery by comparison so at least that’s a positive. Daichi pulls off the win but I couldn’t get into this at all. Neither could Daichi. There are now six people on six points in Block B.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Kento Miyahara [6] vs. Gianni Valletta [4]

The crowd are so pro-Kento it drowns out his music. Valletta is already eliminated and still running the chain gimmick. Oh, I hope Kento knees him in the face and wins in ten seconds. Either that or put on an absolute clinic. If Miyahara wins he goes level on points with Zeus but would be behind on head-to-head. Valletta only has one match left after this (vs. Aoki) and would still be eliminated even with a win.

AJPW12Miyahara

Kento pulls his usual bullshit and somehow the ref sees this but not Valletta literally hanging Kento with a chain. He’s fucking incompetent. I don’t understand what he was supposed to be distracted by. There’s no one out here! Somehow this joker also misses a low blow. Kento brings some tremendous last gasp kick outs here. It’s small consolation when having to deal with the massive logic holes in the match. At least Valletta distracts with the chain to set up the chair shot. The crowd discontent covering for the noise the chair makes. The trouble is that it’s a bad match and if you’re having a bad match with Kento Miyahara you should probably reassess your choice of career. Valletta wins to give Miyahara an uphill struggle to the finish of the tournament.

Final Rating: *1/4

 

Summary:

You need the Dylan James vs. Yuji Okabayashi match in your life. The rest of the show is patchy. I’m especially disappointed in Daichi Hashimoto’s performance. I knew Valletta would stink up the main event but Daichi was underwhelming tonight.

 

 

Standings:

 

BLOCK A

Zeus [8]

Shuji Ishikawa [7]

Dylan James [7]

Kento Miyahara [6]

Gianni Valletta [6]

Ryoji Sai [5]

Yuji Okabayashi [5]

Atsushi Aoki [4]

Yuma Aoyagi [4]

 

BLOCK B

Naoya Nomura [8]

Takashi Yoshida [6]

Suwama [6]

Jake Lee [6]

Yoshitatsu [6]

Joel Redman [6]

Daichi Hashimoto [6]

Joe Doering [4]

Sam Adonis [4]

 

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