ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
CHAMPION CARNIVAL 2019 NIGHT 7
APRIL 13, 2019
OSAKA EDION ARENA #2
We have five block matches on this show! The only other two on the tour so far that hit that number were nights one and two, but for night seven from EDION, All Japan pulled out all the stops, including the hometown favorite Zeus in the main event.
WARNING: This kicks off a string of five straight days with Carnival shows, so catch up now or perhaps you never will.
BLOCK B – JOEL REDMAN (4) DEF. NAOYA NOMURA (6)
Joel Redman has been the definition of “pretty good” so far in this tournament, but he gets a chance to shine against Naoya Nomura, who might be the favorite for Wrestler of the Block for Block B. Nomura came into the night in first place in six points while Redman sat tied for last in the Block with two.
Redman got to play the role of a desperate, sometimes vicious underdog here against the clear crowd favorite in Nomura. Obviously, the opponent had something to do with it, but this was my favorite Redman match of the tournament to this point, and I think he should lean a little bit more into this role as the nasty foreigner despite not having the size of someone like a Joe Doering. Redman wrenched back on Nomura’s arm and picked up a shocking submission victory in a match that over-delivered on expectations. Redman was really good here as the “technical wizard” type outsider, just picking apart Nomura before ultimately shocking the crowd and picking up the win.***1/2
After the match, they shake hands to establish that Redman was more fighting desperate than necessarily showing a heel edge. With the win, he moves to four points.
BLOCK A – SHUJI ISHIKAWA (5) DEF. YUMA AOYAGI (4)
I am really excited about this one. Aoyagi is one of the most underrated young prospects in the world, often overshadowed by Lee and Nomura in his own company. He has the funny towel waving gimmick when he comes out to the ring for fan interaction, and you can see him hitting on some girls on his way out, but in the ring when he wants to he can put on a great match. Aoyagi comes into this one with four points, tied for most in the A Block, Shuji sits a point behind at three thanks to the draw with Ryouji Sai that legends say is still going on.
Shuji Ishikawa is one of the best wrestlers in the world, and you can see it in the little things he does in this match… plus his moveset just rules. I loved Aoyagi’s high flying style against the power of Ishikawa throughout this match.
Aoyagi powers up with flurries of strikes after some Ishikawa knees but his strikes do seemingly nothing and one forearm from the “Big Dog” takes down the young upstart. Spinning Lariat. Running Knee. Fire Thunder Driver. Splash Mountain. Finally, Ishikawa gets the win after a series of kickouts from Aoyagi. This ruled and showed Aoyagi’s progression from their previous encounters. ***3/4
The win moves Ishikawa into the first place in Block A (for now) with five points.
BLOCK A – RYOUJI SAI (3) DEF. GIANNI VALLETTA (0)
These are probably the two worst wrestlers in Block A, which maybe speaks more to the quality of the block than the quality of these two, but nevertheless, I am not excited for this. Sai sits with one point (the draw with Ishikawa), Valletta with zero.
Valletta gets his chain taken away early so it seems like he is going to try and have an actual match. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not.
UPDATE: We are about five minutes in and nothing interesting has happened. I think I would have preferred brawling on the outside to this.
Oh, Valletta got his chain back. Nevermind. Biting now! Woo! This is some great stuff! Sai eventually gets the win with a running knee in the corner. This was bad. *1/4
Valletta is still stuck with zero points, Sai moves to three.
BLOCK B – SUWAMA (4) DEF. TAKASHI YOSHIDA (2)
Takashi Yoshida has been off doing Dragon Gate things and hasn’t had a match since the first two nights. Both guys come into this one with just two points, four points back from the block leader: Naoya Nomura, meaning they both really need this win to stay in the conversation
This is a pretty average match early on, but then the two big guys start trading lariats and I start to get intrigued, Suwama fails to hit his powerbomb, but Yoshida hits one of his own and follows it up with a splash from the top for two.
Suwama gets Yoshida up for the powerbomb and then just drops him before hitting a side suplex for the win. I’ll probably end up being the high man on this but it was a lot of fun. I love Suwama and am probably higher than average on Cyber Kong so I’ll go like ***1/2.
BLOCK A – ZEUS (6) DEF. DYLAN JAMES (4)
Both men have had pretty good tournaments so far, and if you missed either of their matches with Kento Miyahara make sure to go back and check those out. They both sit at four points currently with two wins and one loss, meaning the winner will pass Shuji Ishikawa (five points) and take the lead for Block A heading into the home stretch of the Carnival.
This is one meaty match. I love both guys in it and we get hard striking from the get-go. Even the outside brawling remains interesting because of the vicious chops these two are throwing. This is my kind of match. The chops these two are throwing are insane, and the small venue makes them absurdly loud.
The Osaka crowd is very much behind Zeus in this one against the foreigner, James as we move into the stage trading suplexes and lariats. James hits a nasty looking powerbomb for two that almost got me on the near fall, but in the end, Zeus picks up the win with a jackhammer and moves into first in the block in front of his hometown crowd. ****
1. Zeus (3-1, six points)
2. Shuji Ishikawa (2-1-1, five points)
3. Yuji Okabayashi (2-0, four points)
4. Kento Miyahara (2-1, four points)
T5. Yuma Aoyagi, Dylan James (2-2, four points)
7. Ryouji Sai (1-1-1, three points)
8. Atsushi Aoki (0-2, zero points)
9. Gianni Valletta (0-4, zero points)
1. Naoya Nomura (3-2, six points)
T2. Yoshitatsu, Daichi Hashimoto (2-1, four points)
T4. Suwama, Joel Redman, Jake Lee (2-2, four points)
T7. Joe Doering, Takashi Yoshida, Sam Adonis (1-2, two points)
This was a top to bottom great show, I had every match, outside of the Gianni-Sai dumpster fire, at ***1/2 or above, and we got an awesome meaty main event if you are into that sort of thing. My favorite show of the Carnival so far save the opening night from Korakuen.