ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
CHAMPION CARNIVAL 2019 NIGHT 8
EDION ARENA OSAKA #2
All Japan drew 614 fans for the second half of their two day stop in Osaka, the third highest attendance of the tour so far behind night three in Nagoya and of course the opening night in Korakuen. As usual, we will only be covering the block matches.
BLOCK B – SAM ADONIS (4) DEF. JOE DOERING (2)
Adonis and Doering had some fun interactions earlier on in the tour in a tag match where they were partners but Doering couldn’t help himself from beating on Adonis. That is something that All Japan does a lot when guys team outside of their factions, they inevitably start beating up their partners. My favorite instance of this is when someone “tags out” by just clocking their teammate in the face which you see every so often on smaller All Japan shows.
Anyway, there was actually a match here, although it only lasted like four minutes, half of which was Adonis stalling on the outside. It was really cliche with the smaller heel playing scared and trying to take every advantage possible, but I still enjoyed it. Adonis distracted the ref and kicked Doering in the nuts for the win, keeping the former Triple Crown champion in last place in Block B. **
BLOCK B – TAKASHI YOSHIDA (4) DEF. JOEL REDMAN (4)
Joel Redman has really impressed in this tournament with his technical style, one that we don’t really see that often in the All Japan heavyweight division. Your mileage may vary on Takashi Yoshida, but I for one have actually enjoyed his tournament run so far.
The two worked this match at a quick pace, and the former Cyber Kong picked up the win with the Cyber Bomb in a really fun little sprint. ***1/4
At this point, with two quick matches behind us (and only four on this show in total), I started to consider the possibility of a draw in the main event.
BLOCK A – RYOUJI SAI (5) DEF. ZEUS (6)
Full transparency, I’m not the biggest Sai fan here, but this match was really fun. Zeus has had an awesome tournament so far and he really continued that here with a fun hard hitting match that brought the best out of Sai in what was probably his best singles match in a couple of years.
They did a good bit of outside brawling, which worried me at first, but the two were able to keep the action entertaining instead of just doing your standard old walk’n’brawl. Zeus’s chops looked brutal, and Sai threw some nice looking roundhouse kicks.
Something about this match just felt like a fight, like Sai not wasting any opportunities and immediately pelting Zeus with kicks once he made it to the rope on a submission attempt, not letting his advantage slip away.
You could probably tell once Zeus wasn’t in the main event in his hometown that he was probably losing. Even though Osaka is Sai’s hometown as well, the crowd was fully behind Zeus in this one, but we still had some nice nearfalls throughout, and even though I think they went a little too long, I was still fully into it by the end.
The closing stretch rules as we get another strike exchange and Sai counters the Jackhammer and sits up Sai for the running knee in the corner only leading to a kickout! Sai goes up to the top and hits the Naichi Waterfall double footstomp for the win in an excellent match. ****
The win moves Ryouji Sai (!!) into a tie for second in Block A (for now).
BLOCK A – SHUJI ISHIKAWA (7) DEF. KENTO MIYAHARA (4)
Kento has had an incredible Carnival so far, I’ve had all three matches of his at **** or higher, and he and Ishikawa get into it right from the get-go, with a high paced match between two of the most popular guys in the company.
The crowd is red hot for this one, probably the hottest I’ve heard a crowd since the opening night from Korakuen as Kento goes full dick mode. Dick Kento is the Best Kento. I love it. The strike exchanges between these two are top-notch. If you’ve never seen their Triple Crown match from 2017, it’s incredible and you’ve got to check it out.
This is exactly what you’d expect, two of the ten best wrestlers in the world putting on an incredible showcase at a nice brisk pace (they kept it to under 20 minutes). One of my favorite spots is when Ishikawa catches the Blackout knee; that gets me every time.
Kento sells Ishikawa’s forearms like death, and then we move into the superb closing stretch where Kento shocks even me by kicking out of the Splash Mountain but eventually is put away with the Giant Slam. Incredible fucking match, the best of the tournament so far and it isn’t particularly close. ****1/2
1. Shuji Ishikawa (3-1-1, seven points)
2. Zeus (3-2, six points)
3. Ryouji Sai (2-1-1, five points)
4. Yuji Okabayashi (2-0, four points)
T5. Kento Miyahara, 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, Jake Lee, Takashi Yoshida, Sam Adonis (2-2, four points)
8. Joel Redman (2-3, four points)
9. Joe Doering (1-3, two points)
Yeah, the first two matches are take it or leave it, but the semi-main was great and the main event was the best match of the tournament so far and probably a low-level MOTYC.