ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
CHAMPION CARNIVAL 2019
APRIL 23, 2019
SENDAI PIT
SENDAI, JAPAN

Watch: AJPW.TV

CHAMPION CARNIVAL BLOCK B
DAICHI HASHIMOTO (8) DEF. YOSHITATSU (4)

Match starts with a bit of matwork then they take turns working over each other with strikes, and hold. This is slow and goes on for a bit.

Match finally picks up after Yoshitatsu lands a Springboard Dropkick followed up by a Tornado DDT.

Yoshitatsu wasn’t bad in this match but he definitely works to the level of his opponent. He simply can’t make his opponent look any better than they actually are and as you can guess, Hashimoto was pretty boring for the first two-thirds of this match.

Like several matches in this tournament, Hashimoto does turn it up in the closing stretch. Hashimoto fights back with a bunch of strikes and then hits a Shining Wizard for the win. Not a thrilling ending but the last couple minutes saved this from being a complete snorefest. **1/4

CHAMPION CARNIVAL BLOCK A
ATSUSHI AOKI (6) DEF. GIANNI VALLETTA (6)

Valletta actually tries to play this straight at first, offering his hand to Aoki before the bell for a handshake that goes off without anyone turning on each other.

They then start with some matwork, and once Aoki manages to get the better of him, Valletta reverts to types and bites Aoki’s forehead.

Valletta continues being Valletta and throws Aoki out of the ring. They brawl outside for a bit and then back in the ring Valletta works over Aoki some more, though Aoki manages a few hope spots.

Eventually, surprise, surprise we get a ref bump and out comes the chain. Valletta chokes Aoki a bit, releases Aoki and charges him. Aoki counters with a dropkick and then soon we’re back to more chain choking but Aoki manages to fall backwards onto Aoki just as the ref recovers to get a surprise three count while Aoki is choking him. Before you ask, the ref was still groggy so he didn’t see the chain when counting to three. Bad, even by some of the standards of Valletta in this tournament. But at least it went less than seven minutes. *3/4

CHAMPION CARNIVAL BLOCK A
RYOJI SAI (7) DEF. YUJI OKABAYASHI (7)

This match starts fast with Sai immediately going for a Triangle Armbar that he almost locks in. Okabayashi powers out and places Sai on the top turnbuckle and then Vertical Suplexes him. Okabayashi looks to go on the attack but then the match slows down when Sai locks a Sleeper Hold on and it gets left on for a while and we go to the raising of the arm three times. On the third arm lift, Okabayashi springs back to life and manages to grab the bottom rope for a break.

From there, there’s not a lot of moves in this match. We get things like fighting over a Superplex for an extended period from Okabayashi to Sai with multiple reversals before Okabayashi finally lands it.

The finish sees Sai get his knees up when Okabayashi goes for the Golem Splash. Sai tries for a German Suplex and they fight for a bit in that position. Sai relents on the German Suplex but then hits a Fireman’s Cary Double Knee Gutbuster and finishes Okabayashi with a nasty running knee into the corner for the win. These guys tried to make this match more epic then it was by fighting over moves and it felt like they didn’t do as much as they actually could have jammed in just over 10 minutes. Gentleman’s ***

CHAMPION CARNIVAL BLOCK A
DYLAN JAMES (9) DEF. SHUJI ISHIKAWA (7)

Match started off like you would assume when two big boys are in the ring. They trade headlocks and then try to Shoulder Block each other. Things then spill outside of the ring and they brawl into the crowd for a bit.

While on the outside, James misses a Lariat and drives his right arm into the ring post. From there Ishikawa works over James’ right arm for a while. James continues to sell the arm even once he’s back on offense by grabbing it after uses it to chop or use elbow drops.

Ishikawa remains in control most of the match landing a near fall with a Fire Thunder Driver. James then manages to reverse a Powerbomb attempt.

Ishikawa fights back and lands a Kamigoye and his going for a running knee strike but James blocks it and soon follows up with a Chokeslam for the win. The finish kind of came out of nowhere because James didn’t get many big moves or near falls on Ishikawa. This is a pattern in some matches in this tournament that I really don’t care for. This was good but never gets to the level that these guys have managed to get to in other matches in the tournament. After the match, James grabs a mic and challenges the Violent Giants to another World Tag Team Championship in June with his partner Joe Doering and thanks the crowd for supporting All Japan. ***1/4

FINAL THOUGHTS

I know there’s a lot of people out there who are behind on watching the Champion Carnival, especially given it started during WrestleMania weekend. Well let me say that unless you are an All Japan completist like me, just skip this show.