ALL JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
CHAMPION CARNIVAL 2019 NIGHT 15
APRIL 24, 2019
CHAMPION CARNIVAL BLOCK B
JOE DOERING (8) DEF. JOEL REDMAN (6)
This match was fun while it lasted. I have been not particularly impressed by Doering in the tournament so far but I thought he put in a good effort in this one.
They do some matwork to start and Doering actually hangs in there. And from there Doering actually dominates the match but doesn’t work as slowly as he has in other matches.
Redman uses his technical skills to try to stay competitive with stuff like managing to get an Octopus Hold on Doering.
Redman goes for his Top Rope Kneedrop, but Doering rolls out of the way, gets up and hits a Running Crossbody for the win at only 8:32. Disappointing given that they seemed like they were actually building to something. Even just three or four more minutes to have an actual finishing stretch would have helped this match a lot. **1/2
CHAMPION CARNIVAL BLOCK B
JAKE LEE (8) DEF. SAM ADONIS (4)
I saw a few people handwave the idea of Adonis in this tournament. I’m not saying he is the MVP, but he is certainly not the weak link in this tournament.
They do the basic feeling out period, and eventually, Adonis starts to get the better of Lee and goads Lee into attacking him.
They end up both lariating each other at the same time, with both falling down. From there the match keeps up a pretty good pace and it is very back and forth.
They even pull out the nice counters. Lee manages to whip out a Crucifix after Adonis hits a top rope splash. There is also a fun sequence that starts with an Adonis Sunset Flip where they end up fighting and countering that ends up with Adonis actually rolling through and applying the Cattle Mutilation. That made me pop.
Lee does take control in the end with a PK for a near fall and then a running knee to the chest for another near fall. Lee immediately follows up with a Backdrop for the win.
This was a solid 10-minute wrestling match that actually managed to keep a nice pace with no restholds that exceeded my expectations. Adonis despite his limitations has held his own in this tournament and Lee who has had an up and down one, was pretty good here. ***1/2
CHAMPION CARNIVAL BLOCK A
YUJI OKABAYASHI (9) DEF. ATSUSHI AOKI (6)
Another match where Okabayshi is proving himself to be the MVP of this tournament and Aoki is no slouch either.
Aoki briefly manages to get the better of Okabashi early on in this match. But Okabayashi responds with a Bodyslam where he also throws Aoki while doing it. It looks brutal.
Lots of great no selling in this match. Aoki gets right back up after a chop that floors him and Okabayashi does another one of those throwing Bodyslams. And throughout this match, Okabayashi no sells Aoki’s main strike of slaps to the chest. Okabayashi even no sells a headbutt from Aoki and immediately retaliates with a Lariat.
Aoki, as he has in much of this tournament, and wonderfully I should say, tries to stay competitive with stuff like Dropkicks and Small Packages trying to use his speed and technical skill to win.
Even the only resthold of the match was worked in well. Aoki applies a Sleeper Hold while Okabayashi is down, and Okabayashi manages to stand up and runs right into the corner full speed to break up the hold.
Finish saw Okabayashi apply a Torture Rack, and while in it, Aoki goes for another Sleeper Hold. Okabayashi drops to one knee briefly but powers back up into the Torture Rack for the submission. Probably as good as you’re going to get for a match that lasts 8:32. ***3/4
CHAMPION CARNIVAL BLOCK A
KENTO MIYAHARA (8) DEF. RYUJI SAI (7)
Sai has not been very good this tournament. But leave it to one of the best in the world to get a good match out of him.
This is very much a Miyahara match. It had the usual brawling on the outside spots like Headbutts and Miyahara wrapping Sai’s head around the ring post. And of course, as the match went on, there were lots of Blackout Knees.
Sai for his part held his own. He showed more fire than he has in any other match in the tournament he’s had so far. Sai also hit a lot of moves that Miyahara’s selling helped to make. There was also a lot of stuff where Sai was going for a move but Miyahara managed to fight out of it and pull off a reversal or escape.
The ending is again pure Miyahara. Sai breaks free from a Shutdown German Suplex attempt. Miyahara hits a deadlift German Suplex for 2.9 and then follows that up with a successful Shutdown German Suplex for the win. That’s not a complaint of Miyahara being repetitive given the context.
This match went 22:52 and I am astonished that they managed to keep my attention through most of it. It was mostly action. Again, that’s thanks to Miyahara. The Triple Crown Champion has proven himself to be in that elite category that can carry wrestlers to good matches. If this is the floor of Miyahara matches against wrestlers not named Gianni Valletta, then All Japan is in very good hands. ***3/4
After a weak Night 14, I thought this was a welcome change. Given that the Doering vs. Redman went less than nine minutes, you might as well watch all of the matches from this show. There are some awesome performances from some of the best wrestlers in the world. Given the breakdown of the blocks, the next two shows at Korakuen Hall before the finals are going to be very exciting.