All Japan Pro Wrestling
Champion Carnival 2021 Night 2
April 10, 2021
Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Nagoya International Conference Hall

Watch: AJPW.tv

Champion Carnival 2021
Yuma Aoyagi [2] def. Shotaro Ashino [0]

While coming up short in that match Yuma had an absolute banger on night 1 against Otani and has been one of the highlights in All Japan this year. Ashino meanwhile got punked out by Jake on Night 1, a streak that would continue in this match as he taps clean. This match ended up falling a little short and did not deliver to my expectations. Coming in it was one of the matches I was looking forward to the most but it ended up being just a match. Ashino did not seem very motivated to work hard in the match and that hurt the intensity. Yuma worked a bit harder than his opponent but also did not go as hard as he could have. Hopefully both men are just saving their powder for later in the tour. At least it made Yuma look strong as Ashino is now firmly established in his role as mid-card gatekeeper.

Champion Carnival 2021
Koji Doi [2] def. Kohei Sato [2]

This match was just weird. They heavily teased that Doi got knocked out by Sato and most of the match is just him lying flat on the match pretending that he’s KOd. Meanwhile Sato just stands around in the ring doing nothing. Then Doi recovers and quickly pins Sato. Everything they before the knockout tease was good stiff work though. This was a match that happened.

Champion Carnival 2021
Zeus [4] def. Shuji Ishikawa [2]

Booking of this match made perfect sense as this gives Zeus a hook to challenge for the GAORA TV title after the tournament. That’s a perfect spot for him right now and helps establish that belt as a true secondary and not just a comedy undercard belt. That’s something All Japan desperately needs as it takes some pressure off of the Triple Crown. The match itself was pretty good but it never got into second gear. That definitely added to the house show feel of the show so far but its consistent with the way the Champion Carnival has been in recent years. Nevertheless, both men worked hard and gave us a nice little stiff performance.

Champion Carnival 2021
Kento Miyahara [2] def. Shinjiro Otani [2]

Another great performance by Otani, who once again shows that even at 48 years old he is still an elite level performer and very much belongs in this tournament. While this wasn’t nearly as good as either man’s match on Night 1 it was still easily the best match on the show. Both men put in a good effort but it was just missing that little bit that elevates a match to be truly special. Nevertheless this was a match between two of the best wrestlers in the world and it showed. Just clean crisp work throughout and they even gave us a creative finish as Kento did not win with his patented Shutdown German Suplex.

Champion Carnival 2021
Suwama [2] def. Jake Lee [2]

So there are two scenarios at play here, in one of them, this makes perfect sense and actually helps the story, in the other scenario this is just more evidence of the cluelessness of All Japan’s booking team. For now, I am willing to believe we are dealing with the former scenario. In that scenario, Jake Lee wins the Champion Carnival and goes on the beat Suwama for the belt. Therefore, him losing to Suwama here makes a ton of sense as it adds some intrigue to that match and makes it less of a foregone conclusion. The match itself was fine but like the rest of show just didn’t shift into a higher gear. An enjoyable match nonetheless. After being very harsh on Suwama in the past months he has been solid so far in the tournament and hopefully can built on that for the rest of the Champion Carnival.

Final Thoughts

While this was a clear step-down from Night 1 it was still an overall solid show and much better than almost any show from last year’s Champion Carnival. Still, if you are pressed for time on this wrestling-filled weekend you can give this one a skip.