AJPW Champion Carnival 2019 Finals
April 29, 2019
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Dan Tamura vs. Hokuto Omori - 5/10
Your usual good young guys match to open the show with good basics and good selling. Omori got a good amount of offense in at first that I figured Tamura would end up winning, but I was surprise that all those Omori Boston Crabs ended up working at the end when he submitted Tamura.
Evolution (Hikaru Sato & Yusuke Okada) vs. Keiichi Sato & Koji Iwamoto - 6.5/10
Kinda surprised that they didn't start the Aoki vs Iwamoto build with this match if they already made the challenge last night. Hikaru paired up with Iwamoto, working each other's head and leg respectively, Hikaru would later also work on Koji's arm. Okada paired up with Keiichi, but Okada ended up doing more with Iwamoto, since I'm still guessing that title match will come after Aoki. Iwamoto still pinned Okada after two STOs and a beautiful Judo Takedown.
Atsuki Aoyagi & Jun Akiyama vs. Black Menso-re & Takao Omori - 4.5/10
I was really really really hoping that Black Menso-re would get some payback on Akiyama tonight, but not even when Menso-re went to slam Aoyagi, would Akiyama let him. Menso did submit Aoyagi with a Camel Clutch at the end, but it's not the same. Nothing match really. Jun Akiyama is a dick.
Joel Redman & Sam Adonis vs. The Bomber (Dylan James & Joe Doering) - 6/10
Everyone but Adonis pretty much worked babyface. The stuff that Redman was doing with Doering was beautiful, just a series of British style joint manipulation and counters, which Doering would simply outpower himself out of. James and Adonis went the Strong Style route and chopped each other for a bit. Finish saw Doering take out Adonis with his Crossbody. I have the impression that Redman may come back, fans seem really over with his work. Fun short match. I also think that people will start to see James with a different light now, he seemed more over tonight.
Naoya Nomura & Ryouji Sai vs. Yoshitatsu & Yuma Aoyagi - 7/10
Yoshitatsu was the babyface in peril with a good exchange against Sai. Yuma and Nomura had a great exchange as the hot tag. Sai pinned Yuma with a V-Trigger. This was a really great match, they're all really good, but there just wasn't much to it other than great wrestling.
Daichi Hashimoto, Gianni Valletta, Yuji Okabayashi, & Zeus vs. Atsushi Aoki, Violent Giants, & Takashi Yoshida - 8/10
I wasn't sure if I had to group Evolution or Violent Giants, but the Giants came out with their matching jackets, so i'll go with that. We have four hosses, a technician, and that wimp Hashimoto, most pairings were great and we had some that we had missed all tournament like Okabayashi vs Suwama or Zeus vs Yoshida.
At one point, the match broke loose and all men started brawling all over Korakuen Hall, going up the rafters and around the ring, while Hashimoto and Aoki, the legal men, stayed in the ring. It seemed like the finish would again be between Valletta and Aoki, but instead they transitioned into Ishikawa and Valletta and the latter actually looked great doing moves instead of just cheating and brawling. After a lot of chaos, Valletta did go for the chain, but Ishikawa hit Kamigoye & TSUNAMI for the win. I loved this, it was just chaotic.
And yes, for those wondering, Hashimoto shouted a lot
Champion Carnival 2019 Final Match
Jake Lee vs. Kento Miyahara - 9/10
Goku vs Vegeta, Naturo vs Sasuke, Kento vs Jake Lee, being top of the class means shit when you're a nerd, and cocky, and a pain in the ass. This is the type of loss that pushes Lee into selling his soul to an evil greater power as he becomes desperate.
Match was great, Jake Lee was ruthless and Kento had fire. The match was mostly back and forward with Kento working the head and Jake kinda working the upper body and head sometimes. I had been talking for some reviews that I thought Jake Lee was the perfect anti-thesis of Kento, with one guy thinking he's the best, and the other, actually being the best, and it showed in this match, looking at the stuff that Jake Lee does, that is not exactly cheating in any way, but it just seems like taking advantage of Kento who respects a non-existent fighter's code.
The finish race for the High Angle Backdrop and the Shutdown German was great, but not as much as with Okabayashi, or Nomura for that matter. I love the Shutdown German, but sometimes it's a move that it's weird to do as a finish since it's not exactly explosive. Awesome match and a good closing to the tournament.
Post-match - Kento cut a promo about winning, he put over Jake Lee (which I'm sure Jake wouldn't have done, he'd be all "I'm the best and Kento sucks"), he talked about his next challenger since he won the Carnival, and closed out the show. Fans love Kento.
A one match show, but overall enjoyable and easy to watch. It's the end of the Champions Carnival tour, 18 days of wrestling for them and I. This tournament was not only my first Carnival, but the first time that I actually followed AJPW since it's a promotion that I had just only looked up top matches. It's an interesting promotion, it's certainly a lot different that say NJPW, Dragon Gate, NOAH, and obvously anything in the US or Mexico. Their wrestling style is something that I think we've lost as fans, being able to see a top match end with a backdrop, it's just a backdrop and it's winning matches.
I certainly want to keep following AJPW's biggest shows going forward, I'm totally sold on guys like Kento, Zeus, Nomura, or Aoki. I like Ishikawa, and Lee, and yes, even Yoshitatsu. AJPW is surely on the rise.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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