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2018 Champion Carnival

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Who will win this year's Carnival? For what matches are you most excited?

 

~ A BLOCK : Naoya Nomura, Yuji Hino (FREE), Shingo Takagi (DRAGON GATE), Kento Miyahara, Joe Doering, Shuji Ishikawa (FREE) Ryoji Sai (LAND’S END) & The Bodyguard (FREE)

~ B BLOCK : Dylan James (New Zealand), KAI (FREE), Zeus, Naomichi Marufuji (NOAH), Suwama, Jun Akiyama, Yoshitatsu (FREE) & Yutaka Yoshie (FREE)

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/7/2018 [Sat] 18:00 @ Sendai Sun Plaza Hall in Miyagi

() Carnival B Block Match: Jun Akiyama vs. Dylan James

() Carnival B Block Match: Suwama vs. Zeus
() Carnival A Block Match: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Yuji Hino
() Carnival A Block Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Shingo Takagi

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/8/2018 [Sun] 16:00 @ Akita Terrsa

() Carnival B Block Match: Suwama vs. KAI
() Carnival B Block Match: Zeus vs. Yoshitatsu
() Carnival A Block Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Naoya Nomura
() Carnival A Block Match: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Joe Doering

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/10/2018 [Tue] 18:30 @ Aore Nagaoka in Niigata

() Carnival B Block Match: Jun Akiyama vs. KAI
() Carnival B Block Match: Yutaka Yoshie vs. Dylan James
() Carnival B Block Match: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Yoshitatsu
() Carnival A Block Match: Joe Doering vs. Bodyguard

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/11/2018 [Wed] 18:30 @ Kanazawa Ryutsu Kaikan in Ishikawa

() Carnival B Block Match: Suwama vs. Yutaka Yoshie
() Carnival B Block Match: Zeus vs. Dylan James
() Carnival B Block Match: Yoshitatsu vs. KAI
() Carnival A Block Match: Joe Doering vs. Yuji Hino

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/12/2018 [Thu] 18:30 @ Toyooka Shimin Taiikukan in Hyogo

() Carnival B Block Match: Zeus vs. Yutaka Yoshie
() Carnival A Block Match: Naoya Nomura vs. Yuji Hino
() Carnival A Block Match: Shingo Takagi vs. Bodyguard
() Carnival A Block Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Ryoji Sai

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/14/2018 [Sat] 18:00 @ Hiroshima Marina Hop

() Carnival B Block Match: Jun Akiyama vs. Yutaka Yoshie
() Carnival B Block Match: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Dylan James
() Carnival A Block Match: Naoya Nomura vs. Bodyguard

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/15/2018 [Sun] 16:00 @ Hakata StarLanes in Fukuoka

() Carnival B Block Match: Jun Akiyama vs. Suwama
() Carnival A Block Match: Shingo Takagi vs. Yuji Hino
() Carnival A Block Match: Joe Doering vs. Ryoji Sai
() Carnival A Block Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Shuji Ishikawa

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/16/2018 [Mon] 18:30 @ Oro City Hall in Kagoshima

() Carnival B Block Match: Yoshitatsu vs. Dylan James
() Carnival B Block Match: KAI vs. Yutaka Yoshie
() Carnival A Block Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Bodyguard
() Carnival A Block Match: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Naoya Nomura

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/18/2018 [Wed] 19:00 @ Matsuyama City Community Center in Ehime

() Carnival B Block Match: KAI vs. Dylan James
() Carnival B Block Match: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Yutaka Yoshie
() Carnival B Block Match: Jun Akiyama vs. Yoshitatsu
() Carnival A Block Match: Ryoji Sai vs. Yuji Hino

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/20/2018 [Fri] 18:30 @ EDION Arena Osaka, 2nd Stadium

() Carnival B Block Match: Zeus vs. Naomichi Marufuji
() Carnival A Block Match: Yuji Hino vs. Bodyguard
() Carnival A Block Match: Naoya Nomura vs. Ryoji Sai
() Carnival A Block Match: Joe Doering vs. Shingo Takagi

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/21/2018 [Sat] 17:00 @ EDION Arena Osaka, 2nd Stadium

() Carnival B Block Match: Jun Akiyama vs. Zeus
() Carnival B Block Match: Suwama vs. Naomichi Marufuji
() Carnival A Block Match: Shingo Takagi vs. Ryoji Sai
() Carnival A Block Match: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Bodyguard

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/22/2018 [Sun] 17:00 @ Nagoya International Conference Hall in Aichi

() Carnival B Block Match: Naomichi Marufuji vs. KAI
() Carnival B Block Match: Suwama vs. Yoshitatsu
() Carnival A Block Match: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Ryoji Sai
() Carnival A Block Match: Joe Doering vs. Kento Miyahara

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/25/2018 [Wed] 18:30 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo

() Carnival B Block Match: Zeus vs. KAI
() Carnival B Block Match: Yoshitatsu vs. Yutaka Yoshie
() Carnival B Block Match: Suwama vs. Dylan James
() Carnival B Block Match: Jun Akiyama vs. Naomichi Marufuji
() Carnival A Block Match: Naoya Nomura vs. Shingo Takagi

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/29/2018 [Sun] 18:30 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo

() Carnival A Block Match: Ryoji Sai vs. Bodyguard
() Carnival A Block Match: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Shingo Takagi
() Carnival A Block Match: Joe Doering vs. Naoya Nomura
() Carnival A Block Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Yuji Hino

All Japan Pro-Wrestling “2018 Champion Carnival”, 4/30/2018 [Mon] 18:30 @ Korakuen Hall in Tokyo

() Champion Carnival Final Match: (A BLOCK #1) vs. (B BLOCK #1)

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The obvious matches are super exciting, but I just want to say that Sai vs Nomura III will be a very fun match.

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That Yoshie vs the Bodyguard final will be amazing.

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Really looking forward to Miyahara/Takagi and Miyahara/Hino, but there are a bunch of marchers that could be good to great. I’ve actually been finding a lot of the midcard guys like Sai, KAI, and even Yoshitatsu quite entertaining.

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kento vs Shingo is good,

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I have watched the CC matches of the two first days and here are my Very Intelligent Thoughts:

  • Day 1 > Day 2
  • Kohei Wada has always been an intrusive ref but I used to love him. Now he's awful. Has he changed, or have I?
    • Also, he is the king of inconsistent counts. Usually his third count is extra slow and the first two are regular, but sometimes they're all fast or all slow fucking get it together guy.
  • The female ref (don't know her name) is great though. New favourite ref.
  • There has been a lot of "working the leg" and it seems like the wrestlers really need to brainstorm beforehand to make sure the first five minutes of all of their matches aren't exactly the same.
  • I'm interested to see how Hino-Ishikawa and Joe-Hino play out. Those are some big bruisers.
  • I like that Miyahara is 95% Dreamy Babyface and 5% Violent Pervert. He gets straight-up creepy when he goes in for the kill.
  • Also in Miyahara's favour: he knows that when he faces Nomura, he's the heel. People might cheer for the star quarterback, but not when he's beating up the waterboy.
  • I just realized that Omori isn't in the tournament. Why Yoshi and not him?

Absolutely Objective Match Ratings (best to worst)

  • Miyahara vs Nomura (4/8)
  • Hino vs Ishikawa (4/7)
  • Zeus vs Suwama (4/7)
  • Miyahara vs Takagi (4/7)
  • Joe vs Ishikawa (4/8)
  • Suwama vs Kai (4/8)
  • Akiyama vs James (4/7)
  • Zeus vs Yoshitatsu (4/8)

 

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Wada has gotten so fucking bad. He was the best back in the '90s and now he's every bad indie Japanese referee x2. 

I still want to watch the big matches from 3/25. I had the god damn AJPW streaming service tab on my browser for two weeks and I still haven't gotten around to it. Now it's in my backlog to get to after I catch up on the indie shows from Mania week. One of these months I'll watch the CC.

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I’m not gonna be able to catch up on day 3 and forward until Wednesday or Thursday. Imma have a shit ton of wrestling to watch.

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So are you using the AJPW streaming service? Any good? Because I'm about to through them 9 bucks to watch all this.

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6 hours ago, jaedmc said:

So are you using the AJPW streaming service? Any good? Because I'm about to through them 9 bucks to watch all this.

I have been, yeah. The quality is really good. The selection and the search function are pretty crap.

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What he said.

Also, I think if you sign up now you'll get half a month for your nine bucks. AFAIK it works the same as the other Japanese streaming services and bills on the first every month regardless of when you signed up.

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I watched just the Carnival matches of days 3-5. Here are my Very Intelligent (and Spoiler-Free) Thoughts:

  • KAI is great. Dark horse MVP of the tournament thus far I'd say. He does that thing where he slaps his thigh to make his kicks crack but he's very good at it. He uses misdirection and expert timing. I approve.
  • I have no preconceived feelings about Marufuji, other than he usually got high fan ratings in Fire Pro. He also does the slappy-kick thing except that he is awful at it. He telegraphs the slap and often just completely whiffs the kick. Just awful. He can be good but at that he is not.
  • KAI vs Marufuji is gonna be the slap-kickiest thing ever.
  • Dylan James is crap.
  • Yoshi is also crap.
  • Yoshi vs Dylan James is going to be just the absolute worst.
  • Every match has an early spot where they brawl outside of the ring. Switch it up. Do that later or something.
  • I need to figure out female ref's name as she is a real high spot of the tournament. I love how she starts her count by yelling "OK" and also reacts to everything that's going on. Like, she'll look terrified when Joe gets someone up for a revolution powerbomb or whatever.
  • AJ tends to put the hard camera facing the entrance, which means half the time there's virtually no audience.
  • I'm gonna go back and watch some of the non-Carnival stuff. The NEXTREAM vs Evolution tag could be great, and I'd also like to see Hino and Zeus interact.

Updated Absolutely Objective Match Ratings (best to worst):

  • Miyahara vs Nomura (4/8)
  • Akiyama vs Kai (4/10)
  • Hino vs Ishikawa (4/7)
  • Zeus vs Suwama (4/7)
  • Miyahara vs Takagi (4/7)
  • Marufuji vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)
  • Joe vs Ishikawa (4/8)
  • Suwama vs Kai (4/8)
  • Yoshitatsu vs Kai (4/11)
  • Nomura vs Bodyguard (4/12)
  • Joe vs Hino (4/11)
  • Zeus vs James (4/11)
  • Suwama vs Yoshi (4/11)
  • Akiyama vs Yoshi (4/12)
  • Akiyama vs James (4/7)
  • Marufuji vs James (4/12)
  • Zeus vs Yoshitatsu (4/8)
  • Yoshi vs James (4/10)
  • Joe vs Bodyguard (4/10)

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6 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Could the ref possibly be Nikkan Lee from BJW? Sounds like her.

Yes, it's her.  

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That's great. I thought I saw something where she was working for somebody else (maybe even a WWE tryout/US visit?) but this is perfect. She's an awesome ref. 

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That’s her alright. Thanks!

looking at future lineups, I gotta think that A block will be decided by Hino v Miyahara and B by Akiyama v Marufuji. Miyahara v Marufuji having been the most likely finale anyhow.

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11 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

That's great. I thought I saw something where she was working for somebody else (maybe even a WWE tryout/US visit?) but this is perfect. She's an awesome ref. 

She had a tryout for NXT a couple of years ago. She did a few house shows.

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I watched the Carnival matches of days 6 and 7 and here are my (spoiler free) Very Intelligent Thoughts:

  • I've been watching wrestling like it's my job but I ain't getting paid. But whatever, I gladly accept this grave burden.
  • The 4/15 show had the best Carnival matches overall. All of them were really good.
  • My match of the tournament thus far, Takagi vs Hino, had a very obvious fault: it starts with Hino's hand getting all mashed up, and he sells it for five minutes, but then he just forgets about it and chops the shit out of Takagi with that very same hand, without so much as a "ouch my hand hurts" hand-waggle. But that doesn't matter because the two of them have a dynamite match that the crowd just eats up.
  • The formula is weighing on me. And the formula is: fast exchange for crowd applause-->early outside brawl-->long control segment-->strike exchange-->near ring-out 10 count-->finishing stretch
  • Ishikawa has like three regular moves that all look like impossible-to-kick-out of finishers. When he's spike-piledriving you twice a match for two counts, the move kinda loses something.
  • Miyahara basically works the Hogan match (eat offense 90% of the time and then hot comeback) but it basically works.
  • Suwama's dropkick is great. No matter how many times he does it I'm like "whoa Suwama did a dropkick did not see that coming."
  • Also, his backdrop looks more like a finisher than his usual finishers.
  • A diving crossbody is a good way to transition to offense. Even better when you're Joe Doering and you weigh like 240 and your crossbody looks like it could squash your opponent's innards.
  • Sai is up there with KAI for being Very Dependably Good.

Updated Absolutely Objective Match Rankings (best to worst):

Takagi vs Hino (4/15)

Miyahara vs Nomura (4/8)

Akiyama vs Kai (4/10)

Hino vs Ishikawa (4/7)

Zeus vs Suwama (4/7)

Miyahara vs Ishikawa (4/15)

Miyahara vs Takagi (4/7)

Suwama vs Akiyama (4/15)

Marufuji vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)

Miyahara vs Sai (4/14)

Joe vs Ishikawa (4/8)

Suwama vs Kai (4/8)

Yoshitatsu vs Kai (4/11)

Joe vs Sai (4/15)

Takagi vs Bodyguard (4/14)

Nomura vs Bodyguard (4/12)

Joe vs Hino (4/11)

Zeus vs James (4/11)

Suwama vs Yoshi (4/11)

Hino vs Nomura (4/14)

Akiyama vs Yoshi (4/12)

Akiyama vs James (4/7)

Marufuji vs James (4/12)

Zeus vs Yoshi (4/14)

Zeus vs Yoshitatsu (4/8)

Yoshi vs James (4/10)

Joe vs Bodyguard (4/10)

 

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I really dislike Wada more than I like him, but I'm a big fan of Akiyama fucking with Wada in the Zeus match

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I’ll post more later but you guys Zeus has changed up his look and donned pants which as you know is de rigueur among the champion set. This augurs well for his Triple Crown aspirations.

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I have watched the remaining available CC matches. My Very Intelligent (Spoiler-Free) Thoughts:

  • One thing Zeus does not always do well is the jackhammer, which is a shame, given that it's his finisher
  • One thing that he does always do well is his lariat, which he lands with much power and conviction and admirable disregard for his opponent's safety
  • Yuji Hino treated Nomura like any other opponent, just one that posed less of a risk than usual; Shuji Ishikawa treated Nomura like he needed to be punished for daring to step into the ring with him
  • Nomura vs Ishikawa looked like a kid fighting his dad
  • Yoshie has fought the exact same match every night. He ain't Ric Flair. It's almost like no one told him this shit was televised
  • Yoshie and Bodyguard are both capable of terrible matches but Bodyguard is also capable of good ones so he's the far superior wrestler
  • B Block is delivering better than expected. Suwama and Akiyama are actually as good as you could hope them to be and Zeus is really punching above his weight. Marufuji is Marufuji.
  • Still expecting Miyahara vs Marufuji as the final, though I'd actually be all for them having Hino take out Kento on the last day of the Blocks and face any of the AJ-signed guys
  • The tag champs, Sai and James, are having a terrible CC.
  • I hope AJ can get Hino to stay on for a while. It'd also be nice if they could sign some of the longtime freelancers to permanent gigs.

 

Updated Absolutely Objective Match Rankings (best to worst)

 

 
  • Takagi vs Hino (4/15)
  • Miyahara vs Nomura (4/8)
  • Akiyama vs Zeus (4/21)
  • Suwama vs Marufuji (4/21)
  • Akiyama vs Kai (4/10)
  • Ishikawa vs Nomura (4/16)
  • Hino vs Ishikawa (4/7)
  • Zeus vs Suwama (4/7)
  • Miyahara vs Ishikawa (4/15)
  • Miyahara vs Takagi (4/7)
  • Suwama vs Akiyama (4/15)
  • Zeus vs Marufuji (4/20)
  • KAI vs Marufuji (4/22)
  • Takagi vs Sai (4/21)
  • Marufuji vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)
  • Miyahara vs Sai (4/14)
  • Joe vs Ishikawa (4/8)
  • Joe vs Takagi (4/20)
  • Suwama vs Kai (4/8)
  • Miyahara vs Joe (4/22)
  • Suwama vs Yoshitatsu (4/22)
  • Yoshitatsu vs Kai (4/11)
  • Bodyguard vs Ishikawa (4/21)
  • Sai vs Ishikawa (4/22)
  • Joe vs Sai (4/15)
  • Sai vs Nomura (4/20)
  • Takagi vs Bodyguard (4/14)
  • Nomura vs Bodyguard (4/12)
  • Joe vs Hino (4/11)
  • Yoshitatsu vs James (4/16)
  • Zeus vs James (4/11)
  • Suwama vs Yoshi (4/11)
  • Hino vs Nomura (4/14)
  • Akiyama vs Yoshi (4/12)
  • KAI vs James (4/18)
  • KAI vs Yoshi (4/16)
  • Bodyguard vs Hino (4/20)
  • Sai vs Hino (4/18)
  • Akiyama vs James (4/7)
  • Akiyama vs Yoshitatsu (4/18)
  • Marufuji vs James (4/12)
  • Zeus vs Yoshi (4/14)
  • Zeus vs Yoshitatsu (4/8)
  • Yoshi vs James (4/10)
  • Joe vs Bodyguard (4/10)
  • Marufuji vs Yoshi (4/18)

Current Standings

A BLOCK
★ Yuji Hino [4 wins, 2 losses = 8 points]
★ Doering [4 wins, 2 losses = 8 points]
★ Miyahara [4 wins, 2 losses = 8 points]
★ Shingo [3 wins, 2 losses = 6 points]
★ Sai [3 win, 3 losses = 6 points]
★ Ishikawa [3 wins, 3 losses = 6 points]
★ Nomura [1 win, 4 losses = 2 points]
★ Bodyguard [1 win, 5 losses = 2 points]

B BLOCK
★ Suwama [4 wins, 2 losses = 8 points]
★ Zeus [4 wins, 2 losses = 8 points]
★ Akiyama [4 wins, 2 losses = 8 points]
★ Marufuji [4 wins, 2 losses = 8 points]
★ Yoshitatsu [3 wins, 3 losses = 6 points]
★ KAI [2 wins, 4 losses = 4 points]
★ James [2 wins, 4 losses = 4 points]
★ Yoshie [1 win, 5 losses = 2 points]

tomorrow’s show will determine finalist for block B.

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Since junk for results is down at the moment, I'll just put in spoilers who won the B Block here. (A Block is decided on the 29th.)
 

Spoiler

Marufuji won Block B after beating Akiyama. None of the other results changed that from the show.

 

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Welp, I had the B block results spoiled for me in the most obvious and avoidable way imaginable.

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Maybe I'm lying?

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Ha! No, wasn’t your post. Went on Twitter (having muted those I thought would spoil results) only to have someone else spoil them.

the timing of the A block finals sucks cuz I can probably catch the final show live but won’t be able to watch the 4/29 show before that.

 

edit: watching today’s show now and hit dang the crowd is on fire. Liveliest crowd all tour. We’ll see if that survived the Yoshie match.

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