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Champion Carnival 2019

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Posted (edited)

I want Naoya Nomura to win. But it will probably be Shuji or Yuji.

Edited by D.Z

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I know these tournaments typically have an upset or two, but GIANNI VALETTA BEATING MIYAHARA?? WTF?

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I watched days 8 and 9 of the Champion's Carnival. Thoughts~!:

Day 8 (4/14)

  • I may not have previously made it clear that Adonis is not working a Trump-loving shtick, and is merely working a generic sleazy heel shtick.
  • He is both not as bad as I thought he'd be and also not good at all.
  • Like if he was in your local fed you'd be like "he's pretty good maybe he'll get a shot at the WWE someday" but you also wouldn't be surprised if he didn't.
  • Especially cuz he fucks up a bit.
  • His chirping of the ref, the fans, and his opponents is pretty entertaining, though.
  • Joe Doering has not appeared motivated since losing the TC to Kento a year ago. He was a great TC champ, but he has not felt the need to bring it and I think Dylan James is surpassing him as top gaijin.
  • Joel Redman and Cyber Kong: I forget what happens.
  • OK, Ryouji Sai and Zeus have a killer match. What is with Ryouji Sai? He's very similar to Yoshitatsu in that he can be entirely OK and also sometimes bad and then sometimes he's in really good matches.
  • But no matter how good he is, it's hard to get behind him.
  • He's usually quite deceptive, because he comes out in this wild, anime-style jacket, to "Come and Play" by Offspring, and when they announce his name he does a commando roll and spits out a spray of water, all of which would lead you to believe that he's going to be very exciting, and usually he isn't.
  • But fucking Sai and Zeus tear the place down. Zeus on track to be dark horse MVP of the tournament.
  • And then I think Ishikawa vs Miyahara is even better. I hemmed and hawed over how to rank the matches against each other. On the one hand I expect Ish and Kento to put on great matches, so this one was no surprise, and I don't expect Sai to be in great matches, so maybe it's better?
  • I dunno, but unlike some, I'm digging these shorter main events. Kento vs Ish and vs Zeus were both under 20, I think--makes them really streamlined.
  • It's funny that they signed Ishikawa and then immediately after Akiyama was like "we're def pushing younger talent from here on out."
  • Which leads me to this unrelated observation, but, probably due to their limited roster, AJ doesn't really have "midcard" booking. They have the champs at the top, the young boys at the bottom, and everyone else is in one giant pool in the middle, waiting for their turn.
  • Book some midcard feuds, is what I'm saying.
  • Like, make Zeus vs The Bomber a thing. Have him try to take them out with Bodyguard, and then have him get a new partner, and try again, etc.

4/15

  • This is probably a skippable show, though Nomura v Yoshitatsu is quite good.
  • James vs Aoyagi is unremarkable except for the way Aoyagi sells the chokeslam, which I quite enjoyed.
  • The best part of Cyber Kong vs Adonis is when Adonis is beating up Kong in the corner and the ref is telling Adonis some finer point of wrestling protocol, and Adonis parrots the words back to him, and then he's like "I don't speak Japanese asshole."
  • Also some dude in the audience was chanting for Adonis, which everyone thought was so noteworthy that they stopped the match to appreciate it.
  • The fun thing about Aoki's run is that he has to do all the junior-against-heavyweight stuff you'd expect, like flash pin attempts and lots of top rope maneuvering, but at the same time he's also a middle aged man. So he does a dive to the outside to get the advantage, and then he's like "aw shit my knees I'm too old for this shit."
  • But this tourney has made me like Aoki more, so there's that.
  • Nomura vs Yoshitatsu is quite good. Nomura is proving that he can have good singles matches with most folks, which is good if you're pushing him as a main eventer. I still remember the turd he dropped last year with Bodyguard, but I'm starting to forget it.

 

  • Maybe instead of ranking every match, I should just put them into major categories: Good Stuff, Perfectly Fine Wrestling, Blah!, etc.??

Complete and Objective Match Rankings:

Ishikawa vs Okabayashi (4/4)

Ishikawa vs Miyahara (4/14)

Zeus vs Ryouji Sai (4/14)

Zeus vs James (4/13)

Zeus vs Miyahara (4/9)

Lee vs Nomura (4/4)

Miyahara vs Aoki (4/4)

Nomura vs Yoshitatsu (4/15)

Suwama vs Doering (4/4)

Nomura vs Redman (4/13)

Nomura vs Doering (4/10)

Ishikawa vs Aoyagi (4/13)

Zeus vs Aoyagi (4/10)

Nomura vs Cyber Kong (4/6)

Suwama vs Yoshitatus (4/10)

Okabayashi vs Aoyagi (4/6)

Ishikawa vs Aoki (4/6)

Zeus vs Aoki (4/15)

Miyahara vs James (4/11)

Valetta vs James (4/9)

Yoshitatsu vs Doering (4/7)

Aoyagi vs James (4/15)

Lee vs Yoshitatsu (4/11)

Lee vs Redman (4/9)

Adonis vs Redman (4/10)

Nomura vs Adonis (4/9)

Suwama vs Adonis (4/11)

Sai vs James (4/6)

Hashimoto vs Lee (4/7)

Suwama vs Cyber Kong (4/13)

Joel Redman vs Cyber Kong (4/14)

Aoyagi vs Valetta (4/11)

Sai vs Valetta (4/13)

Valetta vs Zeus (4/7)

Hashimoto vs Redman (4/6)

Cyber Kong vs Adonis (4/15)

Hashimoto vs Cyber Kong (4/4)

Adonis vs Doering (4/14)

Sai vs Ishikawa (4/7)

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I watched days 10 and 11 of the Champion's Carnival. Thoughts~!

April 16

  • Not a great show
  • I haven't been watching the non-CC matches, because I haven't the time, but I decided to watch the 6 man with Shrek.
  • There are many facets to wrestling, and one of the facets is the look. And Shrek has that. He is weird and stocky and has an afro.
  • He's terrible at all the other facets of wrestling, though.
  • Like, I've seen local wrestlers debut--17 year-olds with bad tattoos named Justin Maxxx or some shit. And Justin Maxxx would be like "Get your shit together Shrek"
  • Valetta is not the worst guy in this tournament. For shame, guys worse than Valetta.
  • Valetta vs Okabayashi is the best Valetta match ever.
  • Doering and Cyber Kong have a perfectly acceptable match, and then the ending gets duffed badly, with Kong's shoulder drifting off the mat (I guess?), so Doering has to pin him twice. Very weird.
  • Without any sound, you get to hear Daichi Hashimoto's screams, which are weird dog-like yelps, or maybe like a kabuki actor being trying to get across the idea that he's being tormented by scary ghosts!
  • This is the best thing about him.
  • Suwama is not lighting the world on fire this tournament. Last year, there was an argument to be made for Suwama as tournament MVP (or at least kinda dark horse MVP), but he's not doing much this year.

April 17

  • Good main event
  • Not much else that is great
  • Valetta continues to have a surprising tournament
  • Aoyagi is getting the rub from Miyahara (just like Lee did in 2017 and Nomura did in 2018). Showing that he deserves to be in the conversation with Nomura and Jake.

 

Complete and objective match rankings.

Ishikawa vs Okabayashi (4/4)

Ishikawa vs Miyahara (4/14)

Zeus vs Ryouji Sai (4/14)

Zeus vs James (4/13)

Zeus vs Miyahara (4/9)

Lee vs Nomura (4/4)

Miyahara vs Aoyagi (4/17)

Miyahara vs Aoki (4/4)

Nomura vs Yoshitatsu (4/15)

Suwama vs Doering (4/4)

Nomura vs Redman (4/13)

Nomura vs Doering (4/10)

Aoki vs Aoyagi (4/16)

Ishikawa vs Aoyagi (4/13)

Zeus vs Aoyagi (4/10)

Nomura vs Cyber Kong (4/6)

Suwama vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)

Okabayashi vs Aoyagi (4/6)

Aoki vs Sai (4/17)

Ishikawa vs Aoki (4/6)

Zeus vs Aoki (4/15)

Miyahara vs James (4/11)

Cyber Kong vs Doering (4/16)

Valetta vs Okabayashi (4/16)

Valetta vs James (4/9)

Yoshitatsu vs Doering (4/7)

Aoyagi vs James (4/15)

Lee vs Yoshitatsu (4/11)

Ishikawa vs Valetta (4/17)

Lee vs Redman (4/9)

Lee vs Cyber Kong (4/17)

Adonis vs Redman (4/10)

Nomura vs Adonis (4/9)

Suwama vs Adonis (4/11)

Sai vs James (4/6)

Hashimoto vs Lee (4/7)

Suwama vs Hashimoto (4/16)

Doering vs Cyber Kong (4/16)

Suwama vs Cyber Kong (4/13)

Joel Redman vs Cyber Kong (4/14)

Aoyagi vs Valetta (4/11)

Sai vs Valetta (4/13)

Valetta vs Zeus (4/7)

Hashimoto vs Redman (4/6)

Cyber Kong vs Adonis (4/15)

Hashimoto vs Cyber Kong (4/4)

Adonis vs Doering (4/14)

Sai vs Ishikawa (4/7)

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On 4/21/2019 at 9:06 PM, BrianS81177 said:

I know these tournaments typically have an upset or two, but GIANNI VALETTA BEATING MIYAHARA?? WTF?

Gianni Valetta has wracked up a surprising amount of wins over top talent in this tournament. I look forward (?) to his TC match.

The funny thing is, no one has ever seen his finisher before, so when he does the TKO for the pin, ppl were like "wait what?"

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I watched day~! 12~! of the Champion Carnival~!

Thoughts:

  • Yoshitatsu and Sam Adonis definitely had a match that I haven't completely forgotten already
  • Your enjoyment of Dylan James vs Okabayashi will depend entirely on how much you enjoy two beefbags pounding on each other for an extended period of time. I was very much behind it for about 20 minutes but it got a bit too chaotic and clumsy in the last stretch.
  • Okabayashi has really weird lariats, I'm now noticing. Maybe it's because of his little T-Rex arms or his short stature, but he hooks his arms up a lot and ends up smacking his opponent in the face.
  • E.g. he smacked James in the eye, causing it to swell up and bleed.
  • The two killed time with lots of chops to the chest, like they were Tenryu/Hashimoto or Kobashi/Sasaki. Though they're not those guys. At a few points it was an obvious stalling strategy, but if you're gonna stall, I'd rather see these two chop each other than trade rest holds.
  • Why does Okabayashi do a torture rack? He literally gets choked out of it every time.
  • OK I was happy to see Redman in the ring again, but then he was all like "I slappy slappy my thigh, which means you run at it for no reason and I step over you, and you will be perplexed! Wooooo, BritWres!" and my old hatred flared up.
  • Suwama must like Redman because the back suplex he does that's usually a headdrop was a much safer shoulder drop.
  • Hashimoto is really deceptive, in that, like Sai, his look makes you expect something more. Something better. How can a dude that looks like an anime samurai and/or Mortal Combat fighter be so fucking tepid in the ring?
  • Can you imagine being Nomura, and having an absolute banger against Miyahara, and Akiyama is like "you are one of the new Four Pillars of Heaven," and fans love you, and then Uncle Jun is back and he's like "BTW you're jobbing to Daichi Fucking Hashimoto, try not to make it look like shit"?
  • And then Gianni Valetta had his best match ever. His hero's journey from terribleness to mediocrity continues apace!

Complete and Objective Match Rankings:

 

Ishikawa vs Okabayashi (4/4)

Ishikawa vs Miyahara (4/14)

Zeus vs Ryouji Sai (4/14)

Zeus vs James (4/13)

Zeus vs Miyahara (4/9)

Lee vs Nomura (4/4)

Miyahara vs Aoyagi (4/17)

James vs Okabayashi (4/20)

Miyahara vs Aoki (4/4)

Nomura vs Yoshitatsu (4/15)

Suwama vs Doering (4/4)

Nomura vs Redman (4/13)

Nomura vs Doering (4/10)

Suwama vs Redman (4/20)

Aoki vs Aoyagi (4/16)

Ishikawa vs Aoyagi (4/13)

Miyahara vs Valetta (4/20)

Zeus vs Aoyagi (4/10)

I don't believe anyone reads these

Nomura vs Cyber Kong (4/6)

Suwama vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)

Okabayashi vs Aoyagi (4/6)

Nomura vs Hashimoto (4/20)

Aoki vs Sai (4/17)

Ishikawa vs Aoki (4/6)

Zeus vs Aoki (4/15)

Miyahara vs James (4/11)

Cyber Kong vs Doering (4/16)

Valetta vs Okabayashi (4/16)

Valetta vs James (4/9)

Yoshitatsu vs Doering (4/7)

Aoyagi vs James (4/15)

Lee vs Yoshitatsu (4/11)

Ishikawa vs Valetta (4/17)

Lee vs Redman (4/9)

Yoshitatsu vs Adonis (4/20)

Lee vs Cyber Kong (4/17)

Adonis vs Redman (4/10)

Nomura vs Adonis (4/9)

Suwama vs Adonis (4/11)

Sai vs James (4/6)

Hashimoto vs Lee (4/7)

Suwama vs Hashimoto (4/16)

Doering vs Cyber Kong (4/16)

Suwama vs Cyber Kong (4/13)

Joel Redman vs Cyber Kong (4/14)

Aoyagi vs Valetta (4/11)

Edited by Control
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2 hours ago, Control said:

 

  Hide contents

 

I don't believe anyone reads these

 

Thank you so much for being the primary full reviews out there for this years Carnival. I burnt out on wrestling after Mania weekend and am still a few weeks away from really diving back in but this is incredibly helpful and appreciated and I look forward to consulting this when cherry picking "must sees" from the tournament when I am ready to dive back in! 

PLEASE keep these coming!

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Lol, I do the same thing with course outlines, which are long and dull but full of important info, so like on page four under like “email policies” I’ll just drop in “send me a picture of TV’s Alf to receive a bonus point to your final grade” just to see if anyone’s reading.

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4 hours ago, Control said:

Lol, I do the same thing with course outlines, which are long and dull but full of important info, so like on page four under like “email policies” I’ll just drop in “send me a picture of TV’s Alf to receive a bonus point to your final grade” just to see if anyone’s reading.

Ah yes the good old Van Halen/brown M&M's trick.

I love that for years the Van Halen "no brown M&M's" story was painted as rock and roll diva excess until David Lee Roth addressed it and said that they included that as a test, because if the brown M&M thing was messed up by the concert organizers, something genuinely important regarding stage construction or sound setup was usually messed up too and it gave them a chance to fix it before doors opened. 

That said, thank you again!

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5 hours ago, Control said:

Lol, I do the same thing with course outlines, which are long and dull but full of important info, so like on page four under like “email policies” I’ll just drop in “send me a picture of TV’s Alf to receive a bonus point to your final grade” just to see if anyone’s reading.

Would you have given any credit for naked pictures of Bea Arthur?

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I watched day 13~! of the Champion('s?) Carnival. Thoughts~!

  • Good to great matches, here.
  • The story with Redman throughout the tournament has been that he is a riddle each wrestler has to solve. For AJ guys, wrestling is smashing your body into your opponent's body until one body fails; for Redman, wrestling is slapping your thigh and doing head stands on the turnbuckle. He might as well have gotten off a UFO and started wrestling. So, each match is the AJ guy getting frustrated by Redman's bizarre style--either they lose their cool and take the loss, or they solve the riddle and get the pin.
  • But not Yoshitatsu. He's like "oh you like goofy shit brother I live in goofy shit land lets do some goofy shit"
  • And Redman is like "no that's not goofy shit that just kinda bad wrestling"
  • Like why does Yoshitatsu insist on doing moves that he botches 50% of the time. Just replace them with like your standard X Firepro moveset.
  • But actually I'm being hard on Yoshi who really brought his work boots to the CC. Also, I haven't been paying attention to the score, and it kinda feels like he's in the lead?
  • Anyway, YT does this move that is kind like a gogoplata. And they treat it like a sleeper, so that the ref raises the hand three times, and if it falls the third time--uh, the opponent is out, so the ref suggests a pin? Just weird stuff. And he never gets the pin.
  • But LOL, no one told Redman, and the dude taps out like it's a submission. What a dork.
  • People are saying Redman's a great technical wrestler, but I think like this is more of a judgement on quantity than quality. Like, is he good at technical wrestling or does he just do a lot of it? We don't say Hashimoto is good at scream wrestling, even though 63% of his matches is just screaming.
  • Speaking of Hashimoto, Doering smushed him. This is good.
  • OK, so Zeus and Okabayashi is *the match* of this tournament that I've been waiting for. It is a battle of practical muscles vs glamour muscles.
  • Zeus *points at Okabayashi*: Where is your neck, motherfucker?
  • Like Oka/James, there is a lot of chopping. Unlike Oka/James, the chops aren't just killing time, and there's a definite destination for this match.
  • Zeus *taunting Okabayashi*: You may be strong but look at my slender waist. I wear like a 30" in the trousers. Suck it fatboy!
  • Okabayashi: My muscles are a testament to my hard work! Your muscles are a condemnation of your vanity!
  • Honestly, as long as they didn't get injured, I'd have given this a million stars. But it's worth it.
  • Zeus, you are the champion of my heart.
  • And the main event is Suwama vs Lee.
  • Both have been a bit underwhelming this tournament, to be honest
  • So the story here is that Suwama is maybe reaching has-been status; he's tag champ, sure, but he's been locked out of the finals of the singles tournaments and he just got put down by Miyahara. He's got Fat Elvis jowls now. But he's also prematurely morphing into Tenryu before our very eyes.
  • And Jake Lee is the sexy tall Korean who's hoping to ascend to the pinnacle of wrestlehood
  • [if this were the WWE, Lee, Zeus, and Sai would be lumped together in an all-Korean stable. They'd dance to the ring to Gangnam Style ]
  • Jake Lee *points to Suwama*: How much gas do you have left in the tank, old man?
  • Suwama to Jake: Enough to fuck~! your~! mother~!
  • <Dramatization: May Not Have Happened>
  • This is very much a Suwama match, which is to say plodding but in sort of a good way.
  • We start with Lee working on Suwama's arm, which he probably oversells to be quite honest, but he's a generous soul.
  • And Suwama makes a comeback on the outside by lifting Lee up and literally ramming his back into the ring post. Ouch.
  • So now they're both gibbled.
  • And the match seems to meander a bit until a really exceptional part where Lee manages to unload his first running knee to Suwama's chest.
  • I think this is called the Giant Killer (or Giant Killing), but maybe that's a special kind of running knee?
  • In any case, Suwama sells the first one like it's caved his chest in. And he sells the second like his sternum has been split in two.
  • And this is where things get gripping, because though the pace is slow the drama is HIGH
  • A third running knee! Suwama wants you to know his rib-cage has been shattered! His lungs are filling with blood!
  • Though it's a two count, Suwama then---passes out from the pain! We get a close up of Suwama's dead face and Wada checking him for a pulse.
  • I actually think they're going to end with a KO, and that this seems credible says much about Suwama's selling.
  • But anyway, he's too manly for that shit. Suwama is back, but his one arm is clutched to his side while the other attempts vainly to hold the wreckage of his torso together.
  • And from this disadvantage of age and physical condition, Suwama mounts his comeback~!
  • Anyway, very good for drama and maybe less so for actual workrate.
  • The win-loss records of this CC have been wild. Pretty sure everyone's in a big clump in the middle.
  • Prediction: Ryuji Sai beats Okabayashi.

Complete and Objective Match Rankings:

Ishikawa vs Okabayashi (4/4)

Ishikawa vs Miyahara (4/14)

Zeus vs Ryouji Sai (4/14)

Zeus vs James (4/13)

Zeus vs Okabayashi (4/21)

Zeus vs Miyahara (4/9)

Lee vs Nomura (4/4)

Suwama vs Lee (4/21)

Miyahara vs Aoyagi (4/17)

James vs Okabayashi (4/20)

Miyahara vs Aoki (4/4)

Nomura vs Yoshitatsu (4/15)

Suwama vs Doering (4/4)

Nomura vs Redman (4/13)

Nomura vs Doering (4/10)

Suwama vs Redman (4/20)

Aoki vs Aoyagi (4/16)

Ishikawa vs Aoyagi (4/13)

Miyahara vs Valetta (4/20)

Zeus vs Aoyagi (4/10)

Nomura vs Cyber Kong (4/6)

Suwama vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)

Yoshitatsu vs Redman (4/21)

Okabayashi vs Aoyagi (4/6)

Nomura vs Hashimoto (4/20)

Aoki vs Sai (4/17)

Ishikawa vs Aoki (4/6)

Zeus vs Aoki (4/15)

Miyahara vs James (4/11)

Cyber Kong vs Doering (4/16)

Valetta vs Okabayashi (4/16)

Valetta vs James (4/9)

Yoshitatsu vs Doering (4/7)

Aoyagi vs James (4/15)

Lee vs Yoshitatsu (4/11)

Ishikawa vs Valetta (4/17)

Lee vs Redman (4/9)

Doering vs Hashimoto (4/21)

Yoshitatsu vs Adonis (4/20)

Lee vs Cyber Kong (4/17)

Adonis vs Redman (4/10)

Nomura vs Adonis (4/9)

Suwama vs Adonis (4/11)

Sai vs James (4/6)

Hashimoto vs Lee (4/7)

Suwama vs Hashimoto (4/16)

Doering vs Cyber Kong (4/16)

Suwama vs Cyber Kong (4/13)

Joel Redman vs Cyber Kong (4/14)

Aoyagi vs Valetta (4/11)

Sai vs Valetta (4/13)

Valetta vs Zeus (4/7)

Hashimoto vs Redman (4/6)

Cyber Kong vs Adonis (4/15)

Hashimoto vs Cyber Kong (4/4)

Adonis vs Doering (4/14)

Sai vs Ishikawa (4/7)

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I watched day 14 (April 23) of the CC. Thoughts:

  • I haven't been watching the undercards, for the most part, but I wanted to see if Lee/Iwamoto vs Suwama/Okada built on the previous show's Lee/Suwama match.
  • And it didn't. It was also super short, so I'm guessing they're still pretty beat up.
  • I did get to see Iwamoto judo-flip Suwama, though.
  •  Yoshitatsu vs Hashimoto is actually a pretty good match. Maybe even a quite good match, but it’s really hard to get emotionally invested in either guy.
  • They start with a lot of pretty good mat/chain wrestling, like they’re worried Redman is watching them and going to go back to England and be all like “lads they don’t know how to wrestle there, it’s all chops and clotheslines and very few drop toe holds or spinning wristlock escapes!”
  • No one fucks up at all and Hash doesn’t look lost, so a real win in everyone’s books, even though the ending seems quite abrupt.
  • Aoki vs Valetta: thanks to lostintube, I now know that when the wrestlers are brawling outside the ring, the announcer is saying “oki o tsuke kudasaI” or “watch your butts, fans!” So it’s delightful to realize that they say the same thing when Valetta is just coming to the ring. Like, “watch out, this mediocre Bruiser Brody clone is too crazy for us to control!”
  • What if AJ didn’t make Valetta a Bruiser Brody clone but a Tiger Jeet Singh clone? I think I’d be down with him waving a sabre and spitting fire at people. Fuck yeah.
  • Side note (to that side note): A chain is actually a pretty shitty wrestling weapon, because it doesn’t look like it hurts, but I bet it probably hurts.
  • Though admittedly this chain seems very light and jingles a lot, like it’s made of tin or something. Or some other light metal. Fuck it, I’m not a metallurgist.
  • This is … also pretty good? Valetta is perhaps learning how to grow into this very limited role he’s been given. Absolute best-case scenario is that he improves enough to kind of make room within the role for his own stuff, like how Doering is meant to be Hansen and still does a lot of Hansen stuff but has definitely become his own guy.
  • But I’m not saying he’s there or even close to getting there.
  • He is doing the right stuff in this role, though, like kicking at young boys and threatening the ref with a heavy chair beating, etc.
  • He also shakes Aoki’s hand at the start, and looks over his shoulder to give the camera a greasy smile, which was a nice touch.
  • Honestly, I think this was Aoki’s chance to do something, like take the chain himself and shit kick Valetta with it. Instead he just wrestling him, what a waste.
  • Sai vs Okabayashi: Sai keeps threatening to superplex people out of the ring, and I gotta say that, on top of the fact that no one is going to take that bump (maybe PCO), shouldn’t it like actually be illegal? If hitting people with a chair is bad, why would I be allowed to throw them off the turnbuckle and into the audience?
  • Anyway, this gets off to a quick start, and other than some very standard weird Sai posturing on the top rope, mostly stays brisk.
  • Good match, but there’s not enough weight to it to be anything memorable.
  • James vs Ishikawa: actually kinda similar to the previous match, in that it was good but they didn’t really put enough into it to make it next-level.
  • Ishikawa is having a great CC, though. I think better than last year’s.
  • It’d be hard not to just slap the triple crown on Ishikawa. He’s always good and he’s incredibly convincing as an unstoppable monster.
  • Dylan James is only 27! If this dude sticks around he’ll be TC champ in a few years for sure. He’s the ideal foreigner: big, beefy, and capable of going 30 minutes if necessary.
  • Though he was looking pretty beat up from that Okabayashi match.
  • Whole show was solid without being great.

Complete and Objective Match Rankings:

[Ishikawa/Okabayashi might be overrated at this point. It was the first top-tier match of the tournament. I'm probably not going to go back and revisit them anytime soon, though]

Ishikawa vs Okabayashi (4/4)

Ishikawa vs Miyahara (4/14)

Zeus vs Ryouji Sai (4/14)

Zeus vs James (4/13)

Zeus vs Okabayashi (4/21)

Zeus vs Miyahara (4/9)

Lee vs Nomura (4/4)

Suwama vs Lee (4/21)

Miyahara vs Aoyagi (4/17)

James vs Okabayashi (4/20)

Miyahara vs Aoki (4/4)

Nomura vs Yoshitatsu (4/15)

Suwama vs Doering (4/4)

James vs Ishikawa (4/23)

Okabayashi vs Sai (4/23)

Nomura vs Redman (4/13)

Nomura vs Doering (4/10)

Suwama vs Redman (4/20)

Aoki vs Aoyagi (4/16)

Ishikawa vs Aoyagi (4/13)

Miyahara vs Valetta (4/20)

Zeus vs Aoyagi (4/10)

Nomura vs Cyber Kong (4/6)

Suwama vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)

Yoshitatsu vs Redman (4/21)

Yoshitatsu vs Hashimoto (4/23)

Aoki vs Valetta (4/23)

Okabayashi vs Aoyagi (4/6)

Nomura vs Hashimoto (4/20)

Aoki vs Sai (4/17)

Ishikawa vs Aoki (4/6)

Zeus vs Aoki (4/15)

Miyahara vs James (4/11)

Cyber Kong vs Doering (4/16)

Valetta vs Okabayashi (4/16)

Valetta vs James (4/9)

Yoshitatsu vs Doering (4/7)

Aoyagi vs James (4/15)

Lee vs Yoshitatsu (4/11)

Ishikawa vs Valetta (4/17)

Lee vs Redman (4/9)

Doering vs Hashimoto (4/21)

Yoshitatsu vs Adonis (4/20)

Lee vs Cyber Kong (4/17)

Adonis vs Redman (4/10)

Nomura vs Adonis (4/9)

Suwama vs Adonis (4/11)

Sai vs James (4/6)

Hashimoto vs Lee (4/7)

Suwama vs Hashimoto (4/16)

Doering vs Cyber Kong (4/16)

Suwama vs Cyber Kong (4/13)

Joel Redman vs Cyber Kong (4/14)

Aoyagi vs Valetta (4/11)

Sai vs Valetta (4/13)

Valetta vs Zeus (4/7)

Hashimoto vs Redman (4/6)

Cyber Kong vs Adonis (4/15)

Hashimoto vs Cyber Kong (4/4)

Adonis vs Doering (4/14)

Sai vs Ishikawa (4/7)

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Any chance one of you fine blokes could do me a solid and post/dm me the standings going into (but not including the results of) today, the 25th? like, grab 'em from purolove, who prob posted standings at bottom of yesterday's card? Want to go into today's show unspoiled but also with some idea of how everyone's standing (because I haven't been keeping track and think like almost everyone's tied?_.

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Spoilers.

Spoiler

Kento wins block A

 

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OK, cool, I am all caught up. Day 15 first. Thoughts~!:

  • This is a fine show. The matches are tight but not exceptional, since I think everyone is recovering and/or saving themselves for the final days.
  • Doering vs Redman is probably my favourite Redman match (and maybe best Doering match so far). Because Doering does not look lost by Redman's' wrestling; in fact, he's fine with it, like it reminds him of his training back in the day.
  • Fans love Redman. He comes to the ring shaking hands, kissing babies, etc.
  • Lee vs Adonis: Adonis's tights say, like, "Sexy Violence" or something.
  • This is fine. Adonis is totally OK and Lee is OK too. Adonis really brings nothing to this tournament: less than Cyber Kong.
  • But, this is as good a match as anyone is going to get out of him.
  • Okabayashi vs Aoki is quite a bit of fun, with Aoki trying every type of flash pin to get the win, and selling Oka's offence like it's death.
  • If anything, I think it might be overdone: Aoki might be tiny compared to Oka, but they treat him like his offence can't pose a threat at all, which I think is a bit silly. Dude could try armbars and kicks and shit. He's been wrestling for a long ass time.
  • Still, fun to watch the mismatch.
  • Miyahara can't get the match out of Sai that Zeus did, but this is nonetheless pretty good.
  • All-in-all, an entertaining show, but there's nothing must-see on here.

Complete and Objective Match Ratings:

Ishikawa vs Okabayashi (4/4)

Ishikawa vs Miyahara (4/14)

Zeus vs Ryouji Sai (4/14)

Zeus vs James (4/13)

Zeus vs Okabayashi (4/21)

Zeus vs Miyahara (4/9)

Lee vs Nomura (4/4)

Suwama vs Lee (4/21)

Miyahara vs Aoyagi (4/17)

James vs Okabayashi (4/20)

Miyahara vs Aoki (4/4)

Nomura vs Yoshitatsu (4/15)

Suwama vs Doering (4/4)

James vs Ishikawa (4/23)

Doering vs Redman (4/24)

Okabayashi vs Sai (4/23)

Okabayashi vs Aoki (4/24)

Miyahara vs Sai (4/24)

Nomura vs Redman (4/13)

Nomura vs Doering (4/10)

Suwama vs Redman (4/20)

Aoki vs Aoyagi (4/16)

Ishikawa vs Aoyagi (4/13)

Miyahara vs Valetta (4/20)

Zeus vs Aoyagi (4/10)

Nomura vs Cyber Kong (4/6)

Suwama vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)

Yoshitatsu vs Redman (4/21)

Lee vs Adonis (4/24)

Yoshitatsu vs Hashimoto (4/23)

Aoki vs Valetta (4/23)

Okabayashi vs Aoyagi (4/6)

Nomura vs Hashimoto (4/20)

Aoki vs Sai (4/17)

Ishikawa vs Aoki (4/6)

Zeus vs Aoki (4/15)

Miyahara vs James (4/11)

Cyber Kong vs Doering (4/16)

Valetta vs Okabayashi (4/16)

Valetta vs James (4/9)

Yoshitatsu vs Doering (4/7)

Aoyagi vs James (4/15)

Lee vs Yoshitatsu (4/11)

Ishikawa vs Valetta (4/17)

Lee vs Redman (4/9)

Doering vs Hashimoto (4/21)

Yoshitatsu vs Adonis (4/20)

Lee vs Cyber Kong (4/17)

Adonis vs Redman (4/10)

Nomura vs Adonis (4/9)

Suwama vs Adonis (4/11)

Sai vs James (4/6)

Hashimoto vs Lee (4/7)

Suwama vs Hashimoto (4/16)

Doering vs Cyber Kong (4/16)

Suwama vs Cyber Kong (4/13)

Joel Redman vs Cyber Kong (4/14)

Aoyagi vs Valetta (4/11)

Sai vs Valetta (4/13)

Valetta vs Zeus (4/7)

Hashimoto vs Redman (4/6)

Cyber Kong vs Adonis (4/15)

Hashimoto vs Cyber Kong (4/4)

Adonis vs Doering (4/14)

Sai vs Ishikawa (4/7)

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Day 16: A Block Finals. I'm going to spoiler tag this whole thing.

Thoughts:

  • Listen, Aoyagi vs Sai and Aoki vs James are good (and my memory might already be blurring Aoki/James and Aoki/Okabayashi), but they're not the last two matches. Let's focus on the last two matches.
  • Zeus and Ishikawa have the best match of the tournament so far. Zeus, Ishikawa, Miyahara, and Okabayashi are in a real tight race for MVP. So far, I'm giving it to Zeus, but since nearly half of all their matches are against each other, it's hard to tell.
  • Anyway, this was such a fucking big boi match, where do I even begin? Zeus was king-sized here, doing shit I should gif if I knew how and was not also too lazy to do so. These things won't sound as good in writing, but, I offer two instance: in teh first, he tosses Ishikawa over the guard rail, and then does a fucking jumping biceps explosion over the fucking guard rail. The audience collectively shits. Then, he somehow superplexes Ishikawa, who is on the apron, back inside the ring, in a hoist that should have absolutely ruined is back.
  • I mean, what do you do with Zeus? They cancelled his TC run quite swiftly, and they've got lots of worthy guys, but Zeus just gets better and better and had a completely amazing CC.
  • Obviously, it takes two to tango, and Ishikawa is an accomplished dancer, OK enough of that metaphor.
  • Shuji is having a similarly excellent CC, and is not to be outdone by Zeus who, in recent memory, defeated him in a TC match.
  • I dunno, it was just everything I love about heavyweight wrestling.
  • So, Ishikawa wins, which means Kento is winning. I mean, I was pretty sure Kento was winning anyway, but this cemented it.
  • Ish's win means he ends with 9 points, so a Kento win means 10 for him. And I don't see Kento dropping four falls in one tournament.
  • And this is good~! There shouldn't be any outsiders in this year's final.
  • Kento vs Okabayashi was another great match. No matter how much I'm behind the other two dudes, there's no denying that fans absolutely love Kento and that his popularity is on a whole other level.
  • He's been such a cocky dick throughout this tournament, I'm really loving it.
  • The great thing about this match is that most of Oka's big matches have been slugfests, but Kento is not gonna stand there and trade chops with lumpy potato man. So we get a speed vs strength match, but unlike Aoki or Aoyagi, Kento has the power needed behind his speed.
  • There's a swell spot where Oka puts Kento in the torture rack on the outside, and then carries him from side to side, so everyone in the crowd can take pictures of him stretching out their favourite.
  • He stops in front of a group of three women who are clearly there for heart-throb Kento and lets them enjoy a close up of him torturing their fav.
  • But speed wins over brawn, and we get the shutdown suplex hold for the win.
  • It's a great finisher, btw. One of my favourites.

Speculation for the B block finals:

card:

AJPW, 28.04.2019 (AJPW.tv)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall

- Champion Carnival - Block B: Daichi Hashimoto vs. Sam Adonis
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Yoshitatsu vs. Takashi Yoshida
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Suwama vs. Naoya Nomura
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Jake Lee vs. Joe Doering

Standings:

Block B:
1. Suwama [8]
-. Naoya Nomura [8]
-. Yoshitatsu [8]
-. Joe Doering [8]
-. Jake Lee [8]
-. Daichi Hashimoto [8]
7. Takashi Yoshida [6]
8. Joel Redman [6]
9. Sam Adonis [4]

So:

  • Adonis beats Hashimoto and Kong beats Yoshitatsu to knock them out of contention
  • Suwama and Nomura go to a draw (or get counted out/double-KO) to leave them with 9 each
  • Lee defeats Doering to end with 10 and win the block
  • This means Lee will win the block while only beating one notable dude (Doering). Not great if you're building the guy.
  • Kento vs Lee is the final I was hoping for. I admit, now though, that I'm not sure how it should end. I think Kento is the guy and having him win won't do much for his popularity, but the dude hasn't won yet and certainly deserves it.
  • My original fake booking would be a great match (hopefully) that pushes Kento to the limit, but which Lee ultimately loses. Then, he'd rebuild over the summer and win the Oudou Tournament, and finally take the belt from Kento at the end of the year.
  • But, with the rise of Nomura, I'm not sure they can delay Lee that long and keep him hot (ish).
  • So, I dunno. I guess they could have Lee win the CC, lose the challenge, and then win the next time he challenges(?)
  • If Lee doesn't win, Kento can try Ish or Valetta (!?)

Complete and Objective Match Rankings:

Zeus vs Ishikawa (4/25)

Ishikawa vs Okabayashi (4/4)

Ishikawa vs Miyahara (4/14)

Zeus vs Ryouji Sai (4/14)

Zeus vs James (4/13)

Zeus vs Okabayashi (4/21)

Miyahara vs Okabayashi (4/25)

Zeus vs Miyahara (4/9)

Lee vs Nomura (4/4)

Suwama vs Lee (4/21)

Miyahara vs Aoyagi (4/17)

James vs Okabayashi (4/20)

Miyahara vs Aoki (4/4)

Nomura vs Yoshitatsu (4/15)

Suwama vs Doering (4/4)

James vs Ishikawa (4/23)

Doering vs Redman (4/24)

Aoyagi vs Sai (4/25)

Okabayashi vs Sai (4/23)

Okabayashi vs Aoki (4/24)

Miyahara vs Sai (4/24)

Nomura vs Redman (4/13)

Nomura vs Doering (4/10)

Aoki vs James (4/25)

Suwama vs Redman (4/20)

Aoki vs Aoyagi (4/16)

Ishikawa vs Aoyagi (4/13)

Miyahara vs Valetta (4/20)

Zeus vs Aoyagi (4/10)

Nomura vs Cyber Kong (4/6)

Suwama vs Yoshitatsu (4/10)

Yoshitatsu vs Redman (4/21)

Lee vs Adonis (4/24)

Yoshitatsu vs Hashimoto (4/23)

Aoki vs Valetta (4/23)

Okabayashi vs Aoyagi (4/6)

Nomura vs Hashimoto (4/20)

Aoki vs Sai (4/17)

Ishikawa vs Aoki (4/6)

Zeus vs Aoki (4/15)

Miyahara vs James (4/11)

Cyber Kong vs Doering (4/16)

Valetta vs Okabayashi (4/16)

Valetta vs James (4/9)

Yoshitatsu vs Doering (4/7)

Aoyagi vs James (4/15)

Lee vs Yoshitatsu (4/11)

Ishikawa vs Valetta (4/17)

Lee vs Redman (4/9)

Doering vs Hashimoto (4/21)

Yoshitatsu vs Adonis (4/20)

Lee vs Cyber Kong (4/17)

Adonis vs Redman (4/10)

Nomura vs Adonis (4/9)

Suwama vs Adonis (4/11)

Sai vs James (4/6)

Hashimoto vs Lee (4/7)

Suwama vs Hashimoto (4/16)

Doering vs Cyber Kong (4/16)

Suwama vs Cyber Kong (4/13)

Joel Redman vs Cyber Kong (4/14)

Aoyagi vs Valetta (4/11)

Sai vs Valetta (4/13)

Valetta vs Zeus (4/7)

Hashimoto vs Redman (4/6)

Cyber Kong vs Adonis (4/15)

Hashimoto vs Cyber Kong (4/4)

Adonis vs Doering (4/14)

Sai vs Ishikawa (4/7)

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Yoshitatsu is winning the whole thing to fuck with everyone's perceptions. That's my terrifying idea.

 

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I signed up for All Japan's streaming service to watch some of the CC shows. So far the service is pretty simple to navigate, I'd definitely suggest it. No english language commentary, but you can get around the site easily enough, and it's only like 8 or 9 bucks a month

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 Okabayashi might be my new favorite wrestler. 

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Lets go Daichi Hashimoto.

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I don't want to steal Control's gimmick, but I've watched the first 6 CC shows and thought I'd share some random thoughts. This is the first All Japan I've watched since the Mutoh days. 

I see why Miyahara is the ace. He's really good and has a ton of charisma. His match with Zeus was a lot of fun. When I finish the CC, I'm gonna watch their Triple Crown title match next

Joe Doering looks like Stan Hansen's illegitimate son who stole Barry Windham's old boots. And he moves in slow motion. Yet, somehow.... it works. He sure looks different from when I remember him though. I remember him as Generic Jacked-Up Blonde Guy #91. This is definitely better. 

I had never seen Zeus before starting this and WOW is he winning me over. He's a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Those chops and lariats are brutal. He's probably my favorite newly discovered wrestler right now. 

Gianni Valletta is like if your school had a foreign exchange student, and you showed him tapes of Bruiser Brody and convinced him to go as Brody to a halloween party. 

Dylan James is one big sumbitch. And he's only 27? If WWE doesn't lure him away, I could see him being Triple Crown champion in a couple more years. 

Sam Adonis isn't bad, but he really needs to add some muscle tone. Not get roided up, but at least look like he works out. Between his physique and his haircut he looks less like a wrestler and more like a guy that works at that sketchy looking vape shop on the other side of town near the 7-11. 

Joel Redman is very entertaining. He reminds me of early WCW Regal, if Regal were a bit more athletic. 

Shuji Ishikawa seems to have nicely filled the grumpy old man position left by Tenryu's retirement (though at 43 he's not really that old). 

Looking forward to finishing up the rest of the Carnival over the next week or so

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Maybe Jake Lee will win.

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Some more random thoughts after watching a few more CC shows:

Dylan James is good, but he needs to interact with the crowd more if he wants to really be a star

I was all excited to see Daichi Hashimoto because I'd never seen him before and was a huge fan of his dad. I was unimpressed. Is he really not that good, or were his first few CC matches just a slump for him? 

I really like the makeup of All Japan's roster. Zeus, Kento, Ishikawa and Suwama all seem to be the top guys (am I missing someone?) and can all go. Doering and James are really good gaijin (though All Japan's obsession with making guys "The new _____" seems a little strange) *what I mean is, Doering is pretty obviously the "new" Stan Hansen and they seem to present James like he's the "new" Terry Gordy, not to mention Valletta as the "new" Bruiser Brody*

The interactions between Kento and the old guy ref are great. My favorite is when Kento takes a powder outside the ring and the ref begins his count slowly 1.....2....3...... before losing his patience with the young punk and going 456789 as Kento madly dashes back to the ring and gives him a look like "What the hell old man?" All the refs are pretty good, though since I don't know their names I just call them old guy, lady ref and excitable young guy.

Do they not do the face/heel dynamic in All Japan? Seems like the crowds don't really boo anybody. 

Gianni Valletta is just awful. 

There's some other gaijin that appears in 6/8 man tags on the undercard with a japanese name (it escapes me at the moment). Dude makes Cody Hall look like a seasoned pro. 

Sam Adonis beat Suwama. Huh. 

Joel Redman is really entertaining. I see this is his first tour with All Japan, I hope they bring him back. If Doering is Stan Hansen, James is Terry Gordy and Valletta is Brody then Redman can be their "new" Johnny Smith. 

It's weird to me to see Akiyama and Omori working early multi-man tags. I know it's common in japan for veterans to move back down the card when they get older but it just seems odd. Both seem like they can still work pretty well, particularly Akiyama. 

The whole roster tends to overuse the "back your opponent into the ropes, act like you're going to chop him then pat his chest and back away" bit. 

Zeus did a dive over the top rope in his match with James and looked like he smacked his head right on the guardrail. I'm amazed he didn't knock himself out. 

I'm still really enjoying these shows. I'm gonna avoid the final results for block B and the CC finals until I can watch them. 

 

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6 hours ago, BrianS81177 said:

All the refs are pretty good, though since I don't know their names I just call them old guy, lady ref and excitable young guy.

Haven't seen an AJPW match in years, but I'm guessing the old guy is Kyohei Wada, and the lady is Nikkan Lee (married to BJW's Ryuji Ito).

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