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Champion Carnival 2019

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Gianni Valletta is the only true H.W heel.  Jun doesn't book heel factions anymore like Mutoh did.

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AJPW "CHAMPION CARNIVAL 2019", 29.04.2019 (AJPW.tv) 
Tokyo Korakuen Hall 

1. Hokuto Omori vs Dan Tamura 
2. Hikaru Sato & Yusuke Okada vs. Koji Iwamoto & Keiichi Sato 
3. Takao Omori & Black Menso~re vs. Jun Akiyama & Atsuki Aoyagi 
4. Ryouji Sai & Naoya Nomura vs. Yuma Aoyagi & Yoshitatsu 
5. Joe Doering & Dylan James vs. Sam Adonis & Joel Redman 
6. Champion Carnival 2019 Special Eight Man Tag Match: Zeus, Yuji Okabayashi , Daichi Hashimoto  & Gianni Valletta vs. Suwama, Shuji Ishikawa, Atsushi Aoki & Takashi Yoshida  
7. Champion Carnival - Final: Kento Miyahara vs. Jake Lee 

 

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This tournament was great, since I only watched the stuff I was basically sure I'd like already. No Hashimoto, no problems. Lee produced the performance he needed in the finals; after his stellar title challenge, it looked like Nomura might have sprinted past him.

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Dave said on WOR that he's seen a bit and is in mad sexlove with Kento, he adored the Okabayashi match

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A late Day 17 review~!

I'll spoiler it for now I guess.

Thoughts:

  • Hashimoto v Adonis and Yoshitatsu v Cyber Kong were both much better than expected but no one came to see them.
  • Jake Lee v Joe Doering was good if unexceptional. I hear Twitterings that Doering is nursing a bad shoulder which is why all of his matches are short but IDK. This was good but if it was the deciding match it wouldn't do, because Lee didn't have to overcome
  • Nomura v Suwama was good but I'm not as high on it as some. Because the offense seemed very "my turn/your turn." Also, I saw the time left on the file (over an hour??) and assumed they were going for a draw. And they kinda wrestled like that, and then Nomura won!
  • AJ is pretty bespoke with how draws work. Nomura and Lee are tied but Nomura won the head's up match, so...?
  • Then there's a break and I guess we're getting another match!
  • And it's Nomura v Lee as a tie breaker! Nomura is bagged out from a long match with Suwama, and Lee takes full advantage.
  • Pretty good match too. Altogether the card is quite good.

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)

Suwama vs Nomura (4/28)

James vs Okabayashi (4/20)

Jake Lee vs Nomura (4/28)

Miyahara vs Aoki (4/4)

Nomura vs Yoshitatsu (4/15)

Suwama vs Doering (4/4)

James vs Ishikawa (4/23)

Lee vs Doering (4/28)

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)

Cyber Kong vs Yoshitatsu (4/28)

Adonis vs Hashimoto (4/28)

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)

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Thoughts on the finals:

  • Hey, this is the finals I'd hoped for since last year, actually! I thought they need a no-outsiders final, and that Miyahara vs Lee made the most sense.
  • I was pretty sure that was what they'd go for, but the recent success of Nomura made me wonder if they wouldn't.
  • I also figured that it's too early to end Kento's reign, so might as well stick with him winning and really cementing his position as ace.
  • So I'm a real brain genius is what I'm saying.
  • Anyway, Kento vs Lee is really good. While the work maybe isn't as top notch as some of the other matches, the drama is really high.
  • In fact, Lee was in some of the most dramatic matches, v Suwama, Nomura, and Kento. In the first instance it was probably Suwama doing a lot of the heavy lifting, but I think we have to credit Lee in the next two.
  • The best part is when Lee blasts Kento with a bunch of knees and hits the backdrop, and Kento kicks out and Lee looks at Wada like "are you shitting me?"
  • Lee is a young, sexy, Korean Takayama.
  • Lee got some cheers during the match and a chant afterward. Way to go big guy.
  • But what to do with him now?
  • If I were the booker I'd throw Zeus and Nomura into a tag team and have them challenge the Violent Giants.
  • And then Redman and Aoyagi as a team against Lee and Iwamoto.
  • This is money: book it.

Just the tippy top recommended matches:

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)

Lee vs Miyahara (4/29)

Zeus vs Miyahara (4/9)

Lee vs Nomura (4/4)

Suwama vs Lee (4/21)

Miyahara vs Aoyagi (4/17)

Suwama vs Nomura (4/28)

James vs Okabayashi (4/20)

Jake Lee vs Nomura (4/28)

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Incomplete and subjective Match Rankings:
 

?????

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Miyahara’s match with Okabayashi and Lee, to me, were both ****3/4 matches. The Okabayashi match was a soft ****3/4, while the Lee match was a solid one, and one of the best matches so far this year.
 
There are a few things about Miyahara. The key to his game is that he’s an incredible seller. He sells in a way that engages the audience and his pacing is brilliant. More than any wrestler, he has the ability to make a 30 minute match feel like it’s maybe 18 minutes. While most considered Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi to be the best match of the first week of the year in Japan, Miyahara’s title defense against Kai was right up there with anything else at the Tokyo Dome or the rest of that week. Omega vs. Tanahashi felt like a long match and was filled with spectacular moves. Miyahara, on the other hand, does all kinds of little things, very much like a Tanahashi, but with the exception of some of his head-butts, and granted that’s one of the worst moves for someone considered safe, ultimately he works matches with no spectacular high spots or big moves, dangerous spots or shows the kind of incredible athletic ability like an Okada or an Omega or an Ospreay.
 
It’s a style that dates back decades, and the uniqueness of his ability to feel like he’s time speeding (something everyone remarks about who sees him live and was the key thing talked about by Americans at the 1/3 show) is hard to explain. His offense is basic with chops, kicks and suplexes, the latter not overdone. He is able, in 2019, to make one engaged to a match as an athletic contest and pro wrestling style fight, as opposed to worked MMA, athletic spectacle or still style match. He’s very different from Tomohiro Ishii, but seems to kind of mix some of what makes Ishii good as far as making it a fight with the Tanahashi style of making every movement mean something.
 
In a sense, it’s the more you see him, the more you appreciate. As a live performer and company ace, he has the Tanahashi feel. He doesn’t have the star look of a Tanahashi, or even the cool moves Tanahashi was throwing in until recently when he’s had to adapt and change due to injuries.
 
He’s also a great show closer. I can’t speak for his promos given the language issue, but the reaction to his promos at the end of the show is similar to Tanahashi or, in the 90s, Atsushi Onita, where the promo also gets the incredible reaction.
 

It’s very different from a Zack Sabre Jr., who can do a safe match but his whole match is filled with cool, but not dangerous moves and spots. Miyahara is Ricky Morton, but less flashy than Morton, and with far more of a superstar aura.

 

DAVE speaks

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