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2022 AJPW Champion Carnival


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Participants 

Block A: 
- Jake Lee 
- Shuji Ishikawa 
- Shotaro Ashino 
- Ryuki Honda 
- Shigehiro Irie 
- T-Hawk  

Block B: 
- Kento Miyahara 
- Suwama 
- Yoshitatsu 
- Yuma Aoyagi 
- Kuma Arashi 
- Takuya Nomura  

Schedule
 

Spoiler

AJPW, 09.04.2022 
Osaka Edion Arena #2 

- Champion Carnival - Block A: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Shigehiro Irie 
- Champion Carnival - Block A: Jake Lee vs. Shotaro Ashino 
- Champion Carnival - Block A: Ryuki Honda vs. T-Hawk  
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Kento Miyahara vs. Kuma Arashi 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Suwama vs. Yuma Aoyagi 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Yoshitatsu vs. Takuya Nomura  


AJPW, 10.04.2022 
Act City Hamamatsu 

- Champion Carnival - Block A: Shuji Ishikawa vs. T-Hawk  
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Kento Miyahara vs. Suwama 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Yuma Aoyagi vs. Takuya Nomura  


AJPW, 11.04.2022 
Tokyo Korakuen Hall 

- Champion Carnival - Block A: Shotaro Ashino vs. T-Hawk  
- Champion Carnival - Block A: Jake Lee vs. Shuji Ishikawa 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Suwama vs. Takuya Nomura  
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Yoshitatsu vs. Kuma Arashi 


AJPW, 13.04.2022 
Yokohama Hodogaya Public Hall 

- Champion Carnival - Block A: Jake Lee vs. Shigehiro Irie 
- Champion Carnival - Block A: Shotaro Ashino vs. Ryuki Honda 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Kento Miyahara vs. Takuya Nomura  


AJPW, 15.04.2022 
Shin-Kiba 1st RING 

- Champion Carnival - Block A: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Shotaro Ashino 
- Champion Carnival - Block A: Ryuki Honda vs. Shigehiro Irie 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Yoshitatsu vs. Yuma Aoyagi 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Suwama vs. Kuma Arashi 


AJPW, 23.04.2022 
Chiba 2AW Square 

- Champion Carnival - Block A: Shigehiro Irie vs. T-Hawk  
- Champion Carnival - Block A: Jake Lee vs. Ryuki Honda 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Kento Miyahara vs. Yoshitatsu 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Yuma Aoyagi vs. Kuma Arashi 


AJPW, 24.04.2022 
Tokyo Korakuen Hall 

- Champion Carnival - Block A: Jake Lee vs. T-Hawk  
- Champion Carnival - Block A: Shotaro Ashino vs. Shigehiro Irie 
- Champion Carnival - Block A: Shuji Ishikawa vs. Ryuki Honda 


AJPW, 29.04.2022 
Nagoya International Conference Hall 

- Champion Carnival - Block B: Kento Miyahara vs. Yuma Aoyagi 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Suwama vs. Yoshitatsu 
- Champion Carnival - Block B: Takuya Nomura  vs. Kuma Arashi 


AJPW, 04.05.2022 
Tokyo Korakuen Hall 

- Champion Carnival - Final: Block A #1 vs. Block B #1

Thoughts:

I like Jake more than some, but the guys he has his best matches with (Kento, Yuma, Suwama) are all in the other block.

Good outsiders this time around. A bit surprised that neither KAZMA or Kohei Sato were called up. I’m happy Irie finally gets a run after being left out twice in a row.
 

Block A has more variety, with Irie and T-Hawk as outsiders, and Honda’s first CC. Block B might have the better actual matches, since Yuma/Suwama/Kento all work really well together, and everyone says Nomura is excellent.

Though Yoshitatsu is, of course, not great, he tends to work really well with Kento and Suwama. So at least he’s in the right block.

The final should be Yuma vs Ashino, and based on the final days for each block, it might be.

 

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21 minutes ago, Spontaneous said:

I'm guessing the final is Ishikawa-Aoyagi. I hope I'm wrong. 

Let me tell you, those words just randomly seen on the "unread posts" scroll without 2022 context were very confusing.

 

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27 minutes ago, Spontaneous said:

I'm guessing the final is Ishikawa-Aoyagi. I hope I'm wrong. 

Any particular reason? I don’t see Shuji winning the TC this month, and so I don’t see him going from losing a challenge to CC finals.

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1 hour ago, Control said:

Any particular reason? I don’t see Shuji winning the TC this month, and so I don’t see him going from losing a challenge to CC finals.

Just uncertainty about who is winning that block. I'm usually way off on these things. 

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18 minutes ago, Spontaneous said:

Just uncertainty about who is winning that block. I'm usually way off on these things. 

It definitely seems wide open. I’m not sure T-Hawk or Irie are big enough outsiders to make it to the finals. So really Ishikawa, Ashino, and Lee all have a shot.

With block B, it definitely seems set up for Nomura and Suwama to have their chances spoiled on the last day, to let Kento-Yuma establish a clear winner. It’s AJPW, so Kento going to the finals is always an option, but I’m hoping they pull the trigger on Yuma.

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14 hours ago, Control said:

With block B, it definitely seems set up for Nomura and Suwama to have their chances spoiled on the last day, to let Kento-Yuma establish a clear winner. It’s AJPW, so Kento going to the finals is always an option, but I’m hoping they pull the trigger on Yuma.

I figured it was Yuma's year. I think I'll reactivate my AJPW sub for this. I figured Lee would get spoiled on the last day, especially since he won last year and never lost the title he's still easy to get into title contention. Ishikawa always seems positioned as a gatekeeper in the CC. There's no clear winner. It could just as easily be Miyahara-Lee again. 

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Hadn't noticed that this was here so I'll just repeat my thoughts that I posted in the General Discussion thread. I'm surprised & a little sad that KAZMA didn't make the cut, & I did hope they would find a spot for another GLEAT regular, be it Hayato Tamura or Takanori Ito. And hell, a bit of 2AW representation from Kengo Mashimo or Ayato Yoshida would've been fun, I really enjoyed the match on the Chiba AJPW show at the end of last month which had THE RULE of Irie & Yoshida against The Brothers Aoyagi & was hopeful we'd get Ayato in the Carnival. The other name I'm slightly surprised didn't make the cut is Koji Doi, he was in last year & I thought he did a good job. That said, Nomura is great, any chance I get to see him makes me happy. It's a pretty exciting field.

Right now I think Block A is pretty wide open. Jake Lee, Ryuki Honda & Shotaro Ashino all feel like possibilities to me, probably it's too soon for Honda to get another shot but they are high on him. I think Ashino needs the win more because as much as I've enjoyed Runaway SUPLEX in singles match they have done a pretty poor job booking him as "guy who always falls at the last hurdle", & I think he can be more than that. Obviously nobody in All Japan is going to be a massive draw, it's got its ceiling & if Kento can't break it then nor can anyone else unless the promotion goes on a signing spree & brings in some bigger names & puts a lot of cash into promoting.  But for what All Japan is Ashino would be a fine TC champion, & it's not like the top of the card is overflowing with dudes under 40.

Block B, to me, is Yuma Aoyagi's to lose. But I could be totally wrong & they decide to save his Triple Crown shot for the Anniversary Show & have him win the Royal Road Tournament in September instead. In which case I'd want them to have Nomura win & challenge for the belt but I'm not sure that's likely so just fall back to choosing Kento because with All Japan, when in doubt, Kento wins. And then I'd have him lose to the Block A winner.

Predictions aside, I'm really looking forward to this tour but then I'm pretty high on All Japan in general right now. It's a fun promotion to watch & they do finally have a group of younger guys who seem to be on the bubble which could finally let Shuji & Suwama not have to kill themselves quite so much to keep the promotion going.

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Smaller sized men like Ashino won the CC before.

I saw Ryota Hama win the TC live years ago and he is just five foot 9. M.Suzuki won the TC twice and he is five foot 10. I think the only negative holding Ashino back is his weight, he would be the lightest TC champ ever.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Judging from the blocks I'd say Ashino is probably going to the CC finals. Although it feels like Jake should win again and get the TC back after having to vacate. There's also Ryuki Honda who they're obviously pushing in a big way and might want to keep the iron hot on. Assuming the possibility that Ashino makes it, and keeping in mind AJPW rarely book conventionally or predictably, I could also see Yuma and Kento going to a 30 minute draw on the final day allowing Nomura to advance to the finals. Ashino vs Nomura would hide Ashino's size a little more and give him an invading foe to vanquish for the win. It would also keep Yuma strong as a challenger down the line. 

 

AJPW continues to be the company I can always count on to be pushing diverse talent, whether they're big lumpy hosses like the Violence Giants, short stocky dudes like Ashino, Aoyagi and Honda, or tall lanky shooters like Jake and Kohei Sato (and if there has to be one conventional 'ace' in the boring HBK/Tanahashi mold, let it be Kento, the greatest wrestler for all the world). 

Edited by Belgian_Waffle
Thoughts on Nomura
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Jake Lee's aim is to return to the center of AJPW. Yoshitatsu is wearing expensive Vuitton, only Bushi was known to wear Vuitton. Something seems to be setting up with Suwama and Kento. Kento wants to be the first man to win the CC twice as Triple Crown  champion.

FPL2DsiaMAQWL6v.jpg:large

Not sure if they will do those "pre training" stuff before the cc.

 

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We will see if it's true, but Kento is gaining more weight. From 100 kg to a record high of 106 kg. So about 233 pounds now, so weight Baba would had liked.

Shuji thought Kento would be a Junior in the Baba era with his previous weight. 

Edited by Blue Dragon
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Mostly shorter matches again this year, safer on the body in the long term. The G1 in modern times became even more gruelling in the amount of days and matches the fighters have to do.

NOAH in their early years in their first decade didn't have their own round-robin HW leagues because they wanted their guys to last bit longer and booked instead special singles matches.

 

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I think Nomura vs Yuma is my Match of the first 3 nights. Just a hellaciously violent sprint that had me on the edge of my seat throughout, oohing & aaahing at the glorious slaps.

Agreed that Kento vs Suwama was a letdown though. Not bad, but it's Kento vs Suwama, there's expectations even with Suwama slowing down.

I think the early surprise has been Shuji Ishikawa: he's meant to be cooked and yet I loved him vs Irie & thought both him vs T-Hawk & him vs Lee were real good.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the tournament so far.

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I watched the first show! How are there four shows already! Holy shit I'm tardy!

THOUGHTS ON DAY !:

Spoiler

Yoshitatsu VS Nomura Takuya

  • I’m not sure I’ve seen Nomura before. He’s doughy and has a bowl cut. He looks 14. I’m immediately a fan.
  • Yoshitatsu likes to do flashy stuff (hurricane DDT, that rolling gogoplata thing), but he’s bad at it. He’s better when he sticks to the basics. That doesn’t mean he should try going shootstyle.
  • Trying the same pin 4-5 times in a row because it almost worked the first time is good, though. That’s definitely what Tatsu should be sticking to.
  • I’d kinda like to see him give up on the colourful stuff and just become like an Al Snow JOB Squad type of guy.
  • Nikkan Lee is the best AJ ref and the Anti-Wada. Wada will make himself an equal part of the match and fucking help you get the pin and shit. She sticks to the ropes and you barely know she’s there.
  • After Tatsu fails with his pinning combo, Nomura succeeds with one. Fair enough.
  • Perfectly acceptable and relatively unexciting wrestling, here.
  • They slap each other and then shake and then hug. Adorable!

 

Ryuki Honda VS T-Hawk

  • T-Hawk has some skunky rap intro music that almost fills the void left by Zeus’s skunky rap intro music
  • Ryuki Honda’s look is like a slight power-up from Nomura. Died hair, shinier tights, bigger gut. Facial expressions.
  • There is immediately so much more energy in this match.
  • Is Ryuki Honda already a better heel than Jake?
  • T-Hawk brings that speed that is so often missing from AJ matches (outside of Kento main events)
  • Honda does some heelish shit like grab the ref and then mule kick T-Hawk to get out of a German suplex setup. It’s fine.
  • I don’t know what moves are called anymore. T-Hawk has a sort of T-bone suplex move. Honda has a running fisherman’s powerslam—is that a thing?
  • Another victory from a flash pin—this time, T-Hawk takes it.
  • This was short, sweet, and a good showcase for both guys (for me, who hasn’t seen much of either).

Shuji Ishikawa VS Shigehiro Irie

  • I didn’t see their TV title match. Irie won that, so logic dictates that Shuji gets his win back.
  • Irie is a beefy boy, but you can’t out-beefy the beefiest of boys
  • Shuji is mauling his potato-shaped opponent. This is definitively my jam.
  • Irie is able to take back the momentum with some flying headbutts, then moves to a strategy of trying to put Shuji to sleep with a sleeper hold
  • Shuji on his knees is the same height as Irie, LOL.
  • When Shuji won’t go to sleep, Irie decides to elbow him unconscious. Surprising!
  • This was awesome.

 

Jake Lee VS Shotaro Ashino

  • Another chapter in the battle between tall and short
  • Jake’s bad facial hair and ponytail make me like him less. That’s effective heel work.
  • Starts fast, goes (inexplicably) to an early rest hold, and then picks speed up quite a bit
  • Oh! Ashino catches Lee in an ankle hold that he can’t get out of and gets the quick tap. Unexpected!
  • Entertaining, for how long it lasts. Would have preferred to see Jake do some damage first.

 

Kento Miyahara VS Kuma Arashi

  • Kuma Arashi is so much fun and is exactly the guy you want in the CC. He’s maximum beefy and strong as hell and can convincingly beat top-tier guys and also lose to midcarders.
  • Also, maybe the best ring gear
  • I think this is the first time these dudes have had a singles match
  • Kohei Wada is in the ring and the young Omori is at ringside, so there will be shenanigans
  • Kuma takes control early. Kento is good at getting beaten up. I mean, dude typically works from underneath, but it strikes me that he’s better than most AJ guys at taking a whooping
  • Kento makes a comeback and Kuma cuts it off by 1. Throwing him onto the top rope so that he’s draped across the turnbuckle and 2. Doing a jumping splash on to him. Awesome
  • Kuma tosses Kento around some more, teases as german from the mat to the outside, then settles for scoop slamming him onto the floor and hitting a senton
  • Kuma is working the gut, the greatest of all body-part targeting
  • Not limb-work but trunk-work
  • The fans go fucking bananas for Kento’s superplex setup
  •  Kuma whiffs a senton and has the saddest fattest face
  • Kuma lands a senton for the victory! Kuma probably never had such heat in AJ!
  • Great match! Kuma for CC champ and then TC champ!

Suwama VS Yuma Aoyagi

  • The fans are *here* for this match. Invested right away. Good work.
  • I know the early brawl on the outside is to get the audience involved, but it happens in every match
  • The fun variation in this match is that Suwama goes and gets the ring bell, and Wada has to talk him out of walloping Yuma with it.
  • Suwama’s wearing some very fetching, sparkly, textured trunks.
  • Big guy hits a beautiful snap suplex. Well done my dude. We don’t talk enough about how well Suwama has adjusted his offense to account for his banged up body.
  • Speaking of which, I think Suwama’s on the Shuji diet. Looking relatively slim.
  • Not a big fan of the early submission attempts in these matches. Though I guess Ashino’s successful attempt should add some spice to them.
  • God, I hate Wada
  • Suwama’s cardio/faintness selling after Yuma’s sleeper is great
  • Suwama’s really mauling Yuma in this match. For as much as Suwama’s thing is usually slowing down and controlling the pace, here he’s just laying Yuma out with a ton of offence
  • I have less to say about Yuma, as he is mostly just getting beaten up here
  • Yuma counters a backdrop attempt and hits one of his hook kicks—not the best—followed by a second for good measure (this one’s better). He lands a fisherman suplex buster (?) for a two, then a second for good measure and gets the win. Seems a bit abrupt!

COMPLETE AND OBJECTIVE MATCH RANKINGS (DAY 1)

Spoiler

1.      Kuma Arashi vs Kento (4/9)

2.      Ishikawa vs Irie (4/9)

3.      Suwama vs Yuma (4/9)

4.      Honda vs T-Hawk (4/9)

5.      Jake vs Ashino (4/9)

6.      Yoshitatsu vs Nomura (4/9)

 

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Fortunately there's one more show on Friday & then there's a lull until the 23rd & then the next show is the 24th with the last block matches on the 29th. Funny that today's show was already the half-way point

I've honestly been deeply into everything so far. Just thoroughly enjoying it. Miyahara vs Nomura & Lee vs Irie were both fabby. 

Edited by Kropotkin's Beard
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Spoiler

Anybody else getting the feeling that Honda's consecutive losses out the gate might be setting us up for a series of comeback wins leading to a SITF (my abbreviation of "Spot In The Finals" that I'm trying in vain to popularize)?

 

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Day 3 was really great, Nomura is killing it in this tournament, if you haven't seen his BJW Strong Title reign from last year, I recommend all his matches. 

A lot of fat seems trimmed from matches and it's really benefitting everyone.

Favorite matches so far are Irie-Ishikawa, Nomura-Aoyagi, Nomura-Suwama, T-Hawk-Ashino, and Lee-Irie. 

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I watched Day 2 of the Champion Carnival! Well just the tournament matches, really. Thoughts!

Spoiler

Shuji Ishikawa vs T-Hawk

  • Shuji has a shirt that says “Giant” and has a picture of him wearing a toque I think! Wild!
  • T-Hawk attacks early! I sense a pattern!
  • T-Hawk takes advantage of a Big Dog Double-stomp and attacks the knee, in classic little guy vs much bigger guy fashion!
  • T-Hawk is much taller than Irie
  • T-Hawk manages a vertical suplex on Shuji, and this accomplishment fills him with Hulk Hogan-like faith and audience power
  • He follows it up with a Razor’s Edge!
  • Shuji lands a Thesz press and wins through sheer chonky-boi-ness!
  • That was fine.

Yuma Aoyagi vs Takuya Nomura

  • Yuma’s theme music is very silly. Some light rock boy-band shit
  • Hopefully these two kick the shit out of each other. That’s Nomura’s thing, right? Shit kicking?
  • Nomura s-l-a-p-s the taste out of Yuma’s mouth. Yuma sells it. Dude by the camera chortles.
  • The slap war escalates! And results in Yuma spanking Nomura. Nomura does not like it!
  • After trading moves gets them nowhere, the two decide to just splat the shit out of each other with forearms
  • Yuma lands one of those hook kicks and this time it looks really good, like if they called a KO off it I’d have believed
  • LOL, now there’s a baby just off-camera burbling its discontent
  • I just realized that they’re performing to the audience-side and not the hard cam
  • Back to the slaps and an excellent German from Nomura
  • Oh! And then a dragon suplex ends the match. That was good though shortish.

Kento Miyahara vs Suwama

  • Oh shit, there’s a lot of time left on the video. Is this going to the time limit?
  • They are certainly wrestling like that’s going to be the case!
  • And shit Wada’s in on it!
  • Kento maybe overselling some of Suwama’s offence
  • Wama works the knee in a somewhat laborious fashion
  • Though I like the very casual way he kicks Kento’s knee to take control of a suplex setup
  • Listen, I’m not into it, but the fans are really on board for Kento’s struggle
  • People criticize Kento for spamming the knee. Not me. That shit looks great. Throw a dozen a match, for all I care.
  • Suwama has an underrated lariat.
  • When they start announcing that there’s limited time left, the audience knows it’s a draw, and the heat gets totally sucked out of the match. Which is too bad, because Kento hits a surprise headscissors, and Suwama hits some nice lariats, but they’re going nowhere.

Nothing must-see, here.

Complete and Objective Match Rankings (as of Day 2)

Spoiler

1.      Kuma Arashi vs Kento (4/9)

2.      Ishikawa vs Irie (4/9)

3.      Suwama vs Yuma (4/9)

4.      Nomura vs Yuma (4/10)

5.      Honda vs T-Hawk (4/9)

6.      Ishikawa vs T-Hawk (4/10)

7.      Suwama vs Kento (4/10)

8.      Jake vs Ashino (4/9)

9.      Yoshitatsu vs Nomura (4/9)

 

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