So after delving into Champion Carnival matches of the 70’s and 80’s, we now come to the 90’s where in 1991 the Champion Carnival tournament was brought back after a 9 year hiatus and has kept being held every year ever since. 90’s All Japan is one of my favourite era’s of wrestling so I’m very excited to delve into these. So Let’s go!
23/3/1991 – Stan Hansen vs. Dynamite Kid
So this is the first match of the entire tournament and it’s a short contest that isn’t bad, Hansen basically dominates the majority, dynamite tries to head a come back but eats a stiff lariat and loses.
Winner: Hansen(via Lariat) **1/4
23/3/1991 – Toshiaki Kawada vs. Dan Kroffat
This is the second and only other tournament match from day one. Its missing the first few minutes, but it was pretty decent overall. It was actually quite a back and forth match with Kroffat having some good chances, but Kawada ends up hitting a powerbomb for the win.
Winner: Kawada(via Powerbomb) NR – clipped
26/3/1991 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Cactus Jack
Next up is a short little match from day 3 and it’s pretty decent, most notable thing is the end, when Jack moves the mats out the way on the outside, hits his signature elbow drop off the apron, then proceeds to get backdropped onto the unprotected floor and then bumps off the apron from a lariat onto it, the absolute mad head. Jumbo then hits a jumping knee and backdrop for the win.
Winner: Jumbo(via backdrop) ***
29/3/1991 – Kenta Kobashi vs. Texas Terminator Hoss
Onto day 5 now with a match that has been clipped to just under 2 minutes, it’s a fun couple of minutes though thanks to Kobashi’s high energy, which leads to him winning with a guillotine leg drop. Also Texas Terminator Hoss is one helluva name.
Winner: Kenta Kobashi(via guillotine leg drop) NR – clipped
29/3/1991 – Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Johnny Ace
Another match from day 5 and it’s also been clipped, but it’s just missing the first few minutes. Match was pretty good though, little slow going here and there but they really brought it in the finishing stretch with some good action.
Winner: Mitsuharu Misawa(via Tiger Driver) ***
29/3/1991 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Akira Taue
Main event of day 5 and it’s a good one. The last few minutes of it were great, Taue kept showing great resilience and refused to stay down from Jumbo’s offence, even taking a few lariats and a jumping knee of the top rope. He tries to come back with a lariat and enzugiri but Jumbo refuses to go down and ends up Taue with a boot, another Lariat and finally ends him with big backdrop. Crowd were loving it. Good stuff.
Winner: jumbo Tsuruta(via Backdrop) ***1/2
5/4/1991 – Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Kenta Kobashi
Here’s a match from day 11 that was recorded on a hand-held cam, It’s a good match though. Has an exciting opening couple of minutes and then they take things steady for a bit including Kobashi keeping control with a headlock for a lengthy amount of time, before picking things up once again for a great final stretch with Misawa ending it after hitting a Tiger driver ’91.
Winner: Mitsuharu Misawa(via Tiger Driver ’91) ***1/4
6/4/1991 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Toshiaki Kawada
Onto day 12 with a solid match-up. Jumbo takes control early on, but Kawada mounts a bit of a come back and make things more even, Jumbo then gets bit more fierce with his offense trying to stay back in control, but Kawada comes back again all fired up and really brings it to Jumbo who also retaliates and ends with him hitting Kawada with two devastating backdrops in a row to make sure he stays down for the 3 count. Another great finishing stretch
Winner: Jumbo Tsuruta(via two backdrop) ***1/2
6/4/1991 – Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Stan Hansen
This is the Main event of day 12 and the first few minutes are cut. Hansen dominated most of it, with Misawa having a couple of his own moments to try to come back, in the end Hansen barges Misawa over a guardrail, Lariats him on the apron and Misawa as one last ditch effort goes for a crucifix but Hansen catches and slam him into the mat with all his body weight, giving him the 3 count. Good match.
Winner: Stan Hansen(via samoan drop variation) ***1/4
16/4/1991 – Champion Carnival final: Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Stan Hansen
On to the ’91 final and it’s quite a good one. They spend a good portion of it exchanging holds, Jumbo taking control and working on Hansen’s arm. Stan makes a come back and controls things for a small bit, they then go at it with strikes until Hansen finally hits a lariat, but Jumbo gets his foot on the rope to break the pin. There’s some more strikes exchanged until Jumbo hits the Jumping Knee for the 3 count and wins the tournament.
Winner: Jumbo Tsuruta(via jumping Knee) ***1/4
20/3/1992 – Doug Furnas vs. Masanobu Fuchi
Onto the ’92 tournament and this is the first match, but only the last couple of minutes are shown. Basically Furnas hitting a bunch of offense on Fuchi, he then misses a dropkick and his legs hit the ropes, Fuchi then does small package and gets the pinfall.
Winner: Masanobu Fuchi(via small package) NR – just the finish
20/3/1992 – Kimala II vs. Terry Gordy
Second match from night 1 and it again only shows the finish, Gordy hits two corner lariats and a normal lariat to get the win.
Winner: Terry Gordy(via lariat) NR – Finish only
20/3/1992 – Kenta Kobashi vs. Toshiaki Kawada
Another match from night 1 and this one is shown in full and is a solid contest. The opening couple minutes are great and then they slow things down a bit with Kobashi taking control for the majority of the first half mainly via a few different headlock/chinlock variants. Kawada makes a small come back first time around by attacking Kobashi’s leg and locking in a single leg crab, Kobashi then manages to take back control until Kawada makes a second comeback with a stiff lariat and gains his own control. This then leads into a fun finishing stretch where Kawada gets the victory by making Kobashi submit to the Stretch Plum. Good stuff.
Winner: Kawada(via Stretch Plum) ***1/2
20/3/1992 – Dan Kroffat vs. Stan Hansen
Last tournament match of night 1 and only the last minute or so is shown. It’s a fun minute though, packed with good action and Hansen picking up the victory with a lariat.
Winner: Stan Hansen(via Lariat) NR – finish only
22/3/1992 – Akira Taue vs. Yoshinari Ogawa
Onto night 3 and the matches from this date are all from a handheld cam, since they were never broadcast on TV. This first match is a quite a solid little one, that was quite back and forth and kept a good pace throughout, Ogawa fought hard trying to use his quickness and agility, but in the end it wasn’t enough and he fell victim to the Nadowa Otoshi.
Winner: Akira Taue(via Nodowa Otoshi) ***1/4
22/3/1992 – Master Blaster vs. Mitsuharu Misawa
Second tournament match from night 3 and it’s just a short 1 and a half minute sprint. Master lariats Misawa before the bell rings and keeps up the offense on him until Misawa lands on his feet from a suplex, hits a couple strikes, takes master down with a running elbow and locks in his facelock submission which makes Master give up.
Winner: Misawa(via facelock submission) NR
22/3/1992 – Joel Deaton vs. Terry Gordy
Third match of night 3 and this one was quite good. Gordy gets into the ring from his entrance and starts running the ropes and Deaton catches him with a clothesline and starts on the offense before the bell has even rung, he proceeds to take control with a headlock that Gordy struggles to escape from, he even hits to backdrops on Deaton but Deaton still won’t let go of the headlock until Gordy hits a third headlock that plants Deaton on his head. Gordy gets a bit of offense in but Deaton catches him back into the headlock, so Gordy this time does a knee crusher but Deaton still holds, so Gordy just grabs is hair and pulls him off to the mat, he gets more offense in and Deaton grabs the headlock for a third time but Gordy this time quickly does an amateur takedown to get right out of it. Gordy gets more of a comeback now and Deaton offsets it a little and proceeds to go for the 10 punches in the corner but Gordy pushes him off and plants him with a powerbomb for the 3 count. This is alot more detail then I usually go into but I really enjoyed the headlock stuff, solid effort from both guys.
Winner: Terry Gordy(via Powerbomb) ***1/4
22/3/1992 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Another match from night 3 and this one was really good. It’s a dominant display by Jumbo throughout who really lays it into Kikuchi, with Kikuchi gets a few small comebacks where he’s really fired up and energetic before Jumbo manages to put a stop to it. At the end Kikuchi tries hard to avoid Jumbo from hitting a backdrop but Jumbo successfully connects with it and then proceeds to completely take out Kikuchi with a sleeper hold for the win. Really enjoyed this.
Winner: Jumbo Tsuruta(via sleeper hold) ***3/4
22/3/1992 – Steve Williams vs. Dan Spivey
Final match from night 3 and it’s an enjoyable back and forth contest. Had some good action with both men getting in some big moves and in the end Williams locks in a cobra twist to get the win, making it the 3rd submission victory of the night.
Winner: Steve Williams(via Cobra Twist) ***1/4
27/3/1992 – Dan Spivey vs. Akira Taue
On to day 6 and this one is clipped so it’s just the last few minutes of the match. It’s a fun bit of back and forth action though, with Spivey getting the pinfall from a DDT.
Winner: Dan Spivey(via DDT) NR – clipped
27/3/1992 – Stan Hansen vs. Kenta Kobashi
A full match from day 6 and this one was really good. Kobashi really brought it to Hansen who kept trying to shut him down(including a powerbomb on the floor outside), but Kobashi would keep coming back, leading to a great home-stretch including a lovely finishing sequence where Kobashi goes to irish whip Hansen out the corner, Hansen reverse with his own whip but keeps hold of Kobashi’s arm and pull him in for the lariat, Kobashi manages ducks it,but Hansen spins around and still catches him with the lariat, leading to the pinfall.
Winner: Stan Hansen(via Western Lariat) ***3/4
27/3/1992 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Terry Gordy
Main event of day 6 now and it’s a Jumbo 30 minute time limit draw special.(man Baba really made him do alot of them). Unfortunately only the second half is shown but it’s still pretty good, they spend the first half exchanging a few lengthy holds to help draw the time out and then really start trying for the pinfalls. The bell rings for the time limit while the ref is counting a pin for Gordy after he hit a powerbomb. What they show of the match was quite enjoyable at least.
Time limit draw – NR: only second half shown
31/3/1992 – Steve Williams vs. Dan Kroffat
Moving on to day 10 and this one is just the finish that is only a minute long and pretty much just Williams hitting a spinebuster and Oklahoma Stampede to get the victory.
Winner: Steve Williams(via Oklahoma Stampede) NR – Finish only
31/3/1992 – Johnny Ace vs. Terry Gordy
Another one from day 10 that’s just the final minute of the match. Ace gets to hit his Ace Crusher but ends up falling victim to a power bomb by Gordy which keeps him down for a 3 count.
Winner: Terry Gordy(via Powerbomb) NR – Finish only
31/3/1992 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Master Blaster
third match in a row from day 10 that just the finish is shown. Master Blaster hits a bunch of offense until Jumbo catches him with a boot then hits a lariat, jumping knee and backdrop before finally locking in the sleeper hold for the victory.
Winner: Jumbo Tsuruta(sleeperhold) NR – Finish only
31/3/1992 – Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
Here’s an actual full match from day 10 and it’s a decent contest. It lasts for about 12 minutes and they spend a good portion of that using tech and working holds, Misawa particularly focuses on Kikuchi’s arm and gains the most control, Kikuchi then mainly came at Misawa explosive bursts of offense which involved him running alot and misawa trying to stop him with elbows which subsequently ends up working and Misawa then hits a tiger driver for the 3 count. Really liked Kikuchi’s energy here, match was enjoyable but nothing particularly great
Winner: Misawa(via tiger driver) ***
31/3/1992 – Toshiaki Kawada vs. Akira Taue
Final Carnival match of day 10(though a tag match would main event) and this one was really good. Taue attacks Kawada during his entrance including him executuing a Nodowa Otoshi on the floor, so it’s clear from the get go that there’s heat between the two and can feel it all throughout. Taue starts off in control cause of his attack but Kawada soon enough makes a come back and it become more back and forth with both men trying a number of submissions to wear the other one down. Crowd got louder and louder as the match went by and were going crazy for the finish where Taue kept doing Nodowa Otoshi after Nodowa Otoshi but Kawada wouldn’t stay down for the count, until getting hit with one big final one which finally ends Kawada and gives Taue the win. Crowd were mostly behind Kawada throughout and even booed Taue on occasion and all in all it was a damn good ending to a great match.
Winner: Akira Taue(via Nodowa Otoshi) ****
2/4/1992 – Akira Taue vs. Steve Williams
On to day 12 and starting out with more finishes, this one is the shortest, being just a 20 second clip of Steve Williams hitting a Oklahoma Stampede to get the win.
Winner: Steve Williams(via Oklahoma Stampede) NR – just the finish
2/4/1992 – Terry Gordy vs. Masanobu Fuchi
Another finish from day 12 as Gordy hits a stiff short arm clothesline and then locks in a cobra clutch to win.
Winner: Terry Gordy(via Cobra Clutch) NR – just the finish
2/4/1992 – Dan Kroffat vs. Toshiaki Kawada
only other match of day 12 that’s just the finish with Kawada Making Kroffat give up with an elevated leg lock.
Winner: Kawada(via elevated leg lock) NR – just the finish
2/4/1992 – Stan Hansen vs. Dan Spivey
So this next match from day 12 isn’t just the finish but it is only the last 5 minutes, its got some good action though and there’s a nice little bit where Hansen hits the ropes to go for the lariat but Spivey has his head down looking like he’s hurt, so Hansen hesitates and stops but Spivey fakes him out, kicks him in the waist and hits a DDT. At the end Spivey whips Stan into the corner, run at him, Hansen moves so Spivey hits the turnbuckle and on the rebound Hansen takes him out with the Lariat for the pinfall.
Winner: Stan Hansen(via Western Lariat) NR – clipped
2/4/1992 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa
Main event of day 12 and it’s yet another Jumbo 30 minute time limit draw special and it’s show in full and it’s fantastic. They have a good opening sequence that leads to Jumbo locking in the sleeper hold early on, which really wears down Misawa but he manages to get to the ropes and rolls to the outside. Jumbo then controls the match for a good 10 minutes or so with Misawa struggling to come back, one of his attempts to come back even leads to him getting locked back in the sleeperhold again but he finally manages to get back into things after catching Jumbo with an elbow and hitting a german suplex. From then on it becomes an enthralling contest as each man tries to get the victory. Towards the end Jumbo goes for the sleeper hold again but Misawa manages to roll out of it and lock in his facelock which makes the crowd go nuts, Jumbo manages to escape it though and Misawa locks it in two additional times which Jumbo gets out of. They go at it for a bit longer until finally Jumbo hits a massive backdrop and goes for the cover and as the ref starts counting the bell rings for the draw. Those last few minutes were full of tension, what a great match-up, loved it!
30 minute time limit draw – ****1/2
4/4/1992 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Kimala II
So this just a match from day 14 that was taken from a handheld cam, it’s pretty decent, just a short 7 minute back and forth affair with Jumbo getting the win from a sleeper hold. It’s nothing special but is an appreciated rarity at least.
Winner: Jumbo(via Sleeper Hold) **3/4
6/4/1992 – Dan Spivey vs. Kenta Kobashi
So day 15 was one of the shows broadcast on TV and they kept to the format of only showing the finishes of the first couple Carnival matches then showing the final two in full. however handheld footage of the event also is available which means this match and the one after this can actually be seen in full! and this match is genuinely great, from bell to bell it’s just constant back and forth action that’s super enjoyable with Spivey getting the victory from a DDT. It’s a damn shame this was never broadcast in full on TV, what a great effort from both guys.
Winner: Dan Spivey(via DDT) ****
6/4/1992 – Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Doug Furnas
This the other Carnival match from day 15 that is from a handheld and it’s pretty good overall. Quite back and forth like the last contest, though they incorporate a few holds and Misawa gets the victory with his facelock. It’s nothing special but is still quite the enjoyable contest.
Winner: Mitsuharu Misawa(via facelock) ***
6/4/1992 – Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Masanobu Fuchi
So this is one of the matches broadcast on TV in full from day 15, it’s a nice little match-up and was a good showing for Fuchi who continually through the match managed to catch Jumbo with takedowns and lock him in holds. Jumbo would continually come back though and even locked in his sleeper hold twice which Fuchi managed to break with the ropes. In the end Fuchi tries for a backdrop but Jumbo elbows the back of his head and does his own backdrop, it doesn’t keep Fuchi down for the pin, so Jumbo gives him another one which gets him the 3 count.
Winner: Jumbo Tsuruta(via backdrop) ***
6/4/1992 – Stan Hansen vs. Toshiaki Kawada
Main event of day 15 and this was a great contest. Lots of stiffness going on as you’d expect and it was mostly back and forth, Kawada managed to get some control early on working on Hansen’s legs but Stan eventually puts a stop it by powerbombing Kawada on the floor outside, he continually punishes Kawada’s back throughout, even bodyslamming him on exposed floor twice. At the end Hansen is grabbing Kawada’s head and quickly goes for a lariat, Kawada ducks and lamps Stan to the floor with an elbow and falls into a cover but only gets a two count, Kawada then runs off the ropes and Hansen catches him with the lariat for the count. Just a great physical match-up.
Winner: Stan Hansen(via Western Lariat) ****1/4
14/4/1992 – Stan Hansen vs. Steve Williams
On to day 21 which is the last day before the final and this match along with the one after it are essentially semi-finals as whoever wins these matches will win their respective blocks and move on to the final match. this one decides the winner of Block B. It’s a solid match-up, one that is quite physical but I feel like it never fully kicks into gear, crowd are also quite reserved for most part but do react well to some bits. Good effort from both men though with Hansen getting the victory, winning his block and advancing to the final with a stiff enzu-lariat.
Winner: Stan Hansen(via Enzu-lariat) ***1/4
14/4/1992 – Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Terry Gordy
Main event of day 21 and the match to decide the winner of A block. It’s a very solid match-up with Gordy dominating the majority and Misawa making exciting comebacks, which all leads to the finishing stretch where Misawa gets the win and advances to the final with a crucifix pin. Good work from both men had a nice dynamic of Gordy using his power gain and Misawa relying more on his agility as well as getting some stiff strikes in.
Winner: Mitsuharu Misawa(via crucifix) ***1/2
17/4/1992 – Champion Carnival Final: Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Stan Hansen
So we finally come to the ’92 final and it’s a really good final overall. Misawa focuses on Stan’s left arm throughout the match and Hansen does a good job of selling it even doing it after the match, while this does slow him down on occasion, it’s not enough to completely stop, so at the end he goes for a lariat with his right arm, Misawa blocks it but Stan lariats him with the left arm instead, which gives him the 3 count to win the tournament. Stan even clutches his wrist during to the pin cover too, to show that it hurt him. There are a few lengthy holds, but the finishing stretch is really good and overall it’s a great effort from both men.
Winner: Stan Hansen(via Western Lariat) ****
Well, I didn’t expect to get through so many matches already, so looks like the 90’s are gonna be in numerous parts and I’ll leave this just for ’91 and ’92. but I suppose it’s unsurprising since there was a lot more TV coverage than the 70’s and 80’s. Fair play though, lots of good stuff here, a few great matches and even some interesting handheld gems. Looking forward to watching more 90’s stuff and I am also currently reviewing this years Champion Carnival stuff now too, so that’s fun!.