Since my focus has just been on the Carnival matches and the reviews have been pretty short I decided to group days 7, 9 and 10 together into one review, all of which are Nico shows. Day 8 is missing because it doesn’t air on TV til two weeks after the final does, which is an odd decision and bit of a shame but ah well. Let’s just jump into things with day 7.
-Show starts with a 5 minute exhibition match between Yuma Aoyagi and Kengo Mashimo that Mashimo wins with his Mudo submission hold.
-Then there’s a tag match that Zeus wins with a lariat.
Block B Match – Daichi Hashimoto vs. Shuji Ishikawa
Good first Carnival match of the day. they go straight for it from the get go and keep a good pace throughout, Shuji’s power and size come into play well, making him more dominant and preventing Daichi from hitting his Rising sun DDT. Daichi puts up a good fight though and won’t go down easily but finally falls victim to a splash mountain bomb that gives Shuji the victory.
Winner: Shuji Ishikawa(via Splash Mountain) ***
-There’s then an 8 man tag match that Hikaru Sato wins by making Keisuke Ishii tapout with a leg trapped cross armbreaker.
Block B Match – Naoya Nomura vs. Takao Omori
So this was over in less than a minute. Basically Nomura flies at Omori with dropkicks before Omori has even taken off his jacket, he goes for the spear but Omori blocks its and gives Nomura an axe Guillotine driver which Nomura kicks out of so Omori sets him up for the axe bomber, but Nomura ducks it’s bounce of the ropes hits a spear and fold up Omori for the cover which gets him a 3 count very quickly. Well that was fun while it lasted, loved the energy and determination Nomura had.
Winner: Nomura(via Spear) NR
Block A Match – Jake Lee vs. Ryouji Sai
Another pretty good match that’s kept quite short and They also don’t waste time getting into things delivering a fun back and forth contest that Sai wins with a big diving foot stomp.
Winner: Ryouji Sai(via diving double stomp) ***
Block A Match – Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Kento Miyahara
So here we have our second 30 minute draw of the tournament and its solid enough, they obviously take their time with things and spread it out to help the time go by but it’s still enjoyable and has some good action. The bell goes off for the draw during the ref counting a pin for a deadlift german suplex hold done by Kento. It was a little better than the other time limit draw of the tournament, still not quite great and just a solid match overall. Good effort from both men.
No Winner: Time Limit Draw ***1/2
bit a of a step below the last couple of shows, but the matches were still enjoyable and the main event was solid though hard to recommend for a 30 minute draw.
-Onto day 9 and the show opens with a tag match that Suwama wins with a rebound lariat.
-Then there’s an 8 man tag that Omori wins with an Axe Bomber.
Block A Match – KAI vs. Joe Doering
Decent little match. Kai gets right into things and starts of well but a spinebuster on the outside gives Doering the control and leads to him dominating the majority of the match with though Kai does make a few come backs and has a go at taking the big man down but in the end Doering gives him the Revolution Bomb and gets the win.
Winner: Joe Doering(via revolution Bomb) ***
Block B Match – Naoya Nomura vs. The Bodyguard
This was pretty good. Bodyguard seems to have the upper hand early on but on the outside he misses a high kick and hits the ringpost, so Nomura takes advantage and starts targeting Bodyguards leg. Bodyguard soon enough gets back into things though and takes back control for a small bit before leading into quite a fun finishing stretch where Nomura gets the win with a spear rolled into a jacknife type pin.
Winner: Nomura(Via Spear/Jacknife pin combo) ***
Block A Match – Kento Miyahara vs. Ryouji Sai
Another pretty good match. Sai controls a good portion of it which was a little boring but they pick things up towards the end and deliver some good action. Sai shows good resiliency kicking out of Kento’s blackout knee 3 times and at the end manages to hit a release wrist-clutch backdrop which gets him the win.
Winner: Sai(via Wrist-clutch backdrop) ***
AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Title match – Keisuke Ishii (c) vs. Hikaru Sato
So this was the match that main evented day 9 and because it’s a title match I thought I’d look at it properly and to be fair it’s a solid main event overall. Quite back and forth and decently paced with alot of good action. Keisuke focuses his attack on Sato’s neck and Sato focuses on Keisuke’s arm a little. The title ends up changing hands as Sato makes Keisuke tap with his arm and leg trap submission(just like he did in the tag match on day 7) to win the title.
Winner: Hikaru Sato (via Ude-Hishigi-Gyaku-Juji-Gatame) ***1/2
So like day 7 there’s nothing wholly worthwhile on this show but it was still quite enjoyable and also had a solid main event.
-Onto day 10 which is the day before the final and they open things with a six man tag that Bodyguard wins with a military press dropped into a powerslam.
-Then there’s another 6 man tag that Kento Miyahara wins with a Blackout knee on Rey Paloma, although Paloma tries beforehand to make a truce and shake his hand which of course fails.
Block B match – Kengo Mashimo vs. Naoya Nomura
This was a fun little match. Nomura focused on Kengo’s leg throughout and showed great energy and determination, he even managed to hit the rolling spear but it wasn’t enough to keep kengo down and in the end despite Nomura’s efforts Kengo catches him with a crucifix which he rolls into his Mudo submission that ultimately forces Nomura to submit. I’ve enjoyed Nomura’s drive to try to prove himself this tournament.
Winner: Kengo Mashimo(via Mudo) ***
Block B Match – Daichi Hashimoto vs. Suwama
Decent little match. Just a well paced 6 minute back and forth affair with Suwama getting the win from a Last Ride. Daichi really held his own well against the big man but it just wasn’t enough.
Winner: Suwama(via Last Ride) ***
Block A Match – Joe Doering vs. Ryouji Sai
Another decent match and third one in a row that lasts around 6 minutes. Sai starts out well going for Joe’s leg and catching him with a heel hook but then he goes for a vertical suplex but can’t get the big man up, so Joe gives Sai one instead. After a bit of control by Joe, Sai gets back into things and goes for the suplex again but fails a second time. After a bit more back and forth offence, towards the end Sai finally hits a big vertical suplex but all his efforts are fruitless and Joe ends up giving him the Revolution Bomb which gets Joe the victory.
Winner: Joe Doering(via Revolution Bomb) ***
Block A Match – Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Zeus
This was good, a nice strong lads battle, back and forth with a fun finishing stretch. Zeus busts out a plancha, powers up Sekimoto into an electric chair from a chinlock and they even exchange Argentine backbreakers. Zeus ends up victorious after hitting a jackhammer, Quite the enjoyable match.
Winner: Zeus(via Jackhammer) ***1/4
Block B Match – Shuji Ishikawa vs. Takao Omori
So this was the main event and it was pretty good overall, bit more steadier paced than previous matches but still enjoyable, Omori got control for a little bit, but it was mostly a back and forth affair and had some good action. Shuji ends up getting the win with a big splash mountain bomb. Which means he wins his block and will be in the final against Joe Doering.
Winner: Shuji Ishikawa(via Splash mountain bomb) ***1/4
And that’s all that’s left of the available Carnival matches until the final, Day 10 again was much like 9 and 7 a decent show with enjoyable matches but nothing special. To be fair though I have enjoyed watching through this tournament and there may not have been a whole heap of great matches, but they have been consistently enjoyable and there’s been alot of good, concise contests which has made the whole thing easy to get through. It’s unfortunate that we have to wait longer for day 8 but I look forward to watching the final.