AJPW Champion Carnival 2019 Day 1 & 2 (4/4/19 – 6/4/19) Review

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So of course All Japan’s Champion Carnival started Wrestlemania weekend and only now have I finally been able to watch any of it, so gonna be grouping the days for reviews as I have done before, starting with the first two days. Let’s go!

B Block Match – Daichi Hashimoto vs. Takashi Yoshida

Decent little match, pretty average stuff though. They keep things very basic with Hashimoto trying with his kicks and Yoshida having some of that power but also relaying a couple underhanded tactics including in the finish where he hits green mist of Hashimoto. He tries for a small package straight after but Daichi kicks out, so he then hits a Pineapple Bomber which get the win. Not the most exciting way to kick off.
Winner: Yoshida [2] (via Pineapple bomber) **1/2

B Block Match – Jake Lee vs. Naoya Nomura

This was very good. Mostly an even contest with Jake having the advantage in a couple of places. Had some good energy too with some nice strikes on the go and a lovely little finishing stretch that ends with Nomura locking Jake in a seated abdominal stretch where he starts pushing on Jake’s head in rather cruel manner to make him finally submit.
Winner: Nomura [2] (via seated abdominal stretch) ***1/2

Block A Match – Kento Miyahara vs. Atsushi Aoki

This was pretty great. A big test for Aoki who was a replacement for Kengo Mashimo in the tournament, with his first match being up against the champ.
The crowd got really behind though and fair play he put up a real good fight making for a very back and forth contest. He manages to get a couple of close count out victories including one after a suplex off a guardrail and racks up a few little nearfalls for himself towards the end. By the end though despite kicking out of a few blackout knees and a bridging German suplex, Aoki has one last struggle trying to prevent the Shutdown German suplex, but Kento manages to hit it to get the victory. Enjoyed that quite a bit.
Winner: Kento [2] (via Shutdown German Suplex) ****

Block B Match – Joe Doering vs. Suwama

Really solid match. Begins with them running at each other barging shoulders, which is always a good start, but soon Doering finds himself in control for a bit.
Suwama then comes back and they return to clashing their masses.
By the end Doering edges close to victory but Suwama manages to block is spiral bomb attempt and dishes out some big offence, before finally knocking out Doering with a sleeper that he really wrenched in nicely.
Winner: Suwama [2] (via Sleeper) ***1/2

Block A Main Event – Shuji Ishikawa vs. Yuji Okabayashi

Terrific match to end day one. starts out similar to the previous one with some shoulder barging but Ishikawa and Okabayashi go up a level with it. Ishikawa then takes control working on Okabayashi’s mid-section which he does a nice little job of, including a great bit where he does a succession of mini double stomp>Pin attempts.
After that control it turns right back into some big back and forth with lots of really good action on the go with some big manoeuvres, Yuji showcasing some of his power and resilience, and quite a few nearfalls being packed in, though I think they maybe had one too many in the finishing stretch as their impact became lessened.
In the end though it is a big Golem splash from Okabayashi that finally ends things. Can easily see this staying as one of the top matches of the tournament by the end, they really delivered the goods.
Winner: Okabayashi [2] (via Golem Splash) ****1/2

Day 2 (6/4/19)

Block B Match – Joel Redman vs. Daichi Hashimoto

Decent little opener for day 2. Redman actually took quite a technical approach to things and somewhat focuses on Daichi’s arm in the process. He’s not the smoothest of wrestlers, but he seems to know his holds and did well enough with it and even has a couple of random bits to showcase his athleticism.
Despite Joel’s effort though, Hashimoto ends  hitting him with two shining wizard, one to the back and one to the front, to win the match-up.
There is one spinebuster spot that goes a bit iffy, but other than that, thought this was pretty solid all in all.
Winner: Hashimoto [2] (via Shining Wizard) **3/4

Block A Match – Dylan James vs. Ryouji Sai

This was alright, not a whole lot going on in it. Starts of excitingly enough with them running right at each other, but then James chop blocks Sai on the apron and from there things slow down considerably, with a few things taking longer than they probably ought to, including Dylan’s control where he just seems to stand about most of the time, less methodical and more boring if anything.
Things then speed up slightly in the final sequence where James hits a lariat to get the win. Just seemed to be a little too much stalling going on.
Winner: Dylan [2] (via lariat) **1/4

Block A Match – Yuji Okabayashi vs. Yuma Aoyagi

Solid little match. Aoyagi certainly wasn’t waiting around and comes right at Yuji before he’s ready with a running dropkick. Yuji of course isn’t gonna take that lying down, so we get some pretty good back and forth with Okabayashi trying to wrench Aoyagi in a couple of big holds, before finally making him submit with his deadly camel clutch that he wrenches the fuck out of. Lovely stuff.
Winner: Okabayashi [4] (via camel clutch) ***

Block A Match – Atsushi Aoki vs. Shuji Ishikawa

This was good. There is a considerable size difference here with Shuji towering over Aoki and that comes into play well in the opening where Ishikawa puts his hand up for a test of strength to mock Aoki but Aoki convinces Shuji to bring his hand lower, before pushing it to the ground and stomping on it.
From there Aoki tries to use his speed advantage but ends up getting caught and slammed back first in the ring post. Ishikawa then has a control for a bit, continuing to target Aoki’s back and doing a nice job of it.
Aoki soon finds an opening to stay in the fight though and tries to find ways to bring down Shuji and even gets a little nearfall with a victory roll.
However his small package attempt gets blocked and hoisted right into a fire thunder driver, Ishikawa then hits a running knee to keep Aoki down for a three count.
Winner: Ishikawa [2] (via running knee) ***1/4

Block B Match – Naoya Nomura vs. Takashi Yoshida

Very solid main event. Yoshida almost take control early on but Nomura manages to offset it for a little while before Yoshida actually does take control. It’s pretty standard stuff at that point with a couple of holds and heel moves utilised, but Nomura is soon back into the fight, giving us some pretty good back and forth action with a few nearfalls thrown in at the end before Nomura finally hits Maximum to win the match.
Winner: Nomura [4] (via Maximum) ***1/2

Well that’s the first two days done. Day one was very solid and had at least two great matches with Ishikawa/Okabayashi being one of the top matches so far.
Day two then takes its usual dip in quality but was still pretty decent overall.

Thanks for reading.

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