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AJPW Champion Carnival B Block Ratings & Results: Part 5

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As the Champion Carnival is starting to come to an end, Part 5 brings us to the point in time where everyone in B Block only has one match left.

Even though our picks article was a less than expert opinion on the product, we weren’t too far off. Suwama and Marufuji are towards the top of B Block while Shingo and Joe aren’t out of the picture in the A Block. We could still end up being way off, but I can live with being in the ballpark going into the last two days.

 

4/20

 

Zeus vs Naomichi Marufuji

Zeus needs this victory to stay alive in the Carnival, and Marufuji has been riding an undefeated wave.

Zeus comes out with long pants and a rally towel, which isn’t his normal attire, so I’m not sure if there’s a story there. But the match itself was exactly what you expect from two high tier wrestlers.

They feel each other out by a test of power, trading chops and just generally seeing what the others’ pain threshold is. Zeus dominates most of this match, even though Marufuji gets in everything from the Kawada kicks to his corner blitz. Both men get their finishers countered or slowed down a few times, so you are sucked in since either man has the prowess to win this.

Just when Marufuji gets some momentum, and looks to end it with the Shiranui, Zeus counters it with his signature Jackhammer and gets back on the winning track. Personally, this is my favorite match of the Carnival so far.

Winner: Zeus via Shiranui countered into Jackhammer

Rating: **** 1/4

 

4/21

 

Suwama vs Naomichi Marufuji

We’ve got a battle of NOAH’s Ace and the former Ace of All Japan, so most people had this marked off as a feature match.

For the most part, this match lived up to the hype. However, it started off fairly slow, and took it’s sweet time picking up. The match goes over 19 minutes, and feels long. The ending flourish helps to reignite the crowd and bring the match into the Four Snowflake territory, but it might have benefitted from being the final match of the day.

Everyone seems to be scouting Marufuji’s knee lift, and catching him mid move. This was no different, where Suwama lariats him out of his shoes and picks him up for the Last Ride.

Winner: Suwama via Last Ride Powerbomb

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Zeus vs Jun Akiyama

Even though Suwama has sole possession of first place currently, these two are very close. The winner will have some nice momentum going into the last few days.

Akiyama is a machine at his age (48). When he’s facing the top talent, he puts on a show stealing match. Zeus has really hit a nice stride after falling victim to two losses against lesser opponents.

This went back and forth, with Akiyama having the more impressive lengths of offense. He used his veteran cunning early on, stayed on top of Zeus with a flurry of knee strikes, but Zeus was resilient. After a criss-cross spot that ended with Zeus hitting a huge lariat, Akiyama fell to an emphatic Jackhammer.

B Block has a log jam towards the top, but it’s puts a huge weight of importance on these last couple matches.

Winner: Zeus via Jackhammer

Rating: **** 1/2

 

4/22

 

Naomichi Marufuji vs KAI

Marufuji is completely behind the 8 ball now. He needs to win his last two matches and hope Zeus and Suwama lose/draw out, since he lost the head to head matches. KAI seems like nothing more than a road bump, but he’s put in good work this Carnival, so he could play spoiler.

With all this said, it seems like Marufuji knew his plight, cause he came out serious. There was some nice back and forth, but the match did fall a bit flat since even the live crowd didn’t really buy into KAI. Even though he had a couple moments, the crowd was firmly behind Marufuji and that never changed.

The math works out, and Marufuji puts KAI away with his Shiranui, even though it was a much closer fight than most would’ve expected.

Winner: Marufuji via Shiranui

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Suwama vs Yoshitatsu

On paper, this seems unbalanced, but there’s history. They each have one win on each other in tag team action, so there’s a precedent for either to win.

Going through the match, this was solid from start to finish. Yoshitatsu started quickly, but Suwama eventually got the upper hand through most of this match. At some points, it even looked like he took Yoshi lightly, but Yoshi would fight back.

Using his speed to gain small advantages over Suwama, we end up getting a much better match than I know I was expecting. Yoshitatsu trying to prove himself, tries to etch his name in this Carnival, through Suwama.

Surprisingly, Yoshitatsu gets Suwama to tap out to his Koji Clutch. Suwama was one win away from locking himself into the Finals, but falls victim to a trap match.

Winner: Yoshitatsu via Koji Clutch

 
Rating: ****

Current B-Block Standings:

Suwama: 4-2 (8 Points)
Zeus: 4-2 (8 Points)
Jun Akiyama: 4-2 (8 Points)
Naomichi Marufuji: 4-2 (8 Points)
Yoshitatsu: 3-3 (6 Points)
KAI: 2-4 (4 Points)
Dylan James: 2-4 (4 Points)
Yutaka Yoshie: 1-5 (2 Points)


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 4 B Block

Second night for the B Block! Jay White and Tetsuya Naito need to get on the scoreboard. Did it happen?

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Second night for the B Block! Jay White and Tetsuya Naito need to get on the scoreboard. Did it happen?

Sapporo is a fun city for the main event, with a lot of general history.

Will Ospreay having a neck injury means he’s not working the undercard tonight.

Those are probably the two points that matter the most. So I guess let’s get to the show!

Ratings:

  • Jyushin Thunder Liger & Kota Ibushi vs Yota Tsuji & Shota Umino: Ibushi wins via Half Boston Crab @8:20 – **
  • Toa Henare, Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs EVIL, BUSHI & SANADA: BUSHI wins via MX @7:20 – ** 1/2
  • Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Lance Archer vs KENTA, Clark Connors, Karl Fredricks & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @11:30 – ***
  • Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI: Okada wins via Rainmaker @8:45 – ** 1/4
  • Block B: Shingo Takagi vs Toru Yano: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @6:15 – ** 3/4
  • Block B: Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto: Juice wins via Pulp Friction @12:20 – *** 1/2
  • Block B: Jon Moxley vs Jeff Cobb: Moxley wins via Draping Deathrider @8:55 – *** 1/4
  • Block B: Tomohiro Ishii vs Jay White: Ishii wins via Vertical Drop Brainbuster @19:15 – **** 1/2
  • Block B: Taichi vs Tetsuya Naito: Taichi wins via Last Ride @21:00 – *** 3/4

 

Analysis:

Liger and Ibushi take on Young Lions because Will Ospreay is nursing an injury. So this was unexpected, but who’s gonna argue with some Liger? Bare bones basic Young Lion match, but Liger and Ibushi kept the interest high.

EVIL and SANADA are facing one another on Thursday, but they were on the same team tonight. Part of this story was BUSHI remaining to look strong since the end of the BOSJ, while EVIL and SANADA had the tension building up. Instead of the LIJ fist bump after the win, EVIL tries to cheap shot SANADA, SANADA counters and then they have a stand off.

This Suzuki-Gun match was beautiful. It was just a gang fight, with each member of Suzuki-Gun taking someone off and Lance Archer even joined commentary at some point. House show quality match was a good way to describe this, but it was still fun and got across the point for future matches and just great character work.

It might be a little mean to say, but YOSHI-HASHI is in this match, so who cares? Chase Owens does prove why he’s the glue that holds Bullet Club together. He’s a great tag team player and this year he’s looked a lot better than he has in the past. So we’ve got an alright match, Okada wasn’t gonna eat a pin, but I guess they wanted to protect YOSHI a little, so Chase ate the Rainmaker.

Shingo proved he watched the Naito match by trying to get Yano to take off his shirt. Anyone who saw Shingo in Dragon Gate knows he’s got some comedy chops being a former…wait…the current, Open the Owarai Gate champion (Owarai means comedy). Shirt, wrist tape and turnbuckle shenanigans ensue, but the right person won. Shingo gets on the board and doesn’t suffer the shame of getting bamboozled.

This tends to be an issue with Goto and Juice a lot of the time. By this, I mean boredom. Goto and Juice have bumped heads a few times and they both try very hard, but they aren’t exciting together. Juice being a quirky but not overly animated just means you get a snarky line and one move that may be entertaining (usually Left Hand of God) and then the action stalls. So both did good work, it was a tough match, but it wasn’t really anything crazy. Solid enough match though.

Moxley focused on Cobb’s left shoulder, so the story was to take out Cobb’s power and try to figure out how to end the match. We saw another solid match, and Moxley gets across more of his character. He does borderline heel tactics and then apologizes to the referee. So this brawling, unstable babyface is an old school gimmick in Japan, but not often seen in New Japan. It’s nice to watch, and Moxley taking advantage of Cobb’s positioning to hit the Draping Dirty Deathriding Paradigm DDT.

Jay White starts off against two of the heavier hitters from Chaos, his former stable. After taking Goto lightly, Ishii comes into this match after a big win over Jeff Cobb. White came into the match less relaxed, but still playing up his smarmy character. Ishii laid into Jay the whole match, where Jay tried to outsmart the Stone Pitbull, but Jay isn’t as clever as he thinks he is. A great match with well placed false finishes and a lot of tension. Fantastic back and forth, plus Ishii picking up the win is something special.

There were so many story threads going on here. Sapporo is the place of their Intercontinental Championship match earlier in the year where Taichi had Takashi Iizuka interfere. Iizuka left the Iron Fingers for Taichi, but he hasn’t used them in the 6 months he’s had them. This was a great struggle of wrestlers who were once rivals, but Naito has since eclipsed Taichi. Hell, Taichi even hit a Ganso Bomb, shades of his mentor Toshiaki Kawada. References, call backs and a solid match from a story telling perspective.  Work rate might not have been fantastic, but that’s the beauty of professional wrestling being more than the moves in the ring. Plus part of the fun of Taichi matches is watch Miho Abe react, since she’s such a lovely devoted valet.

Overall Score: 6.75/10

A lot of this show was driven by the stories and the historical threads between participants, opposed to the in-ring action. I appreciate the mixture of angles that New Japan shows attack with. Many newer fans just know NJPW for great hard hitting work rate, but the beauty of puroresu in general is how deep the stories go.

Sometimes the wrestlers reference things from their mentors/trainers, sometimes it’s just a story line from the isolationist politics that each puro company has dabbled with or sometimes it goes all the way back to when someone was a Young Boy in a dojo. The layers are there for those who wish to know, so part of the fun in nights like this, are what personally floats your boat.

The show was the weakest so far, but there were plenty of satisfying moments outside of ring work.

B Block Standings:

  • Tomohiro Ishii – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Jon Moxley – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Juice Robinson – 2-0 (4 Points)
  • Toru Yano – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Hirooki Goto – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Shingo Takagi – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Taichi – 1-1 (2 Points)
  • Jay White – 0-2 (0 Points)
  • Jeff Cobb – 0-2 (0 Points)
  • Tetsuya Naito – 0-2 (0 Points)


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.43 ~ 14TH JULY 2019

Global Junior Tag League has started! Hisame let’s us know what’s going on in Pro Wrestling NOAH!

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Global Junior Tag League has started! Hisame let’s us know what’s going on in Pro Wrestling NOAH!

CURRENT TOUR RECAP
After a long break in which it was thought that due to the silence coming from the roster, they had all gone on a short summer break, NOAH returned on the 12th July to hold a show in Tokorozawa.

In Global Junior Tag League, YO-HEY defeated Junta Miyawaki (although he did praise him afterwards in a rambling promo), and Chris Ridgeway defeated fellow STINGER, Kotaro Suzuki by making him tap.

Minoru Tanaka vs Daisuke Harada for Global Junior League, was the main event of the evening, and what a match it was. They pulled everything out of every drawer they had, Tanaka worked on Harada’s knee, while Harada worked on the neck. The match went to a thirty minute draw, and both spoke afterwards about it. Minoru Tanaka says that he won today, and he will win the league. He also mentioned that he wants to see more junior matches main event shows.

Daisuke Harada said that he would not let “that stranger” win, and he would challenge for the belt again, whether the fans liked it or not.

Takashi Sugiura and Hajime Ohara took on Masao Inoue and Kinya Okada, and there was the usual amusing Inoue\Sugiura interplay. Earlier in the evening, joining in with Marufuji not remembering Kenoh’s name, and vice versa, Takashi Sugiura joined in, but changed it so that he couldn’t remember Masao Inoue’s name. Inoue is a sufferer of gout, and naturally Sugiura targeted his foot by keeping him in the ankle lock after Kinya Okada had tapped, and then when his arms were lifted in victory, he continued stamping on Inoue’s foot.

Speaking of Marufuji and Kenoh, Kenoh (when the team of Marufuji, Yoshinari Ogawa, Hiroshi Yamato and Keisuke Ishii took on Kongoh), timed it just right when Marufuji bounced into the ring, landed and turned so that he was there waiting for him, and they both got in each others face. Inamura was chopped to ribbons.

As Go Shiozaki was still absent (he will return to the ring on the 15th), Katsuhiko Nakajima came to the ring carrying both of the tag belts. As he said at the match signing which took place on the 13th June, he was preparing more for the GHC Heavyweight than the singles, and so he started the match off against Kaito Kiyomiya. However, it wasn’t Nakajima who took the win, but Kaito Kiyomiya with the Tiger Suplex on Hi69.

EVENT RECAPS

Tokorozawa City Gymnasium, Sub Arena (12th July 2019)
Post match promos – 12th July 2019

Current Global Junior League Scores (as of July 14th 2019)

BLOCK A

Minoru Tanaka 5
Daisuke Harada 3
Yoshinari Ogawa 2
Tadasuke 2
YO-HEY 2
Junta Miyawaki 0

BLOCK B

HAYATA 4
Chris Ridgeway 4
Hajime Ohara 2
Hitoshi Kumano 2
Kotaro Suzuki 0
Hi69 0

NEWS

“THE COMPANY DOG”

In keeping in the theme of using pets on merchandise (a silhouette of one of Hitoshi Kumano’s little French Bulldog appeared on the back of one of his t-shirts, and Akitoshi Saito had a cat t-shirt) continued when NOAH put the head of Takashi Sugiura’s beloved Shiba Inu on a t-shirt, complete with dog tags which read “company dog”. Naturally, this was a shot at Kongoh (in specific Kenoh, as he is the only one who speaks), who are currently feuding with The Sugiura Army, and the use of the phrase “Company dog” (i.e. someone who does his masters bidding unquestionably, comes goes, fetches, wags tail etc).

The t-shirt will be released on the 15th July at Korakuen Hall, with mail order to follow (a white version is also available).

NAOMICHI MARUFUJI’S COMIC STRIP
Naomichi Marufuji has started illustrating a comic for “Weekly Pro”. The comic is a condensed version of his autobiography, “Heir To The Ark”, and starts off with his childhood growing up in Saitama with three older brothers, and wrestling with them which inspired his love of the sport. The comic starts off with two of his brothers arguing about who they are going to be, then they tell little Marufuji that they feel sorry for him, as being the youngest and the smallest, he is going to get it from them (which he did in reality), and Marufuji fighting back by saying that Tiger Mask (Mitsuharu Misawa) is strong.

You can find an ongoing translation on my blog.

TAKAYAMANIA

The main event for TAKAYAMANIA EMPIRE 2 will be Hideki Suzuki and Minoru Suzuki vs Naomichi Marufuji and Masato Tanaka. Event will be held on Monday, August 26 2019 at Korakuen Hall.

Broadcast most likely will be through ABEMA (a Japanese PPV subscription channel, only available to those in Japan).

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

TOUR TIDBITS
~ HAYATA’S garden has produced Daikon. YO-HEY celebrated by putting it in his mouth.
~ NOAH held a joint fan birthday party for Kaito Kiyomiya and Junta Miyawaki. Miyawaki turned 22 in June, with Kiyomiya turning 23 this month.
~ Naomichi Marufuji says he has a new gown for Korakuen Hall on the 15th June
~ YO-HEY made a summer vacation to see his family in rural Yabu. One of his young nieces asked him if he was married to HAYATA.

BROADCASTS
NOAH’s big Kawasaki Kultz event (and the GHC Heavyweight title, plus the final night of Global Junior League 2019) will air on the 2nd August on G+ at 12.30am JST

NOAH will be broadcast live on Sunday 4th August at 11.30am JST on G+

GIF OF THE WEEK

LINKS
GHC Heavyweight tag & single championship signing

Picture credit: Noah GHC, PKDK, YO-HEY
GIF credit: Noah GHC


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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