A Block and Andrew drop a second verse. Champion Carnival gets cooking with all of the participants on the board after the days covered in this article!
Welcome to Part 2 of the Champion Carnival A Block!
This will cover matches on 4/7 – 4/9 – 4/10.
Zeus finally has his first few matches. Let’s see how he fairs in the early goings!
- Zeus vs Gianni Valletta: Zeus wins via Jackhammer @4:35 – * 3/4
- Shuji Ishikawa vs Ryoji Sai: Time Limit Draw @30:00 – *** 1/2
- Gianni Valletta vs Dylan James: James wins via Chokeslam @10:30 – * 1/2
- Kento Miyahara vs Zeus: Zeus wins via Jackhammer @17:05 – ****
- Zeus vs Yuma Aoyagi: Aoyagi wins via End Game @11:00 – *** 1/4
Gianni isn’t very good and has a typical heel gimmick with a chain. He does typical heel stuff like attacking before the bell, bumping the ref, using a weapon, on top of the match being awkwardly paced. I’m just happy Zeus got him out of the way early. Extremely skippable if you’re not going to watch the entire carnival.
Well we get our first possible issue for the end of the block. Much like in any other sport, ties tend to really muddy up the math. It was a solid match, but the biggest issue I had with this was that it never felt like it made it to a second gear until the 3 minutes left call. The lack of intensity and very deliberate pace the match was taken with, didn’t make for a very suspenseful match to round out the 4/7 matches.
4/9 kicks off with Dylan and Gianni. Well…I’m not excited for this, and yeah…this doesn’t shock and amaze. Gianni tries to get an early jump, but as they brawl through the crowd, strikes and movements just look slow, weak and dumb. They tried to add some psychology with Gianni working over Dylan’s arms to weaken his Lariat and Chokeslam, but the match was plodding at best. There was even one of the world’s weakest ref bumps in the history of wrestling. There seemed to be some level of trying from both, it just wasn’t good.
Now we get one of the more anticipated matches of the Carnival. Kento and Zeus have had a great rivalry over the last few years. Kento usually gets the best of Zeus, but last year Zeus started showing he can overcome Kento. This match wasn’t as good as their two title matches last year, but it was definitely one that will probably be in many people’s top matches for the Carnival. Pacing was similar to their title fights with some posturing, stubborn strike battles and Kento going for more flashy moves like the apron DDT, his Ring Post Neck Lock and just being generally flamboyant and never overtly serious. Fun match. WASSHOI!
A Block gets 1 match for 4/10, and it’s a Zeus match! Now a lot of the time in Japanese tournaments after a signature win, that will set people up for an upset. And… that’s what happens here. Aoyagi manages to avoid just enough offense and turn a lot of the power attempts into cradles, or transitions for his Wristclutch/Guillotine submission that he calls End Game. Zeus managed to avoid it once, but by the third time Zeus tried to fire up to finish the match, I felt like it was overkill and Yuma was bound to get the upset. Good win for Yuma, since both he and Naoya Nomura are trying to establish themselves.
Overall Score: 6/10
Generally speaking we had more good matches than bad ones in this part, but aside from Zeus versus Miyahara, nothing added a ton of excitement to the tournament. Plus Gianni is just painful, so it could be that he just puts me in such a funk that it’s harder to get into other matches while trying to get that Valletta taste to wash away.
Still, a big upset for Yuma and a win that could have future ramifications for Zeus, so there were some storyline threads to grab on to here. Above average, so at least not a long string of disappointment.
Yuji Okabayashi (2-0) – 4 Points
Dylan James (2-0) – 4 Points
Zeus (2-1) – 4 Points
Shuji Ishikawa (1-1-1) – 3 Points
Kento Miyahara (1-1) – 2 Points
Yuma Aoyagi (1-1) – 2 Points
Ryoji Sai (0-1-1) – 1 Point
Gianni Valletta (0-2) – 0 Points
Atsushi Aoki (0-2) – 0 Points