The moment has arrived as this is the beginning of AJPW’s Champion Carnival! We’re working with half the amount for each block this time around but we’re still in for a treat with what we got. We have five shows containing the block matches and one for the final. For the five shows, I’ll only be covering the tournament matches unless there’s a title match involved in one of these shows. The only full show I will be doing is for the Carnival final.
Who will win our first set of matches?
Let’s find out as we…dive right in.
Star Rating System:
- 0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
- 1 Star: Vince Russo
- 2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
- 3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
- 4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
- 5 Stars: Jim Cornette
Champion Carnival 2020 B Block Match
Yuma Aoyagi vs. Shuji Ishikawa
Review: We kick things off with our first match on B Block as we have one half of the World Tag Team Champions, Shuji Ishikawa taking on Yuma Aoyagi. Yuma has been on a downward spiral ever since he lost to Kento back in February and he’s in desperate need of a career resurgence. His first test will be against this giant. Who will win the first match of the Champion Carnival?
Rather a slow-paced start to kick things off with this match and there was a small little hiccup with Shuji going over the ropes to the outside as it did look rather sloppy. It does slowly get back into the swing of things with Yuma using his agility to try and outmaneuver the giant and it does work when he Dropkicks Shuji’s knee. Yuma goes to the top rope to hit another Dropkick and connects to the knee again as Shuji is barely standing.
Shuji was able to fight it off for a little while and would attempt the Fire Thunder as Yuma fought out of it as Shuji attempts a Lariat this time only for Yuma to duck and hit another Dropkick to his knee. Yuma applies the Figure Four to try and make the giant tap as he was able to make it to the ropes. Yuma attempts an Irish Whip as Shuji turned it around to catch him for the Fire Thunder, not getting all of it as Yuma kicked out at two. Shuji hits a couple of running knees into Yuma as Yuma caught one to hit a Dragon Screw. Shuji attempted a Razor’s Edge only for Yuma to fight off and attempted a Backslide as Shuji kicked out. Yuma hits a couple of Superkicks and runs the ropes, only to be caught with a Lou Thez Press as Shuji pins him to get the victory! Not a bad performance from Yuma but hopefully he finds his voice as the tournament goes on.
Rating: Eric Bischoff
Champion Carnival 2020 A Block Match
Jake Lee vs. Jiro ‘Ikemen’ Kuroshio
Review: It’s time to go over to the A Block side as they kick off with Jake Lee taking on the most kawaii-des man, Jiro Kuroshio. Jiro’s goal was to finally be apart of the Carnival before he would eventually sign with WWE and now, he’s going to make the most of this reality. This is Jake’s time to shine and he would need to get the first win for a head start. Will Jake get a victory or does Jiro get the upset?
I love Jiro’s entrance, the guy just oozes charisma. Jiro cartwheels into the center of the ring before the two would lock up but they were forced to let go as Jiro slaps him across the face. Jiro laughs at Jake once he does and taunts him by doing Jake’s bow, causing him to get furious with the kawaii man. Jake charged in and applied the Heel Hook until Jiro held onto the ropes. The two are now outside the ring and Jake charged in with a kick as Jiro moved, making Jake hit the guardrail hard. Jiro pretty much does what Yuma did to Shuji in the previous match, which is working the leg but Jiro did it better.
Jiro continues to have control of the match when he works the leg with a Heel Hook variation of his own, even DDT’s the leg for good measure. Jake would start to get a small comeback when he hits a DDT of his own. Jiro uses his jacket to slap Jake across the face yet again before kicking the bad leg once more as he laughs. Jiro attempts the Irish Whip but Jake countered into a DDT to have them both down on the mat. Jake attempts to kick Jiro in the gut but catches his leg to hit a beautiful Dragon Screw, also better than Yuma’s. Jiro has Jake’s arm in a Hammerlock and picks him up for a Scoop Slam. Jiro attempts to hit his Moonsault Press but Jake puts his knees up in the very last second to take him down, and then hits a Helluva Kick into the corner, and then tops it off with a Saito Suplex. Jake picked Jiro back up right away and hits the Backdrop to get his first victory in a fun and solid match!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Champion Carnival 2020 A Block Match
Suwama vs. Kuma Arashi
Review: Time to end A Block for the day as Enfants Terribles member, Kuma Arashi taking on our current Triple Crown Champion, the other half of the World Tag Team Champions, the Five Crown King, Suwama! This is a big opportunity for Kuma because if he could pin the champion during the first match, it’ll have more eyes on him and a potential threat. Will the champion reign supreme or will he fall to Kuma?
Kuma went in for the attack before the bell rang and starts whaling him down until Suwama was focused enough to chop him down. Suwama had him down and looks to end this relatively quickly as he picked him up for the Last Ride but Kuma was able to flip him over and stay in the game a little longer. Kuma hits a Diving Body Press, making Suwama kick out at two and Kuma quickly picks him up for a Samoan Drop and a Senton for another two count. Kuma attempts a couple of Lariats as the champion is still standing and Suwama delivers a Lariat of his own and Kuma goes down. Suwama is done with Kuma as he delivers not one but two Backdrop Drivers and the champion stands tall. Fun little hoss fight that was under four minutes but if it was 10-12 minutes, could’ve stolen the show easily. Hope to see more of them in the future.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters
Champion Carnival 2020 B Block Match
Kento Miyahara vs. Yoshitatsu
Review: It’s time for the main event of the show as we close if off with B Block this time with Yoshitatsu fighting off against the former Triple Crown Champion and Best of the Best, Kento Miyahara! The two fought last year for the Triple Crown Championship with Kento retaining against Yoshi and over a year later, they’ll face off once again. Will the ace get the win or will Yoshi get one of the biggest wins of his career?
Quite a pleasant surprise seeing Yoshitatsu come out with his dark type face paint like he used to do, getting ready for his match with Kento. The two locked up for a stalemate and when things get heated, Kento delivered a couple of boots to the face and Yoshi even caught him to attempt the Koji Clutch, making Kento push him off as the two stare at each other. I missed seeing Kento in big matches, it’s a nice feeling to see again after so long. The two were outside the when Yoshi hits a knee to the face and the two would brawl. Kento attempted a Blackout but his knee hits the turnbuckle post, but luckily not enough to damage it too much. While this didn’t surpass their Triple Crown match, this was still a rather fun bout that was missing that key element to put it over more, which I’ll get to shortly.
Kento would call for the match to end as he attempts the Shutdown Suplex Hold as Yoshi broke free to apply the Koji Clutch, trying to make him tap but fails and quickly goes for the cover as Kento kicked out. Yoshi ran towards Kento as he’s met with a Blackout and Kento hypes himself up, hitting another Blackout as Yoshi kicked out at two again. Kento just goes for the regular German Suplex Hold as Yoshi kicked out again. Kento would once again try to do the Shutdown German Suplex Hold but Yoshi is holding onto the ropes by only using his teeth until he was pulled back. Yoshi broke free again and hits a roundhouse to the side of Kento’s head. Yoshi ran towards him again but was once again met with two Blackouts but wait, Yoshi is still standing and fired up! Yoshi attempts a German Suplex but Kento sends himself down to try and stall him but Yoshi poorly rolls under him and catches his leg for a sloppy Ankle Lock. Kento was fighting free till Yoshi slammed the ankle down to the side, still holding on as Kento tapped out! Quite a shock to see Yoshitatsu make Kento tap and good on Kento for putting him over. While the ending was shocking, the home stretch leading up to that point was rather sloppy and felt anti-climatic, like there wasn’t enough suspense.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters
Overall: While there was nothing fantastic to write home about, it was still a rather fun first day and it is good to see the Champion Carnival happen this year despite setbacks. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the other four shows play out and hope you all join me!
Favorite Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Yoshitatsu
Least Favorite Match: Suwama vs. Kuma Arashi
A Block Standings:
- Suwama: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Jake Lee: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Jiro ‘Ikemen’ Kuroshio: (0-1) (0 Points)
- Kuma Arashi: (0-1) (0 Points)
- Zeus (0-0) (0 Points)
B Block Standings:
- Yoshitatsu: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Shuji Ishikawa: (1-0) (2 Points)
- Kento Miyahara: (0-1) (0 Points)
- Yuma Aoyagi: (0-1) (0 Points)
- Shotaro Ashino: (0-0) (0 Points)