Welcome back to the Champion Carnival as it is now time to cover day four and we’re past the halfway point now with one more set of block matches after this one. A Block is only down to two people regardless of their outcomes in their matches today while B Block is down to three people.
Will the shift in B Block change after this show?
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 A Block Match
Jake Lee vs. Kuma Arashi
Review: Let’s get things underway as we start off with A Block with Jake Lee going up against Kuma Arashi. Jake Lee is one of the two people that are currently undefeated and would still be in the running in or lose but a win here would make it better. Kuma is already out but he could still play spoiler to ruin his average slightly. Will Jake remain undefeated?
The two locked up as Kuma would get Jake onto the ropes, displaying his strength since he’s a bigger guy than Jake. Kuma would get Jake down with a shoulder tackle, getting him to the outside where Kuma goes on the offensive. Kuma went to the ring apron and hits a Diving Senton onto Jake’s rib and looks like he’s hurt. Much like their previous match, this one was also as enjoyable, especially with the crowd present at this one.
Kuma attempts another Senton as Jake rolled out of the way and hits his Jumping Kick onto his chest, knees his arm, and hits a DDT as Kuma kicked out at two. Jake would attempt the Backdrop but Kuma used his weight to roll and land on him for a two count. Kuma climbed to the top rope and attempts another Senton as he connected with Jake kicking out at two! Kuma would climb and ropes again but Jake would kick his bad arm and throws him off, hitting a running knee right after as Kuma kicked out again. Jake quickly applied this Armlock submission like he did for the last match and wrings Kuma’s arm back, making him no choice but to tap out and Jake is still undefeated!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Champion Carnival B Block Match
Shuji Ishikawa vs. Shotaro Ashino
Review: We now switch over to B Block as Shuji Ishikawa takes on Enfants Terribles leader, Shotaro Ashino. Shuji is the only undefeated person in B Block and a win here would make his chances great and could be locked depending on the outcome of the next B Block match. Shotaro lost both of his matches, causing him to be eliminated but he hopes to get his first win. Will Shuji stay undefeated or does Shotaro give him his first loss?
Damn, Ashino is smaller compared to Shuji are next to each other. Shuji gets to throw Ashino around beginning of the match and sends hin to the outside. Shuji tosses Ashino around, throwing him into the guardrails to take him down a peg. Rather slow-paced at first but it worked with these two due to their styles and Shuji is more seasoned compared to Ashino, so he wants to dominate him like how his partner did.
Ashino attempted a German Suplex but Shuji fights him off. Shuji would pick him up and slam him by the corner as he climbs up to the ropes to hit a Double Stomp and Ashino kicked out at two. Shuji calls for the Fire Thunder and Ashino fought off him to hit the German Suplex as Shuji kicked out at two. Ashino applies the Ankle Lock and locks it in tight, twisting it around while rolling with it to apply more damage to it but Shuji escapes. Shuji hits his running knee to his chest and Ashino sold it beautifully as he kicked out at two. Shuji has him up Crucifix style and Powerbombs him for another pin as Ashino kicked out again and grabbed his ankle in the process! Ashino has the Ankle Lock in again as he wraps his legs around him to make Shuji unable to escape as he has no choice but to tap out! Need to see a rematch with these two again, great eight-minute match.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Champion Carnival A Block Match
Suwama vs. Zeus
Review: Time for our last A Block match as the Triple Crown Champion, Suwama takes on the leader of Purple Haze, Zeus. Zeus is the other one that is still undefeated in the block and if he wins here, he’ll still be undefeated with Jake Lee going into their upcoming match. Suwama is already eliminated but looks to finish his Carnival with one more win here. Will Zeus stay undefeated as well or does the champ go home with a victory?
Suwama being explosive out of the gate here already as the two would shoulder tackle each other and Suwama responds with a stiff Lariat right away and goes for the pin with Zeus kicking out at two. Suwama Lariats him into the corner and turns him around to hit a German Suplex, does a Discus Lariat after that, and tops it off with a Backdrop already! He doesn’t pin him yet as Zeus is slowly getting up on his feet and Suwama applies the Sleeper Hold onto Zeus, this could be it quick folks. The champ lets go to set up for the Last Ride but uh-oh, Suwama’s arm is still hurting after his match with Jake a few days ago, and was unable to lift Zeus up. Suwama throws him into the ropes but Zeus catches him with a Lariat, finally getting some offense into this match.
Zeus hits another Lariat on the back of his head and rolls him with an Armbar, applying pressure on his bad arm while the champ tries to hold on, getting his foot onto the ropes before Zeus could do more damage. Zeus goes to the top rope and hits a Missile Dropkick and goes for the cover but Suwama quickly rolled him up before he could pin him as Zeus kicked out. Suwama hits another Lariat and his arm gave out after, falling back in pain. Zeus hits Suwama with a Chokeslam and goes to the top rope again as he hits a Frog Splash, and Suwama kicked out! Zeus wasn’t done as he quickly applies his Facelock submission hold, wringing his neck while having his arm pulled. The referee has enough and calls for the bell before Zeus could do any more damage, leaving Zeus undefeated as well! Suwama’s Carnival is done with only one win and three losses. According to Tokyo Sports, Suwama may have broken his arm and it could either be legit or a work to make both Zeus and Jake Lee look strong but either way, hope he’s okay.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
World Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
Koji Iwamoto (c) vs. Ikuto Hidaka
Review: I did promise I’d cover a title match if one would occur and we get one right here as Koji Iwamoto defends the World Junior Heavyweight Championship against the legendary Ikuto Hidaka. After Koji retained his title, Ikuto made his first-time appearance to AJPW to challenge the champion and prove he was the better junior. His work is incredible and we’re sure to have a classic here. Will Koji retain or will we have a new champion?
Ikuto outmaneuvered the champion briefly with a small chain sequence before the two go outside of the ring and the two fought over here. Koji had the upper hand before Ikuto rolled into the ring to catch a breather but Koji rolled in and Ikuto rolled back out of the ring. A nice little cat and mouse strategy he did her while Koji would make his way outside, making Ikuto Dropkick his leg in and has the opening he needs to work on Koji’s leg. The legwork Ikuto does here is amazing and makes everything unique or crisp, sometimes both as the champion really starts selling it here. There have been small glimmers of hope for Koji getting some offense in but it just leads to Ikuto hitting him with some Dragon Screws or just kicking his leg in. Koji has Ikuto in the corner and goes for a few punches but Ikuto kicks his leg in to stop him for a moment but Koji would do a takedown to get them both down.
Koji gets Ikuto up for a Brainbuster and as he attempts a second one, he bounces him off the ropes to do a Swinging Neckbreaker. Koji attempts a German Suplex as Ikuto flipped over him and caught Koji’s leg, kicking it in and hits a Dropkick on it right after to hurt his knee again. Ikuto applies the Kneebar and wrenches it up to get more pain in until he had to break the hold but he’s still on the attack, hitting him with beautiful kicks to make the champ hang between the ropes. Ikuto takes advantage of this as he goes onto the apron, hitting a DDT right on it and the champ goes down. Koji got back in the ring eventually and runs after him as Ikuto hits him with a kick to the face as Koji kicked out. Ikuto attempts a Brainbuster as Koji pushed him out of the ring, holding onto the ropes to lunge himself back in as Koji would do the same as Koji caught him with a knee to the face. Koji ran the ropes but Ikuto catches him with a Backdrop, making Koji roll up right away and does another takedown, the crowd is loving it! Koji hits a German Suplex Hold as Ikuto kicked out at two. Koji would throw him into the ropes and attempts the Koko no Geijutsu but Ikuto held his ground and pushed him off for a moment and as Koji ran towards him, Ikuto backflips into him as if it was a Sliced Bread! Koji catches him with a Lariat before hitting the Dragon Suplex to try and take him down, and he finally hits the Koko no Geijutsu, retaining the championship! What a match!
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Champion Carnival B Block Match
Kento Miyahara vs. Yuma Aoyagi
Review: Time for our final match of the show as we close off with B Block as Kento Miyahara takes on Yuma Aoyagi. This is a rematch from their Triple Crown Championship Match back in February and if Yuma can win here, he’ll lead the block and eliminate Kento in the process. If Kento wins, he’ll eliminate Yuma and be tied with Shuji going into their match next show. Which one of these two will stay in the race?
The two would spend the first couple of minutes clowning around after a lockup as the two were mostly boogying with the beat of the crowds clapping. Kento would eventually get annoyed with it as he slides back into the ring, only for Yuma to stomp him down and quickly applies the End Game, trying to go for the early submission as Kento grabbed the ropes but Yuma refuses to let go until the referee started counting. Yuma has been getting rather aggressive in this match so far but it makes sense since this is his last Carnival match and needs to try and defeat the ace, even if he has to get a little rough with him. Kento does the usual stuff that we love him for when he hits the opponent with headbutts and chokes them on the turnbuckle post while sticking his tongue out as the referee pulls his hair to make him let go. See, Yuma actually can be a solid worker if he chooses to be and he always does work well with Kento. He has the potential to be a great wrestler and a future main eventer but he’s always missing that something to get to that level. He has the potential but needs to break that glass ceiling soon. Beautiful Crossbody from Yuma and he keeps Kento grounded to give himself the advantage until Kento has him on the ring apron, hitting the Piledriver as the two go down.
Kento waits for Yuma to get back into the ring and hits the first Blackout into the corner and attempts a German Suplex as Yuma fought off and attempts one of his own, making Kento turn as they both do but Yuma would eventually hit the move onto Kento. The two would get up and hit each other with stiff forearms and it seemed like nobody was going to stop anytime soon until Yuma hits Kento with a Superkick before hitting three German Suplexes in a row but Kento kicked out at two! Yuma jumped to the second rope and it looked like he was gonna go for another Crossbody as Kento caught up to him before he could jump and hits a German Suplex with Yuma on the second rope! Kento attempts the Shutdown German Suplex Hold as Yuma broke free but Kento tries to hit a Blackout instead, only for Yuma to catch his knee and hit a stiff forearm before hitting a spinning kick to get Kento down. Yuma applies the End Game again in the center of the ring and this could be it but as Yuma tried to position himself better, Kento got his foot on the rope! Yuma goes for the Rockstar Buster as Kento pushed himself off and hits the Blackout and as he attempts to hit another one, Yuma had him to the ropes and pins him with the European Clutch as Kento kicked out at two! Another Blackout from Kento in which Yuma responds with a Superkick and goes for a spin kick but Kento ducks and hits another Blackout. Kento goes for the finish as he finally hits the Shutdown German Suplex Hold, staying in the game while eliminating Yuma in the process.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Overall: This really felt like we were watching the Champion Carnival compared to the other nights as this was a great show. Not a single bad match for this night and gets me excited for the last set of block shows on the 26th to see who will go onto the finals!
Favorite Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Yuma Aoyagi
Least Favorite Match: Suwama vs. Zeus (If I had to pick one, even when I don’t want to.)
A Block Standings:
- Jake Lee: (3-0) (6 Points)
- Zeus: (3-0) (6 Points)
- Suwama: (1-3) (2 Points) (Eliminated)
- Jiro ‘Ikemen’ Kuroshio: (1-2) (2 Points) (Eliminated)
- Kuma Arashi: (0-3) (0 Points) (Eliminated)
B Block Standings:
- Shuji Ishikawa: (2-1) (4 Points)
- Kento Miyahara: (2-1) (4 Points)
- Yuma Aoyagi: (2-2) (4 Points) (Eliminated)
- Yoshitatsu: (1-2) (2 Points) (Eliminated)
- Shotaro Ashino: (1-2) (2 Points) (Eliminated)