This is it, folks, this is the final day of All Japan’s Champion Carnival where we will find out who will be the winner of this year’s tournament. It’s been a solid tournament but we have to bring it to a close and I’ll be covering the whole show instead of just the final match.
Who will win the Carnival and who will face Suwama for the Triple Crown Championship?
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
Six Man Tag Team Match
JIN (Koji Iwamoto & Jake Lee) & TAJIRI vs. Atsuki Aoyagi, Black Menso-re, & Takao Omori
Review: We open things up with a six-man tag match with members of JIn, Jake Lee, and the Junior Heavyweight Champion, Koji Iwamoto teaming up with TAJIRI take on Stsuki Aoyagi, Black Menso-re, and Takao Omori. This is considered the prelude to the upcoming Junior Heavyweight Championship match between Koji and Aoyagi, seeing who will get momentum leading into the match. Who will go into the title match strong?
This match is as basic as you can get with everyone getting a minute or two to get some action in. TAJIRI and Menso’s encounter with each other was more comical than anything else, even TAJIRI giving him the ol’ spankaroo to had some humiliation to Menso. For Atsuki and Koji, their encounter was brief but it was enough to make you want more when they would eventually fight for the championship in the upcoming month. After a Dropkick from Atsuki, Menso would get back in the ring to try and get a pin on Koji but he kicked out. Menso and Takao would charge at Koji in the turnbuckle for more damage but Menso-re would mess it up for his team when he’s caught with the Koko no Geijutsu by Koji, getting the pinfall victory. Wasn’t perfect but did its job with hyping up the title match and Atsuki has a chance to shine, win or lose.
Rating: Eric Bischoff
Tag Team Match
Hikaru Sato & Ryuki Honda vs. Osamu Nishimura & Ryuji Hijikata
Review: Time for our next match as we start off with a tag team match between Hikaru Sato and Ryuki Honda taking Osamu Nishimura and Ryuji Hijikata. This is more of an exhibition tag match to get the crowd invested. Which one of these teams will win?
Ryuji and Hikaru had a nice little back and forth exchange with some strikes to start things off and Hikaru getting stiff kicks in. This lead to Osamu and Ryuki getting tagged in to have a turn. Ryuki was from Wrestle-1 and was holding his ground against the vet with some forearms before being hit with an uppercut. Osamu hits an Underhook Suplex before tagging Ryuji back into the ring to try and get some moves in. Ryuki gets a shot of energy into him and hits an elbow onto him. Ryuki attempts to go for the Backdrop but Ryuji held his own until Hikaru hits an Enziguri onto him, giving Ryuki a chance to hit a Back Suplex and Ryuji kicked out. Ryuki hits a German Suplex and once Ryuji kicked out, he had his arm in an Armbar before turning it into a Cross Armbreaker, leaving Ryuki no choice but to tap out. Much like the previous match with it being under five minutes, there were just no stakes on this one and just existed.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters
Six Man Tag Team Match
Chikara, Yoshitatsu & Yusuke Okada vs. Ishikiri, Ryouji Sai & So Daimonji
Review: Time for more six-man tag action as Yoshitatsu’s Kingdom is taking on people from Land’s End, Ryouji Sai, Ihikiri, and So Daimonji. The two have been having a sort of a small rivalry and let’s see how it develops after this match. Does Yoshi’s Kingdom stay intact?
Daimonji and Yusuke started off with a small little sequence, leaving Okada to get him down, causing him to tag Ryouji to get tagged in as Okada tagged Chikara in. Chikara just has this angry little face, thinking he could scare people and he just fails at that while being over the top with the screaming for no reason. His chops had no effect and it leads to Ryouji to slap him to get him down. After a few kicks to Chikara by Ryouji, he would tag Ishikiri in as he hits Chikara with a Steamroller before topping it off with a Moonsault. Least this match wasn’t under five minutes like the previous two and were able to get more in this time around without having to rush it.
After being beaten down for about half of the match, Chikara would hit Ryouji with a boot before hitting a weak Lariat, being able to tag in Yoshitatsu as he delivered some kicks into Ryouji, Ryouji was able to catch Yoshi to toss him over before tagging in Ishikiri, climbing to the top rope and hits a Missle Dropkick. Yoshi was able to catch Ishikiri with the Kitchen Sink and instead of tagging Okada back in, he tags in Chikara, screaming with all his might while getting into the ring. Chikara hits Ishikiri with chops while he responds with forearms but Chikara hits a Brainbuster for a two count. Land’s End team would beat Chikara down and Ishikiri has time to go up top for a Senton Bomb but Yoshi and Okada broke the count. Ishikiri goes up top to attempt a Moonsault but Chikara rolls out of the way, leading Okada to forearm Ishikiri, and Yoshi hits the Codebreaker of Jericho to get him down. Chikara goes up top to hit the Saber Chop on Ishikiri, getting the pinfall victory for his team!
Rating: Eric Bischoff
Six Man Tag Team Match
Purple Haze (Izanagi, Shigehiro Irie & UTAMARO) vs. Akira Francesco, Jiro ‘Ikemen’ Kuroshio & Rising HAYATO
Review: Time for more six-man tag action with Purple Haze taking on Rising HAYATO, Akira Francesco, and Jiro Kuroshio. Since Kento and Zeus our fighting in the main event, it’s fitting that their teammates take on each other before the match would happen. Will Purple Haze stand tall or does Kento’s buddies come out the victor?
Purple Haze wasted no time and attacked Jiro and the others before the bell would ring. It doesn’t last long as Irie tossed Jiro over but catches Izanagi with a Dropkick and goes to hit Irie with a Headscissor and a Superkick. Jiro ran the ropes and is caught by Irie as he hits a beautiful Blackhole Slam but Jiro kicked out at two, quite the explosive way to start this match off, I like it. Akira and UTAMARO get tagged in now to change it up with Akira hitting UTAMARO with a Dropkick after a Wheelbarrel Armdrag as UTAMARO stopped Akira by raking his eyes and hitting a Back Suplex, tagging Izanagi in to regroup. Akira ducks the Lariat and jumped over him for a takedown and tags in HAYATO.
HAYATO charges at Izanagi with an elbow into the turnbuckle and tops it with a Bulldog while looking quite impressive with his physique and agility. 1akira and HAYATO double team Izanagi with a Double Dropkick and Purple Haze broke it up during the pinfall, leading to all of them attacking Jiro mostly. Jiro gets tossed into the ropes as he jumped over to do a Springboard Dropkick onto Irie and UTAMARO to get them down before jumping over the ropes, flipping on top of them to get them down. Izanagi hits a beautiful Buzzsaw kick onto Akira to take him out while Irie hits a Cannonball onto HAYATO, giving Izanagi the pin but kicked out! Izanagi tosses Akira into his partner but HAYATO tosses him over to let him land on the apron, Superkicks Izanagi while Akira hits the Meteora, leading to HAYATO pinning him Jackknife style and gets the victory! Because of this win, HAYATO and Akira are set to challenge Izanagi and Zeus for the All Asia Tag Team Championship!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Six Man Tag Team Match
Enfants Terribles (Hokuto Omori, Kuma Arashi & Shotaro Ashino) defeat Evolution (Dan Tamura & Suwama) & Shuji Ishikawa
Review: Our final six-man tag match of the evening as we have the World Tag Team Champions, Violence Giant teaming up with Dam Tamura as they take on members of Enfants Terribles, Shotaro Ashino. Kuma Arashi, and Hokuto Omori. A World Tag Team Championship Match was scheduled for later on in the month, so we could find out who will be challenging the champions after this match is over. Will Enfants defeat Evolution to get back on track or do they lose again?
Shuji and Kuma start the match off by tackling each other, both of them hitting a shoulder tackle with the other hitting the ropes to hit one back as it would go back and forth for a moment until Shuji was able to get Kuma down. We get a tag with Hokuto and Dan coming into the ring to showcase the younger talent of the groups, which was fairly even with the two able to show how much they’ve grown as competitors but Dan was able to Scoop Slam Hokuto down as Violence Giant take out the Enfants members, leaving Hokuto to fend for himself. Little miscommunication here when Shuji accidentally hits Suwama with a Lariat as the two argue enough for Enfants Terribles to get back into the ring to throw them out while Hokuto hits a Reverse STO on Dan after raking his eyes. Hokuto seems a lot more comfortable in the heel role and really does have the potential to be a great worker in the upcoming years if he continues to improve.
It’s Shotaro’s turn to get some abuse in on Dan as he applies the Stretch Muffle onto his leg, trying to get him to tap but Dan gets to the ropes in time to break the hold. Ashino delivers some forearms into the corner and once he ran towards him, Dan kicks his face and jumps the second top to hit a shoulder tackle, giving himself room to breathe as he tagged in Suwama! Looks like Suwama’s arm is doing better as he starts cleaning the house, and hitting a shoulder tackle onto Shotaro after blocking his Lariat. Suwama calls for the Last Ride but Kuma hits his back before he could try to lift Ashino as the two now attack his back until Suwama hits them both with his two-handed chops, topping it off with a Lariat to take them both down. Shotaro ducks a Lariat to hit a German Suplex as he tags Kuma in, lifting him up for a Samoan Drop, and tops it off with a Senton as Suwama kicked out. Shuji gets tagged in now as he tosses Kuma into the corner to slam into him, throwing him down as he does to the top to hit his Double Stomp but Kuma kicked out at two. The two Lariat each other but nobody seems to be going down until Kuma hits Shuji with a Brainbuster, which Shuji gets up right away to hit the TSUNAMI. Dan gets tagged in, Lariats Kuma into the corner, and was able to hit a shoulder tackle on top of it. Dan lifts Kuma up for the Gutwrench Suplex but Kuma kicked out at two! Kuma ducked the Lariat and hits a Diving Body Press as he almost had it but Suwama broke the count, leading to Ashino to apply the Ankle Lock on Suwama to get him out of the way. Kuma climbs to the top rope to hit the Diving Senton, getting the victory for his team! Because of this, Shotaro Ashino and Kuma Arash challenge Suwama and Shuji Ishikawa for the World Tag Team Championships.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters
Yuma Aoyagi vs. Koji Doi
Review: Our first singles match of the night and our semi-main event as we have Yuma Aoyagi taking on Enfants Terribles member, Koji Doi. Koji has been considered a little bully to Yuma since he’s arrived in All Japan, even getting a small undefeated streak going into the match. Yuma has a chance to get some payback and maybe a future title match with momentum. Will Yuma defeated the undefeated Koji or will he lose?
Soon as the bell rang, Yuma hits Koji with the Dropkick, sending him outside of the ring as Yuma would follow him out to attack him more. Pent up aggression from Yuma for the time’s Koji has harassed him and it’s now coming back to bite Koji in the ass while he’s being tossed into the guardrails. Once back in the ring, Koji delivers a hard slap to Yuma’s face and was able to take him down, getting some control into the match now. For those not familiar with Koji, his work in Wrestle-1 has been top-notch while showing he can be a beast for someone of his size, and being one of the more agile wrestlers in the group. Koji goes back to taunting him by putting his foot on his body, pressing down on it, giving him Headlocks to do some damage to his head, and just gaining confidence over Yuma since he hasn’t lost yet in All Japan and wants to take down someone that’s considered one of their top guys (sorta).
Yuma tries to fight back after kicking Koji’s face but once he went for the Dropkick, Koji swept his legs to make him fall down. Koji tosses Yuma into the ropes but reverses it to try and hit a Dropkick as Koji held onto the ropes to stop himself, leaving Koji laughing but Yuma eventually hits the Dropkick this time. Yuma gets tossed into the ropes, jumping onto the ropes to hit a Springboard Crossbody before climbing to the top rope and hits another Crossbody as Koji kicked out at two. Yuma’s in the corner as he tries to kick Koji but his leg is caught and met with another slap to the face while he climbed the top rope, having his knee on the back of his head as he dropped him down. Koji attempts a Brainbuster but Yuma reverses it into a Small Package for a kickout out as Yuma hits a superkick. Once Koji kicked out, Yuma applies a Guillotine Headlock onto him and while he was turning it into the Endgame, Koji had his foot on the rope to break the hold. Yuma blocks the first Lariat but is caught with the second one as Koji would lift him up for the Brainbuster and it connects but Yuma kicked out at two, leaving Koji shocked! Koji misses the Lariat again, leaving Yuma to hit the German Suplex for a two count but he quickly applies the End Game as Yuma defeats Koji to get the victory!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half
Champion Carnival Final Match
Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus
Review: It’s time for our main event as it is now time to cover the Champion Carnival with A Block winner, Zeus taking on the winner of B Block, Kento Miyahara. This is Kento’s third consecutive year in the finals where he won it last year and this will be Zeus’ second time in the finals with his first time being in 2016, which he lost. Zeus has lost to Kento the last couple of times and is now ready to try and avenge his last few losses to him. Who will win the Champion Carnival 2020?
Starting things off nice and slow with some chain wrestling and when they were able to kick it up a notch, Zeus gets him down for a shoulder tackle and would quickly go in for the Facelock but Kento quickly gets out of the ring to break the hold as Zeus follows him to attack him outside. Kento turned it around by hitting Zeus with a headbutt a couple of times to weaken the almighty one. Instead of using the bottom post, Kento would get rid of the padding of the top turnbuckle post and chokes Zeus onto the exposed bar, taunting the crown until the referee would pull him off. Kento is being cocky here but he’s also very focused in this match since a win here means he’ll be one step closer to getting his championship back. It’s now Zeus’ turn to get a little bit of a comeback as he hits a Flying Clothesline to get Kento down before having him out of the ring as he now attacks him outside for some payback.
If you remember what Kento and Zeus said to each other once Kento defeated Zeus to win back the championship, he said they would help raise All Japan together. If you look at Kento’s best opponents in AJPW, you’re gonna see Zeus as one of them as the two delivered another classic here while bringing out the best of each other to make each match feel like the main event of the highest caliber. You can’t go wrong with either and this match topped the match they had two years ago in October for the belt. It looked like Kento was attempting a Brainbuster but Zeus gets closer to the ropes to toss him over before delivering a stiff chop to Kento. Zeus ran towards Kento but is met with a big boot and a DDT onto the apron. Kento quickly gets back onto the apron to try and hit the Piledriver and as Zeus was struggling, he finally gets him over to hit the Kryptonite Krunch on the apron as both men go down! Kento slowly makes his way back in the ring as Zeus was standing on the ropes, lifting him over the ropes for a Brainbuster, shades of Cesaro! Zeus Lariats Kento into the corner, only to be met with a Blackout in the other corner, the two exchanging strikes to one another as Kento attempts a Blackout but Zeus catches his leg for a Lariat and when he attempts the Jackhammer, Kento reversed into a Brainbuster as the two are down again.
Kento calls for the Shutdown German Suplex Hold but Zeus breaks the grip and hits Kento with another Lariat. Zeus climbs to the top rope and hits the Frog Splash but Kento had his knees up before he could connect, hurting themselves in the process. Kento hits a Blackout and a German Suplex before he attempts the Shutdown German Suplex Hold again, getting the grip on and lifted him for a second before Zeus powers out of it last minute and hits a Dropkick! Zeus was now on top of Kento, delivering brutal forearms to his head to apply more damage to his head before getting off him. Zeus attempts a Lariat but Kento got behind him to roll him up for the European Clutch as Zeus kicked out and immediately applies the Facelock on Kento! Zeus has it locked-in and Kento could tap out right here but Zeus lets go of the hold once Kento was passed out since it seems he doesn’t wanna beat him that way. Zeus calls for the Jackhammer again but Kento fights off to hit a Blackout and hits another one to get him down. Kento is fired up as he goes for the Shutdown Gemrna Suplex Hold one more time as it connects with the referee going for the cover but Zeus kicked out! Zeus was able to kick out as many were unable to do except a certain few! Kento goes for it again but Zeus powers out of it to be met with a Blackout as Zeus bounced the ropes to hit another Lariat! Zeus hits one more Lariat as Kento kicked out but Zeus would pick him up to hit the Jackhammer and we have a winner!
The mad lad has done it, Zeus is your Champion Carnival winner! This is his first time winning the tournament and he is now set to challenge Suwama for the Triple Crown Championship on October 17th. The two fought in the Carnival with Zeus making him tap in five minutes but now that his arm seems to be healed, will we get a different outcome or will Zeus be able to win the Triple Crown Championship for a second time. Huge win for Zeus as he really needed this more than Kento, hopefully, he’ll have a proper reign this time around if he wins. Congratulations to Zeus!
Rating: Jim Cornette
Overall: We get the best AJPW match of the year so far and a very solid show right on top of it. A very satisfying Carnival with a fantastic final to top it off with the right man winning. Jake was my original choice but at the end of the day, Zeus needed this more. Can’t wait to see the match take place and hopefully, we’ll have a new champion. Thank you all for joining me in this tournament!
Favorite Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus
Least Favorite Match: Hikaru Sato & Ryuki Honda vs. Osamu Nishimura & Ryuji Hijikata