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  1. #121
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I just caught today's big show in Korakuen Hall, which I believe was a sell-out.

    Manabu Nakanishi was allowed to work a final match in All Japan today before his upcoming retirement. It was nice for all parties involved to let that happen. It was a standard eight-man tag match so nothing special.

    Susumu Yokosuka beat Francesco Akira to retain the Junior Heavyweight Championship. It was a pretty solid match, although a bit on the shorter side for a title match (11 minutes). I knew Susumu is great, but Akira is pretty good too. He's a tad bit on the smaller side of things, especially for All Japan standards, but he's a good addition to their floundering Junior Heavyweight division.

    Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama retained the Heavyweight Tag Team Championships by defeating Lucas Steel and Shigehiro Irie. Another short 11 minute match, with some outside shenanigans happening. There were a few spots where Ishikawa and Suwama had miscommunications and looked upset at each other, so they're teasing some sort of implosion between them. In the end, nothing happened.

    The main event saw Kento Miyahara defeat Yuma Aoyagi for a record-tying 10th Triple Crown Championship defense. It was a good match to watch, more of the standard Miyahara-type match and no one really believed Aoyagi would pull the upset either so it was as exciting as some of his previous title defenses. After the match, Suwama came out and I think he challenged Miyahara for the championship, so that looks like it's the potential record-breaking title defense. I get that they're going for tying in the former Ace vs. current Ace story, but it feels a bit underwhelming. Miyahara beat Suwama once already in this title reign, and Suwama looks like he's slowed down significantly since last year's match so I don't think this will be a great match. But since it's most likely going to break Kawada's record for title defenses, it'll still be special.

    Outside of the matches, All Japan also announced this year's participants for the Champion Carnival tournament. It'll be a field of 18 wrestlers:

    - Kento Miyahara
    - Suwama
    - Yuma Aoyagi
    - Jake Lee
    - Naoya Nomura
    - Ryouji Sai
    - Shuji Ishikawa
    - Zeus
    - KAI
    - Yoshitatsu
    - Gianni Valletta
    - Joel Redman
    - Ayato Yoshida
    - Lucas Steel
    - Shigehiro Irie
    - Hideoyoshi Kamitani
    - Davey Boy Smith Jr.
    - Takashi Sugiura

    Obviously, the main surprises are the last two guys mentioned. I think it's awesome that they got Davey Boy Smith Jr. for this tour. It's also awesome to see some NOAH participation with the current GHC National champ in Sugiura. They also have a few freelancers like Irie, and a Big Japan representative in Kamitani. The rest of the field is really solid too. They haven't announced the blocks or matches yet, but I think both blocks will have some gems happening during the tournament. Really looking forward to it.

  2. #122
    The Brain
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    Can't say that I can place Nakanishi, but I do appreciate how Japanese promotions tend to make a point to honor those who are retiring.

    LOVE that Susumu is doing well over in All Japan, he's been a standout for a long time so the more promotions recognize that the better!

    Ishikawa vs. Suwama does sound pretty murderous, though maybe not if Suwama has slowed down further. But I put a lot of faith in Ishikawa to pull a great match out of anyone, one of my favorite guys in Japan right now.

    When I heard there was a Yoshida involved in the CC I was hoping it would be Takashi Yoshida, whom I love dearly, but ah well. Irie, Sugiura, and particularly DBSJ are all good picks. It took me quite a while to see what others were saying about DBSJ having gotten really good, but I was really convinced by his Bloodsport match with Killer Kross last year. If he can pull that kind of performance out consistently, he might end up being better than his dad in the end.

  3. #123
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    Just like New Japan (and most other places in Japan), All Japan's shows are cancelled until March 13 due to the Coronavirus threat. At the same time, the 2020 Champion Carnival blocks have been announced:

    A Block

    - Kento Miyahara
    - Shuji Ishikawa
    - Yoshitatsu
    - Zeus
    - Yuma Aoyagi
    - Takashi Sugiura
    - Shigehiro Irie
    - KAI
    - Joel Redman

    B Block

    - Suwama
    - Jake Lee
    - Ayato Yoshida
    - Davey Boy Smith Jr.
    - Lucas Steel
    - Ryoji Sai
    - Gianni Valletta
    - Hideyoshi Kamitani
    - Naoya Nomura

    Unfortunately, Naoya Nomura is injured and was pulled a few days ago from the tournament. They haven't announced a substitute yet.

    The tournament begins on April 6. Of course, that's provided things calm down in Japan in the next few weeks and the shows don't get postponed.

  4. #124
    The Brain
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    Love that Davey Boy Jr is in there, though I'd rather see him in A Black which looks way more loaded to me. Maybe down the line? Everyone else looks pretty standard, I'd like to see them sub in someone unexpected for Nomura. They're already borrowing Susumu from Dragon Gate, plenty of other top notch guys they could bring over. Ben-K would be an amazing match up with some of these guys.

  5. #125
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    I think both blocks are pretty decent to a certain extent. The A Block has a lot of top names who can go, but the B Block has a lot of heavy hitters there so it'll be fun to see a lot of those hoss-type matches.

  6. #126
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Just saw a bunch of news about a potential WWE Takeover of AJPW.

    While I can't pretend I am even a passing fan of the company it has got to be an incredibly disheartening idea for fans of the promotion.

    For myself I really think the WWE's attempts at monopolizing the world of wrestling are quite sad. What they appear to have done to the UK scene is a disgrace, particularly in their attempts to discredit those calling them out for it.

    I don't entirely go along with the idea of western hegemony but it is hard not to see this as anything but that if true.

  7. #127
    The Brain
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    You're not wrong, especially since All Japan has racked up some pretty notable praise in the past couple years. To see if fall under the WWE umbrella feels like it could only be discouraging.

    The upside of most of the classic All Japan footage not being owned by the promotion is that at least a lot of classic matches will likely stay available for free even if WWE outright buys the promotion.

  8. #128
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    All Japan held their big March show at Korakuen Hall, which I am finding unbelievable in this current climate, but I digress. I only caught the main event between Kento Miyahara and Suwama. This was Miyahara's potential record-breaking 11th Triple Crown Championship defense, but Suwama pulled off the win here to become a 7-time Triple Crown Champion (and double champ, since he also holds the Heavyweight Tag Team Championships with Shuji Ishikawa).

    I did not expect this to happen, but I guess it kind of makes sense because what else could they do with Miyahara at this point? Not sure what Suwama gains from this win besides adding to his already-record number of Triple Crown wins. We'll see where this leads down the road with Champion Carnival. Maybe Ishikawa beats Suwama in the tournament to set up a future bout between them for the title, but they're in separate blocks so it sounds less likely.

    In other interesting news, All Japan's streaming service added what I think is their first older, pre-2015 match to the system. They added a 2002 match between Keiji Mutoh and Toshiaki Kawada for the Triple Crown Championship. I watched it and it was great, really enjoyed watching it. I don't know why they added that match specifically, but I really hope this means they're getting some more rights to publish more historical matches.

  9. #129
    The Brain
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    That's the problem with having a relatively small main event scene and really only one guy to build around in Miyahara... makes me think they need to work on elevating more younger guys, but I'm not sure they have the talent on hand or not.

    That Kawada/Muta match is a classic, and maybe the best match that they actually own, since I think most of the 80s/90s stuff is owned by the TV stations that originally aired it.

  10. #130
    Puerto Rican dude living in Japan Degenerate's Avatar
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    More unfortunate news for this year's Champion Carnival. Most of the foreigners - Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lucas Steele and Joel Redman - are out of the tournament due to all the stuff happening around the world. So far they replaced one of them with Takao Omori, but haven't mentioned if there would be further replacements. So either they'll scale down to 16 participants (meaning they'll most likely have to cut a few shows) or pull in two random people from elsewhere, maybe a couple of juniors who aren't scheduled. Also, at least two of their shows have been scaled back, going to smaller venues since they won't be allowed to have fans inside in those cities.

    I know most of these issues aren't anyone's fault, but this whole tournament has been snake-bit from the beginning.

  11. #131
    The Brain
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    No kidding... might be wiser to postpone it all together. I do find it strange that these wrestling events in Japan keep going forward. I saw Wrestle-1 did a show with like 300 people on the 25th. Just seems bonkers right now.

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