Show starts off with the usual RO&D welcome to be followed by the Voodoo Murders interruption to be followed by the RO&D BOO-YAH bit. This is already getting stale.Kaz Hayashi, Masanobu Fuchi & Ryuji Hijikata VS Kikutaro, Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai
OK opener, but I’ll admit I’m also getting a little tired of Kikutaro’s act. Sure it can be entertaining, but it just doesn’t fit when he doesn’t have someone like Kuishinbo Kamen to play off of. Araya playing Kikutaro’s big goof partner is a waste of his potential too. I would really like to see Kikutaro get serious for just one night and challenge for the Jr. title just to see what happens since the crowd always pops when he does something unexpected, like trying to finish Kaz with his own Final Cut move.Match Rating: *Champion Carnival – Block B: Arashi VS Katsuhiko Nakajima
Good God I thought I was having a NJPW Tadao Yasuda flashback with the way Arashi was moving here. Seriously, the big man couldn’t look less motivated to even MOVE and looked to be gasping for breath after EVERY move he did.
The only good thing about the match was when Nakajima was on offense and the crowd was behind him for everything he did. They really should have given him a win over this useless old fatty.Match Rating: *Kensuke Sasaki, Tomoaki Honma & Brute Issei VS AKIRA, NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA
Now this match was a lot of fun, and NOSAWA & MAZADA were a lot more hilarious with their antics than Kikutaro was in the opener as they made it seem more natural and not forced for the sake of comedy. The Tokyo Gurentai team seriously are a lot of fun to watch in action cause they just work well together. I almost forgot AKIRA was in the match too.
Brute looks like a young Yutaka Yoshie, only a lot taller. He was working with a bad shoulder and still did look a little green, but played his role well. He really needs to work on his spear though as you’d expect a bigger impact when a huge 300-pounder hits a junior heavyweight and they drop straight down instead of the little guy getting pushed back.
It was good to see Honma back in action even if he did have limited in ring time.
And Sasaki was a lot of fun to watch as well as he knows how to work with smaller guys like the Tokyo Gurentai and make it entertaining and both sides looking good by the end of it. And the lariat he gave AKIRA was definitely wicked!Match Rating: **1/2Taiyo Kea, D-Lo Brown, Buchanan & Matt Morgan VS TARU, Kohei Suwama, Shuji Kondo & “brother” YASSHI
This was actually pretty ok up until the DQ ending.
Here’s something I noticed about Matt Morgan: Mutoh is actually doing the right thing by pushing him in small doses. Sure he’s a big gaijin monster, but their not letting him run rampant like they did with the more established Giant Bernard. Most probably the reason why NJPW dropped Morgan for Bernard, because they were too lazy to build him up themselves and want the instant superstar instead of one they can say they made themselves.
Another thing I’d like to note about the RO&D team is now not only does Buchanan do the Bruiser Brody mannerisms, but now has the hairy boot paddings to go with it!
I like what VM have done for Suwama, giving him an image and an attitude, but I still don’t dig the big push he’s getting. Sure he’s gifted, but his push does seem rushed as he’s already kicking out of finishers from the likes of D-Lo & Kea who are years above him in seniority and experience.Match Rating: **Champion Carnival – Block B: Satoshi Kojima VS Minoru Suzuki
Even if you didn’t know the results of this one, it’s pretty obvious it was going to a draw since they did all the stalling that usually comes with a 30-minute draw. Actually, it was like your standard Minoru Suzuki match where almost everything he does is a time waster, which is his style. He did the top-rope octopus-hold to Kojima, which looked a lot more painful than the one he did to Akiyama since this time he sat all his weight down on Kojima’s head while his throat was on the ropes! He also did a great cross-armbreaker variation where he also hooked Kojima’s leg to make it a double-submission move. Other than that, it was the usual MiSuzuki slap, grapple and stall match format.
I didn’t like seeing Kojima get dominated here like he did, but I guess I’m used to him being booked as the longest reigning, but most vulnerable champion in Japan. Not sure what it does for him since he was winded by the end of it and MiSuzuki was still fresh as a daisy, even getting a “Minoru” chant from the Korakuen crowd.Match Rating: **Champion Carnival – Block A: Keiji Mutoh VS Yutaka Yoshie
Two things to note about this match: 1) Yoshie has obviously loss some weight, and 2) He carried Mutoh to one of the best matches I’ve seen from the bad kneed genius in a long time!
Seriously, give Yoshie a lot of credit here for making Mutoh look like a million bucks, and of course Mutoh himself deserves some credit for making Yoshie look like the big monster that he is the way Yoshie dominated the power game using his size like he always does to pummel and squash his opponents. He even brought out the old Air Bag German suplex!
Of course I really would have liked it more if Yoshie won, but to his credit, it took Mutoh SIX Shining Wizards at various angles to finally put the big man down. I really hope Yoshie sticks around AJPW for a bit, and Mutoh books him well as Yoshie is a great native talent to have on the roster.Match Rating: ***Overall:
Not a whole lot to this one, nothing really bad, but two entertaining main events and a fun six-man tag give it some watch value.