Champion Carnival 4/07/2006
We kick off the show with an introduction of the 12 men taking part in this year’s Champion Carnival:Block A:
Katsuhiko Nakajima, Arashi, D-Lo Brown, Matt Morgan, Minoru Suzuki and Satoshi KojimaBlock B:
Yutaka Yoshie, Buchanan, Taiyo Kea, Suwama, Keiji Mutoh and Kensuke Sasaki
After the opening speech, followed by last year’s winner Kensuke Sasaki returning the Champion Carnival trophy, it’s time to get down to action!Champion Carnival – Block B: Buchanan VS Yutaka Yoshie
Fun match to kick off the Carnival with these two big men going at it. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see more power moves from these, even though he lost weight, Yoshie looked like he had trouble moving around. Buchanan manage to hit Old School, the scissors kick and the Iron Claw Bomb, but it all wasn’t enough to keep big Yoshie down. There was even this one funny spot where Buchanan used a stomach claw instead of the regular iron claw, but Yoshie was easily able to stomach out of it. Yoshie managed a comeback by giving Buchanan a second rope diving body press for a near fall, but hit his uraken back blow followed by a top rope flying body press for the win.Match Rating: *1/2Champion Carnival – Block A: Suwama VS Taiyo Kea
I sort of hated the way referee Wada Kyohei had to act like he didn’t see TARU cheating when he clearly saw everything after getting “bumped” from behind. I really like the progress AJPW has done with Suwama to make him the top heel of the company, the look is just so natural to him. If only he didn’t have TARU in his corner to cheat all the time. I also didn’t like that he more or less no-sold Kea’s Hawaiian Crusher. But the guy came up with a new variation on how to apply the ankle-lock that even Kurt Angle hasn’t done yet, and he throws half-nelsons that would make Kobashi proud!
Kea is definitely one of those guys who seemingly gets lost in the shuffle despite a prominent spot on the roster. His offense does seem to be redundant (he did the Kea Rush more than once), and does seem like a bit of a big-move spot wrestler (like the main event guys in NOAH), but the guy definitely has talent if booked right, just like he did here. Sure Suwama cheated a little, but Suwama more or less won this one clean, being able to counter and avoid some of Kea’s big moves before finishing him clean with a barrage of suplexes before hitting the Last Ride. But Kea showed a lot of fire the way he was able to get up after each big bump and get back in Suwama’s face!
A great match overall, and I can’t wait to see the finals between these two but this is any indication of what to expect!Match Rating: **1/2
Back from commercial with a quick look at the feud between the Tokyo Gurentai and the Voodoo Murders, and the push of MAZADA who will face Shuji Kondo for the AJPW Jr. Title in a few weeks.NOSAWA Rongai, MAZADA & Kaz Hayashi VS TARU, Shuji Kondo & “brother” YASSHI
Everybody worked to make this match a fun fast paced affair, even TARU! There’s just something inhuman about the way Kondo can manhandle people. And likewise the push for MAZADA continues as he squared off with Kondo and tried to catch him in a sleeper multiple times. I’m not sure if they are pushing that as a finisher, or that Kondo has a bad neck, but MAZADA’s cradle DDT finisher that he blasted YASSHI with here for the win should be enough. I also like NOSAWA, but I think he needs to quit with the Mutoh impersonations.
Great match to end the show.Match Rating: **
This episode of Battle Banquet ended with the regular NEWS Banquet report. This week it was about Mutoh, Kojima & Hayashi hosting a special training session with fans at Gold’s Gym on 4/02/06, where they did a lecture and lead a workout session with about 80 fans that turned out for the event. The next session is being planned for 6/18!