AJPW Champion Carnival 7/07/2006
Did I mention how the Battle Banquet show has one of the most fun intro themes ever?
On to the action!Champion Carnival – Block B: Minoru Suzuki VS Arashi
Short, but very entertaining match! This was one of those rare matches where Arashi had his working boots on and was motivated. And MiSuzuki was his old cocky self. I’m sure like many there are a lot of guys who like watching MiSuzuki act like a pr*ck only to get the taste slapped out of his mouth by his opponent like what Arashi did here. Arashi was fun to watch countering a mount by Suzuki into a chicken wing armlock! And of course using his size and power to his advantage, hitting a big powerbomb and showing his agility with a big dropkick! Suzuki also showed his craftiness countering a chokeslam into a triangle-lock, and his heel side by shoving referee Wada Kyohei aside, which literally sent the veteran referee thumbling! I also liked the finish where Suzuki looked like he was going for a Sling Blade, but instead kept his grip on and caught Arashi in a sleeper for the win!
Fun match, and Suzuki is definitely a breath of fresh air in AJPW.Match Rating: **Champion Carnival – Block B: Katsuhiko Nakajima VS Satoshi Kojima
Now this was a treat! How often do we get to see Kojima as the grumpy veteran? The Triple Crown champion definitely looked like he was in a foul mood the way he abused Nakajima all over the place! He powerbombed the kid out on the floor, no sold a missile dropkick (didn’t even budge him!), and almost decapitated him with a lariat! There are a lot of people who are envious of Nakajima’s position in the wrestling world, but you can’t say that the little guy isn’t earning every bit of it the way he takes a beating every time! It wasn’t a total squash though, as Nakajima got in some good kick flurries, as well as a really close near fall with a backslide!
A whole lot of fun this match was!Match Rating: **1/2Kensuke Sasaki, Tomoaki Honma & Brute Issei VS Keiji Mutoh, AKIRA & Ryuji Hijikata
You really gotta feel for Honma here. Even though he has seniority over Issei, he was still treated more like a rookie than Issei! Sasaki even had to make the save at one point than mouth off at him to get fired up! It’s really no wonder why he’d leave the company later when you’d think they’d at least give him some advantage over junior heavies like AKIRA and Hijikata. Honma looked good initially, than it was all down hill from there. He took quite a beating, including a barrage of dropkicks to his back from all 3 opponents. Didn’t help that he was fresh as a daisy, but still dropped the fall from ONE Shining Wizard from Mutoh.
Haven’t seen much of Issei, but the guy definitely seems to be lacking something. And he did seem green in certain spots, even almost missing his timing at one point. He does have some good suplexes though.
Even with his bad knees that can’t bend all the way, Mutoh did a better looking STF than John Cena does in WWE!
Solid match, just wasn’t big on the ending of it.Match Rating: *1/2
Show ends with some highlights from other matches from the 4/07 Korakuen Hall show, including Kikutaro VS Masa Fuchi. It went only about 2 minutes, but Kikutaro definitely looks better doing his comedy bits in singles matches. He had the advantage on the old veteran thanks to his comedic antics, but lost due to trying to beat Fuchi with one of his own moves, the small-package hold. They also showed Matt Morgan and D-Lo Brown dominating Nobutaka Araya & Nobukazu Hirai, and Morgan using his Mount Morgan Drop (F5) on big Araya for the win.