AJPW Champion Carnival 4/15/2006
Highlights of Champion Carnival matches from the past few days and the current point standings.Champion Carnival Block B: Matt Morgan VS Arashi
A battle of the super-heavyweights. Arashi is a big man, but Morgan is HUGE compared to him. The match was sloppy in places, like the bizarre spot where Arashi looked like he was going for a belly-to-belly, but instead dropped back to smash Morgan’s face into the turnbuckle, and Arashi actually doing a sunset flip which came off rather horribly! They did do some things right though. They sort of established Morgan as a big monster with incredible strength when he was able to scoop slam and chokeslam Arashi, and Arashi showed his strength when he was able to Arashi-otoshi Morgan. They also showed Morgan’s inexperience when Arashi was able to get the pin fall on him with a sloppy small-package hold.
Short fun match. And Morgan definitely has room to grow in his abilities if they keep him around.Match Rating: *
Taiyo Kea, D-Lo Brown & Buchanan VS Yutaka Yoshie, Brute Issei & Akira Raijin
Surprisingly Yoshie’s team controlled a good part of this match thanks mostly to Yoshie’s power. The man in pink had some good hot exchanges in there with Kea. I haven’t seen much of Raijin recently, but other than his look, he doesn’t seem to have changed or improved much, and still doing the hard cranium thing as it took 4 DDTs by Kea to put him down. Interestingly enough, Issei only tagged in at the end of the match, where he was allowed to go wild on Buchanan with a barrage of suplexes, including one front belly-to-belly that almost dropped the big man right on his bald head! Despite the beating he took, Buchanan rebounded to catch Issei in the Iron Claw Bomb for the win.
Good match, but the pace was somewhat lagging.Match Rating: *
Champion Carnival – Block B: Katsuhiko Nakajima VS Minoru Suzuki
You could either look at this as your standard Katsuhiko Nakajima match (cheer for every bit of offense he gets in) or your standard Minoru Suzuki match (Crafty punk that will get under your skin and use your aggression against you). Either way, this was a rather fun mach with the usual “Nakajima gets his ass handed to him, but comes back strong with a hot series of offense, but still comes up short” storyline. I kind of like the way MiSuzuki seems to be innovating new ways to trap people in his sleeper lock, and the way he pulled back on Nakajima’s back with the sleeper in a camel clutch position looked nasty.
The match could have been better, but this was still passable and a good match to end this edition of Battle Banquet TV.Match Rating: *1/2
Please note I'm skipping Battle Banquet #98 since the only Carnival match on that show was the time limit draw between Keiji Mutoh & Suwama, and I don't think I could take watching Mutoh hobble around or TARU's cheating tactics for 30-minutes.