The Champion Carnival finals are here! This 6-day tour concludes in Korakuen Hall where the A Block winner, Zeus takes on the B Block winner, Kento Miyahara. This show also features many 6-man tags as well as a singles match between Yuma Aoyagi and Enfants member, Koji Doi! Without further ado, let’s dive into this Champion Carnival final!
2020 Champion Carnival Final
Venue: Korakuen Hall
Aired on: Samurai TV & AJPW TV [https://www.ajpw.tv/program/index/live20201005-1]
Match 1: JIN [Jake Lee & Koji Iwamoto] & TAJIRI vs. Takao Omori, Black Menso~re & Atsuki Aoyagi
Result: Iwamoto pins Menso~re in 5:51
A perfectly alright match that kicked into a slightly higher gear when Aoyagi and Iwamoto faced off against each other. Aoyagi continues to look very good as the high flyer of the company and I loved the intensity he showed against Iwamoto. These two are set to have their title match on the October 24 Korakuen Hall show.
Post-match, a springboard dropkick from Aoyagi sends Iwamoto out of the ring! Great stuff; allows for both competitors to look good going forward.
Match 2: Hikaru Sato & Ryuji Honda vs. Osamu Nishimura & Ryuji Hijikata
Result: Hijikata submits Honda in 4:33
Another decent match that revolved around a technical submission-based style which I’m always a fan of. The rookie Honda looked good out here and played his role perfectly of being a young boy trying to mount a comeback but being outwrestled by his more experienced opponents.
Match 3: Yoshitatsu Kingdom [Yoshitatsu & Yusuke Okada] & Chikara vs. LAND’S END [Ryouji Sai, Ishikiri & Takashi Daimonji]
Result: Chikara pins Ishikiri in 9:35
Chikara gets the underdog comeback victory here! A big majority of this match was the Pro-Wrestling Land’s End team just punishing Chikara by keeping him in the opposing corner and scratching away at his back (or who knows, maybe they were just helping Chikara take care of a really bad itch and Sai, Ishikiri & Daimonji are the real heroes here… Nah, probably not). I thought this was surprisingly pretty decent for what seemed like a pretty nothing match going in. All three Land’s End guys looked good here as well and I wonder if we’ll see any combination of the three during this year’s tag league.
Post-match, it seems like Chikara is now welcomed into the oh-so prestigious stable that is Yoshitatsu Kingdom. Good for you, Chikara.
Match 4: Kuroshio “Ikemen” Jiro, Francesco Akira & Rising HAYATO vs. Purple Haze [Izanagi, Shigehiro Irie & UTAMARO]
Result: HAYATO pins Izanagi in 4:59
Big win here for Rising HAYATO! And a really neat way to win too with Akira hitting the top-rope meteora and HAYATO following up with a jackknife cover to get the victory. I’m always a sucker for unexpected victories like that in which the match doesn’t necessarily end with a finishing move. Purple Haze has been really great in tag matches since they’ve dropped the stereotypical heel tag team nonsense. With a win over one half of the All Asia Tag Team champions, HAYATO & Akira (or HAYATO and Jiro if All Japan wants to torture me) now have a claim for the tag belts.
Match 5: Evolution [Suwama, Shuji Ishikawa & Dan Tamura] vs. Enfants Terribles [Shotaro Ashino, Kuma Arashi & Hokuto Omori]
Result: Kuma pins Tamura in 12:42
I’m a really big fan of Evolution tag team matches and this here is no exception. Kind of interesting that we see Kuma/Ishikawa and Hokuto/Tamura have the spotlights in this match while both Suwama and Ashino take more of a backseat. In fact, Kuma actually got a lot in this match which I’m happy with because All Japan hasn’t really given him any kind of chance to shine, especially in these past few Carnival matches of his. Kuma and Ishikawa had the classic beefy boys™ matchup and Hokuto and Tamura continue to look very good against one another. Also it looks like we’ll be getting an Enfants vs. Violent Giants World Tag Title match down the line.
Match 6: Yuma Aoyagi vs. Koji Doi
Result: Yuma submits Doi in 10:53
Yuma is awarded for his great Carnival output with a singles match and a very good match at that. I was really worried that this match would start off slow and with a lockup because of both participants calm demeanor going in. But nope, as soon as the bell rings Yuma goes right after Doi and whips him all around the outside of the ring. This match felt like a fight and had some great action. I like these types of grudge matches ending in a submission rather than a pin because it feels like very good way of saying “I’m the superior opponent.” I thought this match would deliver, and both guys proved me right tonight.
Match 7: 2020 Champion Carnival Final – [A Block Winner] Zeus vs. [B Block Winner] Kento Miyahara
Result: Zeus pins Kento in 31:05
GREAT match here between Zeus and Kento, wow! From what I’ve seen from my circles on Twitter, this year’s Champion Carnival seems to have been a step down in quality for many. And I’m inclined to agree that this year doesn’t have the biggest and best hard-hitting bouts of the year that make all of the spreadsheets and get all of the stars in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
But this final definitely changed things up. I absolutely loved this match. First off, let’s talk about the overall story of the match. Going in, a lot of us thought this match would revolve around the facelock which allowed for Zeus to enter this final undefeated. What I like about this match was the lack of the facelock. Zeus uses it twice in this match. The first time, Kento quickly and desperately fights it off to establish it as a truly devastating move. The second time, Zeus chokes out Kento into a pin that results in a kickout, however Kento did not overpower and triumphantly escape the facelock which I love because it doesn’t bury the move and keeps it built up strong for future matches.
Instead, there’s a lot of work here on Kento’s back, courtesy of Zeus. Many submissions targeting the back and legs and a crazy muscle-buster type move onto the apron from Zeus. So I really like that this match took what I expected this match to be and instead turned it on its head and turned into something completely different.
This is a fantastic match packed with dominance by Kento, dominance by Zeus, great back and forth action between the two, high impact moves, and nearfalls that left me on the edge of my seat. Combine all of that with the big fight feel a tournament final gives and a lack of Kento/Wada nonsense and you got yourself an All Japan Pro-Wrestling match of the year contender. Incredible stuff.
Overall, a very good show tonight where all of matches were quite good. I definitely recommend the last three matches but honestly if you’re looking for something to watch, I would suggest watching through the whole show as most of the matches besides the main event are pretty short and it’s a breeze to watch through. Everyone looked very good tonight and this main event is a bonafide match of the year contender.
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