With the coronavirus affecting shows in Japan, it is causing various promotions like NJPW, Stardom, and NOAH to cancel shows. It looks like All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) still has their schedule for late March along with their Champion Carnival tournament in April. Unfortunately, I do have some bad news regarding the Carnival as Naoya Nomura has announced that he’ll be out of the tournament due to a herniated disc, taking him out of action for two months.
Due to this, we have an open slot and there is no official announcement of who will replace him at this time. They’re most likely saving it for the next big show on March 23rd with Kento Miyahara defending the Triple Crown against Suwama if it’s a big surprise. Anyway, despite the injury, we do have our official participants for each block listed below to get a better idea of who would most likely win the block or final.
Shigehiro Irie [STRONG HEARTS]
Takashi Sugiura [NOAH]
X = TBA
Ayato Yoshida [2AW]
Suwama Jake Lee
Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Hideyoshi Kamitani [BJW]
Block A is looking incredibly strong with the big names involved while B block usually has the others but is usually full of surprises with match quality. April 5th is when it’ll officially start and it’s hard not to get excited for this tournament with all the names involved to have it be something special. Now that we have a clear look at the blocks, let’s figure out some predictions, shall we?
A Block: It’s obvious Kento will be the champion going forward and it seems pretty clear that he’ll most likely drop the title to the Carnival winner this year, so him winning this year doesn’t seem to be a likely scenario. For the winner of A Block, gonna have to go with Zeus to go with his new momentum with Purple Haze and Shigehiro Irie as the dark horse.
B Block: This block is a bit tricky due to Nomura being injured and not knowing who is the official replacement. Nomura would’ve been my pick if he wasn’t injured and I would’ve said Jake to take it all if he didn’t fight Kento earlier in the year and would be too much at this point. Davey Boy Smith Jr is a likely pick to win the whole block to show his worth in Japan while having more exposure from MLW fans to watch and follow All Japan. As for the dark horse, Ryouji Sai seems very likely, especially with his little rivalry with Zeus recently. So if Zeus wins, Ryouji wouldn’t be a surprise.
X: Let’s figure out who they would use for the mystery participant. There were rumors of having Koji Iwamoto being the participant and it wouldn’t be a shock if they went with that route.
With W-1 closing their doors on April 1st, they could have someone from there going over.
For example someone like Shotaro Ashino or Daiki Inaba to take part in it.
Winner: With the four picks in the predictions, it’s a tough call to see what direction they could go with it. Gonna have to say Davey Boy Smith Jr as the winner to give Kento a fresh opponent for his title and more for the exposure. Is it likely that it’ll happen? 50/50 but would be a fresher change of pace to have new contenders for Kento’s title instead of the same people over and over again.
That’s it for the predictions and announcements, I hope you all find time to subscribe to AJPW before it takes place or finds a way to follow them since the Champion Carnival tournament is one you don’t want to miss.