wrestling / Columns

Dick Ford’s 2020 Champion Carnival Preview

September 10, 2020 | Posted by Dick Ford
AJPW Champion Carnival

Back in April, with Covid-19 firing on all cylinders, All Japan Pro-Wrestling cancelled the annual tournament, Champion Carnival. President Fukada said he hoped that they’d be able to have the tournament later in the year but with Covid-19 being so unpredictable, who knew if we’d ever get here. Thankfully, we made it, the Champion Carnival starts September 12 and I’m here to preview it for you.

This year, the Champion Carnival is made up of two blocks, A and B, with five men in each block, the points leader in each block faces each other, the winner gets a Triple Crown title shot in October. This will not be a marathon like it is in years where a pandemic doesn’t delay it five months. This year’s tournament will only be six shows, where it’s normally double or triple that. 2020 Champion Carnival will definitely be the easiest year to watch for those of us who have busy lives. Let’s break this year’s carnival down as if we were handicapping it.

A Block:

Jiro Kuroshio (+500)
Zeus (-125)
Suwama (+100)
Jake Lee (-110)
Kuma Arashi (+750)

B Block:

Shotaro Ashino (+200)
Yoshitatsu (+750)
Kento Miyahara (+120)
Shuji Ishikawa (+300)
Yuma Aoyagi (+1000)

Because the tournament ends in Osaka, as well as his recent streak, Zeus is the favourite to win the Carnival. A Zeus win would also help his group, Purple Haze, get over even more than they have in recent months. Plus, he can lose to Suwama in his title match and not be hurt, because he’s Zeus.

Speaking of streaks, Jake Lee has been on a streak of his own so I expect him to be there at the end in the A Block. He could actually win this whole thing. The only reason I’d say no, is because he has had a Triple Crown title match in 2020. However, I could also see him win the A Block and then beat Kento Miyahara in the Finals. Since it was Miyahara who stood in his way of becoming Triple Crown champion back in January. More than likely, he loses an important match to Zeus because he recently tapped him out in a tag match, or he beats him again? Anything is possible.

The Triple Crown champion has been known to win the Carnival (and then gets to choose his challenger in October), so I have to keep the current champion Suwama in the running. I’ll list him at what is considered “even money” in the gambling world.

From there we have Kento Miyahara at +120, while not the favourite this year, he’s still the Ace of All Japan and needs to be respected. There’s always a chance he wins this and faces Suwama in October for the title. His team did just take an L at the hands of Violent Giants (Suwama’s tag team) at the last show, failing to win the World tag titles. So a strong Carnival run and maybe a win isn’t totally out of the question.

At +200, Enfants Terribles leader Shotaro Ashino, who is my favourite to win it all in my heart, but not with my wallet. I only feel this way because he’s already had a Triple Crown title match vs Suwama, that he lost. I just can’t see him winning the Carnival and then losing to Suwama, AGAIN. The W-1 newcomer should have a strong showing in the tournament, being close to the top in points until the end.

Lastly, for the men most likely to win it all, we have Shuji Ishikawa at +300. I’d have him closer to Ashino or even Miyahara if it wasn’t for the fact that he just lost a title match against Suwama back in July. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t still win the B Block by beating Miyahara or Ashino and then lose in the Finals. I expect him to be in it at the end.

If you’ve been on the fence about checking out All Japan or want to and just haven’t, now is the time. The rich history of Champion Carnival and the minimum number of shows makes this year’s tournament a must watch. It also helps there’s four to five guys who could legitimately win the whole damn thing, which makes it unpredictable. All of the shows will be streamed live on www.ajpw.tv. As well as available for VOD consumption. They have an English translation of the website as well. All Japan is puroresu without any referee bumps, you’ll enjoy it.

The conversation never ends, tweet your thoughts to Dick Ford @ffsford or send emails to [email protected] and let him know who you think is going to win the 2020 Champion Carnival.

article topics :

AJPW Champion Carnival, Dick Ford