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  October 23, 2014



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

All Japan Pro Wrestling's Champion Carnival tournament
All Japan Pro Wrestling's
Champion Carnival tournament

Korakuen Hall, Tokyo -- Friday March 23rd, 2001
Sendai City Gym, Miyagi -- Wednesday April 11th, 2001.


Last year at this time, SLAM! Wrestling broke new ground with its in-depth coverage of All Japan Pro Wrestling's annual Champion Carnival tournament. Providing a full history of the event, predictions and analysis of last year's tournament and full results of the finals, SLAM! Wrestling set a new standard of international wrestling coverage. Well, we're at it again. We are pleased to provide a preview of this year's Carnival Championship. In handicapping this year's round-robin tournament, we've taken a look at the top six wrestlers in the tournament, detailing their past performances and what their chances are this year. And because this is such a special event, we have insights and predictions from SLAM's own international wrestling junkie John Molinaro. We'll have results as the tournament progresses over the next few weeks.

A LOOK AT THE FIELD


Toshiaki Kawada

Best move(s): Jumping High Kick, Stretch Plum
# of previous Carnival appearances: 9
Best showing: Won in '94 & '97
Video Clip: Kawada defeats Mitsuharu Misawa for the Triple Crown (1 MB)

Steve Williams

Best move(s): Doctor Bomb, Oklahoma Stampede
# of previous Carnival appearances: 7
Best showing: Finalist in '94
Video Clip: Steve Williams executes a suplex on Akira Taue. (898 K)

Johnny Smith

Best move(s): Reverse DDT.
# of previous Carnival appearances: 3
Best showing: 6th place in '91
Video Clip: Johnny Smith executes his unique version of a reverse DDT. (917 K)

Genichiro Tenryu

Best Move: Power Bomb, Northern Lights Bomb
# of previous Carnival appearances: 1
Best showing: 5th place in '82
Video Clip: Tenryu wins the IWGP World title from Keiji Mutoh. (805 K)

Mike Barton

Best Move: powerful forearm shots
# of previous Carnival appearances: 1
Best showing: 2nd round in '00

Taiyo Kea

Best Move: stiff kicks
# of previous Carnival appearances: none

Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Mitsuya Nagai Jim Steele and George Hines round out the field.

PREDICTIONS

Full Tournament Schedule
Previous Tournament Winners
Carnival Tournament Fact Sheet

FINALS

Match John Molinaro
Finalist #1 Tenryu
Finalist #2 Kea
Champion Tenryu


SLAM! Predictions

  • John Molinaro: This is a difficult tournament to get a handle on. All ten men will face each other in a round-robin tournament system where the top two point-getters will advance to the finals. There are so many ways they can book this. They can give the win to Kawada and build him up for another go around with Triple Crown champion Tenryu. They can go with Kea, thus elevating him to the next level and thrusting him into the main event picture. They can go with Steve Williams and really push him as the monster heel that dominates All Japan, much the same way he did back in 1994. All of these are viable options but I'm going to go with Tenryu over Kea in the finals. This scenario will serve two purposes: 1) having Kea in the finals and going over guys like Kawada and Williams along the way will elevate him and create a much needed new main event star for the promotion and 2) giving the win to Tenryu will further strengthen Tenryu and the World title and make him look strong as All Japan looks to get involved in more inter-promotional angles with Pro Wrestling NOAH and New Japan Pro Wrestling.




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