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April 12, 2009 / TJ Hawke

Minoru Suzuki vs. Kaz Hayashi from AJPW’s Champion Carnival 2009

Recap from TJ Hawke:

This was the finals of the 2009 Champion Carnival. Suzuki had defeated Keiji Mutoh in the semis. Hayashi defeated Satoshi Kojima. I love Suzuki. He looks like an old baby with crazy hair.

Suzuki was in control early on. Suzuki attacked various parts of Hayashi’s body. He applied a single leg crab. Hayashi managed to send Suzuki into the corner and then hit a running leg strike. Hayashi got the Crippler Crossface. Suzuki eventually got to the ropes. The lack of heat for this match is startling and concerning. Suzuki caught him with a triangle in the ropes and then made a comeback. Cross armbreaker by Suzuki. Hayashi got to the ropes, but Suzuki was still in control. Hayashi came back with a lariat and a Shining Wizard. Hayashi hit a superkick/German combo for a nearfall. He went for a springboard move, but Suzuki caught him with a sleeper. Suzuki tried to transition to the Gotch Piledriver, but Hayashi resisted. Hayashi reversed it into a pinning combo that he beat Kojima with, but Suzuki kicked out. Hayashi then reversed the Gotch Piledriver into an Air Raid Crash! Superfly Splash from Hayashi: 1…2…NO! Suzuki delivered numerous slaps. Suzuki hit a sliding boot for a one count. Sleeper! DELAYED GOTCH PILEDRIVER: 1…2…3

I’m a big fan of Minoru Suzuki, but I think he could have had a more focused attack on the neck to make this match more engaging (especially in light of the cold crowd for the first fourth fifths of the match. While it logically holds up to attack various parts of the body, I think you need a longer match to let that story organically played out. I was pleasantly surprised to see Suzuki win though since Hayashi did not seem to be all that interesting at this stage of his career (ie: I saw his two matches on this day and have made a broad generalization about him as a performer around that time period).

Match Rating: ***

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