He’s won the Triple Crown Championship, The World Tag Team Championship and the All-Asia Tag Team Championship, but today, Minoru Suzuki was finally able to win the one title in All Japan that has eluded him since arriving full time in 2006; “Champions Carnival Champion”.
Suzuki defeated the upstart Kaz Hayashi in the final with the Gotch pile driver to win the tournament. Many people asked whether Suzuki would be challenging his fellow GURENTAI stable mate Yoshihiro Takayama to a Triple Crown title match, however, Suzuki emphatically dispelled those rumors, assuring fans & the Japanese wrestling media that GURENTAI’s goal was to monopolize all the titles in All Japan, and this was just adding to that trophy cabinet.
The bigger story of the tournament however, may have been the man who was defeated by Suzuki in the finals, Kaz Hayashi. Hayashi squeaked to the Semi finals, finishing ahead of Triple Crown Champion Takayama and dark horse favorite Osamu Nishimura in his block. Hayashi scored his biggest upset of the tournament defeating former Kojikaz partner, Carnival winner & Triple Crown champion Satoshi Kojima in the Semi-Finals. Hayashi put up a gallant effort in the finals, and despite the defeat, recieved a standing ovation for his efforts.
The Final was a match up between two men who had never advanced this far in the past. Suzuki’s best effort was in 2006 when he reached the semi-finals, only to lose to eventual winner Taiyo Kea. The 2009 Tournament was Hayashi’s first appearance since a last place finish in the block phase in 2004. Suzuki defeated Keiji Mutoh in the Semi Finals to earn his spot in the finals.
The next stop for All Japan is 4/17 and the ?GROWIN? UP TOUR?. Lineups and movement for that tour should happen pretty soon.
AJPW, 4/12/09 (GAORA TV)
Tokyo JCB Hall
3,200 Fans – Super No Vacancy
1. Hate beat Nobutaka Araya (4:18) with a fire extinguisher attack.
2. TARU & Toshizo beat KAI & Hiroshi Yamato (13:36) by disqualification when Yamato pulled off Toshizo’s mask.
3. Champion Carnival – Semi Final: Kaz Hayashi beat Satoshi Kojima (16:30) with a backslide.
4. Champion Carnival – Semi Final: Minoru Suzuki beat Keiji Muto (13:15) with the Gotch-style piledriver.
5. Minoru, ZODIAC & Joe Doering beat Shuji Kondo, Seiya Sanada & Ryota Hama (15:21) when ZODIAC used a diving lariat on Hama.
6. Taiyo Kea, Minoru Suzuki & NOSAWA Rongai beat Osamu Nishimura, Suwama & Manabu Soya (15:34) when Takayama used the Everest German on Soya.
7. Champion Carnival – Final: Minoru Suzuki beat Kaz Hayashi (23:25) with the Gotch-style piledriver (Minoru Suzuki wins the 2009 Champion Carnival).