All Japan Pro-Wrestling “GAORA SPECIAL 2013 Champion Carnival”, 4/27/2013
Matsushita IMP Hall
Crowd shot: http://i.imgur.com/SIaOl3W.png
Hayashi, Kondo, & Yamato vs. SUSHI, Nakanoue, & HUB
SUSHI was actually over and used a good mix of serious and comedy. HUB was a good fit in the match and was certainly the most over person, especially when he used his mask to attack. Nakanoue grows everytime I see him and has an awesome Butterfly Suplex. Hayashi won with the Power Plant on Nakanoue in about 13:13. Nakanoue called out Burning (I think) after the match.
Nothing negative to say about the opener.
Kanemoto, Minoru, & Fuke vs. Kanemaru, Kotaro, & Aoki
Everyone was over here. Fuke started off with Kanemaru, but Aoki and Kanemoto were both quickly tagged. Early isolation on Aoki, with numerous quick tags used. Kanemaru was eventually tagged and busted out a split legged moonsault (?!). Kotaro pinned Minoru after the Endless Waltz (La Magistral rolling cradle thing he does) in about 12.15. Last few minutes were good, but not great.
Definitely a good match, but not special: ** 1/2
KENSO vs. Akebono
KENSO brought it the first two minutes, but a few shoulder blocks sent KENSO out of the ring. This lead the match to stop for about 40 seconds. Match didn't move out of second gear until the last couple minutes when Akebono sent KENSO to the outside. Akebono set KENSO up on a table put on the ring post, but ran through it after KENSO moved out of the way. KENSO used some tactics to keep Akebono out of the ring and won with a count out after ~9:30 minutes. Mic performance from KENSO after the match. ZEN-NI-PPON.... YAAA~!
Poor/below average match; could have been something good though. Really unfortunate since KENSO has been getting rave reviews. Akebono looked great here.
Sanada vs. Kono
Crowd was dead for the first five minutes. Like really dead. Sanada and Kono did about three minutes of matwork, before working on other things. Match didn't really get any reaction until Sanada hit his Rolling Elbow and Kono came back from it. Crowd dug the Chokeslam/Cutter counter they did and appreciated Kono fighting out of the THIS IS IT. They went to a strike battle after the TII, which killed the crowd again. Match ended when Sanada did the Full Nelson -> Cutter -> THIS IS IT at ~10:20. Crowd politely applauded after match ended.
Not very good at all.
Intermission time with announcer telling crowd that Muto would be signing autographs. Final Countdown (MUTO edit~!) played to lead people out.
KAI vs. Doering
Shit, KAI's chest was still red from yesterday. Doering charged KAI to start the match, sending Bomber down. KAI tried coming back, but his Plancha was caught on the outside. Crowd LOVED that. Unfortunately, crowd wasn't giving KAI as loud of a reaction he deserved when he was doing his comebacks. Doering went for a Revolution Bomb (he even called it out), but KAI countered with a Frankensteiner and pinned him from his back/hooking the legs in under 5 minutes. Doering looked like a bad ass in the match.
Hama vs. Shiozaki
Crowd finally reacting again at the start. Nice Shoulder Blocks, with Shiozaki being unable to send Hama down. Shiozaki wasn't able to get any offense in on Hama for the first five minutes and it built a good story. Shiozaki started coming back after a Flying Shoulder Tackle, but it didn't last long. Match started getting great here... Awesome near fall when Hama SAT on Shiozaki. They did an good Chop/Hammer sequence that eventually lead to a sequence where Hama countered with a RUNNING CROSS BODY and two SPLASHES!!!!! I thought Hama was going to upset Shiozaki here and so did Osaka. After Shiozaki kicked out, he started mounting his comeback. Shiozaki almost got Hama up all the way for a Go Flasher/Suplex (?), but couldn't. Got a nice reaction, though. Hama wouldn't stay down, but was finished after a series of Lariats at about 11 minutes.
Very good match: *** 1/2 to 3/4.
Suwama vs. Omori
Started off with Omori getting the better of a handful of exchanges until Suwama sent him over the top rope. DDT on exposed floor from Suwama. They got back into the ring, but aren't pulling out anything too crazy. It felt like a draw six minutes in so the crowd wasn't really reacting for anything. Match picked up when Suwama countered an Axe Bomber with his forearm, but not the one that hit the back of his head. This lead to a back Suplex from Omori on the top rope -> Piledriver -> Axe Guillotine Driver for a 2.5 count. Crowd was into it at this point (12 minute mark). Bunch of Axe Guillotine Driver/Powerbomb teases with both guys getting the moves at different times. Omori beat Suwama with the Axe Bomber at around 14:20.
Okay match. Crowd reaction killed it.
Funaki vs. Akiyama
Hot crowd to start with Akiyama getting the better of the two reactions. Nice opening segment. Match really feels like watching two masters at work, even from the start. Akiyama keeps working on Funaki's legs to prevent kicks. At one point, Funaki tried to evade a stomp on his back, attempting a kneebar but failing a couple of times. Eventually, Funaki does a great Fujiwara armbar counter and starts working on Akiyama's arm (he even sells his leg by switching the leg he uses to kick.) They go back and forth for a few minutes leading up to a OH HOLY FUCKING SHIT!! headbutt counter to the Hybrid Buster followed by brutal knees (around 8 minute mark.) Exploder gets countered with into a Fujiwara armbar rolled into into a regular armbar rolled into a pin from Akiyama. Funaki kicks out, but gets KNEEED. Match eventually ends with a BRUTAL wrist clutch at around 9:40.
Best match of the night: *** 3/4. I can't say enough good things about this.
1. Go Shiozaki 
2. Seiya Sanada 
3. Suwama 
4. Masayuki Kono 
-. Takao Omori 
6. Ryota Hama 
1. Jun Akiyama 
2. KAI 
3. Masakatsu Funaki 
-. Joe Doering 
-. Akebono 
-. KENSO 
Once again, the Burning matches are the best matches of the night. Will watch again later to see if I overrated/underated things.