Kaito Kiyomiya Wins GHC Heavyweight Title, Champion Carnival Final Decided | Weekly Puro Guide


New Japan Pro Wrestling

New Japan held two nights of Wrestling Dontaku on May 3rd and 4th from the Fukuoka International Center in Fukuoka. The two shows featured seven championship matches, including three title changes.

In the first title change, Jeff Cobb defeated Zack Sabre Jr. to win the NJPW TV Championship in a great match, thus picking up his first singles belt in NJPW since 2019. Zack Sabre Jr. & Jeff Cobb had a great rivalry over the past year for the TV title, and it was a big reason why Zack’s run was as great as it was. It is absolutely the right decision for both to switch the title here as Cobb deserves this run, while Zack can finally move up the card and slowly reach the top of New Japan.

Another title change happened in the tag title match as KENTA and Owens won back the IWGP Tag Team Titles from Bishamon in a match that was forgotten the moment it was over. As they were celebrating, GoD and TMDK came to the ring to challenge the new champions, while Bishamon seemingly wants another shot. This is likely leading to a four-way match at Dominion.

In a fantastic NEVER Openweight Title match, Shingo Takagi retained against Gabe Kidd in an all-out war. The two went out there and just tore the house down by beating the hell out of each other. THIS match is what the NEVER division is all about. Every second of it was awesome, and it was easily the best match from New Japan this weekend. Backstage, Yuya Uemura challenged Shingo Takagi for a NEVER Openweight Title match at Resurgence, which should be another great match.

In the main event of the first night, Nic Nemeth successfully defended the IWGP Global Championship against Hiroshi Tanahashi. The match was fine to good, especially at the beginning, where Nemeth showed his amateur background well. The final few minutes weren’t as exciting as they should have been, and the finish felt rushed. After the match, David Finlay attacked Nemeth, and they agreed to a Championship match on Night 2. In that match, Finlay defeated Nemeth to win the IWGP Global Championship back. It was my favorite match of Nemeth’s post his WWE run as he & Finlay built a good match with a good finishing stretch. Finlay winning the Global title back was to be expected, and it’s interesting to see how they will book him now after his recent stop-start pushes.

To end a rather underwhelming Wrestling Dontaku series, Jon Moxley put his IWGP World Heavyweight Championship on the line against Ren Narita of House of Torture, and the match went just how everyone expected it to be. The part where HoT didn’t interfere was solid and was on its way to becoming good, until the countless run-ins from HoT that New Japan fans have seen a million times over the past years and aren’t original anymore. Moxley retained after 25 minutes with the Death Rider and will face Shota Umino at Resurgence for the IWGP World Championship. After the rather underwhelming matches against Hobbs (due to injury) and Ren Narita (due to the interferences), the match against Umino needs to be fantastic since it’s a make-or-break moment for the self-proclaimed ‘Ace of New Japan’.

Pro Wrestling NOAH

NOAH held their Wrestle Magic 2024 show this past week in the Ryogoku Kokugikan in front of 3.512 fans, which is a solid number. The show featured 12 matches, including six mystery vortex matches & five championship bouts.

In the main event of the show, El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. defended his GHC Heavyweight Title against Kaito Kiyomiya, who earned the title shot by defeating Jake Lee to become the Number 1 Contender. This was likely the best match of the weekend as Kaito & Wagner Jr. tore the house down and had one of the best matches of the year in Japan so far. The final minutes were incredible with Wagner even hitting a Shining Wizard, but it was Kaito Kiyomiya who hit a Shining Wizard to win the match to crown himself the new GHC Heavyweight Champion and end the three-month reign of El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr.

This match cemented Kaito as a 3-time GHC Heavyweight Champion, who now once again gets the chance to be on the top of NOAH and take his rightful spot as the Ace of the company. Backstage, Kenoh congratulated Kaito and shook his hand.


All Japan Pro Wrestling

All Japan’s biggest tournament, Champion Carnival, began this month featuring all of AJPW’s biggest stars and a few new faces. The tournament started on the 18th of April, with the finals being held on May 12th in the Yokohama BUNTAI. After a good first week, this past week saw the final days of the tournament take place, with a couple of notable highlights and the final being decided.

The winner of the A Block is the Ace of All Japan, Kento Miyahara, as he was able to win six matches in a row after a shocking loss to Ren Ayabe on the first day. On the final night, he was able to defeat Davey Boy Smith Jr. in a great 25-minute match to advance to the final and now has the chance to win his second Champion Carnival in his career.

In the B Block, Jun Saito emerged the victor after defeating Suwama on the final B Block night of the tournament and has the biggest match of his career coming up on the 12th, where he can earn another Triple Crown Title shot for himself. He is on a fantastic run as he not only won five of his last six singles matches, but also his match quality is the best it has ever been, with great matches against Rei Saito & Suwama to cap off his block stage.

Overall, the tournament continues to be solid, but nothing outstanding. A few great matches are missing to take the tournament to the next level, but most of the time, at least one match per show is recommended.

Official Champion Carnival 2024 Standings:
12 – Kento Miyahara (6-1-0)
10 – Davey Boy Smith Jr. (5-2-0)
8 – Yuma Aoyagi (4-3-0)
6 – Shotaro Ashino (3-4-0)
6 – Kurushio TOKYO Japan (3-4-0)
6 – Cyrus (3-4-0)
4 – Ren Ayabe (2-4-0)
4 – Hokuto Omori (2-5-0)

10 – Jun Saito (5-2-0)
8 – Yuma Anzai (4-3-0)
8 – Rei Saito (4-3-0)
8 – Suwama (4-3-0)
8 – Hideki Suzuki (4-3-0)
6 – Lord Crewe (3-4-0)
4 – Ryuki Honda (2-5-0)
4 – Hartley Jackson (2-5-0)

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