The finals of the 2018 Champion Carnival tournament took place Monday from Korakuen Hall with the tournament coming down to Triple Crown champion Kento Miyahara and Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji.
The match went 24 minutes and 50 seconds and featured the outside Marufuji winning the tournament and defeating Miyahara with an Emerald Flowsion.
The two had a very strong match with the Korakuen Hall crowd solidly behind Miyahara with frequent chants of “Kento” breaking out whenever he mounted a comeback.
Marufuji capitalized after Miyahara missed a running shoulder block on the fall and hit the ring post. Marufuji transitioned to the neck of Miyahara, including a frightening piledriver onto the edge of the apron with Marufuji’s back to the ropes as he delivered the maneuver.
Miyahara had several near falls with the Shutdown German suplex. Marufuji connected with a Shiranui and utilized the cobra clutch triangle, which Miyahara escaped from.
After kicking out of a pair of superkicks and bicycle knees, Miyahara fell to the Emerald Flosion and Marufuji won the tournament.
The Champion Carnival tournament dates to All Japan’s infancy, running their first version in 1973 just months after the promotion launched. Shohei “Giant” Baba would win the tournament on seven occasions, his final win coming in 1982. Future promotional president Keiji Muto would go on to win three Carnivals in 2002, 2004, and 2007.
Marufuji’s story is an interesting one, given his roots with All Japan as he was trained in their system. He had only been wrestling professionally for two-years when he left with the large contingent of talent in 2000 to help form Pro Wrestling NOAH under the leadership of the late Mitsuharu Misawa.