Kento took things in his usual irreverent and chiding way, as he’d take an Irish Whip just to slip back into the ring and pose. The sarcastic charisma of the champion is on full display; while Suwama just peppers in shots when there’s an opening. We see the understanding eventually wash over Kento’s face, but it might be a little late. After a Piledriver on the apron, Kento thinks Suwama is done, but the veteran doesn’t go down like that. Getting that look in his eye, Kento fires off with a few Blackouts and a German Suplex Hold, but only a two count.
Suwama hits a few big Double Chops and has the Manriki Sleeper in for a bit, before Kento can reach to the ropes. The playfully arrogant light is gone from the champion and he starts trying desperately to find an answer. Suwama breaks out of the Shutdown Suplex twice, so Kento tries for Blackouts from almost every conceivable angle, but still nothing. The Giant’s Slam from Suwama didn’t get the job done a little earlier, so now he hits the Giant’s Slam with a Bridge, for the pinfall! NEW CHAMPION! Suwama begins his 7th reign as Triple Crown Champion!
Overall Score: 7.25/10
What we got with this show was effectively one big match, but possibly a ton of little moving pieces. With the Champion Carnival 2 weeks away and with fewer events to add some story; this could’ve just been a heavily punctuated start to something. I did really enjoy that the Junior Title match made the noticeable back and forth with Hikaru and Francesco worth more in the end.
It also adjusts where the Triple Crown champion is during the Champion Carnival. So that could change some people’s math on tournament winner. Either way, this makes for some unexpected fun. Kento ends up staying tied with Toshiaki Kawada for the most single reign defenses; but now maybe we can expand the main event beyond Kento and who he’s beating.
Stay tuned for Champion Carnival coverage! The same as the G1 Climax, it’s a long round robin tournament from April 6 – May 5.