August 5th, 17:00 from Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, Osaka
B Block kickoff the penultimate weekend of the tournament, with Okada hoping to maintain his block lead by beating EVIL and Omega hoping to vanquish Juice to continue his chase. Let’s get to it.
The story so far…
Here’s we go…
- Chase Owens defeated Katsuya Kitamura
- Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & El Desperado defeated Tetsuhiro Yagi, Syota Umino & Yuji Nagata
- Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi defeated Tomoyuki Oka & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI defeated Hirai Kawato, Tiger Mask IV & Togi Makabe
- Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto defeated David Finlay, Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi
B Block – Round Seven
Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga
Tama was in full make up, because Yano, in case you weren’t aware, is terrified of him. Tama snuck up behind Yano on the ramp then popped up from under the ring and poor Yano was beside himself. Tama taped Yano’s wrist to the guardrail, but Yano used scissors to cut himself free and get back into the ring at 19. “Break!” said Yano, and Tama mimicked him, so Yano battered him with a turnbuckle pad. He threatened to use the ring bell hammer, then as the referee took it from him, he went low on Tama and rolled him up for the three-count. Have to say, I quite enjoyed that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
We’re shown Masahiro Chono on commentary. Looks like he enjoyed Yano’s antics too.
Satoshi Kojima (w/ Hiroyoshi Tenzan) vs. SANADA
Kojima controlled the opening lock ups, then both men dodged the other’s offence for a stand off and both hit Dragon Screws. Sanada was able to apply the Paradise Lock and dropkick Kojima before getting the better of an elbow exchange, but then he hit machine gun chops in the corner, so naturally Kojima replied with the real thing and planted him with a DDT. Sanada landed his springboard dropkick then, but Kojima survived strikes to hit the Koji Cutter and a suplex for two. The elbow pad came off to signal the lariat, but Sanada ducked and landed a big suplex and the TKO for a near-fall, then he cinched in the Dragon Sleeper. Kojima’s arm dropped twice, at which point Sanada opted for the moonsault, but it missed! He landed on his feet after another attempt only to receive a lariat to the back of his head. Kojima almost got caught with another Dragon Sleeper, but was about to counter to the Emerald Flowsion! Two-count only. Lariat from Kojima – Sanada kicked out at one! Running lariat! One, two, three.
Kojima wins! Yes! His first points of the tournament. I liked the detail of Sanada choosing to try and finish with the moonsault, as he has a couple of times, but Kojima had him scouted. Good match here, particularly the hot closing stretch, though it took a few minutes for them to get into a groove. ***1/2
Michael Elgin vs. Minoru Suzuki (w/ Taichi & El Desperado)
Elgin opted to flatten Desperado first, then he elbowed Suzuki on the outside, but was caught by the rope-hung armbar coming back in. He might’ve stemmed the tide, but he got distracted by Desperado, and Suzuki took advantage by targeting Elgin’s arm, stabbing it with a chair and letting his minions do the rest. Suzuki then returned to finish the job, battering Elgin with the chair, and smashing his arm into the ringpost. Back in, a one-armed Elgin managed a powerslam and the slingshot splash, and a pair of rolling elbows earned two. Front-and-back clotheslines and more elbows connected, but Suzuki yanked him down into a Fujiwara armbar until Elgin reached the ropes, where the Suzuki-gun boys interjected once again. Suzuki rolled into the armbar, but Elgin managed to lift him and dump him to the mat, then he avoided the sleeper and hit the Falcon Arrow for two. Buckle bomb, ref bumped, and Elgin took care of Taichi and El Desperado. The attempted powerbomb was reversed to a sleeper, but Elgin nailed a spinning back chop and followed with the Elgin Bomb! One, two, three.
Good stuff, and nice to see Elgin working a different kind of match (though who knows how much of a choice he had). ***1/4
Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega
Juice scored a trio of armdrags, earning a pair of dismissive slaps from Omega, so he landed a couple of jabs and monkey flipped Omega before clotheslining him to the floor. After dropping him over the guardrail, Juice rammed Omega into the turnbuckles and scored a diving crossbody for two, but Omega turned the tide by suplexing him over the top-rope to the floor! Juice’s injured left leg was wrapped around the ringpost, and Omega applied a ringpost figure-four, then dumped him onto the timekeeper’s table with a shinbreaker! Back in, Omega continued his distinctly Canadian legwork, applying a heel hook until Juice made the ropes. A reverse DDT and chops got Juice back into it, and a full nelson slam connected for two. Omega went back to the leg to set up the Finlay Roll, but the follow-up moonsault hit the knees.
Cannonball from Juice, ‘rana from Omega, lariat from Juice! The falling powerbomb dumped Omega for a two-count, but the Pulp Friction was countered to a Snapdragon suplex. The cross-legged Ushigoroshi set up the V-Trigger, but Juice hit back with crescent kick, only to receive a jumping knee to the face soon after. Omega flipped out of a German, Juice smacked him with the haymaker, and the Pulp Friction was attempted once more. The One-Winged Angel counter didn’t work, but the reverse frankensteiner connected for a near-fall! The V-Trigger smashed Juice and Omega lifted him for the One-Winged Angel, but Juice countered to a cradle – one, two, three!
That is one hell of an upset. Wow. This was a nicely constructed match, though somewhat lacking in crowd heat for the most part. The ending, on the other hand, was a different matter – a huge reaction to the finish and the noise rumbled on for several minutes. I enjoyed the nods to Bret Hart and the overall story of the match, and feel like it could’ve been something special had it taken place in front of a more sympathetic crowd (Korakuen Hall, for instance). Still, the shock result is plenty memorable! ***3/4
Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL
They traded shoulder blocks early on, then Okada nailed a big boot, seated dropkick and neckbreaker for two, and maintained control with a straitjacket chinlock. Evil powered out and sent Okada to the floor, where he whipped him into the guardrail and engaged in chair-on-chair-on-head violence (name suggestions, please?). Back in, a surfboard curb stomp earned two and Evil applied a chinlock of his own, but the senton missed, giving Okada the opening to hit his series of back elbows, the DDT and a leaping uppercut for two. The reverse neckbreaker was countered, however, and Evil capitalised with a sidewalk slam for a two-count, but Okada scored a flapjack to put both men down.
Okada landed the reverse neckbreaker out of the corner and the diving elbow connected. Rainmaker signalled, but easily blocked, with Evil hitting the side kick, but Okada (eventually) dropkicked him down to the floor from the top-rope. Outside, Okada looked for the jumping crossbody over the guardrail, but Evil threw a chair right at his head! Ouch. He dumped a bunch of chairs on the floor out in the crowd, then planted Okada onto the pile with Darkness Falls! In a distinctly un-evil moment, Evil brought Okada back into the ring with him, then hit a fisherman buster for two. Darkness Falls – two-count only. He signalled the STO, from which Okada broke free, then attempted a super fisherman buster only to get pushed down and nailed with a shotgun dropkick! Tombstone blocked, suplex from Evil blocked, The Dropkick from Okada! Uppercuts landed, but Evil scored a counter lariat and dumped Okada with a half-and-half suplex! Lariat – one, two, no! STO countered into the Rainmaker! Okada picked him up and hit a second Rainmaker, then a definitive third was ducked and Evil floored Okada with a headbutt. STO… countered to a German suplex! Rainmaker… countered to the STO!!! One, two, three!
Holy shit! I mean, it was a possibility after Omega lost, but I didn’t actually expect it to happen. Really good match too. A couple of rough spots here and there, but it flowed well and built to an excellent finish. Great stuff. Okada’s first singles loss since August 6th 2016 – 364 days ago! ****1/4
Post-match promo from Evil(!) and we’re out.
B Block standings after Round Seven
- Okada – 12
- EVIL – 10
- Omega – 10
- SANADA – 8
- Suzuki – 8
- Elgin – 6
- Yano – 6
- Robinson – 4
- Tonga – 4
- Kojima – 2
Final thoughts: B Block returns to form in a big way! Everything
is evil was enjoyable and the booking was surprising in the best way. Kojima’s win was a great moment, while the wins snagged by Juice and Evil give us a glimpse into the future. Just a breeze of a show to watch. I’m a happy Welshman.
I’m back tomorrow. See you then.
Fourteen down, five to go.