We’re back to the world of G1 with some B Block Action!
Just regards the last review, I know some were unhappy that I didn’t include the tag matches. This was mainly down to me actually missing the first half of the show due to working on something else. I’ll be including the full show today because it’s a Saturday morning and works well for me, but going forward it’s unlikely I’ll include the tags.
The reason for that is simply in the interest of expediency. To give you an idea, last year I wrote nearly 58,000 words on just the G1 tournament alone, so you can imagine how much more it would be if I did the tag matches as well. Basically I have a full-time job and also have other writing commitments, so I just don’t have the time to do the tag matches as well most of time. Recaps of other shows might also not be up so promptly either (Mainly because I’ll be doing them when I get home from work most days as the shows happen in the morning here in the UK)
I know some won’t like this, and I get it. The tag matches are part of the overall story of the tournament and certainly aren’t throw away as some think, but unfortunately they’ve got to be a victim of time I’m afraid. It’s just one of those things. Kevin Kelley is usually pretty good at bringing up any relevant titbits from the tags anyway, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Anyway, now that’s out of the way, let’s enjoy some hot B Block action!
The event is emanating from the Ota Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan
Calling the action are Kevin Kelley and Azucarrrrr, Azuzarrrrrrrrrrrrrr, Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrocky Rrrrrrrrrromerrrrrroooooooooo
BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA Vs Yuya Uemura, Will Ospreay and Kota Ibushi
New Japan losing the rights for Ospreay’s music is kind of gutting to be honest, as it’s one of the best parts of his act. So this should be quite the opener then, although I don’t think it’s going to be much of a surprise who ends the bout looking at the lights. Ibushi and EVIL trade strikes to start, which ends with Ibushi getting a kick and a standing moonsault for two. EVIL responds by kicking Ibushi’s ankle though, which he appeared to hurt in his match with KENTA on night one, and then goes to a submission hold.
You know what would be great, if they went the whole hog and had Ibushi tap from a completely innocuous hold to really get over the injury, kind of like when they had Bryan Danielson try and submit Roderick Strong with a wrist lock when he chopped the ring post once. Anyway, LIJ work over Ibushi for a while, targeting the ankle specifically with their wrath. Ibushi finally manages to catch EVIL with a kick and then makes the hot tag to Ospreay.
Ospreay runs wild on SANADA, his opponent for tomorrow, and gets a flying forearm for two. Ospreay and SANADA do a lovely sequence that ends with SANADA dropkicking Ospreay and bringing in BUSHI, only for both of them to take a double handspring Pele kick. Uemura gets the tag next and goes for THE DREADED YOUNG LION BOSTON CRAB!!!!
However, BUSHI makes the ropes because, despite being BUSHI, he’s still old enough to survive rookie offence. LIJ triple team poor Uemura and go for the pin, but Ibushi saves at two. Uemura gets a backslide on BUSHI for two, which was actually a good near fall, but an enziguri and code breaker ends things soon after. Doing a job for BUSHI in the opener, is there a worse indignity?
Good opening tag that got over Ibushi’s injury storyline and also gave Uemura a chance to run wild a little bit before eating the inevitable pin.
Post-match, Ibushi and EVIL have a face off.
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens Vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Lance Archer
Oh man, Archer Vs Fale tomorrow is one of those matches that sounds awful but is also kind of intriguing because both men are so big. I quite like Owens actually and wish they’d do more with him in New Japan, as you’d think The Elite leaving would open up a slot for him? Kanemaru is one of those guys that I used to watch a lot of in mid 00’s NOAH and really rated, but he’s kind of a shell of his former self these days, which is a shame.
Archer and Fale look to start us out, which leads to Owens and Kanemaru trying to jump the opposing side’s big man, only to be quickly disposed of. Archer goes to THE CLAW on Fale, but Owens gets a blind tag and then tries to take the fight to Archer, which goes how you would expect. The crowd is actually quite in to Archer, which is good to see. It still baffles me how WWE could do nothing with this guy, he’s huge and can work, you’d think that’d have him set for life there?
Kanemaru comes in next and we get some nice wrestling between him and Owens, which brings Archer and Fale in to choke slam the little guys so that they can brawl outside the ring. Fale and Archer brawl into the crowd, whilst Owens and Kanemaru go at it inside as Kanemaru dropkicks Owens in the knees. Owens replies with a back elbow, but gets pounced by a returning Archer, only for Archer to get taken down by Fale.
Fale goes for The Grenade on Kanemaru, but Kanemaru spits whiskey in his face to block it and then hits a satellite DDT on Owens for two. Kanemaru goes for something off the second rope, but Owens dodges it and then drops Kanemaru with the Package Piledriver to pick up the win.
WINNERS: BAD LUCK FALE & CHASE OWENS
That was a fun tag match there and I think the big kaiju battle between Fale and Archer might be enjoyable if they just let them brawl all over the place for 5-10 minutes.
Archer and Fale do the traditional taunting to one another to hype up their match tomorrow.
Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors & KENTA Vs Ren Narita, Shota Umino & Hiroshi Tanahashi
KENTA is tagging with guys from the New Japan LA Dojo here whilst Tana is tagging with members of the Japan based Dojo. I think the story is that Katsuyori Shibata loaned these lads to KENTA so that he’d have some partners for the tag matches, which is a good way to explain why he’s tagging with people despite being unaffiliated to any of the groups currently in New Japan.
In a nice touch, the Young Lions are super in to the idea of going at it with one another, which I like. There should be a rivalry between the two Dojo’s and you could probably make a good storyline out of it, with the idea being the Japanese Young Lions look down on the LA ones for not being “real” Young Lions due to being Gaijins perhaps?
Narita and Connors go at it with some nice amateur stuff, which leads to Fredericks and Umino going next. The only thing that really ruins Fredericks as a Young Lion is that he has that big tattoo on his arm, which isn’t really something they’d let a Young Lion have in the Japanese system I think. The Japanese Young Lions work over Fredericks for a while, but he fights back with strikes.
The LA Lions then get a chance to double team Umino, which leads to KENTA coming in to dish out some punishment of his own, whilst also getting a cheap shot at Tana. Fredericks selling on the apron whilst KENTA kicks Umino is quite funny. Umino finally manages to hit KENTA with a dropkick and makes the hot tag to Tana. Tana and KENTA trade strikes, which Tana gets the better of and then heads up to the second rope for a senton for two.
KENTA fights back and goes for a kick, only to end up on the wrong end of a Dragon Screw. Tana goes to the elevated Texas Cloverleaf, but Connors comes in to break that up, only to be quickly disposed of. KENTA hits Tana with a desperation Busaiku knee and its tags for Fredericks and Narita. Narita gets the better of things and gets a nice vertical suplex for two. The crowd are super into the Lions here, and it’s great.
Narita goes to a Scorpion Deathlock, but Connors comes in for the save, only to run into an overhead belly to belly suplex from Narita. Narita is breaking out of the usual Young Lion offence here, but he runs into a Fredericks spine buster. Fredericks goes to a single leg Boston Crab and Narita is forced to tap out to give Team KENTA the win.
WINNERS: KENTA & THE LA LIONS
The Japanese Young Lions were clearly a step above the LA ones, but the LA ones worked hard and both looked like they had potential. You can see they kept the Tana and KENTA parts to a minimum as Tana is badly banged up and KENTA is traditionally a bit of sick note.
The brawl between KENTA and Tana almost rages on post-match, but they eventually get separated.
Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr Vs YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada
Sadly Suzuki-gun don’t come out to Kaze Ne Nare and instead come out to a more generic theme song. Zack and Okada go at it, seeing as they have a match tomorrow, with Zack doing his usual fine technical wrestling display. Okada replies with a running dropkick to seated Zack and then brings in YOSHI. Zack tags out to Suzuki, who then goes on to trade strikes with YOSHI. Suzuki no sells some YOSHI chops and then drags him outside the ring, where he flings him into the guardrails and then adds some chair shots for some added nastiness. Meanwhile, Zack and Okada have fought outside too, with Zack locking in an Octopus hold.
Suzuki viciously annihilating someone like that really is fantastic, he’s just ferocious. So unsurprisingly it’s now heat on YOSHI, with them targeting his taped up shoulder and arm mostly. YOSHI fires up after a Suzuki PK however and throws some forearms, but instead of doing something sensible like making a tag, he waits for Suzuki to recover and hit him some more. Finally he does decide to tag out, which brings Okada in for a DDT on Zack for two.
Okada goes for a neck breaker next but Zack somehow turns it into a wacky submission hold, before transitioning to the Octopus Hold. YOSHI finally manages to make the save, but is promptly dragged outside by Suzuki again. Okada and Zack trade counters, which ends with Okada getting a lovely dropkick before tagging in YOSHI. YOSHI gets a nice brain buster and then brings Okada in for a double team. Headhunter from the top rope gets two for YOSHI.
YOSHI gets a big lariat, but Suzuki breaks up the pin at two before getting dragged outside again. Zack wraps himself around YOSHI like an anaconda and goes to a cross arm breaker, which leads to an almost immediate submission from YOSHI to give Suzuki-gun the win.
Decent tag match that advanced the story and featured some solid work. Not much else to add really.
Post-match Zack tells Kelley that it’s going to be “pissing down submissions tomorrow mate”
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Round 1
Shingo Takagi Vs Juice Robinson
Juice Robinsons music really has grown on me over the years. It sounds like something you’d hear on a fighting stage in a game like Tekken. Shingo won’t be moved in the early stages, so both men trade strikes instead. Juice eventually puts Shingo down with a kick, which causes Shingo to roll outside for a breather. Juice ties to follow outside, but that turns out to be a mistake as Shingo drops him with a DDT out there.
Shingo rolls Juice back inside, where he mows him down with a big shoulder tackle. Shingo really is an absolute Panzer Tank of a wrestler, he’s fantastic. Juice fights out of a chin lock and then both men throw chops at each other, which ends with Shingo putting Juice down with a double chop and then clotheslining him over the top. Shingo preps for a dive, but Juice it’s the Johnny Gargano spear back into the ring from the apron to stop that.
Juice gets a nice spine buster and then heads up to the top rope for a cross body for two. What I love about that was that Shingo leapt up to catch him, which is something Joey Hayes does as well and it always makes the move look that much better. Both men dodge big strikes from the other, which ends with Juice getting a big Full Nelson Slam for two. Juice unloads with some jabs on Shingo, but takes too long throwing the left handed punch and gets lariated down by Shingo.
Shingo and Juice both clothesline the other in the corner, which Juice getting his last and going for the cannonball, only for Shingo to move out of the way. Shingo goes for a move, but Juice slips out and hits him with the Juice Box before successfully pulling off the cannonball this time. Juice sets Shingo up on the top rope and brings him down with a superplex, only to hold on and hit a Jackhammer for two. That was one heck of a combination from Juice!
Juice preps for the Pulp Friction, but Shingo slips out and hits the Sliding D for a double down. Sweat flies as both men double clothesline each other and Shingo hits a Saito Suplex, only to get lariated down by Juice. Juice goes for Pulp Friction again, but Shingo counters it to the Gory Bomb and then cleans Juice’s clock with a lariat for two. What a great near fall that was! Shingo throws some more lariats but gets school boy’d for two. Juice throws two big lefts and finally gets the Pulp Fiction for the win.
WINNER: JUICE ROBINSON (2 PTS)
What a fantastic start to B Block! What I loved about that match above all else was just how great Shingo’s selling was. Even little things like his facial expressions when Juice would get out of one of his holds were just great and the big selling was on point as well. Juice did a good job on that front as well and the match just kept building and building throughout. Great stuff and well worth a watch all by its self.
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Round 1
Taichi w/ Miho Abe Vs IWGP United States Champion Jon Moxley
This is going to be an interesting dynamic between these two. If this was later in the tournament I might say they could do the upset here and have Taichi win as a way to set up a challenger to Moxley, but I think they probably won’t want to start Moxley off with a loss here so it’s likely he’ll get the win.
Taichi jumps Moxley during his entrance and the fight is already on in the crowd. Taichi actually steals a fans pink umbrella to hit Moxley with in a funny moment, and Moxley actually sells it too! Moxley fights back however and stomps a mud hole on Taichi at ringside, only to get thrown into the ring post. Taichi hits Moxley in the back with a chair and then adds a lariat outside as well.
Taichi looks like he’s going to happily take the count out, but Moxley manages to make it back in at 19, only to walk right into a Buzz Saw Kick for two. Taichi continues to work over Moxley but he fights back with a lariat. Moxley sends Taichi outside, where he follows with a suicide dive and then pulls out a table. Moxley goes for a DVD through the table, but Taichi slips out and goes for a Last Ride through it. Moxley is able to block in though and then gets a uranage slam through the table.
Back inside, Moxley tries for the Dirty Deeds, but Taichi slips out and then shoves Moxley into the ref to bump him and hits an enziguri for the double down. Miho throws in a chair for her man, but Moxley grabs hold of it and flings it at Taichi before going for the Death Rider, but Taichi slips out and gets the Gedo Clutch for two. Death Rider hits on second attempt however and that’s enough for Moxley to pick up the win.
WINNER: JON MOXLEY (2 PTS)
Good wild brawl there. I thought it was too soon to have Moxley lose and was proven right. He will lose eventually though I think to set up some challengers for his Title, with most likely Juice getting his win back when they cross paths and maybe a couple of others will beat him as well.
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Round 1
IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito Vs Toru Yano
Kelley says on commentary that Naito apparently did an interview saying that Yano shouldn’t even be in the tournament, which might possibly suggest an upset of some kind here but I personally don’t think they will have Naito lose to Yano. Still, stranger things have happened as Yano has beaten Suzuki and Kenny Omega in past G1 tournaments.
Yano takes umbrage with Naito’s stalling at the beginning of the bout, and then decides to wear a T-Shirt to offset Naito’s one, which actually causes Naito to chuckle. Yano then gets angry that Naito won’t look at him, so he goes for the turnbuckle pad right way, which finally makes Naito take notice. Yano succeeds in getting one off, but not the second one, so Naito goes for it instead and then mocks Yano’s grabbing of the ropes.
In a wacky spot, Naito spits in Yano’s face and, whilst Yano is getting the spit out of his eyes with his shirt, Naito rolls him up for two. Naito preps to hit Yano with the turnbuckle pad, but the ref stops him and this allows Yano to get a school boy for two. Yano pulls the refs shirt over his head and then low blows Naito and gets a roll up for the win!
WINNER: TORU YANO (2 PTS)
As a match it was nothing, but as a display of comedy spots it was pretty funny at least, so I guess it achieved its purpose. We’ll probably get a rematch down the line for the Title now. If they do the whole redemption arc with Naito where he starts slow but then finds his feet as the tournament rolls on then they might have something.
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Round 1
Jeff Cobb Vs Tomohiro Ishii
Ishii usually has a few fantastic matches every year in G1 and Cobb impressed me during his time in Lucha Underground as Monster Matanza, so this has potential to be an absolute cracker. Both men do the no sell shoulder block routine, but Ishii does the old Bulldog Vs Warlord technique of hitting numerous quick shoulder blocks to stagger Cobb, but Cobb is able to cut him off before he goes down.
Cobb throws forearms in the corner, but Ishii shakes them off and hammers away on Cobb in there instead, which eventually causes Cobb to sink. Both men trade strikes, with Ishii getting the better of things with some brutal chops. Cobb fights back with forearms but has no answer for some Ishii head butts. Cobb manages to block an Irish Whip and then hits a big overhead belly to belly suplex. Goodness gracious me!
Ishii keeps coming however, so Cobb has to hit a big swinging back suplex for two. We get a long forearm exchange from both men, with neither giving ground to the other until Cobb eventually begins to fade, so he hits a short right hand instead to buy himself some time. Ishii still keeps coming however and mows Cobb down with a shoulder block before hitting a big vertical suplex. Cobb powers out of the pin attempt though and ends up hitting a vertical suplex of his own followed by a standing moonsault for two.
Cobb is scary athletic for a guy his size. Cobb hammers away on Ishii with forearms, but Ishii goes all Grey Fox and starts head butting the mat to amp himself up and then starts tearing in to Cobb with strikes of his own. Ishii sets Cobb up on the top rope and brings him down with a superplex. I’m not sure Cobb went over exactly how he would have liked there but Ishii took care of his neck and head at least.
Not to be outdone, Cobb shakes the superplex off and then hits a stalling version of his own for two. Cobb tries for a German Suplex, but Ishii fights him off so he plants him with a vicious head butt instead. Cobb drops Ishii with a terrifying looking, but seemingly safe, piledriver for two. Ishii replies with a back suplex and we have a double down. Ishii gets a powerslam on Cobb and then adds a release German Suplex, but Cobb no sells that and pops up with a T-Bone. Ishii no sells THAT however and then smacks Cobb with a lariat for another double down.
Ishii tries the sliding lariat but Cobb catches him, only for Ishii to instead hit him with a release Dragon Suplex and a big lariat for one. Yes, you read that right, one. One! Cobb is back up and gets a German Suplex with a bridge, but Ishii is able to kick out at two. Cobb goes for the Tour of the Islands, but his back seems to give out and that allows Ishii to get out of the move and then deliver the sliding lariat for two. Ishii goes for the brain buster but Cobb fights it off. Ishii head butts him however and manages to get it on the second try for the win.
WINNER: TOMOHIRO ISHII (2 PTS)
Big manly men beating the excrement out of one another and it was really good stuff. It didn’t quite have the drama of the Shingo/Juice match for me though due to all the no selling, but it was still a good display of strong style and power wrestling.
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Round 1
“Switchblade” Jay White w/ Gedo Vs Hirooki Goto
I’m a big fan of White’s heel act and I like Goto a lot as a work, so this could have potential to be a pretty great main event. My money would be on White just because we’ve had our big upset tonight I think, but you never know in G1 I guess.
White engages in his usual heel shenanigans to start, stalling to wind Goto up, which earns him dome forearms strikes when they finally lock up. White bails again, so Goto follows him and sends him into the railing before throwing him back in, only to clothesline him out again. Gedo eventually provides a distraction, which allows White to cut Goto off with a suplex onto the apron.
White then does my favourite heel heat spot in wrestling, by flinging Goto into the ring apron and guardrails over and over again. It’s so simple but so great as well, as it’s such a snide thing to do and suits White’s jerky character perfectly. Back inside, White hits a neck breaker and goes to a pin for two. White goes to a cravat back inside whilst talking trash as Goto tries to fight out of it.
White continues to work over Goto, treating him with utter disdain and disrespect, but Goto is eventually able to get a clothesline for a double down. White slips out of an Ushigoroshi, but Goto is able to get a big kick and then a Saito Suplex for two. Goto keeps bringing the pain but White catches him with a DDT out of nowhere to bring an end to his rally.
White gets two rolling half hatch suplexes, but Goto manages to fight off the third one for a bit before finally getting suplexed into the corner. Nice spinning suplex (I think called The Blade Buster) gets two for White and he tries to follow up with a suplex. Goto fights that off though and then gets a modified neck breaker for another double down.
Both men trade strikes, with White actually holding his own somewhat, but Goto is able to block an attempted Complete Shot attempt, but after a series of blocks and counters White is able to deliver a Saito Suplex. White adds a clothesline next, but he spends too much time being self-satisfied with himself, which allows Goto some time to recover.
White gets cocky and slaps away at Goto and then counters Goto’s clothesline attempt with the Muso but neglects not to cover properly. White continues to play around with Goto, playing with his face and just generally being an absolute twerp. It’s fantastic heel antics and hopefully leads to Goto putting him in his place. Indeed, just as I type that, White shoves down the ref and yells at him, which allows Goto to knock him down with a clothesline.
Ushigoroshi pops the crowd, but White plays possum so that Goto can’t kick him in the head. White goes for the Blade Runner, but Goto blocks that and floors White with a head butt and then a reverse GTR for a two count. Goto goes for the normal GTR, but White fights it off. Both men counter the others big moves, with Goto even pulling White’s hair to block the Blade Runner.
This brings Gedo in for the distraction with brass knux, but he gets out before doing anything. The distraction seems to allow White to get the Blade Runner, but Goto slips out and hits the Shouten-Kai for two. Ushigoroshi gets another two and the dangerous kick finally makes contact leading to the GTR for the win.
WINNER: HIROOKI GOTO (2 PTS)
I really enjoyed that. It was a perfect example of how wrestling is the ultimate morality play, with the vile villain getting too cocky and it costing him eventually against the heroic opponent. Just brilliant stuff, and I liked how Goto didn’t sink to White’s level to win either. He could have perhaps been justified after being disrespected in such a manner, but he stuck to his game plan and won it the right way like the good babyface he is. Now THAT’S storytelling
Goto gives the post-match speech, saying the G in G1 stands for “Goto” and we’re out
So as B Block currently stands, we have Juice Robinson, Jon Moxley, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii and Hirooki Goto all on 2 points, whilst Shingo Takagi, Taichi, Tetsuya Naito, Jeff Cobb and Jay White all have zero.
A very easy watch, as New Japan usually is. Juice Vs Shingo is the match to seek out from this one, but the other tournament matches were all good in their own ways, with even the Yano match at least bringing something interesting to the table story wise
Not sure when Sunday’s show will be up as I have to go and see my friends new baby in the morning (I say it like it’s a penance, when it really isn’t) and then I’m going to see Futureshock Wrestling in Stockport in the evening so I might not be able to get it posted till late on Sunday or might end up posting both the Sunday and Monday shows on Monday evening.
Anyway, take care and have a good weekend!