You lucky so and so’s get a two for one this time out as I was in London yesterday to watch Everton play out a bleh 0-0 with Crystal Palace, of which the only “highlight” was Morgan Schneiderlin getting sent off like an absolute plum. Oh well, a point Away on the first day of the season isn’t too bad I suppose.
Anyway, enough of that, we’ve got a lot to the get through so let’s waste no more time!
The following matches took place from the Nippon Budokan on the 10th and 11th of August respectively
Calling the Action are Kevin, Rocky and Chris, and together they are the New Japan Commentary Squad!
G1 CLIMAX A BLOCK – Final Round
Lance Archer (4 pts) Vs EVIL (8 pts)
I’m going to plump for Archer in this one, just because if he finishes on 4 points then he’ll be the only guy who doesn’t make it to at least 6 points, and I can’t really see that happening. EVIL is out of the running anyway, so him losing here won’t do any harm.
Both men charge into each other first before trading strikes in the middle of the ring, which doesn’t strike me as the best strategy for EVIL considering the size difference, but I guess that’s why I’m typing and he’s a former Champion. Archer takes EVIL down with a Black Hole Slam (Spinning Side Walk Slam) and then takes the fight outside, where he moonsaults off the apron on EVIL and a flange of Young Lions. Archer actually hits referee Asami with a turnbuckle pad, but he calmly just takes the pad off him and the match continues.
Back inside, Archer first whips EVIL into the unprotected buckle and then follows up with a suplex into it for good measure. Archer continues to work EVIL over, and actually tries a rolling senton into the ring from the second rope, but EVIL moves out of the way. This gives EVIL a chance to fight back and he gets a clothesline in the corner before following with a running front senton in the corner for one. EVIL tries to suplex Archer, but he blocks it by being big and then takes EVIL down with a big lariat.
Archer heads up top, but EVIL cuts him off and the two fight up there. EVIL brings Archer down from the top with a superplex, but it only gets him a two count from the referee. EVIL tries a clothesline next, but Archer doesn’t go down. The referee takes a spill when EVIL catches an Archer kick and swings the leg at the ref, which allows Archer to get DA POUNCE (Period). With the ref down, Archer sets a chair up between the top and middle ropes, but EVIL sends up sending him into it instead and follows with a big lariat.
EVIL uses the ropes to get a one man Magic Killer (Rolling neck breaker) for two and goes for Everything Is EVIL (S.T.O). Archer counters that with a choke slam however, which gets him two, and then follows that up with an F5. Archer motions for THE CLAW, but EVIL counters it with a head butt, only to end up in it again when he tries for Everything Is EVIL, and that’s enough for Archer to pick up the win.
WINNER: LANCE ARCHER
FINAL TALLY: EVIL (8), Lance Archer (6)
Energetic collision there. Archer needs to be pulled off EVIL by the conclusion and then attacks a Young Lion with THE CLAW as well for added measure.
G1 CLIMAX A BLOCK – FINAL ROUND
Bad Luck Fale (6 pts) w/ Jado and Chase Owens Vs SANADA (8 pts)
SANADA has a chance to get to double figures here, which should strengthen his claim to a Title shot at IWGP Champ Kazuchika Okada, who he defeated earlier in the tournament. Fale won his last two matches with roll ups, which apparently has him now proclaiming his technical wrestling proficiency. I can kind of see SANADA winning here; just because that will mean more than one person will end on 6 points and it’ll be a good strong win to establish his Title credentials.
Chase Owens causes a distraction right from the off, which allows Fale to attack SANADA. SANADA fights back, only for Jado to clock him with a shot from a Singapore cane whilst Fale takes the ref. Fale takes the fight outside, where he chokes SANADA with a microphone cable. Fale continues to work SANADA over back inside the ring, and then gets in an argument with the referee which allows Owens to get some more cheap shots in. SANADA tries to respond with a slam to Fale, but Fale easily fends that off and goes to my least favourite rest hold in the nerve pinch, which at least makes sense here as SANADA has had an issue with Stingers in the past.
SANADA keeps going for the slam, but when he tries it a third time Fale falls on top of him for two. Archer continues to work over SANADA by dropping a series of elbows, but SANADA keeps kicking out and manages to stay in the game. SANADA eventually dodges an elbow drop and then gets a pair of dropkicks before clotheslining Fake to the outside. SANADA follows with dives to Fale and Jado before dropkicking Owens and diving onto him as well. That’s very cunning on everyone’s part there, as they essentially had Owens do all the running spots for Fale because it isn’t Fale’s forte, but they still gave the fans the leap frog dropkick spot, which is something cool that they enjoy. Clever stuff there. SANADA puts Fale back inside and goes for a TKO (Fireman’s carry into a cutter) but he can’t hold Fale up and this allows Fale to deliver a big splash for two.
Fale goes for The Grenade(Choke slam into a punch) and gets it, but SANADA is able to kick out at two. SANADA slips out of The Bad Luck Fall (Crucifix Last Ride Powerbomb) and finally manages to get the body slam on Fale. Hey, set up, struggle and pay off, I love it! SANADA actually manages to get the TKO next as well, but Fale is able to kick out. Sod it, I would have made that the finish to be honest. SANADA goes to Skull End (Dragon Sleeper) and actually manages to get the hooks in, but Owens pulls the referee out so he can’t see Fale tapping. This brings Jado in, but SANADA fights him off and puts him in The Paradise Lock. Owens gets put in it as well, and that leaves Fale all by his own, which allows SANADA to get a springboard missile dropkick. Fale dodges the moonsault however and then counters Skull End into an inside cradle to pick up another win via roll up!
WINNER: BAD LUCK FALE
FINAL TALLY: Bad Luck Fale (8), SANADA (8)
Ha ha, I’m loving technical wrestler extraordinaire Bad Luck Fale! In a funny spot, Jado and Fale forget to roll Owens out of the Paradise Lock at first and they have to go back for him. This was a super enjoyable bit of shenanigans combined with some good babyface wrestling from SANADA.
G1 CLIMAX A BLOCK – Final Round
Zack Sabre Jr (6 pts) Vs KENTA (8 pts)
This is KENTA’s first singles match in the Budokan since 2010 when he was still with NOAH. NOAH used to get very healthy crowds at the Budokan during Kenta Kobashi’s epic two year GHC Title reign between 2003 to 2005, and KENTA really came into prominence during that period. It must feel strange for him to be here working for New Japan in the G1 after all the times he worked under the NOAH banner. Zack apparently used to train with/get tortured by KENTA in the NOAH Dojo, so there’s a bit of history there.
Both men grapple to start, with Zack giving KENTA mocking clean break, so KENTA swings for him with a kick when the roles are reversed, but Zack just manages to duck it. KENTA no sells some uppercuts from Zack and then goes to work with strikes of his own. Zack keeps trying to fight back with strikes of his own, but KENTA is having none of it and keeps brutalising him with strikes of his own. Use your wrestling Zack, you’re not going to outgun KENTA in the striking department, put him in wacky holds and turn him into a human pretzel.
Zack is eventually able to take KENTA down and stomps on his arm before tying up KENTA’s legs and going to a double wristlock. KENTA manages to get his legs free however and knees his way out like an MMA fighter, but Zack grabs hold of him again and goes back into human octopus mode. Zack stupidly allows KENTA back up again however, but is this time smart enough to snapmare KENTA back down and twist his neck with his ankles rather than actually try to out strike him again. KENTA responds with a powerslam however and then DDT’s Zack over the top rope before following with a clothesline from the top for two.
KENTA unloads with some vicious slaps in the corner and gets a big boot before following with a dropkick. These lads must be mates in real life because KENTA is just KILLING Zack with these strikes, which is usually a sign of friendship in wrestling because you know your friends will forgive you if you hit them hard so you always work a bit snugger as a result (Either that or KENTA absolutely despises him, it can go either way). Zack dodges a double stomp from the top rope and gets a nice Northern Lights Suplex before floating over to a double wristlock and transitioning to an attempted arm bar. KENTA is able to roll to the ropes to break the hold, so Zack tries to go back to it. KENTA fights Zack off however and gets a spinning back fist before crumpling to the floor holding his left arm.
Both men fight up from their knees, and Zack targets the leg with kicks, but KENTA catches a PK and knocks Zack down with a clothesline before squishing him with a top rope double stomp for two. KENTA calls for Go To Sleep (Fireman’s carry into a knee strike) but Zack attacks the arm to counter that and then delivers a PK for one. KENTA throws yet more slaps and tries a big kick, but Zack counters that into a European Clutch for two. Zack goes for the Umaplata, but KENTA slips out of that and tries Game Over (LaBelle Lock). KENTA eventually gets it hooked in, but Zack is able to drag himself to the ropes to break the hold. KENTA gets a Busaiku Knee (running front knee strike) for two and then goes for the Go To Sleep, but Zack counters it into a triangle choke. Zack transitions into the Umaplata and adds some stomps for good measure, which I think causes the referee to stop it, although KENTA may have submitted. Either way, Zack wins.
WINNER: ZACK SABRE JR
FINAL TALLY: KENTA (8), Zack Sabre Jr (8)
It only seems right that KENTA ends his G1 with another ***ish match, as that has been most of his output by my scorecard this year. He has been solid from start to finish and didn’t look out of place, but it’s obvious that all the years of wear and tear have left him a step behind the very top guys in New Japan. There’s no shame in that though, as his performances have still been good and he has continually exuded a feeling of legitimacy that many other wrestlers lack. Zack has had a bit of a quiet G1 when it comes to narrative purposes, although I loved his matches with Tanahashi, EVIL and Will Ospreay. Considering he played a big part in the narrative last year by being the spoiler to Tetsuya Naito, he was kind of just there this time out when it came to the overall story, which was a tad disappointing. He still delivered his usual excellent technical performances though and I personally got a big kick out of his match with Bad Luck Fale at Korakuen Hall, so it wasn’t a complete washout.
G1 CLIMAX A BLOCK – Final Round
Will Ospreay (6 pts) Vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (8 pts)
Ospreay has gone on the record that this is a dream match for him, as it would likely be for most younger wrestlers in New Japan I think. Both men are out of the running for the Block, but you can tell the crowd are up for this. I think Tana will win here, but an Ospreay win wouldn’t completely shock me.
Ospreay drives Tana into the ropes from a lock up the early stages, but gives a clean break when they get there. Ospreay asks for a test of strength next, which you think would favour the bigger Tanahashi, and indeed The Ace powers him down at first. Ospreay forces his way back up and the two men trade wrist locks. We get some chain wrestling next, which establishes Tana as the wiley veteran and Ospreay as the fiery youth looking to show he can hang with him. Tana eventually targets the legs, snapping off a Dragon Screw in the ropes, and the crowd appears to be split.
Tana continues to go the legs, getting a fantastic looking inverted Indian Deathlock, but Ospreay is able to make the ropes. Tana allows Ospreay back up for a trading of strikes, but then goes back to the legs with a kick. Ospreay fights back with a handspring Pele kick and both men are down. Gets a running forearm when both men get back up and then tries a springboard move but Tana stops that, only to get low bridged outside. Ospreay follows with the Space Flying Tiger Drop and then puts Tana back inside for a standing Shooting Star Press, which gets two. Ospreay gets the 619 and tries a springboard forearm, but Tana dodges that and then goes back to the leg with a low dropkick.
Tana tries to put Ospreay into the Texas Cloverleaf, but Ospreay fights him off and goes to an enziguri. Tana holds on to his other leg though and delivers another Dragon Screw before finally applying the Cloverleaf. Tana really cinches the move in and Referee Uno almost stops the bout, but Ospreay is eventually able to drag himself to the ropes to break. Tana goes for the Slingblade next, but Ospreay counters it into a roll up for two and then gets The Robinson Special (Spinning wheel kick to a downed opponent). Ospreay goes for the Os Cutter (Springboard Diamond Cutter) but Tana counters that into a modified Slingblade for two and then delivers a German Suplex for another two.
Tana tries Slingblade again, but Ospreay counters it into a Spanish Fly for two and then heads up top with a Shooting Star Press for another two. Os Cutter follows next, but Tanahashi is once again able to kick out, as Ospreay is just throwing everything at The Ace here but just can’t keep his shoulders to the mat for three. Ospreay goes for the Storm Breaker (Double Underhook Canadian Backbreaker Rack transitioned into a modified Corkscrew Neckbreaker) but Tana counters it into a Slingblade mid-move and both men are down again. Tana is up first and gets a proper Slingblade this time for two and then heads up top with a cross body block. Ospreay rolls through for two however and then kicks Tana in the face before knocking him down with a back elbow smash. Storm Breaker follows and that’s enough for Ospreay to pick up was has to be partly considered an upset win!
WINNER: WILL OSPREAY
FINALLY TALLY: Will Ospreay (8), Hiroshi Tanahashi (8)
This was a fantastic effort from both men and made Ospreay look like a big star. You do wonder where such a result leaves Tanahashi, but there’s no denying that Ospreay is on his way to the top provided he can stay healthy. This was a good clash of the classic style of Tanahashi and Ospreay’s modern style, and styles make fights as they always say!
G1 CLIMAX A BLOCK – Final Round
Kota Ibushi (12 pts) Vs Kazuchika Okada (14 pts)
If Ibushi wins here then he will progress to the G1 Final as he will be level on points with Okada and will hold a tiebreaker. Any other result will see Okada progress though, so he certainly holds the advantage in this scenario. Regardless of the result, one of these men will be guaranteed to make the G1 Final on the 12th of August in this same venue.
After some chain wrestling, Okada gives a mocking clean break and demands some strikes from Ibushi, to which Ibushi complies. Ibushi gets a big dropkick on Okada, but Okada replies by putting Ibushi on the top rope and then dropkicking him to the floor. Okada gets a DDT on the floor out there, but then stops Referee Uno from counting so that Ibushi can pull himself back into the ring. Okada works Ibushi over back inside, as Ibushi tries to fend him off to no avail. Eventually Ibushi fights his way out of a chin lock and manages to snap off a rana for a double down. Ibushi recovers first and takes Okada down with a kick combo before delivering a standing moonsault for two. Okada rolls outside the ring, but Ibushi won’t allow him to rest and follows him out with a dive before putting Okada back in the ring. Okada replies with a running back elbow back inside the ring however and then spikes Ibushi with another DDT, which gets him a two count from the referee. Okada slams Ibushi down and heads up top, but Ibushi dodges whatever attack he has planned and gets a running high kick to put both men down again.
Both men get to their feet and trade forearms, which is a battle Okada appears to win, but Ibushi quick replies with a powerslam and then heads to the second rope for a moonsault, only to find Okada’s knees waiting for him when he lands. Okada delivers a flapjack, but Ibushi is able to kick out. Okada slams Ibushi down again and heads up top, only for Ibushi to stop him once again. Ibushi underhooks Okada’s arms, but Okada fights him off before he can do whatever he has planned and knocks him down to the apron. Ibushi just keeps coming though and then springboards back in to the ring to rana Okada from the tope for two. We get a replay of that and then come back with Ibushi getting a sit out powerbomb for two.
Ibushi goes for the Kamigoye (Knee strike to the face whilst holding both wrists of the opponent) but Okada fights that off and gets a German Suplex. Okada holds on and tries for The Rainmaker (Spinout Clothesline) but Ibushi ducks that, only to run into a waiting Okada dropkick. Okada goes for a Tombstone Piledriver next, but Ibushi fights it off and ends up getting his own modidfied one. Ibushi can’t immediately make use of the Tombstone due to being so hurt, and this allows Okada to recover somewhat and leads to both men fighting up from their knees with forearm strikes.
We get the 20 minutes gone announcement, meaning Ibushi needs to get it done in the next 10 or Okada is going to the Final. Okada gets a front dropkick, but Ibushi shrugs that off and takes Okada down with a lariat, as the crowd seem to be mostly behind him here. Ibushi tries to lawndart Okada into the turnbuckle, but Okada slips out and delivers The Rainmaker. He keeps hold of Ibushi’s wrist though and, after slapping himself a bit, delivers yet another Rainmaker. A third one looks to be incoming, but Ibushi ducks it and gets a straightjacket suplex before going for the Kamigoye. Okada fights that off however and goes for another dropkick, but Ibushi sees it coming and counters into a powerbomb for two. That was frigging awesome!
Bom-Ba-Ye Knee (Shinsuke Nakamura’s running knee attack) looks to be incoming from Ibushi, but Okada fires off a dropkick out of nowhere in an excellent spot, and the crowd is losing it’s mind. Okada goes for another Rainmaker, but Ibushi ducks it and gets a kick before going to the Kamigoye, but Okada evades it once again. Okada sits down on a sunset flip for two and ducks a kick, but Ibushi gets a jumping knee and follows up with the Kamigoye for two. Ibushi won’t be denied though and delivers it again to picks up the win.
WINNER: KOTA IBUSHI (A BLOCK WINNER!)
FINALY TALLY: Kota Ibushi (14), Kazuchika Okada (14)
This was a fantastic main event and if we get it again at the Tokyo Dome in January then I don’t think we’ll be too disappointed in all honesty. Okada is just masterful and looks constantly in control at all times, whilst Ibushi is such a fantastic seller and can get across so many emotions with his fantastically expressive face. Add this to the ever growing list of matches from this year’s G1 that you need to watch.
Well that’s A Block sorted out, let’s see how B Block ended!
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Final Round
Jeff Cobb (6 pts) Vs Toru Yano (8 pts)
Yano could actually hit double figures here, which would be kind of amazing and I’d really like it to happen. Both these men have an amateur wrestling background, so I wonder if we’ll see any of that here? Probably not, but it’s nice to dream isn’t it? Yano actually has many rolls of tape in his tights before the match starts and the refree demands he remove them.
Yano complies, but then demands that the referee checks Cobb, which allows him to steal a roll up for two. Next up, Yano pulls down Cobb’s singlet so that it traps his arms and gets another roll up for two. Cobb eventually untangles his arms, at which point Yano wants a handshake. Cobb obliges and crushes Yano’s hand, so Yano bails outside and demands that Cobb follow him, but Cobb isn’t playing along. Yano goes to undo a turnbuckle pad instead, but Cobb stops that, so he runs over to the other side of the ring and undoes that one as well.
Both men take turns avoiding going into the unprotected buckle, but Yano eventually goes into it and Cobb snaps off an overhead belly to belly suplex. Yano replies with one of his own however, but stops to taunt and then slaps Cobb in the back of the head when he tries to interuppt him, so Cobb takes him down with a clothesline and then delivers a standing moonsault for two. Yano tries to low blow Cobb but gets foiled thrice and takes a thrust kick to the head. Tour of the Islands (Spinning Powerslam) ends it straight after.
WINNER: JEFF COBB
FINAL TALLY: Jeff Cobb (8), Toru Yano (8)
Bit of a non-event really, as Yano didn’t really even get to do many shenanigans and Cobb was never really in any genuine jeopardy.
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Final Round
TAICHI (6 pts) w/ Mioh Abe and Yoshinobu Kanemaru Vs Tomohiro Ishii (8 pts)
These two have a history as both came into New Japan at roughly the same time and Ishii is the more respected of the two. They also met back in June for the NEVER Openweight Title, in a match that Ishii won, so Taichi is looking for revenge here and a win could possibly get him another shot at the title.
Taichi comes right out of the gate with a clothesline and back suplex for two. Taichi keeps taking the fight to Ishii, as he sees a lot more focused here than his usual self. Taichi makes the mistake of letting Ishii get back up however and that allows Ishhi to deliver a desperation powerslam to buy himself some time to recover. Taichi dodges a charge in the corner however and gets a big enziguri. Ishii finally manages to block a Taichi kick and then splats with him with a big release German Suplex. Both men trade strikes next, as Taichi throws leg kicks whilst Ishii throws chops. ishii follows up with a clothesline in the corner and then sets Taichi up on the top rope for a stalling superplex. That looked fantastic, but it only gets two from the referee.
Seriously, wrestlers need to start protecting the superplex more, it could be a legit finishing move if it was protected more. It’s high impact, looks great and is relatively safe as well provided it’s done properly. Ishii keeps coming with a sliding lariat, but Taichi is able to kick out at two. Ishii goes for a brain buster, but Taichi slips out of it and gets an enziguri to the back of the head for a double down. Taichi recovers first and gets a buzzsaw kick before following with a clothesline for two. Last Ride looks to come next, but Ishii back drops out of that, so Taichi hits him with a clothesline and another enziguri before finally getting the Last Ride for two.
Taichi decides now would be a good time to whip off his pleather pants and goes for Black Mephisto (Air Raid Crash) but Ishii blocks that and then both men throw stiff strikes until Ishii takes Taichi down with a head butt. Big lariat follows next, but Taichi somehow manages to kick out. The crowd really seems to be behind Taichi, as Ishii tries the brain buster. Taichi slips out and gets a trio of kicks before delivering a back suplex. Ishii pulls himself up to his feet and no sells an enziguri, only for Taichi to deliver another back suplex for two. Taichi throws a thrust kick, but Ishii blocks it and gets an enziguri of his own, but Taichi no sells that and gets a thrust kick followed by Black Mephisto for the win.
FINAL TALLY: Taichi (8), Tomohiro Ishii (8)
That was a wild match thanks mostly to the incredible crowd reaction to Taichi. Interestingly he didn’t really cheat at all in that one (unless you count the jump start as cheating) so that probably played a part in the crowd reaction. Mioh Abe gets a celebratory hug and kiss post-match and is seemingly moved to tears as a result, which is a good bit of character work on her part as the besotted valet.
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Final Round
Jon Moxley (10 pts) w/ Shota Umino Vs Juice Robinson (6 pts)
Hey, Umino got his own jacket! Ever since the draw was made I had this pegged as a Juice win to get him back in the Title picture for Mox’s United States Title, but the fact Moxley can win here and still not win the Block if Jay White and Hirooki Goto both win makes me think that they could have Moxley win so that he doesn’t end up with only 10 points. But hey, if this stuff was always 100% predictable then where would the fun be. Either result here is possible and either result would make sense from a story perspective, which is what you ultimately want from a big match like this. Juice losing again and having to go back to the drawing board so he can get his belt back later on could certainly work as a narrative.
Moxley offers a free shot right from the start and both men trade strikes, with both no selling clotheslines in the corner. Juice slips out of a suplex attempt but he jars his leg when he lands as he injured it in his last bout with Jay White. Moxley smartly targets the leg, showing he knows what he’s doing from a wrestling perspective as well as a brawling one. Moxley works an Indian Deathlock but Juice is able to make it to the ropes. Moxley goes to the old classic of the Figure Four Leg Lock next, but Juice again refuses to tap and then rolls the hold over. Moxley makes it to the ropes to break and has a bit of a limp himself. Juice goes for the Juice Box (Fireman’s carry into a gut buster) but Moxley blocks it and counters to a Texas Cloverleaf.
Juice counters by rolling over and biting Moxley’s ear, which is payback for Moxley biting his face back in their first match. Juice actually bites out Moxley’s ear ring in a gross out spot and then they mess up a flapjack a bit as Moxley lands on his head. Juice gets a cannonball in the corner and then heads up top where he goes for a cross body block, but Moxley rolls through and goes for the spinning toe hold. Juice kicks Moxley off and sends him outside, but when he tries to follow him out Moxley chop blocks him and goes for a table under the ring. Juice stops that with a dive and then sends Moxley into the railings. Juice actually puts the table away, which would get him booed in America but the Japanese crowd still believes in sportsmanship and applauds him for it.
Moxley wraps Juice’s leg around the ring post and few times and grabs a chair from under the ring. Moxley tries to hit Juice’s leg with the chair, but Juice moves and then hits a cannonball off the apron. Juice grabs the chair, but puts it out of play and gets applauded once again. I love Japanese wrestling crowds, they’re just the best. Juice puts Moxley back inside and gets a cross body block from the top rope, but he stops momentarily to sell his leg and that allows Moxley to kick out at two. Both men trade punches in the middle of the ring, as the fans cheers along, and that ends with Moxley clotheslining Juice down. Death Rider (Double Arm DDT) is countered by Juice, as is Pulp Friction (The Tomikaze) by Moxley, and Moxley goes to a Step-over Toehold Facelock.
Juice sells that big and almost looks to be going purple. Referee Uno teases that he’s going to stop the match and lifts Juice’s hand three times. On the third occasion Juice grabs Uno’s ankle to show he’s alive, but Moxley thinks he’s won and argues with the ref over it. Shouldn’t have let go until the bell rung Mox. Moxley gets a William Regal like running knee and then splats Juice with a big suplex before heading outside with some chairs. Moxley throws the chairs into the ring, along with a bucket and a camera as he’s clearly losing his cool. The table from earlier reappears, but as Moxley is faffing with that, Juice gets a roll up for two. Moxley bites Juice’s eye again, but Juice gets a flurry of punches and delivers Pulp Friction for the win!
WINNER: JUICE ROBINSON
FINAL TALLY: JON MOXLEY (10), JUICE ROBINSON (8)
What I loved about that match was that it was that it showed that Juice had learnt from the first match and decided to wrestle his own match as opposed to doing things Moxley’s way, and that was ultimately what meant he won in the end. The match itself was great, with Juice selling his leg injury great and the crowd getting super in to the slug fest. I look forward to the rubber match!
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Final Round
Shingo Takagi (6 pts) Vs Hirooki Goto (10 pts)
Following that last match, Jon Moxley is now out of the running to win the Block, but Goto can still win it. Essentially he needs to win here and then hope Jay White defeats Tetsuya Naito as Naito holds the tiebreaker over him. Seeing as Goto winning here means that White can no longer win the Block, I’ll predict a Shingo win so that the main event becomes a winner takes all bout. I’ll be honest, an Ibushi Vs Goto match for the G1 Trophy would be a strange Final, but it would probably be a good match and would be a suprise Final.
Shingo refuses a clean break early and chops Goto, which leads to both men bulling in to one another with shoulder blocks. Neither budges, so both men throw forearms instead, which again ends with neither budging. Eventually Shingo gets up some pace and puts Goto down with a shoulder tackle before following with a back senton splash for two. Shingo follows up with a vertical suplex next and then delivers some elbows Bryan Danielson style. Goto gets angry though and takes Shingo down with a clothesline, which causes Shingo to bail outside. Goto throws forearms back in the ring and then gets a hanging neck breaker out of the corner for two.
Goto works over Shingo with a head scissors, but Shingo makes it to the ropes to break the hold. Goto gets a pair of clotheslines in the corner, but Shingo is triple tough and keeps coming, eventually getting a Saito Suplex. Goto counters a powerbomb with a back body body drop, but runs a left handed lariat for Shingo for two. Shingo goes for the Gory Bomb, but Shingo fights that off and gets a vertical suplex, before following with a spinning wheel kick in the corner and delivering a Saito Suplex of his own for two. Goto goes for the Ushigoroshi (Fireman’s carry onto the knee) but Shingo slips out of that so Goto goes to a sleeper hold instead. Shingo piggyback slams out of that though and then follows up with a Gory Bomb for two.
Shingo goes for Made in Japan (side half Nelson flipping powerbomb) but Goto fights that off and both men throw lariats at one another, which ends with Goto knocking Shingo down and getting the Ushigoroshi for two. Goto throws some kicks to the chest and makes a cover, but Shingo is able to kick out at two. Goto goes for the GTR (Reverse DDT to the knee) but Shingo fights that off and both men crack one another with head butts. Goto goes for the Ushigoroshi again, but Shingo counters that into Made in Japan for two. Shingo gets a pair of clotheslines, but Goto is able to kick out again. Shingo goes for Last of the Dragon (Torture Wrack into a powerbomb) but Goto slips out of that, only to eat a barrage of forearms. Goto replies with a head butt though and gets a front GTR before running into a big lariat for the double down. Shingo turns Goto inside out with a Pumping Bomber Lariat, but Goto manages to kick out. Last of the Dragon comes next however and that’s it for Goto’s G1 hopes.
WINNER: SHINGO TAKAGI
FINAL TALLY: Shingo Takagi (8), Hirooki Goto (10)
That was one heck of a fight right there. Goto winning would have put a cat amongst the pigeons, but having White still in the hunt in his match with Naito will give that match higher stakes, so it makes sense.
G1 CLIMAX B BLOCK – Final Round
“Switchblade” Jay White (10 pts) w/ Gedo Vs Tetsuya Naito (10 pts)
Hey, it’s the two biggest jerks in all of New Japan going at it (Character wise of course, I have no idea what either bloke is like in real life), this one should be a keeper! So basically this is winner takes all. Whoever wins this is going to Final against Kota Ibushi and Chris Charlton seems to think that if it goes to a time limit draw then we’ll get extra time until we have a winner because both men can’t go through.
Naito takes his sweet time removing his entrance gear to start and White patiently waits, only to then bail the moment the match actually starts. See what I mean, if this match had any more jerk in it you’d be serving it with rice and peas! Naito of course mocks White in the ring, and then bails himself once White goes back in. White blinks first and follows Naito out, where Naito throws Jado into him and then sends him into the railings surrounding ring side. Naito continues to control things back inside, going after the eyes. White is able to dodge an attack in the corner and then throws some chops.
Naito replies with an inverted atomic drop, but when he tries a dropkick in the corner White stops it and slams Naito’s head and neck onto the apron. White sends Naito into the railings outside and then mocks Naito’s “eye open” taunt back in the ring. White continues to work the neck and head back inside by spiking Naito with a DDT before dragging him outside and ramming him into the railings and apron, which is still one of the simplest and most awesome heel heat spots in wrestling. It’s so violent and dastardly, and suits the Switchblade “angry young man” character perfectly. White lets his arrogance get the better of him by allowing Naito to get back up inside the ring, and Naito punishes him by delivering a running front dropkick.
Naito delivers a rana next and dropkicks White in the back of the head before getting another one in the corner. Naito gets a pair of neck breakers next, which gets him a two count from the referee. Naito works over the neck area of White with holds in order to weaken it for Destino (Satellite Reverse DDT). White responds with a Complete Shot and then follows up with a deadlift German Suplex to get himself back in the game. Naito blocks the Kiwi Krusher (Ki Krusher) and then gets an enziguri, but White catches a flying forearm attempt and turns it into a uranage slam. Kiwi Krusher looks inbound, but Naito counters that into a DDT in mid-air and both men are down.
Gloria (Pumphandle into a side slam) looks to come next, but White counters that by pulling the referee in the way, which sees the ref getting bumped in the process. This sees Gedo come into the ring, but Naito fends him off and then delivers Gloria for two. Naito goes for Destino, but White fights that off so he gets a rolling kick and a Tornado DDT. When he tries Destino again though, White drops down to the mat so that Naito cannot deliver the move, which is such a great bit of heel cowardice. Naito is forced to go over to him, which allows White to catch him with a pair of Saito Suplexes. Kiwi Krusher comes next, but Naito is able to kick out at two. Blade Runner (Sister Abigail’s Kiss) looks to finish, but Naito fights that off and delivers Destino for two. A second Destino looks to finish, but White slips out of that and delivers a sleeper suplex. White tries to pull Naito up into the Blade Runner, and that leads to series of both men countering big moves until White is able to deliver another sleeper suplex. Modified suplex into a DDT comes next and Blade Runner follows that to give White the win.
WINNER: JAY WHITE
FINAL TALLY: Jay White (12), Tetsuya Naito (10)
That was missing something for me, I’m not sure what. It could be because I watched both shows back to back and was starting to get a bit tired, but this just wasn’t as good as the A Block decider for me. It didn’t feel as hard fought or as epic for whatever reason, although I did enjoy White’s heel antics. It could just be that I just have no positive emotional attachment to Naito as a character whatsoever, so matches where it’s presented for me to actually have to root for him always leaves me cold. For me, a Naito match is always better when I want him to lose against a wrestler I really like, so when he’s in there with a pure heel like White then I struggle to get on board. Either way, A Block “won” the battle of the Block deciders for me.
So with both Blocks now decided, the G1 Climax Final for 2019 will be Kota Ibushi Vs Jay White. That should be good actually, as I actually like Ibushi so watching him get heeled on by White will give me a reason to get invested.
Tanahashi Vs Ospreay and Okada Vs Ibushi were the stand out matches across these two shows and definitely worth your time. I’ll try and do the whole show tomorrow, tag matches and all, seeing as it’s the last night of the tour, so keep a look out for that.