Let’s watch some more G1 Climax!
You can read Rick’s review of Night Two of B Block by clicking right HERE
The event is emanating from Kobe, Japan
Still no English commentary
Yota Tsuji Vs Gabriel Kidd
More Young Lion action here, with this being New Japan Dojo Vs LA Dojo. Kidd beat Yuya Uemura on Night Two of A Block with a nice underhook suplex styled move.
Kidd once again has his black knee pads on here, which isn’t usually the norm with Young Lions because you’re supposed to wrestle in just the black trunks and boots at first, with you “earning” more attire as you progress.
This is your typical Young Lions bout, with both men working holds and doing basic moves for the most part. It’s perfectly fine, but deliberately has a ceiling because the lads aren’t supposed to over shine the main roster wrestlers and instead just work a simple match, which makes it perfect for the opening match slot.
The crowd is receptive and things pick up a bit, with Kidd in particular showing some good fire and bouncing off the crowd. Tsuji moves a bit awkwardly sometimes I think, but he looks like he’s going to have some real charisma when he finally gets a gimmick after excursion, which should hopefully make up for that. He eventually falls to the underhook suplex though, giving Kidd yet another win.
WINNER: GABRIEL KIDD
Good Young Lion action there. Both of these lads have promise. Kidd is probably ready for excursion and a repackage actually based off the two matches I’ve seen of him on this G1 tour so far
G1 Climax A Block – Round Three
Taichi (4) Vs Yujiro Takahashi (0)
Taichi is currently undefeated in the tournament, with a big win coming over Minoru Suzuki in the previous round of fixtures. Yujiro has already wrestled both Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada in the Block and hasn’t even hit three stars yet, so it looks like the only way is down for him now, especially against someone like Taichi, who can have good matches with the right people but isn’t an especially great wrestler in his own right.
Yujiro cheap shots Taichi with his pimp stick to start, and we’re off to the races with a slow motion brawl. Seriously, Yujiro stomps people like he’s wrestling in a swimming pool. It’s like the Dural fight at the end of Virtua Fighter 2 or something (Seriously, what was UP with that fight? You’re underwater and fighting with the Parthenon in the background. Did Greece sink into the Mediterranean in the VF2 universe? I want answers gosh darn it!)
Taichi fights back outside the ring and we get a snide off between the two, where they both try to out heel one another, which leads to Yujiro giving Taichi a reverse DDT outside the ring to applause from the crowd. Well, they seem into it at least, so you’ve got to give the match that. Yujiro gets a nice Fisherman Buster back inside for two and Taichi replies with an eniziguri for the double down.
The finishing stretch isn’t bad actually, as they both get some near falls and Yujiro gets to bite his way out of a piledriver, which leads to a double eye rake in a funny moment. Okay, that was good, I’ll give them that! Yujiro actually threatens to show a bit of fire with a strike trade and a nice snug forearm, before getting a lariat and an Olympic Slam for two.
This has picked up to be fair. I mean, it’s not threatening three stars thus far, but it’s an actual wrestling match that has had fleeting moments of good action, which was more than I thought it was going to be. Yujiro gets the closest near fall yet with a Widow Maker, and the crowd is digging this. Come on lads, push just a bit more and get us to three stars, you can do it! Yujiro tries to end it with a Miz DDT, but Taichi blocks and then kicks Yujiro right in his Red Light District before pulling out the Gedo Clutch for the three.
WINNER: TAICHI (6)
Ooof, that one started iffy but improved as it went on and they were SO close to the illusive three star rating for Yujiro, but alas it was not to be. Interestingly Taichi beats Suzuki and then wins his next match with the Gedo Clutch of all things. Could this mean he’s Bullet Club bound? Probably not, but if it happens then someone needs to pick up the phone, because I CALLED it!!!
G1 Climax A Block – Round Three
Jeff Cobb (2) Vs Minoru Suzuki (2)
Cobb got off the mark by defeating Shingo in the last round, whilst Suzuki had a shock defeat to fellow stablemate Taichi, so he’s probably going to be in a surly mood here and that isn’t going to be good for poor Mr. Cobb.
Suzuki actually drops into the guard to start, and successfully takes Cobb down with it. Cobb has amateur wrestling credentials and Suzuki was a shooter from Pancrase, so they can probably do some nifty stuff on the mat if they want to and it will allow them to have a good match without overly exerting themselves with other matches on the horizon.
In a funny bit, Suzuki forces Cobb to break a hold with the ropes and then does a gun symbol with his hands to show that he’s a shooter, which elicits a grin from Cobb. The technical wrestling aspect of the match doesn’t last, as we head outside for the brawl, where Suzuki is of course more in his element than Cobb is.
Suzuki controls things back inside after giving Cobb a battering outside the ring, with Cobb selling well and covering up when getting worked over in the corner in a nice touch. These two don’t seem to have a lot of chemistry outside of the mat wrestling actually, as their timing is a bit off in places and they both seem to be holding back a bit, especially when Cobb makes the comeback.
Things pick up a bit in the closing stretch, with Cobb getting the big man dropkick and firing up to pop the crowd. Cobb gets the rolling gut wrenches and then powers out of a Suzuki arm bar to get an Oklahoma Stampede for two in a cool spot. Suzuki manages to fight off Tour of the Islands though and gets the Gotch Piledriver for the three count.
WINNER: MINORU SUZUKI (4)
Some chemistry issues there, but they worked through them for the most part and it improved in the closing stretch
Suzuki acts almost face like following the win, clapping along with the crowd.
G1 Climax A Block – Round Three
Kota Ibushi (2) Vs Tomohiro Ishii (0)
Ibushi fell to defeat to Jay White in the previous round, whilst Ishii ended up defeated after the usual superlative performance against Will Ospreay. Common sense dictates that Ibushi wins here if he’s going to be a genuine contender, but Ishii being pointless after three matches feels a tad harsh, so maybe he’ll win and Ibushi will have to do the big comeback?
This may shock you, but they hit each other a lot in the opening section. I know, mind blown right? It’s good manly action, with Ishii in particular getting right in Ibushi’s grill and demanding that he be hit harder, because that’s just the type of chap he is. Ibushi eventually manages to snap off a rana in reply in fights back with slaps and kicks before getting a delightful standing moonsault for two. That was graceful as a dainty butterfly.
The snug shots continue, with the crowd clapping along, and Ishii is actually the first to buckle this time after some kicks from Ibushi. Ibushi of course allows Ishii to get back up, because Japan, and that leads to Ishii making him pay with a head butt, only for Ibushi to reply with a power slam. The offence from both men has looked good here and their timing has been on point too. Both men take it in turns to no sell moves from the other, and that leads to Ibushi getting a dropkick for a double down.
We get a slap trade, with both men selling the slaps more with annoyance than anything else, because they are two tough men, but eventually Ibushi goes into Randy Orton “Voices” mode and gets an ultra-hard slap, which leads to Ishii fighting fire with fire by doing the dreaded throat chops. Oh man, this one is getting NARRRSTY innit bruv! Ibushi gets the sit out Last Ride, but Ishii kicks out at two to give us our first big proper near fall, and then delivers an enziguri of all things for another double down.
We firmly hit the near fall stretch of the match following that, with Ishii turning Ibushi inside out with a lariat for two, as the crowd shows it’s appreciation by clapping along. In a fantastic moment, Ishii counters Ibushi’s double wrist Kamigoye knee strike by rearing up with a head butt and then blocks a kick with a lariat, because he’s The Stone Pitbull and he feasts upon pain! This match has been a war, and I’ve loved it!
Ibushi manages to get a big running knee strike ala Shinsuke Nakamura, but he neglects to hook the leg and Ishii kicks out, which leads to another strike trade that ends with Ibushi getting another knee and then finally the Kamigoye to put Ishii down for three.
WINNER: KOTA IBUSHI (4)
Yup, add that one to the “G1 Matches I should seek out this year” list, because WOWZA!
It looks like it might start up again following that. Hey, I’ll take a rematch!
G1 Climax A Block – Round Three
Will Ospreay (4) Vs Shingo Takagi (0)
Ospreay has had wins over Yujiro and Ishii so far, whilst Shingo is yet to get off the mark despite some strong performances. Ospreay looks like he’s going to challenge for the Block, but they could have Shingo win here to trip him up a bit and finally get his challenge cooking.
We get the ludicrous quick speed counter sequence to start, which is executed well but borders on looking overly rehearsed at some points. That leads to the old Central American stand-off and Shingo stalls outside the ring for a bit before getting back in to some kicks from Ospreay. The fight heads outside for a bit, which I don’t think a match like this really needs outside of dives and whatnot, and that leads to Shingo giving Ospreay a Spicolli Driver out there.
Shingo controls things back inside thanks to that, working a cravat of all things, and it’s done well. Some LOUD chops are traded, which leads to Ospreay getting a handspring flippy kick for a double down. We head into the finishing stretch, with the crowd being into the action and both men going for their big moves. At this stage my live feed freezes on me, which means I miss some sort of big move from Ospreay, but the commentators seemed to like it so it must have been cool.
We of course get the mandatory dive spot from Ospreay, which leads to him going for the Storm Breaker back inside. Shingo fights that off, but ends up in the Tree of Woe and on the wrong end of a Van Terminator from Ospreay, sans chair of course, which leads to the Saving Grace for two. Ospreay heads up with a Shooting Star Press, but Shingo kicks out again, as we appear to be pulling up to Near Fall Town, population two.
Some of the near falls are really quite great, with both men having all kinds of chemistry with one another and thus great timing when it comes to what to do and when. Shingo gets a super close one with the Made in Japan pumphandle flip slam, and then turns Ospreay inside out with a lariat for yet another two. This is the loudest I think I’ve heard the crowd clap on this tour, so they are clearly very into this.
We get another double down when Shingo blocks an attempted roaring elbow with a head butt, and that leads to them trading heat butts on the mat before fighting up to their feet for another slug fest. There’s a great sequence where they trade pinning holds, with neither being able to pick up the win, and then my stream starts freezing again just as we hit the finishing stretch. I end up having to switch from Fire Stick to Laptop, just in time to see Shingo get a Spicolli Driver off the top before getting another lariat for two. Last of the Dragon follows, and that’s enough for three.
WINNER: SHINGO TAKAGI (2)
Annoyances with New Japan World aside, that was another super hot match that needs to be on the watch list for this year, provided you can put up with either man’s questionable extracurricular activities enough to enjoy it.
G1 Climax A Block – Round Three
Kazuchika Okada (2) Vs Jay White (4) w/ Gedo
Okada got on the board with a win over Yujiro in the second round of fixtures, whilst White has been my pick for Wrestler of the Tournament thus far, having two great matches and just being a fantastic shit arse heel. These two of course met at Madison Square Garden for the IWGP Title, and White has been mentioning it a lot in the hype for the match, so clearly he’s not over it.
White of course commits to his heel role as usual, bailing from the opening bell and talking smack throughout. Okada gets the better of things inside the ring, which leads to White bailing and Gedo running distraction so that White can attack Okada from behind. You’d think Okada would see that coming considering he’d worked with Gedo for however long they were a pairing?
White continues to be a fantastic villain, mocking the crowd for their clapping and then ramming Okada back first between the ring apron and metal railings in his usual vicious manner. That remains such a brilliant, yet simple, heat heat spot, and it always helps that the people White does it to sell it so big. Tanahashi was the absolute best at it, selling like his very life force was ebbing away with every trip into the railings. White not unwisely targets the mid-section of Okada back inside, making use of the damage done outside the ring.
Obviously Roman Reigns is doing an excellent job as a heel right now, as is MJF over in AEW, but I think Jay White would still currently be the best top level heel in the business. His ability to just make you hate him with everything he does is on another level. Everything from his antics, to his voice, to his facial expressions, is absolutely perfect for the disgusting heel character he’s playing and you spend the whole match rooting for the babyface to make the big comeback so they can finally shut him up once and for all.
Okada does finally manage to make the comeback, and he’s got some good babyface fire, so it works a treat, and he ends up getting two off a DDT. Gedo of course gets involved again to help his man White, with Okada chasing him down the ramp, but this time he’s ready for White and he gives both heels a DDT on the ramp before stealing Gedo’s hat in a funny bit. Okada is probably more naturally suited to being a heel, but he’s a darn good face when the need arises, as he’s showing that here. In a funny bit, when Okada tries to drag White back into the ring, White grabs onto Gedo as well, almost like a kid grabs onto their favourite blanket.
The work on the mid-section from White pays off, as Okada sells it back inside and that means he can’t capitalise, which allows White a window back into the match. Psychology and storytelling, oh how I love you so! White keeps targeting the mid-section, but Okada is able to hit a desperation neck breaker for a double down. I’ve just remembered that Okada has a taped mid-section, which explains White going after it. Sorry, English commentary would have probably clued me up on that sooner as I didn’t notice the tape at first and I forgot about it from Night Two.
Okada pinballs White around, showing some good intensity, and then dropkicks white into Gedo. He misses the follow up dropkick on White though, and that allows White to get a release German Suplex before following up with Okada’s Rainmaker pose (Although the camera operators don’t oblige with the wide shot for him). Okada fights back and gets the dropkick and Tombstone before going to his Cobra Clutch hold.
Hey, I’ll give Okada credit for persistence in his desire to get this thing over, but even though he beat Yujiro with it in Night Two, I think the fans still aren’t really buying it as a move that could finish a top guy. Still, if he wins with it against a guy like White then that perception might change. White makes the ropes to break the hold anyway and both men trade big move attempts, which ends with Okada getting the dropkick.
This brings Gedo into the ring, but Okada takes care of him and then goes back to the Cobra Clutch. White goes to the eyes to block that, but Okada keeps coming and clotheslines him down before locking it in again. Gedo distracts the ref though and White hits Okada right in his Rainmaker to finally break the hold. What a great heel spot, that also gets the hold over because it was White’s only way out. White follows up with The Blade Runner (Sister Abigail) and that’s enough for the three count and another win.
WINNER: JAY WHITE (6)
Fantastic pure Heel Vs Face match, with White and Gedo cheating their heads off and it eventually being enough to pick up the win. Okada sold consistently throughout and the antics from White were supremely entertaining
White gives the victory speech, mocking Okada in the process.
So the standings are now as follows;
White and Taichi are out in front with 6, Suzuki, Ospreay and Ibushi all have 4, Okada, Shingo and Jeff Cobb 2, whilst Ishii and Yujiro are bringing up the rear with 0
Started slow today, but those last three matches were all ****+ in their own unique ways, so everything after intermission is must watch!