New Japan Pro Wrestling G-1 Climax – B Block Night 3

Howdy!

Tonight, it’s Night 3 for the B Block! Tetsuya Naito takes on Hirooki Goto in our main event, while in the REAL main event, Toru Yano looks to keep his hot streak going against EVIL!

Let’s watch some wrestling, shall we?

A Block Day 1 (Fitzgerald) – https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/09/19/new-japan-pro-wrestling-g1-climax-30-19-09-2020-a-block/
B Block Day 1 (Poehling) – https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/09/21/new-japan-pro-wrestling-g1-climax-30-b-block-night-1/
A Block Day 2 (Fitzgerald) – https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/09/23/new-japan-pro-wrestling-g1-climax-30-23-09-2020-a-block-night-two/
B Block Day 2 (Poehling) – https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/09/26/new-japan-pro-wrestling-g-1-climax-30-b-block-night-2/
A Block Day 3 (Fitzgerald) – https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/09/27/new-japan-pro-wrestling-g1-climax-30-27-09-2020-a-block-night-three/

Tonight, our matches are:

Zack Sabre Jr vs KENTA
SANADA vs YOSHI-HASHI
Toru Yano vs EVIL
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Juice Robinson
Hirooki Goto vs Tetsuya Naito

But before we get to that, it’s more C Block action!

Gabriel Kidd vs Yuya Uemura 

A lot of early wrist and arm work in this one, and Yuya is so smooth in what he does, he’s a joy to watch. He’s probably due for an excursion relatively soon, maybe another few months at most. He and Kidd work the usual very good Lions opener, and Yuya taps him with a Boston Crab turned into a Liontamer. (Yuya Uemura over Gabriel Kidd, submission, 9:11)

THOUGHTS: **1/2

 

YOSHI-HASHI vs SANADA – B Block match

YOSHI has been the absolute shock of this tournament so far, with 2 strong matches against Juice and EVIL on the first two nights. I’m all-in for YOSHI-HASHI! SANADA has been fine as is his normal wont. Both guys are looking for their first points of the G-1 here.

Grappling starts us and YOSHI goes to the mat with a headlock, SANADA stands him up, but eats a back elbow and a running ‘rana from YOSHI “Bringing the Workrate” HASHI. They head out to the floor and SANADA gets the advantage there, including using the barricade to hit an assisted neckbreaker there. Back in an SANADA pounds him down for two, then a chinlock.

He drops an elbow on YOSHI for two and back to the chinlock. Sure, take the night off, guys. YOSHI fights up and they battle over a suplex, which YOSHI turns into a neckbreaker. Chops and he comes off the ropes with another one to put SANADA down. Seated dropkick gets two. YOSHI gets sent outside and SANADA does the laziest plancha I’ve seen him do in ages, barely making contact, then begs the crowd to clap for him. I’m kind of hating this match.

Back in and SANADA goes up, but YOSHI stops him on the top and attempts to powerbomb him, but SANADA turns that into a ‘rana. He comes off the ropes and runs right in a lariat from YOSHI, then YOSHI hits a powerbomb for two. YOSHI goes up, but the swanton hits the knees. Skull End by SANADA now and he keeps it on for like 10 years, but YOSHI won’t quit. SANADA releases and goes up, but this time it’s the moonsault that hits the knees. They slug it out from their knees and SANADA gets a cutter for two. 

Dragon suplex from YOSHI turns the tide, and he follows that up with a Fisherman’s Buster for two. He goes for Karma, but SANADA reverses that to Skull End, which YOSHI uses to small package him for two. Meteora gets two. Karma hits this time and finishes to give YOSHI his first points in the G-1 and send SANADA to 0-3. (YOSHI-HASHI over SANADA, pinfall, 15:15)

THOUGHTS: **3/4. I said I was kind of hating this match midway through it, but we managed to get to ‘salvageable’ by the end of it. Maybe my expectations for a YOSHI-HASHI match were just too high.

(Pause)

What the FUCK is happening this year?

Okay, seriously, the match was really mailed-in here, guys. They didn’t hit each other with any type of intensity and SANADA looked totally checked out here. They just did moves back and forth, similar counters without any snap on them, and had an ending that just kind of happened without a ton of lead-up. This really didn’t live up to the quality of YOSHI-HASHI matches so far in this Block.

(Pause)

WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING THIS YEAR?

Let’s move on. Oh, one more quick thing – this probably spells the end for SANADA to win the G-1, one would think. If you look at his potential opponents to challenge him for the certificate, the ones he lost to in this thing, they’re Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, and YOSHI-HASHI. None of them are viable contenders to take the Tokyo Dome title shot, so even if SANADA pulls off the impossible and comes back to win the Block, there’s no road I can see where he actually can win the G-1 at this point, because his losses aren’t to viable contenders, and that’s almost a criterion to win – you have to lose to guys who can realistically beat you for the title shot. 

 

Zack Sabre Jr vs KENTA – B Block match

Oh, this should be fun. I hope the winner is the guy who cheats the most. I have to ask this question – does KENTA really belong in Bullet Club? Seriously? He doesn’t need GEDO or Togo or any real assistance for his matches, and I feel like his character would probably be better off just being a lone wolf style dickhead. It feels superfluous for him to be there right now. He’s really just another guy, especially with EVIL taking kind of the native ‘leader’ role in the faction, and he’s not low enough on the totem pole where I think that’s where he should be, frankly.

Or maybe I’ve overthinking this. After all, don’t want to limit the amount of sweet Bullet Club merchandise.

Regardless, this could be very good  – striker vs wrestler battles frequently are. KENTA actually invites ZSJ to go to the mat, which Sabre is more than happy to do. They grapple and jockey, Sabre gets a kneebar and KENTA grabs the rope immediately. I cannot due even a simple sequence like that justice; the amount of training and confidence that is necessary to believe that you can not only keep the crowd but actually make it compelling enough to do so is just so rare. ZSJ confidently invites KENTA to the mat now…..so KENTA kicks him in the face. Tremendous. 

So, KENTA kicks the shit out of him, including one of my all-time favorite ZSJ spots, where he mans up and dares the other guy to keep coming, so KENTA does it and Zack realizes his tremendous error in judgment too late as he gets clobbered. He falls to the floor and KENTA sends him to the barricades. Back in and KENTA goes to work kicking the arm of ZSJ, but goes for one too many and Zack grabs both legs and twists, causing KENTA to immediately grab the ropes again. ZSJ fires kicks, but KENTA is angered by this poseur and shows him how to kick for reals for his insolence. 

KENTA with a neckbreaker and more kicks, and now ZSJ grows himself a (stupid) pair and puts his hand behind his back and offers himself up to get kicked. So KENTA murders him with a kick, then goes to a front facelock on the mat. ZSJ easily reverses out of that into a hammerlock pin for two, because when they go the mat, ZSJ rules the earth. Exactly as it should be. And when it comes to strikes, ZSJ fires three uppercuts that KENTA looks amused by before he absolutely ethers ZSJ with a palm strike. 

ZSJ comes back and fires more shots, but KENTA overcomes that and fires away, he misses an overhand shot and ZSJ hits a Northern Lights suplex into a wristlock, so KENTA makes the ropes. ZSJ works the arm, but eats boot on a blind charge and gets his neck snapped on the top rope, then KENTA hits a top rope clothesline for two. Fisherman’s Buster from KENTA leads to an STF. ZSJ escapes that and they trade shots, and KENTA drops him with a lariat. Middle-rope DDT gets two for KENTA. 

Running kick in the corner, then a delayed dropkick and KENTA goes up, double-foot stomp gets two. Buzzsaw knee gets two. GTS attempt is countered by Sabre, but KENTA just destroys him with spinning backfists as a result. Again, but Sabre transitions into a front facelock, then to the mat with a triangle, then the rings. KENTA makes the ropes. ZSJ kicks away, so KENTA rises up like the terminator and drops him with a slap. KENTA off the ropes, Sabre jumps into a rolling pin for two. Penalty kick from ZSJ is caught, so ZSJ fires palm strikes. He comes off the ropes, but KENTA nails him with a knee, and he’s done fucking around now, as the GTS hits and kills Zack deader than dead for the pin. (KENTA over Zack Sabre Jr, pinfall, 15:47)

THOUGHTS: ****. This was magnificent and I would have watched 5-10 more minutes of it without breaking a sweat. Stories like these are SO simple and compelling and yet it takes two excellent professional wrestlers to pull them off. Notice how ZSJ was losing all the striking battles and that ended up being his undoing, as he fired palm strikes that didn’t have enough on them and he ate the pin after the big move as a result – meanwhile, KENTA didn’t actually escape any of ZSJ’s holds, in that he had to grab ropes a lot of the time and more than once his only way to escape was to roll into a dangerous pinning combination. This is a match that not a lot of wrestlers can do, but the ones who can deserve our respect for their abilities. There are a few minor criticisms – the arm work didn’t add up to much in the end for ZSJ, and there was a slight repetitiveness to the striking being all KENTA and the wrestling being all ZSJ that probably didn’t need to be quite as on the nose as it was. But still, this was 4 stars all day long and needed a bit more time to try to get higher. Still an terrific piece of work.

 Intermission time! 

 

Juice Robinson vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – B Block match

I actually think this is a big test for Juice here, because after his first two matches in this G-1, there’s actual expectations for this one. He needs to have an excellent match here, especially across from Tanahashi. 

Side headlock from Juice to start us off, and they battle off that with an overhead test of strength. We go to the mat for a stalemate, back up. They go to the corner and Tana fires a shot to take over, but runs into a leg lariat. Backbreaker and senton as Juice works the midsection and back of Tana. Off the ropes, and Tana fires a dropkick to the knee and a dragon-screw legwhip to stop Juice. Robinson blocks the cloverleaf and hits a spinebuster. 

Juice with rights and a DDT, as there is apparently no damage to the leg, at least not right now. Suplex attempt is blocked into a Twist and Shout by Tanahashi, but he comes off the ropes and runs right into a lariat from Juice. Cannonball in the corner by Juice and they go up, with them slugging it out on top. Tana wins that battle but Juice wins the war by coming back with a headbutt. Superplex by Juice and he pops the hips into a Jackhammer for two. 

Pulp Friction is countered into a Sling Blade from Tana, then another one for two. Tana goes up for the HFF, but Juice rolls through it for a VERY close two count. Shots from Juice, left hand of God hits! Pulp Friction time, but Tana escapes that, then rolls Juice up for the three count. (Hiroshi Tanahashi over Juice Robinson, pinfall, 14:17)

THOUGHTS: ***. This was fine, but I frankly admit I was hoping for more than fine. This felt like a moment for Juice to deliver a big-time great performance, and instead it was….good. Not bad or anything, but nothing blowaway that kept me on the edge of my seat. I thought the superplex/Jackhammer spot was neat, and Tana did him a solid by taking a roll-up win instead of beating him with the High Fly Flow, so it can look like he barely yanked it out of the fire, but there really wasn’t much here. Maybe I was hoping for something that wasn’t going to be there? I’m not sure. 

Juice mouths a naughty word on camera after the match. 

 

EVIL vs Toru Yano – B Block match

I have never in my life wanted Toru Yano to win a match more than I want him to win this one. Sadly, I don’t think he will, but there’s nothing I desire more than to point out that Yano is the leader of the Block after 3 days in the G-1. 2020 has been a tough year to be sure, and this is just another thing that no one would believe about it, but this would be FUN, which we’ve sorely been lacking.

Yano goes for the buckle pad right away, nails EVIL with it, then goes to untie the others. EVIL nails Yano in return while Toru is distracted with Togo, then tosses Yano to the floor and takes the ref so Togo can go to work on him. Yano sends Togo to the railing, however, and produces tape from somewhere (I believe I’ve been very clear about not wanting to know where from) and tapes Togo’s arm to the railing. EVIL attempts to save Togo, but Yano won’t stand for that and sends EVIL the to barricade, then finds more tape under the ring. He tries to tape EVIL the rail, but EVIL goes to the eyes and then Yano goes to the eyes and we end up back in the ring at 18. 

Back in and EVIL sends Yano to all 4 exposed buckles, then shoulders him down and covers for two. Blind charge by EVIL is avoided by Yano and he goes into the exposed corner, but Yano tries it again and Togo puts the buckle pad back to foil Toru, and EVIL drops him with a lariat. Yano goes for the mule kick, EVIL avoids it, he goes for the ballshot, EVIL catches it, Togo jumps on the apron and EVIL goes to the eyes of Yano, then hits his own ballshot. But wait! Yano escapes Everything is Evil, ballshot to EVIL with the ref’s back turned! Togo comes in with the garrote and hits a ballshot to Yano before applying the choker, but Yano mule kicks him in the balls! Yano runs Togo into EVIL, double ballshot sends Togo flying from the ring! Roll-up by Yano, 1, 2, 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE DREAM RUN CONTINUES!!!!!!!!!!!! (Toru Yano over EVIL, pinfall, 4:33)

THOUGHTS: **. Yeah, it was on the low end of Yano squashes, but YANO WINS! Seriously, this is actually vastly entertaining, because now Yano remains tied for the Block lead and more folks are going to lose their minds, which I love. He’s not winning the Block, everyone – but wouldn’t it be fun if he was in the mix all the way? Anyway, total comedy match where the bad guys get beat through their own stupidity, which I’m always fine with. Good times. 

 

Hirooki Goto vs Tetsuya Naito – B Block match

Man, I don’t know how they’re going to follow that classic right there. I gotta think that it’s unlikely that Goto is winning here, because you want the 3-0 from Naito going into the match with 0-3 SANADA, because I think that if the train is getting derailed, that might be where it happens. 

They trade wristlocks to start and Goto grabs a headlock and hangs on. We work off that for a bit and they trade shots, with Naito coming off the ropes with a dropkick. Out to the floor and Naito works the taped shoulder of Goto, and Goto barely beats the count back in at 19. Naito stays on the arm, wrapping the arms up in a crucifix position and forcing Goto to make the ropes. Neckbreaker gets two for Naito, then a wristlock to force Goto to make the ropes again. 

More arm punishment from Naito, but a blind charge hits boot twice, and Goto hits a Saito suplex to buy a few moments. Goto’s selling here is excellent. Goto with a leg lariat and a bulldog for two. He tries for a few suplexes on Naito, but the arm is hurting and Naito breaks free easily each time, then comes off the ropes with a dropkick to put Hirooki down. He goes for the legsweep/kick combo in the corner and Goto blocks that, so Naito just yanks the arm to take him back to the mat, then dropkicks the arm for good measure. 

Modified Koji Clutch from Naito now, Goto makes the ropes. Naito puts him on top for the top rope ‘rana, but Goto escapes and they battle on the top, with Goto finally getting a superplex. Naito rolls to the floor and Goto follows with a plancha. Goto back in with an elbow drop for two. Naito with a tornado DDT to turn it back. Back to the arm with elbows from Naito, he puts Goto on top, top rope ‘rana hits! He goes for Destino, but Goto turns that into a reverse GTR. 

Another one using the top rope and Goto looks to finish, but Naito reverses the Ushigoroshi into an inverted DDT. They slug it out, won by Naito, and he goes for Valentia, reversed by Goto into the Ushigoroshi! GTR attempt is reversed into a very sloppy Destino, Goto kicks out at two. Naito tries again, Goto stops it and drops an elbow onto Naito. Time for the GTR, but Naito slips out and now, Valentia hits. Goto is donezo, and a second Destino keeps Naito undefeated. (Tetsuya Naito over Hirooki Goto, pinfall, 21:58)

THOUGHTS: ***3/4. I liked this, but I felt it was super-anticlimactic in a lot of spots; I just never really thought Goto was going to win, honestly. Even the hope spots he had just didn’t feel to me like they were leading anywhere strong, and because of that I kind of felt like I was outside the drama of the match. The work was as good as you would expect from two pro wrestlers of this caliber, and I have no issues with it, but the match held me away from itself in some way that I couldn’t get past. 

Naito cuts his promo, and we’re done.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The weakest night of B Block still gave us a **** match, and that’s not a bad thing at all. KENTA and ZSJ stole the show tonight, with the Yano match being a highlight as EVIL is still in contention, albeit in trouble, and Tanahashi also finally getting on the board with a lot of G-1 left. Overall, a good night of wrestling. 

B BLOCK STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 3:

Toru Yano –                     6 Points
Tetsuya Naito –               6 Points
Juice Robinson –             4 Points
KENTA –                          4 Points
EVIL –                              2 Points
Hiroshi Tanahashi –         2 Points
Zack Sabre Jr –                2 Points
Hirooki Goto –                2 Points
YOSHI-HASHI –               2 Points
SANADA –                       0 Points

The King of Pro-Wrestling maintains his lead on top of the standings. So here’s a funny thing – I absolutely think there’s a very good chance that Naito is losing to SANADA next to set up a title match down the road, while Yano has Juice up next. While I don’t think I would beat Juice there, if Yano does, he’s got a shot at being the only 4-0 with the clear Block lead. How many brackets will Yano bust?

Let’s do this – as always, my thoughts are in bold. Ladies and Gentlemen, the scrum:

Gabriel Kidd: Serves him right for getting cocky and running his mouth. Stupid mistakes he shouldn’t be making, trying to go to the British style, but he couldn’t even get close to the suplex today. Uemura is a former national champion, that headlock threw him off. No excuses, he’s 2-2 and we’re back where we started with 8 matches to go. Fine with him. LA Dojo will be on top in the end.

Yuya Uemura: All of us Young Lions are keeping pace with each other, anyone can win this. On this tour, he hopes he can find what will lead him to what’s next. This tour isn’t just about winning, it’s about improving his standing in NJPW. He’s already looking ahead to what’s next.

Uemura kind of hinting that excursion may be on the horizon, one thinks.

YOSHI-HASHI: It was 15 years ago that he and SANADA tried out for NJPW here at Korakeun Hall. Even though neither of them were picked, today they were able to go back to that time. He had never beaten SANADA before, so today’s win was really big for him, but there is a lot of G-1 left. Up next – Hiroshi!

KENTA: (Oh boy, here we go. I’m going to leave out some of the byplay with the reporter he’s been doing.) These past months, I’ve been working for the American show and they wouldn’t listen to me when I told them to sit down, but the Japanese, they listen. (Okay, that’s gotta be some weird meta thing about NXT or something) Zack. That punk, he’s cocky, so I didn’t go easy on him. What happened to nice Zack Sabre Jr? I didn’t raise him like this. Maybe he’s going through a rebellious phase? I have nothing left to say. 

I have no idea if KENTA’s promos are any good or not, honestly, but they’re must-watch when he cuts them. 

Juice Robinson: He really is the Ace of the Universe, isn’t he? He’s the cat’s ass, the dog’s bollocks, depends on where you grew up. Once in a generation, that guy. I tried to psych myself up, I tried to be pissed off, I had a chip on my shoulder, I said all that bullshit about the king of the jungle, the old lion getting beat by the young lion? Well, that was not tonight. What you just saw was a very good wrestler getting beat by a great wrestler. Maybe the greatest. Definitely the greatest I’ve ever been in the ring with. Loud and clear – Tanahashi is the greatest wrestler. I always say every year, you gotta win the matches you’re supposed to and get lucky a couple of times, I didn’t get lucky tonight. I tried to psych myself up, I tried to will myself to a victory tonight. Tomorrow, the sun will rise in the East and set in the West, and I go to face Yano in a couple of days. And we all know how tricky that bastard can be. Well Yano, you can bring 75 rolls of tape, try to get count outs, he’ll knock your ass out at the entrance way, it doesn’t matter how he has to win – he will win. He promises the world he will win. Thank you, Tanahashi. Until we meet again.

Hiroshi Tanahashi: Juice has changed since last we met. He’s gained confidence. But Tana finally got his first win! He clenched his jaw on that lariat, awesome power, but Tana finally has his first win of his 19th G-1. This is what he needed! Next, Nobu! We’re not done yet!

Tanahashi with confidence makes me want to leap from my chair and follow him to the ends of the earth. 

Toru Yano: He always reveals every injustice! They hit me, I hit them back a thousand times over!

Short and to the point. His promos and his matches.

Back to the ring for Naito. Not much different from his normal speech here, as he thanks the fans, does the roll call, tells them he’ll see them next time.

Hirooki Goto: The double champ. His dream, his goal – today was a stark reminder of how difficult that road is. But the more challenging the goal is, the more rewarding it is to achieve. Goto’s G-1 is just getting started. Next!

Goto, my man, you’re a little late on the whole ‘getting started’ thing. Just saying.

Tetsuya Naito: Goto! You see how quick that was? Less time than Tanahashi or Zack Sabre Jr! (Ouch, man. That’s a bit rough.) Goto, this is your reality – try as you might, you only lasted 20 minutes. That’s all you can do against Naito, that’s where you’re at. However, he sees something great in Goto, the pro-wrestlers, that’s why he told you to go train under the waterfall. Goto should have followed that advice, the results speak for themselves. (STOP, STOP, HE’S ALREADY DEAD.) Next up, the one we’ve all been waiting for, one on one versus SANADA. He lost again today, didn’t he? That’s one with 3 wins against one with 3 losses. If I were a fan in the Hall today, or one that bought tickets for the event, or someone watching on New Japan World, I would think that SANADA would win in Nagaoka. (Uh…..shit. I still love you, Naito! Don’t punish me for my brief smarky loss of faith!) Will the winless SANADA lose to Naito? His G-1 can’t be over that fast, can it? That’s what pro wrestling fans are thinking right now. But SANADA isn’t ready for that type of underdog story. He’ll lose to Naito and be eliminated from this G-1, that’s what’s right for this SANADA. That will serve him well in the future, so Naito will give people a different ending than they expect, that’s his promise to all of you. He’ll see you after that main event, adios!

Oh man, Naito redefined ‘cocky bastard’ in this promo in a good way. I loved this. He called us out, too. Awesome.

And with that, I shall take my leave. See you all in a few days for Night 4 of B Block!

As always, thanks for reading this thing I wrote, 

Rick Poehling
@MrSoze on Twitter
[email protected] for email