Time for Night Four of A Block!
You can read Rick’s review of Night Three by clicking HERE
It’s been a wacky week here in the UK music wise, where my fellow Everton supporters, in high spirits due to a good start to the season, decided to knock Miley Cyrus off the top of the iTunes charts by buying a number of Everton related songs, with “Spirit of the Blues”, a song from our hot period in the 80’s, being the one that started it all going. A really nice aspect of it all is that one of the writers of the song (Kenny Parry) was going through a rough period due to losing his wife in recent years, and the song getting in the charts has really made his week, which makes it a win however you want to slice it I think.
The event is emanating from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo
Calling the action are Japanese people
Yuya Uemura Vs Yota Tsuji
Yet another opener with the Young Lions, as we get some good technical wrestling from Uemura in the opening sections, with Tsuji holding his own but also looking a step behind him in that area. The more of Tsuji I watch the more I think he’ll be a Nakanishi type guy, where he isn’t the strongest worker on the roster but he is able to compensate for it due to having charisma and a connection with the crowd, which is perfectly fine. Not everyone has to be a super worker like Okada. So long as you can manage the basics and connect with a crowd then you have a place.
Uemura has looked sharp in the matches I’ve seen from him on this tour, with nice crisp strikes and some well executed technical holds. He definitely looks like he’ll be the superior in ring wrestler of the two Lions thus far, although he doesn’t strike me as having the same charisma that Tsuji is going to have. In some ways I think they’d make a natural tag team when they get back from excursion with gimmicks. Maybe that’s how they’ll go with it?
Tsuji locks Uemura in THE DREADED YOUNG LION BOSTON CRAB, and Uemura sells it big but doesn’t tap, so Tsuji busts out a GIANT SWING of all things, firing up in the process. That’s the charisma I’m talking about actually. This kid certainly has something. Tsuji goes back to the Crab following that and Uemura sells it brilliantly again before tapping after a struggle.
WINNER: YOTA TSUJI
Cracking match from the Lions there. I like both of these guys and I think they have real potential in different ways.
G1 Climax A Block – Round Four
Yujiro Takahashi (0) Vs Minoru Suzuki (4)
Yujiro has been the designated punching bag of the block thus far, having middling matches and being well beaten in all of his outings save the match with Taichi in the last round where they gave him enough near falls that the match started hovering on actually being good at one point. Suzuki beat Jeff Cobb in the last round of fixtures.
Yujiro tries getting Suzuki’s face to start and that goes about as well as you’d expect. Yujiro does manage to hit Suzuki with his pimp cane outside the ring and then follows with a Shining Wizard out there as well. Yujiro works Suzuki over back inside and even talks some smack, which I think probably won’t end well for him if Suzuki gets his way.
Indeed, Suzuki gives Yujiro the death eyes and drags him outside for a pair of chair shots. Kids, we’ve learnt today that making a psychotic 50 year old former shoot fighter angry is a very dangerous proposition. I hope you all retain that knowledge, as it may save your life one day. Suzuki goes to the sleeper back inside, and Yujiro is such an enhancement guy that he might submit there and Suzuki won’t even need the Gotch, but Suzuki lets him go anyway and gets a pin from it for two.
Yujiro teases getting a bit of a comeback, but Suzuki gives him a snug knee to the gut to stop that before locking in a front face lock. Yujiro manages to fight out of that with a Fisherman Buster, which gets him two, but that seems only to infuriate Suzuki further and he kicks away. Yujiro actually shows some fire for once and fights back with strikes of his own, but he stops to let Suzuki get a free shot and that ends as you’d expect.
Yujiro fires back with a lariat, but Suzuki goes back to the sleeper. Yujiro grabs the ref to drag himself out of the hold, but Suzuki puts him back in it and then gets the Gotch Piledriver for three.
WINNER: MINORU SUZUKI (6)
Good destruction job from Suzuki, with Yujiro at least showing some fire, but his quest for a match three stars or higher in this G1 continues, and he’s running out of super workers to try and get it. Maybe Ishii will be capable of pulling off the miracle?
G1 Climax A Block – Round Four
Kota Ibushi (4) Vs Jeff Cobb (2)
Cobb lost to Suzuki in the last round of fixtures and looked kind of overawed by the occasion to be honest, which is a critique that has been thrown his way before when he’s been in there with the bigger name stars. Hopefully that isn’t the case here, as Cobb can definitely go in the ring when he takes the safety wheels off. Ibushi got back on track with a win over Tomohiro Ishii in the previous round, and I’d expect him to win here in order to keep up his pursuit of the Block, especially when you take into account that he’s going to need win all his remaining bouts and hope Jay White drops at least two of his matches to be in contention of winning.
Cobb is looking good here physically, resembling a more evenly proportioned Rhino. Cobb again looks to be pulling his forearm strikes here. Dude, it’s Ibushi, you’re allowed to hit him. You can rest assured that he’s going to hit you. Just hit him hard in a safe place, and if that isn’t your bag then just throw chops, as you can pull those but they will still look and sound good because of the slap of hand on chest.
Cobb thankfully turns up the intensity a bit with some nice suplexes and throws, which leads to Ibushi replying with a rana and a dive to the floor. I love the crowd clapping in time with Ibushi’s name due to not being able to actually chant. It’s really clever and adds atmosphere to the match. Ibushi plays up to it to and it makes the match more enjoyable to watch.
Ibushi throws some kicks to Cobb’s chest, but he fights back with a back suplex and we have a double down. Cobb gets a comeback with shoulder blocks and then gets a really cool spinning side walk slam out of the corner on Ibushi. That looked great and was a really good example of Cobb combining his power with Ibushi’s penchant for flippy stuff to deliver a cool spot.
Cobb no sells an Ibushi lariat and then turns him inside out with one of his own, as this one is starting to kick into a higher gear now and I’m digging it. Cobb goes to the rolling gut wrench suplexes and then muscles Ibushi up into a modified F-5 for a really good near fall. Tour of the Islands looks to finish, but Ibushi fights it off and gets the Cro Cop Kick, followed by a running knee and the Kamigoye for the three count.
WINNER: KOTA IBUSHI (6)
Started a bit slow but turned into an enjoyable match. Cobb needs to wrestle like the last 5 minutes of this match all the time, as he was throwing suplexes and looking like a beast in that closing stretch after a tentative start.
Ibushi shows respect to Cobb post-match
G1 Climax A Block – Round Four
Kazuchika Okada (2) Vs Taichi (6)
Okada being on only 2 points whilst Taichi is on 6 is kind of nuts, as you’d think it far more likely to be the other way round normally. That being said, Okada has been trying too hard to try and get his Cobra Clutch submission hold over in the tournament thus far, and that’s probably played a part in him not picking up as many wins as he’d like. My personal opinion is that I think it’s cool for him to have a secondary submission finisher, but if that’s what they want then they should really start having him beat some top guys with it. I remember it took Undertaker a while to get his Hell’s Gate hold over, but they just kept having him beat people with it and it ended up becoming one of the hottest parts of his act. If they do similar with Okada’s hold then I think it will work.
Heel Taichi wears black to the ring whilst Okada is quite literally a shining white light during his entrance due to his jacket. Okada has a taped back and mid-section, which Jay White targeted mercilessly in Round Three, and Taichi does exactly the same, going after it right from the bell. Okada sells it all well, including some chair shots whilst guest commentator El Desperado distracts the referee. Taichi is a good slimy heel and Okada is good gutsy babyface, so the storytelling here is sound and the work is basic but also what it needs to be for the story they are telling, so it’s a good watch and would probably benefit from the crowd being allowed to chant and boo.
Taichi gets cocky and allows Okada back up to his feet, which he ends up paying for when Okada gets some boots up in the corner and then gets a running back elbow for a double down. Okada makes the comeback, showing good fire, and the crowd claps along to show its approval. This has been a textbook “Heel works the body part but the face gallantly fights back” match, with two guys who know what they need to do to make the story work, and the crowd has mostly been with it. It hasn’t featured a lot of hot moves or exciting high spots, but it’s been good solid work.
Things pick up as Okada takes it outside and DDT’s Taichi on the floor before putting him back inside for a top rope front drop kick. Taichi sees that coming and sidesteps it though, leading to Okada crashing and burning on the mat back first and selling it big. Okada gallantly keeps fight, but runs right into a back breaker and single leg crab from Taichi, which works as a submission tease due to Okada’s injury. Okada’s selling here is fantastic, as he’s clearly in a lot of pain but he’s also defiantly refusing to give up. It’s a difficult mix to pull off sometimes, but he’s nailing it here. Taichi is fulfilling his end of the bargain as well by executing his offence well and just generally being snide and unlikable.
Taichi dodges another dropkick and whips off his pleather pants in preparation for a big kick, but Okada FINALLY gets the illusive dropkick (The timing on that was perfect) and goes for the Tombstone, Taichi slips out and gets a Saito Suplex for another double down. Taichi tries a powerbomb following that, but Okada fights out and gets the Tombstone before going to the Cobra Clutch. Taichi grabs the ref to fight his way out of it, but ends up eating a clothesline from Okada, who holds onto the wrist in preparation for another one. Taichi pulls the ref in the way though and then kicks Okada right in the Rainmaker before getting the Gedo Clutch for two in a great near fall.
Part of me thought that was the finish actually and Okada timed his kick out to the very last moment. Taichi actually hits Okada with his own Rainmaker Clothesline, but Okada kicks out again in another great near fall. This match has built, built and built, with it turning into an excellent bout. Taichi goes for Black Mephisto (Air Raid Crash) but Okada slips out and goes back to the Cobra Clutch, which actually leads to Taichi showing some fire and bravery for a change as he fights it for all his worth before finally passing out for the Okada victory.
WINNER: KAZUCHIKA OKADA (4)
Hot Dog, Jumping Frog, where did that one come from?! It was tootling along pleasantly for a perfectly creditable ***ish rating, and then they just kept working and working until it became an excellent match. I loved the finish too, as Taichi got to look gutsy by refusing to tap but eventually went out, which helps make the hold look devastating without making him look weak. Great booking and great work from both men. This could be a sleeper contender for match of the tournament
Taichi continues to sell that big after the match, needing help from Desperado to get to the back.
G1 Climax A Block – Round Four
Will Ospreay (4) Vs Jay White (6) w/ Gedo
Ospreay had a bright start but finally dropped a match to Shingo in the last round of fixtures, whilst White is currently the final remaining participant to have a perfect record, but that could all change once this match is over. This if of course a case of a real life heel Vs someone who plays one on TV.
I love White always bailing at the bell, as you just know that one say the bell will ring and he’ll go sprinting across the ring to attack an unsuspecting opponent and it will be great. When White does get in he spends a lot of the opening section getting out wrestled and out fought by Ospreay. In a really funny spot, Ospreay gives White a free shot and then White teases giving Ospreay one back in order to set up the strike battle, but of course he attacks Ospreay before he can connect, because he’s a HEEL and he has no interest in trading strikes when he’s already losing that aspect of the match. This man’s heeling is elite level, even though he looks a bit like Rosie Caddick with a beard.
White finally gets a foothold by straight up flinging Ospreay over the top rope to the floor, which leads to some heat back inside the ring. There is just nothing admirable or likable about the Switchblade character, as whenever it looks like Ospreay might fight back he immediately drags him down by his hair of some other kind of cheap shot to retain the momentum. He’s just odious in every way it’s possible for a heel wrestler to be, and it’s a fantastic gimmick.
Ospreay eventually manages to get a handspring back kick to buy himself some time and makes the comeback, getting a standing Shooting Star Press for two. Ospreay tries to get a dive to the floor next, but White flees to avoid that and a Gedo distraction allows him to catch Ospreay with a DDT back inside for a double down.
White gets some near falls following that, with the crowd clapping in an attempt to get Ospreay back into the match, but White has been working over his leg in the heat and that has slowed him down a bit. When it looks like Ospreay is going to hit something off the top, Gedo causes yet another distraction, and that allows White to counter it and then get a release German Suplex.
White and Gedo are a fantastic heel duo, and I love that they communicate throughout the match with one another, not unlike how Paul Heyman would give instructions and advice to Brock during his matches. Ospreay finally manages to get the big dive onto both the heels and follows with a 450 Splash back inside for two, but White desperately clings onto his leg to stop him going for the Os Cutter.
Jay White is the master of the little touches, and that’s probably why I’d put him above Roman Reigns and MJF in the “Best Currently Active Heel” category right now. Ospreay keeps coming and does finally get the Os Cutter, but White is able to kick out at two. In another great heel spot, White blocks The Storm Breaker by tangling up his legs with Referee Red Shoes, causing him to bump momentarily. The way he desperately escapes the big moves from the faces is top notch. This brings in Gedo with brass-knux, but Ospreay fends him off, blocks an attempted low blow from White and gets The Storm Breaker for the three count.
WINNER: WILL OSPREAY (6)
It sounds weird saying this due to how Ospreay sold consistently throughout and hit his usual array of hot moves, but that match was all about White for me, as his desperation to try and survive was incredible, as he literally threw everything he had in an effort to win and almost managed it. He probably needed to lose here in order to open the block up a bit, which that result definitely does.
G1 Climax A Block – Round Four
Tomohiro Ishii (0) Vs Shingo Takagi (2)
This will be our designated mean guy match tonight I think, as neither of these guys have met a snug forearm that they haven’t wanted to either take or throw. Ishii being on zero points at this stage is tantamount to criminal, especially when he’s been having hot matches with everyone he’s wrestled so far.
This one is exactly what you’d expect, with both men hitting one another very hard and then getting offended with the other man for not hitting them back hard enough. Obviously it’s not a match type for everyone, but if you’re into hefty lads throwing bombs at one another then this one will scratch your itch and then some. Things head out to the floor, where Shingo gets the better of things with a big lariat, and he continues to work Ishii over back inside the ring.
Ishii keeps coming though and the two men start trading chops like they are Kobashi and Sasaki at the Dome, which ends with Ishii giving Shingo a vertical suplex for a double down. Ishii is in control following that, no selling all of Shingo’s shots and hammering away on him in the corner with no mercy. You can always tell that Ishii is in a bad mood with someone as he starts chopping them in the throat, which is a vicious attack, and could possibly kill someone I think. I’m no scientician, but it makes sense to me that hitting someone really hard in the throat could potentially be fatal if you hit them hard enough.
Shingo returns the favour by chopping Ishii right back in the same area, which leads us nicely into the finishing stretch, where both men hit progressively bigger and more impactful moves in an effort to put their stubborn foe away. We get a fantastic “no sell the lariat” spot, which sees both men popping up from the move in question before finally both collapsing when they go for one at the same time. This match is so vicious that I’m expecting both men to hit each other with a flower, and do so every hour! The near falls really kick in, with Shingo getting a stiff lariat for two and then setting up for his Last of the Dragon TKO-like move.
Ishii fights that off though ducks another lariat attempt to get a pair of Saito Suplexes, followed by a lariat of his own for two. Man, this match is so snug you could wear it like a blanket to keep you warm in winter! We even get the big “kick out at one” spot at one stage, with Shingo popping up at one from a lariat, only to collapse straight after. Both men start trading head butts like Liquid and Solid at the end of MGS IV, and someone should totally dub the music over it actually just for giggles, and even that can’t separate them, as they’re both just too darn tough and stubborn, like a red wine stain on a cream coloured carpet. Eventually though it is Ishii’s will that wins out, as he turns Shingo inside out with another lariat and then gets a big Brain Buster for the three count.
WINNER: TOMOHIRO ISHII (2)
Tomohiro Ishii is going to go down as the best wrestler in history never to win a World Title I think
Neither man is satisfied after that and still wants to fight, but eventually Shingo leaves and Ishii doesn’t even stick around for the post-match speech.
So the standings now look as such;
Will Ospreay, Minoru Suzuki, Jay White, Taichi and Kota Ibushi all have 6 points, Okada has 4 points, Ishii, Cobb and Shingo have 2 ponts and Yujiro is bringing up the rear with 0
Another fine day of wrestling, with Taichi Vs Okada being the surprise package!