The B Block had their fourth night of action in front of 3,106 fans at Aore Nagaoka. Including the tags, there were ten matches on the show but all throughout the tournament I’ll only be discussing what happened in block action. Tonight the B Block featured five tournament matches. Let’s get into what happened!
Hirooki Goto (2-2) def. Toru Yano (1-3) @ 2:18 via GTR – **1/4
Yano wins Goto’s trust by not splashing him with water so the two shake hands but Yano then immediately sprints for the turnbuckle pad. He whacks Goto in the back of the head with the pad before the bell and we’re off to the races. Yano chokes and rolls Goto up by using his shirt but Goto sends him into the corner for a spinkick and suplex before laying in some forearms. After ducking a forearms, Yano nails a Belly-to-Belly Suplex yet is unable to follow up after Goto applies a Sleeper. Yano tries for a low blow but Goto locks both arms, hits several headbutts before an Ushigorishi immediately followed by the GTR. Fun sprint in the usual Yano fashion we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the years.
Tetsuya Naito (3-1) def. Tama Tonga (1-3) @ 10:05 via Destino – ***
Naito gets under Tama’s skin earlier by way of his slow disrobing. Tama’s outburst results in Naito calling him out for having his brother at ringside so Tama sends Loa to the back. As Loa walks up the ramp, Naito turns his back to Tama and that entices Tama to strike. He goes after Naito and calls his brother back to the ring. Naito has to overcome the numbers and Tama isn’t making it easy. He sweeps out Naito’s legs on the Springboard Dropkick and Gun Stuns Naito over the top rope. Just when it looks as if Naito is about to hit Destino, Tama throws him into the referee and Loa runs in with a Lariat. EVIL rushes to the ring and sends Loa over the top rope, prompting a Fale run-in with a shoulder tackle to EVIL. BUSHI sprays Fale with mist and dives through the ropes, delivering a Tope Suicida to Fale and Loa. Back in the ring, Naito flips out of a Backdrop Suplex but Tama follows with a low blow. Naito delivers a low blow of his own and keeps Tama grounded with a Destino for the win. Short and fun match. The crowd rallied behind Naito as he and LIJ managed to overcome the numbers game of the Firing Squad. Very fun and didn’t go long enough to lose any steam. Pedal to the metal the whole way through.
Zack Sabre Jr. (2-2) def. Tomohiro Ishii (2-2) @ 14:35 via Armbar – ***1/4
Sabre returns to the building where he defeated Tanahashi earlier this year to win the New Japan Cup. Although completely different stylistically, every Sabre/Ishii match is a must-see match. Both are on the polar opposite sides of the wrestling spectrum and blend their styles so well together in a way that never fails to feel special. Sabre makes Ishii pay for his bullheaded mindset by catching his strikes and pulling him into submissions. Ishii goats Sabre into thinking he’s in control and winds surprising Sabre by applying holds of his own. Sabre focused on the arm while Ishii went for the ankle. In the end, it was Sabre’s plan that held more logic as he was able to counter Ishii’s Lariats into multiple armbars and pin attempts. Sabre ducked a Lariat and rolled into a European Clutch which the crowd bought into both times but Ishii put an end to the momentum, stopping an Inside Cradle and hoisting Sabre up for a Brainbuster. Sabre was able to transition the hold into a cross-armbreaker and position Ishii into a triangle choke. Ishii attempted to Powerbomb his way out of the choke but Sabre hung on and transitioned into an Armbar, forcing Ishii to tap out very quick. A lot of really great psychology which is something Sabre is praised for but Ishii shouldn’t be overlooked here because his performance was just as good. Great match.
Kenny Omega (4-0) def. Juice Robinson (0-4) @ 15:31 via One-Winged Angel – ***
The rematch of last year’s shocker. The match that made people finally take notice to Juice and now one year later he holds the belt that Omega was holding when he beat him in the G1. Omega wanted to avoid taking cheap shots at Juice’s broken hand but this strategy put Omega behind the eight ball early and he couldn’t afford to go easy on Juice. After a flurry ending in a Cannonball off the apron, Juice seemed to be in full control. He went for a Crossbody off the top but Omega rolled through, attempted a V-Trigger which Juice evaded and landed some punches and followed with chops. Omega ducked a chop, ran the ropes but ate a Leg Lariat, still managing to avoid the corner Cannonball. One half of You Can’t Escape was hit but Juice got the knees up on the Moonsault section and successfully landed the Cannonball. Omega powers out of Pulp Friction, delivers a V-Trigger but Juice blocks with his hands. The pain of the broken hand is too much for Juice to rally so he’s immediately met with a V-Trigger. Juice blocks the One-Winged Angel to the Juice Box but again Pulp Friction is countered into a V-Trigger. The Angel is countered into an unsuccessful roll up, followed by a V-Trigger and finally the One-Winged Angel. Another fun match between these two. They have very strong chemistry together. Juice now finds himself in danger of elimination. All Omega needs is one more win and Juice is done.
SANADA (3-1) def. Kota Ibushi (2-2) @ 22:23 via Moonsault – ***1/2
The SANADA coming out party is officially in full effect. Huge career win for him in a main event over Ibushi. The two looked to mirror each other early, going hold for hold the first seven minutes. It broke down when SANADA bailed out of the ring after a Hurricanrana from Ibushi, who was unable to follow with the Golden Triangle Moonsault. SANADA sidestepped and hit a Moonsault off the apron, locking in the Skull End. He dragged Ibushi to the ramp, dropkicked his knee out of from under him and contiued to target the knee back in the ring with a Figure Four. SANADA dropkicked Ibushi out of the ring, hit a Plancha but Ibushi met him on the top rope where SANADA battled him off but Ibushi sprung up for a Hurricanrana off the top. Ibushi then successfully lands the Asai Moonsault, followed by Springboard Dropkick back in the ring. SANADA evades the Kamigoye and locks in Skull End, swinging Ibushi around like a top. Ibushi transitions SANADA into Lawn Dart position but SANADA winds up being the one to hit the move on Ibushi. They trade strikes before Ibushi turns a European Uppercut into a Backslide, Lariat, Last Ride combination. He removes his kneepad but again SANADA dodged the Kamigoye, picks Ibushi up for a draping Neckscrew into a Skull End, Ibushi collapses and SANADA hops to the top rope, winning with a Moonsault. The coming out party has been made official. SANADA successfully went move for move with Ibushi and came out on top. They maybe went a little too long but the payoff and crowd reaction was great. In a rare occurrence, SANADA took the microphone and told the fans Nagaoka is his favorite and promised them he’d win the G1. Backstage he says that the match was the most fun he’s had in his career. Really great moment for SANADA.
Strong show but possibly one of B Block’s weakest so far. They’ve been the standout block of the tournament but nothing reached the highs of the block’s previous nights. With that said, there isn’t much to complain about. The main event went longer than I would have preferred but the outcome made it worth the wait. The elevation of SANADA is in full effect and it’s exciting to finally see it happening. Omega remains the last competitor in either block to be undefeated while Juice is now in dire need for a lot of luck if he plans on winning the block. Ishii and Sabre had another great match in a series I will never get tired of seeing and LIJ is now three for three on overcoming the Firing Squad. There isn’t much to be disappointed about here. A very solid night with a great moment for SANADA to close out the show.
SANADA vs Ibushi
Sabre vs Ishii
(4-0): Kenny Omega
(3-1): Tetsuya Naito, SANADA
(2-2): Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr.
(1-3): Tama Tonga, Toru Yano
(0-4): Juice Robinson
Kazuchika Okada (2-2) vs YOSHI-HASHI (1-3)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-1) vs Togi Makabe (2-2)
Jay White (3-1) vs Bad Luck Fale (1-3)
EVIL (3-1) vs Hangman Page (1-3)
Minoru Suzuki (2-2) vs Michael Elgin (2-2)
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