The A Block had their fifth night of action in front of 2,800 fans at Act City Hamamatsu. 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 A Block featured five tournament matches. Let’s get into what happened!
Minoru Suzuki (3-2) def. Michael Elgin (2-3) @ 14:10 via Gotch-Style Piledriver – **3/4
The rematch of last year’s universally hated Lumberjack Deathmatch for the NEVER title. Suzuki attacks the arm early on, applying the armbreaker over the top rope but it’ll take a while for him to wear down Elgin’s power. They fight out into the crowd Suzuki continues to go after the arm whether it be by wrapping it around the ring post or guardrail. Elgin is able to fire back for a bit but the striking battle causes a smile to run across Suzuki’s face. Suzuki smells blood in the water when Elgin removes his own elbow pad. Immediately, Suzuki strikes with a running dropkick, a flurry of strikes and applies the Sleeper. Elgin looks to transition into a Brainbuster but Suzuki’s assault on the arm allows him to slide back into the Sleeper and hit a quick Piledriver before Elgin could reground. Smart match as you’d expect between the two.
EVIL (4-1) def. Hangman Page (1-4) @ 15:41 via EVIL – ***
They trade teases of their finishes right off the bat but EVIL gets the best of Page early on so he bails and goes for a chair. Page boots the chair into EVIL’s face and takes control until EVIL catches a kick and sends Page to the outside for a chair shot in return. EVIL hits the Bronco Buster but Page ducks the corner lariat and drills EVIL with a corner dropkick, forcing EVIL to collect himself on the outside. Page meets EVIL out there with a top tope Moonsault, throws EVIL back in, tries a follow up Moonsault, lands on his feet and hits the standing Shooting Star Press. He intends on following with the Neckbreaker from the top but EVIL counters into a suplex from the second. He hits Darkness Falls but Page elbows his way out of EVIL and they trade Lariats and attempt German suplexes back and forth before Page finds his window to hit the Buckshot Lariat. Huge chants for Page as he fights out of EVIL again, attempts a lariat but EVIL hits one of his own and finishes Page with EVIL. This was up there with EVIL’s best matches so far in the tournament. Page works extra hard to win crowd approval which makes his opponents have to do more to keep up even on the off nights. EVIL is the first in the block to reach eight points.
Bad Luck Fale (2-3) def. Jay White (3-2) @ 11:43 via Bad Luck Fall – **1/4
White looked to even the numbers game right off the bat by attacking Loa on the outside. He then jumped Fale from behind so he bails outside, looking for a chair. This distracts the referee and allows Loa to jump White. Fale and White brawl into the crowd and take turns throwing each other into the fan’s seats but White took it a step further by slamming young lions onto Fale. After using his weight to his advantage with a few splashes, Fale goes for Bad Luck Fall. White fights out, attempts Bladerunner but Fale grabs his throat, prompting White to throw Fale into the referee. Loa runs in, Tama runs in with a chair, White fights out and hits Loa with the chair before delivering a low blow to Fale. Tama comes back and connects with the Gun Stun and Fale finishes with Bad Luck Fall. A lot of shenanigans as we’ve come to expect from both men. The story here was that Firing Squad are a unit but no one in Chaos has White’s back. We’ve seen LIJ run in to help combat the Firing Squad’s numbers but no one cared to help White.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (4-1) def. Togi Makabe (2-3) @ 12:01 via High Fly Flow – **1/2
The standard house show match but after three straight matches consisting of heavy outside brawling, I appreciated them keeping this in the ring the entire time. Makabe out-wrestles Tanahashi and gets under his skin early on. Tanahashi tries to combat by stealing Makabe’s signature corner punches but Makabe isn’t having it, cutting it off early. Makabe is finally slowed down after a Dragon Screw but not enough to change the momentum. He takes Tanahashi to the top for an attempted Spider Suplex, Tanahashi battles back so Makabe settles for a top rope Overhead Belly-to-Belly. His King Kong Knee Drop is avoided, Tanahashi ducks a lariat and lands the Slingblade before heading to the top for the Crossbody and High Fly Flow. Nothing special but I appreciated them staying in the ring. Tanahashi meets EVIL on top of the block with his fourth win.
Kazuchika Okada (3-2) def. YOSHI-HASHI (1-4) @ 19:39 via Rainmaker – ***1/4
The first singles match between Okada and Y-H since their 2012 encounter at Wrestle Kingdom. Okada disrespected Y-H before the bell by throwing his shirt at him, enraging Y-H and causing him to throwing Okada into the guardrails repeatedly. The third throw is countered and Okada boots Y-H over the rails where he then takes the match into the crowd. Y-H is thrown into a sea of chairs and has other chairs thrown at him. Okada breaks the referee’s count but goes back out for a draping DDT to the floor. They get back to the ring and Y-H throws some forearms. Okada asks him to bring it, Hurricanranas out of a Y-H Powerbomb, lands a John Woo and goes to the top where he hits Y-H with a Shotgun Dropkick. Then there’s a callback to their Wrestle Kingdom match when Okada hits the sitout Rainmaker which was his original finish upon returning from excursion. Y-H rolled through the Tombstone and counters the Rainmaker with a lariat of his own. He counters a second Rainmaker by rolling through into the Butterfly Lock and pulls Okada from the ropes twice. The crowd bites and rally behind Y-H. Okada finally reaches the ropes, fights out of a Fisherman’s Buster but Y-H comes back with a slap, Superkick, Brainbuster combination for a huge nearfall. Y-H keeps the fire going by hitting a Lungblower and looks to finish with Karma but Okada rolls through and hits the Tombstone, Discuss Rainmaker and wins via standard Rainmaker. Great match. Okada apologizes for what he considered to be a boring match but the crowd reassures him that it was a good match. He thanks them and that’s how we end the show.
Once again, the A Block doesn’t quite live up to what we’ve been seeing from its counterpart. This wasn’t a great show by any stretch of the imagination but the main event ended the show on a strong note. Okada has found his groove and alongside Y-H, the two deliver a match worth watching. Page has been the hardest worker in the block. Every night he’s going out there with crazy top rope Moonsaults to the outside and continues to win crowds over. The Tongan’s number games get the best of White, who should now be considering recruiting some allies of his own. Tanahashi/Makabe was pretty standard but I appreciated them staying inside the ring after three matches with heavy outside brawling. Like every A Block night so far, this isn’t a show to write home about but it featured a great match worth taking the time to watch so it’s hard to be too negative. Definitely take time for the main event and if you have time left, EVIL/Page.
Okada vs Y-H
(4-1): Hiroshi Tanahashi, EVIL
(3-2): Kazuchika Okada, Minoru Suzuki, Jay White
(2-3): Michael Elgin, Bad Luck Fale, Togi Makabe
(1-4): Hangman Page, YOSHI-HASHI
Kenny Omega (4-0) vs SANADA (3-1)
Tetsuya Naito (3-1) vs Hirooki Goto (2-2)
Kota Ibushi (2-2) vs Tomohiro Ishii (2-2)
Toru Yano (1-3) vs Juice Robinson (0-4)
Zack Sabre Jr. (2-2) vs Tama Tonga (1-3)
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