The A Block had their sixth night of action in front of 2,555 fans at Takamatsu City Gymnasium. 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!
Bad Luck Fale (3-3) def. Togi Makabe (2-4) @ 7:52 via Lariat – **
Tanga Loa comes out to intro for Fale which was fine when Tama went against Sabre because there was the dueling dynamic with TAKA but this time it was cringeworthy. Makabe wins the shoulder tackle battle so Loa evens the score by tripping Makabe and taking him to the outside. The crowd rallied behind Makabe as he made his come back, hitting his corner punches and Northern Lights suplex combination. They having a dueling Lariat battle which Makabe again wins but Loa pulls the referee out before the three count and the two lay the boots to Makabe. He fights back with a double Lariat but again Loa gets involved, cutting off the King Kong Knee Drop and allowing Fale to wrap the chain around his arm, putting Makabe down with a Lariat for the win. Fine match. Didn’t go long enough to get boring, instead keeping it short and simple. After a hot start, this was the fourth straight loss for Makabe. This loss would end up eliminating him from the tournament by the end of the night.
Jay White (4-2) def. Hangman Page (1-5) @ 17:10 via Blade Runner – ***
The rematch of their US title match back in March at Strong Style Evolved. Page continues wowing crowds with his combination of freaky athleticism alongside his meaty strikes. White focused on the back of Page which prohibited Page from hitting the Buckshot Lariat on multiple occasions. He was finally able to fight through the pain but White rebounded quick with a Flatliner to the apron and took them to the top rope. Page fought off the top, took White to the floor and hit his top rope Moonsault then slid White back in for a corner Dropkick. White cuts off the second Moonsault, dumping Page back first onto the apron and distracts the referee with one chair while using another to his advantage. The referee and White have a dispute, White grabs Page’s leg but his boot slides off and Page Superkicks a chair into White’s face. While the referee is removing the chair from the ring, White hits a low blow and finishes with a Blade Runner. Another good match between the two. Both continue to be very solid in the tournament.
Minoru Suzuki (4-2) def. EVIL (4-2) @ 12:14 via Gotch-Style Piledriver – ***
EVIL starts off hot, attacking Suzuki before the bell and immediately taking the match to the outside. They brawl, trade strikes, make their way back to the ring, Suzuki ducks a Lariat into a rope-assisted Armbar and they bail back out again. Suzuki slams EVIL’s head into a table and hits him with a chair before choking him out with a cable. He takes EVIL back to the ring where he manages to chop his way out of Suzuki’s control, hits a Bronco Buster and stands on Suzuki’s head, enraging the jumpy old man. Suzuki powers up with a few nasty forearms, a PK and a cross-armbreaker. EVIL bails but Suzuki follows and attacks his arm with chair shots. The referee stops Suzuki from further chair attacks, giving EVIL time to rebound by throwing a chair of his own into Suzuki’s face. He then wraps it around Suzuki’s neck and hits it off with another chair. They make their way back into the ring and have a very long forearm battle. EVIL wins the exchange, brings Suzuki up for Darkness Falls but gets caught in a Sleeper. He fights out, attempts EVIL but instead finds himself in Gotch position, continues fighting, is put into another Sleeper before he’s finished with the Gotch-Style Piledriver. Fun back and forth between these two. This is my favorite EVIL match so far in the tournament. He showed a lot of spirit, not looking to be outdone by Suzuki. Good stuff from both guys.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-1) def. YOSHI-HASHI (1-5) @ 12:37 via Rolling Cradle – ***
After a career performance against Okada, Y-H is immediately put to the test once more, this time against Tanahashi. He looks to have Tana scouted early on, dodging two elbows and cutting Tanahashi off on an attempted skinning of the cat. Y-H yells at Tanahashi to bring it, dishing out a couple of vicious chops and ducking two Slingblades, turning the second into a Headhunter. Tanahashi catches the overeager Y-H in a Dragon Screw but his follow-up Texas Cloverleaf is countered as Y-H gets a flurry of offense starting with an Enziguri, followed by a Lungblower, Running Sitout Powerbomb and Senton from the top rope. He looks to finish Tana with Karma but is turned to Twist & Shout. Tana attempts Slingblade, which Y-H counters to a Lariat and directly to a Brainbuster for a two count and the crowd bites hard. Karma is again attempted, this time Tana fights out, keeps control of the arm and lands a Slingblade into a Straightjacket Suplex hold (signaling to Ibushi?). Y-H kicks out, avoids High Fly Flow, follows with running double knees, transitions into the Butterfly Lock but Tana captures the arm and cradles Y-H for the win. An enraged Y-H gets in Tanahashi’s face as the two argue over how the match ended. Really strong showing from Y-H once again. He lost but looked legitimate and got in Tanahashi’s face afterwards. Good stuff.
Kazuchika Okada (4-2) def. Michael Elgin (2-4) @ 20:56 via Rainmaker – ***
Okada clowned on Elgin before the match by flexing and pretending to be Elgin. The running story has been that Elgin is strong and can do a lot of moves but that he doesn’t have the heart to take himself to the next level. That was the case once again here as he was able to catch Okada with a lot of high impact moves but wasn’t able to dig down deeper than the surface moves. Elgin attempted a Razor’s Edge off the top but Okada countered it into an armdrag, went for the dropkick but Elgin caught it into a sitout Powerbomb. Okada fights out of the Burning Hammer and transitions into Tombston position. Elgin counters into Tombstone position and they counter the position back and forth before Okada finally drops Elgin. He then lands the Discuss Rainmaker, Elgin powers up but is immediately floored with the Rainmaker. Like all Elgin matches, this was filled with a lot of moves which is cool but there wasn’t much emotion. The emotion he does show comes off too animated and goofy. A good match if you just look at the moves but lacked the emotion that should be there. That’s always been my critique after every match between these two. Always fine based off moves but there isn’t anything significant under the surface level. Post-match Okada tells the crowd he’ll win the G1 and heads backstage where he says he’s beaten the #1 idiot which maes him the #1 idiot. Goofy Okada burned himself. Oops. Again, this was a good match but an underwhelming main event.
After the Fale/Makabe match I thought everything here was good. One of the more consistent shows in terms of match quality but the main event lacked the emotion to bring it to the level it should have been. Elgin always works hard but his emotion can come off too animated and goofy, which it did here. There were a lot of eliminations tonight as Elgin, Y-H, Page and Makabe are all offically unable to rally and make a comeback. With three more tournament matches to go, it’s essentially a five man race with Tanahashi the lone man on top. His next match will be against EVIL who should be fired up to make a comeback after tonight’s losing effort to Suzuki. Speaking of which, Okada’s next challenger is Suzuki, both of whom are tied at four wins. Jay White has Y-H next and a loss would be the upset of the tournament. There’s a lot to look forward to the next time we see the A Block take action.
Tonight was a four horse race. I didn’t think any of them stood out above the others so pick your favorite wrestlers out of those four matches and watch those. They were all good but nothing major in any of them either.
(5-1): Hiroshi Tanahashi
(4-2): Jay White, Kazuchika Okada, Minoru Suzuki, EVIL
(3-3): Bad Luck Fale
(2-4): Michael Elgin, Togi Makabe
(1-5): Hangman Page, YOSHI-HASHI
Kota Ibushi (3-2) vs Hirooki Goto (2-3)
Kenny Omega (5-0) vs Zack Sabre Jr. (3-2)
Tetsuya Naito (4-1) vs Toru Yano (1-4)
SANADA (3-2) vs Juice Robinson (1-4)
Tomohiro Ishii (2-3) vs Tama Tonga (1-4)
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