The B Block had their sixth night of action in front of 3,490 fans at the Kagoshima Arena. 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!
Tama Tonga (2-4) def. Tomohiro Ishii (2-4) @ 10:34 via Gun Stun – **3/4
Tanga Loa continues being the hype man for his brother. I’ve liked this in theory but the execution has left me cringing. Please stop talking about Doritos.
Tama wanted to end this one as fast as possible, consistently looking for the Gun Stun at every opportunity. Over and over again, Ishii was able to block and overcome Loa’s interference. Speaking of which, there was plenty of interference here, more than the usual. Ishii was all for Loa coming in the ring and trying to get one up on him. Time after time, Ishii overcome the numbers game and Gun Stun attempts. It wasn’t until Fale came in that Ishii faltered. He did manage to escape one Grenade but was caught on the second. Tama runs in for a Gun Stun but again it’s blocked. Ishii muscles Tama up for a Brainbuster but on his way down, Tama transitions the move into a Gun Stun and picks up the win. Another fun Tama Tonga match. None of them have received my recommendation but they’ve been good enough matches for the completionists out there.
Juice Robinson (2-4) def. SANADA (3-3) @ 12:39 via Pulp Friction – **1/2
If you had this match layout written on paper it’d look like a lot of fun. There were a lot of counters into one another’s finishers and Juice looked to have SANADA scouted all the way through but the problem was this confused the crowd. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong here. Maybe they didn’t like that Juice was making SANADA look like a chump? He had an answer to everything SANADA threw at him, including locking in a Skull End and attempting the follow up Moonsault. Juice also evaded a couple of attempted Planchas and turned a Hurricanrana into a Powerbomb. His counters weren’t enough to keep SANADA down so he removed his cast, punched SANADA in the face and landed Pulp Friction for the win. This was a nice match but the lack of crowd involvement created a weird atmosphere. SANADA dropping two in a row after such a hot start is shocking and he now is in a spoiler role so quickly after being a legitimate contender.
Tetsuya Naito (5-1) def. Toru Yano (1-5) @ 8:28 via Destino – **1/2
Yano starts off by sprinting to the ring, wanting to dictate the pace but Naito takes his time disrobing and sets the pace himself. They brawl to the outside where Yano tries to tape Naito to the guardrail but winds up being the one taped instead. Yano runs back in the ring before the count of twenty, his arm still wrapped around the guardrail. Naito takes it back to the outside and hits Yano with a DVD. By DVD I don’t mean a Death Valley Driver. No, Naito hit Yano with a DVD box. He begins toying with Yano, taking it easy on him so Yano uses the time to remove the turnbuckle pad and drive Naito into it three times, hits a Belly-to-Belly, removes his shirt and chokes Naito. The referee tries stopping Yano but Yano pulls his shirt over his head. The distraction allows Naito time to hit a low blow and roll Yano up for two. Naito immediately follows with Destino for the win. Not my favorite Yano match of the tournament but still fun by his standards.
Kenny Omega (6-0) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (3-3) @ 15:16 via Roll Up – ***3/4
The first time a singles match between these two has made tape. One of the most anticipated matches of the tournament. Two of the most exciting wrestlers with completely different styles, clashing in a New Japan ring. Pretty awesome. Omega looked to show off his mat wrestling early but was caught in a cross armbreaker and forced to use his strength to get himself out. Sabre made Omega pay for his aerial tactics on multiple occasions by picking the leg and transitions into various leg submissions. Omega fired back with some forearms but Sabre gained control again by sweeping Omega’s leg out from under him and continuing the assault. Using his strength advantage, Omega regains the upperhand with a European Uppercut, Kotaro Crusher and Snap Hurricanrana but his You Can’t Escape combo into countered into a Sleeper. Again, he powers through and tries the combo once more only for the Moonsault to be transitioned into a Triangle Choke. Desperate to end the match soon, Omega launches off the ropes for a nasty Tornado DDT and quickly follows with a Twisting Plancha when Sabre bails to the outside. He throws Sabre back in, does the Gun signal, loading up for the V-Trigger but Sabre grabs the finger and transitions into a cross armbreaker. Omega powers out, hits the V-Trigger but the One-Winged Angel is turned back into a cros armbreaker. After a Dragon Suplex, Omega looked for the Angel again but this time is caught in a European Clutch. Sabre twists Omega into Orienteering with Napalm Death but Omega gets the ropes, blocks Sabre’s PK, Sabre blocks the V-Trigger and Omega turns the block into a roll up for the win. Excellent chemistry between these two. Kept it relatively short and very sweet. One of the tournament’s best matches.
Kota Ibushi (4-2) def. Hirooki Goto (2-4) @ 18:10 via Kamigoye – ****
Ibushi returns to his home town and receives a huge ovation from the crowd. He gets the advantage on Goto early with a Snap Hurricanrana but spends too much time playing to the crowd, allowing Goto time to recover before a Golden Triangle could be attempted. Goto drives Ibushi into the rails and grinds him down back in the ring. Ibushi hits a desperation Dropkick, Goto bails outside and is met with the top rope version of the Golden Triangle. The trade forearms back in the ring and head to the top rope. Ibushi slides out of a top rope Ushigorishi, meets Goto back on top, Goto again takes control, attempts Kaiten but Ibushi blocks and flips his way out before delivering a huge Lariat that puts Goto down. The crowd begins to rally behind Ibushi big time as he sets up for a Kamigoye. Goto forearms his way out but Ibushi keeps wrist control and turns it into a Straightjacket German. Goto again blocks the Kamigoye, this time with a headbutt and follows with a forearm, Lariat and Reverse GTR. Ibushi floats through the GTR and they trade Sleepers before Goto sinches in and Ibushi collapses. Again, the crowd rallies but Goto puts Ibushi in position for the GTR. Ibushi counters into GTR position himself and they trade Brainbuster attempts until Goto successfully lands the Shoten Kai for a huge two count. The GTR is turned into a Somersault Clutch but Goto kicks out, hits a headbutt, the second headbutt being met with an Ibushi slap. Boma Ye, Last Ride, Kamigoye. Ibushi wins. Excellent main event. One of the tournament’s finest matches to this point. Both Ibushi and Goto have been stars in the B Block. I loved this match. Ibushi promises his hometown fans that he will win the G1.
Yet another B Block show were the worst match still turned out to be perfectly fine. There were weird reactions to Juice/SANADA but that’s the only blemish to the show. The top two matches delivered some of the tournament’s best so far. The Omega win eliminates half the field as Juice, Yano, Goto, Ishii and Tama no longer have any chance of winning the tournament. Goto deserves recognition as one of the potential G1 MVPs right now. He’s lost four matches and is now mathematically eliminated but each of his four losses were great performances that shouldn’t be ignored. Ibushi has put together an incredible G1 in his own right and his next match is against Naito so look for that trend to continue. Sabre took a loss to Omega but I hope this isn’t the last time we see a match between these two. They had insane chemistry and kept the match short enough that it left you wanting more. Cannot praise the B Block enough for keeping their matches under twenty. This hasn’t been the case for all of their shows but for the most part they’ve been a breeze to watch.
Ibushi vs Goto
Omega vs Sabre
(6-0): Kenny Omega
(5-1): Tetsuya Naito
(4-2): Kota Ibushi
(3-3): SANADA, Zack Sabre Jr.
(2-4): Tama Tonga, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Juice Robinson
(1-5): Toru Yano
Kazuchika Okada (4-2) vs Minoru Suzuki (4-2)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-1) vs EVIL (4-2)
Jay White (4-2) vs YOSHI-HASHI (1-5)
Togi Makabe (2-4) vs Hangman Page (1-5)
Michael Elgin (2-4) vs Bad Luck Fale (2-4)
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