The A Block had their seventh night of action in front of 3,580 fans at the Fukuoka 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!
Michael Elgin (3-4) def. Bad Luck Fale (3-4) @ 11:13 via Disqualification – **1/2
Looks like the Tanga Loa intro is here to stay. He didn’t say the Dorito line so I’ll accept it this time. Fale and Elgin pie face each other before Elgin hits the ropes where he’s tripped by Loa. Elgin shoots through the ropes onto Loa and shoulder tackles Fale from the second but Fale doesn’t budge. Fale takes the match to the outside where he attacks Elgin’s taped shoulder. Unsuccessfully able to muscle Fale up for a Brainbuster, Elgin’s comeback is cut short by a corner splash and standing splash. Elgin is able to duck the Grenade and Superkick his way out of another, causing the crowd to rally behind him making his comeback. Once again, Elgin resorts to strength but can’t hoist Fale up for the Powerbomb nor Burning Hammer. He is able to break free of the Bad Luck Fale and fires back with a German suplex and Discuss forearm but Fale puts an end to his flurry by shoving Elgin into the referee. Loa makes his way into the ring but is met with an Elgin Brainbuster and scoop slams Fale before heading to the top. Once at the top, Tama makes his way out and nails Elgin with a chair, causing a disqualification. The crowd being involved helped this match a lot. They rallied behind Elgin more than you’d think and it made for a fun environment all things considered.
Hangman Page (2-5) def. Togi Makabe (2-5) @ 9:10 via Rite of Passage – ***
Makabe is the master of these short and sweet sprints. He grounds Page early with a shoulder tackle, takes him to the outside and throws him into the guardrails. Makabe throws Page back in the ring but before he himself could get back in, Page hits him with a dive and throws Makabe into the rails for good measure. Throwing Makabe into the corner, Page says “F*** You” and nails him with a corner Dropkick and follows with a Deadlift Bridging Gutwrench suplex for a two count. Makabe fires up with a Lariat and takes Page to the top for a Spider German but settles for a Spider Overhead when Page fights out of position. Page avoids the King Kong Knee Drop and the two trade Lariats, Page hitting the Buckshot variation and finishing Makabe with the Rite of Passage. You couldn’t have asked for a better sprint between these two. They kept it short, sweet and meaty.
Jay White (5-2) def. YOSHI-HASHI (1-6) @ 9:49 via Blade Runner – ***
White’s second singles encounter with a Chaos stablemate. He comes in still upset over yesterday’s tag match where Y-H refused to take the night off so he attacks Y-H before the bell. Y-H isn’t going to take any shenanigans though, he brings it right back to White, shouldering him to the mat. White regroups quickly, hitting a Suplex over the top rope to the floor and grabbing a chair from under the ring. The referee tries stopping White but is shoved down for his troubles, giving Y-H enough time to Dropkick the chair into White’s face. Y-H follows with Headhunter, a draping Dropkick and a top rope Headhunter. White catches Y-H running in with a Flatliner + German suplex combination but Y-H turns the Blade Runner into a roll up and nails White with a Lariat. White crotches Y-H on the top but his Blade Runner is countered again, this time in position for Karma so White shoves into the referee and low blows Y-H. Once again, Y-H is able to escape the Blade Runner and begins to rally with a Superkick, Lungblower, Fisherman’s Buster suplex combination. He goes for Karma but White blocks and turns into Blade Runner for the win. Back to back sprints that were a whole lot of fun. Y-H should win an award for most consistent in the block. He’s put on a lot of fun, fiery babyface matches.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6-1) def. EVIL (4-3) @ 12:58 via High Fly Flow – **3/4
A hot finish made up for what was a largely disappointing match between Tanahashi and EVIL. I don’t think we’re at the point where people see EVIL as some sort of bully so Tanahashi putting him in that role was a miss as far as I’m concerned. People want to rally behind EVIL but love Tanahashi so they had a weird dynamic. A large portion of this match saw EVIL wearing down Tanahasi’s arms until he made his comeback. EVIL did his leg tossing to the referee spot but Tanahashi had it scouted by catching EVIL’s kick and not letting go until the referee put down his leg. Tanahashi slapped EVIL but was repaid with a running Lariat and Fisherman’s Buster suplex. EVIL signaled for the end, Tanahashi took control of the hand and rolled EVIL up before landing a Slingblade and heading to the top rope. EVIL tries throwing the referee into the ropes but Tanahashi stops it, catches EVIL’s boot and gives a Dragon Screw across the rope. He misses High Fly Flow, eats a Lariat but turns EVIL to Dragon suplex position, battles back into position for EVIL but it’s Tanahashi that lands EVIL and finishes the match with a High Fly Flow. Hot finishing sequence but the grinding on the arm portion was a whole lot of filler. After two short and concise matches, this felt too long but I guess Tanahashi shouldn’t be squashing EVIL in under ten minutes. This was good but had potential to be better if they spent the excess four minutes doing something else.
Kazuchika Okada (5-2) def. Minoru Suzuki (4-3) @ 18:24 via Rainmaker – ***1/2
Okada and Suzki comes into the night with the same exact tournament. Both dropped their first two matches before surging into tonight with four straight wins. These two have had three distinct wars in the last eighteen months so this was a match many had circled on their calendar. Suzuki sent Okada to the outside before the bell could ring and drove him into the crowd. He buried him with guardrails and hit Okada relentlessly with chairs over the back. This went on for the first four minutes of the match. Suzuki repeatedly beat down Okada and he waited for him at the ring apron. When Okada was about to enter the ring, Suzuki cut him off and continued the assault. Once they finally made it back into the ring, Suzuki choked Okada with a shirt and stood on his face. Okada made a short comeback but Suzuki slide his way through an attempted Neckbreaker and transitioned it into a cross armbreaker. Suzuki hammers down some forearms and has full control until Okada fires off a desperation John Woo Dropkick. They fire off on each other with a forearm battle that seems to go on forever. Suzuki does the Rainmaker pose and gets pie-faced for his cockiness, rolled up and driven back down with a Dropkick. He avoids the Rainmaker, lands a series of vicious strikes and puts Okada down with a Dropkick of his own. Okada looks to rebound but is trapped in a Sleeper and begins to fade. Suzuki goes for the Gotch but Okada regroups and looks for a Rainmaker, only to get caught in an Abdominal Stretch. Okada transitions to Tombstone position and attempts the Rainmaker but is caught with a back elbow. He puts Suzuki in a Sleeper, looks for a Gotch but Suzuki turns into a Tombstone position before Okada lands the Gotch Tombstone. He follows immediately with the Discuss Rainmaker and finishes with the traditional Rainmaker. Really fun main event, arguably the best of the A Block so far. Great chemistry between these two, as always. This wasn’t anywhere near their best match but this is a different Okada right now so we didn’t get that classic match most were probably expecting. Nonetheless, this was a great main event. Okada promises to win the G1 and that’s how we end the show.
Fun show top to bottom. The Fale/Elgin match overdelivered on expectations and the two sprints were a whole lot of fun. Kind of wonky story between Tanahashi and EVIL but other than that, not much to be down about here. Main event delivered the A Block’s best match so far and with both Tanahashi and Okada on a roll, things couldn’t be more exciting. Makabe/Page and White/Y-H were both good and since each of them have a runtime of under ten minutes, you could spend your time watching much worse that those two. Ultimately though, the main event is what you want to see from this show. We’re inching ever closer to the finals and after today’s event, only Tanahashi, Okada and White have a chance of making it to the finals. White has the tiebreaker over both Okada and Tanahashi so if he continues his winning streak, it’ll be up to whether or not Tanahashi can stay one win ahead of him. Okada needs White to lose either of his last two matches in order for him to have a chance. White’s next matches are against Togi Makabe and EVIL.
Okada vs Suzuki
(6-1): Hiroshi Tanahashi
(5-2): Jay White, Kazuchika Okada
(4-3): Minoru Suzuki, EVIL
(3-4): Michael Elgin, Bad Luck Fale
(2-5): Hangman Page, Togi Makabe
Tetsuya Naito (5-1) vs Kota Ibushi (4-2)
Kenny Omega (6-0) vs Tomohiro Ishii (2-4)
Zack Sabre Jr. (3-3) vs Juice Robinson (2-4)
Hirooki Goto (2-4) vs Tama Tonga (2-4)
SANADA (3-3) vs Toru Yano (1-5)
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