The first of a three night run at Korakuen Hall sees the A Block in their third of nine block matches. The main event is a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom 13 as Kota Ibushi looks for his revenge against Will Ospreay. Also, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Zack Sabre Jr. battle as two of the block’s three winless participants. The G1 Climax has never been won by someone who has started with an 0-3 record, making this match extremely crucial. On top of all that there’s a showdown between two members of Los Ingobernables de Japon as EVIL and SANADA face off for the first time in two years. Let’s get started!
KENTA (2-0) def. Lance Archer (2-0) @ 11:58 via GAME OVER – **3/4
They meet in the middle and Archer shoves KENTA to the mat. KENTA gets back to his feet and lands a flurry of kicks to the back of Archer’s knee, causing him to collapse. He follows with a pair of corner boots before being cut off by a shoulder tackle from Archer. He sets KENTA up for a chokeslam to the floor but the LA Dojo boys catch KENTA on his way down. With KENTA in their arms, Archer comes off the apron with a somersault senton and wipes out all three guys. The time keeper goes to start the count but Archer takes the microphone and tells him to shut up before sending KENTA back inside.
Archer calls KENTA Hideo which gets him a slap across the face but Archer responds with another shoulder tackle and grinds KENTA into the mat, pulls him back up and takes him back down with a short-arm lariat. KENTA makes it back to his feet, connects with a series of boots and catches Archer running in with a powerslam. He follows with a springboard dropkick and both a corner boot and dropkick before landing a double stomp off the top for a two count. Archer charges in the corner, eats a boot but puts the brakes on a tornado DDT and takes KENTA to the top rope.
KENTA cuts him off with a series of headbutts and jumps off the top only to get caught in a slam. He manages to avoid the EDB Claw but Archer takes him back to the top and sets up for Blackout. KENTA turns the hold into a sleeper and follows with a PK before muscling Archer up to his shoulders. Archer escapes, applies the EBD Claw and drops KENTA with a muscle buster for two, picks him up for a powerbomb and gets another two. He sets up for a chokeslam but on the way down, KENTA turns it into a triangle choke and transitions into a crossface to force the submission.
EVIL (1-1) def. SANADA (1-1) @ 18:12 via EVIL – ***1/2
SANADA comes out hot with a pair of dropkicks and sets up for a moonsault but EVIL rolls to the floor. EVIL searches under the ring and slides in a chair. SANADA takes the chair, the referee fights it from him and EVIL takes the opportunity to shoulders SANADA to the mat. SANADA catches EVIL’s boot and tries setting him up for the Paradise Lock but EVIL shoves him off and tries for the Scorpion Death Lock which SANADA turns out of and they stalemate. EVIL catches a boot, sends it to the referee and kicks SANADA before applying the Paradise Lock himself and dropkicking SANADA free.
SANADA bails outside, EVIL follows and sends him into the rails repeatedly before bringing him back inside for a one count. EVIL grinds SANADA down with a bodyscissors until SANADA manages to find the ropes but stays on the attack with shots to the neck. SANADA fires up with chops, EVIL takes him down with a double overhand chop but SANADA rolls away from the senton. EVIL picks him back up, looks for a vertical suplex but SANADA slides free and connects with a pair of dropkicks to the knee and Paradise Locks EVIL through the bottom rope. He dropkicks EVIL free and follows him out with a plancha before bringing him back in for a backdrop suplex that gets him a two count.
EVIL catches a boot, hammers a forearm to the back and drops SNADA in a backbreaker for a two count of his own. He brings SANADA back up, wants a German but SANADA flips through and ducks EVIL’s lariat before landing a springboard dropkick. EVIL slides out of the TKO, pulls the referee between them and uses the referee for an assisted Magic Killer. He charges in with a lariat in the corner and takes SANADA to the top rope for a superplex that gets him another two count. SANADA elbows free of the STO, EVIL breaks free on the Skull End and pulls SANADA into the hold but SANADA escapes and drops EVIL with an STO of his own for two.
EVIL gets his knees up on the moonsault and cradles SANADA for two. They make it back to their feet forehead to forehead and trade strikes. EVIL flurries but SANADA ducks a lariat and drops EVIL with a Tiger suplex for two. He pulls EVIL up into position for Skull End and swings him around but EVIL uses the momentum to again cradle SANADA for a two count. SANADA makes it back to his feet, lands a boot and forearm before getting wrecked with a lariat followed by Darkness Fall for two. EVIL sets up for an STO that SANADA cradles, they pop back up and EVIL lands a lariat but SANADA kicks out at one before getting leveled with a second lariat for two. EVIL pulls SANADA back up yo his feet and finishes him with an STO to win the match.
EVIL offers a fist bump after the match which SANADA accepts before they head to the back.
Kazuchika Okada (2-0) def. Bad Luck Fale (1-1) @ 10:15 via Jackknife Pin – ***1/4
Chase Owens and Jado enter through Fale’s corner but Fale is nowhere to be seen. Okada collapses through his entrance as Fale is seen attacking him before behind. He beats Okada down on the outside of the ring before sending him in and splashing him in the corner followed by a diving splash for a two count. Okada makes it back to his feet where he lands a flurry of strikes but gets tripped by Owens and dragged back to the outside. Fale stands in the ring, content with the count out victory but Okada rolls in at twelve where he’s met with the boots of Fale standing over his back.
Okada again fights back up but takes a pair of forearms across the back. He tries landing a scoop slam but Fale sends him to the ropes and sends Okada crashing down with a backdrop. Okada hoists Fale up but collapses under the weight, managing to kick out at two. He sends Fale to the ropes and uses the momentum to land the scoop slam. Fale bails outside, Okada follows him out with a tope con giro and brings him back in for a corner back elbow followed by a DDT for a two count. He can’t bring Fale up for the reverse neckbreaker but escapes the Bad Luck Fall and lands a dropkick into the corner before getting the reverse neckbreaker for two.
Okada then climbs to the top rope, lands the elbow drop and hits the Rainmaker pose. As Fale is turned into position, he grabs the referee and pulls him into Okada. With the referee down, Owens rushes in to help and Fale connects with the Grenade. Okada escapes the Bad Luck Fall, dropkicks Owens, looks to do the same to Fale but Jado hits him with the cane. Fale rushes in looking for a sunset flip but Okada sits on the roll through and picks up the win.
Still not done, Fale rushes back in but eats a dropkick as Okada celebrates his third victory.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-2) def. Zack Sabre Jr. (0-2) @ 13:55 via Jackknife Pin – ***1/2
Tanahashi backs Sabre to the corner and gives a clean break. They knuckle lock, Sabre takes the head with a cravat, Tanahashi picks the leg and takes Sabre down forcing a stalemate. Sabre gets a hold of the leg and applies a heel hook which Tanahashi also locks in and pulls Sabre into a key lock. Sabre transitions through into a bow & arrow and the two stalemate again. Taking Tanahashi down again, Sabre locks in a headscissors but Tanahashi is quickly to the ropes. They knuckle lock, Tanahashi sweeps the leg and grabs the heel. Sabre pulls him into a headlock, Tanahashi sends Sabre off but gets caught in a Cobra Twist.
Tanahashi transitions into his own Cobra Twist and into a cradle for two. They trade a long series of in attempts before Tanahashi connects with Twist & Shout. He wants the slingblade but Sabre catches him in the Cobra Twist again. Tanahashi picks the leg and takes Sabre down with a dragon screw. They trade uppercuts that eventually ground Sabre but he fights back up and they battle on trying to secure a backslide until Tanahashi decides on a slideblade instead. He pulls Sabre into a leg clutch pin for two, Sabre kicks out and locks in a triangle but Tanahashi breaks free and wants the Texas Cloverleaf.
Sabre slides through and traps Tanahashi in the Jim Breaks Armbar which Tanahashi manages to escape via a rope break. Sabre stomps the arm, looks for a PK but Tanahashi catches the kick and stands up. Sabre lands a flurry of slaps to Tanahashi’s face but Tanahashi refuses to let go of the hold and drops Sabre with a dragon screw followed by a slingblade for two. Tanahashi climbs to the top, hits a diving crossbody and heads back up for High Fly Flow. Sabre gets his knees up, rolls Tanahashi into a submission but Tanahashi counters into a pin to pick up the win.
An irate Sabre attacks the guardrail in frustration as Tanahashi wipes down with fan’s towels.
Kota Ibushi (0-2) def. Will Ospreay (1-1) @ 27:16 via Kamigoye – ****
They lock up, Ospreay backs Ibushi to the ropes and gives a clean break. They lock up again, this time Ibushi backs Ospreay to the ropes and gives a clean break.They trade waistlocks, Ospreay takes the wrist and muscles Ibushi down but gets caught in a headscissors. Ospreay handstands free and goes for a headlock but Ibushi pulls him back into the headscissors. He manages another escape, takes Ibushi’s wrist but Ibushi slides through and gets the headlock. Ospreay sends him off but gets shouldered back down to the mat. Ibushi hits the ropes, drops down for a headlock , Ospreay rolls him up for one, hits an armdrag but Ibushi puts the brakes on an Oscutter.
Ospreay picks the leg and takes Ibushi to the apron where he slams his knee over the edge before picking him up and dropping Ibushi knee first over the guardrail followed by driving his knee repeatedly into the post. He stays on the knee, takes Ibushi to the corner, misses a pair of knees and takes a kick across the back from Ibushi. Now in control, Ibushi applies the cravat to take Ospreay down and drops an elbow for a one count. Ibushi locks in a headscissors and rolls Ospreay away from the ropes. Ospreay take a hold of the legs and muscles Ibushi to his shoulders but Ibushi fight free, sends Ospreay off but gets caught with a handspring enzuigiri.
A series of forearms take Ibushi to the corner, he eats another enzuigiri followed by a top rope 619 but catches Ospreay with a powerslam. Ospreay avoids the second rope moonsault and connects with a springboard forearm followed by a Sasuke Special. He brings Ibushi back inside for a reverse bloody sunday, locks in the double underhook but can’t muscle Ibushi up for Stormbreaker. Ibushi sends him off and catches Ospreay coming in with a German suplex. Ospreay hammers at the knee to block a powerbomb and the two trade forearms which turns into boots and a flurry from Ibushi. Ospreay ducks a PK, rolls Ibushi up and lands a stomp to the ankle followed by a kick to the head.
Ibushi fights off a dragon suplex, hits a German suplex, Ospreay lands a wallflip enzuigiri but gets caught in a reverse tombstone piledriver. Following up with a Last Ride for two, Ibushi fires up and heads to the top rope but Ospreay cuts him off. Ibushi kicks free for a second but Ospreay pulls him into Cheeky Nandos and sets up for Stormbreaker. Ibushi floats through only to get dropped by a sitout powerbomb for a two count. Ospreay heads for the top but Ibushi captures his leg and pulls him away. Kicking his way free, Ospreay unloads with boots to the face and heads up for the Super Oscutter. Ibushi shoves him off the ropes and traps Ibushi in the tree of woe, a callback and reversed rolls from Wrestle Kingdom 13. He unloads on the defenseless Ospreay until the referee pulls him away.
Ibushi joins Ospreay on the ropes, frees him of the tree of woe and looks for a German off the top but Ospreay elbows free only to take an overhead kick. Ibushi sets Ospreay up for a deadlift German but Ospreay flips through and lands on his feet, drops Ibushi with Hidden Blade but Ibushi grabs the rope. Ospreay connects with the Robinson Special, Ibushi catches the Oscutter , eats a headkick and is dropped with the Oscutter but kicks out at two. Ibushi lands on the Stormbreaker attempt, hits a knee, misses Kamigoye but drills Ospreay with a Michinoku Driver for two. Osprray catches Ibushi running in with a Spanish Fly and sets up for the Hidden Blade but Ibushi sees the attack coming and lands a back elbow followed by a lariat that grounds Ospreay. He hits the YeaOh pose, lands a Boma Ye and finishes Ospreay with the Kamigoye.
Ibushi takes the mic and thanks Ospreay. He says that at this point in the tournament everyone is hurt. He doesn’t plan on letting the fans down, he will preserve and win the G1 Climax.
Similar to night three, this was another strong show from the A Block. There were several great matches and the show was capped off by blow-away main event. The first of two battles between LIJ saw EVIL come out with the win as he’s now gone back-to-back with great performances. Okada has stated that matches with big men are his favorite and it’s clear to see his passion. He always has Fale’s best matches as he’s great at fighting from underneath. Tanahashi and Sabre had another really strong encounter in their series. They play off each other extremely well every time they have a match. Sabre going 0-3 is a big shock and a significant shot to my prediction of him making it to the final.
Ibushi and Ospreay wrestled a very confident main event. They didn’t rush because they knew they had the fans in the palms of their hands and instead wrestled with precision and the fans were more than willing to come along for the ride. There was an excellent pace to their match as they showed they’re able to put their nerves aside and truly take control as main event players. This was a very strong show, every match hit its expectation and left with a great feeling of satisfaction by the time it ended.
Ibushi vs Ospreay
Tanahashi vs Sabre
EVIL vs SANADA
Okada vs Fale
Kazuchika Okada (3-0)
Lance Archer (2-1)
Bad Luck Fale (1-2)
Kota Ibushi (1-2)
Will Ospreay (1-2)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-2)
Zack Sabre Jr. (0-3)
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