The A Block have their sixth night of tournament action at the Takamatsu City General Gymnasium. Lance Archer looks to be the one to end Kazuchika Okada’s winning streak while the rest of the block is struggling to stay alive as the Rainmaker continues his push to sweep the block. Let’s get started!
Kota Ibushi (3-2) def. Bad Luck Fale (1-4) @ 9:49 via Kamigoye – **1/2
Fale rushes Ibushi from behind and dumps him to the floor where Jado and Owens go on the attack. Coming out to join them, Fale clubs Ibushi over the back and stands on him before pulling the barricade apart and comes back inside content with the count out. Ibushi rushes back in, ducks Jado’s attack and breaks the count at ninteen but Fale is waiting with a splash across the back. Fale applies a Camel Clutch and pushes Ibushi’s face into the mat before droping an elbow across the back and stands on Ibushi’s chest for a two count. He drapes Ibushi over the bottom rope and distracts the referee for Owens to go on the attack. Ibushi fires off forearms across Fale’s face but Fale grabs a hold across the waist and applies a bear hug to Ibushi.
The crowd rallies, Ibushi reaks free, gets sent to the corner but dodges a splash and lands a pair of kicks that take Fale down. Before Fale can make it back to his feet, Ibushi stays on the attack with kicks across the chest for a two count. Ibushi takes to the top rope, Owens hits the apron for the distraction which allows Fale to charge in with a splash for a two count of his own. Fale signals for the Grenade but Ibushi flurries with strikes, sets up for a Kamigoye only to get hoisted up to Fale’s shoulders. Ibushi fights off, hits the ropes where Jado is waiting with the cane and Fale follows with the Grenade for two. Ibushi wants a crucifix driver but Jado holds Fale up until the referee breaks their hold and Ibushi gets a two count. Before Fale can make it to his feet, Ibushi pulls down the kneepad, runs in with a Boma Ye and finishes Fale with a Kamigoye.
Zack Sabre Jr. (1-4) def. Will Ospreay (2-3) @ 20:03 via Cross Armbreaker – ****
Sabre pie faces Ospreay before the bell. They lock up, Sabre takes the head, rolls through escape, takes the wrist and again rolls through for a stalemate. They knuckle lock, trade takeovers, Sabre gets a headscissors but Ospreay flips free. Another lock up, Ospreay backs Sabre to the ropes and gives a clean break but Sabre takes the arm, Ospreay flips free and goes for a headkick, Sabre ducks for another stalemate. Sabre takes the leg and wrenches on the knee, takes the arm and applies a hammerlock and wrenches on the wrist. Ospreay slides through, sends Sabre to the ropes and drops down but Sabre catches him into a bow & arrow, Ospreay flips through and dropkicks Sabre to the floor following with a fake out dive that enrages Sabre. Before Sabre can make it back in, Ospreay dropkicks him back out, Sabre slides back in before plancha, eats a chop and they trade cravats.
Sabre sends Ospreay over and applies a neck crack, keeps the hold but Ospreay quickly makes it to the ropes. He picks Ospreay up and lands a series of uppercuts that collapse Ospreay in the corner but he picks him back up and applies a cravat. Ospreay sends Sabre over, misses a standing shooting star pree and almost gets trapped in Napalm Death but quickly gets to the ropes. Sabre rips off Ospreay’s tape and gets a strangle hold that Ospreay counters into his own, gets sent off and hits the ropes, landing a handspring enzuigiri. Sabre rushes in, gets caught with another enzuigiri, top rope 619, bails and Ospreay follows with a Sasuke Special. He sends Sabre back inside, follows him in with a springboard forearm for a two count.
Ospreay hits a Robinson Special, signals for Oscutter, Sabre takes the arm, Ospreay sends him off but gets caught in a tornado DDT. Sabre puts the boots to Ospreay’s face to fire him up. Ospreay asks for more, eats one across the chest but asks for another. Sabre’s kick is caught but he slaps Ospreay across the face, hits the ropes, ducks a kick but gets taken down with a follow up hook kick. Ospreay hooks up for Stormbreaker, Sabre slides through and they trade pin attempts, Sabre catches the Oscutter, sends Ospreay off but eats a kick followed by an Oscutter for two. Sabre eats another hook kick but ducks the Hidden Blade and applies an armbreaker, Ospreay quickly finds the ropes. He wants Zack Driver, Ospreay elbows free, eats an uppercut and Sabre tries for another Zack Driver but Ospreay slides through and drops Sabre with a vertical suplex.
Ospreay hooks in for Stormbreaker, Sabre slides through into a pin attempt for two, follows with a PK, charges in the corner where he’s caught with Cheeky Nandos and a reverse Bloody Sunday for two. Ospreay climbs to the top and goes for a shooting star press but Sabre catches it in a triangle. He tries rolling free but Sabre rolls back in so Ospreay hoists Sabre up into a sitout powerbomb for a two count, lands a shooting star press to the back for another two, hits a hook kick and sets up for a Stormbreaker. Sabre lands on his feet and pulls Ospreay into a cross armbreaker which Ospreay taps to immediately.
Kazuchika Okada (5-0) def. Lance Archer (2-3) @ 14:16 via Rainmaker – ***1/4
Archer rushes in before Okada can disrobe. Okada bails to the floor where Archer follows with a somersault senton off the apron and punches a young lion for his troubles. He slams Okada into the announce table and takes him to the crowd where he yells a kid telling the kid it’s his fault and punches another young lion. Archer drives Okada into the rails and fires off an overhand which Okada responds to with forearms but one in return causes Okada to crumble. The timekeeper begins the count but gets rushed by Archer, he hits another young lion and sends Okada back inside where he drops him with a short-arm lariat and hits Okada’s Rainmaker pose. Archer takes the knuckle lock and goes up for Old School and comes off with a moonsault for a two count.
Okada fires off forearms, hits the ropes but gets caught. He tries dropkicking out of a chokeslam but Archer sidesteps it, lands elbows in the corner, misses a third and is rolled up for two. Okada ducks a series of elbows and takes Archer down with one of his own, dropkicks Archer to the floor and follows him out with plancha. He sends Archer back in, lands a ack elbow and a DDT but only gets a one count. Archer escapes the tombstone, gets caught in a scoop slam and eats a top rope elbow drop. Okada gets in Archer’s face loading up for the Rainmaker pose but Archer is able to get a hold of his head with an EBD Claw. Okada forces the break but is dropped with a pounce. Archer takes Okada to the top to set up for Blackout, Okada escapes and hits a pair of short-arm lariats but the third is turned into one from Archer followed by a chokeslam for two.
Archer takes Okada to the top again and sets up for Blackout which Okada tries fighting out of which he can’t but does manage to get his foot on the rope at two. Okada ducks the EBD Claw attempt and dropkicks Archer on the back, catches Archer running in with another dropkick but Archer makes it back to his feet first and charges Okada in the corner. He takes Okada to the top rope, Okada fights him off and lands a dropkick off the top. Archer reverses the tombstone, sets up for Blackout, Okada escapes and connects with a discuss lariat, Archer stays on his feet, wants an EBD Claw but Okada fights it off and finishes him with a Rainmaker. Okada takes time to check on the kid Archer made cry before heading to the back.
SANADA (1-4) def. KENTA (4-1) @ 16:09 via Moonsault – ***
SANADA surveys the crowd’s reactions which heavily score in his favor. KENTA asks him to try again and attacks him from behind when SANADA climbs the corner. SANADA looks for a springboard dropkick but KENTA cuts it off and sends him to the floor. SANADA sends KENTA to the rails, charges in and gets tripped, landing face first in the rails. KENTA lands a DDT on the entrance way and brings SANADA back inside for a one count. SANADA elbows free of a headlock, hits the ropes but takes a knee followed by a kick across the back. KENTA brings him back to his feet and continues with kicks across the chest that crumble SANADA to the mat. He brings SANADA back up only to drop him with a neckbreaker for two, lands knee drops and a boot across the head. SANADA eats a kick and fires off an overhand, catches a boot and dropkicks the knee on two occasions.
KENTA makes it to his feet first, hits the ropes , SANADA leapfrogs him twice and dropkicks KENTA to the floor, following him out with a placha as the crowd cheer him on. He brings KENTA back in, they battle waistlocks, KENTA gets a boot up and lands a tornado DDT over the ropes followed by a top rope lariat for a two count. SANADA catches KENTA running in, KENTA avoids the Skull End and catches SANADA with a powerslam, springboard dropkick, corner boot and corner dropkick. KENTA climbs to the top where he lands a double stomp for two, signals for the finish but SANADA fights him off and rolls KENTA up for two. KENTA kicks out and gets a hold of SANADA into a crossface but SANADA finds the ropes.
SANADA catches a knee, drives KENTA down and hoists him to his shoulders for a TKO that gets him two. KENTA gets his knees up on a top rope moonsault and the crowd rally for SANADA as the two trade forearms. KENTA wins the exchange but SANADA lands an uppercut followed by a kick from KENTA, SANADA ducks a lariat and pulls KENTA into a Skull End. Rolling through the Skull End, KENTA applies a sleeper and hits the ropes for a PK but SANADA catches the hold, eats a series of slaps and a running knee for two. KENTA signals for the end, SANADA slides off the shoulders into a Skull End which KENTA fights off but gets brought back down into the hold and passes out. SANADA climbs to the top rope where he finishes KENTA with a moonsault.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-2) def. EVIL (3-2) @ 23:02 via High Fly Flow – ***3/4
EVIL lands a boot and applies a headlock. Tanahashi tries fighting it off, puts a boot to the back of the knee and applies the hold himself. EVIL breaks the hold by pulling the hair and reapplying the headlock, Tanahashi sends him off but EVIL shoulders his down. Tanahashi tries for the hip toss, EVIL puts on the brakes but is takedown down with a headscissors followed by a second rope crossbody. Tanahashi hits the air guitar before focusing back on EVIL who reverses the Irish whip and lariats Tanahashi over the top rope to the floor. He follows Tanahashi out and whips him into the rails before pulling the chairs out from under the ring. EVIL puts chair over Tanahashi’s head and smashes it off with a second before sending him back inside and kicks at the back of Tanahashi’s knee.
EVIL drives Tanahashi’s knee into the mat repeatedly before applying a figure four leg lock. Tanahashi reverses the hold into his favor but EVIL works it back into his control which forces Tanahashi to find the ropes. They make it back to their feet where Tanahashi fires forearms, EVIL catches a boot and hammers an elbow to the knee but comes up empty on a senton. Tanahashi fires for forearms, hits the ropes and lands the flying variety. He climbs to the second and connects with a somersault senton for a two count. EVIL ducks a slingblade, pulls Tanahashi in but gets caught with a dragon screw. Tanahashi looks for a second slingblade, EVIL sidesteps it and sends Tanahashi over but Tanahashi skins the cat, getting caught with a German suplex.
Another slingblade is evaded, EVIL hits the corner and charges in, getting caught with a slingblade and bails to the floor where Tanahashi follows him out with a crossbody from the top rope. Tanahashi looks to send EVIL back in but EVIL takes control and puts Tanahashi’s legs over Tsuji’s shoulders for an assisted Magic Killer. They both make it back in the ring at the count of nineteen, EVIL kicks at the knee repeatedly but his third kick is caught and Tanahashi sends his leg to the referee and hits a dropkick. Tanahashi connects with a dragon screw and looks for a Texas Cloverleaf but EVIL scrambles for the ropes. EVIL makes his way to the corner, Tanahashi stays on the knee, blocks a lariat and hits the ropes where EVIL blasts him with a lariat that sends both men crashing to the mat. EVIL follows up with a corner lariat and takes Tanahashi to the top rope where he lands a superplex that gets him a two count.
The crowd rallies for Tanahashi as he gets dropped with Darkness Falls for another two. EVIL signals for the end, Tanahahsi elbows free of the STO, ducks lariat and lands three twist & shouts followed by a slingblade for a two count. He takes to the top rope for High Fly Flow but EVIL gets the knees up and cradles Tanahashi for a two count of his own. They make it to their feet and begin trading forearms. Tanahashi flurries, lands slap but gets dropped with a lariat for another two. EVIL waits for Tanahashi to make it back to his feet and blasts him with another lariat that gets him two. He signals for the end, brings Tanahashi to his feet, trade STO attempts, EVIL lands a headbutt, brings Tanaahshi back up but Tanahashi turns the STO into a bridging Dragon suplex for a two count. Tanahashi hits the top rope, lands a crossbody and finishes EVIL with a High Fly Flow.
Tanahashi goes to leave without a speech but the crowd isn’t letting him leave that easily. He comes back in, takes the mic and thanks the fans for coming to the show. Tsuji throws him the air guitar and Tanahashi sends the fans home happy with a show.
With tonight’s win, Okada eliminates half of the field. SANADA, Sabre, Ospreay, Archer and Fale all move into the spoiler role with three nights of block action remaining. This was a solid show, peaking early with Sabre and Ospreay but closed out with a great match between Tanahashi and EVIL. These two have never quite clicked in their previous matches but tonight was their best outing yet. Both EVIL and Sabre had their tournament highlights to this point, each hitting their respective peaks.
Overall this was an up and down show. It’d take two steps forward only to go back one and so forth. It was all over the place but wound up ending strong. Only five have a shot at the block with three nights remaining. In order for EVIL to stay alive SANADA will need to beat Okada on Saturday.
Sabre vs Ospreay
Tanahashi vs EVIL
Okada vs Archer
Kazuchika Okada (6-0)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (4-2)
Kota Ibushi (4-2)
SANADA (2-4) ELIMINATED
Zack Sabre Jr. (2-4) ELIMINATED
Will Ospreay (2-4) ELIMINATED
Lance Archer (2-4) ELIMINATED
Bad Luck Fale (1-5) ELIMINATED