The G1 Climax continues with Block B taking the stage in their second night. While there are plenty of matches still to come, no one is looking to fall behind this early. With a few surprises on their debut night, Block B looked ready to roll on!
Young Lion action started the night again, with a rematch between Yota Tsuji vs Yuya Uemura. Once again, Yuya seemed to have the early advantage in the chain wrestling, possibly the strongest chain wrestling game out of the three Young Lions. Only when Tsuji tricked Yuya into a Test of Strength, which he used to deliver a gut kick instead, did he change the pace of the match. Tsuji was able to hit a beautiful running Powerslam, allowing him to lock in the Boston Crab for the win.
The G1 then began, pitting two participants with zero points each, in Hirooki Goto vs SANADA. Both men had always seemed on the cusp of greatness, each challenging for the IWGP title, and each coming up short on all occasions. It was beyond a doubt that neither man wanted to leave tied in last on their second night. Goto was able to start the match well, but a dodge lariat saw him ram his arm into the ring post. From there, the calm and collected SANADA had a target. With fighting spirit alone, Goto was able to stay in the match, escaping SANADA’s Skull end submission. It was a move SANADA went for on many occasions, each quickly reversed. Goto was able to fight out enough times to set up the GTR to get the much needed win.
The next match would see New Japan’s trickster Turo Yano face off against a three time winner of the G1 in Hiroshi Tanahashi. Between the two, they have participated in a total of 34 G1 tournaments. The question at hand was the early wear and tear going into the match. Yano had managed a simple victory via count out, while Tanahashi had gone all out in a losing effort against the Double Champ, Naito. The match started and Yano was defensive, yet forthcoming about not hiding any tape in his tights. It was a match that was more antics than wrestling, seeing the two fool with turnbuckle pads, and get into a foot race from the entrance stage to the ring. Yano did find tape though, going to tape Tanahashi to the barricade. Yet, Tanahashi was able to counter, and wrapped the tape around Yano’s eyes, blindfolding him. Out of some odd instincts, Yano was able to find Tanahashi for a low blow and rolled him up for the win!
The third match for the G1 had KENTA face off against Juice Robinson. KENTA still holds the right to challenge the IWGP US Champ (currently Jon Moxley), while Juice Robinson had managed to win the belt twice in his time with New Japan. KENTA was up to his dastardly tactics, running away at the start and pulling hair to keep Juice off balance. The willingness to cut corners of the rules, mixed with his adept version of Strong Style allowed KENTA to own the beginning of the match. The only thing that kept Juice in the match and fighting was the energy of the crowd, despite KENTA picking him apart. With determination, Juice was able to keep fighting, landing two Left Hands of God on Kenta, dazing him enough for Pulp Friction and the pin!
Block B continued to roll with EVIL vs YOSHI-HASHI, in another match up of wrestlers without points. EVIL looked confident with Dick Togo by his side, and perhaps a bit of knowledge that YOSHI had never been in a G1 with an outcome better than second to last. EVIL attempted to attack YOSHI while he entered, but YOSHI saw through it, taking both EVIL and Togo down or an early advantage. It wasn’t to last, as EVIL managed to suplex YOSHI on the outside onto a pile of metal chairs to take over the match. While EVIL had the advantage, YOSHI was able to fight up, reversing a suplex for one of his own. Despite building a head of steam, YOSHI stayed smart, and did his best to keep Togo a non factor in the match. But an exposed turnbuckle would sway the match, as EVIL ran Yoshi into it to continue working his back, and Yoshi getting sweet vengence by slamming EVIL’s head into the metal. It looked like a possible upset victory for YOSHI, as he locked in the Butterfly lock for a few minutes, nearly getting a tap out from EVIL. Yet, the underhanded tactics, in Togo using a chair and choking Yoshi, as well as a low blow from EVIL, would send poor YOSHI packing after taking Everything is Evil.
Finally, the main event! With the always dangerous Zack Sabre Jr. against the Double Champion Tetsuya Naito. Once the bell rang, Naito was only slightly hesitant to take Zack head on, seemingly respecting Zack’s technical prowess. But once the grappling starts, Zack shines, and only the ropes were able to save Naito on several occasions. It was Naito’s Lucha style that allowed him to take Zack by surprise, with quick moves that didn’t allow Zack to grab a hold for any length of time. Yet, Zack never seemed off the attack, and was able to twist Naito into pretzels when the managed to get a grip on the double champ. Though the openings were few, Naito pushed his advantages, hitting a neck breaker and his corner combo. Zack wasnt without surprises though, as he bounced off the turnbuckle for a spinning DDT that took Naito down. Naito had to use his offense in spurts, and make every move count, before the endless train of submissions did him in. He was able to hit an improv Destino, yet had the second reversed into a Zack Driver! As time ticked down on the thirty minute time limit, Zack went for his driver a second time, to have that reversed into another Destino! Naito, with less than two minutes to spare, hit a proper third Destino to bring the match to an end!
- Jay White: 4 points
- Kota Ibushi: 2 points
- Minoru Suzuki: 2 Points
- Taichi: 4 Points
- Kazuchica Okada: 2 points
- Shingo Takagi: 0 points
- Tomohiro Ishii: 0 points
- Jeff Cobb: 2 points
- Will Ospreay: 4 points
- Yujiro Tanahashi: 0 points
- EVIL: 2 points
- Hirooki Goto: 2 points
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 0 points
- Juice Robinson: 4 points
- KENTA: 2 points
- SANADA: 0 points
- Tetsuya Naito: 4 points
- Toru Yano: 4 points
- YOSHI-HASHI: 0 points
- Zack Sabre Jr.: 2 points
Block B had some very exciting matches. Now, both blocks have a three person tie for first, as the pack seems to be thinning. But if there is anything to remember about the G1, it’s that a good start doesn’t guarantee a strong finish, and that anyone can play spoiler in the end.
Feature Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/ Game Changer Sports Network
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