Block A returns for their third night of the 2020 G1! No wrestler is eliminated yet, but desperation must be setting in for the wrestlers with zero points. As the G1 starts to round the corner of being a third done, it’s time for Block A to start sifting who will lead the pack, and who will be left behind.

Once again, the night kicked off with the Young Lions, as Gabriel Kidd took on Yota Tsuji, in a rematch of night two. Tsuji had the win in their last meeting. The strengths and weaknesses of the Lions seems to be more apparent as the three continue to battle it out at the start of the G1. Tsuji is the powerhouse, with the best striking. Yuya is the technical, but able to take to the air, as well as having a crowd connection. Meanwhile, Gabriel seems to be a jack of all trades. During this match up, Gabriel was able to escape the half crab, and use the dangerous Dragon Suplex to get the win over Tsuji.

G1 then kicked off, with the winless Yujiro Takahashi facing off against the undefeated Taichi. Yujiro went on the attack before the bell, using his cane against Taichi for the early advantage. Once the fight spilled to the outside, Taichi was able to create some separation, allowing him to use the timekeepers hammer to even the odds. Neither man has been a close observer of the rules and they were willing to use weapons, strangle each other, and bite their way to victory if need be. Yujiro turned the tides as Taichi brought up Tetsuya Naito, Yujiro’s tag partner in days of old. (While I assume Taichi may have pointed out the differences in careers the two have had since splitting, I cannot be sure as I am still just barely learning Japanese) Yujiro’s usual casual attitude changed at the point, as he looked motivated to prove Taichi wrong, almost hitting his Pimp Juice move. Taichi was able to push Yujiro and the ref away to get in a quick low blow, which was enough to grab Yujiro and slide him into the Gedo Clutch pin for the win.

The second match had two wrestlers at two points apiece in Minoru Suzuki against Jeff Cobb. A win here for either man would mean separation in the rankings, which allow them to keep up with the leaders. Suzuki went to the mat to lure Cobb into a wrestling match, showing confidence in his technical abilities over Cobb’s power. The confidence was well placed, as Suzuki was able to keep Cobb on the defensive while wrestling, despite being 14 years his senior. Cobb managed to hold his own, but fell into the trap of trading forearms with the King. It was Jeff’s impressive aerial tactics that seemed to take Suzuki by surprise, with a drop kick and standing moonsault to gain the advantage. Despite a barrage of gut wrench Suplexs, Suzuki was able to slip in a Sleeper hold after escaping the Tour to the Isles, and hit the Gotch Style Piledriver to get the victory.

In the third G1 bout, the win less Tomohiro Ishii would face off against last years winner, Kota Ibushi. Neither charged at the bell, with both seemingly taking time to size up the other as the potential threats they should be taken as. They started with a heated exchange, that saw both dodge, block and narrowly escape the other, giving neither a clear upper hand. Ishii called Ibushi to the center of the ring, so the two could tee off on each other. Ibushi accepted and went down. Ishii then backed Ibushi into a corner, taking forearms along they way, unflinching to the strikes, almost daring Ibushi to keep up the attack. While Ibushi is a skilled striker, especially with his kicks, Ishii seemed to be able to absorb the damage like a sponge, just to dish it back out tenfold. But, Ibushi would not be out shined, locking in as well and taking his lumps at times, giving Ishii the same treatment of unflinching nerves. It was a classic battle of toughness, neither willing to surrender or show any signs of weakness. Ibushi at one point snapped, clocking Ishii with a throat punch that looked devastating. The two would go back and forth, neither willing to back down, but a solid Kamigoye would finally be enough to leave Ishii out for the pin!

The fourth match of the night would pit Will Ospreay againts Shingo Takagi. The two had met in singles competition before, most notably in last years tournament, “Best of the Super Juniors”, where they had a match that was a MOTY Contender. Both since then have moved up to heavyweight status. While their styles differ, the two mesh well in speed and timing, mixing Shingo’s powerful moves and strikes with Ospreay’s high flying abilities. Shingo entered with zero points, while Ospreay had a perfect four. When things finally can to blows, they didn’t disappoint. Moving at breakneck speeds, they dodged, blocked, countered, and reversed each other, knowing their opponent well enough to anticipate their next go to move. There was no clear advantage until Shingo was able to hit a fire man carry slam on the outside. In all honesty, its a match that cannot be matched by words, as each time they built a head of steam, it was only through a whole course of counters and reverse counter that anyone was able to get a move in, all at a pace that if you blinked you would have missed half of the action. This was, in shorter words, a must watch match. Exchanging Lariats, strikes, and signature moves, it was impossible to tell who would come out on top of any exchange. Yet, it was Shingo who was able to walk away victorious, hitting the Last of the Dragon to pin Will for his first loss.

The G1 Main event pitted rivals Jay White againts Kazuchika Okada. There has been bad blood between the two, since Jay used Okada’s team “CHAOS” to elevate himself, before betraying the team. Both are ex IWGP Heavyweight champions, having faced off many times, including a G1 match where Jay claimed the win. When the bell rang, Jay was quick to slip out of the ring to avoid going head on with Okada, but Okada was well versed in dealing with Jay’s antics. Attacking swiftly, Okada hit Jay with rapid strikes, trying to get in as much as he could before Jay would flee again. Having the clear advantage, Okada was distracted by Gedo. When Okada went to give chase, Jay was waiting, attacking Okada’s injured and taped back by repeatedly slamming it into the barricade and apron. While Jay and Gedo’s cunning were well at work, Okada still managed to fight back. He chased Gedo away, hitting both Gedo and Jay with a DDT on the stage. Jay applied much effort in exploiting every opening Okada gave him, but it was barely enough, as he found himself locked in the Cobra Clutch. Jay managed to reach the ropes, but the blood was in the water. Okada eventually locked it in a second time, but the ref was distracted by Gedo, allowing Jay to get the Low Blow, leading up to the Switchblade for him to remain undefeated!

Block A:

  • Jay White: 6 points
  • Kota Ibushi: 4 points
  • Minoru Suzuki: 4 Points
  • Taichi: 6 Points
  • Kazuchica Okada: 2 points
  • Shingo Takagi: 2 points
  • Tomohiro Ishii: 0 points
  • Jeff Cobb: 2 points
  • Will Ospreay: 4 points
  • Yujiro Tanahashi: 0 points

Block B:

  • 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

Night 5 of the G1 showed off some great wrestling. Arguably the best night of the tournament so far, the G1 will continue to roll on as the field now stands with just two leaders in Block A. While those that have yet to win a match can still win, their hopes are dwindling quickly. While the G1 Climax is a tournament to grant the contract to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight title at Wrestle Kingdom, it cannot be overshadowed by the fact that it also is a consistent source of great matches, from great wrestlers. 

Feature Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/ Game Changer Sports Network

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