We are a third of the through the G1, and the field is now just starting to seperate. Taichi and Jay White are leading the charge in Block A, ready to try and hold their lead. Meanwhile Yujiro and Ishii have fallen behind, and it’s starting to get close to the wire as Night 7 kicks off.

The opening exhibition started with the Young Lions, as Yuya Uemura faced off against Yuta Tsuji. The two are tied against each other so far in opening matches for the G1. Tsuji was able to take advantage of the test of strength, but Yuya’s escape via a strong bridge was just as impressive. Tsuji took over by bulldozing through Yuya with a huge shoulder tackle. Yuya managed to counter with a beautiful dropkick. But a spear and a giant swing from Tsuji was enough to wear Yuya down. Tsuji was able to then tap Yuya out with the Boston Crab.

Block A then started it’s night with the Never Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki, facing off against the winless Tokyo Pimp, Yujiro Takahashi. Suzuki got right in Yujiro’s face, prompting both to start exchanging kicks at the bell. When the fight fell to the outside, Yujiro was able to take over by using his cane to take the early advantage. The referee then went down and the chairs came out, allowing Suzuki to brutalize Yujiro. Suzuki was able to keep the match in his advantage, laying out Yujiro with a blistering forearm. Yujiro wasn’t to go down without a fight, able to utilize his high kicks, and even set up for Pimp Juice. Suzuki was able to escape, locking in a sleeper hold to weaken Yujiro for the Gotch Style Piledriver and the pin.

The second match had Jeff Cobb facing off against Kota Ibushi. Ibushi seemed to want to keep his distance, happy to try and fire kicks to keep the powerful Cobb off him. But, Cobb was able to shoot in and wrestle Ibushi to the ground, who twice needed the ropes to escape from Cobb’s clutches. The mixture of power and athleticism from Cobb was able to keep Ibushi at bay, forcing Ibushi to change his strategy to quickness to stay ahead. Cobb went in for a spear and Ibushi dodged by jumping over it, coming down on Cobb’s back with a double stomp. But, Cobb was able to continue fighting, alley-ooping Ibushi from the corner, catching him in mid air, and slamming him down. Cobb followed the feat of strength with a flawless standing moonsault. Cobb seemed to be in complete control with dead lift gutwrench suplexs, but Ibushi managed to his feet to hit a high kick to Cobb’s head. Cobb tried to hit Tour of the Isles, but Ibushi escaped, hitting a running knee, which set him up for the Kamigoye and escape with the win.

The third match had the undefeated Taichi taking on Kazuchika Okada. For Okada, a win here would allow him to rally, keeping himself within striking distance of the leaders. For Taichi, it was a chance to really get ahead of the pack. Taichi attacked before the bell, aiming for Okada’s injured lower back. Taichi was able to take the early advantage, with help from fellow Suzuki-gun member El Desperado, who distracted the ref while assisting at the commentary table. The distraction allowed Taichi to use a chair on Okada, pressing his early advantage. Once back in the ring, Taichi seemed almost overconfident, which allowed Okada to fight back. Okada was able to sit Taichi on the top turnbuckle, and hit a standing dropkick, sending the undefeated one to the arena floor. Taichi wasn’t out of it, as he landed a high kick and then side suplexed Okada onto his head, to keep in the fight. Okada fought back, hitting a desperate Tombstone piledriver. Okada followed up with a modified rainmaker, and kept wrist control to go for a second. But Taichi grabbed the ref, pulling him in the way, allowing him to sneak a low blow onto Okada. Taichi went for Black Mephisto, but Okada was able to escape and lock in the Cobra Clutch, forcing Taichi to pass out!

With Taichi no longer perfect, Jay White would have the opportunity to take the lead in the fourth match, as he battled Will Ospreay. Jay tried to stay away, leaving the ring or using the ropes to avoid locking up. Will meanwhile, looked ready to roll, finally locking up and pushing Jay into the ropes. Jay used the refs break to attack, trying to take the early advantage. But Will’s determination (as well as a blistering chop) allowed him to keep Jay in line. That was until Jay grabbed him and sent him over the ropes with an exploder suplex. From there, Jay tried to pic Will apart with attacks to the back and knee, trying to ground the Aerial Assassin. Attempting to fight back, Will was distracted by Gedo on the outside, allowing Jay to hit a DDT between the ropes. Repeatedly, Gedo was available to save Jay each time Will began to rally, until Will was able to even the odds, taking both down with a Sauske Special. On the rally, Will was able to catch Jay with an Oz Cutter. Gedo managed to run in again, this time with brass knuckles, but Will thwarted the attempt, and caught Jay with the Storm Breaker for the win!

The main event promised to be a hard hitting affair, as Shingo Takagi faced off against the win-less Tomohiro Ishii. The two started hard, exchanging strikes and shoulder tackles, neither willing to go down. It would be Shingo the first that finally fell. The brawl continued to the outside, forearm strikes thrown by both men. But it was Shingo that would take the advantage as they returned to the ring. Ishii wasn’t one to be denied, though reversing a suplex for one of his own. This was a match about who could stand, take their opponents best shot, and deliver one back. Shingo’s quick light head kicks were no match for Ishii’s high chops, his forearm hitting the neck and throat of Shingo repeatedly. Shingo struck back, and put Ishii down with a beautiful wheel barrel suplex. While Ishii fought back, even a vertical suplex wasn’t enough, as Shingo rallied with Made in Japan for a two count. Ishii and Shingo threw every strike they could at each other, both determined to be the last standing. They would set up for their finishers, only for the other to deny them. It was the Stone Pitbull Ishii that would find victory, hitting a lariat that spun Shingo inside out, allowing Ishii the Brainbuster and his first win of the G1!

Block A:

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

Block B:

  • EVIL: 2 points
  • Hirooki Goto: 2 points
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 2 points
  • Juice Robinson: 4 points
  • KENTA: 4 points
  • SANADA: 0 points
  • Tetsuya Naito: 6 points
  • Toru Yano: 6 points
  • YOSHI-HASHI: 2 points
  • Zack Sabre Jr.: 2 points

Things have tightened up in Block A. Once lead by only two men, now half the block is tied for first with six points apiece. It’s anyone’s block to win, but that opportunity is only shrinking as the G1 season rolls on.

Featured Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/Game Changer Sports Network

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