Block A has tightened up and now Block B will see where the chips fall. Naito stands alone with a chance to hit 10 points, pulling ahead of the rest of the pack. No one has won the G1 as IWGP heavyweight Champion, but perhaps history can be made by the first man to be a double IWGP champion. Block B heads downhill, as the G1 season passes into its second half.

Starting out the night was the Young Lions, Gabriel Kidd and Yuya Uemura. In the backstage comments, Gabriel had said that if Yuya wanted to wrestle a “British Style” match, that Gabriel could do so. But Yuya retorted he wanted to learn “Strong Style.” The two really seem to know each other well, as the remained even in the opening grappling. At one point, they were mirror images, each bridging out of a pinning predicament. An armdrag into a full nelson would see Yuya take the advantage. But Gabriel was able to grab Yuya’s leg, and twist on an ankle lock. Yuya escaped the hold, exchanging blows with Gabriel. Yuya’s attempt on the arm capture belly to belly suplex was turned away, leading into a drop kick from Gabriel. From there, Gabriel was able to find his Butterfly Suplex for the win. It raises the question if Yuya will be haunted by losing to “British Style” wrestling, and decide to do his excursion to Rev Pro, a British Promotion that takes Young Lions on excursion.

 Block B then kicked off as YOSHI-HASHI would take on Hirooki Goto. In night 10, Goto claimed victory over Yano in the fastest match in G1 history, at 18 seconds. In an interesting twist, both fellow CHAOS teammates are also part of the NEVER Open 6 man Tag Titles, New Japan’s trios titles. Of course, alliances are cast aside in the G1. YOSHI was a bit more aggressive to start, not giving Goto the clean break on the ropes. Goto would use a hip toss to take advantage, and plowed through YOSHI with a shoulder tackle. But YOSHI, at only two points in the tournament, would need this win to keep his hopes alive on avoiding elimination, and went after Goto’s injured shoulder.  YOSHI even slapped Goto, antagonizing him. Goto would grab YOSHI, pushing him back into the corner and raised his fist, stopping just short of striking YOSHI with the closed fist. But YOSHI took the pause to attack the shoulder once again. Every move Goto managed to get i, he would go right back to clutching his shoulder. Trying to end it early, Goto would try for a GTR, but YOSHI would escape, allowing him to land double knees to Goto’s chest. YOSHI would lock in the Butterfly Lock, not letting Goto get to the ropes, by transitioning it into a slam. YOSHI went for Karma to put the match away, but Goto would escape to hit a GTW to even the match. Despite YOSHI’s best efforts to keep Goto down, Goto was able to fire himself up, hitting the GTR and eliminate YOSHI-HASHI from winning the G1.

 The second G1 match featured Toru Yano vs Zack Sabre Jr. One would be curious if Yano would offer Zack a shirt to start, as that seems to be a losing strategy for Yano. Zack, fully aware of Yano’s antics, seemed weary of his opponent, making it quite clear that he didn’t trust Yano. So Yano, in a show of “good faith” removed a total of four tape rolls hidden on him. While the gesture was somewhat honorable, Zack was understandably upset the ref missed them on the initial check.  Exchanging clean breaks on the ropes, seemed to put Yano into an even more honest and respectful mood, who removed a hidden fifth roll of tape. Despite offering o wrestle a clean match, when the fight devolved to the outside, Yano taped Zack to a steel chair. The steel chair was on the opposite side of the barricade, leading almost to a count out victory for Yano. The banter between the two was able to keep me laughing and entertained through the match. When Yano dragged the match to the outside again, Zack slapped on an ankle lock, dragging Yano as far away from the ring as possible. Yano managed to limp his way back to the ring, just beating the count out. The two exchanged pins, trying to get the best of each other quickly for a win, to no avail. It was Zack returning to his roots, locking in a heel hold, to get the tap out from Yano. This was a highly entertaining match, and a nice break from the usual high intensity G1.

The third G1 match would feature SANADA vs KENTA. KENTA showed off his briefcase, which had a huge crack in in, probably from Tanahashi’s head last match. Handing off the briefcase to the ref, KENTA charged across the ring before the opening bell to get the early jump on SANADA. Strikes and submissions, the essence of Strong Style, was KENTA’s game plan. KENTA seemed to have an answer to each of SANADA’s rallies, taking him down with strikes, and keeping him floored by locking in a submission. A few dodges allowed SANADA to finally get in some offense, and locked KENTA up into the Paradise Lock, leaving the helplessly trapped KENTA to struggle in the center of the ring. Sanada dropkicked KENTA to release him from the Paradise Lock, and got a rake of his eyes for his troubles. KENTA seemed to have control over most of the match, hitting a corner dropkick and followed it with a top rope double stomp. SANADA was able to escape the Go to Sleep into a Skull End, which KENTA escaped into his Yes Lock. An escape for SANADA would lead to him scoring a TKO, but it would take down the ref, allowing KENTA to escape and grab his briefcase. But SANADA was a step ahead, and dropkicked the briefcase into KENTA. Seeing his opportunity, SANADA went to the top for a moonsault, but KENTA got the knee’s up. The two would exchange different pins, but it was SANADA’s cradle that would earn him the unlikely victory!

In the fourth match, Juice Robinson would try to catch Block B leader Tetsuya Naito. A win for Juice would not only have him tie Naito, but give him the very important head to head tie breaker on Naito. As well as put Juice in line for a future title shot against the champion. For Naito, a win would keep him ahead of everyone in the block, leaving open the chance at history to be the only IWGP Heavyweight champion to win a G1, while holding the title.  Both started with some mind games, avoiding the lock up, instead taking in the stomps and claps of the crowd for the two fan favorites. While the two were evenly matched to start, it was Juice that took the advantage with quick attacks. That would lead to a backbreaker and followed through with a Russian leg sweep. Naito fought back with his burstful offense, taking Juice down with an armdrag and forcing him out of the ring with a headscissors. Naito brutalized Juice outside the ring, bouncing his head off the apron and charging his back into the barricade. As Naito picked Juice apart, he mocked Juice by pumping his fist, Juice’s usual call for his chant. It was enough to have Robinson fight back, hitting a jabbing combo and DDT to put the double champion down. On the rally, Juice was able to get the crowd behind him, hitting a cannonball to start setting himself up to take the match home. Naito was able to escape both the Pulp Friction and the Juice Box, the latter with a reverse rana. The two went back and forth with heavy offence, Juice stopping Naito’s swinging DDT, trying to reverse it into a suplex, and instead falling victim for an improved Destino for his efforts. Juice was able to fight off one other Destino, but a missed Left Hand of God saw Naito hit two more Destino’s to put the match away. This win guaranteed another night as the sole leader of Block B for Naito.

The main event had EVIL with Dick Togo facing off against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Both men came into the night with six points, meaning whoever won would be able to take the sole second place spot in Block B. While EVIL tried to get Tanahashi off balance to start, Tanahashi started hot, and was able to keep EVIL on his toes. Tanahashi’s start was dampened when Togo dragged Tanahashi out of the ring, starting a beatdown himself on the Ace of New Japan. EVIL took over as Togo distracted the ref, hitting Tanahashi with a chair. Young Lion Yuta Tsuji, who has been backing Tanahshi in his matches, watching from Tanahashi’s corner, yelled at the ref for the underhanded tactics from EVIL and Togo. But his protests were cut off, as EVIL suplexed the Young Lion onto a pile of chairs. While Tanahashi struggled back into the ring, EVIL removed a turnbuckle pad, setting himself up for bad intensions for later on. Evil tried for his leg trap thrust kick, but Tanahashi blocked it for a dragon screw, rallying the crowd. Togo would once again ruin that rally, letting EVIL throw Tanahashi out of the ring. It was Tanahashi’s strength, holding onto the top rope, that allowed him to flip himself back into the ring, but EVIL was waiting and caught Tanahashi in a german suplex. Yet Tanahashi wouldn’t be denied, taking down Togo and Evil, and locked EVIL in the Texas Cloverleaf. EVIL escaped to the ropes, and tried for a low blow, but Tana saw it coming, and blocked it. Yet, EVIL’s planning allowed him to throw Tanahashi into the exposed turnbuckle. Tanahashi reversed Darkness Falls, allowing him to set up for a High Fly Flow. When Togo tried to get involved, Tsuji had seen enough, and grabbed Togo, allowing Tanahashi to hit the High Fly Flow onto a standing EVIL. Togo beat up Tsuji, and charged the ring to choke Tanahashi. Despite all the interference, Tanahashi kept fighting, hitting a second High Fly Flow to the back of EVIL. When Tanahashi went for a third one to finish the match, Togo dropped Tanahashi onto the top turnbuckle, allowing EVIL enough time to recover. EVIL hit a superplex and Darkness Falls, to take the fight from Tanahashi. That all lead to Everything is Evil, allowing EVIL to steal the second place spot in Block B.

Block A:

  • Jay White: 8 points
  • Kota Ibushi: 8 points
  • Minoru Suzuki: 6 Points
  • Taichi: 6 Points
  • Kazuchica Okada: 8 points
  • Shingo Takagi: 6 points
  • Tomohiro Ishii: 6 points
  • Jeff Cobb: 4 points
  • Will Ospreay: 8 points
  • Yujiro Takahashi: 0 points

Block B:

  • EVIL: 8 points
  • Hirooki Goto: 6 points
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 6 points
  • Juice Robinson: 6 points
  • KENTA: 4 points
  • SANADA: 6 points
  • Tetsuya Naito: 10 points
  • Toru Yano: 6 points
  • YOSHI-HASHI: 2 points
  • Zack Sabre Jr.: 6 points

Unoffical “Block C”

  • Yuya Uemura: 7 points
  • Yuta Tsuji: 10 points
  • Gabriel Kidd: 7 points

Block B has seen it’s first elimination, and its leader stay ahead of the pack. The home stretch starts, as the final three shows will be the final determination in who will make the G1 Final from each Block. G1 season has been white hot the whole way, and will only heat up as the competition gets tighter.

Featured Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/Game Changer Sports Network

Would you like to advertise with Game Changer Sports Network? We have the perfect opportunity for any and all businesses please contact Jake at Info@GameChangerSportsNetwork.com to discuss potential advertising space with us!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: