Block A looks to break its four-way tie for first place, as we sprint to the final few nights of the G1 Season. This week is the final stretch to the G1 Final, held on Sunday the 18th. Four men hold the lead, with each one of them to go into Sunday as the winner of Block A, and leave that night the G1 Climax 30 winner.

The opening exhibition was match number five between Young Lions Yuya Uemura and Gabriel Kidd. While the two have fought over their style of wrestling, things were dead even between them at two wins a piece. Both had won their last match against fellow Young Lion Yuta Tsuji.  The two went straight to work, grabbling on their feet with counters for everything the other had. It would be Gabriel that took the advantage once he got Yuya’s legs, able to lock him into a Muta lock. Upon Yuya’s escape, he was able to keep Gabriel grounded with wrist and hammer locks.  Eventually, Gabriel would find the ropes for the escape, moving onto strikes to take over. Gabriel hit a vertical suplex, looking for his Butterfly Suplex to put it away. Yuya avoided by backpedaling to the ropes, managing to lock in a keylock on the arm of Gabriel. Stomping his way out, Gabriel and Yuya would exchange strikes, with Gabriel catching Yuya with a dropkick. The dropkick wasn’t enough to catch Yuya for the Butterfly suplex, as Yuya escaped again. Yuya would find a surprise armdrag, allowing him to follow through with his arm capture Belly to Belly Suplex for the victory. Whether this proves that Yuya’s Strong Style or Gabriel’s British Style is superior… I believe the jury is still out on that.

 The first G1 match featured Will Ospreay, one of the four leaders, against mathematically eliminated Jeff Cobb. While two wins could tie Jeff to the leaders, a head to head match up between Ospreay and Okada cancels that out, as no matter the outcome, the lowest number to beat would be 11 points. Now, Cobb fights for pride, and perhaps the chance to spoil some of the leader’s chances at making it into the G1 Final. Will would start the match quick, charging out of his corner with a dropkick. His quickness would be needed in this match, and he utilized it by sending Jeff out of the ring with a headscissors. Will ran for the ropes to hit his signature taunt, and jeff caught him, mid handstand, and dragged him through the ropes, attempting to throw will off the apron with a powerbomb. Will did escape, able to daze Cobb and hit the Sasuke Special. Cobb relied on his strength to turn things around, as he managed to catch Will in the air and hit his belly to belly suplex. Will’s quick thinking in the air allowed him to score a dropkick, leading him into a Pip Pip Cheerio to put Cobb down. The two would go back and forth in a matchup of different styles, Power vs High Flying. Cobb looked to put the match away with the Tour of the Isles, but Will was able to spin it into a sunset powerbomb. Cobb thwarted Will’s first attempt at an Oz Cutter, tossing Will up one handed into an F5. Cobb even managed to stop the second attempt, but was caught off guard on the third. Even so, Cobb was able to slide out of the Storm Breaker, and score a huge german suplex on Will, which lead right into Will taking a Tour of the Isles and earning Jeff Cobb the victory.

 The next match had the still winless Yujiro Takahashi face off against another off the four leaders in Kota Ibushi. The match started with a clean break from Ibushi, who was quickly sent outside the ring afterwards. Before Yujiro could follow him outside though, Ibushi had slid back in, avoiding whatever wicked ideas Yujiro had. Somewhat upset at that, Yujiro dumped Ibushi to the outside again, following him out. But it was Yujiro that was sent crashing into the barricade, causing him to hastily retreat back into the ring. The two exchanged inside the ring, with Ibushi this time sending Yujiro to the outside. From there, Yujiro would rake the eyes and score a reverse DDT to the floor. When Yujiro returned Ibushi to the ring, Ibushi would roll out on a different side to collect himself, the roles having been played full circle.  It was Yujiro’s match after that, keeping Ibushi off guard with multiple strikes. It was a running high kick that got Ibushi back into the match, allowing him to his his striking combination and standing moonsault. Yujiro had to rely on his ring awareness, tossing Ibushi up with a flapjack onto the ropes. Ibushi picked his spots though, scoping out Yujiro’s sliding kick, and jumped ontop of him with a double stomp. Ibushi looked ready to roll from there, but Yujiro’s tendency for biting in a match allowed him to stay on top. It was a huge fisherman buster from the top turnbuckle, followed through with a normal one on that mat that nearly put Ibushi away. Yet, Ibushi would rally, avoiding Pimp Juice to stun Yujiro with a running knee. Ibushi would then be able to hit the Kamigoye, to make himself the first in the G1 this year to hit 12 points and take the lead.

The third match would pit two men already eliminated from the Final, Shingo Takagi and Taichi. While only bragging rights were on the line, any win against a champion, would allow for a challenge down the line. While Shingo may not have had that in mind against IWGP Tag Champion Taichi, he definitely wanted to make the most of his second G1 season. Taichi seemed almost relaxed after the bell sounded, maybe in acknowledgement that his G1 season was over, with nothing to continue fighting for. Shingo didn’t share that mindset, getting rather upset with Taichi’s lack of effort in the opening lock ups. Shingo’s passion for the fight allowed him to plow through Taichi, sending him to the arena floor. Unfortunately, that just allowed Taichi the ability to sneak the timekeepers hammer and use it on Shingo when he came to collect Taichi on the outside. Once back in the ring, Taichi had no issues going for multiple chokes, showing little regard to the rules or respect to the ref. Shingo did finally get Taichi with a backdrop suplex, allowing him to get a breather. A quick combination from Shingo was able to set him up for a successful Noshigami. The two would successfully avoid each other’s signature moves, and went to exchanging strikes, Shingo’s chops against Taichi’s kicks. It was a double chop that left Shingo standing tall, but the two came to blows again, colliding mid ring in spectacular fashion. Taichi was able to connect with his head dropping backdrop suplex, but his delay in his pant removal caused him to receive an Axe bomber. Shingo managed to detect and avoid an incoming low blow from Taichi, and drove the point home with Made in Japan. Shingo would go on to set Taichi up for Last of the Dragon, but a rake to the eyes would stop him, and Taichi would hit a variation of the move on Shingo. The two went back to throwing strikes, and Taichi was able to put Shingo in a daze with a hard-thrust kick. From there, Taichi was able to put Shingo away, hitting Black Mephisto for the victory.

The fourth match had another leader, Jay White, attempting to keep pace with Ibushi against Minoru Suzuki. Jay is in a good position, as he has a victory over Ibushi and Okada, meaning he merely has to tie them to be the leader, holding the crucial head to head tie breakers on them both. While Suzuki is eliminated, he’s not one to skip out on inflicting pain and playing spoiler if he can. Jay, in his usual tactics, took to exiting the ring at the start, but quickly realized that Suzuki wouldn’t hesitate to give chase. Jay did finally agree to wrestle, finding himself locked in Suzuki’s clutches, who was more than happy to twist at Jay’s fingers. Jay’s second attempt went even worse than the first, finding himself backed up in the corner and hit with some echoing over head chops. When Gedo tried to interfere, Suzuki began stalking him outside the ring, allowing Jay the opening he needed to attack from behind. Jay ran Suzuki into anything hard he could find, eventually returning the favor of the overhand chop. The death glare that Suzuki gave Jay afterwards was the thing nightmares are made of. Suzuki would try to return to the ring, only for Jay to get onto the attack as he was halfway in. Gedo played his part for Jay, grabbing a chair, which distracted the ref. Jay went and grabbed a chair of his own, but Suzuki managed to get it from him and laid in a few chair shots across the back for good measure. Jay would turn the tides back by suplexing Suzuki into the turnbuckle. Following it up with a few elbows only seemed to awaken Suzuki’s inner sadist, who laid Jay out with a single stiff forearm. Suzuki’s strikes were killer, laying Jay out with each shot that landed. Jay resorted to chopping the tree down at its roots, attacking Suzuki’s knee. Suzuki tried to fight out, not backing down from Jay’s chops as he continuously moved forward on his knees, like a amputee Terminator. Once Suzuki did find his vertical base, Jay would merely attack the knee again. Suzuki did find the sleeper hold, wearing Jay down. When he tried to spin Jay around for the Gotch Piledriver, Jay reversed into a leg submission, that Suzuki was able to reverse into a heel hold. Suzuki began to rally back, pointing at Gedo before laying Jay out with another nasty forearm. Suzuki was able to get into an armbar, leaving Jay helpless in the middle of the ring. Gedo hopped onto the apron, distracting the ref, who missed the tap out by Jay. Suzuki released the hold, sending Gedo to the floor with another one of his famous forearms. Not quite finished with his work, Suzuki peppered Jay with hard slaps. When Suzuki finally lifted Jay for the Gotch Style Piledriver, Gedo was able to distract the ref by grabbing his pant leg. That was all Jay needed to score the low blow and the Bladerunner, stealing himself two more points to tie with Ibushi.

The main event would have stable members Kazuchika Okada face off against Tomohiro Ishii. Okada would need the win to stay in contention for the Final. The two locked up, trying their best to get leverage over the other. It was Okada’s usual feint slap off a clean break that caused Ishii to want to go Chest to chest with Okada. Okada used that mentality to take the early advantage, getting in a swift kick and exchanging Shoulder tackles with Ishii, who refused to go down. While it took time and momentum, Okada finally got Ishii to the mat on about the fifth or six one. Ishii was able to avoid a chop from Okada, taking him over with a vertical suplex. Pressing his attack, Ishii would get Okada into the corner, laying in hard chops until Okada’s chest was purple. Okada tried to show his toughness, getting into Ishii’s face, and received a few high chops that hit Okada right in the throat. Relief would come when Okada got a surprise flapjack on Ishii, but after a back elbow, Ishii would take down the 5-time IWGP Heavyweight champion with a headbutt. Responding with a hard slap, Ishii would be planted into the mat by Okada with a DDT. The two would exchange elbows in the center of the ring, Ishii throwing out the challenge to Okada. It was a fight that Ishii specialized in, and he would outlast Okada in the exchange. Attempting a superplex, Okada would slip away from Ishii and take him down with his air raid neckbreaker. But Ishii would turn the tables with a german suplex to the turnbuckle. In a match like this, it’s all about getting right back up and getting in the last hit before collapsing. It was a beautiful look into the Puroresu way, taking 9 shots just to deliver 10. Okada was able to hit the Tombstone Piledriver and lock in the Money Clip, but Ishii fought to the ropes. Responding, Ishii avoided a second tombstone as well as a roll up to drive Okada down with a DDT, which he transitioned into an armbar. This time it was Okada who would need the ropes to save himself. Okada would get Ishii set up on top of the turnbuckle, and tried to send him tumbling to the floor with a dropkick, but Ishii absorbed the blow, not even flinching when it connected. He would leap off the top, connecting with Okada’s head with a knee drop. While Okada looked to put the match away, hitting his spinning tombstone, his offense was usually cut short with short headbutts, keeping Okada on his toes. A rolling lariat had Okada in the driver’s seat, locking in the Money Clip a third time. As Ishii got close to the ropes, Okada tried to flip Ishii away, who landed on his feet (Which is amazing, considering Ishii is shaped like a barrel with arms, legs, and a head) and responded with another charging headbutt. Ishii tried to put the match away with the Brainbuster, yet Okada was able to slip out and tried a fourth Money Clip. Each would try a backslide pin attempt, but Okada’s escape led him into hitting Ishii with a short arm rainmaker. Okada got the Money Clip a fifth time, trying to finally keep Ishii down. Ishii would have one last burst of fight, which Okada would quell with a backbreaker, before locking in the Money Clip a sixth and final time. Ishii wasn’t able to escape, and the ref called for the bell after he faded.

Block A:

  • Jay White: 12 points
  • Kota Ibushi: 12 points
  • Minoru Suzuki: 6 Points
  • Taichi: 8 Points
  • Kazuchica Okada: 12 points
  • Shingo Takagi: 6 points
  • Tomohiro Ishii: 6 points
  • Jeff Cobb: 8 points
  • Will Ospreay: 10 points
  • Yujiro Takahashi: 0 points

Block B:

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

Unoffical “Block C”

  • Yuya Uemura: 11 points
  • Yuta Tsuji: 10 points
  • Gabriel Kidd: 9 points

Okada, Jay White, and Kota Ibushi sit atop Block A with a single night of competition to go. While Will Ospreay is still in the mix, the best he could hope for is a three-way tie for the block, leading into secondary matchups to find the Block A finalist. With the G1 coming to a close, the action only gets better as the leaders desperately try to claw their way to the G1 Final.

Featured Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/Game Changer Sports Network

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