Block B is running down the home stretch, with only a few more days left in the G1. While there have been eliminations, it’s up to the leaders to forge ahead if they wish to come out on top as the victors of Block B. With only two nights to get it done, these last few days become crucial to survival.

The first match opened with the last round of the Young lion matches, with only three matches to go, including this one. Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura face off for the last time, tied at 2 wins a piece and a draw. Neither were able to get the other down in the opening wrestling salvo. When they locked up again, Tsuki seemed to have the advantage, escaping Yuya’s arm hold, and locking in a full nelson for a bit. The attack on the arm seemed to finally wear Tsuji out, as he took Tsuji down with a hip toss and followed through with a keylock. Tsuji was finally able to escape, lifting Yuya up and slamming him to the mat. The power and athletic ability shown through, as Tsuji slammed and flew, keeping Yuya down, attacking the midsection. A surprise armdrag had Yuya back in, trying for his arm capture belly to belly. Tsuji would roll through backwards, catching Yuya in a Boston Crab. Yuya managed to escape to the ropes, and the two would go to exchanging blows. A spear would spell disaster to Yuya’s fight, as he was flown around in a big swing. Tsuji nearly jumped into the Boston Crab, sitting deep into the hold, and forced Yuya to tap out.

Block B would then open with the 2-point YOSHI-HASHI facing off against KENTA. It seemed KENTA was not worried about YOSHI, as he skipped out on his retreating ways, locking up with YOSHI. KENTA would push YOSHI back into the ropes, and playfully slap YOSHI’s checks on the break, setting YOSHI off. YOSHI attacked with strikes and hit an early headhunter, forcing KENTA to retreat out of the ring. YOSHI tried to hit a baseball slide on KENTA, who was playing with YOSHI’s staff, but KENTA side stepped and ran YOSHI into the ring post. From there, it was targeted strikes and submissions on YOSHI’s shoulder to keep him down. Every rally Yoshi tried to pull was met with another attack to his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks. It would be KENTA’s suplex that YOSHI reversed that saw him finally rally. YOSHI would press his advantage with a pair of dropkicks, trying to keep KENTA on the defensive. A well timed powerslam was all KENTA needed to bring the fight back to YOSHI. A diving lariat was enough to put YOSHI down, but YOSHI recovered enough to exchange strikes. It would be a missed charge that allowed KENTA to hit his running dropkick in the corner and follow up with a double stomp from the top rope. YOSHI would manage to avoid the Go to Sleep, and hit a running powebomb, grabbing KENTA into the Butterfly Lock. YOSHI transitioned to a sleeper as KENTA neared the ropes, and then taking KENTA down with a back cracker. The meteora from YOSHI missed, allowing KENTA to attempt the YES Lock. YOSHI would escape to the ropes and the two exchanged blows, KENTA getting the better of it with two brutal spinning backfists. Getting set up for the Go to Sleep again, YOSHI reversed it into a DDT to stay alive in the match. He would lift KENTA for Karma, but KENTA would roll YOSHI through into the YES Lock once again, getting the submission win.

The second match would feature Juice Robinson taking on Zack Sabre Jr. Both men were eliminated, but every win would help to build momentum after the G1, and both men needed to turn their thoughts to the future beyond. Juice was able to hold his own on the wrestling, going back and forth with Zack on the wrist lock. Zack’s frustration boiled out, hitting a European uppercut, but Juice used that blind rage and the fans stomping and clapping for him to keep up the offence. Zack was able to avoid Juice’s senton, grabbing an armbar. Zack did what Zack does from there, and that’s punish limbs. The crowd went silent as Zack went to work, and it’s the crowd interaction that fuels Juice through a match. Zack stayed on the arm, throwing submissions and stomps in to drive home the pain. A missed pele kick was Juice’s opening to hit a senton and begin hitting his own offense. Trying for a superplex, Zack fought it off, jumping off for a guillotine. Juice powered Zack up for a suplex, but Zack reversed into a sleeper hold instead. Zack had no qualms just standing on Juice’s arm, anything to weaken it. Juice tried to power through Zack’s strikes, but Zack scouted the Juice Box and moved right back onto the arm. Juice escaped a triangle chokehold, rallying the crowd to power him up and slam him down. The crowd’s energy allowed him to power Zack into the Juice Box. But Zack went back to the arm, yet Juice fought through, trying for Pulp Friction, but it was reversed into Zack’s Cradle pin for the three count.

The third G1 match featured New Japan Trickster, Toru Yano against Double Champion, and man tied for first with points Tetsuya Naito. Naito would need a win here to have a chance in winning Block B, as being tied with EVIL in points isn’t enough for him to win. During Naito’s entrance, he made sure to walk even more slowly, which was sending Yano over the edge. While Naito slowly removed his entrance gear, he would purposely fiddle with his buttons, making Yano protest even more. After a small eternity, the bell finally rang. The two feinted the lock up, and Naito’s silent and glances were a perfect match with Yano’s over the top yelling. Naito would almost get a roll up, but Yano kicked out and rolled to the floor. Yano took off past the barricade, yelling at both the ref and Naito halfway across the hall. Naito blocked the ropes, and Yano made it in last second to avoid the count out. Yano rolled into stomps, as Naito began bringing the hurt. But Yano would dodge a charge, spilling Naito to the floor. Yano would lose sight of Naito, who snuck back in and began to remove a turnbuckle pad, something Yano does in every match. When Yano saw, he tried to irish whip Naito, resulting in both of them charging opposite corners to remove the turnbuckle pads. Practice makes perfect, and Yano got his off first, hitting Naito with it, and then the one Naito removed afterwards. From there, Yano would have Naito on the outside of the ring, and taped Naito to Yota Tsuji, with the barricade between them (Young Lions are to be at ringside for matches, to collect entrance gear, observe matches, and act as security/ tend to wrestlers after a match). Naito and Tsuji would have to enter the ring together, taped at the wrist to avoid the countout. Naito would use Tsuji to hit a double team clothesline. Once Tsuji was able to remove the tape, Naitio smiled and offred his fist for an LIJ fist bump. When Tsuji went for it, Naito kicked him and body slammed Tsuji onto Yano. Perhaps feeling silly, Naito then grabbed the ref to follow it up, but it allowed Yano to blindside Naito with a low blow. Rolling through a roll up, dragging the ref down as he did so, Naito would hit a revenge low blow, and roll Yano up for the pin. With that Naito, in hilarious fashion, became the first Block B member to reach 12 points.

The fourth match would have the Block Leader EVIL faces off against Hirooki Goto. A win for EVIL would tie him with Naito again, keeping him ahead. EVIL of course came out with sidekick Dick Togo. EVIL started the match with a kick, trying to get the early advantage. Goto would reverse the momentum, wrapping into a headlock that he refused to let go of. Goto would get whipped off, and managed to take EVIL down with a few shoulder tackles. While Goto seemed to be on top, Togo would drag him out of the ring which allowed EVIL to attack Goto on the outside. Togo would continue to play a role, distracting the ref allowing EVIL to brutalize Goto with some chairs. While Goto tried to return to the ring, EVIL removed the turnbuckle pad, utilizing it by tossing Goto into the exposed turnbuckle twice. Goto would try to fight back, but EVIL started to take aim at Goto’s taped up shoulder. EVIL tried to use the exposed turnbuckle a third time to no avail. Goto would dodge EVIL’s charge, letting EVIL run into the metal, and took over with a backdrop suplex. Goto would try to set up the Ushikoroshi and EVIL would rake the eyes to take back over. Some misdirection running the ropes would allow Goto to finally hit the Ushikoroshi, rallying back, and fighting off Togo on his way to the top rope. EVIL would recover and toss Goto off the top turnbuckle. This would allow EVIL to lay Goto out with a huge lariat and follow it up with Darkness Falls. It would be Goto’s fighting spirit shining through allowing him to hit a neckbreaker, dumping EVIL to the outside. A palanche took EVIL and Togo down, evening the numbers game for a moment. Goto would try for a GTR, but once again EVIL raked the eyes to escape. EVIL would run into the ref, allowing Togo to try to choke Goto in the ring, but he would fall victim to an Ushikoroshi himself. A reverse GTR would almost put EVIL away, but EVIL and Goto would reverse each other’s finishers. A spin out of the GTR would allow would disorient Goto long enough for Everything is Evil, and moved EVIL back into the leader spot at 12 points.

 The Main event would pit Hiroshi Tanahashi against SANADA, who would now need the win to keep his G1 hopes alive. While a win would still get SANADA two points behind, he faces Block Leader EVIL next, allowing him the chance to get into the lead. There was no clear winner between the two in the fist clash, nor the second after the second salvo. While SANADA went to strikes to try to gain the advantage, Tanahashi brought it back to wrestling. SANADA would slow Tanahashi down with a headscissors, locking him into it three times. Tana would manage to escape and would take over with a dropkick to the knee. From there, Tanahashi would focus on the knee, getting SANADA into a leg lock to wear it down. SANADA would catch Tanahashi with a dragon screw, fighting back with a drop kick and palanche. With SANADA in control, he would catch Tanahashi in the paradise lock, and even got a second locking Tana into the ropes. But the target was SANADA’s knee, and Tanahashi was locked in, hitting another dragon screw that sent SANADA to the floor. With the momentum on his side, Tanahashi would climb to the top and hit a High Fly Flow onto SANADA, who was just recovering on the outside. Staying on top, Tanahashi would continue his assult, hitting a few dragon screws and locking SANADA into the Texas cloverleaf. While SANADA escaped to the ropes, he was not able to get Tanahashi into the TKO, instead becoming victim to two twist and shouts. When Tanahashi went for a third Twist and Shout, SANADA would be able to set Tanahashi up for a rope assisted Magic Killer. This would set SANADA up to head to the top rope and try his moonsault, but Tanahashi would dodge out of the way, hitting SANADA with a slingblade. Now Tanahashi would go to the top, attempting the High Fly Flow and coming down on knees. The reversal allowed SANADA to flip into the Skull End. Despite Tana’s fight, SANADA kept him down, and went to the top rope once more to try his moonsault again. It was Tanahashi’s turn to get the knees up. SANADA would fall victim of two more dragon screws, and get locked into the Texas cloverleaf a second time. Time was becoming a factor, as the 30-minute mark started to loom. A time limit draw would eliminate SANADA mathematically from the tournament, who managed his escape, fighting to the ropes. Tanahashi would go for another High Fly Flow, but was caught into a TKO for his high-risk finisher. SANADA would finish the match with two moonsaults, the first to Tanahashi’s back and the second to his chest, to put the match away and keep his hopes alive.

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: 12 points
  • Hirooki Goto: 8 points
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi: 6 points
  • Juice Robinson: 6 points
  • KENTA: 8 points
  • SANADA: 10 points
  • Tetsuya Naito: 12 points
  • Toru Yano: 6 points
  • YOSHI-HASHI: 2 points
  • Zack Sabre Jr.: 10 points

Unoffical “Block C”

  • Yuya Uemura: 11 points
  • Yuta Tsuji: 12 points
  • Gabriel Kidd: 9 points

While this night was high quality, I would say that it exemplified a well booked card throughout the whole show. The matches were broken up in a way that never left you feeling exhausted after watching, as well as having different emotions for its matches. I highly suggest watching this night in it’s original live Japanese broadcast, as the feelings and emotions of the New Japan commentary team enhanced the night greatly.

Block B has its three final contenders, and an interesting three it is. SANADA, EVIL, and Naito, all once stablemates in LIJ, now fighting for the chance to get into the G1 Final. EVIL’s betrayal of LIJ hasn’t been of much talk from SANADA, who faces off against the Block leader in night 18’s main event. With just one night left to go for both Blocks, we head into the weekend to crown G1 Climax 30’s winner.

Featured Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/Game Changer Sports Network

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