The G1 Climax rolls on with Block B. Two wrestlers in the block are still undefeated and look to remain perfect to enhance their lead. Who shall be able to keep the momentum going as we are nearly halfway through the G1 Climax season?
Young Lions fought in the opening exhibition match, with Gabriel Kidd facing off against Yuya Tsuji. They went in even against each other, both with a win over each other. When the bell rang, they tried to overpower each other in their chain wrestling, rather than use finesse, or outwit through technical skill. Tsuji kicked Gabriel during a test of strength, which only fired up Gabriel, who responded with a barrage of strikes. Tsuji was able to dodge a running attack in the corner, and counter with a few body slams to take over in the match. Gabriel fought back, going for his Dragon Suplex, which Tsuji countered with a powerslam. The two managed to counter each other’s big moves as the action got quicker and quicker, just for the bell to ring as the two fought to the 15 minute time limit. Despite the draw ending, this was one of the most exciting Young Lion matches on the G1 so far.
Block B then kicked off, as the undefeated Toru Yano would attempt to stay perfect against the fan favorite, Juice Robinson. Juice would have to be prepared for any antics Yano may try to pull, if he wanted to dethrone the Block B leader. But, Juice was too trusting to start, accepting Yano’s “gift of a shirt. As Juice put it on, Yano tried to roll up Juice up for a quick win. Enraged, Juice was egged onto the outside, where Yano was able to tape Juice’s ankles together, forcing the Flamboyant one to hop after him. Juice was able to free himself, and blocked a kick aimed for the lower region, while Yano held the ref. This allowed Juice to hit the Left Hand of God, and counter Yano’s roll up for one of his own, which got Juice the win!
The second match had Hirooki Goto face Zack Sabre Jr, who were both tied at two points apiece. Goto went in with a distinct disadvantage, his shoulder still wrapped up from his opening match with KENTA. It was essentially a target for the submission specialist, who didn’t hesitate to attack it. An octopus stretch wore Goto down, but he managed to fight through. Rolling through Zack’s PK kick for a lariat, Goto seemed to be in an upswing. But he went for the GTR very early, and Zack was able to slip away and catch Goto off guard with a roll up!
Block B continued to roll with YOSHI-HASHI and Hiroshi Tanahashi facing off, both tied at two points. Neither man seemed to get the decisive advantage while chain wrestling. It was YOSHI who took over after targeting Tanahashi’s knee. While Tanahashi fought back, hitting his sunset flip senton off the second rope, YOSHI would counter the High Fly Flow by getting his knees up. YOSHI locked in the Butterfly lock, wearing Tana down for some time. When Tana fought towards the ropes, YOSHI moved to a sleeper hold instead, setting up Karma. Tana was able to counter with a desperate Twist and Shout to stay alive. YOSHI fought hard, going for Karma once more, but Tana escaped and hit a High Fly Flow to the standing YOSHI, before finishing him off with a second for the pin.
The fourth match pitted Bullet Club members KENTA and EVIL against each other. KENTA would have to be wary of his usual running tactics, with Dick Togo in EVIL’s corner. Both men had won New Japan Cup Tournaments this year, with EVIL winning the traditional one, and KENTA winning the U.S. version. KENTA went for a Too Sweet with EVIL before the bell, but EVIL faked him out, instead doing it with Togo. KENTA did try to avoid the fight by exiting the ring once the match started. He may have been trying to play mind games, as he went to Togo and started whispering in his ear, maybe trying to get EVIL to distrust Togo. KENTA was then able to take the early advantage by running EVIL into the ringpost. But Togo and EVIL were thinking as one, and a trip up from Togo allowed EVIL to attack KENTA from behind. EVIL’s attacks became targeted, going for the shoulder of KENTA, running it into the exposed turnbuckle. After a few well placed head kicks and a powerslam, KENTA was back in the match. Togo played spoiler once again, distracting KENTA long enough for EVIL to attack the arm once again. EVIL then used the ref as a human shield, which allowed KENTA to grab his IWGP US Challenger briefcase and lay out Togo and EVIL with it. When KENTA had EVIL on the ropes, he came at him with haymaker slaps, that had EVIL stunned. But Togo ran in again, causing KENTA to grab him for a Go to Sleep. EVIL used the distraction to low blow KENTA and hit Everything is Evil for the win.
The main event had the winless SANADA face off against the undefeated Double Champion, Tetsuya Naito. If SANADA would be able to win over the LIJ founder, he would be able to challenge Naito for a shot at the titles later down the line. Naito didn’t seem to phased in having to face his LIJ teammate, walking to the ring with confidence. The chain wrestling between the two was even, and it took Naito a kick from a clean break to break the draw. Attempting his Tranquilo taunt, SANADA interrupted it, tripping up Naito, then flipping into the ring for a bit of taunting of his own. Striking fast, Naito was able to get right back on the offensive, using his quickness to stay ahead of SANADA. SANADA was able to time out a well placed dropkick, and follow through with a planche to the outside. Once again, back in the ring, Naito was able to take over, staying on step ahead of SANADA. It wasn’t until a dropkick sent Naito into the ringpost, as well as a improvised neackbreaker from the top turnbuckle, did it feel that SANADA was really in the match. But an improvised Destino had Naito back into things. SANADA countered the actual Destino, into his own TKO. The two went to strikes, and SANADA was whipped to the corner, who flipped out to lock in the Skull End. When it appeared that Naito was nearly passed out from the submission, SANADA released the hold and went for his top rope moonsault. Naito was able to roll out of the way of the incoming danger. It left SANADA open for a running Destino, but SANADA was able to kick out! SANADA had control from there, hitting a Destino of his own, before following through with two Moonsaults to put the match away for the win.
- 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
- EVIL: 4 points
- Hirooki Goto: 2 points
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 4 points
- Juice Robinson: 6 points
- KENTA: 4 points
- SANADA: 2 points
- Tetsuya Naito: 6 points
- Toru Yano: 6 points
- YOSHI-HASHI: 2 points
- Zack Sabre Jr.: 4 points
It took until night 8 for everyone involved to get their first loss, keeping the leaders close as the tournament progresses. Six points is where the leaders now sit, and Block B has three leaders as the tournament rolls on. Who can continue to dominate, or change their fortunes, as G1 Climax season continues?
Featured Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/Game Changer Sports Network
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