Night 6 marks the end of the first “trimester” of the tournament. B Block finishes its first third, which will set the pace of the rest of the G1. With the starting placements set up, the next “trimester” of the G1 will start separating the pack. Who will be the true contenders? Who will “Be the One”?
As has become custom, the Young Lions kicked off the night. Tonight was the rematch between Yuya Uemura and Gabriel Kidd. This time, it was Gabriel who had the chain wrestling advantage. Yuya came out on top in the second round of holds, and tensions seemed to be on edge. Both seemed to really want to prove their dominance in the match. Yuya was able to grab ahold of a headlock, refusing to let go until finally Gabriel sent him off the ropes for a dropkick. Yet Yuya was able to fight through, finding the High Angle Boston Crab for the victory!
Then came G1 time, as Block B kicked off with two winless wrestlers, YOSHI-HASHI and SANADA. It’s odd seeing SANADA winless thus far, as he was a heavy favorite to win Block B. Unfortunately, this is not unfamiliar territory to YOSHI. YOSHI-HASHI was able to take the early lead, showing more energy then the usually stoic SANADA. Yet, SANADA wasnt to be denied with a one man Magic Killer off the barricade to put Yoshi down. SANADA and YOSHI were able to have some exchanges, but a counter to YOSHI’s Swanton allowed SANADA to lock in Skull End. With YOSHI nearly passed out, SANADA climbed to the top rope for his moonsault, but came crashing down on YOSHI’s knees instead. From there, Yoshi was in control, escaping a third Skull End for a roll up. This managed to fluster SANADA, and YOSHI took advantage of the “emotional” SANADA, striking quick and hard. With SANADA stunned, YOSHI managed to hit Karma and stun everyone else with his first victory!
The next match would pit two dangerous submissionists in Zack Sabre Jr. and KENTA. Though dangerous as they may be, the styles differ greatly. Zack’s submissions come from his technical know how and ability to customize submissions while he’s apllied them to attack extra limbs or extend the stretch on the hold. KENTA’s submission ability is directly used in tune with his stiff strikes, more of a brute force type of submissions. The bell rang, and KENTA started on the ground to rope Zack into a technical wrestling match. This tactic worked against KENTA, who had to retreat to the outside once Zack latched onto his ankle. Zack then returned the favor, dropping to the mat, inviting KENTA back in for round two. This was a tactical error, as KENTA then went to town with kicks to Zack’s arm and chest. But present a limb to Zack, and he will take it from you. Once again, KENTA escaped to the ropes. KENTA continued to pepper Zack with strikes, while Zack attempted to fire back with his own. Every strike Zack landed on KENTA seemed almost ineffective, yet every hold had KENTA scrambling to the ropes for the break. The head seemed to be a repeated target for KENTA late match, looking to knock Zack out with his Go to Sleep. Zack managed to reverse two attempts, making KENTA pay by bending him into a pretzel each time. But Zack would have no answer for the third attempt, eating the knee, allowing KENTA to get the pin.
Match three of the night would see the undefeated Juice Robinson face off against winless Hiroshi Tanahashi. Both are beloved wrestlers, who feed off the crowd to enhance their fighting spirit. But tonight would be about determination. Juice fighting for a chance to stay in the lead in Block B, and Tanahashi, trying to keep on the radar and his legacy alive. Tanahashi seemed to struggle to keep up with Juice’s pace. A calf kick from the corner gave Juice the advantage and he pressed it. Out of any active wrestlers, Tanahashi holds the most G1 wins at three, making him a threat that was hard to overlook. He was able to turn the tides by attack Juice’s knee, with a dragon screw. but Control was all in Juice’s hands when he landed a superplex. A few Slingblades from Tanahashi was able to see him comeback, as the fans began to rally. Even after taking the Left Hand of God, Tanahashi had enough in him to slip Pulp Friction for a cradle pin and the win!
With one of the three undefeated fallen, the fourth match would see undefeated Toru Yano face off against EVIL. Both men had little regards for the rules, but even Yano would have to be careful with Dick Togo in EVIL’s corner. But Yano seemed up to the task, removing three of the turnbuckles pads, while Evil removed one. When Yano was sent to the outside, and Togo went on the attack, Yano countered by taping him to the barricade. EVIL was ready for Yano, though, tossing him into all four unprotected turnbuckles. While Evil seemed to have the match in hand, with the escaped Togo distracting the ref for EVIL to land the low blow; Yano is a master at dirty fighting. Yano managed not one, not two, but a total of four low blows between EVIL and Togo, allowing him to roll up EVIL and remain undefeated.
The main even had Double Champ and undefeated Tetsuya Naito take on Hirooki Goto. Naito seemed to have a game plan coming into the match, as he went for the heavily taped should of Goto. The early advantage nearly cost Goto the match, as Naito brought the fighting outside, weakening Goto for a near count out loss. When the count out failed, Naito went to submissions, refusing to break until the ref would start the count. The extra wear seemed to take it’s toll on Goto, slowly grinding him down. Despite a fighting effort, Naito’s targeted attacks seemed to keep him on top. It wasn’t until Goto landed a superplex, that he was able to start building a head of steam. Naito turned the tides back with a Frankensteiner, but Goto reversed a running Destino. Goto was able to keep fighting, landing a GTW, taking the late advantage. It wasnt enough, though, as Naito was able to escape the GTR, and hit a proper Destino to remain perfect in the G1!
- Jay White: 6 points
- Kota Ibushi: 4 points
- Minoru Suzuki: 4 Points
- Taichi: 6 Points
- Kazuchica Okada: 2 points
- Shingo Takagi: 2 points
- Tomohiro Ishii: 0 points
- Jeff Cobb: 2 points
- Will Ospreay: 4 points
- Yujiro Tanahashi: 0 points
- 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
A third of the tournament through and there are only four men still perfect. Wear and tear is beginning to take form with the grueling schedule. The field will only become more desperate while it thins. And that means every fight will get harder on each man. The next six nights are the grind that will separate the field, and take us to the home stretch. Every match now means that much more as the gaps are starting to appear between the Blocks.
Feature Image Credit: Matthew Boyce/ Game Changer Sports Network
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