Tetsuya Naito versus Jon Moxley is the headliner! Does Moxley lose to the most popular man in New Japan?
So this is an odd night. Juice and Ishii have important positioning implications depending on how the main event pans out.
Aside from that match, the rest seems like a muddle middle/low end of the bracket. Also it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jay White win his match, only because Shingo is billed as a Junior, so he’s not really a threat to current main eventer.
Let’s see if Naito can hang the first loss on Moxley, or if the Gaijin Death Rides into the sunset. (it’s a stretch, I know, shuddup)
- Ren Narita vs Yuya Uemura: Narita via Belly to Belly Hold @7:25 – *** 1/4
- Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter & Chase Owens vs Kota Ibushi, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Takahashi wins via Pimp Juice @8:20 – ** 1/2
- Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Lance Archer & Zack Sabre Jr vs Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI, Will Ospreay & Shota Umino: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @9:35 – ***
- BUSHI, SANADA & EVIL vs Karl Fredericks, Hiroshi Tanahashi & KENTA: BUSHI wins via MX @9:00 – ** 1/2
- B Block: Hirooki Goto vs Toru Yano: Goto wins via Goto Shiki @1:40 – *
- B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs Juice Robinson: Ishii wins via Vertical Drop Brain Buster @17:55 – **** 1/2
- B Block: Taichi w/Miho Abe vs Jeff Cobb: Cobb wins via Tour of the Islands @12:30 – ** 1/4
- B Block: Shingo Takagi vs Jay White: White wins via Blade Runner @19:25 – *** 3/4
- B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs Jon Moxley: Moxley wins via Death Rider @16:40 – *** 1/2
Ren Narita vs Yuya Uemura – As far as Young Lion matches go, this was very good. Narita has had the better of every singles match between these two, so part of the story was Uemura trying to overcome the deficit. Uemura had some great spots, big counters and high impact moves, but he still succumbed to the Belly to Belly Hold that Narita does so nicely. Solid opening match.
Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter & Chase Owens vs Kota Ibushi, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare – Small snapshot for Fale and Ibushi match coming up, but it was mostly forgettable. Yes, it seems like Honma and Yujiro have a small rivalry during the undercard, but nothing fancy, nothing fancy. This was alright, and afterwards Henare makes a reference to a C Block singles match. Not sure if that was for him or for Honma with the undercurrent story, but I do appreciate the C Block joke throw back.
Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Lance Archer & Zack Sabre Jr vs Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI, Will Ospreay & Shota Umino – My biggest take away here is Shota is getting tremendous experience. Being paired with Moxley, along with helping Tanahashi and Okada in some of these tags, this is all big rubs for the Young Lion. Plus, just so we’re clear, Lance Archer is a goddamn treasure. He just joins in on English commentary and picks up during the match and continues his desire to get Rocky Romero into a cage match. The match was fun, pushed a few story threads, but Lance is my big impression. Not only has he been one of the top performers of tournament in the ring, but now I really want him to put a loss on Okada.
BUSHI, SANADA & EVIL vs Karl Fredericks, Hiroshi Tanahashi & KENTA – This match was supposed to continue the KENTA/Tanahashi storyline and of course preview SANADA and EVIL’s next matches. Tanahashi was heavily banged up and makes the possibility of an EVIL upset more believable. Karl showed a lot of fire and decent skills, but the G1 participants were the important part, but nothing moved forward all that much.
B Block: Hirooki Goto vs Toru Yano – Yano tried to do the shirt over the head Roll-Up, but failed. His usual turnbuckle pad shtick, but Goto was having none of it. Goto blocks a back leg kick and pulls off his Cross-Legged Cradle move, he calls Goto Shiki. Cool looking, not done too often.
B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs Juice Robinson – Juice started off the tournament strong while Ishii has been sputtering a little bit. This match started off with stiff strikes and just a hard hitting, well paced, insane match. Juice took it to Ishii, maybe in hopes of toughening himself for Moxley later in the tournament, or just because he’s stubborn. Only the second block match of the night, and we may have peaked. Damn, this was a hell of a slobber knocker!
B Block: Taichi w/Miho Abe vs Jeff Cobb – I usually enjoy Taichi’s super douchebag heel gimmick, but it didn’t really work here. The handshakes and fair play early before introducing Miho into the situation was fine, but then the match felt like it dragged. Excitement finally hit towards the finish of the match, but it was a general slow disappointment. Taichi’s gimmick doesn’t always work with everyone, and this was definitely one where it didn’t work.
B Block: Shingo Takagi vs Jay White – White needed a bit of help from Gedo throughout the match, and it was still close. This is a great rub for Shingo since we have to remember he’s still being billed as a Junior Heavyweight, so the loses aren’t going to hurt him much when he’s punching above his weight class. Jay pulls off an interesting Snap Brain Buster before the Blade Runner, and the pinfall. The match took a little bit of time to really pick up, but it went from being an alright match to a pretty good one with the last few minutes. Fun match and a lot of character wrinkles from White.
B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs Jon Moxley – Both men start with some posing, posturing and just generally trying to get in one another’s heads. Naito continues to show a willingness to fight on the outside with Gaijin wrestlers, and he tends to get his ass kicked more often than not. Red Shoes taking a chair away from Moxley gave Naito an opening for a few minutes, but Moxley proved to be too much. Also the match got a little sloppy at points. A completely missed Enzuigiri spot, Naito spiked himself on an awkward Avalanche Frankensteiner. So where the intensity picked up a little, the match started to slip a bit. Still not a bad match, and surprising that Moxley beat Naito. But part of the fun of tournaments is the unexpected and seeing where things head.
Overall Score: 6.75/10
Relatively average tag matches, only one real must watch match tonight lends to the night being somewhat skippable. Jay White is slowly climbing back into the competition where Moxley is increasing his lead. Naito’s tournament could very possibly be over since Moxley would need to lose the rest of his matches for Naito to have a shot at winning the tournament. This is really just an odd point spread at the moment with a clear leader, but everyone else being pretty damn close.
So many will be annoyed here. Naito losing to Moxley continues the fan perspective of New Japan screwing Naito and Jay White being good at being a heel, will spark some ire from people. Is Moxley headed for a showdown with Okada in the G1 Climax finals?
B Block Standings:
- Jon Moxley – 5-0 (10 Points)
- Juice Robinson – 3-2 (6 Points)
- Tomohiro Ishii – 3-2 (6 Points)
- Shingo Takagi – 2-3 (4 Points)
- Taichi – 2-3 (4 Points)
- Toru Yano – 2-3 (4 Points)
- Tetsuya Naito – 2-3 (4 Points)
- Jeff Cobb – 2-3 (4 Points)
- Hirooki Goto – 2-3 (4 Points)
- Jay White – 2-3 (4 Points)