A Block second matches! Do Okada and KENTA keep momentum? Do Tanahashi or Ibushi get on the score board?
So we’ve got the irresistible force/immovable object match with Fale and Archer! Who is the dominant big man?
Plus there’s of course the bigger names that have yet to get points, like, Ospreay, Tanahashi and Ibushi. It’s early on, but still a few surprising early wrinkles.
- Tomoaki Honma, Yuya Uemura & Hirooki Goto vs Yota Tsuji, Toa Henare & Juice Robinson: Toa Henare wins via Uranage @6:30 – **
- Jeff Cobb & Ren Narita vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: Cobb wins via Tour of the Islands @4:55 – ** 1/4
- Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Jay White vs YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano: Yano wins via Brenda Roll Up @9:20 – ** 1/2
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi vs Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI: Suzuki wins via Gotch Style Piledriver @8:35 – ***
- Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs Lance Archer: Archer wins via EBD Claw Hold @10:10 – ***
- Block A: SANADA vs Will Ospreay: Ospreay wins via Storm Breaker @17:10 – ****
- Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs Zack Sabre Jr: Okada wins via Rainmaker @12:05 – **** 1/4
- Block A: EVIL vs Kota Ibushi: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @19:10 – *** 1/2
- Block A: KENTA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: KENTA wins via Go 2 Sleep @18:35 – *** 3/4
Basic undercard tag with not a ton going on with the competitors about to face each other in the next block night. The Young Lions started off hot trying to cut their teeth on one another, and then Uemura eats the pin as to protect everyone who’s already established on the main roster.
This was quick, but Shota and Moxley have a little bit of tag team chemistry as the pulled off a Hart Attack, and generally looked to work well together. Moxley was relegated to taking out Narita and then getting tied up once Cobb took control of the match. Another very simple match, but not bad.
So White and Ishii had very good interactions, YOSHI took most of the beatings and Chase ate the pinfall. But generally speaking this was fun. It was also nice to see Yujiro since he’s been M.I.A. due to injuries off and on the last few years. We need our Tokyo Pimp.
Naito and Taichi continued their feud through the better portion of this match. Taichi had Naito reeling at numerous moments but Naito eventually got enough space to start the LIJ tags. So the whole story of Suzuki-Gun versus LIJ, Naito versus Taichi, just a lot of stories continued to grow here. Nice story telling.
Lots of power moves and both men trying to position themselves as the Alpha. Fale had an early advantage especially thanks to Jado and Marty Asami not feeling like tossing out DQs like candy. Both men had a few close calls with signatures, but after countering the Bad Luck Fall Archer hits a Pounce and builds his momentum. A chokeslam and Everybody Dies Claw later, Archer gets his second win.
Well now, this went back and forth quite a bit. SANADA proved his athleticism, Ospreay proved that he can hang with heavyweights and it was close the whole time. The only really awful spot was Ospreay slipping out of the Paradise Lock. There’s a gimmick there, and we don’t need the allure of it to be cheapened for a dumb flip spot. Aside from that worthless moment, the match was really wrestled well and SANADA had a few attempts at victory. SANADA’s constant desire to use the Moonsault still proves to be his downfall. He really needs a new move.
Okada has the amazing ability to wrestler his opponent’s style of match. Sabre stretched him and tried to break him, but Okada fended off every attempt. We saw numerous counters, submissions and great wrestling. Okada’s Rolling Rainmaker to set up the traditional Rainmaker is always a fun transition. Awesome match.
Well I guess this was the palate cleanser before the main event. This match was slow, plodding and EVIL did the worst Scorpion Deathlock I’ve ever seen. And I mean worse that 50+ year old Sting when he’d basically fall over. Like it was a Scorpion Hot Garbage Lock. But once Ibushi hit his second life bar, the match picked up a little, but it wasn’t close to a great match. It was fine, but a major step down from the previous two matches.
This main event told a solid story of KENTA proving himself against the Ace and stepping into the place of Katsuyori Shibata. The match was deliberately paced but there were some noticeable hiccups. A match that basically took about a decade to happen because of how NOAH and NJPW were run, lived up to a first time meeting. If we saw this match before KENTA left for the WWE in 2014, I feel it would’ve been much harder hitting and more of a classic puroresu match. This wasn’t bad by any regard, but it was carried by the story and hampered a little by the fact that both men are older and adjusting to injuries.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
The block matches were on average a little better than the first Block A night, but the energy felt down a little. Undercard served it’s purpose well and all the matches that were expected to be bangers, delivered fairly well on the expectation. KENTA with the hot start is a little concerning for me though. Historically, freelancers have good showings but don’t win the tournament.
Judging from early positioning it feels like either Okada or Goto are being positioned for the win, but with all the new faces…this is definitely harder to call. Adds to the fun, doesn’t it?
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 2-0 (4 Points)
- Lance Archer: 2-0 (4 Points)
- KENTA: 2-0 (4 Points)
- SANADA: 1-1 (2 Points)
- EVIL: 1-1 (2 Points)
- Will Ospreay: 1-1 (2 Points)
- Bad Luck Fale: 1-1 (2 Points)
- Zack Sabre Jr: 0-2 (2 Points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 0-2 (0 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 0-2 (0 Points)