Alright, the undefeated KENTA and Okada face each other in today’s matches. Who leads the block after today?
Taking place in Aichi, we have an important night headlined by the hometown boy. Does Okada get his 11th straight win and overcome his usual weakness against former NOAH champions?
There’s also plenty of interest in the respective matches for Tanahashi and Ibushi, since the tournament hasn’t started how they would have anticipated.
Do we see this block get closer? Do we get a main event Draw?
Let’s find out!
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi vs Ren Narita, Yota Tsuji & Jeff Cobb: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @8:45 – ***
- Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs Juice Robinson, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @9:05 – ** 1/2
- Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI: Yano wins via Roll-Up @7:15 – **
- Jon Moxley & Shota Umino vs Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito: Takagi wins via Pumping Bomber @7:50 – *** 1/4
- A Block: Lance Archer vs Kota Ibushi: Ibushi wins via Kamygoye @11:45 – ****
- A Block: Will Ospreay vs Bad Luck Fale: Ospreay wins via DQ @9:10 – *
- A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs EVIL: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @16:00 – *** 1/2
- A Block: SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via High Fly Flow @18:05 – **** 1/4
- A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs KENTA: Okada wins via Rainmaker @26:55 – **** 3/4
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi vs Ren Narita, Yota Tsuji & Jeff Cobb – Suzuki-Gun gets the early jump start and the match begins on the floor and in the crowd. After Suzuki brings Narita back into the ring, it was mostly Suzuki-Gun dominance. Taichi and Jeff Cobb have a decent amount of back and forth, but you’ve got to think that Cobb gets his win back from the NEVER championship loss. After the match Taichi offers his hand and actually shakes Cobb’s hand. He leaves with a big grin on his face, but nothing shady. Taichi and Cobb may end up being better than initially expected.
Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs Juice Robinson, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare – The best highlight of this match was early on when Yujiro sent Honma into the corner, Chase and Jay put up double boots, and after Yujiro drove Honma’s head into the boots, Jay and Chase sold their feet hurting. It’s a good little wrinkle since Honma’s big move is the Kokeshi which is a headbutt. Taking nothing away from the match, it wasn’t bad, it was just par for the course. Juice flirted with Pieter, Henare nearly pulled off a big upset but Chase Owens pulled a few dirty tactics and wins with his Package Piledriver.
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI – Well this was what you’d expect from all four Chaos members and one of them being Yano. HASHI was in the match to eat the pin, and it was generally forgettable and not all that amusing. So a little below average for an undercard tag.
Jon Moxley & Shota Umino vs Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito – Lots of tension in this match. Naito kept antagonizing Moxley and it got Jon fired up. Since we’ve probably figured out how undercard tags work, we knew Shota was eating the pin when everyone else is in the G1. But lots of good heat and Naito just being an ass. Moxley and Naito even traded “Suck Its” at one point. Fun match.
A Block: Lance Archer vs Kota Ibushi – Ibushi fought from underneath early on, and he sold the ankle well during the match. Archer pulled out some crazy moves for a 6’8″ man, Step Up Flipping Senton, Moonsault and he even survived the first Kamigoye. The way both men sold the moves, the heart from both, and Ibushi and Asami’s reaction when Archer didn’t go down after the first Kamigoye was golden. Also can’t be overlooked that Archer pulled out the ole Double Coconut in this match, driving a Young Lion’s head into Ibushi’s on the outside. Really fun and well paced match.
A Block: Will Ospreay vs Bad Luck Fale – Damn this whole match was just a rolling ball of interference. Jado, Chase Owens and kendo sticks…sheesh. The match trudged along, never really had any momentum and was just painful. So if the match wasn’t a throw back enough to last year, Marty Asami gets taken out, so Red Shoes runs to the ring to fill in, counts to 2, and then gives Fale the double bird and disqualifies him. At least this is over.
A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs EVIL – EVIL has this tendency to start matches so slow they lull you into that style of Highway Hypnosis. EVIL tried to out wrestle Sabre, but Sabre stayed a step ahead most of the time, even doing his own Scorpion Deathlock. But as the match continued, Sabre’s major weakness is power moves since he keeps himself so lean. Darkness Falls opened up just enough space for EVIL to reverse Sabre into Everything is Evil and get a somewhat surprising victory. Only the second time EVIL has beaten Sabre in singles combat.
A Block: SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – So I’ve been fairly critical of Tanahashi’s matches this year, but this was one of his best since coming back from his most recent injury. SANADA is a great opponent to work a deliberate pace with a lot of easy story telling, especially given they have a similar training history. Tanahashi is a Tatsumi Fujinami trainee and SANADA is Mutoh’s student, so everyone is from the Dragon style. Aside from a few hiccups on transitions, this was well wrestled, well paced and Tanahashi countering a Skull End, left the door open for two High Fly Flows and 2 more points.
A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs KENTA – Aside from being the match between the two A Block leaders, it carried a lot of weight for both men. KENTA is trying to prove he’s still who he was before he went to WWE and Okada is trying to get over a few things. Okada tends to have issues against former NOAH wrestlers and he was tied with Masahiro Chono for most consecutive victories in the G1 Climax. We saw a great match. KENTA pulled out a few Draping Foot Stomps and Draping Knee as well as a Game Over attempt. KENTA was never able to connect with a Go 2 Sleep, so his finish is protected. Numerous counters and just a great match.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
We had 3 great block matches, a couple tag matches worth watching and a little bit of history…all in a Typhoon! Yeah Aichi was under a weather warning, but the show still went on and seemed pretty packed.
Okada is continuing to look like a favorite to win everything, which would be the first time since Kensuke Sasaki in 2000 that the reigning champion won the G1 Climax. Do we just continue to add on to Okada’s legacy or does someone show up and rain on his parade a little?
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 5-0 (10 Points)
- KENTA: 4-1 (8 Points)
- EVIL: 3-2 (6 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 3-2 (6 Points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 3-2 (6 Points)
- Will Ospreay: 2-3 (4 Points)
- Lance Archer: 2-3 (4 Points)
- SANADA: 1-4 (2 Points)
- Bad Luck Fale: 1-4 (2 Points)
- Zack Sabre Jr: 1-4 (2 Points)