Two matches to go for the A Block! Can Ibushi stay close enough to spoil Okada’s tournament?
Well there’s not really a lot to unpack here. If Ibushi loses, then it’s pretty much a lock that Okada wins the block. Yes there may be some weird tie breaker math, but this ain’t the Winona Ryder meme, keep your math in your head.
So does Okada lock up the block? Does Ibushi stay within shouting distance to make for a high stakes final day?
Anyone who has seen these in the past, know it’s most likely the latter. But there’s always room for firsts in wrestling.
So let’s find out!
- Toru Yano, Yota Tsuki & Yuya Uemura vs Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:55 – ** 1/2
- YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino: HASHI wins via Butterfly Lock @5:40 – **
- Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi vs Tomoaki Honma, Toa Henare & Juice Robinson: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @9:30 – ** 3/4
- Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii & Ren Narita vs Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI: BUSHI wins via MX @8:50 – ***
- A Block: SANADA vs Lance Archer: SANADA wins via Japanese Leg Clutch @10:30 – *** 3/4
- A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale: Fale wins via Backslide @10:00 – * 1/2
- A Block: KENTA vs Will Ospreay: Ospreay wins via Stormbreaker @16:30 – *** 1/4
- A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr:: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @15:45 – ****
- A Block: EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Rainmaker @27:00 – *** 3/4
Toru Yano, Yota Tsuki & Yuya Uemura vs Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi – Yano getting the two Young Lions didn’t really bode well for our Sublime Master Thief. Taichi tortured poor Yano, strangling him with microphone chords and even wrapping him up like a burrito in the ring skirt. Basically the same kind of match with Suzuki-Gun destroying people, but it was definitely an alright opener.
YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Jon Moxley & Shota Umino – A bit of striking and just general stepping up to one another, between Goto and Moxley. But honestly, nothing special. Moxley has kind of done the same thing in the tags, so it’s hard to really differentiate any real story telling. YOSHI wins via Butterfly Lock again, so they’re setting YOSHI up for something down the line.
Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi vs Tomoaki Honma, Toa Henare & Juice Robinson – Jay and Juice have pretty good chemistry together in regard to, just getting across the mutual disdain. Jay treats Juice like a little brother and Juice is trying to prove himself to everyone. The story telling is good stuff, the match itself is fine, but Jay is very good at being a slimy heel. After the match, Jay cheap shots Rocky on commentary, so I’m curious if that’s a little breadcrumb for the future.
Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii & Ren Narita vs Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI – Naito sits down at commentary and starts conversing with Kevin Kelly in Spanish. Only thing of merit we get, aside from pleasantries, is Naito saying he’s a little tired. It was amusing, I can’t deny that. Shingo and Ishii kick off the match and play the two bulls trying to gore one another. Naito and Cobb have quite a few interactions as well, but it’s mostly Naito trying to pick apart Cobb and insinuate he’s fat like a sumo. Solid match, a lot of developments for tomorrow’s matches, good fun.
A Block: SANADA vs Lance Archer – Archer continues to look immensely impressive. SANADA fought from underneath this entire match, while Archer pulled off some interesting offense. Even though he falls in this match, Archer will most likely win his last match since people really seem to be loving him. Crowd support and supportive applause after all his matches, because they appreciate how hard he’s fighting.
A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale – Tanahashi tried to chop down the big man, but sadly the size and outside interference was just too much. Part of the story here is that Fale won by a wrestling maneuver for the second match in a row. So, I don’t really know what that’s supposed to mean. Is Fale gonna incorporate more wrestling moves? Do any of us really care? My guess is no on both accounts.
A Block: KENTA vs Will Ospreay – Given who was involved, my expectations may have been a little too high. The match started off well enough with KENTA lighting up Ospreay with strikes and Ospreay’s resiliency shines through. However, they never really had great chemistry. KENTA slipped on a springboard move, KENTA stumbled during Ospreay’s spinning transition and just a few other hiccups hurt what could’ve been an epic dream match. KENTA has no shot at winning any longer, so I’m not really sure where he goes from here.
A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr – This match starts off very similarly to past bouts. Ibushi loves wrestling Sabre’s game for the early portion of the match before trying to go more into his high flying offense. Sabre tried to submit Ibushi with Orienteering with Napalm Death, similarly to how the 2018 New Japan Cup went, but Ibushi fought through it. Ibushi hits a Bom-ba-ye followed up by Kamigoye for the victory. Ibushi now holds his fate in his own hands.
A Block: EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada – So there was a lot riding on this match. An EVIL win would’ve most likely had him as the first challenger during the second half of the season, but a win from Okada sets up a Winner Takes All match with him an Ibushi. The match started slowly with a few fun bursts. EVIL chucking a chair at Okada before his Flying Crossbody on the outside, but it was really a slow, borderline boring match for 75% of it. The match finally kicked into second gear after EVIL hit Darkness Falls. A bunch of nice counter moves and avoiding finishers definitely helped this match feel better when all was said and done. Okada picking up the win does also bode interestingly, because the last few years haven’t been kind to champions that finally pick up a loss after strong starts.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Because of how the last two matches finished up, it made this night pivotal. Okada did have the strangle hold, but thanks to Ibushi maintaining only 2 losses, he’s stayed close enough for their match on the last day of A Block to be Winner Takes All.
KENTA’s slide brings up a lot of questions about his future and just general marketability within New Japan. It also can’t be overlooked that this is the first time, in a damn long time, that Tanahashi has nothing to gain on the last day of the G1.
This does slowly start building some tension for the post-G1 storylines. But now we just sit and wait to see if Ibushi pulls out a pretty grand upset.
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 7-1 (14 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 6-2 (12 Points)
- KENTA: 4-4 (8 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 4-4 (8 Points) – ELIMINATED
- EVIL: 4-4 (8 Points) – ELIMINATED
- SANADA: 4-4 (8 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Zack Sabre Jr: 3-5 (6 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Will Ospreay: 3-5 (6 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Bad Luck Fale: 3-5 (6 Points) – ELIMINATED
- Lance Archer: 2-6 (4 Points) – ELIMINATED