Will Cold Skull shock the Rainmaker again?
With Kota Ibushi still holder of The Right to Challenge contract, we must now determine who he faces! Will Kazuchika Okada make it rain into the new year? Or will SANADA change everyone’s plans?
Coverage of King of Pro-Wrestling 2019 will be as broadcast on AXS TV
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada VS SANADA; Okada wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene for the Sports Day finale!
The Rainmaker has pointed to the Cold Skull as a true rival, and Sanada feels “lucky to have a rival in my generation.” Okada knows many have had the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and “that history is really what makes this belt so desirable.” Sanada is no different. He wants that belt more than anything in this world. And the belt sparkles even brighter because the champion is his rival. The G1 Climax loss to the Cold Skull, after previously being 6-0, was a hard one to take for Okada. But he didn’t want to lose his “cool reputation,” either. Taking the title from Okada will make it even greater a moment for Sanada. But Okada revels in being the main attraction. No one wants silver after being the gold medalist, and that goes for them both. Only one man can be on top of NJPW! But who will be the one going to Wrestle Kingdom?!
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada VS SANADA!
This is the only match this finale will need! Will the Rainmaker get back at the Cold Skull for that one loss? Or will one loss become two, and crown a NEW champion?
The introductions are made, the fans are dueling with a strong split down the middle, and the belt is raised. The extravagant jackets are put aside, and this match begins after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Okada reveals the shorts! Fans love the shorts, and are dueling all over again. The bell rings, Okada runs at Sanada but Sanada dodges the shotgun dropkick! Sanada comes back and the two brawl with forearms! Neither man falls back, but Sanada again dodges the dropkick! And again! Okada dodges Sanada’s clothesline to hit an uppercut, then whips. Sanada avoids yet another dropkick! And heads up fast! Moonsault but Sanada lands on his feet as Okada evades! Okada waistlocks and wristlock ripcords, but Sanada ducks to dragon sleeper! Okada arm-drags, and they both dropkick! Fans fire up as the two are staring down face to face. The dueling only gets louder as the two reset.
Okada and Sanada take a moment to catch their breath and circle. They approach and feel out the grapple. They slowly tie up, and Okada slips through. Sanada blocks the waistlock to get a standing switch, but Okada drops to a knee. Okada switches back, but Sanada wristlocks back. They stand, Sanada wrenches, and Okada grits his teeth as he rolls to wrench back. Fans continue to duel as Sanada wrenches and hammerlocks back. Okada reaches back to headlock, but they end up on the ropes. Red Shoes calls for the ropebreak, and Okada takes his time. Classic Okada fakes the chop to pat Sanada on the shoulders. Sanada runs into a kick, and Okada headlocks. Sanada powers out but Okada runs him over with a shoulder! Okada stands Sanada up to club him in the head, and again. Okada brings Sanada up and turns him around for a neckbreaker! Cover, ONE!
Fans duel more as Okada brings Sanada up into a chinlock. Sanada endures and pries against the hold, but Okada digs his knee in. Sanada scoots and gets the ropebreak with a foot. Okada lets go at 2, to run and basement dropkick! Sanada bails out of the ring and rests on railing, but Okada goes out to fetch him. Okada throws a European Uppercut, then whip Sanada at the railing! Okada then BOOTS Sanada over the railing! He drags Sanada up to his feet and onto the railing, but Sanada was ready! Sanada hops off the railing, puts Okada up on it instead, draping Magic Killer! Sanada catches his breath while Red Shoes checks on Okada. Okada is okay to continue, so Sanada gets up to fetch Okada now. Red Shoes gets the ring count going but Sanada fireman’s carries to snake eyes Okada on railing! The count reaches 10 of 20 but Sanada gets in. The count hits 15 but Okada jumps in! Sanada covers, TWO!
Fans rally up again for both men, and Sanada stands Okada up to wrench and whip. Sanada hits a back elbow in the corner then snap suplexes Okada out. Cover, TWO! Sanada is annoyed but he knows Okada well enough to know that wasn’t enough. Sanada chinlocks Okada now, and he squeezes tight. Okada endures, fights his way up, and fights out with elbows. But Sanada knees low and whips Okada corner to corner again. Sanada runs in but gets a boot. Okada runs but Sanada elbow shim down. Standing moonsault flops, Okada hits Sanada with a basement uppercut! Both men are down as we go to break!
NJPW on AXS returns and Okada kips right up! Sanada slowly rises, and Okada runs in to rally with forearms and elbows! Okada whips but Sanada reverses, only for Okada to dodge, dodge and elbow! Fans fire up with Okada as he stands Sanada up. Okada whips him corner to corner and hits a back elbow, then kicks low to DDT Sanada down! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up and Okada looms over Sanada. Okada wants Sanada to stand, and Sanada does, to get an Alabama lift. But Sanada resists and slips out to then whip Okada corner to corner. Okada reverses, Sanada tumbles out but Okada triangle dropkicks Sanada down! Sanada hits railing on the way down, right in front of commentary! Okada goes out to fetch Sanada again, whipping him into more railing! And he again boots Sanada over! Okada then runs corner to corner, to FLY!! He bowls Sanada into the front row! Thankfully, Young Lions cleared the fans out.
Okada heads back to ringside while Red Shoes checks on Sanada. Somehow, Sanada is okay, so this match continues. Okada wasn’t perfectly unharmed, though, he has to check his legs as he rolls in. The ring count begins again and climbs up to 10 of 20 already. Sanada only stirs at 12, but Okada asks Red Shoes to stop. The rivals want this to happen in the ring, and Sanada makes it back. Okada stands over Sanada, and Sanada throws a forearm, but feebly. Okada watches his rival try again, but he still can’t get a lot of power behind his hits. Okada DECKS Sanada with one! Sanada sits up and Okada eggs him on. Sanada slowly stands and gives another forearm, but it still isn’t much. Sanada keeps trying but Okada staggers Sanada with another.
Okada makes Sanada stand now, and scoops to slam him down. Classic Okada goes to a corner, climbs up top, but Sanada runs in. Okada hops over and uppercuts back, but then Sanada hurdles, hurdles and dropkicks! Okada bails out, Sanada PESCADO! Now Sanada’s back in this! Fans fire up as Sanada stands on the announce desk. Sanada walks off the soreness before putting Okada in. Sanada drags Okada up, blocks the kick, and puts Okada in Paradise! Fans cheer as Sanada stands on the Rainmaker! Sanada goes to the corner and wants the fans to get loud. The fans get loud, and then Sanada kicks Okada out of Paradise! Cover, TWO! Fans duel again as Sanada stands Okada back up. Okada blocks the suplex and elbows back, but Sanada reels Okada in. Okada lands on his feet, dodges in the corner, but Sanada elbows him away. Sanada moonsaults but lands on his feet as Okada dodges, and Okada hits the shotgun dropkick!
Both men are down, with Sanada in a corner. Okada gets up and heads over, dragging Sanada into the drop zone. Okada climbs up top, takes aim, but Sanada is up, so Okada hits a BIG missile dropkick! Sanada is blasted back down and fans rally up again. Okada drags Sanada up, scoops and slams, and wants to do this right. Okada climbs again, leaps, MACHO ELBOW! But he isn’t done there, because he hits the Rainmaker Pose! Okada drags Sanada up, waistlock to wristlock, but Sanada ducks again! Sanada dragon sleepers, Okada arm-drags but Sanada arm-drags back to get the dragon sleeper back! Okada drops and victory rolls, TWO! Sanada fireman’s carries, and flips Okada into the dragon sleeper! But Okada spins around to Alabama, but Sanada slips to the dragon sleeper again.
Okada drops and Sanada holds no, and then gets Okada up. But Okada turns it to gut wrench! Sanada holds on and flails, but Okada powers him through! But Sanada kicks and they flip back, now Sanada has Okada in position! TOMBSTONE! And then, fireman’s carry, TKO! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Sanada vows to end it! Fans are getting loud again as Sanada dragon sleepers, SKULL END! The body scissors are on and Okada is enduring the squeeze! Okada kicks and moves around, pops out of the sleeper, but Sanada stays wrapped on. Sanada drags Okada back into Skull End! Sanada squeezes as tight as he can, and Okada starts to fade. Red Shoes checks, but Okada comes back to life and pops out again! Sanada holds on as tight as he can but Okada’s legs are reaching. Again Sanada gets Okada into the hold!
Okada keeps flailing, gasping through his mouth. Fans rally and duel as Okada starts to fade again. Red Shoes checks, but Okada is barely holding on. Okada pops out, bridges back to a cover, TWO!! Sanada still has an arm, but Okada resists being dragged back in. Sanada sits up to hop on Okada’s back, but Okada fights off the sleeper. Okada pries his arm free, wristlock, RAINMAKER!! But he can’t make the cover right away! He rolls over, puts an arm on, TWO!! Sanada survives and we go to break!
NJPW on AXS returns and both men are slowly rising. The two go forehead to forehead on the mat, and Okada throws the first forearm! But Sanada comes back with one of his own! Okada hits Sanada, Sanada hits back! Okada grimaces as he comes back with another forearm, but Sanada nods his head as he hits another. The two stand, the fans rally up, and Okada hits Sanada again. Sanada hits back, so Okada hits back. They go back and forth, picking up speed! Okada uppercuts, but Sanada gives one of his own! Both men are wobbling, but their determination doesn’t falter. Okada gives another uppercut, but so does Sanada! Okada falls to a knee! Okada uppercuts, Sanada uppercuts, and Okada drops to the mat! Okada slowly gets up, but Sanada’s on him with a flurry of forearms!
Sanada spins, but Okada spins, but Sanada blocks the clothesline, spins Okada, and cravats to Shiranui, dragon sleeper! But Okada turns it around to his own dragon sleeper! Then he dropkicks Sanada in the back! Okada whips, and dropkicks again! Okada fires up, stands Sanada up, waistlock and wristlock, but no Rainmaker! Sanada cravats again, but Okada blocks Shiranui this time, so Sanada uses the ropes! Sanada gets up and over to get the dragon sleeper again! Okada fights with all he can, but he starts fading again! And Sanada takes him for a spin, into Skull End! Okada is already fading, Red Shoes checks, but he might be out! Red Shoes wants Okada to say something, anything! Okada is quiet, and Red Shoes lifts the arm. That’s once, but Sanada shifts to a cover, TWO!! Okada is still alive! So Sanada goes up top, MOONSAULT to Okada’s back! And then, MOONSAULT to knees!!
Both men are down again and fans are thunderous as they duel! It starts to blend, “Sakada”, “Onada.” Okada and Sanada get to opposite corners before slowly rising. Sanada hurries over, but gets a boot! He shakes it off, only to get another! Okada runs but Sanada dodges, QUEBRADA DRAGON SLEEPER! But Okada climbs, gut wrench, JUMPING TOMBSTONE! Okada fires up, stands Sanada, waistlock, wristlock, BOOT! Both men stay on their feet, so Sanada boots again! And again! He dodges Rianamker to O’Conner roll and Japanese Clutch, TWO!?! Okada hurries, but Sanada dodges, tilt-o-whirl into dragon sleeper! Fans are at a fever pitch as Okada goes for another swing, but arm-drags out! Dropkick! Both men are down at the 35 minute mark. Okada wristlocks, misses, Sanada wristlocks and tries to steal but Okada ducks! Okada pops out of the pop-up to dropkick!
Okada and Sanada run at each other, Sanada blocks to rolling elbow back! And then pop-up but no cutter! Okada gut wrenches again, but Sanada wants to lean back into the sleeper. Okada fights it off, clubs away on Sanada’s back, and gets him back in for a Michinoku Driver! Wristlock, RAINMAKER!! Cover, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion
That makes Okada 7-1 all-time with Sanada! But it took a lot out of both men, and that is why they are rivals! Red Shoes puts the belt around Okada’s waist, and then Okada checks on Sanada. Okada gives a thumbs up, but what is Sanada’s response? Sanada sits up, for once showing emotion, but fans reassure Sanada as they cheer for him. Okada offers a hand, and Sanada shakes it. They are rivals with respect, and surely this is not the last time these two face off. We will hear from the champion after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Okada has the mic.
“RYOGOKU~! Sanada-san, you’re the best.” Okada has had plenty of heartbreak, too, and has cried many times. Just keep moving forward. Then one day, they’ll battle again, as the main event at the Tokyo Dome. But speaking of the Tokyo Dome, that main event is now confirmed. “Oi, Kota Ibushi! Get out here!” Fans cheer, and chant for Ibushi, and the Golden Star obliges! Ibushi has his custom briefcase for the Right to Challenge Wrestle Kingdom contract, and he joins Okada in the ring. Ibushi grabs himself a mic to say, “Please accept my congratulations.” But all Ibushi needs now is the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, and Okada’s Heavyweight Championship. It’s no fun if Okada has it forever. So would Okada mind accepting his challenge?
“What the hell are you talking about?” Both title belts? Hold on, hold on. Okada won’t let his belt go so easily. Start with one, then we’ll talk. But as far as Tokyo Dome goes, “Bring it on, PUNK!” Fans are fired up to see this, and Ibushi says, “Let’s do this! It’s on!” Ibushi takes his leave, and it would seem everyone is after the historic dual championship achievement!
NJPW Media Backstage Interview
Okada doesn’t really care if Ibushi wants to become a double champ. Okada has his belt, that’s what matters. “People are free to dream however they want.” But Ibushi wants Okada’s belt? It won’t be so easy. Ibushi thinks he can just win and move on. That pisses Okada off. Will Ibushi regret thinking Okada is just a stepping stone on the way to history?
Another one hour, one match episode for NJPW on AXS! Okada VS Sanada VIII was definitely on part with all the others, but perhaps not the best of them. This still had a lot of great story elements from those other seven times these two have faced off, and this definitely feels like one of if not THE new top rivalry in NJPW. There’s almost nothing to say, it was just so good. Sanada being emotional was actually a really great thing, it shows how much this one meant to him. After having won even just once in their rivalry during the G1, he surely felt this could’ve been the time, and it certainly would’ve made the wrestling world explode if he had won. But Okada is always the sure bet for NJPW, so they felt it was best to stick with him.
And it was great for Okada to call Ibushi out, and for Ibushi to declare he’s after the same bit of history as Naito and now Jay White are after. I suppose the schedule doesn’t allow for Ibushi to get the Intercontinental Championship first, as Jay White will have a lot of other contenders first. Okada claiming he’s angry now, his match with Ibushi at WK14 is going to be amazing. With Power Struggle also having Super Junior Tag League, and then World Tag League being next, it is obvious that Ibushi and Okada can slide without defending either of their prizes. If anything, NJPW is already planning for the new year, and it would still get a huge reaction out of the wrestling fandom if Ibushi takes that title in the Tokyo Dome and makes making history his true prize.
My Score: 8.9/10
Mitchell’s NJPW G1 Climax 31 Results & Report! (9/26/21)
Round three, A Block!
The G1 Climax rolls on!
The G1 Climax rolls on deeper into the Fall! Zack Sabre Jr. has defeated two top names in NJPW in a row, will he make it a third?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- Great-O-Kahn VS Yujiro Takahashi w/ Pieter; Khan wins.
- Toru Yano VS Tanga Loa w/ Jado; Yano wins.
- Tomohiro Ishii VS KENTA: Kenta wins.
- Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Here are the current A Block standings! (Adjusted for Naito’s absence)
Great-O-Khan: 3-0, 6 points
Zack Sabre Jr: 2-0, 4 points
Shingo Takagi: 2-1, 4 points [has special singles bye]
Kenta: 2-1, 4 points
Yujiro Takahashi: 2-1, 4 points
Toru Yano: 2-1, 4 points
Kota Ibushi: 2-1, 4 points
Tanga Loa: 1-1, 2 points
Tomohiro Ishii: 1-2, 2 points
BONUS CONTENT: Takagi speaks after his win over Yuji Nagata.
“I’m HERE! I’ve returned to Kobe. Unfortunately, the scheduled main event, Takagi VS Naito, couldn’t happen as planned. But I’ll do my part to make sure that we get to see Shingo Takagi VS Tetsuya Naito very soon!” In order to do that, Takagi promises to win the G1! And that’s all he has to say about that. So now, the Dragon’s mission to make history has even more fuel for the fire! Will Takagi take the block, take the G1 trophy and name Naito as his Wrestle Kingdom challenger?
Great-O-Kahn VS Yujiro Takahashi w/ Pieter!
The Dominator technically leads the block given the allotted Naito points, but he still has to earn the other victories! Will the Tokyo Pimp get back up in the G1 with another shocking win?
The bell rings and Khan stares Yujiro down. Then he drops to dare Yujiro to take on his leg guard. Pieter thinks this is a trick but Yujiro walks up to try it. Yujiro gives kicks but Khan keeps his guard up. Yujiro kicks again but gets caught to a KNEEBAR! Yujiro scrambles to the ropebreak and Khan lets go. Khan waits on Yujiro and they reset. They feel out the grapple, Khan gets a leg then a waistlock then drags Yujiro down. Khan shifts to an arm but Yujiro wrenches. The two separate, tie up again, and Khan waistlocks for another takedown. Khan rolls but Yujiro prevents the cover. Yujiro gets a facelock but Khan counters with a takedown. Cover, ONE, and fans cheer the exchange.
Khan and Yujiro reset again, feel out a new grapple, and Khan has a facelock. Khan throws Yujiro over to a lateral press, ONE, but Khan keeps on with the facelock. Yujiro fights up, and BITES Khan’s hand! The ref counts, Khan grabs Yujiro’s ear with the claw! Khan CLUBS Yujiro’s ear, then kicks. Yujiro blocks to throw Khan down and he basement boots Khan away! Yujiro kicks Khan out of the ring then goes out to bring him up for a low knee. Yujiro CLUBS Khan, has Pieter bring him his cane, and then Pieter distracts the ref while Yujiro brings Khan up the ramp. Yujiro gets space to CANE SHOT Khan back down the ramp! Khan tumbles all the way to ringside!
Yujiro struts his way back and tosses the cane aside. Yujiro goes into the ring to let the ring count take care of Khan. Khan clutches his back as the count climbs all the way to 10 of 20. Khan manages to stand at 14 but with help of railing. Khan crawls and gets in at 19.5! Fans cheer but Yujiro drags Khan up by his beard. Yujiro snapmares Khan and then throws haymakers. Pieter’s almost dancing as Yujiro runs and basement boots Khan back down! Cover, TWO! Yujiro smirks while Khan tries to get feeling in his lower back. Yujiro drops a leg, drops an elbow and drops a headbutt. Cover, TWO! Yujiro grows annoyed but he gives toying kicks and head slaps.
Khan throws body shots and forearms but Yujiro SLAPS him! Yujiro scoops and SLAMS Khan, then runs to drop a leg, brother! Cover, TWO! Yujiro is again annoyed but he stomps Khan down. Fans rally up for Khan but Yujiro stomps him at the ropes. Yujiro brings Khan up but Khan CHOPS him! And CHOPS! And then throws forearms! Yujiro knees low, whips Khan to a corner and runs in to BOOT him! Yujiro runs but Khan kicks. Yujiro blocks, throws Khan down again but Khan avoids the basement boot! Khan returns the favor with the kick block and throw! Dead lift gut wrench suplex! Both men are down and fans rally up!
Khan and Yujiro slowly rise, and Khan reels Yujiro in. Yujiro throws forearms in return, but Khan RAMS Yujiro into a corner! Khan fires himself up and whips Yujiro corner to corner to then clothesline from behind! Khan hoists Yujiro up top, puts some stank on his hands and MONGOLIAN CHOPS Yujiro in the back! Yujiro falls into the Tree of Woe and then Khan makes sure Pieter is watching as he toys with Tokyo Pimp. Khan goes to the far corner, hits a three point stance and runs in to SLIDING BOOT Yujiro out of the Tree! Cover, TWO! Khan keeps his cool, and he starts taunting Yujiro back with toying kicks.
Khan asks Pieter what’s up with Yujiro but Yujiro springs up to CHOP! Khan CHOPS back! Khan eggs Yujiro on, Yujiro CHOPS back! They CHOP and CHOP, then Yujiro mule kicks! MONGOLIAN CHOPS and an URENAGE from Khan! Cover, TWO! KATAGATAMI! The head ‘n’ arm triangle squeeze the air out of Yujiro as Khan pushes up! Yujiro reaches out and gets a ROPEBREAK with a foot! Khan holds until the ref counts 4, and fans rally up as Khan slashes his throat! Khan drags Yujiro up, dragon sleepers and suplexes but Yujiro slips out! FISHERMAN BUSTER! Fans fire up as both men are down on the mat! Yujiro stirs as fans build to another rally and Khan slowly rises.
Yujiro runs at Khan to BOOT, then he runs to dodge a boot! Yujiro reels Khan in, INCOLLE SLAM! Cover, TWO! Khan is still in this but Yujiro still has tricks to try. Khan flounders to ropes, Yujiro storms over and brings him up. Yujiro has Khan lean on the ropes for his BOOT! Yujiro then reels Khan in for a fireman’s carry, MIAMI SHINE! Cover, TWO!! Khan still lives and Yujiro grows frustrated! Yujiro drags Khan up, reels him in, but no Pimp Juice! IRON CLAW SLEEPER!! Khan then spins Yujiro around but Yujiro slips out of the Eliminator to LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Khan again survives, but Yujiro roars! Fans fire up with Yujiro as he goes back to Khan!
Yujiro drags Khan up, reels him in, IMP- NO! No Impaler as Khan whips, but DOUBLE LARIATS collide! Neither man falls so Yujiro roars again! But he runs into the KITSUJIGOROSHI!! And ELIMINATOR SLAM!! Cover, Khan wins!!
Winner: Great-O-Khan, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Yujiro earns 0)
The Dominator IS dominating the block! With the Naito forfeit giving him bonus points, he’s already at 8! Will Khan continue to run away with the lead? As for Yujiro, will he be able to get another win as good as his first?
Toru Yano VS Tanga Loa w/ Jado!
The Clown Prince was dominated by Great-O-Khan while the Silverback got a Blue Justice bye. Who gets back into the swing of things with round three?
Yano’s long introduction finishes and Loa Low Sweets with Jado. But Yano again gets impatient as the ref checks him for things. What is that bag that is suspiciously labeled as if it weren’t suspicious? It’s Yano’s stash of extra wrist tape AND handcuffs! Yano claims those are harmless but the ref gathers them all up and confiscates them. The bell rings and Loa still wants to make sure Yano has nothing else. Yano says it’s fine, they’ll wrestle. They tie up, Loa powers Yano to ropes and Yano calls for the ropebreak. Loa frisks Yano for himself, then lets off as he’s satisfied there are no tricks up Yano’s tights. Loa then dares Yano to bring the fight. Yano throws a forearm, Loa gives one back!
Fans like the serious look on Yano’s face as he and Loa keep throwing forearms back and forth! They pick up speed, Yano gets the edge but Loa DECKS him! Loa gets Yano up to DECK him again but he’s not satisfied. Loa ROCKS Yano again, “This is the G1!” He wants to see that fight! Yano rakes Loa’s eyes! Yano runs but Loa runs him over! Yano bails out but Loa goes out after him. Loa CLUBS Yano on the back, follows him around the way then CLUBS him again. Loa whips Yano but Yano reverses to send Loa into railing! Yano paces, the ring count starts, Yano goes after Loa’s shirt! Loa stops Yano from making this a hockey scrum, only to do the same to Yano!
Yano can’t see and Loa leaves him floundering around as the count climbs! We’re past 15, Loa shoves a Young Lion into Yano for good measure! Loa gets in at 17, Yano keeps floundering, but he gets his shirt down at 19 to get in at 19.9! Loa applauds then stomps Yano at the ropes. Loa drags Yano up, RAMS him into a corner, and then RAMS into him more and more. The ref counts, Loa lets off and fans rally up. Loa takes a few bows then drags Yano back up. Snapmare and run for a basement boot! Cover, TWO! Loa argues the count but the ref says it is fair. Loa pulls on an arm but Yano is dead weight. So Loa CHOKES Yano! The ref counts, Loa stops at 4, and “apologizes.”
Loa drags Yano up, whips him corner to corner and clotheslines! Then whip and redirect into the corner for another clothesline! Loa then reels Yano in for an EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Yano stays in this but Loa is annoyed. Loa CHOKES Yano again! the ref counts, Loa lets off and he sits Yano up for a chinlock. Yano endures as Loa leans on the hold. Yano throws elbows and gets free! But Loa headbutts Yano back! Loa whips, Yano holds ropes and taunts Loa, to then dodge and SLAP him! Loa runs at Yano but Yano dodges to clinch and BELLY2BELLY! Fans fire up and rally behind Yano as he gets up. Yano goes to a corner to untie the buckle pad!
Yano has the liberated pad but the ref grabs at him. Yano shoves the ref away to PAD SMACK Loa! Loa just grimaces so Yano SMACKS him again! Loa flexes, Yano SMACKS again but Loa roars. Yano freaks out, Loa kicks and whips, but Yano stops himself from running into bare buckles. Loa runs in, Yano sends him into the bare buckles! Fireman’s Carry Takeover! Fans fire up with Yano and he drags Loa up. Yano reels Loa in but Loa blocks the suplex. Loa wrenches, kicks and knees to ENZIGURI! Yano wobbles, Loa reels him in for a BLUE THUNDER BOMB! Cover, TWO! Yano survives but Loa is right on him with a CROSSFACE!
Yano endures the #OGKiller even as Loa cranks way back! Yano moves around, reaches out, but Loa thrashes him around! Yano keeps moving and gets the ROPEBREAK! The ref counts, Loa lets off but he asks Yano, “Why!? I want the two points!” Loa drags Yano up, reels him in, but Yano turns it into a gator roll! TWO, and Yano hurries up! Loa runs at him to SPEAR! Cover, TWO!! Loa hurries to get Yano up, scoops him but Yano fights free! Yano hits an atomic drop then a trip to a CATAPULT into the bare buckles! Loa staggers, Yano goes to low blow but the ref stops him! The ref won’t let Yano cheat right in front of him!
But then Loa shoves Yano into the ref! And LARIATS Yano down! Jado gets in because the ref is down! He drags Yano up, holds him for Loa, and Loa has the kendo stick! Yano fights free, dodges the stick and shoves Jado into the buckles! KENDO SMACK on Loa, then Yano plays dead like Jado hit him! Loa acts like he had no idea what Jado was doing, but the ref is distracted and Yano LOW BLOWS Loa! Schoolboy, Yano wins!!
Winner: Toru Yano, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Loa earns 0)
#YTRFTW! He keeps his chances alive while Loa flounders near the bottom! If not for those Naito points, Loa wouldn’t have anything! Can the Silverback rebound and finally earn his first two G1 points?
Tomohiro Ishii VS KENTA!
The Stone Pitbull is the one NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Champion with points, but only because Naito is out. As for Fang Revived, he defeated a fellow Bullet Club member without ruining the team dynamics. Will Ishii scratch the itch and earn himself a win? Or will Kenta take a bite out of him and keep his own chances alive?
Kenta taunts Ishii, waving his shirt like a bullfighter. The bell rings and Ishii stares Kenta down. Kenta mocks Ishii’s hunched posture and then bails out of the ring. Ishii stays patient as Kenta paces on the outside. Kenta takes his time returning, then again mocks the raging bull before he bails out again, “Ole~!” Kenta paces around again, slowly returns, then bails out as Ishii storms over. “Ole~” but then Ishii drags Kenta in from the apron! Ishii throws haymakers then whips, but Kenta holds ropes. Ishii runs in to clothesline, then keeps going to run Kenta over! Kenta bails out but Ishii is right out after him! Ishii drags Kenta up and whips him into railing!
Kenta flounders around and Ishii stalks him. Ishii drags Kenta up as fans rally, and Ishii whips Kenta into more railing! Kenta staggers closer to the timekeeper’s area and he grabs the ring bell! Ishii storms over to get a RING BELL SHOT! Kenta then POSTS Ishii, bad arm first! The ref reprimands and checks on Ishii, but what about the bell? Kenta drags Ishii up, wrenches the arm to an ELBOW BREAKER, then hammerlocks to RAM Ishii into railing! The ref wants this to get back in the ring but now he has to check on Ishii again. Kenta stomps Ishii, the ref tells him to back off, and Kenta smooths his hair. Kenta drags Ishii up and into the ring and fans cheer that this continues.
Kenta stomps Ishii around, but Ishii gets up as he snarls. Kenta KICKS the bad arm and Ishii falls over. Ishii kicks from below but Kenta stomps him down. Fans rally for “I-SHI-I!” but Kenta wrenches to an ELBOW BREAKER! Ishii clutches his arm but Kenta grabs it for an armlock. Kenta pulls it into a Fujiwara but Ishii endures, even as Kenta talks trash. Kenta keeps on the arm but Ishii crawls his way over to get a ropebreak. The ref counts, Kenta lets go with one hand but still uses leverage to crank the arm. The ref counts again, Kenta lets off to stomp Ishii. Kenta kicks the bad arm again but Ishii keeps getting up. Ishii even eggs him on!
Kenta KICKS more but Ishii fires forearms! Kenta gets the arm again, ELBOW BREAKER! Kenta rains down forearms but the ref has him back off. The ref checks on Ishii but Kenta copies Yano by undoing a buckle pad. Kenta drags Ishii up, whips him over but Ishii reverses! Kenta hits bare buckles and falls in a heap! Fans rally again as Ishii stands. Ishii gives toying kicks to Kenta and Kenta end up in a corner. Ishii CHOPS and CHOPS, fighting through the pain in his bad arm to hit Kenta again and again. Ishii then CHOPS and forearms again and again and again! Kenta falls down, Ishii only stops because his arm finally hurts too much.
Ishii goes back to Kenta, drags him up and whips him corner to corner. Kenta reverses but Ishii bounces off the corner to CLOBBER Kenta! Ishii drags Kenta up and reels him in but Kenta fights the lift. Kenta standing switches but Ishii elbows him away. Kenta BOOTS from the corner, climbs up and TORNADO HOTSHOTS Ishii! Kenta climbs, for the FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Cover, TWO! Kenta snarls but he kicks at Ishii. Ishii gets mad, swings on Kenta but Kenta catches the arm for a takedown! Kenta wants the Fujiwara again but Ishii gets a ropebreak! The ref counts, Kenta lets go, and Ishii gets to the apron.
Fans rally up but Kenta stomps Ishii down. Kenta then drags Ishii up through the ropes but Ishii throws body shots. Ishii suplexes but Kenta fights it! Kenta throws body shots then HOTSHOTS the arm! Kenta has Ishii through ropes, DRAPING DDT! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Kenta is annoyed but he slithers away to the far corner. Ishii gets up, Kenta runs in to BOOT Ishii down! Then he goes corner to corner again, HESITATION DROPKICK! Fans fire up as Kenta climbs up top! Ishii avoids the double stomps, then avoids the boot to waistlock and CORNER GERMAN! Fans cheer as both men are down again. They rally up for “I-SHI-I!” as he and Kenta stir.
Ishii fires himself up as he stands, and he runs back in at Kenta to clothesline! Kenta growls and throws a forearm! Ishii growls and they brawl with forearm after forearm! They each egg the other on as they go, no guard and no slowing down! Ishii ROCKS Kenta, and again, but Kenta LARIATS! Ishii doesn’t flinch! Ishii gives boxing elbows, Kenta BACK HANDS, but Ishii HEADBUTTS! Kenta DISCUS LARIATS! Both men are down again and fans rally up! Kenta drags himself over to ropes and then to the apron. Kenta climbs up the corner, leaps, DIVING DOUBLE STOMPS!! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives Kenta’s coup de grace but Kenta drags Ishii back up.
Ishii gives low headbutts but Kenta KNEES him right back down. Kenta runs the ropes to KNEE Ishii against them! Kenta runs again but into a BIG shoulder tackle! Fans fire up as Ishii growls and roars! Ishii shakes out the bad arm, brings Kenta back up and reels him in. Ishii lifts, but Kenta fights out to KICK the bad arm! Kenta drags Ishii down into the omoplata and the crossface, GAME OVER! Ishii endures and fans rally up as Kenta pulls back harder! Ishii moves around, trying to find ropes while Kenta’s hands are in his eyes and blinding him! Kenta pulls back even harder and Ishii flails! Ishii kicks around and gets a ropebreak with a foot!
Fans cheer but Kenta shoves the ref away as he drives elbow after elbow into Ishii! Kenta sits Ishii up and runs to PENALTY KICK! But Ishii blocks it! Ishii gets up, Kenta fires off hands, but Ishii spins Kenta around for a GERMAN SUPLEX! Both men are down again but fans still rally. Ishii gets up, slaps feeling into his bad arm, and then drags Kenta back up. Kenta throws forearm after forearm but Ishii DECKS him with one! It was the bad arm, though, so Ishii is again clutching it in pain. Ishii drags Kenta back up, puts him on the top rope and climbs up to join him. Ishii gets Kenta up for the STALLING SUPERPELX! Ishii crawls to the cover, TWO!!
Fans fire up and build to another rally as Kenta survives. Ishii goes to a corner and watches Kenta rise. Ishii runs corner to corner but Kenta gets around for a sleeper! Ishii back suplexes but Kenta slips free! Kenta runs but Ishii LARIATS him down! Ishii roars and shakes the bad arm out before he runs again. BUSAIKU KNEE!! Kenta fires up and aims from a corner, runs in and BUSAIKU KNEE!! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives two running knees but Kenta doesn’t get frustrated just yet. Fans rally for “I-SHI-I!” but Kenta drags Ishii back up. Fireman’s carry but Ishii throws elbows to hold it off. Kenta cross counters and fires off slapping palm strikes! Ishii falls and Kenta takes down his knee pad!
Kenta fireman’s carries, GO TO- NO! Ishii lands on his feet to HEADBUTT! Both men fall over and fans are thunderous! Ishii crawls his way over to Kenta to sit him up. Ishii builds speed for the SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Kenta lives and Ishii roars in frustration! Ishii powers up, drags Kenta up but Kenta fireman’s carries! GO TO- NO! Ishii facelocks but Kenta slips out of the suplex to SUPERKICK! Ishii swats the roundhouse to ENZIGURI! Kenta falls and Ishii fires up with the fans! Ishii runs to LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives and fans are thunderous again as Ishii gets him back up! Suplex to-
No, Kenta knees free then bumps Ishii off bare buckles! Roll up, Kenta wins!!
Winner: Kenta, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Ishii earns 0)
Did Fang Revive just pick up something from a Yano-esque tactic? Kenta also rubs in that he just seems to have Ishii’s number. Will Kenta keep things going until he’s number one with a bullet? As for Ishii, are his G1 chances already up in smoke?
Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr!
The Golden Star is shining bright again after his win in round two, but he’s going against the Submission Master! ZSJ made Tetsuya Naito and Shingo Takagi #JustTapOut, will he make it a hat trick to start his G1 run?
The bell rings and the two circle. They feel out the grapple, Ibushi shoots in to waistlock but ZSJ switches to then go for arms. Ibushi moves around, ZSJ stays on top of him with a facelock but they end up in ropes. ZSJ lets off cleanly and fans cheer the sportsmanship. Ibushi and ZSJ circle again, feel out this exchange, and Ibushi drops down. ZSJ is ready again and goes for arms. Ibushi flips over, ZSJ gets a lateral press but no cover as Ibushi keeps moving around. ZSJ goes for an arm, Ibushi headscissors and pushes up for leverage. ZSJ bridges back, moves around and pops free to then pat Ibushi and back off. Ibushi keeps cool as he and ZSJ reset again.
They approach, feel out a new grapple and Ibushi puts ZSJ on ropes. Red Shoes calls for the break, ZSJ unhooks and Ibushi backs off with a pat of his own. But then ZSJ pie faces Ibushi, and ducks the roundhouse! ZSJ bails out and wants Ibushi to calm down. Ibushi waits and ZSJ slides back in to circle with him again. They knuckle lock, ZSJ steps over to trap the arm and then has a cravat. He shifts to a headlock, grinds Ibushi down, but Ibushi fights up to power out. Things speed up, ZSJ turns hip toss into a spin but Ibushi fights the backslide! Ibushi avoids the arm Pele and ZSJ avoids kick after kick! The fans cheer as even Red Shoes has to get out of the way when ZSJ goes to ropes for safety.
Fans rally for “I-BU-SHI!” as he waits on ZSJ. They reset and feel out another grapple. Ibushi then KICKS ZSJ in the leg, and ZSJ walks it off. ZSJ comes back, he and Ibushi again feel things out, but again Ibushi KICKS his leg. ZSJ shrugs it off as he and Ibushi go again. ZSJ gives a kick but Ibushi KICKS his leg out! Ibushi eggs ZSJ on but ZSJ circles around, guarding that left leg. ZSJ knuckle locks, rolls, wrangles Ibushi down but Ibushi kips up to KICK the leg! ZSJ eggs Ibushi on so Ibushi gives more kicks. ZSJ pays for egging Ibushi on but he gives back forearms. Ibushi KICKS the leg! ZSJ crumples but Ibushi runs in to BOOT him out of the ring!
Ibushi waits for ZSJ to stand and slingshots but ZSJ slides in. Ibushi forearms, but slingshots into a DRAPING GUILLOTINE! ZSJ then makes it a HANGING ARMBAR, but lets off as Red Shoes counts! ZSJ then wrenches and PELES the arm! Ibushi falls over as he clutches his arm, but ZSJ goes out after him, ZSJ twists the wrist and bends the fingers before he traps the arm and STOMPS it! Ibushi clutches his wrist while ZSJ goes into the ring. The ring count begins and Ibushi gets up at 5 of 20. ZSJ is after Ibushi as soon as he’ sin, but they’re in the ropes so Red Shoes calls for the break. ZSJ still tortures Ibushi’s arm to STOMP it again!
Fans rally up as ZSJ paces around. ZSJ kicks Ibushi’s bad arm but Ibushi dares him to keep going. ZSJ traps the arm for a TWIST! Now Ibushi’s the one for egging ZSJ on. Fans rally up as ZSJ says Ibushi’s arm is suffering for ZSJ’s leg. ZSJ gives little hip bumps and swift kicks, so Ibushi ROCKS him with a right! And again! And again! ZSJ gets the arm for an ELBOW BREAKER and a DOUBLE WRISTLOCK! ZSJ drags Ibushi down into body scissors as he keeps on the Kimura but Ibushi gets a ropebreak. ZSJ lets go to drag Ibushi back towards center. ZSJ wrenches the arm, twists elbow, wrist and fingers as he pushes towards the top wristlock! And he STOMPS it!
Fans cheer the technical savagery as ZSJ drags Ibushi up again. ZSJ wrenches but Ibushi ROCKS him with a right! ZSJ holds on to wrench again, so Ibushi forearms again! Ibushi fires off more forearms then whips but ZSJ reverses to wrench and ARM SNAP! ZSJ runs but into Ibushi’s FLYING KICK! Ibushi rallies the fans and he gets up. Ibushi dares ZSJ to stand, and then he fires off a strike fest! KICK to STANDING MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps the fans going as he drags ZSJ up in a half nelson. ZSJ uses a leg to break free then he KICKS Ibushi’s bad arm! ZSJ whips, Ibushi goes up and over and rolls to RANA!
ZSJ bails out, Ibushi fires fans up and he PLANCHAS! Both men are down on the outside but fans fire up! Ibushi gets ZSJ into the ring and then aims from the apron. ZSJ stands, Ibushi springboards and missile dropkicks ZSJ down! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his focus as he gets back up. Ibushi stands ZSJ up and reels him in but ZSJ blocks the bomb lift. ZSJ wrenches the bad arm to WRING it out into the mat! “There we go! Now we’ve got Ibushi going!” ZSJ drags Ibushi up as fans rally. ZSJ half nelsons then full nelsons but Ibushi powers out with an arm-drag. ZSJ EuroUppers, runs but fakes out the dropkick to then roll Ibushi to a headscissors ARMBAR! But Ibushi gets a ROPEBREAK!
ZSJ lets go but gives Ibushi toying kicks. Ibushi eggs ZSJ on so ZSJ gives him more. ZSJ stands up and dares Ibushi to follow. Ibushi sits up but ZSJ gives more swift kicks. Ibushi KICKS ZSJ off his feet! Ibushi eggs ZSJ on now and ZSJ gets up. ZSJ KICKS but Ibushi doesn’t seem bothered. Ibushi KICKS ZSJ and he staggers away to the corner! ZSJ comes back to KICK, but Ibushi shakes his head. Ibushi KICKS, ZSJ staggers but stays up this time. ZSJ KICKS, Ibushi KICKS! ZSJ still gets up and they go forehead to forehead. ZSJ fires EuroUppers but into a backslide! ZSJ slips through but into a short arm LARIAT!
Fans are thunderous as ZSJ gets to ropes. Ibushi runs but ZSJ hits a FLYING KICK! Almost like Ibushi’s earlier! ZSJ gets Ibushi up, SIT OUT BOMB! Also like Ibushi! Cover, TWO, but into a leg hook nelson and armlock! Ibushi endures partial Clarky Cat and moves around to get a ROPEBREAK! ZSJ lets go quickly and is too tired to be frustrated. ZSJ isolates Ibushi’s arm and STOMPS it again! Fans rally up hard as ever as ZSJ drags Ibushi up. ZSJ reels Ibushi in, scoops but Ibushi slips out to HALF ‘N’ HALF SUPLEX! ZSJ flounders away and Ibushi gets up as fans rally again. Ibushi roars and runs into the corner but ZSJ BOOTS him! ZSJ runs but into a POWERSLAM!
Ibushi rolls to the corner but ZSJ SHOTGUNS his legs out before the moonsault! Ibushi falls in a heap but ZSJ is also down, catching his breath. Fans rally for “I-BU-SHI!” “Z S J!” as ZSJ watches Ibushi sit up. PENALTY KICK! Cover, TWO, into an ANKLE LOCK! ZSJ stands up but Ibushi turns to stand. Ibushi fires forearms but ZSJ CRANKS the ankle! ZSJ leans on the hold but Ibushi still endures. Ibushi fights up again to DECK ZSJ with a straight shot! ZSJ sputters away and Ibushi crawls over that way. Ibushi powers up, runs, but ZSJ BOOTS the lariat away to wrench and PELE the other arm! BOOT but Ibushi V-TRIGGERS!! KENNY~!
ZSJ sits up slowly as Ibushi fires himself up. Ibushi calls upon the powers of Nakamura to BOMAYE! Cover, TWO! But Ibushi gets the wrists, only for ZSJ to pop him into an armbar! Ibushi clasps hands, ZSJ fights for control, they roll and Ibushi has a wrist for a BUZZSAW! Ibushi sits ZSJ up with double wrists, but ZSJ tilt-o-whirls around to an IRON OCTOPUS! ZSJ drags Ibushi down to the floor and gets the leg, a triangle modification of Napalm Death! Ibushi shifts around but he’s caught!! Ibushi VERBALLY quits, ZSJ wins!!!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission (gains 2 points; Ibushi earns 0)
INCREDIBLE! The Submission Master sidelines Naito, slays the Dragon, and even makes the back-to-back G1 winner #JustTapOut!! And since he earned his points off Naito, you could even say he’s the REAL leader of A Block! And he makes sure Ibushi knows it, too! Is there any chance the Golden Star can still make it back to a fourth G1 finals in a row? Or is this just not his year?
As for ZSJ, he of course gets on the mic. “Oi. Everyone, good evening. Thank you so much for today. In this G1, I will do my very best!” ZSJ takes a bow before saying he’s OF COURSE joking with them. Bunch o’ idiots! He’s takin’ a piss, obviously. “Do your best? I don’t need to do my best, I’m beating these pricks on autopilot!” A Block is the one that needs to do their best! No one has an answer for the Soy Boy Tekker! “14 stone, Vegan technical wizard, smashing everyone in this bloody tournament. My word.” The G1 Climax is Zack’s! Take the bracket and throw it in the bin with Naito’s knees.
Oh and speaking of Naito, too bad for him. He was supposed to be in tonight’s main event. ZSJ looks right in the camera to talk to Naito cuz he knows he’s watching. Como estas, amigo? How you doing? Bien? Yeah? Well ZSJ’s MUY BIEN! Y’wanna know why? Cuz ZSJ will win the G1 while Naito’s ass is stuck on the couch! And while on the subject of dickheads, three down and six to go, “as you were.” ZSJ had perhaps the toughest opening schedule in the block, is it smooth sailing from here on out? Or will running into the Dominator next round change ZSJ’s tune?
Here are the current A Block standings!
Great-O-Khan: 4-0, 8 points
Zack Sabre Jr: 3-0, 6 points
Kenta: 3-1, 6 points
Toru Yano: 3-1, 6 points
Shingo Takagi: 2-1, 4 points [won special singles bye]
Yujiro Takahashi: 2-2, 4 points
Kota Ibushi: 2-2, 4 points
Tanga Loa: 1-2, 2 points
Tomohiro Ishii: 1-3, 2 points
Another great night for NJPW here. For one, Takagi adjusting his mission statement is pretty cool. Takagi VS Naito is definitely one we were all hoping to see but can’t with Naito’s knee injury. Looking ahead to Wrestle Kingdom in January is a positive sign since that gives a four month time table, but that’s all dependent on the plan being Takagi winning. Khan VS Yujiro was a good match but naturally Khan wins to keep his streak going. Yano VS Loa was a lot of fun and I like that Loa even brought up that he’s growing desperate for points. Yano stays strong so he perhaps could be a strong runner-up that makes things tricky for the block leaders.
Ishii VS Kenta was really good stuff, and I’m really surprised Kenta won with the dirty finish. Kenta is also in the same spot as Yano where his win-loss record could put pressure on one of the others in the final round. And the adjusted main event, Ibushi VS ZSJ, was awesome stuff, especially given the stories going into it. Ibushi’s record may say 2-2 but he’s been up and down in the G1, with tonight being a drop back down. This was the story I was expecting them to go with and it’s working out well, putting pressure on each match for him to get back up. ZSJ’s own story is that he is reminding everyone of his singles skills. ZSJ VS Khan in the next round is THE one to watch, that is going to say a lot about where A Block is going.
My Score: 9.1/10
Lucha Central Weekly: Garza & Carrillo Team Up On WWE RAW, Laredo Kid Wins, and MLW Alpha Fusion Debuts
Miranda, Dusty, and Brendan discuss Raw’s newest (lucha) pairing, Laredo Kid’s Impact Wrestling success, MLW’s lucha infused Alpha Fusion, and more!
Miranda, Dusty, and Brendan discuss Raw’s newest (lucha) pairing, Laredo Kid’s Impact Wrestling success, MLW’s lucha infused Alpha Fusion, and more!
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