This 7th round of B Block action, is very similar to the A Block situation. Coming in, we have 6 wrestlers on the bubble. The main event is between the top 2 of the block, which works out to a lot of fun under card shenanigans.
KENTA and YOSHI-HASHI have matches that could spoil their opponents tournament, and we’re bound to get at least two eliminations from the other matchups. Does Naito take a comfortable lead, or is EVIL building momentum for Darkness World 2.0?
Time to find out!
- YOSHI-HASHI vs Zack Sabre Jr: ZSJ wins via Jim Breaks Special @13:34 – ***
- Toru Yano vs KENTA: KENTA wins via Count Out @8:56 – *
- SANADA vs Juice Robinson: SANADA wins via Moonsault @15:06 – *** ½
- Hirooki Goto vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Goto wins via GTR @13:38 – *** ½
- Tetsuya Naito vs EVIL: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @23:57 – ** ¼
YOSHI-HASHI vs Zack Sabre Jr
A quick single leg takedown from ZSJ puts things on the mat, but HASHI does manage to hold his own nicely, countering a few moves leading up to the stand up and stare each other down moment of the match. They then push to the ropes, the rope break trade spot happens, a few nice strikes and shoulder tackles as the speed of the match starts to increase.
Sensing that, ZSJ starts to slow it down to more of his match, countering the Headbuster and applying some submission moves. Smartly, he’s focusing the submission and strikes on the left shoulder of YOSHI-HASHI that was taped for what feels like 2 years (though no longer heavily taped). Zack continues to work holds on that shoulder, a Key Lock/Neck Crank combo, an Armbar, just great focus on the target area. But after the third rope break, ZSJ allows HASHI to stand up, and that’s where the match starts to swing for in HASHI’s favor.
HASHI counters the sweep with the Spinning Mule Kick, and starts to build from there. HASHI brings decent offense, hitting that dumb Draping Dropkick, followed by a low Dropkick for a near fall. ZSJ does manage to stymie the wave a little, but as he springs out of the corner for the Tornado DDT he started doing, HASHI catches him with a well-timed Chop, then a Running Sitout Powerbomb for 2. This gives HASHI the chance to try the Butterfly Lock…but ZSJ won’t really tap out, right? ZSJ maneuvers around, trying to stand up, but HASHI turns it into a Cobra Twist, then grounds him back into the Butterfly Lock, adds the Hammerlock aspect, but ZSJ makes it to the ropes.
Strikes, counter strikes, and great energy from both follows. HASHI tries Karma, ZSJ slips out and puts on a Triangle Armbar, HASHI continues to roll and nearly picks up a counter cradle pinfall, but ZSJ kicks off and keeps working the arm. One more attempt at Karma, allows ZSJ one more chance to get out of it, and then he wrestles him down and locks in the Jim Breaks Special super close to the ropes, but HASHI could do nothing and verbally submits.
Toru Yano vs KENTA
At first this was funny, and even the crowd found KENTA’s tactics charming. Both KENTA and Yano had a weapon, KENTA would fake throwing it out but Yano would actually drop his. Then this ground to a damn halt with all of KENTA’s powdering.
There were also multiple bad spots with a bottle of water or cleaner. It was introduced into the ring too early, Marty handed it to KENTA a few times, and it was just sloppy. The big reveal was amusing at least since KENTA loaded his briefcase with a bunch of tape, so when he hit Yano and it opened like a piñata, it got a decent laugh. KENTA then tapes Yano to the entrance archway, waves, and runs in to beat the count.
Milano was fantastic on commentary, cause they were mostly quiet and then after the match he just plainly says “ This is pro wrestling…” to laughter from his colleagues. Milano’s dead pan made it a perfect description for this mess of a match. But Yano is now eliminated!
.@YTR_CHAOS "Hand sanitizer mist"
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 11, 2020
SANADA vs Juice Robinson
We see a small twist on the usual opening sequence, where SANADA does multiple athletic/acrobatic moves to try and break the Arm Wringer; but instead of a weird back and forth counter and then stare down; Juice just hits a Knee Lift to SANADA’s stomach to stop that crap. Then he tries a Snapmare, but SANADA flips through that and then hits a low Dropkick to Juice’s knee. So less of the usual equal size up spots, and more along the lines of both men just trying to needle at one another.
Juice hits a Spinebuster, which forces SANADA to powder, and then Juice decides to go after him instead of letting the count do the work. He gets in a few more shots, including the Irish Whip into the barricade, and then waits for Marty to count. SANADA eats a Backbreaker on the way back in, tries to buy himself time with a back elbow and Moonsault combo, but he missed the Moonsault. Juice hits a Backdrop for a near fall, and Juice looks to have all the momentum. After the referee breaks up the corner move, Juice goes for the Cannonball, but crashes and burns, so SANADA finally has an opening.
Double Leap Frog Dropkick followed by a Plancha give SANADA a chance to breathe. He follows the newly found upper hand with tying Juice in the Paradise Lock. Juice literally side steps the corner backflip into the Dragon Sleeper, and hits a Full Nelson Slam. Superplex/Jackhammer combination give Juice only a near fall.
We get a long sequence of Dragon Sleeper, Pulp Friction, Skull End counters and reapplication attempts. The back and forth of both men finding ways out is great. SANADA eventually gets a Dragon Sleeper, uses the Big Swing to disorient Juice, then drops down into the Skull End. In typical SANADA fashion, he doesn’t wait for the submission he gets up for the Moonsault and – OH HE HITS IT! SANADA wins! Juice is eliminated!
Hirooki Goto vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
The entire start of this match is unique to the day, being how long the history is here, they just tie up and get physical. Early mat wrestling attempts from Tanahashi focuses on Goto’s legs, from the Trailer Hitch, to an interesting Knee Breaker variation. Tana then goes for the rolling Stump Puller and sits down into a Toe Hold, then transitions it into an Indian Deathlock, focusing heavily on the left leg of Goto. Goto tries to fight back with palm strikes, but Tana kicks the worked on leg forcing Goto back to the corner. Tanahashi goes for a Running Splash, but Goto moves and hits the Backdrop on the rebound.
Goto gets his first near fall on the match off the corner Bulldog, but Tanahashi eventually reclaims control with a Dragon Screw. Interesting tid bit, Tanahashi is limping very noticeably during this match, so I’m not sure if this is his usual knee issues, or if this is an element that comes to light during Tanahashi’s match with ZSJ.
After two more Dragon Screws, Tanahashi tries for the Cloverleaf, but Goto scrambles to the ropes. Sling Blade attempt dodged, but Tana dropkicks the bad knee of Goto to stop his move, tries Sling Blade again, gets caught in Ushigoroshi and Goto executes the move, but onto his worked over left knee. So I’m not sure who really got the worst of that.
Back and forth city kicks in from here, Sling Blade gets countered with a Lariat, but as Goto comes back, Tana hits the Sling Blade. We get Twist and Shout, then Tana goes for a Dragon Suplex attempt, Goto breaks out and Tanahashi hits a big open hand slap dropping Goto. Tana goes to the ropes for High Fly Flow, Goto follows, lands a few strikes and then Avalanche Ushigoroshi on the bad knee again!
Both struggle to their feet, Goto tries for GTR, Tanahashi counters, Reverse GTR lands, GTR attempt two, Tana drops down to try and sneak a cradle, but Goto maintains his balance, roll him back into the GTR position and HIT IT! GOTO WINS! The Ace is eliminated!
.@510njpw "Avalanche USHIGOROSHI"
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 11, 2020
A lot of heart and just great fight and a slower pace to add to the weight of the match.
Tetsuya Naito vs EVIL
Naito takes a early pleasure in cheating to mess with EVIL and Red Shoes seems to be somewhat enforcing rules. Lots of hair pulls while in Facelocks and not breaking holds in the ropes. Naito has the big Cheshire Cat grin, as EVIL gets a bit frustrated with being on the receiving end of blatant cheating. Eventually EVIL stops an Irish Whip, reverses and Togo trips up Naito and drags him out.
Togo gets in a few shots, then distracts Red Shoes (car deals man), and EVIL drops Naito on a pile of chairs then does his Homerun Chairshot, and keeps control of the match for a while. Like…the pace of the match grinds to a halt so much that watching paint dry would look like the Indy 500. Naito does manage to stem the offense by shaking out of the Fisherman Buster attempt, locking in Puma Blanca, but even the crowd doesn’t care. They don’t make noise until Togo hops on the apron to distract Naito, but Naito side steps and EVIL wipes out Togo, then Naito reapplies Puma Blanca.
Wow, this match is a chore to watch. Naito misjudges his Tornado DDT, and it’s obvious it’s a miss, since they take 15 seconds for EVIL to just Fisherman Buster to save the situation like “EVIL fought against it”. A very slow build to a Superplex near fall almost puts me back to sleep. Naito tries to rally with Gloria and a pose, but again, the crowd isn’t even into Naito.
Then we get a poorly executed, I don’t know, scramble of trash bags and hot vomit, with EVIL almost hitting Red Shoes, missing the low blow to Naito, just awkward jockeying for position, and then more awkward counters from a Neckbreaker. Messy Messy Messy, EVIL shoves Naito into the exposed turnbuckle, running Lariat, only for 2. Darkness Falls attempt, countered by Destino.
Everything is Boring in this match. They try to pick up the pace towards the end, but by this point it’s the point of no return. Togo gets involved, Naito wipes him out, then there’s a Low Blow, Naito does fight back for a Running Destino after countering 2 attempts at Everything is Evil. Naito winds up for true Destino, but EVIL counters with Everything is Evil and thankfully this is over.
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Who needs Zzzquill, just watch this day of G1. The disappointing aspect is that things started fine with ZSJ vs HASHI, sets up well for the ZSJ vs Tanahashi match to come. SANADA/Juice was a really solid match, and Tana/Goto had a different energy but was still pretty good. But this show is unmercifully murdered by the KENTA/Yano and Naito/EVIL matches. Hell, when you lose a Japanese crowd, you know the show ain’t great.
The only reason I gave it over 5, is because less than that is overlooking the fact that 3 out of 5 matches were at least good. Sure the bad weighs heavily, but percentage wise, the good outweighs the bad, barely.
I’d rather go watch a Sharknado marathon than talk about this show anymore. Let’s just get to the standings and play with the knowledge that it has to get better, right?
B Block Standings:
- EVIL: (5-2) – 10 Points
- Tetsuya Naito: (5-2) – 10 Points
- SANADA: (4-3) – 8 Points
- Hirooki Goto: (4-3) – 8 Points
- Zack Sabre Jr: (4-3) – 8 Points
- Toru Yano: (3-4) – 6 Points (Eliminated)
- Juice Robinson: (3-4) – 6 Points (Eliminated)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: (3-4) – 6 Points (Eliminated)
- KENTA: (3-4) – 6 Points (Eliminated)
- YOSHI-HASHI: (1-6) – 2 Points (Eliminated)