The last day of G1 Climax B Block action! We have 3 possible winners, possible title implications and a ZSJ/Tanahashi grudge match!
Let’s look at the possible winners:
- EVIL: Win vs SANADA; Draw vs SANADA & Naito Draw or Loss vs KENTA
- Naito: Win vs KENTA & EVIL Draw or Loss vs SANADA; Draw vs KENTA & EVIL loss vs SANADA
- SANADA: Win vs EVIL & Naito loss vs KENTA – SANADA has tie breakers over both in this hypothetical.
There we go! SANADA would be a fun angle since he needs the most help, but since we know Ibushi won A Block another Naito/Ibushi neck breaking extravaganza would make everyone uncomfortable.
Let’s find out who wins!
- Toru Yano vs YOSHI-HASHI: HASHI wins via Arm Capture Cradle @6:10 – ***
- Hirooki Goto vs Juice Robinson: Juice wins via Pulp Friction @12:07 – *** ¼
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr: Tanahashi wins via Counter Cradle Stack @12:01 – *** ¾
- Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA: KENTA wins via Inside Cradle @21:06 – *** ¾
- EVIL vs SANADA: SANADA wins via Japanese Leg Clutch @27:01 – **** ¼
Toru Yano vs YOSHI-HASHI
After such a hot start for Yano, it all came crumbling down, and now he sits toward the bottom as the first G1 match against the lowly 1 win YOSHI-HASHI. This has all the trappings of HASHI getting a second win to end on a high note, but let’s get to it.
Yano is back on the clean fighter kick and this time allows YOSHI-HASHI to check him for stuff. HASHI finds about 4 rolls of tape, and then thinks he’s clean but Yano pulls out another one seemingly saying “you missed one idiot”. The clean fighter shtick lasts a little bit, even getting a clean break, but then Yano goes to his friends the turnbuckle pads.
This begins an odd story in the match of HASHI out Yano’ing Yano. Yano tries his cleaner mist, but HASHI blocks it. Then he pulls out tape from his trunks and tapes Yano in the guardrail to his Goku Power Pole (I’m aware the weapon is a bo staff, but when you come out looking like Wukong/Goku…it’s the damn Power Pole). Yano manages to get in by 19, but none of his usual tricks are landing.
Yano grabs the ref, but misses his back kick low blow, then he shoves the ref and goes for the old school low blow, but HASHI catches his arm, rolls through and seals the win with a nice Arm Capture Cradle. Not a technical classic, but an amusing Yano match.
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 17, 2020
Hirooki Goto vs Juice Robinson
Juice is another one that had a quick early start, but as the opponents got more difficult, he just couldn’t rise to the challenge. Goto however has been…well Goto. He’s won a few big matches, lost a few matches in dorky fashion, so I’m anticipating a good match where Goto loses.
This was a good brawl, when Juice can brawl with a wrestler and it’s not a technical battle, he definitely holds his own. Nothing in this match was really overly flashy, both men hit their signature spots, or at least attempted to. Goto did the hair pull into his knee, Goto-Shiki and Ushigoroshi, but was never able to execute the GTR or Reverse GTR. Juice on the other hand tried his Super Plex/Jackhammer combo, but got interrupted at the Jackhammer. It wasn’t until he caught Goto with a Left Hand of God, that the match looked over for Goto.
A little amusing to know my initial feelings checked out, but it was a solid match at least.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr
This rivalry goes deep. ZSJ has been trying to dismantle Tanahashi for year, first in singles action and this year with the help of Taichi in tag matches. With both eliminated this is all about pride and to hopefully put a bow on their feud for a while. Ibushi beat Taichi yesterday, so I really hope ZSJ pulls this off to make sure we don’t get ANOTHER Dangerous Tekkers versus Golden Ace match. But with a lacking tag division and maybe a heel turn for Ibushi or Tanahashi, Tanahashi will probably win this.
We got a well told story in the match, though the story also hampered the match a little, let me explain. Early on ZSJ was wrestling circles around Tanahashi, catching him in clutches or quick submissions and just implying the Ace was a step or two behind; and BOY HOWDY, was he a step or 3 behind at times. But that played into the larger story. A lot of Tanahashi’s hope spots came out of counters, or knowing ZSJ’s moveset and how to counter him.
ZSJ drops down to Cradle through things, Tana sees it and drops down, or instead of getting wrestled down, he puts ZSJ in the Texas Cloverleaf. Another nice spot to get this across was ZSJ’s chain of misses; he tried the arm kick, Tana moved, he tried his own kick, Dragon Screw, even when ZSJ had a counter for Tanahashi, Tana had one right back. Which was punctuated with the finish, when Tana goes to the top, ZSJ stands, High Fly Flow, and ZSJ tries to roll back through and goes for an Armbar; but Tanahashi keeps the rolling and stacks up ZSJ and then holds the pin until 8 or 9, to send a message.
Well wrestled, solid story, but in looking “old and a few steps behind”, there were a few slow or bad transitions. Still overall an enjoyable match.
Tetsuya Naito vs KENTA
Now this starts off like you’d expect, with both just messing with one another. KENTA first yells at Naito to hurry up with his clothes, and then he stalls in the ropes. They have a cute little back and forth with one trying to move and the other acting like they’d pounce. Once they touch, KENTA gets an Inside Cradle for a quick 2 count; causing Naito to powder and now they switch roles a little.
After some early jockeying for position, KENTA manages to sneak a briefcase shot. Which is pretty impressive given the fact that most of his losses are because he’s been messing with that briefcase too much. KENTA takes full mount position and start wailing on Naito, but no real pinfall attempts come from this. We do get most of the classics, Combinacion Cabron from Naito; KENTA hits the Stun Gun (that Tornado Neck Drape thing) and the diving Lariat before things heat up a little.
Naito goes for his Tornado DDT, but KENTA counters it with a Falcon Arrow, and now things are getting serious. The strikes seem stiffer and both men are looking for bigger moves. Rolling Back Chop and Sole Butt from KENTA, before Naito hits the Flying Forearm, Gloria and Valentia. KENTA calls for the Go 2 Sleep a few times, but Naito Destino’s out of one and fights off the other, peppering in his Back Elbows that he’s used a lot lately.
KENTA is starting to look a little rocked, so Naito sets up for Destino, but KENTA manages to get an Inside Cradle, and gets a 3 count! Talking about full circle, the match started with the Cradle and ends the same way! That’s a cute wrinkle.
Also in turn that means Naito is eliminated. EVIL has the tie breaker so he can Draw and win the block. But if SANADA wins, SANADA wins the block! Tie breakers are fun, right?
EVIL vs SANADA
The early pacing to this match is awful, but for good reason. EVIL knows he controls his own destiny, so a time limit draw is as good as a win to him. So we see early powdering, talking with Togo, being very slow and trying to actually wrestle as little as possible. Again, crappy as match, but makes perfect sense given the tournament situation.
SANADA stays on top of things once EVIL comes in, catches a few boots, dumps him back out (which is dumb), but at least he’s got the upper hand for now. Short lived as it is, EVIL Irish Whips SANADA into the guardrail, then we see some Togo interaction, some chairs, some Red Shoes listening to car deals and SANADA gets suplexed on a stack of chairs. The cliché heel tactics that EVIL has applied the entire tournament continue as he unties a turnbuckle pad and dumps SANADA back out for Togo to ram into the guardrail a few times. The focus is SANADA’s back as when he’s thrown back in, EVIL sinks in a Half Boston Crab, so they’re trying to take away some of his athleticism.
SANADA has a surge where he manages to hit a Back Drop on EVIL giving him some space. SANADA then starts mounting a comeback, which is punctuated by a spot the crowd…and yes even I love. SANADA tosses Togo into the ring, Paradise Lock, then he taunts EVIL in and Paradise Locks him. So we get a double paradise spot and SANADA is just playing to the crowd to clap more, and he’s reveling in the situation.
After the double paradise, the familiarity of the two starts coming through more in the match. Each has counters for counters, when EVIL tries his misdirection; SANADA anticipates it and does his own misdirection leading to his Springboard Missile Dropkick. SANADA hits the Magic Screw, a Tiger Suplex Hold, and it’s all only for 2. But once SANADA goes for the Moonsault, EVIL moves out of the way, and starts to mount his comeback.
EVIL utilizes the exposed turnbuckles from earlier to weaken SANADA, hits a big Superplex and locks in the Scorpion Deathlock, dead in the center it looks grim for SANADA but he barely gets to the ropes and receives a Darkness Falls for his trouble. SANADA fights all the way back to hitting consecutive Moonsaults, and we all know that means victory; BUT FUCKING DICK TOGO!
Togo pulls out Red Shoes, slides in the ring, and then Hiromu has had enough and tries to help. The Darkness Club duo dispatch of Hiromu and try to set up the perfect spot for EVIL, but SANADA manages a Roll-Up, and EVIL kicks out. Togo interferes with the garrote again, and Hiromu this time hits a nice Superkick, stunning Togo, EVIL charges SANADA, SANADA moves so Togo is sent flying and then Japanese Leg Clutch on EVIL for the WIN!
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 17, 2020
Overall Score: 8/10
Well the first B Block show was really good, and so was the last. In between was good or terrible…so…this was definitely a weird block. This day though, was very fun from start to finish, a few big upsets and quality matches to boot.
Yano’s match with HASHI wasn’t one of his best, but it was amusing and nice to see HASHI play with Yano’s style and come out ahead. Juice has been solid all tournament, so the fact he gets to end things on a high note is good for him. KENTA/Naito would’ve been a great match, if the surprise cradle didn’t happen during the part where it started to heat up. It was perfect and surprising, so it worked, but they left a lot of meat on the bone. Which is good since we will get another match with them in the coming months.
SANADA winning B Block is great, since it feels like they’re finally investing in someone the fans have been behind long before the company was. My only complaint though, is it follows a similar path to Jay White last year. Starting 0-3 and making it to the Finals was nearly unprecedented last year, and now they ran back a similar structure. Sure, maybe it’s done to try and keep people interested in slower start wrestlers for future tournaments because they can point back to 2019 and 2020 as “Look these guys started 0-3 and made it to the Finals”. Perhaps, I still don’t love it, but I enjoy SANADA so…I’m gonna stop complaining now.
SANADA vs Kota Ibushi tomorrow! Should be good!
B Block Standings:
- SANADA: (6-3) – 12 Points (Winner)
- EVIL: (6-3) – 12 Points (Eliminated)
- Tetsuya Naito: (6-3) – 12 Points (Eliminated)
- Zack Sabre Jr: (5-4) – 10 Points (Eliminated)
- KENTA: (5-4) – 10 Points (Eliminated)
- Hirooki Goto: (4-5) – 8 Points (Eliminated)
- Juice Robinson: (4-5) – 8 Points (Eliminated)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi:(4-5) – 8 Points (Eliminated)
- Toru Yano: (3-6) – 6 Points (Eliminated)
- YOSHI-HASHI: (2-7) – 4 Points (Eliminated)