Time for another round of New Japan’s G1 Climax as we have two more shows to go through, and then we’ll find out who will find the block to go to the finals. We had 8 possible winners at the previous show and now we’re down to 4. Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Kota Ibushi, and Jay White are the only ones still in the running but that might change depending on what happens tonight.
Will the four stay on top or does someone lose? Let’s find out as we…dive right in.
Star Rating System:
- 0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
- 1 Star: Vince Russo
- 2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
- 3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
- 4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
- 5 Stars: Jim Cornette
G1 Climax A Block Match
Will Ospreay vs. Jeff Cobb
Review: Time for our first match as we have Will Ospreay taking on Jeff Cobb. Will is still in the running and a win here could strengthen his chances depending on the outcome but if he loses, they’re going to be incredibly slim. The two fought each other at Madison Square Garden last year with Cobb coming out the victor and Cobb’s looking to repeat that. Who will win the opening contest?
Love how they mentioned their previous encounter once the match starts as Will starts punching Cobb once the bell rang. Will was showing that he was still agile but Cobb tried to show his power before being sent to the outside. While Will was attempting to do a handspring psyche out like he normally does, Cobb caught him, pulling him to the apron to try and Powerbomb him but Will fights his way out, kicking him down before doing his gymnastic dive over the ropes and onto him. Will shows more of his arrogance in the match after getting Cobb back in the ring, inviting Cobb to hit him but would kick him in the gut before he could. This would eventually bite him in the ass as he got caught during a swan dive and then tossed over by Cobb. If you were to compared their two encounters, the first one was better due to mostly the atmosphere of it and more at stake while in this match, it just felt like a generic exhibition match between the two and while still solid, rather disappointing at the same time.
Cobb had Will in a gutwrench position, moving him back and forth before trying to Powerbomb him as Will does his best to reverse it and failed to do so with the Hurricanrana. Will rolls over Cobb sunset style, trying to pin him but Cobb lifted him up to try and toss him over again as Will Dropkicks him down to break it up finally. Will hits the handspring kick and tries to chop him down but Cobb gives him a chop to get him down, going for the Moonsault but Will rolled out of the way to hit a Running Shooting Star. Will then hits the Pip Pip Cheerio for Cobb to kick out at two. It looked like Will was going for the Hidden Blade but Cobb ducked, Will tries to kick him as Cobb caught his leg, hitting him with a Lariat, and then a Moonsault as Will kicked out. Cobb goes for the Tour of the Islands as Willspun over him to hit a sloppy Code Red as Cobb kicked out. Will tries to lift him up for the Stormbreaker but Cobb tossed him over, trying to Lariat him but Will kicks his arm and as he went for a kick, Cobb Superkicks him as they both go down. Cobb ran after him but is caught with a Spanish Fly as Cobb kicked out again! Ospreay went for the Oscutt but Cobb caught him to lift him up for an Airplane Spin, sending him flying. Will went for the Oscutter again but was caught once more, pushed onto the ropes as he hits the Oscutter this time! Ospreay goes for the Stormbreaker again but Cobb reverses it into a German Suplex, and then pushes him to hit the Tour of the Islands, winning Ospreay to defeat him!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
G1 Climax A Block Match
Kota Ibushi vs. Yujiro Takahashi
Review: Time for our next match as Kota Ibushi takes on Yujiro Takahashi. You can just feel bad for Yujiro at this point since he still fails to get a victory in this tournament but if he beats Kota, he could really screw him over here. A win for Kota though would ruin Will’s chances even more due to defeating him in the tournament. Can Kota win or does Yujiro get his first victory finally?
Looks like Yujiro has no dirty tactic this time around as the two lock up and Ibushi gets him to the ropes, tapping his chest before letting go as Yujiro tossed him to the outside. Yujiro tries to go after him but Ibushi gets back in the ring once Yujiro was outside, this lead to Yujiro tossing him out with Ibushi hitting the guardrail in the process. Ibushi tossed him before getting back in the ring, clapping for the crowd as Yujiro dragged him back out, hitting a Reverse DDT onto the floor after raking his eyes. Yujiro did what he had to do to try and weaken Ibushi since if he defeats him right here, his chances drastically lower. Yujiro also does a solid job staying on target with a small move after move, but it’s still effective since you need to attack your opponent as much as you can.
Yujiro hits a kick into the corner and runs the ropes to charge at him but Ibushi gets momentum back in when he hits Yujiro with a jumping kick to the chest. Ibushi hits a barrage of strikes before kicking his chest, hitting a Standing Moonsault as Yujiro kicked out. Ibushi hits more kicks to his chest before running into him, Yujiro catching him and making him land on the ropes as he backs away to regroup. Yujiro hits a Lariat but Ibushi kicked out at two. Yujiro attempts a Miami Shine but Ibushi fought him off and hits a Double Stomp while Yujiro was standing and they’re both down. Ibushi attempts to hit the Last Ride but Yujiro reversed it into the Incolle Slam. Yujiro gets Ibushi on top of the turnbuckle and hits a Fisherman Buster off the second rope, and then hits another one when he picked him up but Ibushi kicked out again! Yujiro attempts the Pimp Juice but Ibushi reversed it to try and hit the Kamigoye but Yujiro moved out of the way, going for the Miami Shine once more as Ibushi catches him with the V-Trigger. Ibushi then hits the Kamigoye and gets the victory, staying in the game!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
G1 Climax A Block Match
Shingo Takagi vs. Taichi
Review: We’re now at the halfway point as Shingo Takagi takes on Taichi. The two got eliminated at the last show with their previous losses but they could at least use this chance to stock up on some wins. The two fought in B Block last year with Shingo coming out the victor but he could try to do it again. Does Shingo beat Taichi twice or will he end his four-loss streak?
The two lock up until Shingo had Taichi on the ropes, pulling back as Taichi would clap with the crowd with a smug look on his face. Taichi raked Shingo’s eyes to get some dirty tactics in but it doesn’t stop Shingo as he hits a Lariat onto his chest into a corner, and then tackles him with his shoulder. Taichi is outside the ring, being counted out as Shing follows after him to get him back into the ring but Taichi hits Shingo with the ring bell hammer in the gut before choking him with it. Just getting great heelwork with Taichi here as he makes sure to stop Shingo any chance he gets since he knows he’s bigger than him, even chokes him out several times before the ref had to force him off. A more aggressive Taichi works for this match and a great job from Shingo getting sympathy from the crowd after the match he had with Okada from the last show. The best thing about Shingo is that he will fight back and hard instead of just taking all the abuse around the middle of the match.
After a series of strikes onto Taichi, he lifts him up to hit the Blood Fall but Taichi kicked out at two. Looked like Shingo was going for the MADE IN JAPAN but Taichi reverses to attempt a Backdrop but Shingo fought him off, leading the two to hit a series of strikes to each other, which looked like Shingo won that battle. Taichi got up though to kick his chest as he ran the ropes but Shingo caught his pants to push him into the ropes for a Lariat but Taicho responds with an Axe Bomber. Shingo hits a Lariat but Taichi would catch him with a Jumping Kick into the corner, they ran into each other with a Lariat, and then Taichi catches him for the Backdrop! Taichi hits another Axe Bomber as Shingo kicked out at two. Taichi rips his pants off and soon as he turned around, Shingo hits a Lariat on him into the corner as the emperor falls down. Shingo pulls a page out of Taichi’s book when he tries to roll him up for the Gedo Clutch but Taichi kicked out at two. Shingo goes for the Pumping Bomber but Taichi tries to kick him as Shingo caught his leg, hitting the MADE IN JAPAN! Shingo hits the Pumping Bomber as Taichi kicked out at two. Shingo goes for The Last of the Dragon but Taichi rakes his eyes, lifting him up Torture Rack style and slams him down but Shingo kicked out. Taichi rolled him for the Gedo Clutch but Shingo kicked out. The two ran towards each other but Taichi hits beautiful Superkick, and hits the Black Memphisto to get the victory over Shingo!
Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters
G1 Climax A Block Match
Jay White vs. Minoru Suzuki
Review: It’s semi-main event time as Jay White takes on Minoru Suzuki. With Kota getting a win, Jay would need to win here to potentially hurt Kota’s odds in the final day but if he loses, it’ll hurt him greatly. The two fought in the tournament a couple of years ago and Suzuki was the winner, ending his chances to win that year. Will Suzuki be able to ruin his chances twice or does Jay win?
Jay rolls out of the ring immediately as the bell rang as Suzuki was getting annoyed, threatening him by attempting to go out and follow him but Jay moved further away. Jay tried to get to the ropes but Suzuki kicks his leg out, causing him to retreat again and Suzuki yelling at him. Jay tries to get Suzuki down on the mat but his arm got caught, Suzuki torturing his hand and arm until Jay backed into the corner to force him to let go, which leads to Suzuki tapping his chest and backing away. Suzuki applies an Armbar to Jay over the ropes, Gedo causing a distraction to make him let go, leading to Suzuki to confront Gedo but Jay attacked him from behind. We got two types of heels in this match, the cunning and annoying heel with Jay, and the murderous grandpa in Suzuki, which works out much better here than their last encounter due to how much Jay has grown since then. Love the little-death glares Suzuki gives Jay once he was being kicked in the back, not selling it at all. Jay gets annoyed to the point where he goes to grab a chair but Suzuki punches him in the gut to make him let go. This leads to Suzuki grabbing the chair to beat Jay until the ref grabs it to make him stop.
The two slap each other until Jay would kick him in the gut and hits a DDT. Jay attempts the Sleeper Suplex but Suzuki grabs his arm to wring it, Jay trying to fight him off as Suzuki slaps and hits his body until Jay fell down, rolling to the outside of the ring again. It looked like Jay was walking away but Suzuki makes him go back into the ring and once Suzuki came back in, Jay attempts the Blade Runner but Suzuki reversed it into the Rear-Naked Choke. He attempts the Gotch Style Piledriver but Jay sweeps his legs to make him lay on his back and hits a Dragon Screw on one of his legs. Gedo tries to crawl into the ring but Suzuki was focused on him, leading to Jay to hit a chop block on his bad leg again. Jay goes for the Blade Runner but Suzuki wraps his legs around his neck, bringing him down for a Cross Armbreaker! Jay was struggling but he would stand up but Suzuki held on, bringing him down to the mat again. Gedo was distracting the ref again and Suzuki had enough as he would walk up to Gedo to punch him in the face after pulling him down by his beard. Suzuki was going for the Gotch Style Piledriver but Jay tries to reverse it into the Blade Runner as Suzuki pulled his hair, making him let go as he hits Jay with a forearm. Suzuki choked Jay out again as he tries the Gotch Style Piledriver on more time but Gedo grabbed the referee’s leg to distract him, leading to Jay hitting a low blow to Suzuki! Jay finally hits the Blade Runner to get the victory!
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
G1 Climax A Block Match
Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Review: Time for our final match as Kazuchika Okada takes on Tomohiro Ishii in the main event. This is a tough spot for Okada now as if he loses his match here, he’ll be mathematically eliminated due to Jay and Kota defeating him that even if he did tie at the final show, it wouldn’t matter. Ishii defeating Okada the last time they were in the same block and he has the opportunity to do it again. Is this the end for Okada?
Since it’s been a while since they fought each other in singles action, Okada would wanna test the waters with the Stone Pitbull as the two locked up like usual with Okada getting him into the ropes, tapping his chest. Ishii wasn’t looking to back down as he hits some forearms until the two tried to shoulder tackle each other but Okada was able to get him down on the mat. Okada immediately starts to take control of the match, keeping him grounded as much as possible. Okada gets him down near the ropes as Okada is on the apron, flipping over but Ishii rolled out of the way, getting behind him to attempt a German Suplex as Okada fought him off but Ishii was able to get him up for a Brainbuster as Okada goes down. Ishii is showing Okada that he’s not one to take lightly just because they’re fellow CHAOS members as he chops him down into the corner, getting him in the throat as well. It’s better to not have this match one-sided and make it fairly even between these two to make the match better because let’s be real, it would be boring if either of them just dominated the majority of the match when it comes between these two. Ishii might be the gatekeeper of New Japan but he holds that title with pride and will match a lot of top guys despite not being IWGP Heavyweight Champion material. Okada was on the top turnbuckle as Ishii was trying to get up but the two would brawl instead, causing Ishii to get off but he tries to headbutt him as Okada elbows him back down.
Okada gets off the turnbuckle and hits Ishii with the Reverse Neckbreaker. Okada tries to hit a Dropkick as Ishii pushed his legs out of the way to forearm him as Okada replies with a kick before running the ropes, Ishii catching him with a Powerslam. Okada quickly got up and hits Ishii with a forearm, leading them both to hit each other as Ishii hits a German Suplex into the corner. Okada hits the Tombstone and applies the Money Clip, trying to choke Ishii out but Ishii gets to the ropes to break the hold. Okada tries to hit a Tombstone again but Ishii gets over Okada to hit a German Suplex. Okada attempts a Rolling Lariat as Ishii hits his arm and attempts a Lariat but Okada ducks, trying to hit a Dropkick as he missed and Ishii goes for a Sliding Lariat but Okada dodges to apply the Money Clip again! Ishii fights out of the hold to get a Reverse Armbar in before turning it into an Armbreaker as Okada’s foot was on the ropes. Ishii hits a Sliding Lariat as Okada kicked out at two and he picks him up to go for the Vertical Drop as Okada reversed it into a Spinning Tombstone and the two go down! Okada hits the Dropkick but Ishii gets back up to charge at Okada, being caught with an Uppercut and a Rolling Lariat. Okada gets the Money Clip in again and the ref goes to check up on him but Ishii stands up, Okada trying to go for that Orton Backbreaker as Ishii landed on his feet, hitting Okada with a headbutt! Ishii hits Okada with a Lariat and gets him up for the Vertical Drop but Okada hits his head with his knee to land on his feet, applying for the Money Clip but Ishii hits a Codebreaker. Okada attempts a short arm Lariat but Ishii would get behind him to go for a Backslide but Okada lands on his feet to hit the short arm Lariat! Okada hits the Dropkick again and quickly goes to the Money Clip once more. Ishii stands on his feet but Okada hits the Orton Backbreaker this time to get him down, still holding onto the Money Clip as Ishii is knocked out, giving Okada the victory to stay alive!
Rating: Bruce Prichard
Overall: While not as good as the previous show, this was still a lot of fun to watch and we now have one more show before seeing who makes it to the finals. The last two matches were worth watching and excited to see what the final day brings.
Favorite Match: Jay White vs. Minoru Suzuki
Least Favorite Match: Will Ospreay vs. Jeff Cobb
A Block Standings:
- Kota Ibushi: (6-2) (12 Points)
- Jay White: (6-2) (12 Points)
- Kazuchika Okada: (6-2) (12 Points)
- Will Ospreay: (5-3) (10 Points)
- Taichi: (4-4) (8 Points) (Eliminated)
- Jeff Cobb: (4-4) (8 Points) (Eliminated)
- Minoru Suzuki: (3-5) (6 Points) (Eliminated)
- Shingo Takagi: (3-5) (6 Points) (Eliminated)
- Tomohiro Ishii: (3-5) (6 Points) (Eliminated)
- Yujiro Takahashi: (0-8) (0 Points) (Eliminated)
We are technically down to three, however, despite Ospreay being behind by a win, he has a very slim chance and I’ll get to that shortly. These are how Ibushi, Okada, and Jay could win.
Kazuchika Okada: Must defeat Will Ospreay and both Jay White, and Kota Ibushi lose their matches.
Kota Ibushi: Must defeat Taichi, and Jay White loses to Tomohiro Ishii.
Jay White: Must defeat Tomohiro Ishii since even if Okada and Ibushi win their matches, Jay still has wins over both men and will still advance.
Will Ospreay: while he is considered eliminated, he could have a chance to get a three-way tie. In order for that to happen, he has to defeat Okada while Jay and Kota lose as well. If that happens, they’ll all be tied with a win over the other to make it even, which could lead to a deciding match between the three. While unlikely, the possibility is still there.