The G1 Climax’s 8th Round is finishing up!
The King of Darkness says Everything is Evil, but the B Block hasn’t been decided just yet! Will Tetsuya Naito rebound and find his way to G1 glory?
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.
- B Block – YOSHI-HASHI VS KENTA; KENTA wins.
- B Block – Juice Robinson VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins.
- B Block – Tetsuya Naito VS Toru Yano; Naito wins.
- B Block – Hirooki Goto VS EVIL; EVIL wins.
- B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi VS SANADA; SANADA wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Here are the current 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
Hiroshi Tanahashi: 3-4, 6 points [ELIMINATED]
Toru Yano: 3-4, 6 points [ELIMINATED]
Juice Robinson: 3-4, 6 points [ELIMINATED]
KENTA: 3-4, 6 points [ELIMINATED]
YOSHI-HASHI: 1-6, 2 points [ELIMINATED]
B Block – YOSHI-HASHI VS KENTA!
Two men out of the running have no choice but to keep on fighting! Can Fang Revived break even and protect his IWGP United States Championship contract? Or will the Head Hunter #GetBackUp once again?
Yoshi-Hashi does not budge as Kenta gets in the ring and stands in front of him. There is no backing out of this match and there’s no backing down! The entrance attire is put aside, and the bell rings! Fans cheer as the two circle. They tie up, Kenta pulls hair and puts Hashi on the ropes. The ref reprimands, Kenta lets off and pats Hashi on his shoulders. Hashi keeps his cool and fans cheer as they circle again. They tie up, Kenta again pulls hair and puts Hashi on the ropes. Kenta slaps Hashi so Hashi fires off forearms and a CHOP! Fans cheer as Hashi slaps Kenta around now. Hashi whips Kenta to ropes and runs him over with an elbow! Then with a shoulder! Hashi whips again, Kenta reverses but Hashi ducks to come back with the BLOCKBUSTER!
Kenta bails out while fans cheer, and the ref keeps Hashi in. Kenta paces and takes his time returning. Hashi is patient, but then Kenta bails right back out. Kenta goes around the way, fans rally for Hashi, but Kenta eyes Hashi’s staff. Kenta grabs the staff, the ref tells him to put it down but Kenta is “admiring” it. Hashi rushes out, Kenta throws him into a post! Kenta hammerlocks Hashi’s arm and POSTS it! Kenta drags Hashi up and hammerlocks again, to throw him into railing! The ref reprimands but Kenta drags Hashi back up to put him in the ring. Kenta kicks Hashi’s arm, then kicks it again. Kenta drags Hashi up, has the arm in a wristlock and uses that to wrangle Hashi down. Hashi endures the Kimura as Kenta cranks on it harder. Hashi gets a ropebreak and Kenta lets off.
Kenta is annoyed as he brings Hashi back up. Hashi throws forearms, Kenta wrenches the arm to an elbow breaker! Kenta kicks the bad arm again! Kenta goes after the arm but Hashi resists the armbar. Hashi moves around but Kenta wrangles him back down! Kenta gets the ARMBAR, but Hashi gets the ropebreak! Kenta lets off fast again, and he gives toying kicks to Hashi. Hashi gets up and CHOPS! Kenta throws a forearm, Hashi CHOPS! Forearm, CHOP, but then another ELBOW BREAKER! And another! Kenta KICKS the bad arm and looms over Hashi. Kenta wrenches the arm again, has a standing armlock and works to grind Hashi down to the mat. Hashi gets up, throws body shots, but Kenta has the arm again!
Hashi powers through to try for a sleeper hold! Kenta fights that off, ELBOW BREAKER! But Hashi still suplexes Kenta high and hard! Hashi shakes out the bad arm while he and Kenta are down. Hashi is up first, he dares Kenta to stand, and fires off fast hands and a CHOP! Hashi whips Kenta to a corner, runs in and CHOPS again! Hashi whips, CHOPS, mule kicks and hangs Kenta out to dry! Hashi runs, and dropkicks Kenta off! Then he basement dropkicks Kenta down! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Hashi as he stands over Kenta. Hashi brings Kenta up, reels him in, but Kenta blocks the bomb lift. Kenta back drops Hashi and Hashi goes to a corner. Kenta runs in but Hashi boots back! Hashi runs, into a POWERSLAM! Fans cheer as both men are down again.
Fans rally up for Hashi as Kenta goes to corner. Hashi rises, runs in, but Kenta boots him now. Kenta hops up, reels Hsahi in, tornado hotshot! Hashi goes down, Kenta climbs up, FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Hashi survives, but Kenta looms over him. Kenta KICKS and KICKS at the bad arm but Hashi just gets mad. Hashi and Kenta throw forearms back and forth and fans rally as they go faster and faster! Hashi gets the edge, Kenta gets the ELBOW BREAKER! Hashi CHOPS again! Hashi runs in but Kenta dodges, to come back and BOOT Hashi in the corner! Hashi sits down, Kenta goes corner to corner, HESITATION DROPKICK! Kenta climbs back up as Hashi is in the drop zone. DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO!!
Hashi survives Kenta’s coup de grace but Kenta drags him back up! Fans rally as Kenta fireman’s carries. Hashi fights out, waistlocks, but Kenta elbows him away. Kenta brings Hashi up but Hashi hits the spinning back kick! Kenta stays up and comes back, but into a SUPERKICK! Fans rally up as Hashi rises! Hashi drags Kenta up, reels him in, gets him up and runs for the POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO! But into the BUTTERFLY LOCK! Kenta endures as Hashi leans on the hold! Kenta moves around, Hashi cranks back as hard as he can! Kenta reaches out with a leg but Hashi brings him away! Fans rally more as Kenta keeps trying and Hashi keeps wrenching! Hashi drags Kenta away again, and gets the outside arm! KIMURA-FLY!!
Kenta endures, still moves around, but Hashi pulls as hard as he can! Fans rally harder and harder, Kenta fades so Hashi gets the SLEEPER! Hashi drags Kenta up for the BACKSTABBER! Hashi runs, but the knees miss! Kenta gets the leg, then the arm, for the omoplata, and he wants the crossface! Hashi refuses to let this be Game Over! Fans rally as Hashi continues to resist! Hashi shakes his head, reaches out and gets the ROPEBREAK! Kenta is frustrated but he gets up to KICK Hashi in the chest! And again! Hashi wobbles but Kenta KICKS and KICKS and KICKS him again! Hashi gets mad now! Fans cheer as Hashi throws forearms and Kenta gives them back! They go back and forth again and Hashi hits Kenta hard! Kenta hits back, so Hashi KICKS! Kenta has a bad arm, too, so they KICK and KICK!
Kenta forearms, Hashi forearms, and they go faster and faster! Hashi gets the edge, but Kenta ROCKS him and BACK HANDS! AND AGAIN! Kenta is fired up and he drags Hashi back up, fireman’s carry, GO TO- DDT!! Hashi counters GTS and saves himself! Fans fire up as the two men stir! Hashi rises, runs, but Kenta blocks the lariat, so Hashi CHOPS! Hashi ducks the uraken to CHOP! DRAGON SUPLEX! Hashi runs to LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives but Hashi is fired up with the fans! Hashi fisherman to the KUMAGOROSHI! Cover, TWO!?! Hashi isn’t giving up, he drags Kenta up! Kenta throws slapping palm strikes but Hashi SUPERKICKS! Pump handle, but Kenta fights off Karma to drag Hashi down! GAME OVER!!
Hashi endures, fans rally up as he drags himself around, but Kenta cranks back! Hashi keeps going, keeps trying, but Kenta rolls him away! Hashi is caught but he still endures! Fans rally even harder as he pries at the crossface! Kenta cranks WAY back, Hashi gives up! Kenta wins!!
Winner: Kenta, by submission; gains 2 points, Hashi earns 0
Hashi didn’t #GoToSleep but he could not #GetBackUp! There’s still one last round, will Kenta keep his IWGP US Championship contract for his own?
B Block – Juice Robinson VS Zack Sabre Jr!
The Flamboyant One was mathematically eliminated by the Cold Skull, but the Submission Master is still in the running! Will Juice be a spoiler? Or will he #JustTapOut?
The bell rings and fans rally for Juice as he circles with ZSJ. They tie up, are in a deadlock, so ZSJ shifts to get the wristlock. Juice wrenches back but ZSJ rolls. Juice holds on and wrangles ZSJ to the mat. Juice has a cording hold, ZSJ gets up and rolls to step through and wristlock back. Juice rolls, spins through and wrenches. ZSJ rolls, spins, wrenches and wristlocks again. Juice rolls, cartwheels, wrenches and flips ZSJ down to the cording hold! Fans cheer this technical exchange while ZSJ endures. Juice brings ZSJ up, wrenches, but ZSJ rolls and kips up to snapmare! ZSJ goes to headlock but Juice slips out to get the armlock! Juice gets up, ZSJ chinbars but Juice wrenches again. ZSJ rolls, bridges, breaks free and ROCKS Juice with a European Uppercut! Juice shakes that off and the two reset.
Juice gets fans going with the clap-clap-stomp. Juice and ZSJ circle, tie up with knuckle locks but ZSJ throws another EuroUpper! Juice blocks ZSJ’s boot to headlock and takeover! ZSJ headscissors, Juice pops out but ZJS headlocks. Juice powers out and runs ZSJ over with a shoulder! Juice keeps going, ZSJ drops down then jumps, but into an atomic drop! Juice reels ZSJ in for a Russian leg sweep! Fans fire up with Juice and he drops a back senton, into an ARMBAR! ZSJ has his arm, Juice scrambles to get the ropebreak! ZSJ tortures the fingers, the ref counts, ZSJ lets go at 3. Juice is in the ropes as ZSJ stands on his head. ZSJ lets go again, then drags Juice to wrench the arm for a standing armlock. ZSJ keylocks and STOMPS the arm!
Fans cheer as ZSJ circles Juice. Juice tries to defend the arm but ZSJ gets it anyway, and hooks it between the legs to TWIST! Juice bails out, clutching the arm as he rests against the railing. Juice shakes the arm out as the ring count begins. Juice gets in at 8 of 20 but ZSJ is all over him! ZSJ wrenches the arm but Juice JABS and is free! But ZSJ drop toeholds then STOMPS the bad arm! ZSJ stands on the arm, pulls back on it and has a modified Fujiwara! Juice endures so ZSJ lets the arm go to STOMP it again! ZSJ stalks Juice to a corner, wrenches the arm, and wrenches, and wrenches, but Juice avoids the arm Pele to drop another senton! Juice scoops ZSJ for a SLAM! Fans fire up as Juice pumps up! ZSJ gets up, Juice JABS! JABS! JABS! ZSJ wobbles but Juice JABS! ZSJ runs and leaps, but into a SPINE BUSTER!
Fans fire up with Juice as he runs at ZSJ in the corner, for a corner clothesline! ZSJ sits down, Juice fires up again and runs corner to corner, but has to block the boot! Juice CHOPS ZSJ back down! Clap-clap-stomp starts up again, and Juice puts ZSJ up top. Juice CHOPS ZSJ then climbs up to join him. He brings ZSJ up, but ZSJ gest the arm in a Kimura! The ref reprimands and counts, but Juice headbutts ZSJ over and over! Juice brings ZSJ back up but ZSJ EuroUppers! Juice stumbles back, ZSJ LEAPS to get the GUILLOTINE! But Juice powers up and suplexes, but ZSJ slips around to get a sleeper hold! ZSJ is a backpack with the body scissors hooked in! Juice faces, ZSJ shifts to make it more a crossface! ZSJ moves around to drag Juice down but Juice gets the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go as fans cheer!
Both men are down as fans rally up but ZSJ gives Juice kicks from the mat. ZSJ stands on the bad arm again, then lets off to give toying kicks. Juice rises, ZSJ throws EuroUppers, but Juice just gets mad! ZSJ BOOTS, Juice grits his teeth as he seethes! ZSJ runs, into the fireman’s carry! Juice drops ZSJ but ZSJ blocks the Juice Box! PENALTY KICK! And another PENALTY KICK! Juice is down as fans rally up and ZSJ goes to the far corner. Juice gets to a corner, ZSJ runs in but Juice dodges, only for ZSJ to go up and around to TORNADO DDT! Cover, TWO, but ZSJ is right on the ARMBAR! Juice endures, clasps hands and bridges. Fans rally as Juice moves around, but ZSJ makes it a TRIANGLE HOLD!
ZSJ squeezes tight but Juice grabs at the ref! Juice fights up, dead lifts ZSJ, and almost drops him on his head! ZSJ keeps Juice caught in the triangle, but fans rally up! Clap-clap-stomp, We Will, We Will, POW-ER-BOMB!! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and fans rally up as Juice goes to the far corner. Juice runs in to CANNONBALL! Fans fire up with Juice as he drags ZSJ back up. Juice chicken wings but ZSJ slips out to get the OCTOPUS! Juice powers out of Hurrah Another Year for JUICE BOX! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives but fans rally up with Juice. Juice brings the straps down and aims but ZSJ boots the arm away to ARM PELE! But the RIGHT HAND o’ God hits! Juice drags ZSJ up, underhooks, but no Pulp! Victory roll, TWO! Juice sits on ZSJ, TWO! EUROCLUTCH!! ZSJ WINS!!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by pinfall; gains 2 points, Juice earns 0
The Submission Master didn’t need a submission to keep his G1 alive! But will he then unleash his entire arsenal in the last round to make sure he takes the block? Or is it already too late?
B Block – Tetsuya Naito VS Toru Yano!
The IWGP Double Champion could not hold off the King of Darkness, and Everything is Evil! At least, for now. Will Naito thwart all of the Producer’s tricks to redeem himself?
Naito purposefully takes his time walking to the ring just to mess with Yano. Naito even starts heading back up the ramp? Yano gets really upset so Naito starts heading back to the ring. Naito does a lap around the ring before getting on the steps! Maybe it’s Yano who should’ve prepared for the tricks Naito would play. Yano tells Naito to hurry up already, but Naito just takes even more time with his entrance attire. Yano wants to start untying his corner’s buckle pad but the ref tells him to be patient. Naito fiddles with the buttons while the ref argues with Yano. Naito pretends he doesn’t know what he’s doing and Yano wants to untie the pad! The ref stops him, Naito finally gets the shirt off. Naito asks Yano be patient as he takes off the belt and pants.
The ref warns Yano and the fans cheer. Naito even takes an extra moment to stretch before the check. The bell rings and fans cheer that this is finally starting. Naito messes with Yano with his fast steps and Yano tells him to wait now! They circle, Yano still complains about earlier, and the two finally approach, only for Naito to back off. Yano is annoyed again, but they approach. Both men dodge the other! Fans cheer as the two tricksters think the same thing. They circle again, Yano dodges Naito but Naito rolls him up! TWO!! Yano escapes and shocks Naito! Yano bails out and hurries away to the gate. Yano huffs and puffs but the ref wants him to return. Yano doesn’t care about that, he wants Naito to come after him. The ref insists they do this in the ring and fans cheer.
The ring count begins, Yano returns to ringside but Naito keeps approaching. The count is at 10 of 20 as Yano keeps trying to find an opening. Yano goes around, Naito is still close, and the count reaches 15! Yano tells Naito to knock it off! Naito has the red chair, Yano has no choice but to get in at 19! Naito stomps away on Yano over and over at the ropes but the ref reprimands. Naito stops, but then gives one last stomp. Naito drags Yano up, cravats at the ropes, but the ref counts. Naito lets off but clubs away on Yano’s back! Naito grins and whips, but Yano holds ropes! Yano taunts Naito, Naito runs over but Yano dumps him out! Yano says he’s gonna dive?! Yano builds speed, Naito ducks, but Yano borrows one of Naito’s tricks with the somersault roll! And then Yano shrugs.
Yano turns to look for Naito, but Naito’s gone! Naito sneaks in as Yano asks the fans where he went, and Naito borrows a Yano move by going for a buckle pad! Yano clubs Naito and drags him up to whip corner to corner. Naito reverses, Yano stops himself, but Naito finishes untying the buckle pad! So Yano hurries to untie the other! Both men have a buckle pad but Yano strikes first! Yano is the master of buckle pad style, after all. The ref confiscates Yano’s but Yano just grabs Naito’s! Naito ducks the pad attack to kick and run, into a PAD SMACK! Naito bails out while the ref reprimands but Yano pursues. Yano has TAPE! Yano brings Naito up but Naito hits him first! Naito RAMS Yano into railing, then takes the tape for his own! The ref reprimands Naito so he throws the tape away.
Naito drags Yano up to whip, but Yano reverses and sends Naito into the railing! Yano gets the bottle and sprays Naito with disinfectant! And then he sprays Young Lion, Yota Tsuji!? Why?! Yano brings Tsuji around to the other side of the railing and shoves him down! Because Yano has MORE TAPE! Yano is taping Tsuji and Naito together!! The ring count is starting and Naito grabs at Yano. Yano finishes taping Tsuji and Naito together and leaves them behind! The count is passed 10 of 20 as Naito and Tsuji try to get free of the railing! Naito realizes something, and he gets Tsuji to pass through the gap! They’re in the ring together at 19.9!! Yano complains and he stomps them both! It’s like a weird handicap match!
Yano runs and Naito has Tsuji help in a DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE! Naito and Tsuji finally undo the tape and fans cheer. Naito throws up the LIJ fist, will Tsuji give it back? He does, and Naito kicks him and scoops him, to SLAM onto Yano! Guess that’s how Naito says thanks. Naito scoops the ref?! The ref slips out and reprimands Naito, he’s not a human weapon! Yano LOW BLOWS?! And BLINDSIDE SPEARS! Roll up but Naito slips out and bumps into the ref! Atomic LOW BLOW! JACKKNIFE! Naito wins!!
Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall; gains 2 points, Yano earns 0
The epic battle of charismatic odd balls is finished, and it is the IWGP Double Champion that took the victory! Will the IWGP Double Champion use this as a key victory in securing the block?
B Block – Hirooki Goto VS EVIL w/ Dick Togo!
The Fierce Warrior is still alive in the block, but he’s on the bubble! Will that bubble burst when Darkness Falls?
Evil and Dick Low Sweet and fans cheer. The bell rings and fans cheer more as Goto and Evil circle. They approach but Evil kicks low. Evil headlocks, grinds, but Goto pries at the hold. Evil just holds tighter, but Goto powers out and gets his own headlock! Goto grinds Evil down now, and holds on as Evil tries to power out. Evil tries again but Goto just squeezes tighter and tighter! Evil powers up and third time’s the charm, but they collide and Goto stays up to dodge and run Evil over! Fans cheer as Goto stomps Evil down. Goto drags Evil up, snapmares him and KICKS him in the back! Goto stomps Evil to ropes then stomps him at the ropes! Red Shoes reprimands and Dick protests.
Goto drags Evil up, throws forearms then whips, but Evil holds ropes. Goto stomps Evil and throws more forearms, then whips him. Evil reverses, Dick trips Goto and drags him out! Dick throws Goto into railing but Goto gets mad! Dick backs off, Evil attacks Goto! Evil whips Goto into railing! Goto goes down in a heap but Red Shoes reprimands. Dick stays back while Evil drags Goto up. Evil wraps Goto’s bad arm around the railing! Red Shoes reprimands but Evil BOOTS the arm! Dick keeps Red Shoes distracted while Evil brings out chairs! Evil brings Goto up, puts a chair around his head, and then has the other chair for the HOME RUN! Evil grins but Red Shoes reprimands. Evil backs off and fans rally up for Goto. Red Shoes checks on Goto but Goto is okay to continue.
Goto slowly gets up as fans continue to rally, but Evil is watching closely. Goto gets in the ring, Evil undoes the blue corner’s buckle pad. Evil brings Goto up to wrench and elbow the bad arm, but Goto kick and chops back! Evil doesn’t flinch as he whips Goto into the bare buckles! Evil has a cocky cover but Red Shoes won’t count after what he just saw. Evil brings Goto back up, and whips him into bare buckles again! Evil taunts the fans and claps, but not everyone follows along. Evil drags Goto up, scoops and slams him, then covers. TWO, but Evil tries again, TWO! Evil tries again, TWO! Evil and Dick protest the count but that was fair. Fans rally up for Goto but Evil brings Goto back up. Evil suplexes, Goto fights it off and tries to suplex, but Evil resists.
The two fight for suplex control, Goto throws body shots and forearms, and more forearms, but Evil clubs the bad arm! Evil wrenches and whips, but Goto stops going into the bare buckles, and baits Evil in! Evil bounces off bare buckles and into Goto’s back suplex! Fans rally up as both men slowly rise. Goto runs in and hits the MURAMASA! And BULLDOG! Cover, TWO! Goto keeps his focus and drags Evil back up. Goto fireman’s carries but Evil rakes eyes and pulls hair! Goto breaks free, Evil blocks the kick and gives it to Red Shoes to mule kick Goto down! Evil grins as he brings Goto back up. Fans rally but Evil FISHERMAN BUSTERS! Cover, TWO! Goto still lives and Evil is frustrated. Evil drags Goto back up, fireman’s carries, but Goto fights out with elbows.
Evil elbows Goto back and runs, but Goto follows. Evil dodges, Goto follows and blows past, but Evil goes to the corner! Evil runs out, into a fireman’s carry! USHIGOROSHI! Fans are fired up as both men are down! Fans rally up as Goto and Evil slowly stir. Evil gets to a corner, Goto runs in and corner clotheslines! Goto throws Evil down and then goes to the corner! Dick creeps close, Goto kicks at him and Red Shoes reprimands. The delay allows Evil to intercept Goto and throw him off the top! Evil watches Goto rise and then runs, to LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Goto stays in this! Evil drags Goto back up, fireman’s carries, DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, TWO!! Goto survives and Evil is shocked!
Fans rally up as Evil rises. Evil slashes the throat, drags Goto up and spins him around, but Goto denies the STO! Goto pulls hair, Evil swings into the HEAD SHOT neckbreaker! Both men are down again but Dick coaches Evil up. Fans rally as the two stir. Goto gets up first, drags Evil up and throws forearms! Evil throws forearms back, but Goto hits back! Evil throws a forearm, Goto gets the edge! Goto runs and clotheslines Evil out of the ring! Dick checks on Evil and helps him up, but Goto PLANCHAS them both down! Fans fire up as Goto fires up! Goto drags Evil up, puts him in the ring and goes up top! FALLING ELBOW DROP! Cover, TWO! Evil survives but fans rally up for Goto. Goto drags Evil back up, dragon sleepers, but Evil rakes eyes!
Evil flounders to a corner, Goto runs in again, but into a boot! Goto tries again, but Evil boots him again! Evil runs but the two collide with clotheslines! Neither falls so they try again! Another double clothesline, and Evil gets in Red Shoes’ face. Dick has the SPOILER CHOKER! But Goto gets him up for USHIGOROSHI! Fans fire up as Evil runs in but Goto takes the clothesline! Goto HEADBUTTS back! Fans fire up more as Goto focuses his power, and hits Evil with the BUZZSAW! Goto isn’t done there, he drags Evil up into the dragon sleeper! Evil fights back, Goto turns him around, REVERSE GTR! Cover, TWO!! Evil survives but Goto isn’t done yet!
Goto drags Evil back up, dragon sleepers, but Evil spins out to spin Goto, but no STO as Goto tries another dragon sleeper! Evil shoves Goto away at Red Shoes, but Goto stops himself! Goto swats the low blow away to discus, into EVERYTHING IS EVIL!!! Cover, EVIL WINS!!
Winner: EVIL, by pinfall; gains 2 points, Goto earns 0
Goto’s G1 is done! He tried but could not stop the King of Darkness! Will Evil’s justice prevail and win the block?
B Block – Hiroshi Tanahashi VS SANADA!
The Ace could not conquer Goto, and he is out of the running! The Cold Skull still has to deal with Evil, will he be going in with red hot momentum?
Tanahashi takes off the jacket and fans cheer for the muscles. The bell rings and fans rally as the two circle. Sanada and Tanahashi tie up, Tanahashi powers Sanada to ropes but Sanada turns things around. Sanada gives a clean break and the fans cheer. Tanahashi and Sanada circle again, tie up again, and Tanahashi waistlocks. Sanada standing switches but Tanahashi switches back. Sanada switches back but Tanahashi switches going the other direction. Sanada wrenches free, has the wristlock, but Tanahashi spins through and wrenches back. Sanada rolls, uses a leg to free himself, and drags Tanahashi down to get the arm. Tanahashi gets up to arm-drag but Sanada arm-drags back, but Tanahashi headscissors. Sanada pops out and the fans cheer as Tanahashi air guitars.
Tanahashi and Sanada reset as fans rally back up. The clapping for “TA-NA-HASH!” “SA-NA-DA!” starts as the two circle. They tie up with knuckle locks, Tanahashi wrenches and wrenches and wrenches, but Sanada grits his teeth as he endures the wristlock. Sanada rolls, handsprings and cartwheels and handsprings to wrench back! Tanahashi drops to get the leg but Sanada gets away, and the fans cheer again. Tanahashi and Sanada circle as the clapping of “TA-NA-DA!” (Rice terrace?) begin. Sanada kicks and knees low, then clubs Tanahashi on the back. Sanada clubs more but Tanahashi waistlocks to a headlock and takeover! Sanada keeps his shoulders up, rolls Tanahashi, ONE! Sanada headscissors and squeezes tight to keep Tanahashi down!
Tanahashi moves around, fights against the headscissors and pops free to get a headlock! But Sanada gets him back in the headscissor! Sanada squeezes tight again, Tanahashi moves around and pops out to another headlock, but again Sanada gets him with a headscissor hold! Fans cheer this technical exchange. Tanahashi bridges and flips up and over, but Sanada wrangles him back down! Tanahashi grows frustrated but he gets fans rallying again. Tanahashi turns Sanada over, pops out and has the deathlock! Bow ‘n’ Arrow, Sanada pops out and covers, ONE! Fans cheer as these two have a stand off. Fans rally up as Sanada and Tanahashi circle again. Tanahashi and Sanada both go to kick but they both block the other!
They argue who should let go, and agree to let go at the same time, only to try and fake the other out. This time, they agree to let go, but Sanada tricks Tanahashi! Sanada trips Tanahashi, Tanahashi counters Paradise to a cradle, ONE! Tanahashi dropkicks a leg out! Fans fire up with Tanahashi as he goes after Sanada’s leg. Tanahashi pulls the leg, then steps over to YANK it! Tanahashi drops elbows on the knee, then has a toehold to pull on the leg. Sanada endures, moves around, but Tanahashi gets the other leg for an Indian deathlock! Tanahashi sits up for the butterfly stretch variant, then stands to add more torque! He BRIDGES! Bridging Indian Deathlock! Sanada endures but Tanahashi can’t keep the bridge forever. Sanada drags himself over to the ropebreak!
Tanahashi needs help and Red Shoes frees Sanada. Fans cheer as Tanahashi brings Sanada back up. Sanada throws forearms but Tanahashi eggs him on! Sanada throws more forearms, and more forearms, but Tanahashi kicks the leg! Fans rally as Tanahashi stalks Sanada at the ropes. Tanahashi wrenches and whips, but Sanada reverses, only for Tanahashi to kick! Sanada catches the leg to DRAGON SCREW! The Cold Skull uses one of Tanahashi’s favorites! Fans rally up and Sanada stands first. Sanada hobbles over, throws forearms on Tanahashi then whips, but Tanahashi reverses to forearm back. Tanahashi whips, Sanada reverses and hurdles, hurdles and dropkicks Tanahashi down! Fans cheer as Tanahashi bails out.
Sanada aims, slingshots, PLANCHA! Direct hit and the fans cheer agian! Sanada encourages them to get louder and they get louder! Sanada drags Tanahashi back up and puts him in the ring. Fans cheer as Sanada covers, TWO! Fans rally with more clapping, Sanada brings Tanahashi up to knee low. Sanada whips Tanahashi corner to corner then runs in, but blocks a boot. Tanahashi boots with the other leg, then runs to sunset flip! Sanada rolls through, gets the arms and legs, and puts the Ace in Paradise! Sanada stands on Tanahashi for a quick photo op, then goes to a corner. Sanada aims and runs, to dropkick Tanahashi out of Paradise! Sanada then brings Tanahashi to the ropes and adds that into Paradise! Tanahashi is caught and Sanada has the fans get louder. And louder! And louder!
Sanada is satisfied with the volume as he runs and dropkicks Tanahashi back out of Paradise! Cover, TWO! Sanada brings Tanahashi up, fireman’s carries, but Tanahashi fights out. Tanahashi shoves Sanada to a corner, Sanada boots Tanahashi away and goes up to Quebrada! Tanahashi gets under, runs back in and gets the leg, but Sanada fights free! Sanada runs, but again Tanahashi dropkicks a leg! Sanada stays up, kicks, but into a DRAGON SCREW! The clapping returns as Sanada bails out. Tanahashi fires up and goes to the apron then the top rope! Tanahashi aims for ACES HIGH FLY CROSSBODY! Direct hit and both men go down! Red Shoes checks on both men while fans rally back up. Tanahashi drags himself up first and gets in the ring.
The ring count begins as Sanada stirs. Sanada sits up after 10 of 20, stands after 15 of 20, and is in at 19.5! Tanahashi is after the leg, DRAGON SCREW in the ropes! And a dropkick! And another DRAGON SCREW! Sanada falls over and Tanahashi fires up! Fans rally as he gets the legs. Tanahashi laces the legs up for the CLOVERLEAF! Sanada endures but Tanahashi sits DEEP! Sanada powers up and fans rally as he heads for ropes. Tanahashi adds more pressure to the stretch! Sanada drops but he refuses to give up! Sanada gets the ropebreak! Fans cheer as Tanahashi reluctantly lets Sanada go. Tanahashi stomps Sanada as fans rally again. Sanada stands, Tanahashi runs, but Sanada fireman’s carries! But no TKO, TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Tanahashi holds on, ANOTHER TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT!
Tanahashi wants another but Sanada suplexes Tanahashi to ropes, MAGIC SCREW! Both men are down again and fans rally up. Sanada drags Tanahashi up, fireman’s carries, TKO! Cover, TWO!! Tanahashi survives but Sanada encourages fans to get loud again. Fans get louder and louder, and Sanada says he’ll end this! Sanada drags Tanahashi up into the dragon sleeper, but Tanahashi breaks free! Sanada dropkicks Tanahashi, whips Tanahashi but Tanahashi reverses. Sanada tumbles up and out to springboard missile dropkick! Sanada goes up top and MOONSAULTS, but has to land on his feet as Tanahashi moves! The leg gives him troubles, Tanahashi runs to SLING BLADE! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi fires up with the fans!
Tanahashi drags Sanada up and reels him in, but Sanada fights off the full nelson, only to get caught in a straitjacket GERMAN! Bridging cover, TWO!! Sanada escapes and fans fire up with Tanahashi! Tanahashi goes to a corner, goes up top, HIGH FLY FLOW onto knees!! Sanada saves himself at the last second, but it was perhaps double-edged given how Tanahashi has gone after that leg! Fans rally up again, “SA-NA-SHI!” (Sana City? Where is that?) Sanada gets up first, hobbles over, drags Tanahashi up, but Tanahashi SHOTEIS! Sanada staggers to a corner, Tanahashi runs in but Sanada uppercuts back! QUEBRADA to dragon sleeper! SKULL END!! Tanahashi is caught in the body scissors as Sanada cranks back on the hold! Fans rally again as Tanahashi endures!
Red Shoes checks on Tanahashi but he pops out of the sleeper! Sanada just gets it back! Sanada drags Tanahashi back down and the rallying continues! Tanahashi still endures the squeeze, uses a leg to unhook the body scissors, and fights out of the dragon sleeper! Tanahashi cranks on Sanada’s leg but Sanada gets the dragon sleeper back! Sanada squeezes tight on Skull End and Tanahashi fades! Red Shoes checks, the arm falls, but Sanada lets him go! Sanada goes up top, MOONSAULT onto knees!! Tanahashi gets even with Sanada! Fans are thunderous as they rally again! Tanahashi and Sanada slowly stir, and Tanahashi is first to stand. Tanahashi gets the leg and hits a GROUND DRAGON SCREW! And then ANOTHER! And then laces the legs, but Sanada powers out!
Sanada gets up, Tanahashi runs over, Sanada jumps but the huricanrana is blocked! Tanahashi gets the legs to a CLOVERLEAF!! Tanahashi sits DEEP on Sanada again! Sanada endures, fans rally, but Tanahashi goes as deep as he can! Sanada fights, powers up, drags himself over, but Tanahashi gives it one last push! Sanada is so close, but he doesn’t give up! He gets the ROPEBREAK! Tanahashi lets go but fans are fired up again! Tanahashi wants Sanada to rise, and as Sanada does, Tanahashi runs! SLING- NO! Sanada tries the O’Conner, Tanahashi bucks him off! Sanada tries again but Tanahashi switches and rolls Sanada! O’Conner Bridge, TWO!! SKULL END!!!
Tanahashi rolls back, drags Sanada up, but Sanada turns it around! Inverted suplex but Tanahashi turns it to a dragon sleeper of his own! Tanahashi hits an inverted suplex SLAM! Sanada rises, Tanahashi runs, SLING BLADE! Fans fire up as Tanahashi goes back up top! Tanahashi aims, HIGH FLY- CUTTER!!! Sanada counters, covers, TWO!!! Tanahashi survives and the fans are thunderous again! Sanada gets to ropes, goes up top, MOONSAULT onto Tanahashi’s back! Sanada turns Tanahashi over and goes up again, to MOONSAULT to Tanahashi’s chest!! Cover, Sanada wins!!
Winner: SANADA, by pinfall; gains 2 points, Tanahashi earns 0
The Cold Skull trumps The Ace! There is still hope for Sanada in the G1! Sanada gets the mic though he’s still seated on the mat because obviously his leg still needs to rest. Fans cheer as he says, “This is the first time NJPW has come to Yokohama Budokan. Why don’t we mark the occasion?” The fans are way ahead of him as they bring out phones to be the stars. The spotlight drops, and Sanada continues to say, “I lost my first three, and now I’ve won five in a row, including tonight. Next is Ryogoku and Evil.” Sanada vows to have to have the better showing and win. With everything gone on, he’s grateful the fans came here tonight. This is his gift in return. “Oi, Yokohama! See you next time!” The Cold Skull is ready to settle things with the traitor, but will he bring Evil’s run to a Skull End?
Here are the NEW B Block standings!
EVIL: 6-2, 12 points
Tetsuya Naito: 6-2, 12 points
SANADA: 5-3, 10 points
Zack Sabre Jr: 5-3, 10 points [ELIMINATED]
KENTA: 4-4, 8 points [ELIMINATED]
Hirooki Goto: 4-4, 8 points [ELIMINATED]
Hiroshi Tanahashi: 3-5, 6 points [ELIMINATED]
Toru Yano: 3-5, 6 points [ELIMINATED]
Juice Robinson: 3-5, 6 points [ELIMINATED]
YOSHI-HASHI: 1-7, 2 points [ELIMINATED]
Another great round but what else is new with NJPW? They always give us great stuff. I was surprised at how much we got out of Yoshi-Hashi VS Kenta, because the hour mark of the show is usually where they take a break, and that match pushed things pretty deep. Kenta is Naito’s last opponent, so either he’s a spoiler, or he owes Naito a shot at his US Championship contract. Juice VS ZSJ was great, and ZSJ gets a great win even though he’s now out of the running since Naito and Sanada are still in. Naito VS Yano may not have been a great match in traditional terms, but it was an incredibly high quality comedy match. It may not be 5 stars, but that was 4.5 out of 5 clowns (or whatever the comedy equivalent of a star rating would be). Evil VS Goto and Sanada VS Tanahashi were also great matches, especially for Sanada.
For those unsure, Sanada’s 5-3 keeps him alive versus ZSJ’s 5-3 because one of Sanada’s 5 wins was over ZSJ. Sanada VS Evil in the final round is going to be HUGE. It’d be crazy if Sanada won the block after going 0-3 like he did, but at the very least, he can stick it to Evil for his betrayal of LIJ by spoiling Evil’s G1.
My Score: 9.1/10