The B Block had their seventh night of action in front of 5,500 fans at EDION Arena Osaka. Including the tags, there were ten matches on the show but all throughout the tournament I’ll only be discussing what happened in block action. Tonight the B Block featured five tournament matches. Let’s get into what happened!
SANADA (4-3) def. Toru Yano (1-6) @ 5:21 via Count Out – **3/4
While SANADA was making his way to the ring, Yano snuck out from behind him and went on the attack. He tied SANADA’s legs together with tape and sprinted to the ring in hopes of a count out victory. SANADA hopped his way into the ring before the count of twenty but Yano doesn’t lose hope that easily. He attempts two quick roll ups before he’s caught in one of SANADA’s Rolling Cradles. He spins Yano mercilessly around and around looking for a three count but it doesn’t happen. Yano bails to the outside but SANADA follows and traps him in the Paradise Lock. Yano shouts for Rocky Romero to help him out of the move, which he does and Yano slides back in before the count reaches twenty. Understandably upset, SANADA gets into it with Romero, dumps Yano back outside, kicks the guardrail loose and ties both Yano and Romero into the Paradise Lock, securing the count out win. This was a lot of fun. They were creative and were very smart no to exceed their welcome. As far as Yano matches go, this was a home run.
Hirooki Goto (3-4) def. Tama Tonga @ 11:15 via Disqualification – *1/2
I called Goto out on Twitter for phoning it in when he’s not given the main event slot but he proved me wrong but getting after it here. Both he and Tama worked extremely hard, going back and forth in what was one of Tama’s better efforts of the tournament. The problem here was that the referee and time keeper were not on the same page. There was a premature disqualification called so they wonkily restarted the match and called the planned DQ moments later. This should have just been cut short. They had the fans reacting but the restart confused and understandably upset the crowd. Such a bummer ending to what really should have ended up being a good match.
Zack Sabre Jr. (4-3) def. Juice Robinson (2-5) @ 13:39 via Double Armbar Figure Four? – ***1/4
After the wonky finish in the last match, Sabre and Juice were handed the task of winning the crowd back. They worked extremely hard and managed to accomplish the goal, which is an incredible feat in and of itself. Sabre predictably, but smartly, targeted the broken hand of Juice all throughout the match. Juice showed that underdog fire, asking for more and more abuse while laying in some solid chops and forearms. Sabre would continue to cut Juice down in every way imaginable, always finding a way to transition into an arm submission. Juice tried time after time to hit the Juice Box and after a fourth attempt he was finally successful. His follow up Pulp Friction got him caught into a Triangle Choke though but he was able to power out into a Powerbomb. Juice removed his cast, landed a straight jab but the second was ducked. Sabre trapped the arm but Juice rolled him up for two. Managing to kick out and still hang onto the arm, Sabre transitioned into a double armbar and when Juice tried to use his legs to reach the ropes, Sabre trapped those as well and wrenched on the arms until Juice was forced to audibly give up. This rematch is going to be insane. Sabre pretty much swallowed Juice whole this time so once the hand is healed, we’re going to see a different side of Juice and I can’t wait. Very good match and the bounce back this show needed.
Tomohiro Ishii (3-4) def. Kenny Omega (6-1) @ 22:43 via Brainbuster – ****1/2
These two have created magic before so expectations were already set high for this one. Omega came in undefeated, going against a man who has lost more than he’s won but you can always expect Ishii to bring the fire. Way too overconfident, Omega starts off by clowning on Ishii, pie-facing him and slapping the top of his head. Ishii takes him down, drops Omega with an early Brainbuster and clowns back on Omega. Omega gains control by ripping at the eyes and hitting a flurry of offense before securing a Chinlock that, while even in the hold, Ishii taunts Omega to give him more. Ishii begins no-selling Omega’s kicks and sends him into the corner for Violence Party. Omega is forced to attempt a desperation snap Hurricanrana, Ishii bails and Omega follows with a Tope con Hilo to the outside. He throws Ishii back in but is driven to the corner where Ishii lays in more chops. Omega spits in his face so Ishii fires back harder, rocking Omega into the corner with a German suplex into the turnbuckle before taking him to the top and dropping Omega with a Brainbuster. Again, Omega is forced into desperation mode, this time landing a huge Tornado DDT out of nowhere but Ishii headbutts his way out of a suplex, lands a couple of nasty Lariats and attempts the One-Winged Angel. Omega fights out, sends Ishii face first into the corner and delivers a knee to the back of his head, turns him around for two more and follows with two V-Triggers. He hoists Ishii up for a German but Ishii pops up only to eat another V-Trigger. Ishii fights out of the One-Winged Angel and turns a Hurricanrana into a Powerbomb. Omega slaps Ishii, hits a Poison Rana and double stomps Ishii to the floor. Milano Collection AT on commentary loses his cool, repeatedly screaming “holy shit”. Ishii once again fights out of the One-Winged Angel, eats another V-Trigger, followed by a Double Underhook Piledriver for a two count. Omega removes his kneepad, lands a V-Trigger but his One-Winged Angel is turned into a Crucifix Bomb pinning combination and Ishii gets a two count of his own. Ishii headbutts the turnbuckle, delivers Lariat after Lariat to both the front and back of Omega’s neck, lands a running Lariat and secures the win with a Brainbuster. Excellent match. Absolute top tier. The best of the G1 so far and one of the best matches of the year. They were sloppy as times but this was an incredible war with an insanely hot crowd that couldn’t have been behind Ishii anymore than they were and erupted with his win. A stellar match that lived up to its high expectations. Omega takes his first loss of the tournament, setting up for a title match sometime before Wrestle Kingdom.
Kota Ibushi (5-2) def. Tetsuya Naito (5-2) @ 25:10 via Kamigoye – ***3/4
Straight into another match with the highest of expectations. Last year these two had an absolute classic which stole the G1 until the final day. You won’t find two guys more willing to land on their necks than these two and boy did we get a lot of that here. Naito started off on the wrong foot with the Osaka crowd, like he always does, by taking his time to remove his suit. Once the match started, he made sure to let Ibushi and everyone in the crowd know that he’ll be the one to dictate the pace. He targeted Ibushi’s knee which is always a mistake in an Ibushi match because he stops selling. This would take me out of the match on some of the big moments like Ibushi flipping through a top rope Hurricanrana, landing right on his feet without any sort of acknowledgement of the knee. If you like big time bumps, you’ll love this match. After multiple attempts, Ibushi landed his second rope Deadlift German over the top for the first time in the tournament. Naito landed right on top of his head. Absolutely disgusting. Ibushi also turned a Destino into a straight Vertical Spike right onto Naito head which is one of the most insane spots I’ve seen all year. This was immediately, and rightfully, lead directly into the finishing Kamigoye. There were about half a dozen spots where I was convinced one of these men had died. Next level athleticism as you expect from them. Naito did a great job all around by helping Osaka boo him in order to have them rally around an Ibushi win. He allowed Ibushi to shine by letting Ibushi dtop him repeatedly on the top of his head but the leg work in the beginning really bugged me. It stood out as busy work to extend the match time or possibly to allow the crowd to cool down after the blistering match between Omega and Ishii. Whatever the case may be, it was disappointing that Ibushi just stopped caring. That’s not to say I didn’t love this match but it could have been so much better had there been better attention to detail. Still a great showing from both guys and one of the tournaments most memorable matches.
Tomohiro ‘Show Stealer’ Ishii does it again. It doesn’t matter where he is on the card, Ishii will give you his best performance every singles night of the G1 which is why he’s so many people’s favorite. His win over the undefeated Omega is the rightful highlight of the tournament and makes you wonder why not have it be the main event? In any case, an incredible moment to what was an overall great show. If it weren’t for the botched finish in the Goto/Tama match, this would have been the best night of the tournament without a shadow of a doubt. With the show how it went, you could still argue it was the best but no bold claims could be made. A claim that isn’t bold is that Omega and Ishii had the best match of the tournament. Since his match on the B Block opener against Naito, Omega has had a tournament that’s slid under the radar. Now, he’s catapulted his way to the top of the list while Ishii gives yet another fantastic G1 performance. A well-deserved title shot will be coming Ishii’s way later in the year, his first one in over two years. As an Ishii fan, I couldn’t be more pleased.
Ishii vs Omega
Ibushi vs Naito
Sabre vs Juice
(6-1): Kenny Omega
(5-2): Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito
(4-3): SANADA, Zack Sabre Jr.
(3-4): Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto,
(2-5): Tama Tonga, Juice Robinson
(1-6): Toru Yano
Kazuchika Okada (5-2) vs EVIL (4-3)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6-1) vs Michael Elgin (3-4)
Jay White (5-2) vs Togi Makabe (2-5)
Minoru Suzuki (4-3) vs Hangman Page (2-5)
Bad Luck Fale (3-4) vs YOSHI-HASHI (1-6)
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