Here’s night two of our sojourn into New Japan’s G1 Climax with the first matches from B Block!
All of the following matches took place in B Block on the 15th of July 2018 from the Otta City General Gymnasium
B Block – 15/07/2018
Tomohiro Ishii Vs Toru Yano
I personally love Yano, although I know some people find his comedy act a bit much. Yano often plays the role of “spoiler” in G1, in that he might beat one or two of the favourites along the way even though he’ll never win the whole thing. Both of these men are part of the CHAOS Faction. Yano is a comedy wrestler and has a nickname of “The Sublime Master Thief”, whilst the stout Ishii is a rugged brawler known as “The Stone Pitbull”.
Yano immediately grabs the ropes at the start but then decides to throw forearms with Ishii, where he actually holds his own and then bumps Ishii around! Could this be a new Yano that we’re dealing with? Outside we go, where Ishii gets the better of things and sends Yano back inside for some choppage. Ishii works over Yano inside, kicking and stomping away, and gets a big back suplex for two.
Yano keeps fighting back with forearms and actually gets an inverted atomic drop, but then goes to try and undo the turnbuckle pad, which gives Ishii time to recover. Ishii dodges the buckle pad shot but ends up getting tossed into the unprotected corner. Yano goes for the low blow but the referee stops him, which allows Ishii to send Yano into the unprotected buckle pad. Ishii delay sells going into the corner and mows Yano down, but Yano replies with some roll ups to no avail.
Drop toe hold into the unprotected buckle and school boy get Yano a two count. Ishii no sells some forearms and delivers some of his own, only to get a knuckle sandwich in return. Ishii replies with a German Suplex but Yano pops right back up and gets an overhead belly to belly suplex. Where has this Yano been for all these years?!?! Yano’s momentum ends with him taking a lariat though, followed by a sliding lariat on the ground, but he manages to kick out at two.
Yano blocks a brain buster by grabbing onto the referees shirt and then counters with an amateur wrestling style roll up for two. He tries a mule kick onto Ishii but he blocks it and delivers one of his own before getting a La Magistral for the winning three.
WINNER: TOMOHIRO ISHII
That was great fun, as Yano showed flashes of his old self before going back to his usual cheating, only for his long-time ally and tag partner to outwit him with some cheating of his own. Great story told and the fans were in to it.
B Block – 15/07/2018
IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson Vs Tama Tonga w/ Tanga Loa
Tonga is the son of Meng whilst Loa is the son of Barbarian. They turned on the Bullet Club a week before this and started their own faction called “The Firing Squad”, and the previous night seems to suggest that Bad Luck Fale has aligned with them. Juice won his title the week before this by defeating Jay White at the Cow Palace in the match of the night. He used to wrestle in NXT as CJ Parker. He has a broken hand in a cast and he’s been informed that if he uses it in his matches then he will be disqualified.
Kevin Kelley mentions on commentary that if Tonga wins he might be in line for a title shot, which makes Juice a marked man in this tournament. We get some chain wrestling to start and it’s enjoyable, but we’re all waiting for Tonga to start punching, and indeed he sees his chance when Juice askes for a knuckle lock. Tonga sends Juice outside and starts working him over out there.
Tonga sends Juice shoulder first into the ring post and then tries to trap his arm in the guardrail, but Juice manages to get out of the way just in time. Juice gets back in the ring and challenges Tonga to get back in with him, where they go to the international and Juice gets the better of things. Juice gets a big back body drop, but he hurts his hand doing an up and over and walks into a dropkick.
Loa goes after Juice on the outside and flattens him with a big clothesline. Juice comes back in and goes for an Electric Chair but Tonga lands behind him and delivers a neck breaker for two. Stinger Splash by Tonga and he hits a roll of the dice like move called the “Tonga Twist” for two. That move looked good actually he should consider using that as a finisher if he doesn’t already.
Tonga, just to be a jerk, decides to stomp on Juice’s injured hand, which serves to fire him up and he comes back with some punches with the non-broken hand. Tonga comes back with a guillotine choke but Juice powers out into a Jackhammer. That’s some impressive power by Juice! Tonga slips out of the Electric Chair again and goes for the Tonga Twist, but Juice counters that with a move that was supposed to be vertical suplex onto his knees but he doesn’t quite pull it off successfully.
Juice finally gets the illusive Electric Chair Facebuster, but Tonga is able to kick out at two. Juice goes for his version of the Tomikaze/Unprettier called “Pulp Friction”, but Loa gets on the apron to cause a distraction. Juice brings Loa in and can actually hit him with the cast because he’s not a legal competitor in the match, but when he goes for Pulp Friction again Tonga is able to counter to a cutter, called “The Gun Stun”, to pick up the three count.
WINNER: TAMA TONGA
Another solid match. That win could give Tonga a title shot down the line.
B Block – 15/07/2018
NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto Vs SANADA
Goto is a member of CHAOS and has been champion since January, excluding an 8 day interruption where he lost and regained the title to Michael Elgin. SANADA is a member of Los Ingobernables de Japon and has modelled his ring style on The Great Muta, even to the point that he delivers a Muta styled moonsault on occasion. Goto is probably the best wrestler of this New Japan era not to have won the IWGP Heavyweight Title. He won the G1 in 2008.
SANADA’s ridiculous spiked hair has now had a touch of bleach to it, which actually makes his head look a bit like a cottage pie. It takes mere seconds for this one to spill outside, with SANADA dropping Goto onto the guardrail. Back inside we go, where SANADA goes after Goto’s neck but Goto replies with some slaps. SANADA gets a dropkick to the neck for a two count and then goes to a chin lock.
Goto gets out of that and then clotheslines SANADA for a double down. Once both men are up, Goto delivers some stiff kicks and then gets a Saito Suplex for two. SANADA gets two exceptional leapfrogs and follows up with a dropkick and then a dive to the outside. SANADA made that athleticism look just effortless; he’s incredible in that regard.
Back inside the two men trade forearm strikes but SANADA puts a stop to that with a European uppercut but then runs right into the Ushigoroshi (Fireman’s carry onto the knee). Goto goes for the GTR but SANADA counters to the “Skull End” (A dragon sleeper) and tries for a TKO but Goto elbows his way out, so SANADA gets his own Ushigoroshi before going back to the Skull End. That was a lovely little sequence there as Goto made SANADA fight for everything.
Goto refuses to tap out, so SANADA holds on long enough to weaken him before heading up for a moonsault, but Goto is able to roll out of the way, which leaves both men down. Both men have their fans in the crowd, as SANADA charges at Goto only to eat a lariat for his troubles. Goto goes for a kick but SANADA catches it and then turns an O’Connor roll into the Skull End, only for Goto to get out of THAT as well. Awesome!
Goto smashes SANADA with a big head butt and then goes for the GTR (Reverse DDT to the Knee), but SANADA counters that attempt with a roll up for the nearest near fall in history. The refs hand actually hit the mat on three but Goto’s shoulder was JUST up in time. SANADA back flips over Goto and goes for the Skull End once again but Goto slips out and gets a slingshot GTR followed by a standard one for the three count.
WINNER: HIROOKI GOTO
Whew, I was breathless after that finishing sequence! It was a love letter to counters, with Goto’s gruff manliness just edging out SANADA’s outrageous athletic gifts.
B Block – 15/07/2018
Kota Ibushi Vs Zack Sabre Jnr w/ TAKA Michinoku
Ibushi is in the “Golden Elite” with Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. He’s one of the most impressive high flyers in the wrestling world. Sabre Jnr is part of Suzuki Gun and is a submission expert. His matches often involve him countering everything his opponent does with a cacophony of excruciating submission holds. He won the New Japan Cup single elimination tournament earlier in the year and defeated Ibushi along the way so “The Golden Star” will be looking for revenge here.
In a tag match on 14/07/2018 Zack actually won the contest with his boss TAKA’s own Michinoku Driver, which TAKA has now gifted to him and allowed him to rename The Zack Driver. I don’t know why but I just find that really funny. Ibushi tries to grapple with Zack early, but Zack gets out of his holds with ease and the immediately goes to his own. Ibushi manages to use raw strength to get the better of things in a knuckle lock but Zack uses his flexibility and technique to get himself on top.
Rocky Romero on commentary says that facing Zack is like fighting an octopus and I think that’s a very apt analogy. They both work the knuckle lock for a while and its engrossing stuff. I’ve always enjoyed the technical aspect of pro wrestling and no one is better at it at the moment that Zack Sabre Jnr. Eventually both men get frustrated and start throwing strikes, which is an area Ibushi has the advantage.
A big kick and a standing moonsault get two for Ibushi and Zack rolls onto the apron for some rest bite. Zack goes for an arm bar there but Ibushi knocks him off and goes for an asai moonsault to the outside, but Zack pops up onto the apron and pulls him down into a leg lock in a fantastic spot. Zack wrenches the hold a couple of times and allows Ibushi the roll back in, where he to proceeds to twist the leg in an unnatural position.
Zack again makes the mistake of kicking at Ibushi rather than sticking to holds, which allows Ibushi to get a wild shot in before Zack recovers by knocking him outside. Zack wisely targets the legs again back in the ring and takes Ibushi on a tour of Painville with some nasty holds. Ibushi manages to dodge a Zack sweep to the legs and replies with a kick to the chest to buy himself some recovery time.
Zack goes for a low dropkick but Ibushi jumps over him and comes down with a double stomp. An Ibushi dropkick sends Zack outside and Ibushi follows with a body press. Back inside, Zack dodges a springboard attack from Ibushi and goes to a leg lock, tying up his arms in the process. Ibushi is quite near the ropes though and manages to get one of his hands loose so he can grab them. Ibushi goes for a Pele Kick but Zack catches the leg and goes for another submission but Ibushi wriggles out and hits a big lariat for the double down.
Zack somehow turns an Ibushi powerbomb attempt into yet another leg lock and again traps the arms. The man’s like a bloody anaconda or something! Ibushi keeps struggling and manages to contrive a way to the ropes and then gets a powerslam but misses the follow up moonsault. Zack gets a pair of Penalty Kicks but Ibushi is out at two. Zack stupidly invites Ibushi to trade kicks with him and Ibushi gets the better of that so he catches one and goes for a German Suplex but Ibushi lands on his feet and then slaps him hard in the face to send both men down.
That. Sequence. Was. Brilliant!!! The ringside doctor is apparently taking an intent look at Ibushi outside the ring which might tease a stoppage ending. Either that or the doctor thinks Ibushi is a damn handsome man and might want to ask him out for drinks when the match is over. Either is plausible if you ask me. Both men trade hard slaps as the sweat flies, and Ibushi gets a snap German Suplex for two.
Ibushi tries to knee Zack in the face but Zack checks the knee and then goes to a cradle for two, but Ibushi powers out and drops Zack with a sit out powerbomb for a two of his own. We have the twenty minute warning, as this match could potentially be our first draw of the tournament. Zack ducks an Ibushi kick and goes to the Octopus Hold but Ibushi powers out into a tombstone attempt but his knee gives out. Ibushi is deceptively strong for a guy who is essentially just a bit above a Junior Heavyweight size wise. Ibushi brains Zack with a big kick and preps for a knee strike to the face but Zack counters to a roll up and then transitions to a knee bar.
Ibushi wriggles out of that and gets a Tiger Suplex for two before drilling Zack with a big knee strike to the face for the three count. I should bloody hope so too!! The doctor is quickly over to talk to Ibushi after the match so he can check his leg/get his phone number.
WINNER: KOTA IBUSHI
Whether you like Sabre Jnr’s submission grappling style will have an effect on whether you liked this match as much as I did, but I really enjoy that type of wrestling and this was an excellent exhibition of it. It looks like Ibushi could be working a knee/leg injury angle for the rest of the G1 now.
B Block – 15/07/2018
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega Vs Tetsuya Naito
Naito is the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon whereas Omega is the leader of The Golden Elite/Bullet Club respectively. Naito won the 2017 version of the G1 whereas Omega won it back in 2016. This is one heck of a match for the first night of B Block and is a great example of why G1 is such a big deal every year as you get big matches throughout the entire tournament.
Naito makes it clear during his opponent’s entrance that he isn’t sweating Omega. Omega apparently opened a can of worms prior to the tournament saying that the foreign wrestlers work harder and that the Japanese wrestlers are coasting. Kevin Kelley mentions the Dave Meltzer star ratings for these two men’s prior matches. Hey, how about a shout out for me Kevin?!?!
This is a rematch of 2017’s final and Omega makes fun of Naito in the early stages trying to fire him up and stop him being “Tranquillo” but Naito shrugs it off and poses in the ring. Omega gets Naito down and unloads with some kicks to the spine but Naito remains calm. Omega stays on the back area with a back breaker before going to a camel clutch.
Naito manages to make the ropes, but Omega stays on the back with forearm shots. Omega unloads with a big chop, which seems to fire up Naito and gets some open hand slaps but Omega kicks him the face to stop that and goes for a powerbomb. Naito lands on his feet to block the powerbomb and replies with a dropkick to the back of the head on Omega.
Naito slips out of the rolling fireman’s carry (I guess he COULD escape?) and then follows up with a tandem of neck breakers for a two count. Omega replies with the fireman’s carry and gets it this time before following up with a quebrada for two. Outside we go, where Omega removes the mats at ringside to reveal the concrete, but this leaves him open for a dropkick from Naito and his head smacks off the floor on the way down.
Omega gets a rana back inside and Naito bails out, but when Omega goes for a dive he comes back in and hits a tornado DDT for two. Omega low bridges Naito to the outside and dropkicks him into the crowd. The crowd scatter as Omega dives from inside the ring out into the crowd in an insane spot. Omega didn’t only just manage to clear it either; he was in something like the third row when he landed. Madness!
Back inside Omega goes up top but Naito crotches him on the top turnbuckle. Omega is able to counter a top rope rana by slipping out and dropping Naito on the top rope. Omega gets a snap dragon suplex and then muscles Naito up into a gut wrench powerbomb for two. V-Trigger (Running Knee Strike) sets up a One Wing Angel (Electric Chair into a Michinoku) attempt but Naito counters that with a reverse rana.
Naito puts Omega up on top and finally gets the top rope rana and follows with a pump handle powerbomb for two. Enziguri from Naito sets up a sequence where both men duck each other’s strikes and Omega delivers a V-Trigger, but his avalanche fisherman’s buster is countered with The Destino (Somersault Reverse DDT) by Naito. Naito goes for another one but Omega counters with the Risk Factor for two.
Omega sets up for a dragon suplex but Naito elbows out, so Omega follows with a spin wheel kick to the back and then a big V-Trigger to the back of Naito’s head. Omega goes for a dragon suplex from the top turnbuckle and Naito thankfully fights him off. Omega goes for the One Wing Angel from the top rope but Naito wriggles out and brings him down with a powerbomb. Naito hits The Destino but Omega is out at two in a great near fall.
Uranage suplex from Naito sets up another Destino attempt but Omega counters out, only to take a slap and wheel kick for his troubles. Naito tries The Destino again but Omega counters it into a Steiner Screwdriver in one of the scariest spots I’ve ever seen. Somehow Naito is able to kick out at two. I appreciate the effort lads but,
1 – I’d rather you didn’t do ridiculously dangerous moves like that
2 – If you ARE going to do ridiculously dangerous moves like that then can you at least make it the finish? That was one of the scariest most gruesome looking moves I’ve seen in years and it wasn’t even the finish. You can’t top that one.
Omega gets an under hook piledriver, as he seems determined to kill Naito, but it again only furnishes him a two count. V-Trigger from Omega sets up the One Wing Angel and mercifully that’s enough for the win.
WINNER: KENNY OMEGA
This was really good but I really would wish these guys would tone it down a bit sometimes, especially with Hiromu Takahashi’s recent injury.
So that’s the first round of B Block in the bag;
Currently the standings are Tomohiro Ishii, Tama Tonga, Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega on 2 points. Toru Yano, Juice Robinson, SANADA, Zack Sabre Jnr and Tetsuya Naito on nil points.
Thanks for reading, I’ll see you all soon for night three
In the meantime, please consider signing up to New Japan World for just 999 Yen a month!
And whilst you’re here on the site, why not take a goosey gander at Samantha’s review of Esper VR PSVR?