And here we are again with some more G1 Climax action from A Block on night seven. Off all the matches in today’s fixture list the one I’m most looking forward to will be young upstart Jay White taking on the violent and unforgiving grizzled veteran that is Minoru Suzuki. White is currently undefeated in this year’s G1, but can his miraculous streak continue against the celebrated, revered and feared Suzuki? Let’s read on and find out!
If you want to get up to date with happenings in A Block you can catch up on Night Five in my archives.
The following matches took place at the Esforta Arena in Tokyo on the 22nd of July 2018
A Block – 22/07/2018
Michael Elgin (4 pts) Vs YOSHI-HASHI (0 pts)
YOSHI has been having a miserable G1 thus far, as he’s been giving his all but getting nothing back for it. Elgin had a great start but lost his first match in the last round of fixtures to Jay White, so he’ll be looking to get back on track. The fight quickly spills outside where YOSHI is able to suplex Elgin on the floor.
Back inside we go, where YOSHI works over Elgin in the corner and sets him on the top rope. Elgin fights him off however and then clotheslines him back into the ring for two. Slam and an elbow from Elgin, but he seems to be favouring his back. YOSHI comes back with a dropkick to the knee and follows up with a DDT to buy himself some time. Elgin catches a rana attempt but YOSHI tenaciously hangs on and rana’s him to the outside before following with a big dive.
Chop in the corner sets up an Over Castle from the top rope for two, as YOSHI senses this might be his best chance yet to get some points on the board. YOSHI goes for a powerbomb but Elgin blocks it and delivers a German Suplex and an enziguri before delivering a Sky High powerbomb for two. Elgin sets YOSHI up on the top rope and goes for a superplex but YOSHI fights him off. Undeterred, Elgin goes for a Super Splash Mountain Bomb instead but YOSHI is able to just about counter it into a rana for two.
Fans are now vocally getting behind YOSHI, hoping that he’ll finally by able to get a win. YOSHI goes for Karma (Wonder-Whirl) but Elgin is able to fight him off and initiates a chop battle. YOSHI’s shoulder is banged up so his chops don’t compare to Elgin’s and he’s soon on the defensive. Elgin gets a thrust kick and heads up but YOSHI brings him down with a powerbomb and hits a suplex and Swanton bomb for a big near fall. Man, the fans want YOSHI to win so bad they can TASTE it here!
YOSHI goes for the butterfly lock but Elgin is too powerful that and he’s able to muscle YOSHI into a spinning slam to break the hold. Elgin flattens YOSHI in the corner with a clothesline and then delivers a BIG superplex to YOSHI for a great near fall. YOSHI’s body bounced like a basketball when he hit the mat there. Elgin gets a buckle bomb but YOSHI pulls a jack-knife pinning hold out of nowhere for a cheeky two count.
I don’t want to compare YOSHI to Spike Dudley, but it’s the most apt comparison I can think of at this stage. Angered by YOSHI’s resistance, Elgin removes his elbow pad and SMACKS him with a big forearm but runs into a YOSHI clothesline. This only serves to anger Elgin and he hits a lariat of his own for two before delivering the Splash Mountain Bomb for another two. The crowd are very into this match now and are rooting vociferously for YOSHI, although things look rough for him.
Elgin goes for the Burning Hammer but YOSHI lands on his feet and hits a dropkick and a small package driver for two. Back cracker from YOSHI and he manages to drill Elgin with Karma to pick up the upset win and FINALLY get some points on the board after four attempts!
Great stuff from YOSHI there, as he just wouldn’t stay down and won over the crowd in the process. I think the Spike Dudley analogy is a little bit unfair as YOSHI got plenty of offence in there and the win wasn’t presented as being lucky or against the run of play, but it works in the sense of his tenacity and desire to overcome the odds.
A Block – 22/07/2018
EVIL (4 pts) Vs Bad Luck Fale (2 pts)
Fale has had two DQ’s to his name so far in G1, as he seems to care more about causing destruction rather than winning the tournament. EVIL tries to use chicanery in the early stages, such as jumping Fale and going to his eyes. He then steps out to yell at Loa, which causes the ref to speak with him and allows EVIL time to drag Fale out and send him into the guardrail. Fale is mad now and grabs a chair and, whilst the ref deals with him, Loa pulls EVIL outside and attacks him.
Into the crowd we go, where the fans scatter as Fale chucks EVIL into the chairs and then adds a shot with the railing for good measure. You’d think everyone in the tournament would have seen enough Fale matches to know not to go into the crowd with him by now right? I mean, “flinging guys into the chairs” is to Fale what the back breaker and second rope elbow were to Bret Hart. Fale targets EVIL’s right arm and shoulder back inside and splashes it to get himself a two count.
EVIL sells the arm well and is able to dodge a Fale splash to buy himself some time. EVIL clotheslines Fale over the top to the outside, with the arm injury slowing him down, and then follows out. Loa comes over, so EVIL throws him a chair, which causes the ref to come over and chastise him. Whilst the ref is distracted with Loa, EVIL puts a chair over Fale’s head and then runs him into the ring post. Is he a long lost Guerrero family member?
Back inside we go, where Fale bulldozes EVIL down with a shoulder barge and follows up with the 747 Splash for two. Fale goes for the grenade but EVIL fights him off and then follows with a kick to the gut and a clothesline. EVIL pumps his arm to show he’s fighting the pain and then counters a Fale suplex with a DDT, but runs into a big Fale clothesline for two. Fale sets up for the Bad Luck Fall (Splash Mountain Last Ride) but EVIL slips out and gets a big lariat for two. I bought that as the finish.
EVIL goes for Everything is EVIL (S.T.O) but Fale shoves him off into the ref, knocking him down in the process. With the ref down, Fale and Loa work EVIL over two on one, which causes EVIL’s stablemate BUSHI to run down to assist. This leads to Tama Tonga running in to help his Firing Squad buddies, which then causes Tetsuya Naito to run down to help EVIL and BUSHI. EVIL gets Everything is EVIL on Fale, but the ref won’t count due to all the bodies in the ring. EVIL kicks Loa out of the ring so he can get the pin, but Tonga uses the chance to hit EVIL with a Gun Stun and now the ref has had enough and calls for the bell.
WINNER BY DISQUALIFICATION: EVIL
If you’re going to do a DQ, why give EVIL a visual pinfall first? Anyway, this match was great before the lame finish as EVIL got a lot out of Fale there. With a clean finish, it would have been Fale’s best match in this year’s G1. That means that three of Fale’s four matches have ended in a DQ now, which the commentators muse has to be some kind of a record.
A Block – 22/07/2018
Jay White (6 pts) Vs Minoru Suzuki (2 pts)
White has been on a bit of a terror in this year’s G1, pinning everyone with his Blade Runner finisher (Sister Abigail) following copious amounts of cheating along the way. Will such a technique work here against the seasoned Suzuki? White wastes no time talking trash on his way to the ring, to which Suzuki seems thoroughly non-plussed. White apparently made jibes at Suzuki’s age in the build up to this, which suggests this is all building to the cocky spoilt kid getting his arse handed to him by the grumpy vet.
Suzuki kicks White in the leg to start, which causes White to back off to the ropes immediately which is some great heel shithousery on his part. White really has found his inner heel over the past month and he’s making it work for him. White decides to bail out, so Suzuki follows him, but it looks like it was a ruse on White’s part as goes to his MO for this G1 of flinging Suzuki into the guardrails. I genuinely think that spot is great. It’s so simple yet makes so much sense and always looks nasty.
White tries to hit Suzuki as he comes back in, which allows Suzuki to wrap him in the ropes with an arm bar and then start unloading with stiff slaps and kicks. White actually dares Suzuki to hit him, but then kicks him in the knee when he loads up. Haha, I love it! Keep heeling on Jay, keep heeling on! White chokes Suzuki with the ring skirt and tries for the pin but the referee won’t count following such blatant cheating, which is nice to see at least.
White hits a neck breaker and goes for the cover but Suzuki is out at 1 (Yes, 1!) so White has to go to an Indian Deathlock instead. Suzuki goes after White’s fingers to break and then delivers a big Yakuza Kick in the corner before following with three Penalty Kick’s for two. Following the kick out, Suzuki transitions to a double wrist lock, manipulating the fingers in a gruesome visual, but White is able to make the ropes to break.
Suzuki goes for a guillotine choke, and even stands on the second rope for added leverage, but walks into a White chop. White suplexes Suzuki into the corner and gets a twisting brain buster for two. White throws some chops, but Suzuki no sells them and asks for more. White chops away, but Suzuki shrugs them off and then throws some vicious slaps of his own. White puts the ref between him and Suzuki to stop that and then follows up with a Complete Shot and German Suplex. Blade Runner is countered by Suzuki and he locks White in a sleeper. White goes to his usual method of stunning the ref “accidentally” and goes for a low blow on Suzuki, but Suzuki catches the low blow and delivers a Gotch Style Piledriver for the win.
WINNER: MINORU SUZUKI
Suzuki celebrates his win by clocking a Young Lion with a punch and then throwing another into the guardrail. Wow, imagine what he would have done if he’d lost?!?! That match was everything I wanted it to be, with the cocky youth getting out fought and thought by the wily veteran.
A Block – 22/07/2018
Hiroshi Tanahashi (4 pts) Vs Hangman Page (2 pts)
Page currently only has two points to his name in this year’s G1 and that came from a DQ win over Bad Luck Fale in the first round of fixtures. Perennial G1 winner Masahiro Chono picked Page to win this year’s G1 but it looks like Page will have to content himself with a strong showing instead as it might be tricky for him to win it from here. That being said, he’s already faced Okada, Fale and Elgin so he might be advancing into some “winnable” fixtures following this match. Tanahashi lost to Jay White but has won his other matches, so a win here would put him right into contention for winning it all.
Chain wrestling to start, with both men showing off their technical proficency with some nice holds and counters. Tanahashi offers the air guitar to Page, which the crowd are all in to, but he breaks it across his knee instead, which is enough for him to go heel with this crowd. Page targets Tanahashi’s knee and then gets a dead lift block buster suplex pin for two. Wow, Page has got some serious strength to pull off something like that.
Page wraps Tanahashi’s leg over the second rope but Tanahashi comes back with a second rope cross body, only for Page to roll through and turn it into the Stretch Muffler. Tanahashi makes the ropes to break but Page stays on the leg with an ankle pick. In a funny spot, both men go for a kick and we have a stand-off. They agree to put the legs down at the same time, but Tanahashi reneges and gets a dragon screw, in revenge for Page double crossing him during the same situation the night before in a tag match.
Tanahashi gets the slam and heads up to the second rope with a flipping senton splash for two. Page sends Tanahashi over the top and he tries to skin the cat but Page stops him and then follows out with a Shooting Star Press off the apron. Back inside, Page dropkicks Tanahashi in the corner and follows up with a neck breaker from the second rope for two before transitioning to a figure four leg lock. Tanahashi sells the hold big but is able to roll over and switch the pressure, which causes Page to grab the ropes to break.
Page heads to the apron so he can get his springboard flipping clothesline but Tanahashi stops him and gets a dragon screw over the rope. Undeterred, Page gets the clothesline when Tanahashi tries to hit him with a running strike and then tries the Right of Passage (Inverted Tombstone Piledriver) but Tanahashi blocks it. Both men trade forearm shots and Page gets a super kick only to get caught with a Sling Blade from Tanahashi. Tanahashi gets a cross body from the top and follows up with the High-Fly-Flow Frogsplash for the win.
WINNER: HIROSHI TANAHASHI
Good solid match there. I actually thought that Page might kick out of the first High-Fly-Flow but that clearly wasn’t the story they wanted to tell. If they’d been given more time and had more of a back story they could have possibly had an even better match. Tanahashi gives Page a nod of approval following the contest. Page has had a good rub from this G1 even though he’s not going to come even remotely close to winning it.
A Block – 22/07/2018
Togi Makabe (4 pts) Vs Kazuchika Okada (2 pts)
Okada finally got off the mark against Hangman Page on Night Five following a shaky start. He really needs to win here though to keep the pace with everyone else at the top of the table. He’s met Makabe three times in G1 before, picking up the win twice. Makabe won his first two matches but lost to EVIL on Night Five. He has a tantalising chance to get to six points here though, which is something I don’t think many people thought he’d have a chance to do at this stage in proceedings.
The fight spills outside almost immediately, where Makabe wraps his chain around his arm, which gives Okada time to catch him with a DDT. Okada whips Makabe into the guardrail and rolls back in to try and get himself a count out win, but Makabe is able to get back in. Okada isn’t his usual effusive self here and is all business as he hits a springboard Con Hilo. Makabe demands Okada hit him more and the cocky side of the former champion rears its head again as he gives Makabe some free shots before getting a kick and a neck breaker to stop that. Okada goes to a chin lock to wear Makabe down, but Makabe is soon back up to this feet and elbows his way out, only to get clubbed down by Okada.
Makabe manages to get a powerslam to acquire himself some respite, but even still it’s Okada who gets up first. Okada makes the mistake of pulling Makabe to his feet, which allows Makabe to put on him the defensive with strikes and a ten punch in the corner. Clothesline gets two for Makabe and he goes for a German Suplex, but Okada fights him off and gets a second DDT of the match. I don’t think Okada’s DDT looks that great to be honest, it reminds me of JBL’s actually. Okada comes off the top with a cross body for two and then goes after Makabe in the corner with back elbow strikes.
Okada gets an inverted neck breaker for two but gets cocky again by delivering weak kicks to Makabe, which only serves to make him angry. Okada throws some forearms at Makabe’s request and makes him sink to a knee at first, but Makabe shakes it off and hits a pair of big lariats. Okada counters the third lariat with a Tombstone and tries for the Rain Maker but Makabe counters that to a DVD for the double down. Makabe floors Okada with a couple of big forearm stirkes before delivering a terrifying powerbomb for two. He almost lost him there but was able to rescue it at the last moment.
Makabe sets Okada up top for the Spider German Suplex but Okada fights him off, so he has to content himself with a belly to belly instead. Makabe comes off the top rope with the King Kong Knee Drop but Okada dropkicks him out of the sky and then gets another dropkick. Rain Maker is blocked and Makabe hits a lariat but takes too long to head up top again, which allows Okada to hit a discuss lariat and then the Rain Maker to pick up the win.
WINNER: KAZUCHIKA OKADA
I liked the story of Okada being all business in the early stages but slowly morphing into his normal cocky self as he took the lead, only for that to ironically let Makabe back into the match and almost cause the upset.
Let’s see how A Block looks following those results;
Jay White, Hiroshi Tanahashi and EVIL on 6 points, Elgin, Makabe, Suzuki, Okada on 4 points whilst Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page and YOSHI-HASHI all have 2 points.
Amazingly, YOSHI-HASHI was the stand out performer on Night Seven as his never say die attitude won the crowd over and he picked up a deserved win. I must say that I enjoyed seeing White get tortured by Suzuki though. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds going forward. I hope to see you all later in the week for Night Eight!
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