We now know who’s facing who in tomorrow’s G1 Climax finale, after a thrilling finale to the B block in Tokyo’s Sumo Hall on Saturday.
#TLDR: The challengers fell throughout the day, as the final of block B went down to an enthralling main event following another day of captivating action… and somehow, another Toru Yano win.
The Full Review: Going into today’s block B finale, Tetsuya Naito leads the way, and if he avoids defeat to Kenny Omega, he’s going to the finals. Wins for Michael Elgin and Kenny Omega means Elgin goes through, likewise if Elgin, Shibata and Omega win. Wins for just Omega and Katsuyori Shibata creates a Shibata/Goto finale tomorrow. Confused? You will be. Basically, it’s still in Naito’s hands!
Yoshitatsu, Captain New Japan, Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi, Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Tiger Mask
Taguchi’s left his microphone and jacket behind, this time wearing… Pikachu ears. Taguchi and Liger start us off, and Liger scores an early shoulder block takedown, before Taguchi lands a series of hip attacks to the veteran.
Liger blocks a hip attack with an atomic drop, and then locks in a Mexican surfboard which Finlay runs in to break up. A cross body from Tiger Mask and a leg sweep drops Finlay, before they miss stuff in the corner, and Finlay lands a dropkick for just a one-count. Finlay misses the joke and willingly tags in Captain New Japan, but he tags out and brings in Taguchi for more hip attack goodness.
Taguchi waves Finlay in and they hit a double hip attack to Tiger Mask, before Tiger reverses an Irish whip that leads to Taguchi taking out Finlay with his one move. Tags lead to Nakanishi and Yoshitatsu coming in, and Tatsu struggles to move Nakanishi with an Irish whip. A simple spear dropped Yoshitatsu, as does a lariat for a near-fall.
Yoshitatsu runs through some of his Triple H tribute act with a knee to the face, then a Shining Wizard for a near-fall. Captain and Yoshi struggle with a suplex, and they both get taken down by Nakanishi, who then brings in Tenzan… and takes him down with dropkicks. Captain new Japan gets booed for mocking the Mongolian chops, and Tenzan fires back on the Hunter Club with the real deal. A spinning heel kick knocks down the Captain, before a double spear from Nakanishi takes down Finlay and Taguchi as the ring fille dup.
Tiger Mask scores with a Tiger Driver, before Tenzan climbed to the top, and he finally landed the moonsault for the win! Nice and short, and this seemed to be an honouring of sorts for Tenzan. **¾
Naomichi Marufuji & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe & Juice Robinson
As Juice Robinson posed to the crowd, Makabe jumped Ishii, before taking Marufuji to the outside for a whip into the guard rails. Inside, Robinson picked up with Ishii and scored a near-fall, before Ishii worked out of a Fireman’s carry and was shoved into a superkick/German suplex combination.
Steve Corino brought on Robinson’s time in NXT on commentary, and Robinson took some chops in the corner before Marufuji leaned down on him with a rear chinlock. Ishii and Marufuji combined for a near-fall after a step-up knee to the head of a seated Robinson.
Robinson finally tagged out to Makabe, who took down Ishii with a powerslam off the ropes, before launching into the corner for some mounted punches, then a Northern Lights suplex for a near-fall. Ishii blocks a lariat, but connects at the second attempt, before Makabe quickly returned the favour, and won the battle of lariats.
Back to Marufuji/Robinson now, and Marufuji cut off the Juice punches with a series of chops, but Robinson hit back with a cannonball dive in the corner to Marufuji, before a crossbody off the top was blocked with a dropkick. Ishii hit a sliding lariat, but Marufuji’s cover was broken up by Makabe.
After taking a bunch of kicks, Robinson took down Marufuji with an STO, then a gutbuster for a near-fall. Marufuji slipped out of a second suplex and hit a kick to the head, then a knee strike for a two-count, before a Shiranui proved to be enough for the win. A good match, with a fun continuation of the Ishii/Makabe war from last night, and a tease to a match we’ll probably never get in Robinson/Marufuji. ***
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Satoshi Kojima & KUSHIDA vs. Jay Lethal, SANADA & BUSHI
This is building up tomorrow’s ROH title match between Lethal and Kojima, and they start with a shoulder tackle from Lethal that barely budges Kojima. They end with Kojima taking Lethal into the corner, before tagging out to Tanahashi, as Lethal instead rushes to bring in SANADA.
Tanahashi and SANADA swap numerous waistlock attempts, before a tie-up sees SANADA take Tanahashi into the ropes, where BUSHI choked him on the apron after a clean break. A crossbody off the middle rope got Tanahashi an advantage, but he quickly fell to SANADA’s double leapfrog into a dropkick. BUSHI came in and choked at Tanahashi with a t-shirt, then in came Lethal for a one-count from a simple bodyslam.
Lethal grabbed a rear chinlock, before clinging onto the ropes to avoid a dropkick from Tanahashi. A Dragon screw leg whip saw Tanahashi call back to last night as he took down Lethal, and in came Kojima to clear the apron and light up Lethal with the rapid chops… then actually connected with the top rope elbow drop!
A bicycle kick and an enziguiri from Lethal stunned Kojima, who took the Lethal Combination (STO backbreaker into a Flatliner) for a near-fall. Kojima blocked a Lethal Injection (handspring cutter) into a Koji Cutter of his own, and we got KUSHIDA and BUSHI again. KUSHIDA’s low dropkicks knocked BUSHI down, but BUSHI recovered with an overhead kick in the ropes, then a missile dropkick.
KUSHIDA took a rewind enziguiri, before blocking a lungblower and turning it into the Hoverboard lock, which was broken up by SANADA’s Skull End. Tanahashi ran in to end that with a Slingblade, before Lethal’s Blue Thunder Bomb took down Tanahashi. KUSHIDA and Lethal went back and forth, with Lethal landing the Lethal Injection, before holding up KUSHIDA for BUSHI’s MX for the win. Another good undercard six-man, which may hint at a potential singles match for BUSHI tomorrow… ***¼
Mark Briscoe, Jay Briscoe, Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto & Gedo vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Roa, Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page
Everyone’s out in the Takahashi’s Tokyo Pimps t-shirts. Except Page, who decided to wear his noose instead. This is to build up tomorrow’s tag title match between the Briscoes and Takahashi/Page, and for once, Fale didn’t try to kill the ring announcer.
Okada started with Fale, and took him into the ropes for that mockingly-clean break, before launching in with a forearm. Fale took another few forearms, before a shoulder tackle knocked down Okada, as the Bullet Club swarmed the ring and cleared the apron. Almost everyone went to the outside for a spot of brawling, and eventually returned as Takahashi tagged in.
Tanga Roa picked up Okada and drove him into the corner, where the Bullet Club beat on him briefly, before Okada tried to make a comeback… only to be swatted down by Fale. He tagged in and landed a big splash on Okada for a near-fall, before Tama Tonga came in and took a flapjack that gave Okada the opening to tag in Goto.
Goto quickly took down Takahashi and Page with clotheslines, before attempting the ushigoroshi on Tonga. The wacky rope running of Tama Tonga led to a dropkick to Goto, before Gedo came in and got double-teamed too until the Briscoes ran in to make the save. A Jay Briscoe dropkick took out Page, whilst a running knee to the corner flattened Takahashi.
The Briscoes then took Page to the outside with a Hangman clothesline, where Mark followed up with a Blockbuster neckbreaker off the apron to Tanga Roa. Back inside, Gedo got a near-fall on Takahashi, before an attempted Grenade was broken up by Okada. Takahashi hot-shotted Gedo in the ropes, then hit a clothesline and a short DDT to claim the win. Decent undercard match, but it had the usual New Japan issue of threatening to fall apart way too much. ***¼
Yujiro Takahashi’s gotten a LOT of tag wins on this tour, but I don’t think anyone will have him and Page down as favourites to win the tag titles tomorrow. Even when you add in the post-match beatdown where the Briscoes took the Rites of Passage and short DDT from their challengers.
G1 Climax, Block B: Tomoaki Honma vs. Yuji Nagata
We start with the dead rubbers, and Honma’s got taped up ribs after being powerbombed into the ringpost last time out against Michael Elgin. Nagata takes Honma into the ropes, and they switch around before Honma slapped Nagata to the mat.
Honma pushes the referee away and slams down Nagata for a Kokeshi, which misses. Nagata rips off the tape from Honma and replied by punching at the ribs, sending Honma to the mat, before they go back to their feet and trade strikes.
Nagata locks Honma in a crossface, forcing Honma into the ropes, before lighting him up with some kicks. Honma blocks a suplex, and replied with a deadlift suplex of his own, and then took down Nagata with a bulldog, before hitting a Kokeshi. A flip neckbreaker to a seated Nagata got a near-fall, only for Honma to be taken down with a running knee to the midsection.
Nagata dropped Honma with a spinning draping DDT off the top rope, with an Exploder suplex then being no-sold as Honma connected with a lariat before dropping to the mat. Honma quickly found himself trapped in an armbar from Nagata, with a rope break seeing Nagata keep on top of things with an enziguiri and a backdrop suplex for a near-fall.
Nagata again went for a backdrop suplex, but Honma elbowed out, only to take a knee to the ribs. A leaping Kokeshi took down Nagata, but he was caught on the top rope as he went for the swandive Kokeshi, with Honma instead coming down with a super Exploder for another two-count.
A running step-up knee strike into the corner got Honma down yet again, but Honma was again able to fight out of a Backdrop Hold attempt, as they started unloading on each other with open slaps to the face. Nagata slapped Honma around into a release German suplex, but Honma popped up with a leaping Kokeshi, then a Kokeshi Otoshi as Nagata barely kicked out.
Honma went up top again and actually connected with the swandive Kokeshi, and that was it! From the brink of defeat, Honma snatched a win to ensure both he and Nagata ended with 3-6 records, but save for the finish, this wasn’t that great. **¾
G1 Climax, Block B: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Toru Yano
Another dead rubber, but YOSHI-HASHI will be looking to at least tie with Yano after his phenomenal(ly awful?) run.
Yano takes YOSHI-HASHI into the ropes for a clean break with his CHAOS stable-mate… and that’s not returned in kind as the two move into forearm strikes second time around. We get Yano’s “break!” spot, before a handshake is turned into a roll-up for a near-fall from Yano.
Yano goes to rip off the turnbuckles, but YOSHI-HASHI stops him, and follows up with a suplex onto the ropes, then a dropkick to Yano’s back for a near-fall. We go back to the padding, and YOSHI-HASHI leaps into an unprotected corner, before Yano sidesteps a leap from him.
Yano tears off a second turnbuckle pad, and whacks YOSHI-HASHI with it. The favour’s returned by YOSHI-HASHI, but after Yano pushes him into the referee, we get a low blow and Yano rolls him up for the win. Eh, it’s a Toru Yano match, what’d you expect? Shame that YOSHI-HASHI’s last match was like this, but someone had to have it. *½
G1 Climax, Block B: EVIL vs. Katsuyori Shibata
EVIL can’t win the block, but he sure can stop Shibata from having a chance if Naito slips up.
Shibata started with a rear naked choke on EVIL, but went straight for a rope break, then followed up with a back suplex. A PK was attempted, but EVIL barely rolled away in time. Shibata quickly throws EVIL back in, but gets dumped onto the apron with a clothesline and was sent into the barriers by EVIL.
EVIL kicked away at the taped-up shoulder of Shibata, then used a chair on it. The chair was then placed onto Shibata’s arm and thrown into the ringpost, ripping the padding off the chair in the process. Shibata barely beat the count, and rolled into an elbow from EVIL, as he ground away on the shoulder, then landed a curb stomp for a near-fall.
Shibata invites EVIL to keep kicking away at the shoulder, and he replied with a forearm (with the bad arm) and a kick to EVIL. Two running Yakuza kicks rock EVIL, as does a diving dropkick, with Shibata following up with an abdominal stretch that forces EVIL to drag himself into the ropes.
Shibata blocks an STO from EVIL and drops him with one of his own, before a butterfly suplex forces EVIL to kick out at two. A kick to the chest drops EVIL to his front, but a second Shibata kick is caught, only for EVIL to land an uppercut and fall into another rear naked choke. EVIL undoes the choke by pulling at the injured arm of Shibata and tweaking the wrist, then lands a wrist-clutch back suplex.
EVIL tries to knock down Shibata with lariats, then big boots, before headbutting the taped-up shoulder of Shibata. Shibata replied with a lariat that was blocked, and then a half-nelson suplex from EVIL dropped Shibata onto the shoulder. Shibata shoved away the referee, only to run into a lariat, then the EVIL bomb (Fireman’s carry into a spinebuster) for yet another near-fall.
Seconds later, Shibata took an STO, and his chances of winning the G1 were extinguished as EVIL killed Shibata’s shoulder as well as his tournament. A really solid, fun match. ****
G1 Climax, Block B: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Michael Elgin
Nakajima’s now in the role of EVIL – if Elgin wins, and Naito loses in the main event, Big Mike’s going to tomorrow’s final!
Elgin shoves Nakajima to the mat, before he takes a big boot to open us with. They then move to a chop/kick battle, before Nakajima low bridged Elgin to the outside, and kicked him off the apron. Another PK from the apron rocked Elgin, who then missed a charge into the crowd barriers, giving Nakajima a chance to kick away at the taped up left arm of Elgin.
Nakajima grabs Elgin in a hammerlock and shoves him shoulder-first into the ring post. Elgin takes a barrage of kicks to the shoulder, as Nakajima goes for a Nagata-style armbar near the ropes. A wrist-clutch from Nakajima was countered by a bunch of Elgin forearms, but again, a kick dropped Big Mike before he caught a big boot and flew Nakajima into the corner with a German suplex.
Nakajima tries to knee his way out of a suplex, but eventually works free and takes a press slam into a powerslam for a near-fall by Big Mike. Elgin hoists up Nakajima with a deadlift, but Nakajima fights out and takes down Elgin with a couple of Dragon screws. A low dropkick keeps Elgin on the mat, before more kicks keep the Intercontinental champion rocked.
Nakajima climbs to the top and lands a missile dropkick for a near-fall. Elgin tried to go up top himself, but a spinning heel kick knocked him down as Nakajima got a side suplex for another near-fall. Another Nakajima kick’s countered with a German suplex from Elgin, then a thunderous lariat, only for a dropkick to take Big Mike down again.
A running PK from Nakajima levelled Elgin, but he countered a brainbuster into some rolling suplexes, before a missile dropkick was turned into a powerbomb for another Elgin near-fall. Elgin slammed Nakajima again, then signalled to the top rope, and missed with a big splash off the top.
Elgin shoves away Nakajima’s hand as he tried for a facelock, but he absorbs a load of strikes from Nakajima, and replies with one of his own. More kicks and forearms follow, with a stiff one sending Nakajima down like an oak tree. A lariat gets Elgin a near-fall, before he deadlifts Nakajima off the apron into a Falcon arrow for a count of two.
From that, Elgin follows with a buckle bomb, but Nakajima sunset flips out of a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall. A couple of kicks to the head follow, before a roaring elbow from Elgin sets up for a blocked powerbomb. Nakajima kicks some more times and sends Elgin to the mat, before trying for the brainbuster – and barely landed it for the win! Elgin is out – whoever wins the main event wins the group!! That was an all-out war – especially by the end! ****¼
G1 Climax, Block B: Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito
Winner takes all… well, not quite. Omega has to win to make it to the finals tomorrow with Hirooki Goto… anything other than a loss sends Naito through.
Naito casually sidesteps Omega to begin with, but then gets taken to the corner by the impatient Omega for some strikes. Omega flips over a charging Naito, who then rolls to the floor and goes all “Tranquilo”! Naito’s spat at again, so he returns the favour… and Omega hocks another loogie onto Naito’s chest, which sparks some more shots, and more spittle.
A low dropkick from Naito takes Omega down, as does a sliding dropkick into the corner, before he grabs Omega’s leg and rams the knee into the mat. The knee’s driven into the mat again, and Omega clings onto the rope to avoid a Dragon screw. He instead pokes Naito in the eyes and tosses him out, only to miss a plancha and take another dropkick to the knee.
Omega’s knee buckles as Naito tried to whip him into the barriers, but he eventually replied by slamming Naito onto the corner of the apron. That looked brutal, almost like the Shawn Michaels casket bump from 1997. Naito was able to roll back into the ring, and was dropped with a suplex onto Omega’s injured tnee for a two-count.
A series of elbows gets Omega a near-fall, before he lights up Naito with some chops and then a Kevin Nash-like big boot choke in the corner. Omega scores a neckbreaker for a two-count, before trying to make a comeback with a couple of elbows, as a chop dropped Naito onto his backside. Another chop gets a two-count, as Omega landed a Finlay roll, but had to hesitate before a moonsault, giving Naito a chance to kick him off the ropes.
Naito gets a swinging neckbreaker, then the outside-in corner dropkick for a near-fall, before catching Omega in a Figure Four in the middle of the ring to increase the pressure on the knee. Omega made the ropes, and landed a reverse leg lariat that had to be turned into a bulldog in mid-air, before booting Naito off the apron and into the guard railings.
Naito gets powerbombed into the commentary table, then ended up taking a springboard somersault dive from Omega off the top rope into the front row of the crowd. That was insane – and seemed to unplug at least Steve Corino’s mic, as the English commentary took a dive, as did Omega, sliding out to break the count and then drop Naito with a Dragon suplex on the apron, then a bridging Dragon suplex in the middle of the ring for a near-fall.
Omega tried for a gutwrench fallaway slam, before taking a DDT from Naito, then pulled themselves up into an exchange of forearms. A leaping knee strike from Omega knocked Naito loopy, but he recovered with a tornado DDT. Naito places Omega on top and elbowed away at the injured knee, en route to a top rope rana, which Omega kept rolling through and almost stole the win with.
Naito then switched up a gear and went for the Gloria, and got it at the first attempt for a two-count. Omega replied with some chops, before Naito missed a leap, and somehow turned it back around into a release German suplex, which Omega flipped out of – only to cause more pain to his knee. Omega then rushed in with a lariat that flipped Naito around, then a Shining Wizard, before Naito rolled out of a One Winged Angel and grabbed a kneebar!
Omega was trapped in the middle of the ring with the kneebar, and as Naito cinched the hold in deeper, he gradually pulled himself towards the ropes and made them as the referee was seconds away from stopping the match. Naito kept on top with a knee-breaker, before a second one was countered, and eventually saw Omega drop Naito with a German suplex. A gutwrench powerbomb got Omega a near-fall, then a running knee strike into the ropes, before Naito countered a One Winged Angel into Destino!
As we got the countdown for the final 5 minutes, Naito took Omega up top for a super reverse ‘rana, drilling Omega’s head into the mat for a near-fall. A second Destino was countered into a package tombstone piledriver for another near-fall, before Omega drilled Naito with more knees to the head. He struggled to lift up Naito for a One Winged Angel, then turned around into a slap, which he eagerly returned.
An enziguiri from Naito rocked Omega, but he ran into a leaping knee strike. Omega followed with a German suplex, bridging for a near-fall, then another leaping knee for yet another two-count as time ticked away. Omega finally hit the One Winged Angel, and he pulled off the upset! Tying with Naito for points, this win puts him in the final with Hirooki Goto tomorrow! A different kind of match from the block A draw, but this too… *****
Overall, today’s final matches were maybe not quite the same level as the block A finals – with two awesome main events – but the story of Naito having to win to stay alive, and narrowly missing out, was enthralling and made for a great main event with a damned good undercard. If you were hoping to choose between the two block finales… sorry! You’ll have to watch both!
Final Block A Standings
Hirooki Goto (6-3, 12pts)
Kazuchika Okada (5-3-1, 11pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-3-1, 11pts)
Bad Luck Fale (5-4, 10pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (5-4, 10pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (4-5, 8pts)
Togi Makabe (4-5, 8pts)
Tama Tonga (4-5, 8 pts)
SANADA (4-5, 8pts)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-7, 4pts)
Final Block B Standings
Kenny Omega (6-3, 12pts – block winner due to tie-breaker)
Tetsuya Naito (6-3, 12pts)
Katsuyori Shibata (5-4, 10pts)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (5-4, 10pts)
Michael Elgin (5-4, 10pts)
Toru Yano (5-4, 10pts)
EVIL (4-5, 8pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (3-6, 6pts)
Yuji Nagata (3-6, 6pts)
Tomoaki Honma (3-6, 6pts)