G1 Climax 2018 continues with a visit to Bunkyo for some hot B Block action. Part of me thinks B Block could host the eventual G1 winner in the form of Kota Ibushi, but it also plays features the man I’m personally rooting for in the form of England’s own Zack Sabre Jr. How will both of these men do on Day Four of G1? Why not read on and find out?!
All of the following matches took place on the 19th of July 2018 at the world famous Korakuen Hall
B Block – 19/07/2018
SANADA (0 pts) Vs Tama Tonga (2 pts) w/ Tanga Loa
SANADA began his G1 by pushing Hirooki Goto all the way and almost picking up the win before falling prey to two GTR’s. Meanwhile, Tonga was able to pick up the win over Juice Robinson thanks to assistance from his partner Tanga Loa. I’m not really sure who would be the favourite here. Either man could conceivably win.
Chain wrestling to start us out, which sees Tonga bust out a cravat, before a rapid fire sequence which ends with stereo dropkicks followed by a standoff. Tonga wants a handshake following that, but of course it’s a ruse and he takes him down with a single leg. Oh Tonga, you cheeky sod! SANADA gets out of trouble, so Tonga decides to flee around ringside. SANADA follows and ends up taking a clothesline from Loa, so the referee kicks him from ringside.
Wow, a New Japan referee actually ensuring the heels can’t cheat. I guess Satan went to work in a snowmobile today?! Tonga works over SANADA back inside but he fights back and hits a dropkick following some high leap frogs. SANADA is an absolute athletic machine, it’s utterly amazing how smoothly he moves. Tonga ends up bailing outside to regroup, so SANADA follows with a dive to the outside and then throws him back inside.
Tonga is able to hit the Tonga Twist (Roll of the Dice) back inside but SANADA kicks out at two. Gun Stun (Diamond Cutter/RKO) is countered by SANADA but the ref gets squished in the process. SANADA hits his own Gun Stun, but there’s no ref which allows Loa to come back down to the ring with Bad Luck Fale for a two on one beat down. Tonga covers the beaten down SANADA but he’s able to kick out at two, to a big pop from the crowd. Tonga tries the Gun Stun again but SANADA blocks it and goes to the O’Connor Roll to pick up the win against the odds.
Match was fine and told a good story with SANADA overcoming the odds, but it wasn’t a classic or anything. Just a decent, solid match with a good finish that popped the crowd big, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
B Block – 19/07/2018
Toru Yano (0 pts) Vs Zack Sabre Jr (0 pts)
Yano, “The Sublime Master Thief”, entered a spirited performance against CHAOS stablemate Tomohiro Ishii in the first round of fixtures but ended up eating an L. Zack had one of the best matches of the opening round in his defeat to Kota Ibushi and, on paper, it shouldn’t take too much for “The Submission Expert” to see off Yano here. However, Yano has often played spoiler in G1 over the years, so there’s every chance an upset could be on the cards
Rocky Romero tells a hilarious story of Yano’s dad forcing him to try and double leg a tree in his youth, which probably isn’t true but made me chuckle. Yano wastes no time going straight to remove the turnbuckle pad, but changes his mind and then actually does some nice amateur style wrestling with Zack. Zack replies by going to the Cobra Twist but Yano is able to hip toss out, only to run right into another submission hold.
Yano makes the ropes and then takes the fight outside, where he brawls into the crowd with Zack. Not willing to play Yano’s game, Zack locks in a double wristlock in the crowd and then goes to the Octopus Hold. Both men realise the referee is counting however and managed to make it back in before 20, with Yano only just getting in on time.
Back inside, Yano actually counters Zack and goes to his own version of the Cobra Twist, but Zack manages to make the ropes. Outside we go again, where Zack sends Yano into the guardrail. I love this as Yano is successfully wrestling Zack’s style of match and vice versa. Zack wraps Yano around the guardrail, with the aim of winning by count out, but Yano is able to JUST make it in before 20. That was actually a great near fall!
Zack proceeds to try and turn Yano into a human pretzel back inside the ring but Yano is able to get his arm free and grab the ropes. Zack has Yano down but takes too long to make it count and Yano pops up with a belly to belly suplex. Zack gets two from a sunset slip and then gets a flying triangle choke and cinches it in. Zack adds a double wrist lock to the hold, just to be a jerk, and Yano tries to power out by fails.
Yano looks set to lose but manages to find just enough energy to make the ropes. Zack is unimpressed and starts delivering kicks and upper cuts to Yano. Yano tries a desperation low blow but Zack counters to a pinning combination that he used to beat Okada in Altrincham, but Yano is able to sneak out at two. With the chips down, Yano reverts to type and undoes the turnbuckle pad, but the ref stops him using it as a weapon.
As the ref takes the pad away, Yano goes for a low blow on Zack, who catches the arm between his legs, but Yano is able to counter that to a school boy for two. Zack counters that to an arm bar, at which point Yano counters THAT with another cradle for a big near fall. That sequence was utterly fantastic and I was buying that Yano was about to pull off the upset! Zack runs at Yano, but ends up hitting the unprotected buckle.
Yano goes for the other turnbuckle pad, but it proves to be his undoing as it allows Zack time to recover from hitting the corner and get a pin counter to pick up the win. What an effort from Yano that was, as he ALMOST managed the upset before JUST being pipped to the post by Zack.
WINNER: ZACK SABRE JR
I thought that match was great, with Yano trying every trick in his book to beat Zack, only for Zack to end up sneaking the win with a pin counter. If you don’t “get” either of these guys ring styles then I heartily recommend watching this match as there’s a good chance it will convert you.
B Block – 19/07/2018
IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson (0 pts) Vs Kota Ibushi (2 pts)
Juice lost out to Tama Tonga in the first round thanks to interference from Tanga Loa, whilst Ibushi was able to beat Zack Sabre Jr courtesy of a big knee to the face. Juice has a protective cast on his broken hand and has been told that if he uses it in any of the G1 matches he will be disqualified. I think Ibushi would be the favourite here but Juice winning would hardly be a giant upset considering he’s currently a title holder.
As both men are fan favourites, we get a show of sportsmanship with a handshake to start. Ibushi goes after the hand with a wrist lock early on but gives a clean break when Juice makes the ropes. Juice works a headlock, which transitions into the international, and Ibushi ends up clocking him with a dropkick to end that sequence.
Ibushi tries an Asai moonsault to the outside but Juice is able to move and then follows with a cannonball off the apron, getting the odd noticeable boo from the Ibushi fans in the house. Back inside, Juice gets a top rope cross body for two and then goes to a camel clutch on Ibushi. Juice’s left hand seems to be bothering him, but he manages to keep on top of Ibushi.
Ibushi is able to dodge a cannonball in the corner and delivers a big springboard dropkick to send both men down to the mat. Ibushi unloads with some strikes, and the fans seem to be backing him more than Juice. Ibushi sends Juice outside, but again is unable to hit the moonsault as Juice climbs up to stop him and then brings him back down with a superplex. Cannonball from Juice sets up the Liger Bomb for two. Despite kicking out, Ibushi looks dazed on the mat.
Ibushi tries to springboard in with something but Juice cuts him off in mid-air with a chop and then follows onto the apron. Ibushi manages to fight Juice off on the apron and then rana’s him down to the floor in an insane spot. With Juice down outside, Ibushi climbs up top to the ring post and finally hits the moonsault to the outside onto Juice. That was utterly outstanding and also appeared to be completely safe as well. Ibushi can fly with the best of them!
Ibushi gets two from that back inside and goes for the knee strike, but Juice fights him off and gets a big lariat. Juice tries to hoist Ibushi up onto his shoulders but Ibushi fights him off with elbows and a high kick. Ibushi goes for the knee again but Juice dodges and hits him with a jumping side kick before delivering a fireman’s gut buster for two. Juice goes for Pulp Friction (Tomikaze/Unprettier) but Ibushi counters with an Electric Chair attempt. Juice fights out of that, so Ibushi get a straightjacket suplex for two before smashing Juice in the face with his knee for the winning pin.
WINNER: KOTA IBUSHI
That match had some crazy spots from both men and was a lot of fun. Ibushi now has 4 points on the board and is looking like a very realistic winner of B Block right now. Juice probably won’t recover from these two early losses, but he should be able to get a respectable amount of points on the board based on that showing. Juice shows good sportsmanship post-match by giving Ibushi a congratulatory hug.
B Block – 19/07/2018
Tomohiro Ishii (2 pts) Vs Tetsuya Naito (0 pts)
Ishii managed to outsmart/cheat his CHAOS stablemate Yano in the first round of matches whilst Naito fell to Kenny Omega in the rematch from last year’s G1 Final. Naito will be looking to bounce back here and get some much needed points on the board, lest he run the risk of falling too far behind the pace. Ishii and Naito got in a heated brawl during a tag match on Day Three, so they shouldn’t be afraid to get stuck in here.
Ishii won the last time these two met in the G1 and almost beat Naito in a rematch later in the year as well, so this will be no walk in the park for the “Stardust Genius” by any means and a loss for him wouldn’t be too much of an upset. Naito teases giving Ishii a clean break on the ropes, but then kicks him in the gut. Outside we go, where Ishii gets whipped into the guardrails, but he’s soon up on his feet and isn’t happy.
Naito works over Ishii with strikes back in, but Ishii no sells them and demands more in a typical display of manliness. Ishii manages to get some offence in by dodging a Naito seated dropkick and delivering one of his own. Ishii unloads with big chops, and Naito decides to make the situation worse by spitting at him and laughing. Clearly Naito has been watching some late 90’s Al Snow tapes.
Ishii adds some chops to the back and the end result is Naito being bruised all over and writhing on the mat. Naito comes back with some open handed chops of his own and some forearms, but he can’t move “The Stone Pitbull”.
Naito finally manages to earn himself a bit of a break from getting chopped to death with an inverted atomic drop and a neck breaker. Naito gets a dropkick in the corner and mugs for the crowd. I wouldn’t leave Ishii with time to recover if I was you Naito. As if hearing me, Naito goes to stomp away on Ishii in the corner, but Ishii absorbs them all and delivers BIG slap in response. OUCH!!!
Ishii toys with Naito by delivering insulting short kicks, with the aim of firing Naito up and breaking him from his usual “Tranquillo” state and it seems to work as Naito gets up and delivers a slap to Ishii’s head. This serves only to anger Ishii, who replies with a series of chops to Naito’s throat before following up with a back suplex. Naito, here’s some friendly advice, don’t go out of your way to annoy guys like Ishii or this sort of stuff will happen to you.
Naito fights back with an enziguri to Ishii and hits a missile dropkick, but Ishii NO SELLS THE MISSILE DROPKICK and sets Naito up top. Holy guacamole! Ishii sets Naito up for a superplex but Naito fights it for all he’s worth and managers to counter it with a sunset bomb out of the corner for a double down. Naito goes for a pumphandle but Ishii fights him off and gets a release German Suplex. Naito comes back with a flying forearm, but Ishii is able to block the follow up dragon suplex.
Naito counter s a brain buster into a DDT, but ends up running into a big Ishii clothesline and ends up doing the old Marty Jannetty flip sell of it. Naito slugs away on Ishii with forearm strikes, but Ishii is too gosh darn MANLY to stay down and comes back with a big head butt. Ishii hits a Last Ride powerbomb for two and then follows up with a sliding lariat for another two as Naito refuses to lose. Ishii sets up for the brain buster, but Naito slips out. Naito goes for The Destino (Somersault Reverse DDT) but Ishii blocks it and follows up with another lariat for two.
Naito looks to be out for the count, but is able to block the brain buster attempt and hit a desperation enziguri to buy himself some time. Destino is blocked again and Ishii gets a dropkick, but Naito follows up with a rolling somersault kick. Ishii goes for the brain buster again but Naito counters it in mid air to a reverse DDT, but Ishii is just able to kick out at two for a great near fall. Fans were buying that it was over there. Undeterred, Naito drags himself to his feet and hits The Destino, and that’s enough for the three count.
WINNER: TETSUYA NAITO
What a great match that was, with Ishii getting to look stoic and tough in defeat whilst Naito was able to look gutsy and resilient in victory. So Naito is finally on the board, and he celebrates in attacking the referee like the insufferable git he is.
B Block – 19/07/2018
NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto (2 pts) Vs IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega (2 pts)
This is a rematch of the 2016 G1 Final, which saw Omega pick up the win. Goto took out SANADA in the first round of fixtures whilst Omega was able to get a big win over Naito in the marquee match of the round. I know a lot of people hate Omega’s “Best Bout Machine” nickname, but I personally think it’s an awesome piece of “Japanglish” and it gives me a chuckle.
Omega gives Goto a mocking clean break to start and then tussles his hair whilst having him in a wrist lock. I can’t possibly imagine why that could be a bad idea, no siree. Both men trade early finisher attempts but are able to slip out of their opponents moves. Omega delivers a dropkick and follows with a baseball slide to send Goto into the front row.
Omega sets up for a dive into the crowd, but Goto throws a chair at him to knock him back into the ring and then follows with a reverse GTR (Reverse DDT to the Knee) on the floor. Into the crowd we go, where they fight up the bleachers and Goto tries to suplex Omega out there. Omega is able to fight off the suplex attempt and then hits a nasty looking body slam.
Goto’s leg and hip bounced off one of the benches there, making the move look especially brutal. Not content with just that, Omega moonsaults off a nearby railing into the bleachers onto Goto in another crazy spot. Sometimes I think Kenny Omega is determined to send himself into early retirement when he does ridiculous stuff like that.
Omega gets a big leaping face buster back inside but Goto is able to kick out at two. Omega chokes Goto in the corner and pounds away, but that serves only to fire him up, so Omega has to put him down with a chop for two. Omega goes to a chin lock now and tries to wear Goto down, but Goto is able to make the ropes.
Omega throws some forearm strikes and Goto replies with some of his own, but he can’t escape the rolling fireman’s carry and quebrada from Omega. Goto keeps fighting however and finally manages to flatten Omega with a big lariat to buy himself some recovery time. Goto gets a spinning wheel kick in the corner and then follows up with a Saito Suplex for two.
Goto goes for the Ushigoroshi (Fireman’s carry onto the knee) which Omega is able to slip out of, but he’s able to get it on the second attempt. Both men trade sleeper attempts before Goto goes for a German Suplex, but Omega lands on his feet and hits him with the V-Trigger (Running Knee to the Face). Omega sets Goto up top for a superplex, but Goto is able to fight him off.
Undeterred, Omega hits another V-Trigger whilst Goto is still up top and goes for the superplex once more but Goto is again able to fight him off and brings him down with the Yoshi-Tonic (Leg Trap Sunset Flip Powerbomb) for two. That was an utterly ridiculous move to try but they pulled it off safely and it looked fantastic!
Now both men trade forearm strikes, which ends with Omega hitting a snap dragon suplex, only to then run straight into a clothesline from Goto. Goto hits the reverse GTR and then sets up for the standard version, but Omega manages to counter out of it, so Goto instead delivers his old finisher the Shouten Kai (Vertical suplex sit out side slam) for a close near fall. I was BUYING that near fall there!
Goto tries the GTR but Omega is able to counter to a victory roll for two. The crowd are breathless watching this and so am I! Omega delivers some stiff chops that reverberate throught Korakuen Hall and follows with a pair of V-Triggers before hitting a spinning brain buster to the knee for two. Goto is glassy eyed here, as Omega delivers another big V-Trigger and follows with the One Winged Angel (Electric Chair into a Michinoku Driver) to pick up the victory.
WINNER: KENNY OMEGA
Yet another great match in a series of them in this tournament so far. Goto never got to hit the GTR, which left the possibility open that he might had won if he’d managed to hit it.
So that’s Night Four in the bag, the current standings in B Block are as follows;
Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi on 4 points, Hirooki Goto, SANADA, Tetsuya Naito, Tomohiro Ishii, Zack Sabre Jr and Tama Tonga on 2 points and Toru Yano and Juice Robinson bringing up the rear with nil points.
I hope to see you all soon for Night Five and the continuation of A Block
Thanks for reading
If you like the sound of this G1 Climax stuff, then why not sign up to New Japan World for just 999 Yen a month? It’s a veritable bargain!
Whilst you’re here, why not have a goosey gander at Lee’s review of House Flipper? You can read the review by clicking right HERE