And here we are with Night Nine of G1 action from A Block. Today’s big match will feature former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada taking on his fellow CHAOS stablemate YOSHI-HASHI. YOSHI finally picked up his first points of this year’s G1 on Night Seven by pulling off a big upset win over Michael Elgin. Can he keep the run going tonight against the man many consider to be the best wrestler in the world in Okada? Let’s read on and find out!
You can catch up on A Block action by reading my recap of Night Seven right HERE
All of the following matches took place on the 27th of July 2018 from the Act City Hamamatsu in Shizuoka.
A Block – 27/07/2018
Michael Elgin (4 pts) Vs Minoru Suzuki (4 pts)
This is a pivotal match for both men if either is to push on and win A Block. Elgin had a strong start by winning his first two matches, whilst Suzuki had the exact opposite. Both men met in G1 last year, with Elgin powering his way to a big win.
Elgin wastes no time throwing some chops and then bulls Suzuki down with a running shoulder charge. Suzuki bails to the apron and, when Elgin goes to get him, he tries to lock in an arm bar over the ropes but Elgin heaves his way out. Outside we go, where Suzuki hits Elgin with a chair a couple of times before bending his arm around the ring post.
The fight now spills into the crowd, where Suzuki adds more chair shots and then uses the chair in question to trap Elgin’s arm before wrenching it. Suzuki stops the referees count and then taunts Elgin before going right back to the arm, this time wrapping it around the guardrail. Elgin’s tries to fight his way back with some left handed chops, but they just don’t have the same effect as the right handed ones.
Elgin gets a powerslam and then tries to use his right arm with an elbow shot, but he winces and you can tell there isn’t full power behind it. Elgin manages a Falcon Arrow but can’t hook the leg due to his arm, which allows Suzuki to kick out. Suzuki comes back with a Yakuza Kick before following up with a PK for two. Undeterred, Suzuki goes for a cross arm breaker, which Elgin fights off and then makes the ropes to break.
Elgin keeps coming with left handed chops, which only serves to amuse Suzuki, who fires back with some stiff forearm shots. Elgin decides he has to use his right arm and delivers a big elbow strike before getting two off a roll up. Suzuki goes for the arm again, which Elgin counters with a German Suplex, but Suzuki holds on and kicks out in to an arm bar. Elgin powerbombs his way out of that and then fires off a lariat, but he can’t put his full force behind it and Suzuki subsequently kicks out at two.
Buckle Bomb from Elgin sets up the Elgin Bomb, but Suzuki slips out, only to take an elbow and super kick followed by a Tiger Bomb for two. Elgin didn’t get all of that move though, possibly due to the arm. Elgin takes off his elbow pad to signal that he’s shaking off the pain he’s in, but when he hits the ropes he finds nothing but dropkick waiting for him.
Suzuki goes to a guillotine choke but Elgin powers out, only for Suzuki to counter his counter with a quick sleeper into the Gotch Style Piledriver to put him on 6 points. That could be it for Elgin’s hopes of winning the whole thing. Considering he had such a strong start, the fact he’s now falling off the pace has to smart somewhat.
WINNER: MINORU SUZUKI
Good, solid action there, with Elgin selling the arm well and then making a point of shaking it off during the finishing sequence.
A Block – 27/07/2018
EVIL (6 pts) Vs Hangman Page (2 pts)
EVIL would establish himself as one of the favourites to win the whole block if he can put another two points on the board here, but part of me thinks that Page might be due for a win. He hasn’t won any matches by pin fall or submission in this year’s G1 yet, but he’s looked good against both Okada and Tanahashi, so he’s hardly out of his league.
EVIL gets the better of things early, working a headlock and then barging Page out of the ring with a shoulder charge. EVIL shoves down the ref whilst brawling outside, which allows Page to floor him with a Van Daminator. Back inside, Page gets a deadlift bridging block buster slam for two, which never fails to look cool.
EVIL floors Page with a double chop but Page is able to dodge the follow up senton splash and then locks in a grounded abdominal stretch. EVIL sells the mid-section big but is able to get two boots up in the corner and then follows with a super kick to Page’s gut. EVIL clotheslines Page over the top rope to the outside and then introduces him into the guardrails out there.
Oh dear Hangman, you put EVIL into a bad mood and that may now come back to bite you! EVIL throws chairs into the ring to distract the ref and, whilst the ref puts them out, hits Page with another one. Page makes it back in the ring at the count of fifteen, where he is greeted with a bronco buster from EVIL, which gets two.
Page won’t give up though and hits a dropkick in the corner followed by a German Suplex for two. Page kicks EVIL to the outside and comes off the top rope with a moonsault, which EVIL “catches” in the loosest sense of the word. Back inside, Page heads up top again with another moonsault but EVIL moves this time, only for Page to land on his feet and then hit a standing Shooting Star Press for two.
Page puts EVIL on the top rope, but EVIL fights him off and tries to bring him down with a super back drop. Page fights it as best he can, but eventually EVIL wears him down and suplexes him down to the canvas for two. EVIL hits Darkness Falls (Fireman’s Carry to Powerbomb) but Page is able to kick out at two.
EVIL goes for Everything is EVIL (S.T.O) but Page slips out and then floors him with a big super kick for the double down. Both men charge at one another with clotheslines, which is a battle EVIL seems to win, but Page is resilient and ends up coming back with a flipping springboard clothesline for two. The fans are backing Page here, as he sets him up for an Inverted Tombstone, but EVIL fights him off with a head butt and a lariat for two. However, Page is out on his feet and that allows EVIL to hit Everything is EVIL to pick up a big 8 points.
Hard fought win for EVIL there, as Page once again looked very impressive in defeat. EVIL is in an excellent position to go all the way here, but he has Minoru Suzuki and Hiroshi Tanahashi next, which could prove to be unmoveable roadblocks for him.
A Block – 27/07/2018
Jay White (6 pts) Vs Bad Luck Fale (2 pts) w/ Tanga Loa
White has actually been carrying A Block so far, having entertaining matches with everyone whilst also honing his heel persona. Fale has been spending most of the G1 this year getting himself disqualified, which doesn’t do much for the tournaments prestige but does at least make him look like a big scary man.
White attacks Loa right from the off and then peppers away at Fale with strikes, but makes the mistake of trying an Irish Whip and gets easily overpowered. Fale is now mad and heads out to grab a chair, but it’s all to distract the ref whilst Loa attacks White. To be honest, I could see White pissing off Fale to such an extent that Fale gets himself disqualified again. It would certainly suit his conniving and devious heel character.
White goes to his tried and tested method of ramming Fale into the guardrails and then takes the fight into the crowd, where he takes a leaf out of Fale’s book by flinging him into the chairs and then hammering him with right hands. White throws a young lion onto Fale whilst he lies on the chairs for added measure, which the ref decides to not disqualify him for, because New Japan.
Seriously, I wish New Japan wouldn’t let so much go sometimes. It’s my one issue with the product. Fale manages to shake all of this off and then flings White into the chairs before getting back into the ring. The referee starts his count but White manages to make it back it at seventeen, where Fale proceeds to hammer him with big shots.
White is able to dodge an elbow drop and fires off some chops to a downed Fale, which the bigger man shrugs off. White decides to change tact and go for the legs, but Fale powers out of a leg submission hold attempt to put a stop to that. White ties Fale up in the ropes and delivers some chops before following up with a middle rope assisted DDT for two.
White foolishly tries a Saito Suplex, which Fale easily blocks before barging White out of the way with a shoulder block and 747 Splash for two. Fale goes for a Splash Mountain Bomb, but White slips out and then finally manages to heave Fale up into the back suplex. White goes for the Blade Runner, but Fale blocks it, only for White to tackle him into the corner, bumping the referee in the process.
With the ref down, Loa comes in to attack White, at which point Tama Tonga comes in with a chair. White is able to block a Gun Stun onto the chair and ends up hitting Loa with the chair and low blowing Fale. However, Tonga hits him with a Gun Stun, which allows Fale to hit the Bad Luck Fall (Splash Mountain Last Ride Powerbomb) to pick up the win.
WINNER: BAD LUCK FALE
I like how not even any of White’s CHAOS stablemates ran down to help him due to him being such a jerk. As a match, this was fine, as Fale plays his role well but isn’t an especially great worker. I should mention that the English commentary got knocked off the air during the brawl in that match, so if I missed anything pertinent from the commentary team then that’s why.
A Block – 27/07/2018
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6 pts) Vs Togi Makabe (4 pts)
Like Elgin, Togi Makabe had a hot start before trailing off a bit. Tanahashi has had a decent innings thus far, with Jay White being his lone loss in this year’s G1. Makabe actually holds his own on the mat with Tanahashi in the early going, as the English commentary finally comes on again. Tanahashi actually gets frustrated at Makabe doing so well, and appears to say a dirty word to display his objection to the way things are going. I am shocked and appalled!
Makabe decides he’s bored with this wrestling stuff and unloads with some punches before going to a side Indian Deathlock, which causes Tanahashi to make the ropes to break. Tanahashi manages to get his boots up during a Makabe charge in the corner and follows with a second rope cross body and running forearm. Tanahashi heads up to the second rope and comes off with a flipping senton back splash for two.
Tanahashi mocks Makabe by going for Togi’s own ten punch spot, but Makabe fights him and delivers the genuine article before getting a suplex for two. Tanahashi goes for a Sling Blade but Makabe stops that with a stout lariat. Tanahashi fights back with a dragon screw and tries the Sling Blade again but ends up running into a Makabe powerslam. Both men trade forearm strikes, which Tanahashi gets the better of, only for Makabe to snap off a quick lariat out of nowhere. Makabe gets a powerbomb, but Tanahashi is able to kick out at two, so he hits another lariat, which still only gets him a two count.
Makabe sets Tanahashi up top for the Spider German Suplex and Tanahashi tries to fight him off with back elbows. Undeterred, Makabe gets an overhead belly to belly instead, but misses the follow up King Kong Knee Drop, which allows Tanahashi to finally get that illusive Sling Blade he’s been looking for all match. Top rope cross body and High-Fly-Flow Frogsplash end things not soon after.
WINNER: HIROSHI TANAHASHI
This was fine but nothing special. It felt like Tanahashi was conserving his energy for some of the other big matches coming up. Considering he and EVIL are both on 8 points, their eventual clash should be the proverbial barn burner!
A Block – 27/07/2018
Kazuchika Okada (4 pts) Vs YOSHI-HASHI (2 pts)
With Tanahashi and EVIL both winning, Okada really needs to also win here to keep up the pace. He will most certainly be the favourite in this particular contest, seeing as YOSHI isn’t really a contender and has had an upset win already this year against Michael Elgin last time out.
YOSHI starts things off with an immediate attack, which sends Okada to the outside where YOSHI introduces him to the guardrails. Okada reverses a whip into the railings and then kicks YOSHI into the front row, at which point we have a brawl amongst the people. Okada sends YOSHI into the chairs and then throws some more onto him for added measure. This is a strange way for two stablemates to face each other. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of love in CHAOS at the moment.
Okada follows up his chair assault by DDT’ing YOSHI on the floor and leaving him prone outside. The referee starts his count and gets all the way up to eighteen before YOSHI is able to drag himself back in. Okada shows no love for his buddy by going after his heavily taped shoulder. I guess you can say that YOSHI brought this on himself for attacking Okada at the start. Okada is just replying in kind to be fair to him.
YOSHI fires off some forearm strikes, delivering even more at the behest of Okada, but he doesn’t do much damage with them and Okada replies with an uppercut to floor YOSHI. YOSHI dodges a charge in the corner and the two men fight over a suplex, which ends with YOSHI countering an Okada suplex attempt with a neck breaker.
YOSHI goes for a powerbomb but Okada powers out with a back body drop and delivers a nice flapjack. Okada wears out YOSHI with European uppercuts, as the fans get behind the underdog YOSHI. YOSHI tries the powerbomb again but Okada counters with a rana and then delivers a two footed front dropkick. He then follows with another from the top rope, as poor YOSHI is getting walloped here.
Okada hits the Rainmaker, and that would appear to be all, but YOSHI kicks out. It looked like the very first Rainmaker he delivered back at Wrestle Kingdom VI, to YOSHI-HASHI of all people. I’m guessing that was an intentional call back? Anyway, YOSHI fires back with a stiff lariat and gets a powerbomb for two. Double knees to the face get another two for YOSHI, as he’s starting to get cooking now.
YOSHI goes for a Swanton Bomb, but Okada is able to roll out of the way and both men are down. Okada dropkicks YOSHI in the back of the head and then follows with another to the face, but when he goes for the Rainmaker YOSHI blocks it and counters to the butterfly lock. Okada muscles out of that and goes for a Tombstone Piledriver, but YOSHI slips out of that and goes back to the submission hold.
Okada is in the middle of the ring and looks set to tap. He tries to crawl his way to the ropes but gets pulled back to the middle by YOSHI. Okada teases tapping out but is finally able to drag himself to the ropes to break. He was in that hold a long time though, so there could have been some damage caused as a result. YOSHI kicks away at a grounded Okada, which only serves to anger him and he replies with forearm strikes.
YOSHI fights back however and sends Okada to the mat with some strikes of his own before hitting a big lariat for two. YOSHI hits a big slap and follows with a super kick before hitting a brain buster for two. I was buying that near fall there, which is a testament to both men for playing their roles so well. YOSHI tries for Karma but Okada fights him off and hits a Tombstone before hitting a discus clothesline and then the Rainmaker for the win.
WINNER: KAZUCHIKA OKADA
Great match there, with good selling from both men as they teased yet another YOSHI upset really well before Okada finished him due to sheer force of will. Okada is still in the hunt for A Block thanks to that win, but he’s still got a long way to go.
So with Night Nine in the bag, let’s see how A Block is looking;
EVIL and Hiroshi Tanahashi on 8 points, Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada and Jay White on 6 points, Bad Luck Fale, Michael Elgin and Togi Makabe on 4 points whilst YOSHI-HASHI and Hangman Page bring up the rear on 2 points.
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