August 2nd, 18:30 from Fukuoka Citizen Gymnasium, Fukuoka
B Block today, as Okada looks to extend his lead by beating Tama Tonga, while his closest competitors, Kenny Omega and EVIL, face off. Let’s get to it.
The story so far…
Here we go…
- Syota Umino & Tomoyuki Oka defeated Ren Narita & Katsuya Kitamura
- Kota Ibushi & Tiger Mask IV defeated Hirai Kawato & Yuji Nagata
- Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi
- El Desperado, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi defeated BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi (Some good exchanges between Hiromu and Desperado ahead of their junior title match.)
- Jushin Thunder Liger & Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated David Finlay & Togi Makabe
B Block – Round Six
Juice Robinson vs. SANADA
A fairly respectful opening exchange concluded with several dodged moves, then Juice sent Sanada to the floor with a dropkick. It was Sanada who took control at this point, swiping Juice’s leg when he was on the apron and crushing it with the guardrail gate, then landing a shinbreaker back in the ring. Juice threw elbows and a fight over a suplex enabled him to hit a snap reverse DDT, with a regular DDT following for two. He tried to hobble his way to a cannonball, but was cut off at the knees, and the figure-four was applied by Sanada. The hold was reversed, then they rolled to the floor where Sanada kept the figure-four locked in until 15, and Juice just rolled in before the 20-count. Back in, Juice got two off a roll-up, and a counter spinebuster and falling powerbomb got the same, then he avoided a charge, but was nailed with the springboard dropkick and a backdrop for a near-fall. Dragon Sleeper countered, Pulp Friction countered, lariat from Juice for two! After another extended sequence of counters, Sanada flipped out of a German suplex, chop blocked Juice’s knee and applied the Dragon Sleeper. Juice faded, and Sanada opted to finish him with the moonsault. One, two, three.
A really classy wrestling match. Good intensity, great selling, exciting finish. Nicely done. ***3/4
Michael Elgin vs. Toru Yano
(Not very) long story short, Yano pretended that Elgin had given him a low blow and the referee disqualified Elgin. And that’s Elgin’s out of the running. Ugh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Satoshi Kojima (w/ Hiroyoshi Tenzan) vs. Minoru Suzuki (w/ Taichi & El Desperado)
Suzuki attacked before the bell, taking the fight to the floor where Taichi and Desperado lent a hand. Tenzan tried to intervene, but referee Red Shoes wasn’t having it, and in the meantime Kojima got smashed with a chair. Back in the ring, Kojima fired back with machine gun chops, then caught Suzuki’s attempted Penalty Kick and landed a rolling elbow and DDT. He was shut down up top, however, where Suzuki applied an Octopus Hold and this time the Penalty Kick hit the mark for two. The Fujiwara armbar was applied, but Kojima was able to stretch for a rope-break, and after blocking the piledriver he scored a lariat. Suzuki-gun dragged the referee from the ring, but here was Tenzan to save the day, and Kojima nailed a brainbuster for a near-fall! Running dropkick from Suzuki, into the sleeper and a straight right hand, and the Gotch-Style Piledriver connected! One, two, three.
Six years since members of Kojima-gun turned on their leader and appointed Suzuki in his place and still no retribution. YMMV with the Suzuki-gun stuff, but I thought this was a decent, heated brawl. **3/4
Kazuchika Okada vs. Tama Tonga
Tama attacked before the bell, put on Okada’s robe and mocked his turnbuckle pose, but Okada struck back and sent him to the floor. Outside, Tama flapjacked Okada onto the apron and declared himself The Snowmaker, then stayed in control in the ring until Okada was able to muster a neckbreaker. A series of back elbows followed, with the DDT and leaping uppercut earning two. The attempted tombstone was blocked, and Tama hit the fireman’s carry flapjack for two, but Okada replied with a flapjack of his own to put both men down. Okada transitioned nicely into the reverse neckbreaker before landing the diving elbow and signalling the Rainmaker, but Tama ducked it and scored a spear for a two-count, then, after the Gun Stun was blocked, nailed the Headshrinker DDT for a very near-fall! Okada avoided the Gun Stun once more and The Dropkick connected! Rainmaker blocked, Gun Stun blocked, tombstone blocked. Overhead kick from Tama, but Okada caught the Gun Stun in mid-air and powered into a German suplex! Impressive. Rainmaker! One, two, three.
The final minutes were very good, but they came on the back of what was a mostly pedestrian affair. The loss puts Tama out of the running. ***
Kenny Omega vs. EVIL
Evil got some early success with a shoulder block, then choked Omega with a mic cable outside and ripped up the mats on the floor. He was hoist by his own petard, however, and slammed onto the concrete then onto the timekeeper’s table. Back in, Omega scored the Finlay Roll/moonsault combo for two, then targeted Evil’s back with elbow strikes and a pendulum backbreaker, and Evil’s attempted senton hit the knees. A discus lariat and side kick got Evil back into the match, but Omega launched himself from the apron with a dropkick as Evil looked to use a chair. Omega failed with the follow-up, though, and Evil hit a suplex on the floor, blocked a barrier-springboard and was able to use chair-on-chair-on head violence at the second time of asking. Back in, the Banshee Muzzle was briefly applied, but Omega powered out, ‘rana’d Evil to the floor and flattened him with a tope con hilo!
Omega slammed Evil over the edge of the apron, then laid a table over him and stomped him from the apron! Next, he set up the table and put Evil on it, but Evil got up, only to be suplexed onto the apron. They fought on the apron then, with Evil nailing a headbutt, then hitting Omega with a Uranage from the apron and through the table! Fuck. That didn’t look fun for either guy and Evil was bleeding from the head. Omega made it in at 19, but was immediately hit with a diving senton for two. Darkness Falls! One, two, no. Kenny fought back with chops, then scored a knee lift as Evil went for a back chop. Cross-legged Ushigoroshi! Rolling elbow from Evil, Snapdragon suplex and the V-Trigger from Omega! One, two, no! Evil escaped the One-Winged Angel, spiked Omega with a German, and the discus lariat turned him inside-out for a near-fall! Banshee Muzzle applied, Omega faded, then rallied, and just got a rope-break with his foot. STO blocked, jumping knee strike and reverse frankensteiner from Omega for two. The V-Trigger connected, but Evil – who was out of it – couldn’t be lifted from the mat. After a significant struggle, a practically deadweight Evil was lifted to Omega’s shoulders and the One-Winged Angel got the three-count.
I’m not sure what to think about that. Evil looked really rough there at the end and appeared to be legitimately knocked out. Setting aside that they were allowed to use chairs and table with no consequences, I have to question why they chose to do some of the spots. The Uranage from the apron was outright stupid. There’s no doubt about the effort, but that final minute soured me on the whole thing, so for now I’m not gonna give a rating, sorry.
B Block standings after Round Six
- Okada – 12
- Omega – 10
- EVIL – 8
- SANADA – 8
- Suzuki – 8
- Elgin – 4
- Tonga – 4
- Yano – 4
- Robinson – 2
- Kojima – 0
Final thoughts: The main event got the point where it wasn’t enjoyable to watch, but was on course to be a very good match, so you may well want to try it. I liked the opener quite a bit, and would recommend seeing it, but everything else you can skip.
I’m back on Friday for more A Block competition, which features Nagata vs. Ibushi and Sabre Jr. vs. Naito. See you then.
Twelve down, seven to go.