July 25th, 18:30 from Big Palette Fukushima, Fukushima
Okada vs. SANADA and Omega vs. Yano top today’s B Block show. Let’s get to it.
The story so far…
Here we go…
- Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Syota Umino & Kota Ibushi
- Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka
- Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi (w/ the ghost of Daryl) defeated Hirai Kawato & Yuji Nagata
- Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi defeated Taichi, El Desperado & Zack Sabre Jr.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay defeated Jado & Hirooki Goto
B Block – Round Three
Satoshi Kojima vs. Michael Elgin
Kojima scored a shoulder block early and hit a neckbreaker after flexing his pecs, but Elgin caught him with a lariat and took control with a slingshot splash and elbow strikes. Kojima ducked a charge to set off the machine gun chops, with the follow-up diving elbow earning a two-count, before Elgin retaliated with a German suplex and mimicked Kojima’s corner routine. A DDT from Kojima put both men on the apron, and a second DDT sent Elgin to the floor, but he avoided Kojima’s plancha and recovered to land an apron powerbomb! Kojima just broke the count, but walked straight into a Falcon Arrow for two. He blocked the lariat, however, hitting one of his own and a suplex for two. Elgin then ducked the running lariat to hit one of his own for a near-fall, but the attempted second was countered to a Koji Cutter. Kojima clotheslined Big Mike as his tried to leap from the second-rope, but the lariat was again countered, this time to a pop-up powerbomb. Buckle bomb from Elgin, lariat from Kojima! After a struggle on the top-rope, Elgin connected with a sunset flip powerbomb and quickly followed with the Elgin Bomb for the three-count. Another hard-fought loss for Kojima, while Elgin gets his first points on the board. Good match. ***1/2
Tama Tonga vs. EVIL
Straight to the floor, where Tama took control thanks to a fireman’s carry Stun Gun across the guardrail and an extended beatdown into the crowd. After a minute or two of this, Evil broke the referee’s count, but remained at the mercy of Tama and his hard head. Eventually a missed corner splash allowed Evil to hit a sidewalk slam, and he sent Tama outside where he succeded with his customary chair-on-chair-on-head violence (for which I need a snappy name). Very relaxed refereeing, it must be said. Back in, Evil hit the fisherman buster and side kick, but Tama countered out of the corner with an Alabama Slam. A swift rope-running exchange led to a lariat from Evil and Darkness Falls followed for two. The STO was blocked, Superman punch from Tama (announced as such), and the Headshrinker DDT landed for a near-fall. The Gun Stun was avoided, setting off a very nice sequence of counters which concluded with Evil flattening Tama with the STO! One, two, three. Aside from the overlong brawling in the crowd, this was a good effort, with the two men having surprisingly well-matched styles. I don’t find Tama compelling in the main, particularly in singles competition, but it was good to see him assert his dominance here and control much of the match. ***1/4
Juice Robinson vs. Minoru Suzuki (w/ El Desperado)
Juice was limping on the way to the ring, partly as a result of Suzuki’s efforts in Sunday’s tag match, so of course Suzuki attacked him and his left leg before the bell. Juice recovered well to get the better of a fight on the floor and hit a senton in the ring for two, but after avoiding Suzuki’s rope-hung armbar was trapped in the kneebar version! Out into the crowd, where Suzuki attacked with bits of barriers and a chair, and El Desperado lent a hand too. Back in, Suzuki peppered Juice with kicks then invited some retaliation, which he got, with the American landing punches and a spinebuster. Cannonball and a back suplex for two, but Suzuki blocked a suplex and returned to the left leg of Juice, punishing him with a heel hook. He pulled Juice to the middle of the ring and reapplied the hold, but Juice was able to scramble to the ropes. Juice fired up, nailing chops, and eventually downing a persistent Suzuki with a lariat. Pulp Friction was countered, but Juice did score with a big left hand, only for Suzuki to return in kind with a straight right. Sleeper into a delayed Gotch-Style Piledriver, and Juice was getting up from that. Suzuki wins.
Post-match, Suzuki went after the young lions and even threatened El Desperado. Another decent match, though as I’ve found with Suzuki matches so far, it didn’t quite live up to what I saw in the set-up tag match. Juice was game, and his selling of the leg was great, but he’s not a familiar face as a singles wrestler to most crowds, and today’s audience wasn’t behind him quite enough for this to be a total success. ***
Toru Yano vs. Kenny Omega (w/ Chase Owens)
Yano kindly offered Omega one of his DVDs, but when Omega opened it it was full of powder and Yano flicked it right in his eyes! Roll-up – one, two, no! Omega almost killed referee Red Shoes with a One-Winged Angel, but was low-blowed and again almost rolled-up for three. Yano removed every turnbuckle pad and despite Omega recovering sight, he got whipped into one of them. Simultaneous hairpulls! Back-and-forth hair rips! Not-Quite-Main Event Hair Pull Battle! Neither man would let go, so Red Shoes broke them up with a double axe handle from the second-rope! Good lord. They chased each other around the ring and Yano hit Omega with a plastic bucket from under the ring before taping his feet together. Then Omega caught Yano and taped his feet together! That noise you hear is Jim Cornette exploding. Back in, they had a hopping headlock/drop down sequence, ending with a double stomp from Omega, then fought over a suplex before Omega scored with the Snapdragon suplex. Owens gave Omega scissors to cut the tape, but even so, Yano rolled him up for a very close near-fall. Now free, Omega smashed Yano with the V-Trigger knee, sending him to the floor, and the Sublime Master Thief was unable to break the 20-count. Omega wins!
A damn good comedy match. Lots of inventive spots, both guys were totally into it, and I was thoroughly entertained. ***1/4
There seemed to be a technical issue at this point, because the feed dropped out, but it returned in time for the opening bell of our main event…
Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA
Okada went Full Condescension on a rope-break, then was smart enough to avoid the leapfrog dropkick, but Sanada faked a knee injury off a turnbuckle jump and attacked Okada when his back was turned. After whipping him into the guardrail, Sanada choked Okada with his vest, and a back elbow and suplex earned two. He cinched in a chinlock, but Okada powered out, and after Sanada missed a standing moonsault, Okada scored a neckbreaker to kickstart a comeback. Back elbows, a DDT, and the kip up into a leaping European uppercut brought a two-count. Sanada pushed Okada to the floor, but was himself sent into the crowd, where Okada scored with a running crossbody over the guardrail.
Back in, Sanada snuck a rope-assisted low blow and applied the Paradise Lock at the third time of asking, with a low dropkick getting two, then Okada caught him with a flapjack to put both men down. Main Event Elbow Battle time, after which Okada blocked the springboard dropkick attempt and countered into the reverse neckbreaker. The diving elbow hit the mark and the Rainmaker was signalled. Sanada ducked and this time connected with the springboard dropkick before hitting a backdrop for two. The Tiger Suplex was blocked with back elbows, but Sanada flipped out of the corner to apply the Dragon Sleeper. Okada made the ropes, but was floored by the double-leapfrog dropkick and Sanada hit the TKO for a near-fall! The moonsault missed, with Sanada landing on his feet and grabbing a Dragon Sleeper out of the corner, but Okada countered to a tombstone and again both men were down. The Dropkick from Okada! Rainmaker ducked and countered to a tombstone by Sanada! Dragon Sleeper applied! Okada struggled, then faded, but was able to stretch a foot to the bottom-rope. Moonsault from Sanada! Back into the Dragon Sleeper, but Okada rolled-through and hit the Rainmaker, keeping hold of the wrist, then smashing Sanada with a second! A final Rainmaker was initially avoided, but Okada blocked what looked like Sanada’s attempted Destino(!) and planted him to mat with the definitive third for the three-count.
A good match with a great closing stretch. Shame Sanada didn’t carry much of the aggression over from the Suzuki match, but he looked comfortable in there with Okada, pushing the champ further than in their previous two encounters, but again coming up short. Okada, despite apparently losing all faith in the Rainmaker as a one-and-done finisher is rolling right now. ****
Post-match promo from Okada and Gedo, and we’re out.
B Block standings after Round Three
- Okada – 6
- Omega – 6
- EVIL – 4
- Suzuki – 4
- Elgin – 2
- Robinson – 2
- SANADA – 2
- Tonga – 2
- Yano – 2
- Kojima – 0
Final thoughts: Everything was good, with the main event the best of the bunch, and while there was nothing absolutely must-see here, this was a strong collection of matches.
I’m back tomorrow for Round Four of A Block, featuring Togi Makabe vs. Kota Ibushi and Yuji Nagata vs. Tetsuya Naito. See you then.
Six down, thirteen to go.