By: Mike Murray
Well after a power outage, a leak under my sink and maybe the weather making my broken leg act up… Welcome to POST Wrestling’s report of Night 4 of A Block matches. Hopefully better late than never. Today’s show is NJPW’s second straight night from Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. As usual I will post my match ratings so you can see what I thought of the matches spoiler free before getting into the report.
Mike’s Match Ratings out of 5
Yota Tsuji vs Yuya Uemura – 3.5*
Minoru Suzuki vs Yujiro Takahashi – 3.5*
Kota Ibushi vs Jeff Cobb – 4*
Kazuchika Okada vs TAICHI – 3.5*
Will Ospreay vs Jay White – 3.75*
Tomohiro Ishii vs Shingo Takagi – 4.75*
YOUNG LIONS SHOWCASE – YOTA TSUJI VS YUYA UEMURA
Tsuji gets an early advantage in a Greco-Roman knuckle lock as he forces Uemura down. Uemura powers back up but Tsuji uses his size and strength to force Uemura down and into a bridge still in the knuckle lock. Twice Tsuji forces his weight onto Uemura trying to break his bridge. Good stuff here. Tsuji uses his size advantage by hitting a shoulder block, a body slam and follows that with a splash. Uemura tries to counter Tsuji’s size advantage by picking up the pace and using his speed. He hits a nice dropkick on Tsuji and a bodyslam of his own. Uemura tries for his undertook suplex, but Tsuji backs into the corner and avoids it. Uemura stomps his larger opponent down into the corner, the proverbial stomping a muddle and walking it dry.
Action ramps up as Tsuji hits a spear and applies the signature Young Lion Boston Crab. Demur’s facial expression here was amazing as he struggled to escape but would not tap out. Frustrated, Tsuji releases the Boston crab and still holding Uemura by the ankles transitions into a Giant Swing ala the Cesaro Swing. I haven’t seen that from Tsuji before and there was an audible gasp from the audience and got really into their clapping as Tsuji spun Uemura around.
Tsuji throws Uemura aside after the swing and grabs in again and reapplies the Boston Crab. Uemura tries to get out but Tsuji drags him further to the centre of the ring and sits down in the hold and gets Uemura to tap out.
WINNER: Yota Tsuji – Boston Crab submission in 7:36 minutes
This was a very entertaining Young Lion match. Tsuji being the power guy, Uemura trying to rely on his sped and techniques. Crowd loved the Giant Swing spot. The struggle during the early knuckle lock was great. The determination by Uemura to try and escape from the Boston Crab and the panic on his face as Tsuji dragged him to the middle of the ring before the eventual submission was really awesome. Another fun Young Lion match that told another great story using just a limited number of crayons.
MATCH 1 – MINORU SUZUKI (2-1) VS YUJIRO TAKAHASHI (0-3)
This match had all of Suzuki’s greatest hits. Early on both guys are outside brawling and Yujiro quickly got the advantage and they both got back in the ring only to quickly go back outside again for more brawling. Suzuki uses a chair on Yujiro. He chokes Yujiro with the microphone cable and hits a big forearm shot that just drops Yujiro.
Back in the ring, Suzuki applies a sleeper and gets a two count. Suzuki goes for a PK that Yugiro catches and blocks. Yujiro throws Suzuki to the ground and hits a sliding dropkick. A front face lock by Suzuki is turned into a fisherman’s suplex by Yujiro. Yujiro attempts an Angle slam that Suzuki blocks with elbow strikes. Taunting kicks by Suzuki fires up Yujiro. Yujiro roars back and tells Suzuki to hit him. Suzuki obliges and drops him with a single strike. Yujiro attempts a Miami Shine that Suzuki turns into sleeper. Yujiro tries for a Pimp Juice but Suzuki again turns Yujiro’s offensive attempt into a sleeper. Suzuki transitions out of the sleeper and hits his Gotch Style Piledriver for the win.
WINNER: Minoru Suzuki – Gotch Style Piledriver in 7:55 minutes
Suzuki is the first person to be able to drag a decent match out of Yujiro in the G1. I liked the fire Yujiro showed and so did the crowd in Korakuen Hall who almost appeared to be backing Yujiro. Suzuki had an answer for anything Yujiro attempted and the veteran goes to 3-1 in the G1 while Yujiro is still winless.
MATCH 2 – KOTA IBUSHI (2-1) VS JEFF COBB (1-2)
Lots of Kota Ibushi towels in the crowd. Match starts with Cobb trying to grab Ibushi and take a hold but Ibushi keeps him at a distance with strikes. Cobb manages to close the distance and takes Ibushi down a couple of times using his power. Ibushi quickly gets a rope break each time. Ibushi kicks Cobb in the thighs that Cobb tries to no sell. Cobb hits a big dropkick for a one count. Cobb hits three headbutts to Ibushi. Abut answers back with a flurry of strikes and Cobb drops him with a forearm.
Cobb gets Ibushi up and hits an overhead release belly to belly suplex. Abut answers back with a Frankensteiner and Cobb rolls out to the floor. Ibushi hits Cobb with a plancha over the ropes and to the floor. Ibushi rolls Cobb back into the ring and misses with a springboard attack from the top rope but hits a double foot stomp to Cobb’s back when Cobb lunges at him.
After some shoulder blocks by Cobb, he scoops Ibushi up and drives him not the corner. Grabbing him by the ankles, Cobb throws Ibushi into the air and hits an Athletic-Plex for two count. Cobb hits a standing moonsault for another two count and the crowd really starts applauding. Both guys hit each other with a variety of strikes that Cobb wins when he hits a big lariat and drops Ibushi.
Cobb goes for his series of rolling gut wrench suplexes. As he goes for the power bomb after the second gut wrench, Ibushi blocks it but Cobb switches his grip on him and gets a fireman’s carry and hits a F5 on Ibushi for a two count.
Cobb signals for Tour of the Islands but Ibushi avoids it, Cobb gets Ibushi in another fireman’s carry but Ibushi escapes that and hits a big kick to Cobb’s head. Cobb is down on his knees and Ibushi grabs his wrists to hit Kamigoye. Cobb pulls Ibushi in and tries for Tour of the Islands but Ibushi escapes again. Ibushi hits a V- Trigger and Cobb is down on his knees again. Ibushi grabs Cobb’s wrists and delivers a Kamigoye and gets a three count.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi – Kamigoye in 10:44 minutes.
Cobb seemed to control most of the match with his strength and power. Ibushi used mostly strikes to keep Cobb at bay. Ibushi has really limited his use of high flying manouvers so far in the G1 but it has not affected the quality of his matches. Very good match.
MATCH 3 – KAZUCHIKA OKADA (1-2) VS TAICHI (3-0)
TAICHI stops to sing to Yoshinobu Kanemaru as he approaches the ring. TAICHI attacks Okada before the bell and they are outside brawling immediately. Pretty straight forward match. TAICHI focuses his attack on Okada’s taped up back. He drives Okada into the barricades outside the ring. TAICHI grabs a chair and attacks Okada’s back while Desperado – who is at commentary – distracts the referee. TAICHI runs Okada back first into the ring post. Back in the ring, TAICHI continues his focus on Okada’s back with kicks, a backbreaker and a singe leg crab.
Okada’s focus is on TAICHI’s neck to soften him up for the Money Clip – Cobra Clutch submission hold that has been his go to since NJPW’s return.
TAICHI hits a buzzsaw kick on Okada and the crowd rally statrs clapping in anticipation as TAICHI rips off his pants. Okada hits a dropkick, then tries for a tombstone that TAICHI escapes from. Okada tries for the Money Clip but TAICHI escapes the hold and hits a Saito suplex. Okada escapes from a power bomb attempt and hits a tombstone. Both guys down and Okada gets up and applies a Money Clip. Still holding on the Money Clip, both guys get to their feet and TAICHI grabs OKADA by the throat. Back slide by Okada and grabs TAICHI’s wrist and hits a lariat. The camera pulls in on Okada still holding the wrist. Okada drags TAICHI around by the wrist and looks like he is going to hit a Rainmaker but TAICHI pulls the referee between them. Okada shoves the referee aside and TAICHI kicks Okada between the legs. TAICHI goes for a Gedo Clutch and gets a two count.
The crowd is really clapping hard and TAICHI hits a jumping head kick. After a series of counters and misses, TAICHI hits a Rainmaker of his own. He sets OKADA up for Black Memphis but Okada gets out and applies a Money Clip. TAICHI breaks free but Okada applies another Money Clip. TAICHI tries to fight out and grab the ropes but Okada hits a backbreaker while still holding on to the Money Clip. TAICHI drops to the mat and passes out in the Money Ciip.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada – Money Clip (Cobra Clutch) in 17:03 minutes
Okada evens up his record and hands TAICHI his first defeat in the G1. The teases for the return of the Rainmaker to Okada’s offence were planted including a great moment when he held TAICHI by the wrist and the camera focused in on Okada maintaining wrist control. Whenever Okada eventually does the Rainmaker pose and hits the Rainmaker, the crowd is going to go insane.
MATCH 4 – WILL OSPREAY VS (2-1) VS JAY WHITE (3-0)
Match starts with White stalling immediately and rolling out of the ring. Ospreay is quicker and stronger than White but White gets the rope breaks and will quickly take a breather to slow the pace. Ospreay gets the initial advantages in the strike exchanges and the crowd is clearly behind him.
White gains an advantage as he suplexes Ospreay over the rope and crashing down to the floor. White rolls out and runs Ospreay into the barricades a few times. Back in the ring White focuses his attack n Ospreay’s legs to hopefully ground the high flyer and slow him down. White applies a single leg – Boston crab and an STF. It doesn’t really seem to work though because Ospreay hits a standing shooting star and a Pip Pip Cheerio on his sore leg. Guess you have to get in your spots…
Gedo distracts Ospreay at one point and White hits Ospreay with a DDT. White puts Ospreay up on the top rope and White looks to hit a superplex that Ospreay avoids. White is now sitting on the top rope and Ospreay tries to set up for a one man Spanish Fly but White fights out of that. Ospreay gets back up and hits a dropkick to White’s back and White falls from the top rope into a tree of woe. Ospreay sets up across the ring looking for a coast to coast, but White collapses from the tree of woe and rolls out of the ring. Ospreay than hits a Sasuke special to White and Gedo on the floor. Ospreay rolls White back in the ring and hits a springboard 450 for a two count.
Ospreay signals for the OsCutter but White grabs his leg before he can hit it. Ospreay tries for another OsCutter that White avoids it and counters with an Ura nage. White hits a Kiwi Krusher for a two count. White sets up for a Blade Runner and Ospreay turns it into a power bomb. Ospreay tries another OsCutter but White catches it and tires to hit Blade Runner. Ospreay escapes and hits the OsCutter for a two count. Ospreay looks to hit Hidden Blade on a stunned White, but White collapses before Ospreay can pull the trigger.
Ospreay tries for a Stormbreaker but White wraps his legs around Red Shoes to block it. Red Shoes collapses and Gedo comes in with the brass knuckles. Ospreay drops Gedo with an elbow strike. Ospreay tries again for Hidden Blade but White catches him and tries for Blade Runner. Ospreay gets out and tries to hit Hidden Blade again but White ducks and tries for a half and half suplex but Osreay lands on his feet. Big elbow strike to White from Ospreay followed by a Hidden Blade and Stormbreaker for the three count.
WINNER: Will Ospreay – Stormbreaker in 18:47 minutes
Good match. Glad to see Gedo’s usual interference was less of a component and not even a real ref bump. I would like to see more of the stalling and targeted attacks by White. Less of the Gedo interference, low blows and ref bumps.
MATCH 5 – TOMOHIRO ISHII (0-3) VS SHINGO TAKAGI (1-2)
This was as heavy hitting and action packed match as I think I have ever seen. The first six minutes was exclusively strike based until Ishii hit a vertical suplex. If you want to see two guys just destroy each other with chops and forearms, this is the match for you. Any attempt to try and do a recap would really take away the experience of watching this match.
Each guy took turns taking the best shots the other one had to give and tried to no sell them until they could no longer hide it. The fire on display, the momentum building through the match was fantastic. The amount of abuse, the comebacks, awesome. It isn’t often that Ishii gets a main event spot and he and Takagi gave it their all in this match. I can only imagine the total number of strikes thrown.
The finish came after Ishii threw a lariat that turned Takagi inside out. Ishii picked him up and hit a brain buster and got a three count.
WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii – Brainbuster in 26:01 minutes
Easily match of the night. My match of the tournament so far. This was a relentless war and both guys looked awesome. I can’t wait to watch this one again. Must see!
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another strong card from A Block, and maybe the most solid of the tournament so far. I would recommend the whole card if you have been following along the tournament. Each match was very good at the least. If you are pressed for time, Cobb vs Ibushi was very strong and could have used a little more time. The main event was so good. Ishii continues his run as G1 MVP in his win of the tournament.