B Block is back baaayyyy beeeee! I decided to forego the 4:15am alarm clock so I could instead sleep in and catch this in the morning after our puppy inevitably wakes us up way too early for a Saturday. I’ve mentioned how much of a fan I’ve become of SANADA lately so I’m looking forward to him and ZSJ here. Naito and Juice could be a show-stealer and here’s hoping that YTR can get on track after taking a super close loss against ZSJ a couple of nights ago. Let’s get started with G1 Climax 28 Day Six and two guys I couldn’t care less about!
Mike Elgin & Ren Narita vs YOSHI-HASHI & SHO
Sho and Ren Narita deserve better than this. Elgin ditched his dumb entrance jacket so at least he’s got that going for him. Best case scenario, YOSHI and Mike find a way to somehow eliminate one another from the rest of the tournament during this match so we don’t have to see the same Mike Elgin match any more and we don’t have to see YOSHI at all. These two are going to face each other on Sunday and it’s going to be lousy. SHO and YOSHI pick up the win here thanks to SHO putting Ren Narita away. Elgin, like he does, stands outside of the ring looking like a dumb baby after his loss before heading to the back.
EVIL & BUSHI vs Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa
The night only gets worse from the opener. The Firing Squad and LIJ have a spirited battle which was incredibly fun to watch (so much so that I didn’t grab my laptop to take notes) but sadly ends with my Spooky Boys~ taking a loss thanks to Tanga Loa’s inverted sitdown piledriver finding its mark on BUSHI. After the match EVIL reaches under the ring to grab a chair and stare down his opponent on Sunday, Fale, before making the trek back to the locker room. Loa and Fale have words with the English commentary team but the cameras don’t pick up what they’re saying and I’m watching with the Japanese commentary so it will sadly be lost to time forever.
Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado vs Jay White & YOH
I’m going to come out and say it right here right now that this is is perhaps the cycle I’m looking forward to most. This tag team match has all of the elements to be effing fantastic, and it leads into Suzuki and White tomorrow which, by all accounts, should be ridiculously great. Suzuki loves murdering and Switchblade is a dirty little dirtbag who, by all logic, should fit in more with Suzuki-Gun than Chaos. On the way to the ring Suzuki knocks down a young boy with a proud smile on his face. He’s the best. Suzuki stalks after White before he can get into the ring looking like he’s ready to absolutely rip his head from his shoulders. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. White and Suzuki start off but after taking a hard kick to the leg White bails and tags YOH into the match. I’m so sorry, YOH :/
YOH is able to find his footing once Suzuki tags Despy into the match at which point White tags himself in to begin his assault on the outside of the ring before being chased off by MiSu. White does a great job at selling the sheer horror of winding up on the bad side of Suzuki by escaping any time Suzuki is hot on his heels. Suzuki locks poor YOH in a choke prompting White to charge in to break the hold. Suzuki releases, however, and White bails once again to the delight of the crowd. Suzuki locks the hold in once more and Despy rushes in to hold White back. After disposing of Desperado, White simply watches as Suzuki releases YOH and nails him with the Gotch-style piledriver for the victory. Suzuki starts after White once more after the match and Switchblade puts distance between them once more at top-speeds. Their match tomorrow on Day Seven is going to be one to watch.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay vs Hangman Page & Chase Owens
I’m officially a Hangman Page believer now. His match against Okada on Day Five was one of my most enjoyed matches of this tour thus far and did a spectacular job of breaking him out of the Bullet Club shadow, in my opinion. I’m hoping he can keep that momentum going as he battles Tanahashi here in tag action and then as part of the A Block tomorrow night. Tana, Page, and Owens have some silly pantomiming early on with Tana’s air guitar which looks like it could get tense at one point but settles down nicely. After a bit of a stalemate ducking each others clotheslines and catching each others kicks, Tana takes the brief advantage on Owens before finally being caught with a huge clothesline that brings both men to the mat. Tana makes the tag to Finlay who is about to be put away with the Rite of Passage before being saved by the Ace. Owens finds himself in the ring amidst the madness and Finlay handily takes care of him, dumping the Crown Jewel of the Bullet Club to the outside. This distraction leaves Finlay open, though, to get caught with Page’s flipping clothesline from the outside before the Rite of Passage to close this one out. Tana and Page go face to face after the match and it’s a much different story than Suzuki and White – both of these guys seem to respect one another and are looking forward to a competitive match tomorrow.
Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
Lil Kazu is out with his long boys and balloons fresh off of his first victory of the tournament over Hangman Page the night before. It remains to be seen whether or not he has completely broken out of his spiral since losing the IWGP Heavyweight Title but this match should be a good indication as he prepares to go one-on-one with Makabe in the main event of Day Seven. I love the way Gedo sells Toa’s diving forearm here, just shaking and convulsing wildly after being pummeled into the mat with the move. Okada and Makabe spend some time in the ring together with Okada attempting a Rainmaker only to be blocked before reversing Makabe’s powerbomb attempt into the reverse neckbreaker. He makes a hasty retreat to tag in Gedo who doesn’t fare as well as the Rainmaker himself, eventually finding himself flat on his back and feeling the brunt of Makabe’s King Kong Knee Drop for the victory. Okada, sitting on the floor against the railing, has words with Makabe who taunts the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion from inside the ring. Kazu grabs Makabe’s chain and wraps it around his fist, threatening his Day Seven opponent, before exiting to leave Makabe and Toa to celebrate.
Kota Ibushi vs Toru Yano
YTR catches Ibushi wildly off-guard in the opening moments of this match and nearly steals two quick pinfalls. I’m loving this version of Toru Yano. He’s still funny, he still resorts to some of his old comedy tactics, but in between he’s just wrestling like hell and doing a stellar job at making himself a convincing participant in the G1. As the fight spills outside, YTR finds himself on his feet with Ibushi on the floor. He takes the opportunity to begin walking around the ring removing the protective turnbuckle pads from all of the corners until Ibushi stops him with a twisting dive from the top rope. With Yano down, Ibushi turns to the corner and struggles to remove the turnbuckle pad before YTR pulls him from the apron. Yano finishes the job and removes the final turnbuckle pad and now all four corners are exposed! Both men feel the brunt of the steel buckles but Yano really goes to town whipping Ibushi back-first into all four corners in succession. Ibushi misses a wild swing with the turnbuckle pad then misses a standing moonsault leaving the door open for Yano to thump him with the pad before the fight spills once more to the floor.
On the outside, Yano finds a roll of athletic tape under the ring but before Ibushi cuts him off before it can be put to use. Back inside the ring the referee takes the tape from Yano who reveals a second roll of tape from his tights before taping Ibushi’s wrists together! This doesn’t stop Ibushi from hitting a picture-perfect dropkick followed up with a series of strikes, kicks, and a successful standing moonsault. Yano is able to wrap the referee up in Ibushi’s arms, rolling both men up and sending the ref flying into the corner. With the official incapacitated, Yano returns to form with a low blow and a chop block on Ibushi before rolling him up for the three count and his first points of the tournament! These two work incredibly well together and this match was a blast from top to bottom.
Zack Sabre Jr vs SANADA
After finding himself frustrated that SANADA was able to gracefully counter snapmare by flipping onto his feet, Sabre finds himself unable to escape from SANADA’s repeated full nelsons. Every time ZSJ wiggles free, SANADA locks him up one more time. Once he’s finally able to fully escape the hold ZSJ applies the pressure on the mat by twisting and cranking on SANADA’s left leg. The two find themselves interlocked once more after this as they roll around the ring attempting to capture pin after pin before a two count separates them to opposite corners. Despite a decided size advantage for SANADA here, both men are proving to be pretty equally matched and are going move-for-move with one another in a game of “anything you can do I can do better”. The exasperated look on Sabre’s face as SANADA finds counters to his holds is delightful. Fed up with not being able to keep SANADA tied up, ZSJ attempts a Michinoku Driver which is countered into an attempt at the Skull End. Sabre escapes this as well and attempts a bridging pin for a two count. SANADA is able to catch Sabre in the Skull End once more and drop to the mat, but ZSJ once again escapes into a pinning combination which itself is countered by SANADA in his own bridging pin for the victory. A completely different match from the one that came just before it and enjoyable on a whole other level. I’d love to see these two go at it again in the future but for now I’ll rejoice in Spooky Boy~ SANADA picking up another pair of points.
Tetsuya Naito vs Juice Robinson
Naito spent a lot of time in yesterday’s tag match working on Juice’s hand and he returns to that game-plan early on here kicking at the damaged hand. After being whipped into the corner, Juice attempts to leap over an incoming Naito with the aid of the ropes but Naito is there again to drive his forearm into Juice’s hand. The IWGP US Champion seems unable to get out of the gates here with the injured paw and the giant target painted on it. The story here is Juice’s inability to maintain any semblance of long-term control as Naito continually goes back to the injured left hand to break any momentum Juice musters up. He finally finds his groove against the LIJ leader later in the match but can’t quite seem to capitalize when it counts. After a failed Destino, Juice turns Naito inside out with a huge lariat but still can’t keep him down. Naito wrestles his way out of a Death Valley Driver position on Juice’s shoulders to hit a modified Destino for a two count. This is enough to fill in the blanks for the rest of the match as Naito pulls Juice to his feet and connects with full Destino for the final three count and two more points. It didn’t feel like these necessarily clicked at times – there were some messy spots here and there where things didn’t necessarily connect on every level they still turned out a fun match. The pop when Juice’s hand is healed and he’s finally able to (legally) connect with that big punch is going to be absurd.
Kenny Omega vs Tama Tonga
Before the bell can even sound the entire Firing Squad jumps Omega and lays a beating on him. Tonga holds the IWGP Heavyweight Title over his head before throwing it to the mat and kicking it out of the ring. DESPICABLE! Before Bad Luck Fale can hit Omega with the Bad Luck Fall, Hangman Page and Chase Owens make the save to even the odds. Omega takes this chance to recover then hits a somewhat scary dive to the outside on the four non-participants before reentering the ring to a Tama Tonga spear as this match officially gets underway. The other four men outside of the ring are nearly a non-factor until Tanga Loa prevents Omega from hitting a snap Dragon Suplex on the apron by ramming a chair into his knee. His attempt to powerbomb Omega on the floor is thwarted by Omega’s hurricanrana counter. Back in the ring Omega would roll Tama up for a two count; on the kickout, Omega would fly into the ropes where Loa would throw a chair into his face. With the chair in the center of the ring Tama would attempt the Gun Stun with Omega blocking it to send him to the chair back-first. Omega had victory in sights with the One Winged Angel until Tanga slinked out the backdoor and lifted Omega for an attempted Styles Clash on the chair. Referee Red Shoes was having none of it and would kick the chair out the ring sparking an argument between himself and Tama leading to that son of a bitch Tama Tonga hitting the Gun Stun on Red Shoes! This one is over with an immediate disqualification and the Firing Squad get some more cheap shots in on Omega until Ibushi, Page, and Owens run in to chase them off.
Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
Are you ready to see two dudes pummel the shit out of each other? I am! So let’s go! Predictably, this one starts off with Goto and Ishii testing their mettle against one another first with a series of shoulder blocks and then with forearm strikes to the head and neck. Goto is the first to remain standing after taking Ishii to the mat with a running shoulder block. The pendulum swings back and forth often here with neither man really holding control for too long. Goto does assert himself briefly and as Ishii attempts to recover the Stone Pitbull bangs his head on the mat to psyche himself up. This brings a smile to Goto’s face who lays in kicks to a non-plussed Ishii who responds by laying the NEVER Openweight Champion flat on his back. The whole match is classic NEVER Openweight stuff, really. Two guys pounding the hell out of each other with chops, clotheslines, and strikes to see who is going to survive long enough to not only remain standing but actually pick up the victory. Goto makes the tragic mistake of slapping Ishii which results in Ishii attacking with a series of elbow strikes to the face followed by a headbutt and clothesline in the corner all of which slump the champion in an exhausted heap. From here, Ishii lifts Goto onto the top rope and brings him back to the canvas with an insanely impressive stalling vertical suplex. Goto fights back to connect with the Ushigoroshi and inverted GTR but Ishii is able to slip out of the GTR proper and hit a backdrop driver.
Both men once again find themselves on even footing as they get back to their feet in opposite corners before charging into the center with a thunderous double clothesline that sees both men remain standing. Goto rebounds off of the ropes only to get turned inside out with a harsh Ishii lariat. As he does, Goto fights back yet again and connects with the Shouten Kai for another close two count. With both men spent and struggling to stay on their feet, Goto goes again for the GTR only to have Ishii slip out once more. The two trade headbutts in the center of the ring before Ishii connects with an enziguiri to bring Goto down and a follow-up diving lariat for a two count. Finally, it’s the brainbuster from Ishii that captures the victory over Goto in what will probably be the most physical battle of the entire tournament. These two are essentially magic together and this match was no different.
Another solid night from the B Block with Suzuki/White, Tana/Page, and Okada/Makabe looming on the horizon for A Block tomorrow. For now, let’s check the standings and see where everybody stands after Day Six!
Kenny Omega: 6
Kota Ibushi: 4
Tomohiro Ishii: 4
Tetsuya Naito: 4
Hirooki Goto: 2
Tama Tonga: 2
Zack Sabre Jr: 2
Toru Yano: 2
Juice Robinson: 0