Night six might be the weakest card the B Block has to offer. Yet, we’re still getting Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii, Juice Robinson vs Tetsuya Naito and Sanada vs Zack Sabre Jr. It is a mental state of affairs. Elsewhere, we’ve got a big storyline moment as Tama Tonga takes on Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi gets to have a bit of fun with Yano. It would be unfair to complain too much, wouldn’t it?
Toru Yano (1-2) defeated Kota Ibushi (2-1)
G1 Yano is here! The man who can beat anyone and it doesn’t matter. His job is to make sure that all the scores work at the end of the tournament and clearly, Kota needed to pick up an insignificant lose somewhere.
We also got the return of The Sublime Master Thief. For all of ten seconds, Yano tried to wrestle with Ibushi scoring a couple of flash pins and nearly getting the win. Then he got fed up and went full shenanigans. There were turnbuckle pads, duct tape and a low blow or two for good measure. It was classic Yano and if I’d already seen two matches worth of it, I’d be complaining about that. However, having had a break, I thought it was a right good laugh.
On top of that, Kota Ibushi appeared to be having a lovely time. Sure, he can go out there and put on five-star-matches every night. However, I genuinely get the impression he’d prefer to be wrestling Yano with his hands taped together. He revels in wrestling’s crazy side, and The Master Thief is the perfect opponent for that.
As I’ve said before, these antic fuelled comedy segments kind of defy star ratings, so, em, let’s go with this.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Sanada (2-1) defeated Zack Sabre Jr (1-2)
What a fascinating contest. This was a technical sprint where Sanada went out there and frustrated the hell out of Zack Sabre Jr by playing his game and beating him at it. Every time Sabre seemed to be about to start getting twisty, Sanada would slip out of it and bring him to a halt. A combination of superior strength and technical skill were giving him the upper hand.
Then, as Zack got more frustrated, he began making mistakes. Suddenly, the man who controls every match he’s in was on the backfoot. He was on that backfoot right up until a series of roll-ups saw Sanada come out on top and pin the master technician down for the three.
I’m fascinated to see what the broader reaction to this will be. It went just over ten minutes and was nearly all wrestled on the ground. I can see a few people hating it, but those that like it will love it.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Tetsuya Naito (2-1) defeated Juice Robinson (0-3)
Time for a little peek behind the scenes. In my notes for this, I’ve written ‘COME ON JUICE!’ They aren’t intended for anyone to see them. They’re random thoughts/a summary of the flow of the action. There is no reason to support Juice Robinson within the body of that writing. I love Juice so much that I couldn’t help it.
Because watching that boy battle the way through the G1 with his busted hand is hurting my heart. He is giving everything he has and is either being outclassed (Naito and Ibushi) or being screwed by cheating (Tama Tonga). The poor bastard is struggling yet he just keeps fighting.
On this occasion, he had a very focused Naito on the other side of the ring. This was an un-Naito like performance as the lead Ingobernable seemed desperate to get the win. He wasn’t bothered about Juice being pure of heart, Naito was going to use that injury to his advantage, and there was some brilliant limb work here. Things like modifying his Corner Dropkick to connect with the hand rather than the torso were intricate touches and added to the thrills of this match.
In the end, my boy came close. However, as he set up for the Double Knee Gutbuster, Naito slipped out and hit Destino. While Robinson kicked out of that one, Naito was able to use the damage done to set up for number two. Much like it was against Ishii, Destino was all that was needed to get the win.
Don’t worry Juice, you’ll get a win eventually. I still love you.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
Kenny Omega (6) defeated Tama Tonga (2) by Disqualification
I’m done with this storyline. It’s doing nothing for me on several different levels.
Firstly, every time Tama and his boys open their mouths they become slightly less cool. Those guys are smooth motherfuckers, yet all they seem capable of doing is swearing a lot. I fucking love a bit of swearing and will take any chance I get to drop a few in. However, it doesn’t make a character. You need more than that. Tama is not great in-ring, so he needs his acting to make up for it (as his old pal Cody should be able to tell him).
Secondly, where is it going? They’re not going to win the G1 and watching this they’re going to struggle to justify giving Tama a shot at Kenny. Omega dominated the majority of the action despite the constant interference. The only times he looked in danger was when it became a three on one situation. Is it all just building to Guerrillas of Destiny beating The Young Bucks for the tag titles?
And finally, the wrestling is crap. Look, I love storytelling, I love Kota Ibushi’s chiselled features and I love it when these ridiculous human beings make me feel things. However, the main reason I love this shit is the in-ring work. The rest is all an added benefit. So far, Tama Tonga is not giving me the in-ring action I want. If he can’t do it with Kenny Omega, who can he do it with?
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Tomohiro Ishii (2-1) defeated Hirooki Goto (2-1)
Let’s keep this short and bursting with enthusiastic praise. I’m keeping it short because while this will be one of my favourite matches of the year, it doesn’t need much explaining. Ishii and Goto went out and Ishii-ed and Goto-ed.
What I will say is that in eighteen minutes these two men convinced me that they are the two hardest men in the world. They did that by beating the hell out of each other and, most importantly, selling their asses off. You will see a million wrestlers try to convince you that they are hard as fuck by shrugging shit off. Ishii and Goto do the opposite. As the blows build-up, they begin to wobble. They start to fall back, bouncing off the ropes before they come charging towards each other again. By showing weakness, they convince me that every single one of those strikes is as painful as they look. In turn, they make me marvel at the fact they are still on their feet.
If you can picture two incredibly mobile fridges attacking each other for a quarter of an hour, you can picture this fight. It was wonderful.
Verdict: Four And Three Quarter Stars
The weakest card in the block and it provided two four-star plus matches. It also gave us the fascinating Sanada vs Sabre and the joy of Kota Ibushi having fun with Toru Yano. Any worries you had about this one not being worth your time can be forgotten.
Top Three Matches So Far
- Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii – Four And Three Quarter Stars
- Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega – Four And Three Quarter Stars
- Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr – Four And A Half Stars