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Day four is here! The tournament rolls on with more B Block match-ups including potentially my most-anticipated match, Toru Yano vs Zack Sabre Jr. I’m pulling for YTR to tap-out ZSJ now that he’s attempting to turnover a new leaf. The show starts off with a tribute and ten-bell salute for Masa Saito who recently passed away at the age of 76 before rolling onward with the lower-card tag team action.
YOH & Jay White vs Ren Narita & Mike Elgin
The Chaos duo of YOH and Jay White are out first – we’ll have to see if YOH takes White’s advice this time around to be a bit more aggressive against their opponents. Young Lion Ren Narita appears out of thin air in the corner of the ring while Mike Elgin lumbers out from the back. If only Ren could teach his teleportation powers to Elgin so he could get the hell out of this tournament in favor of someone like Jeff Cobb who is enjoyable to watch and not a purported dirtbag. Elgin uses his dumb strength to try and keep the advantage until Switchblade dumps him on his head with a backdrop driver prompting tags to both partners. Narita uses a weird belly-to-belly suplex that looks like things have gone wrong and is going to drop YOH on his head until he twists and flattens him out. YOH eventually gets the tap-out victory on Ren with a high-angle Boston Crab prompting White to rush into the ring and attempt to nail the Blade Runner much to the chagrin of everybody else. White leaves alone once more while YOH hesitates in the ring before leaving sowing more seeds of doubt in cohesiveness of Chaos.
Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado vs SHO & YOSHI-HASHI
Minoru Suzuki and El Desperado are up next again SHO and YOSHI-HASHI. YOSHI found his curtain rod and now it’s green instead of red! What does it mean?! Suzuki wastes no time in attacking him before the bell before anyone can actually find out. Some mysteries are better left unsolved. SHO takes control of Desperado in the ring until he gets caught in a Suzuki armbar over the top rope and then eats the railing before Suzuki drags YOSHI into the crowd. It doesn’t take long for this one to break down into mayhem as Suzuki takes out his zero-points frustrations on YOSHI with a chair. Desperado somehow finds a crutch to beat SHO with while Suzuki turns his attention to some Young Lions to beat with a chair. He’s nothing if not inclusive. In the end, Suzuki finds success with the Gotch-style piledriver on SHO before briefly assaulting YOSHI after the match leading to their meeting tomorrow night.
EVIL & Bushi vs Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
Spooky Boys~ tangle with Togi Makabe and Toa Henare next and, really, I just need to know where I can get a set of neon green finger lasers and a glowing, pulsing scythe right now. This looks like a better, more sturdy scythe than some other scythes I’ve seen EVIL walk with to the ring. He didn’t even have a scythe at the last show! This scythe is larger than normal and dripping in chains, plus did I mention it glows? It is a very good scythe. The scythe is good. Anyway, LIJ win when EVIL taps Toa out with the Banshee Muzzle. Hit me up if you have any details on that scythe situation.
Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay
Bullet Club, consisting of Bad Luck Fale and Tanga Loa square off with Hiroshi Tanahashi and David Finlay next and apparently everybody is upgrading their gear as Finlay is decked out in a spikier, more studded leather jacket. It doesn’t seem to help him early on as Fale shoulder blocks him to the mat and an immediate tag to the Ace. Tanahashi is on the receiving end for most of the match until he tags Finlay back into the match leading to a pinfall victory for BC at the hands of Loa in a largely unexciting match, yet brief, match.
Hangman Page & Chase Owens vs Kazuchika Okada & Gedo
The final tag match of the night comes in the form of Hangman Page and Chase Owens colliding with Kazuchika Okada and Gedo. This balloon thing is like a full psychotic break for Okada, right? He lost the championship and doesn’t know how to cope so now he’s become some kind of balloon freak? The Latex King never seems to really get out of the gates here as he and Gedo find themselves on the business end of Owens and Page’s double-teaming until Owens wraps Gedo up with a package piledriver for the three count. Okada walks away with yet another loss on this tour. It looks as though he might be at his breaking point as he shoves Page after the match and the two go nose-to-nose before being separated. They’ll be in A Block action tomorrow night – will Okada finally pick up his first points of the tournament or will Page see to it that Okada’s downward spiral into balloon insanity continues? Before leaving ringside Page asks Okada, “Who are you going be tomorrow?!” before telling the Rainmaker “I’m sick of this bullshit!” It remains to be seen if Page’s goading will draw out a more focused Okada in Korakuen Hall.
SANADA vs Tama Tonga
The first of the B Block matches tonight features SANADA and Tama Tonga. SANADA has quietly become one of my favorites in New Japan not least of all thanks to his Bull Nakano-esque hairstyle. Tonga attempts to use one of SANADA’s own moves and tie him up in the ring but doesn’t quite meet all of the marks and SANADA rolls free behind him before catching a near-fall from a rollup. After taking the fight to the outside SANADA chases a fleeing Tonga before being caught with a clothesline from Tanga Loa who is immediately ejected from ringside by the official. I don’t know if I’ve actually seen an ejection in New Japan before? Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention, but it’s nice to see the referee stand his ground here a little bit after the last show was rife with ref bumps and rule-breaking due to ref distractions. Unfortunately I spoke too soon as the referee gets crushed in the corner twice here before SANADA hits Tonga with a cutter and is quickly assaulted by Bad Luck Fale and Tanga Loa. SANADA is able to recover, though, and steals a victory with a bridging pin even while outnumbered three-to-one. Can Naito make it a clean sweep for LIJ later on when he faces Ishii?
Zack Sabre Jr vs Toru Yano
TAKA is out to talk up Zack Sabre Jr. before his match with Toru Yano but it’s all futile, TAKA – YTR is going to tap this noodle boy out in the center of the ring and there’s nothing anybody can do to stop it! Please, YTR, don’t break my heart. Yano immediately goes for the corner turnbuckle pad then cries foul when ZSJ tries to attack. He’s got a point and the referee backs Sabre off so the two can lock up in the center. Yano has an escape for some of ZSJ’s mat wrestling before getting locked in a couple of submissions in the ring and an armbar in the crowd after the action spills outside. YTR narrowly escape being counted out as Sabre begins to slow things down and play with Yano a bit. After a bit of back and forth Yano is able to briefly trap ZSJ in his own abdominal stretch before a rope break stops the hold. Back on the outside Sabre twists Yano’s body around the guardrail and, for the second time, nearly gets a countout victory as Yano dives back into the ring at about 19.99999. ZSJ almost passes YTR out in a triangle choke/armbar combo which is almost broken once via powerbomb but eventually broken due to rope break. Fed up with being serious, Yano attempts a low-blow and it almost costs him the match as Sabre nets a near-fall as a counter. YTR finally removes the corner turnbuckle pad and ZSJ hits hard after missing a European uppercut. As Yano removes the pad on the opposite corner, though, Sabre is able to recover and rolls Yano up for the three count. A loss for YTR but still an impressive showing and I’m looking forward to more of the same throughout the rest of the tournament.
Kota Ibushi vs Juice Robinson
Kota Ibushi and IWGP US Champion Paul Revere Juice Robinson are up next in the battle of just a coupla lil sweetie pies. Both guys laid it all on the line here like it was the tournament finals. After an insane hurricanrana from the apron to the floor from Ibushi (complete with the Golden Star posing for a ringside fan’s photos), he hits an equally insane moonsault from the top of the ring post onto Juice in the crowd. With the kneepad lowered Ibushi looks to finish it but Juice fights back with a headbutt to the stomach and a devastating clothesline turning Ibushi inside out. Juice mounts a comeback enough to lock Ibushi up for Pulp Friction, but Ibushi breaks free and lifts Juice into an Electric Chair. He drops Juice onto his feet and maintains wrist control until he can connect with the straight jacket German suplex followed by the Kamigoye for the win. Afterward, the victorious Ibushi and Juice hug to the delight of the crowd. See? Told ya. Coupla lil sweetie pies.
Tetsuya Naito vs Tomohiro Ishii
It’s time to see if LIJ can run a full train on Day 4 as Tetsuya Naito squares off with Tomohiro Ishii. Naito enjoyed control early on in this one but when things took a shift they shifted hard. After missing a sliding kick Ishii returned the favor with a basement dropkick of his own before his chops threatened to cave in Naito’s chest. By comparison, Naito’s chops had no effect on the chest of the Stone Pitbull and seemed only to rile him up more as he whaled away on the leader of LIJ. Speeding things up would be Naito’s saving grace as he was able to drop Ishii with a neckbreaker before returning to the offensive. After tossing referee Red Shoes out of the ring, Naito would use the opportunity to kick at the head of Ishii and choke him in the corner as he attempted to recover. Again, though, this seemed to only anger the man who rose to his feet and clubbed Naito across the face immediately dropping him to the mat. Somehow Naito would recover and, for some reason, slap Ishii twice. Once more, Naito’s chest and throat would feel the brunt of Ishii’s knife-edge chops. Naito’s resilience would be put to the test as he would survive a Last Ride powerbomb and sliding lariat combo from Ishii as well as a follow-up lariat landing Naito upside down. Ishii’s attempts to finish Naito off with the brainbuster would be fruitless and Naito would sneak in a Destino for a two-count after hitting a second Destino for the final three. The last several minutes of this one were intense and something to see – it could have gone either way and both men did some amazing work here.
Kenny Omega vs Hirooki Goto
Champions battle once more in the G1 as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion goes head-to-head with the NEVER Openweight Champion. The first few minutes here are back and forth with each man going for his finisher early on and neither holding the advantage until Omega catches Goto with a Frankensteiner sending him to the outside. Omega knocks Goto into the crowd with a baseball slide dropkick and as he springboards to the top rope to hit a splash on Goto in the crowd, he is met with a chair hurled from the first row which sends him crashing to the mat. Goto drags Omega into the crowd and attempts to suplex the Heavyweight Champion onto the bleachers onto to be blocked and have himself bodyslammed across the thin wooden planks. Climbing into the next section and onto the safety railing, Omega would sail through the air with a moonsault connecting directly with Goto and the Young Lions holding back the crowd. Back in the ring Omega’s confidence would rise as he largely toyed with Goto until both men would begin to trade blows once again. Despite hitting a V-Trigger Knee to Goto as he perched himself on the top rope, Omega would quickly fall victim to an avalanche Sunset Bomb that nearly put him away. Omega’s snap Dragon Suplex almost put this one away but Goto was able to fight back and nail the Shouten and I swear the ref’s hand hit the mat for three as Omega struggled to kick out. After hitting the Aoi Shoudou sandwiched between two ridiculous V-Trigger Knees Omega would finally connect with the One-Winged Angel to put Goto away and continue an undefeated streak in the B Block.
With the second night of B Block in the books, let’s check out where everybody stands!
Kenny Omega: 4
Kota Ibushi: 4
Tama Tonga: 2
Tomohiro Ishii: 2
Hirooki Goto: 2
Tetsuya Naito: 2
Zack Sabre, Jr: 2
Juice Robinson: 0
Toru Yano: 0
I’m going to cry myself to sleep with YTR’s loss to ZSJ weighing heavy on my heart.