After an excellent showing on Night 12 from the B Block, could the A Block keep up the quality level?
Bad Luck Fale vs Michael Elgin was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, but still ruined by predictable interference resulting in a DQ win for Elgin (2.5/5) The action was logical, with Fale focusing on Elgin’s injured left arm but the appeal of watching Michael Elgin is watching him throw people about. Elgin with an injured arm wrestling a much larger man isn’t quite as much fun. Fale losing again by DQ hurts him too in my opinion – his main strength as a singles wrestler is his dominance in the G1 so having him do badly really negates his effectiveness.
Hangman Page’s win over Togi Makabe was a fun, back and forth brawl (3/5). Both men worked hard and this was a match that grew on me as it went on. I was glad to see Page get a solid win too – he’s quietly winning over the Japanese fans with his effort and hopefully that means we will get to see more of him in New Japan.
I enjoyed Jay White vs Yoshi-Hashi’s match (3.5/5) as it continued both of their G1 stories; White as the opportunistic upstart who will take any shortcut to win and Yoshi-Hashi as the hardworking but hopeless underdog. This match did follow the Jay White G1 formula (lots of guard rail attacks outside, using a chair, low blows, using the ref as a shield) but I thought Yoshi-Hashi’s counters kept this one fresh and I liked how the ending didn’t come directly from a White low blow. A fine effort from both men, who in my opinion are having good G1’s.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Evil was a good match and one that got away from Evil’s formula (3.5/5) I liked the change in pace from Evil’s usual spots (though the ‘leg whip to the ref’ spot here was great!) and really liked the finish – Tanahashi caught Evil with his own ‘Everything is Evil’ (STO) then hit two High Fly Flows for the win. I think Tanahashi has had a really good tournament and I’ve enjoyed his matches a lot this year.
Minoru Suzuki vs Kazuchika Okada was a fantastic main event (4.5/5) The opening brawl was wild and really got things off to a fast start, but I liked how the match settled, with Suzuki beating down Okada, until the Rainmaker began to fight back, challenging Suzuki at his own game – striking. There were lots of cool moments in this one, such as Okada going for Sukuzi’s Gotch Piledriver, then hitting a Gotch Tombstone on the way to the win. I enjoyed this one a lot more than I thought I would, it was a pleasant surprise…
Overall – I was pleased with this card, I thought it was a strong evening for the A Block. I would definitely recommend going out of your way to see Suzuki vs Okada. Overall ratiing is 3.40/5.00, another solid night of G1 action.