So here we are, up to Night 15 and the second to last show for the A Block. With Hiroshi Tanahashi top of the A Block and Okada and Jay White hot on his heels, things are starting to get interesting.
Well…almost. Bad Luck Fale vs Yoshi-Hashi wasn’t much fun (2/5). This match contained the usual silly interference from Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa, which makes no sense – I know Yoshi-Hashi was in control of the match, but surely the huge Fale would have come back to win? Why cost him an easy two points? I thought Yoshi-Hashi tried hard, but I didn’t really buy his offence on Fale and I found Fale’s offence pretty slow and methodical. Not a good start to the evening….
Hangman Page vs Minoru Suzuki was much better though (3.5/5). This match told a simple story of the young newcomer in Page taking on the sadistic veteran in Suzuki. I found myself really getting into this one, wanting Page to win and being thrilled when he beat Suzuki with the Rite of Passage (reverse tombstone piledriver). There was nothing fancy here (bar a Page moonsault from the stage to the floor) but the execution and intensity was great.
Jay White vs Togi Makabe was a good effort from both, but very much a standard ‘Makabe’ match. Lots of strikes and brawling, plus all the usual Makabe spots (ten punches in the corner, Northern Lights suplex, overhead suplex from the top, King Kong Kneedrop) I thought White looked good here, but this match was nothing special. I’ll go 3/5 for both men’s efforts, but if you’ve seen the other matches these two have had in this tournament, you’ve seen this one.
I thought Michael Elgin vs Hiroshi Tanahashi was a good, solid match that felt short of 4/5 for me. The action was solid and was building nicely to the finish…then the finish happened. Tana countered a powerbomb attempt into an inside cradle, however a miscommunication led to both wrestlers stuck looking at each other, until Tana motioned to Elgin to complete the inside cradle and got the win. It may be harsh, but that moment took me out of the match and spoiled it for me. 3.5/5, but could have been more.
Kazuchika Okada vs Evil was a good effort, but everything I expected from these two (3.5/5) Watching Evil in eight matches over two weeks has made me tire of his matches…I feel like he’s a good wrestler who has a formula he sticks to fairly rigidly.
- Brawl to the outside, do the (convoluted) ‘put the chair on the opponents head and smash the chair’ spot.
- Brawl back inside and use big moves – lariat, Darkness Falls, do the ‘counter a kick by passing the opponent’s leg to the referee’ spot.
- Get to the finish of the match and frantically try to counter the opponent’s finish into Everything Is Evil (STO). This can last a few minutes,,,,
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad formula and Evil is a decent wrestler, but I feel like I’ve seen this match a million times at this point. Okada was good here and I liked his interactions with Evil, there were some good exchanges here such as the Everything Is Evil counter sequence, which lead to Okada hitting Everything Is Evil. A good match, but too predictable to rate higher than 3.5/5
Overall – Not the best evening for the tournament, dare I sat it, one of the weakest. shows of the tournament. I would argue that the Page vs Suzuki match is the only thing worth going out of your way to see, if you are into Hangman Page’s G1 story. Overall rating was 3.10/5.00