Back to the G1, this time with the B Block. This is the second to last night for the B Block and in comparison to the last night for the B Block, this card doesn’t look that great. Still the main event between Los Ingobernables stablemates Tetsuya Naito and Sanada is a first time match and a potential match of the tournament…
Juice Robinson vs. Tomohiro Ishii was a great opener (4/5) This was a hard-hitting back and forth match that had me guessing as to the winner would be. Some great counters too – Ishii’s first counter of the Juicebox (Robinson’s fireman’s lift into a gutbuster) was fantastic/ Ishii has had a great tournament and Juice has done pretty well too. Another fine match on both men’s G1 resume.
Hirooki Goto vs. Zack Sabre Jr was a really good, submission based match with Sabre Jr attacking the arms of Goto before rolling him up with a European Clutch for the win (3.5/5). I thought Sabre Jr was great here and I enjoyed Goto too, even though he rarely seems to take the intensity up in his matches. He’s a consistent level of tough and stoic, without ever showcasing emotional highs and lows and that makes him harder to get behind.
Then the quality of this night took an alarming dip…Kota Ibushi vs Tama Tonga was a disappointment. The slow, methodical control section from Tama, very little offence from Ibushi, more predicable interference from the Firing Squad, Kenny Omega’s rescue attempt failing and Tama pinning Ibushi after all the interference….I hated the outcome to be honest, I would have had Kota Ibushi win here as he’s miles ahead of Tama but I guess it’s all part of the G1 plan. It’s ridiculous that the referees (in the story) haven’t clocked on to all the interference yet and done something about it – it’s makes them look silly. The Firing Squad are a midcard faction crying out for a main eventer to add some legitimacy to them – does anyone buy them as a threat to the Bullet Club, despite all the beatdowns? I’ve always thought Tama Tonga was decent in ring, but this tournament has not helped the perception of him as a wrestler, mainly because he’s not required to wrestle to his full potential. Surely, to make him look strong, you let Tama win a few big matches without interference? I’ll go 2.5/5 here as nothing was badly executed and because Ibushi’s offence was really good. This is the first time the Firing Squad have really annoyed me though…..I never want to see interference in pro wrestling again…
Toru Yano vs. Kenny Omega had to have an interference finish straight after that last match, didn’t it? The return of the Firing Squad to give Yano the win was irritating, but I was struggling more with Kenny Omega wrestling a comedy match after watching him and his best friend getting beaten up by his arch rivals…the match itself was fine, but that lack of logic took me out of it – why not just have this match earlier in the night? A 2.5/5 for me and I think that’s just me being generous as it’s Kenny Omega….
Tetsuya Naito vs. SANADA was a good match, but I found myself wanting more (3.5/5). More emotion, more fire, some hints of anger between the two. This match, in my opinion, will be one of New Japan’s big main event matches in the next few years so I was a little disappointed by what we got here.It felt like a comprehensive win for Naito, when I wanted to see Sanada push him to his limit. Hopefully, we’ll see that down the line….
Overall – a disappointing show due to The Firing Squad’s interference and a slightly disappointing main event. The middle of the card just took me out of the show, which was a shame as the first two matches were really good. I’d recommend the opener anyway….overall score was 3.20/5.00