Back where it all started in Osaka as A Block enters the final third. We’re at that point where, by the end of the night, we will be able to narrow down our list of potential winners. Who would the winners be after the final bell tonight?
Quick results rundown for the night:
Yuya Uemura defeats Yota Tsuji by pinfall
Jeff Cobb (6pts) defeats Tomohiro Ishii (6pts) by pinfall
Jay White (10pts) defeats Yujiro Takahashi (0pts) by pinfall
Will Ospreay (10pts) defeats Taichi (6pts) by pinfall
Kota Ibushi (10pts) defeats Minoru Suzuki (6pts) by pinfall
Kazuchika Okada (10pts) defeats Shingo Takagi (6pts) by submission
Yuya Uemura v Yota Tsuji
As the G1 reaches towards the crescendo so does our unofficial C Block competition. Uemura and Tsuji had a good match again but there were a couple of uncharacteristically sloppy moments before Uemura got the win with his overhook double arm suplex now called the Kannuki Suplex. C Block standings:
10pts – Yota Tsuji
9pts – Yuya Uemura
7pts – Gabriel Kidd
Jeff Cobb v Tomohiro Ishii
Both Cobb and Ishii have had reasonably quiet tournaments, having good matches without rocking the boat too much. These two decided to rock each other here mind you. Cobb was showing off his power and ungodly athleticism early before the match turned more attritional as they smashed each other with forearms and headbutts. A Tour of the Islands later saw Cobb draw level with Ishii on 6 points but they’ll feel it in the morning.
Yujiro Takahashi v Jay White
Out of all the incredible matches we have seen so far it’s this match that may have a longer lasting impression than most. Evil had questioned just how much Jay White could trust Yujiro here. We saw King Switch come to the ring in his Bullet Club merch, jogging bottoms and trainers ready for Yujiro to lay down and pick up the 2 points. White, Yujiro and Gedo shared a Too Sweet before Yujiro laid down. White teased a couple of 1 counts before getting ready to win and leave but Yujiro got up at 2. He said he was joking and then laid back down to kick out at 2 again which resulted in White getting angry only for Yujiro to roll White up for the 2. Yujiro would even hit a low blow on the Bullet Club leader for the 2. White would quickly get his own low blow in and hit Blade Runner for the win however.
After the match and absolutely enraged Switchblade left the ring and got a chair ready to pounce on Yujiro only to be stopped by Gedo who tried to calm Jay White down which led to White questioning Gedo’s loyalty. White then stormed out of the arena.
This was a fascinating match and showed how good NJPW are at storytelling with Evil stirring the Bullet Club plot. This is really the first time since coming back from excursion that Jay White has lost control. Even when he has lost in the past he has always managed to quickly regain composure. He did somewhat backstage with Gedo but made his ill feeling towards Evil very clear.
Taichi v Will Ospreay
Back to more regular G1 programming after the break. The Holy Emperor made liberal use of the ring bell hammer until the match settled down in the ring. A great back and forth match that showed just how far both have come in the last few years. Taichi avoided the Oscutter with a beautiful super kick but Ospreay would nail the Hidden Blade (probably one of the nastiest looking moves in wrestling) and Stormbreaker for 2 points which means he joins Jay White at 10 points.
Minoru Suzuki v Kota Ibushi
As one of the fathers of modern MMA it’s no surprise to see Suzuki begin this match like an MMA bout. Both Suzuki and Ibushi circled each other early throwing jabs and attempting take downs. After some excellent mat work the match started to degenerate into vicious and nasty strikes and Suzuki goading the Golden Star up the aisle for a brawl. Ibushi would hit the Kamigoye to win a fantastic match. Even in defeat and a knee to the face the King of Wrestling had a broad grin on his face like the sick and twisted git he is.
Shingo Takagi v Kazuchika Okada
It’s been clear that Okada has been trying something different since NJPW reopened its doors at the end of the spring. Still, he hasn’t quite been at the same level since. We got glimpses of the old Rainmaker here however as he and the Dragon delivered an absolute belter. We saw the first hint of a Rainmaker in a while when Okada hit a surprise short Rainmaker. Shingo would kick out and carry on this physical war. He had managed to escape a Money Clip earlier but as the 25 minute announcement went he eventually succumbed. This was probably Okada’s best performance of the competition but there’s still something missing. The Money Clip just isn’t an interesting finish sadly. It’s nice to see Okada mix it up and not have to rely on the Rainmaker but the Money Clip isn’t the answer. Still, Okada moves into the crowded 10 point category while Shingo is all but eliminated now.
Standings after night 13….
10pts – Jay White, Will Ospreay, Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada
6pts – Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii, Taichi, Minoru Suzuki, Shingo Takagi
0pts – Yujiro Takahashi
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