Potential finalists are winding down as the penultimate A Block card for this year’s G1 finals takes place tonight in Osaka.
Kazuchika Okada looks to continue his momentum by facing EVIL in a must win match in tonight's main event. EVIL beat him during last year’s tournament, though ultimately was unable to take the IWGP title off of him. Can lightning strike twice this morning?
Meanwhile, Jay White will battle Togi Makabe, while Hiroshi Tanahashi will battle Michael Elgin. Both White and Tanahashi still alive in the tournament, though for White his win is absolutely necessary. Will he be able to pick up the win? And will Tanahashi be riding a wave of momentum to Budokan Hall by beating Elgin?
Other bouts on the card include YOSHI-HASHI taking on Bad Luck Fale and friends while Minoru Suzuki will battle Hangman Page.
Join us for live coverage starting this morning at 2:00 a.m. EDT. Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero will be calling the action.
TOMOHIRO ISHII & SHO DEFEATED JUICE ROBINSON & SHOTA UMINO (8:14)
This was a good action opener, slightly above the level of a typical G1 show tag match.
Juice and Ishii traded a series of shoulder tackles, and Juice finally got Ishii off his feet. Both tagged out. SHO nailed Umino with kicks, and tagged in Ishii. Ishii hit a series of chops, and pounded on Umino with kicks to the lower back.
Ishii ate an elbow on a charge into the corner, and Umino hit a dropkick off the second rope, before tagging Juice. Juice hit Ishii with a cannonball and a leg lariat, before landing a series of jabs. Ishii came back with a powerslam, and hit a vertical suplex, then tagged SHO.
SHO went for a deadlift german, but Juice countered with an uranage, and tagged in Umino. Umino nailed Ishii on the apron, baiting him into the ring, and delivered a spinebuster. Juice hit a spinebuster on SHO, and tagged Umino, who hit a missile dropkick.
Umino applied a crab, but Ishii jumped in for the save. Umino sent Ishii to the floor with a dropkick, but then ran into a knee lift from SHO. Umino used an inside cradle for a nearfall, a la magistral for another, but then ate a lariat, as SHO picked up a nearfall.
SHO hit a bridging german, and got the pin.
TETSUYA NAITO & SANADA DEFEATED DAVID FINLAY & TOA HENARE (6:38)
This was kind of clunky in spots.
Finlay and Henare survived a cheap shot attack before the opening bell, and briefly got some offense on Naito, but SANADA nailed Henare form the apron, and the LIJ team took over.
Naito went for a flying forearm on Henare, but Henare ducked it in an awkward spot, and tagged Finlay. Finlay hit Naito with a series of back elbows in the corner, and Naito countered with an enziguri, a neckbreaker, and a dropkick, then tagged SANADA.
SANADA ate a belly-to-back, and Finlay tagged in Henare. Henare hit SANADA with a flying tackle and a Samoan drop, earning a two count. Henare hit a spinebuster for a nearfall, but SANADA and Naito countered with a stereo dropkicks.
SANADA applied skull end on Henare, and Henare tapped out.
Naito offered a fist bump to SANADA after the match. SANADA accepted, but Naito pounced, sending SANADA into the corner. SANADA took the Flair flip over the ropes, and neither man landed any significant blows in advance of their G1 match on Wednesday.
HIROOKI GOTO & YOH DEFEATED TAKA MICHINOKU & ZACK SABRE JR. (5:45)
This was quick, and there wasn't a lot to the match.
YOH ran wild on TAKA early, until Sabre tagged in and twisted YOH up like a pretzel. TAKA tagged back in and hit a series of knee strikes, but YOH countered with a dragon screw. Goto and Sabre tagged in.
Goto ran wild, until Sabre tied him up on the mat, then landed some kicks. Goto caught another kick, and countered with a clothesline. YOH got a tag, and Sabre went to work on his left arm. TAKA tagged in and continued to work the left arm, until YOH hit a superkick and a falcon arrow, picking up a nearfall.
Sabre and TAKA applied stereo submission holds, but YOH reached the ropes, and as the legal man, forced a break. YOH slipped out of a facelock, and rolled TAKA up for the pin.
TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA DEFEATED YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & KOTA IBUSHI (3:32)
A quick win here for the Bullet Club OGs.
Tama Tonga asked Yujiro to join the Bullet Club OG before the match, offering a handshake. Yujiro turned his back, and Tonga and Loa attacked as the bell rang. Tonga took Ibushi to the floor, while Loa beat down Yujiro in the ring.
Loa hit a delayed back suplex, and Tonga hit a splash in the corner, before Ibushi jumped in to make the save. Ibushi hit a kick, a standing moonsault, a missile dropkick, and hit a pescado to Tonga on the floor.
Yujiro went for a DDT, but Loa countered with apeshit, and got the pin.
KENNY OMEGA & CHASE OWENS DEFEATED TORU YANO & GEDO (6:43)
They did a total comedy match.
Owens and Gedo started out, and did some comedy. They poked each other in the eyes. Omega and Owens did a series of quick tags, and did a rowboat spot with both of Gedo and Yano's legs. Gedo sent Omega into Owens, and tagged in Yano.
Yano went right for the turnbuckle pads, but Owens and Omega got there first. They each swung at Yano, but Yano ducked, and they hit each other. Yano and Omega did some comedy spots, before tagging their partners.
Owens hit a series of jabs, but ate a right hand from Gedo. Owens accidentally got hit with a superkick from Omega, but recovered and hit Gedo with one. Owens hit a package piledriver on Gedo, and got the pin.
A BLOCK MATCH: YOSHI-HASHI DEFEATED BAD LUCK FALE (8:41)
Tanga Loa was at ringside with Fale, and tripped YH. He suplexed him on the floor while Fale took the ref, and Fale followed by sending him into the security fence. Back inside, Fale stepped on YOSHI-HASHI's head, and stomped on his heavily taped right arm.
YOSHI-HASHI made a brief comeback, hitting a low dropkick, followed by a headhunter. Fale missed a charge into the corner, allowing YOSHI-HASHI to hit a headhunter off the top for a two count. Fale blocked a fisherman buster, and hit a shoulder tackle and a splash for a two count.
YOSHI-HASHI hit a lariat for a nearfall, and went up top. Loa grabbed YOSHI-HASHI's leg, giving Fale a moment to recover. YOSHI-HASHI used a roll-up for a nearfall. He ducked a sit-out splash, and sent Loa to the floor with a lariat. YOSHI-HASHI hit double knees for a nearfall.
YOSHI-HASHI went for an armbar. As Fale fought to keep his hands together, Tama Tonga ran in and used a chair on YOSHI-HASHI for the DQ.
A BLOCK MATCH: HANGMAN PAGE DEFEATED MINORU SUZUKI (12:05)
The last few minutes here were very good.
Page attacked Suzuki before the opening bell, and they brawled up to the ramp. Page hit a moonsault off the stage to the floor, wiping out Suzuki and his second, Desperado. They went to the ring, and Page covered for a one count, but Suzuki grabbed a wristlock and went on the offensive.
Suzuki sent Page to the floor, and dragged him into the crowd. Suzuki hit Page with a chair, and dropped pieces of the security fence on him. Back in the ring, Page was able to make a recovery, and hit a strong lariat and a dropkick in the corner.
Suzuki hit a boot in the corner, a snapmare, and a PK. Suzuki used a waistlock and tied up both of Page's arms, but Page reached the ropes, forcing a break. They traded stiff forearms. Page went for the buckshot lariat, but Suzuki slipped behind, used the rear naked, and attempted to switch to the Gotch, but Page blocked it.
Page hit a rolling elbow and a superkick, and got the buckshot lariat on the second attempt. Page went for the rite of passage, but Suzuki slipped behind, and applied a rear naked choke. Suzuki went for the Gotch, but Page reversed it into the rite of passage, and got the pinfall.
A BLOCK MATCH: SWITCHBLADE JAY WHITE DEFEATED TOGI MAKABE (10:22)
They had a very physical match, but it wasn't one of the better bouts of the tournament.
White hit some chops at the outset, but as soon as Makabe fired back, White rolled to the floor. From there, he sent Makabe into the fence, then repeated the fence/ring frame spot in front of the announce table.
Back inside, Makabe was able to recover, and hit a powerslam. He followed with a lariat, ten punches in the corner, and another lariat, and picked up a nearfall. Makabe hit a northern lights suplex for a nearfall, but then ate a snap Saito suplex.
Back on offense, White hit a vertical suplex for a nearfall. White dropped Makabe to his knees, and hit him with a series of chops and short forearm strikes. Makabe climbed to his feet, and asked White to hit him with more.
They traded a series of lariats. White hit a german, but then ate another lariat. Makabe sent White into the corner, and went for the spider german, White blocked a first attempt, and Makabe switched to a spider belly-to-belly.
White pulled Red Shoes in the way as Makabe teased the top rope kneedrop. Makabe climbed down, and delivered a german. He went back to the top, but missed the king kong kneedrop. White rolled to the floor, and pulled two chairs out from under the ring. Makabe blocked a chairshot, and clotheslined a chair into White.
White shoved Makabe into the referee, and hit him with a chairshot. White hit a blade runner, and picked up the pin.
A BLOCK MATCH: HIROSHI TANAHASHI DEFEATED MICHAEL ELGIN (16:03)
This was great. They had an incredible last five minutes, and the crowd really got into the last few nearfalls.
They did a test of strength at the outset, with Elgin coming out on top, even with the injured and heavily taped right arm. Elgin hit a pair of shoulder tackles, and Tanahashi countered with a hip toss. Tana went for a second rope senton, but Elgin powered up and dropped him on his face.
Elgin hit a slam and a slingshot splash for a nearfall. Tanahashi hit a flying forearm, a standing senton, and a somersault senton, getting a two count. They repeated the same time leg spot that Tanahashi did with Page a couple of weeks ago, and both broke cleanly. Tanahashi ducked a clothesline, and hit a dragon screw, but Elgin countered with one of his own.
Elgin blocked slingblade, and hit a belly-to-belly, followed by a clothesline in the corner, and a falcon arrow, picking up a nearfall. Elgin went to the second rope, and Tanahashi hit him with an elevated dragon screw. Tanahashi applied a cloverleaf, but Elgin powered out, sending Tanahashi over the top.
Tana skinned the cat, and pulled Elgin to the floor with a headscissors. Tanahashi teased a high fly flow to the floor, but Elgin jumped back inside and hit an enziguri, followed by a superplex for a nearfall.
Elgin used a jackknife cradle, into a powerbomb, into another jackknife cradle for a two count. Elgin hit a buckle bomb, but Tana bounced out of the corner and hit slingblade, followed by a pair of cradles for nearfalls.
Tanahashi went for another dragon screw, but Elgin turned it into an enziguri. Elgin hit a german, and a rolling forearm, but Tanahashi countered with twist and shout. Tanahashi hit another slingblade, and hit a high fly flow, but Elgin caught him and rolled through. They did a standing switch, then traded strikes. Elgin dropped Tanahashi with a lariat, then removed the pad from his injured right arm.
Elgin hit a lariat with the right arm, then hit splash mountain for a great nearfall. Elgin hit a buckle bomb, then went for an Elgin bomb, but Tanahashi slipped behind, and used an inside cradle for the pin.
A BLOCK MATCH: KAZUCHIKA OKADA DEFEATED EVIL (18:28)
These two had a very good main event. It had the epic last few minutes that we have come to expect from a classic Okada match.
EVIL used a side headlock, a shoulder tackle, and a lariat for quick two count. He went for everything is EVIL, but Okada turned it into a neckbreaker over the knee. Okada rolled to the floor. EVIL reversed an irish whip, and sent Okada into the security fence. EVIL grabbed a chair from under the ring, placed it over Okada's head, and rammed him into the post.
Okada rolled back inside, and EVIL continued to attack the head and neck. He hit a series of chops, then used a chinlock. Okada hit the ropes, but ran right into a sidewalk slam, as EVIL earned another nearfall.
Okada hit a DDT, kipped up, and hit a series of running elbow strikes. Okada hit a flapjack for a two count, then teased the tombstone, but EVIL blocked it. Okada hit a pair of uppercuts, then missed a dropkick, and EVIL hit a senton.
They rolled to the apron. EVIL raked Okada's eyes, then jumped off the apron and sent Okada neck-first into the security fence. They went to the ramp, and EVIL teased darkness falls, but Okada hit a DDT, followed by a shotgun dropkick, sending EVIL rolling down the ramp.
Back inside, Okada hit another shotgun dropkick. He went to the top, and hit another. Okada again went for the tombstone, but EVIL blocked it twice. EVIL placed Okada on Red Shoes's shoulders, and hit a magic killer on Okada.
EVIL hit darkness falls for a two count. Okada blocked everything is EVIL, EVIL blocked a dropkick, and EVIL hit a rainmaker for another two count. EVIL hit a suplex and a lariat, picking up another nearfall.
Okada blocked everything is evil, a rainmaker, and then hit an everything is evil of his own, getting a nearfall. Okada hit a dropkick to the back and a tombstone. EVIL blocked a rainmaker, and hit a lariat. Okada blocked everything is EVIL, and hit a pair of rainmakers, which was enough to get the three count.
A BLOCK STANDINGS
Hiroshi Tanahashi 14
Kazuchika Okada 12
Switchblade Jay White 12
Minoru Suzuki 8
Michael Elgin 6
Bad Luck Fale 6
Hangman Page 6
Togi Makabe 4