The A Block winds down tonight in the first of three New Japan shows in Budokan Hall, with the last two matches determining the first finalist for the upcoming G1 Climax finals on 8/12.
It boils down to three people: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada and Jay White. Tanahashi wins if he wins his main event match against Okada or if they go to a draw. Okada wins he beats Tanahashi and if EVIL wins his match against White or goes to a draw. White wins if he wins his match and Okada wins his match, or the main event ends in a double count out or disqualification.
Other matches that have no bearing on the finals tonight include Bad Luck Fale facing Minoru Suzuki, Hangman Page taking on YOSHI-HASHI and Michael Elgin taking on Togi Makabe.
Join us for live coverage starting at 5:30 a.m. EDT. There will be English commentary.
Tomohiro Ishii and SHO defeated Toa Henare and Shota Umino
We’re at Budokan Hall, but we’re getting the same tags. Everyone looked good as usual, but just there as a match. SHO won with the deadlift German suplex, pinning Umino. Kind of a flat finish.
Guerillas of Destiny defeated Toru Yano and Gedo
Yano stalled a bit, not wanting to get near the Tongans. That may play into his B Block finals match against Tama Tonga. Same finish as usual: Gedo is isolated and after some back and forth with Tanga Loa, fell to a seated piledriver.
Hirooki Goto and YOH defeated Juice Robinson and David Finlay
A good match, pretty nice back and forth. Robinson and Goto are squaring off in their last B Block match tomorrow. Goto got the win here with the GTR on Finlay.
Tetsuya Naito and SANADA defeated Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku
This was a pretty good match. Sabre and Naito worked well together; they are in a key match tomorrow that Naito needs to win. SANADA picked up the win with the cold skull submission.
Sabre jumped Naito after the match, but Naito bailed to the outside and goaded Sabre into doing more.
The Elite went to a no contest with Kota Ibushi, Marty Scurll and Chase Owens
They spent a good part of the match not touching one another but being completely competitive against one another. This all built to a tag where Omega and Ibushi were in. But UH OH! The Tongans came out and ruined the match, attacking everyone. I think the idea is that they want you to think they could run in during Omega and Ibushi tomorrow.
Everyone was conciliary with one another once the Tongans made their way to the back, apologizing to the fans for what just happened.
Togi Makabe defeated Michael Elgin
They brawled early, landing stiff shots against one another. Elgin hit a giant chop to the corner that echoed throughout the arena. Elgin hit a really cool deadlift German suplex for a near fall.
Makabe starts some offense as the two trade blows, then trade German suplexes. Makabe hit a big lariat and took Elgin to the top rope. Elgin fought back, shoving Makabe and eventually landing a crucifix bomb. He next tries the Elgin bomb, but Makabe refuses to get up from the floor.
Makabe cuts off Elgin with a death valley driver, then connects with the king kong knee drop for the win. Really fun, heated match. Great back and forth, too.
YOSHI-HASHI defeated Hangman Page
Page controlled early after hitting the shooting star shoulder block on the outside. YH came back with the headhunter, then a second on the top rope. Page cut him off with a forearm, then after YH draped him on the top rope came back with the buckshot lariat.
Page follows with a giant neckbreaker off the top rope, but YH still kicks out. He continually fought out of the rite of passage then tried for karma but Page connected with a forearm. YH responded with a superkick then out of nowhere hit a giant Canadian destroyer for a nearfall. YOSHI-HASHI then connected with Karma for the win. A good match with a great ending.
Minoru Suzuki defeated Bad Luck Fale by DQ
Suzuki jumped Fale right as Fale was beating up the announcer. They crawled around the ring, Fale choking Suzuki with a cable wire. After briefly cutting him off inside the ring, Suzuki took Fale back to the outside and threw him against the guardrail. Suzuki then blasted him with a steel chair,.
The referee, deciding that maybe a chair might not be legal in a singles match, tried to take away the chair. Suzuki ignored him and instead continued to beat up Fale with the chair, throwing him into another barricade.
Fale cut off Suzuki with a samoan drop, then went for the grenade. Suzuki caught him in the armbar when Tanga Loa came in to beat him up. Fale went for a splash, but Suzuki kicked out. Fale goes for the bad luck fall. Suzuki counters with the sleeper, but Fale smashes him in the corner.
Suzuki was going for the Gotch piledriver when for the ten millionth time this show Tama Tonga came in and attacked, laying out Suzuki with the gun stun for the DQ. Ok brawl until the finish. I assume there’s going to be a payoff to all this, but it’s going to come at the expense of the New Japan referees becoming some of the dumbest referees in existence.
EVIL defeated Jay White
White laid out EVIL from the ring to the floor with a big Saito suplex, then suplexed him twice into the barricade in from of the English announce team, which is a spot he’s been doing the entire tour. EVIL eventually manages to cut him off and build some offense.
White cuts him off with a complete shot STO. He tried for the blade runner, but as the referee was huddled in the corner after a near miss White low blowed him. EVIL managed to connect with the darkness falls. He follows that with a big lariat.
EVIL goes for the Everything is Evil but White cuts him off with a necktie suplex, then follows with the kiwi crusher. EVIL cuts him off and grabs a steel chair, but as the referee takes it away White launches him off his feet with a half nelson suplex. Another ref bump. White looks to use the chair, but in mid motion EVIL hits the STO and pins White. Pretty good match, more drama because of the G1 implications.
That eliminates Jay White from the tournament. The winner of the next match will win the A Block.
Hiroshi Tanahashi drew with Kazuchika Okada
Okada starts off with a big shotgun dropkick, but Tanahashi keeps it slow, grinding him down, focusing on a knee. He slams it against the ring post twice. Okada then works over Tanahashi’s knee, taking him the outside where slams it on the mat. Taking Okada back to the ring, he then lands a running dropkick to Tanahashi’s knee at the ten minute mark.
Tanahashi connects with the senton but Okada dodges the slingblade and takes down Tanahashi. Okada hits a running dropkick, then another from the top rope. Okada goes for the tombstone, but Tanahashi reverses and actually lands one of his own.
Okada is on the apron as Tanahashi landed a giant dropkick that sent Okada clear into the barricade. Tanahashi followed with a huge high fly flow to the floor. At the twenty minute mark, Tanahashi sunk in the cloverleaf and actually managed to transition into a Styles Clash. Okada rolled out of the way after a high fly flow attempt, however.
Okada nailed a dropkick, then hit another. He went for the rainmaker, but Tanahashi connected with the sling blade. He tried for the tombstone again, but Okada wouldn’t budge. Okada reversed it, or at least tried to, but Tanahashi hit the twist and shout neckbreaker at the 25 minute mark.
Tanahashi hit another slingblade and went for the high fly flow again, but this time Okada hit a dropkick, then hit the tombstone. Okada tried the rainmaker but Tanahashi dodged it three times until a twisting rainmaker landed. He went for another, but Tanahashi countered with a cradle. Another rainmaker attempt, but Tanahashi connected with a dragon suplex.
With one minute left, Okada struggled to get into the rainmaker position again. He went for it, but Tanahashi slapped him. Tanahashi went to the top rope and hit the high fly flow, but Okada kicked out. Time ran out right after that. Awesome, well paced New Japan main event. Not one of their best matches (there have been so many great ones) but this is still an excellent match with some fantastic drama.
With the draw, Tanahashi reaches 15 points, giving him the A Block and a spot in the finals.
Tanahashi cut a simple promo, promising to win the G1 finals. He then posed and met with people at ringside to close out the show.
Final standings for A Block:
Hiroshi Tanahashi - 15
Kazuchika Okada - 13
Jay White - 12
Minoru Suzuki - 10
EVIL - 10
Michael Elgin - 6
Bad Luck Fale - 6
Hangman Page - 6
Togi Makabe - 6
YOSHI-HASHI - 6