G1 Climax Recap: Down to 2 in A-Block

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Another night of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax has been completed and, at least for A-Block, we have a better idea on who might win. Well, we at least know the finalists for the block.

Tanahashi vs. Naito for all the A-Block…Tostitos

A-Block will come down to just two men: Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito. Both men survived physical battles to survive and score their sixth wins of the G1 Climax.

Tanahashi won in a classic main event battle against Tomohiro Ishii. Both men brought it and it was by far the best match on the show.

I loved everything about this match, whether it was the hard-hitting, or the dragon screws both men did (I think it was close to a dozen).

Truthfully, I even enjoyed the fear building up in Tanahashi when he German suplexed Ishii, who no-sold it. I love watching men fear Ishii. He might be short and stocky, but there’s no denying his power.

I even loved watching these two try to work over the other’s legs. It turned into a submission contest, at points. Tanahashi locked Ishii in the Texas Cloverleaf, while Ishii had Tanahashi in the sharpshooter. I genuinely hoped both men would keep working over the other’s limbs.

That said, Ishii didn’t focus much on Tanahashi’s bicep. It’s strange though, because I’m pretty sure Tanahashi’s arm keeps getting swallowed by the arm sleeve.

Anyway, Tanahashi secured the victory with the High Fly Flow.

Meanwhile, Naito found himself in a tough battle versus Togi Makabe. Despite a few close calls, Naito won with a Destino.

There were a few points where it seemed as though he might lose. However, Naito hung in there and did what he needed to do to survive.

I’m kind of glad these two won because I think my head would explode trying to figure out all the potential scenarios. Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be THAT tough.

We know it’s simple, though! Whoever wins between Tanahashi and Naito will win the A-Block.

It’s easy to see now that this would likely be the A-Block final when it was scheduled. However, you never know the route the Block takes along the way. And that’s what makes this tournament fun.

You might have an idea on the outcome, but you still want to see how it all gets there.

Nagata finally gets a win

It was well beyond the point of Yuji Nagata getting a win, especially considering Satoshi Kojima got his first win of the tournament Saturday.

Thankfully, Nagata didn’t go winless in his last G1. He scored his win over Zack Sabre Jr. in a really good technical match. I would’ve called this match my favorite, had it not been for the main event.

In the end, Nagata won with the Backdrop Hold. Unfortunately for Sabre Jr., this eliminated him from contention. However, he would’ve been eliminated even with a victory.

Nagata needed a win at some point, and I wish he would’ve gotten more wins in this G1. He didn’t need to win A-Block, but I’d have loved to have seen him in contention.

My only disappointment with the match was Nagata not doing a celebratory dance.

That said, I’ve had a lot of fun watching Nagata in this tournament. Despite the record, he’s been outstanding. He’s 49-years-old and Nagata is still putting on some incredible matches. The dude is awesome and you really should go out of your way to watch his matches, not just in G1, but elsewhere.

Fale and Ibushi keep G1 hopes alive briefly

For at least a few moments, Bad Luck Fale still had hopes of possibly winning A-Block. Fale defeated Hirooki Goto, eliminating last year’s finalist and hanging in there in the Block.

Fale won the match with the Grenade, which is the choke lariat slam. It would’ve been interesting to see what would’ve happened if Naito and Tanahashi lost. Fale owned the head-to-head tiebreaker over Naito.

Nonetheless, Fale had a pretty good tournament and he’s really starting to stand out in the Bullet Club. I’m interested to see where they’ll go next with him.

Kota Ibushi also kept his G1 Climax hopes alive, although for a few minutes, with his win over YOSHI-HASHI.

Both men had a pretty solid match, but Ibushi won in the end with the Kamigoye, his knee strike.

Both Ibushi and Fale could face different situations if you change one of those three losses into wins. Remember, Fale lost by countout to Tanahashi. Who knows what would’ve happened if Fale DIDN’T get counted out or if Ibushi defeated Naito. That’s the G1, though! It’s full of a lot of what-ifs.

What’s next?

Tuesday’s show will be the last before we have the three straight nights at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. The show Tuesday will take place in Kanagawa with the B-Block matches set.

  • Satoshi Kojima vs. Tama Tonga
  • Juice Robinson vs. Toru Yano
  • Michael Elgin vs. EVIL
  • Kenny Omega vs. SANADA
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki