So I said I’d probably do the last three days of the G1 and I’m gonna try to stick with it, despite my life being in a bit of disarray right now. Anyway despite skipping quite a few days, I still kept star ratings for the all the matches I missed, so here’s is that list, to give you an idea of what I thought.
Bad Luck Fale vs. Kota Ibushi – **1/2
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Will Ospreay – ****
Lance Archer vs. Kazuchika Okada – ***3/4
SANADA vs. KENTA – ***1/2
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. EVIL- ****
Jeff Cobb vs, Shingo Takagi- ***3/4
Toru Yano vs. Jon Moxley – **3/4
Tetsuya Naito vs. Juice Robinson – ***3/4
Taichi vs. Jay White – ***1/2
Tomohiro Ishii vs.Hirooki Goto – ****1/4
Fale vs. Kenta – **
Lance Archer vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – ***3/4
Will Ospreay vs. Evil – ****
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi -****1/4
Kazuchika Okada vs. Sanada – ****3/4
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano – ***1/2
Taichi vs. Juice Robinson – ***1/2
Hirooki Goto vs. Jeff Cobb – ***
Jay White vs. Jon Moxley – ***1/2
Tetsuya Naito vs. Shingo Takagi – ****1/2
Lance Archer vs. SANADA – ***3/4
Fale vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – ***
KENTA vs. Will Ospreay – ****
Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – ****
Kazuchika Okada vs. Evil – ****1/4
Yano vs. Taichi – ***
Naito vs. Cobb – ***1/2
Jon Moxley vs. Hirooki Goto – ***1/4
Jay White vs. Juice Robinson – ****
Shingo vs. Tomohiro Ishii – ****1/4
Now onto the final day of A Block, where it all seems to come down to Ibushi or Okada reaching the finals.
A Block Match – Lance Archer vs. EVIL
This was a real good kick off to the last lot of A Block matches. Right off the bat, they start clashing at each other and then Archer busts out a moonsault off the apron to gain a bit of control which includes him suplexing EVIL into exposed turnbuckles.
His other attempts at aerial moves however get thwarted and allows EVIL to get back into the fight that pretty much leads into a nice little finishing stretch where archer even busts out an F5.
It has a very quick little surprise finish too where EVIL ducks the EBD claw, hits a headbutt, goes to turn around Archer for EVERYTHING IS EVIL, but Archer suddenly grabs him right into the EBD Claw and takes him straight to the floor for the pin. Lovely stuff, crowd were really into Archer too, really enjoyed his run in this G1, guy really stepped up and worked hard and certainly had some surprises up his sleeve.
EVIL’s had quite a consistent run himself though fairplay with quite a few great tmatches being brought out.
Winner: Archer  (via EBD Claw) ***3/4
A Block Match – SANADA vs. Bad Luck Fale
Shame SANADA had to end the tournament against Fale, but it was a pretty decent match in the end. Of course early on Jado hits Sanada with the knedo stick giving Fale control. And he holds control throughout most of the match, with Sanada’s first two comeback attempts being pushed back due to trying lifting moves and failing. Fale’s control stuff is okay, it’s just the offence is pretty basic and not a whole lot interesting.
Crowd kept getting fired up for Sanada’s come back though and eventually he does manage to slam Fale and hit a TKO.
He also manages to make Fale tap out with the Skull End but the ref gets knocked out during the process and is unable to see it.
Jado and Chase as usual, continue to try and get involved but Sanada manges to keep them at bay for the most part, even tying them both up in the Paradise Lock in the corner at the end.
The finish itself is a bit unexpected and a little bit of a bummer as Sanada goes for the Skull End but Fale counters it into a small package to steal the victory and end Sanada’s G1 on a sour note.
Being see a lot of hate for SANADA on twitter and while I get people’s gripes with him, I still really liked him and think he had a pretty decent tournament run, with him against Okada definitely being one of my top favorite matches of the tournament and the crowds are still really hot for him which is nice to see.
Fale on the other-hand, oh boy, worst run he;s had. I usually do enjoy him, but I really didn’t like his whole approach for the majority of this tournament and it was certainly a letdown.
Winner: Fale  (via small package) **3/4
A Block Match – KENTA vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Really good match. Some nice feeling out in the beginning, then strikes get introduced and Zack has trouble matching up to Kenta with them. He does however have the grappling edge and somewhat finds a target in KENTA’s right arm as he keeps trying for submissions. Kenta continually relies on his strikes though and even though Zack does get in some good strikes on him, he continually bests him throughout the match with them.
Towards the end things mostly turn into a struggle for holds, with Kenta trying for Game Over and Zack trying for whatever submission he finds opportune.
In the end Zack manages to get Kenta wrapped up in a submission that wrenches on the right arm and has him in a position where he can keep kicking the back of Kenta’s head for good measure, leading to Kenta tapping out. Really enjoyed how this played out. It;s been another very good G1 run for Zack and whilst I don’t think Kenta met people’s high expectations, I still think he did some solid work and showed how he’s probably gonna approach his matches from now on. I look forward to seeing how he manages in his future with New Japan.
Winner: Zack  (via submission) ***3/4
A Block Match – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Will Ospreay
Excellent match and what a win for Ospreay to end the tournament on.
Things start out very even, but Tana manages to get control targeting Ospreay’s leg, doing a nice job of it.
For the most part Ospreay is able to fight through the pain and hit his usual offence, especially towards the end, but it does have an effect on him at a couple of points, including a lovely bit where it causes him to stumble after a backflip kick and right after it he hits an enzugiri but Tana doesn’t go down and keeps ahold of Ospreay’s leg to hit a dragon screw.
The atmosphere for this match was awesome too, with the crowd really into it all. Had a couple real nice Sling blade counters in there and the finishing stretch was really exciting and had a great nearfall with Ospreay rolling through Tana’s standing High Fly Flow into a small package type pin.
In the end though Ospreay hits hook kick, followed by the Hidden Blade and finally the Stormbreaker to get a huge win and end his run evenly with most people at 8 points.
Heckuva first G1 for Ospreay, who’s had a really top year and Tana’s continued to have a great run also.
Winner: Ospreay  (via Stormbreaker) ****1/2
A Block Final Match – Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi
Great main event to end things with a real good atmosphere. Okada get’s bit of control targeting Ibushi’s neck doing things in his steady way, but outside of that it was mostly back and forth with some solid action that built really nicely to a very exciting final five minutes, with some good big offence and counters on the go.
It was close between both guys, but in the end Ibushi hits a second Kamigoe, straight after the first one that Okada kicked out from, to win the points and head into the finals on Monday. Did have a typical Okada main event format, but was executed really well and escalated nicely.
That’s another two who have also had good runs in the G1 this year, Ibushi is certainly a good pick for the final and I’m sure is predicted by many to win, but we’ll see.
Winner: Ibushi (via Kamiegoe) ****1/4
Very good final day for A Block, alot of good stuff on the go, with Tana and Ospreay being my MOTN, as well as being one of my favorite matches of the tournament.
Look forward to seeing how B Block deliver tomorrow.
Thanks for reading.