The submission streak ends while Ibushi starts work on a streak of his own
The Dolphins’ Arena in Nagoya, Aichi would see night nine of G1 Climax action, and A Block headlined by a main event in any building; IWGP World heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi taking on G1 Climax 29 and 30 winner Kota Ibushi.
In the early seconds, it was the champion in charge, only for Ibushi to gain the first knockdown of the bout. Yet Ibushi’s springboard dropkick would be shrugged off by Takagi, who landed a lariat to the back before taking his foe to the floor. Taking commanding lead of the match, Shingo worked over Ibushi with Naito like elbows to the neck and traps, before Ibushi came back in with stinging chops, and after a Frankensteiner, a spectacular quebrada to the floor.
Building the kind of confidence rarely seen since his return from illness, Ibushi began to chain his offense together, but a sit out Last Ride attempt would be countered with a back body drop and then a pop up DVD. Refusing to let the Dragon take sustained control though, Ibushi popped up from a backdrop suplex to hit a half Nelson of his own, and a strike exchange followed, Ibushi raining in kicks before a Dragon Screw put him to the mat.
The match escalating, soon both men were trading strikes on the top rope, where Shingo dropped Ibushi with a thunderous top rope superplex. Ibushi refused to fall to a Made In Japan, though, and after kicking out at 2.5 kicked his way out of a Last of the Dragon and scored with a Boma Ye, the Sit Out last Ride getting him two. Ibushi wou;ld then go for the kill with ten minutes to go, but Takagi would block the Kamigoye, keeping wrist control to land a headbutt of his own and then a Pumping Knee and Pumping Bomber, still only getting a nearfall.
As strikes between the two grew ever more violent, Ibushi landed an overhand right and then Kamigoye, still not gaining victory. Ibushi pulled down the kneepad as he went for a second, almost countered into Last of the Dragon, but a reverse Kamigoye and then the full version would give Ibushi two hugely significant points.
Zack Sabre Jr. walked into his bout with Tomohiro Ishii with a good bit of swagger, knowing that whatever happened he would end the night at the top of the standings, but with a desire to maintain his incredible submission streak. A high speed opening nearly got him the victory via pinfall with a European Clutch though, before Ishii got to his feet and threw trademark strikes.
Ishii’s striking ability would be badly hindered as Sabre went to the right elbow and hand of Ishii, who nonetheless powered through despite considerable pain to strike at the Briton. After a top rope brainbuster attempt was countered, Sabre was right back in control with a sunset flip powerbomb, but Ishii absorbed a PK from the tag champion and dropped his foe with an impressive German suplex. Ishii followed with a backdrop suplex as the pace quickened, and blocked an overhead kick to the shoulder, but it would be ZSJ rolling through on an Ishii sliding lariat to again come up with the bad arm.
Sabre peppered in kicks to the injured body part, but the offense only served to infuriate Ishii, who dropped ZSJ in return. The pace accelerated to breakneck speed as Sabre and Ishii traded a tornado DDT, PK, and crunching lariats, but as the match passed the midway point, it was a jumping high and sliding lariat that had Ishii in the plus position.
ZSJ countered a Vertical Drop Brainbuster attempt, first with a Euro Clutch for two and then a brainbuster of his own before going back to the arm of Ishii, getting his hooks in with a double wrist lock before a triangle almost sent Ishii into unconsciousness. A Zack Driver attempt was met with an Ishii headbutt though, and as adrenaline flowed, two lariats with the bad arm were followed with the Vertical Drop for the win.
Yujiro Takahashi’s second BULLET CLUB derby of the tournament, much like his first with KENTA saw the Tokyo Pimp soon establish that BULLET CLUB teammate or not, he would do everything in his power to gain victory. Loa’s approach was no different, but was stunning, a standing moonsault a first for the big man, who kept in control outside and on the mat. Under pressure, Yujiro would also take to the air with a rare tope suicida, and though Loa regained control with a Blue Thunder Bomb, Yujiro was able to find a Fisherman’s Buster in response.
Loa would fire back with some big hits and a sit out powerbomb, but Yujiro responded in violent kind with the Miami Shine. Big Juice would be countered though, and Apesh*t would give Loa his first G1 win not via forfeit.
The first tournament match of the night saw Great-O-Khan take on KENTA in a match both men had been anticipating since before the tournament began. Pre match trash talk saw KENTA tell his opponent that should he win, O-Khan would have to bow down to the BULLET CLUB member, but would have to bail from the wing when pressured early by the Dominator. It would be outside the ring that KENTA took advantage and tried to open up to kicks, but would be taken to the mat effectively as O-Khan attacked the Achilles tendon.
O-Khan kept up submission grappling offense to close the gap with KENTA before a kick to the back changed the pace for the BULLET CLUB member, a tornado Stungun following up. His momentum was stopped with Mongolian Chops and a dropkick in the Tree of Woe, but KENTA would find a DDT before Green Killer bought him a two count. KENTA continued to build with a corner dropkick, but a pump kick finally saw O-Khan go to his strikes.
KENTA came out on top in the ensuing exchange with punishing overhand rights, and countered the Eliminator with a knee to the face, before Go2Sleep was stopped with the Sheep Killer. Desperate, KENTA ensured the referee was wiped out in the corner and went for a steel chair; two shots to the back were followed with a double stomp through a chair to O-Khan’s chest. KENTA would grab a bat as the referee came to, and while the official admonished O-Khan for taking control of the weapon, a roll-up followed to grant KENTA the win. O-Khan rejected demands to bow down at the winner’s feat, landing the Eliminator, but the two points nonetheless belonged to KENTA.