A Block’s penultimate night in Sendai
A Block hit match number eight of nine on October 13 in Sendai. With the competitors in the final stretch, tonight’s four tournament matches will set the stage for the block final in Yokohama on October 18.
Main event: Shingo Takagi (5-2) vs Great-O-Khan (4-3)
Great-O-Khan is mathematically eliminated
After a dominant opening four win stretch in his debut G1, Great-O-Khan’s campaign has hit a wall of consecutive losses, with his most recent defeat to Kota Ibushi putting him out of finals contention. With a win over Shingo Takagi though, the Dominator will celebrate the approach to his one year anniversary back from UK excursion and the formation of the United Empire with his career’s biggest win. Can O-Khan topple the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in Sendai? Or, after a key win over Tanga Loa in Osaka moved him to ten points, will it be the Dragon plotting a course to the Nippon Budokan finals?
5th Match: Toru Yano (4-3) vs Zack Sabre Jr. (5-2)
Singles record: 2-1 ZSJ G1 record: 2-0 ZSJ
Toru Yano must win
Zack Sabre Jr.’s four match submission streak to start his G1 campaign, especially against the competition he was able to tap out, had many, including ZSJ himself, believing that his path to the final would be an easy one. Tomohiro Ishii and then KENTA added wrinkles to that plan, but with a 5-2 record record, he remains a prominent factor. His tie break win over current points leader Kota Ibushi could well prove to be the key to his first ever G1 finals, yet his next opponent is the very physical manifestation of a banana peel for any competitors to slip on. In fact, and against the odds, Yano remains narrowly in with a chance of victory, if he can trip up ZSJ. Kota Ibushi and Shingo Takagi have both been able to defuse Yano’s tactics. Can Zack?
4th Match: KENTA (5-2) vs Tanga Loa (2-5)
Tanga Loa is mathematically eliminated
KENTA’s path to ten points has not always been achieved cleanly, but even with more than a few eggs broken, a five win omelet now puts him within striking distance of the Nippon Budokan final, in arguably a highly winnable eighth bout against Tanga Loa.
Now at a critical juncture of the G1, it wouldn’t be completely unbelievable for KENTA to expect some BULLET CLUB team orders to come into play, with KENTA’s firm friend Jado in Loa’s corner to boot. Yet this has never been the case through any of the BC derbies to date in this tournament, and just days after pushing IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi far harder than the Dragon would have liked, the Silverback will not be backing down. Could KENTA’s G1 spoiler come from within? Or can he set himself up for the biggest match in his NJPW career next week in Yokohama with a final spot at stake against Kota Ibushi?
Tomohiro Ishii (4-3) vs Yujiro Takahashi (2-5)
Singles record: 6-1 Ishii G1 record: 2-0 Ishii
Tomohiro Ishii must win.
Yujiro Takahashi is mathematically eliminated.
Tomohiro Ishii’s slow start to this year’s G1 is now seeing consequences at its end. The Stone Pitbull needs to win out and receive an awful lot of help just to make it to a very convoluted five way tie, but it’s a safe bet that Ishii will keep swinging to the very end regardless, including against Yujiro tonight.
Takahashi has run out of steam after a hot start against Kota Ibushi. Will he be able to brighten the conclusion of his campaign with only his second career win over Ishii?
Kota Ibushi vs Satoshi Kojima
If Kota Ibushi were in league action tonight, he would have the chance to seal the group. At 12 points, a win and a loss from those behind would put him over the top with 14, but instead, Ibushi will have to stand by and wait before his final match with KENTA next week in Yokohama. That isn’t to suggest he has an easy evening in Sendai meanwhile, as Satoshi Kojima will be prepared to give the two time winner all that he can handle.
1st Match: Kosei Fujita vs Hiromu Takahashi
Starting the evening, Kosei Fujita will continue his Young Lion tests as he takes on Hiromu Takahashi. How long will Fujita last against the Time Bomb, and will he pick up anything to use in he and Ryohei Oiwa’s tag team test against Takahashi and BUSHI to come?