Juice biggest winner in second Sapporo main
G1 Climax 32’s second day saw the four blocks back in action in Sapporo, with more group matches coming from Hokkaido Kita Yell, and more big results coming from the league.
Winning big indeed was Toru Yano, who managed to get two points over the imposing JONAH. Perhaps seeing that Yano might pull a rabbit out of the hat, JONAH brought TMDK team mate Bad Dude Tito with him to ringside, a factor that had Yano quaking in his boots even more than usual, but became decisive in Yano’s victory.
JONAH was able to effortlessly muscle Yano around the ring, and though avoiding contact on a big senton and connecting with a belly to belly suplex caught him breaks, they were brief indeed for the CHAOS member. Yet as both men spilled to the floor, opportunity knocked for Yano, who answered the door. Shoving Tito into his giant foe, Yano managed a double low blow, and scurried back inside, allowing for a countout victory and his first two points.
In B Block, it was Taichi joining Jay White at the top of the table with two after the home town Sapporo crowd brought the Holy Emperor to victory over nemesis Tomohiro Ishii. A violent clash was expected and was delivered on in spades, as Ishii tested the pride of his Suzuki-gun foe and found Taichi more than willing to respond.
Brutal strikes were the order of the day in the bout, which had Ishii almost capitalise on a thunderous superplex as Taichi similarly got two from. Dangerous Backdrop. Both men surprised one another as well, going outside their wheelhouses with trading dropkicks along with more customary enzuigiri and gamen giri, but it was a Taichi classic that secured victory.
As Ishii evaded a thrust kick and rocketed a headbutt off the chest of Taichi, the Holy Emperor dug down with a Yokozuna Elbow that flattened the Stone Pitbull. Wasting no time, Taichi followed right up with Black Mephisto, and took home two points.
Taichi’s tag partner Zack Sabre Jr had a similarly arduous path to a similarly satosfying victory over a long held foe in KENTA. As KENTA alluded to their past and ZSJ’s Japanese start in Pro-Wrestling NOAH, the veteran was determined to prove seniority and superiority through the match, delivering hard strikes and mostly able to overcome Sabre’s attempts at submission counters.
A DDT on the concrete floor outside would see damage done to the neck that would be compounded by the tornado Stungun and the Green Killer inside as the match continued to unfold. Yet Sabre was able to dole out just as much punishment in response, torturing the ankle and knee outside the ring and baiting KENTA into a kick exchange to open his opposition up to a neck twist.
As he has so often done in the past, Sabre opened himself up to knockout defeat in order to create submission opportunity. As KENTA repeatedly tried for Go2Sleep, Sabre hung on and was able to grab a brace of punishing holds, but his BULLET CLUB opposition was stubborn in refusing to give in to his junior. Rocking Sabre with a knee out the corner, KENTA followed with the Busaiku Knee, but twice pulled ZSJ up for more punishment. On the third time of asking, KENTA paid the price for his hubris, and was caught in the final submission hold, quickly tapping out.
Pride may have gotten the best of KENTA on the day, but it was his fresh BULLET CLUB compatriot Juice Robinson that had it all to crow about in the main event. With opponent Shingo Takagi suggesting that Juice may take ‘half-assed’ shortcuts in their match, the affronted Robinson was aggressive but nothing less than all effort.
Hurling Takagi into the guardrails and meeting him with closed fists in the ring, Juice was aggressive in his trash talk as he was in his offense. Yet Juice was cognitive as well as aggressive; having a counter the Ryukon Lariat and broadly staying in control until Noshigami saw his face bounced off the mat.
Shingo replied with trash talk of his own, and some mocking jabs. Juice would go prone to quell his foe’s offense, and landed a shotgun dropkick, becoming ever more frustrated as the Dragon powered himself out of the cover from a barrage of offense before drilling Juice with a wheelbarrow German.
Juice and Shingo collided full force with lariats, punches and headbutts. As Juice found himself on the apron, Takagi was a step ahead as he avoided an apron spear, instead getting the Great Takagi Revolution, but only two from a Pumping Bomber. Juice was knocked wobbly, enough to be late to a Pulp Friction cover that only got two, but he had enough wherewithal to struggle to victory. As Takagi looked for Last of the Dragon, Juice desperately grasped for all he could, and found the referee to pull himself down to his feet. Juice couldn’t hoist Takagi for the Rockslide, but did get a second Pulp Friction and the three.
Next group action is in Sendai on July 20, where Lance Archer meets Bad Luck Fale in A Block, Tama Tonga faces Chase Owens in B, Hirooki Goto meets Tetsuya Naito in the C Block main event, and D Block sees David Finlay meet Yujiro Takahashi.