Last night of league action in Shizuoka
August 9 sees the last night of D Block action in Shizuoka, bringing block matches to a close before Funabashi sees quarterfinals on August 10.
Main event: Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-3) vs Tetsuya Naito (4-2)
Singles record: 8-8-1
A win advances Naito
A win for himself, Goto and Cobb advances Tanahashi
An incredible 17 singles matches have played out between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito over the last fifteen years, from tournaments to titles, Cup first rounds to G1 finals on the line. The two have done battle at various key points in one another’s careers, and tonight each will prove to be the other’s obstacle to the quarter finals, and to one more, perhaps final career G1 Climax victory. Last year’s tournament saw Tanahashi victorious over Naito with a shock inside cradle that pushed Naito to the bubble at the time. Now he Ace wants to put El Ingobernable out entirely to take his place in the knockout phase.
Before tournament start, Naito asserted that the Tanahashi of just weeks ago would already be out of the running by the time the tour his Shizuoka. That has proved not to be the case, as a 3-3 record has kept Tanahashi in the hunt by the skin of his teeth. But will he remain alive by the time the curtain falls on Shizuoka?
8th Match: Hirooki Goto (3-3) vs Zack Sabre Jr. (4-2)
Singles record: 4-2 Sabre
Goto advances with a win and losses for Tanahashi and Cobb
Sabre must outscore either Naito or Cobb
Another match with a lot of history, Zack Sabre Jr. and Hirooki Goto have been tied to one another since the spring of 2017 when Sabre was making his start in NJPW. A challenge to then NEVER Champion Goto at Sakura Genesis 2017 resulted in defeat, and Goto was victorious in a rematch during the G1 that year, but that was the final time Hirooki Goto was able to beat Zack Sabre Jr. Should he break a four match losing streak against ZSJ tonight, Goto would force the Briton out of the Elite Eight, and potentially stake a claim to the NJPW World TV Championship; Can Sabre advance out of the group stage for the first time here tonight?
7th Match: Jeff Cobb (4-2) vs Shane Haste (2-4)
A win advances Cobb
Haste is mathematically eliminated
When Zack Sabre Jr. got off to a hot start in his G1 campaign, it was Jeff Cobb who put the brakes on said momentum. Now Cobb ends his campaign against ZSJ’s teammate in Shane Haste, and with Cobb on the doorstep of advancement, nothing would be better for TMDK than for Haste to earn revenge on behalf of the Frontman and play spoiler to the Imperial Unit.
6th Match: Toru Yano (2-4) vs Alex Coughlin (2-4)
Both men are mathematically eliminated
With Alex Coughlin and Toru Yano both out of the running when it comes to the Elite Eight, Alex Coughlin can’t bring the gold trophy to BULLET CLUB War Dogs, but he could bring bodies, starting with Toru Yano today. Yano will have to rely on his smarts to escape the powerful Coughlin on the mat, but Yano has a track record of embarrassing fearsome and powerful foes.
5th Match: Strong Style (El Desperado, Ren Narita & Minoru Suzuki) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Yota Tsuji)
After Ren Narita’s exit from G1 contention, Shizuoka and Yokohama see him team with Strong Style partners in El Desperado and Minoru Suzuki. What new chapter might the former NEVER Openweight 6 Man Champions write opposite LIJ tonight?
4th Match: Tomohiro Ishii & Tomoaki Honma vs United Empire (Great-O-Khan & HENARE)
Tag team action sees former GBH partners Tomoaki Honma and Tomohiro Ishii together against United Empire’s Great-O-Khan and HENARE. HENARE and O-Khan were recently involved in a double tag championship three way back at Dominion, and are always effective as a tandem; could this be the first step on another journey toward title contention?
3rd Match: Hikuleo, Master Wato & Shota Umino vs BULLET CLUB War Dogs (David Finlay, Gabe Kidd & Gedo)
BULLET CLUB’s War Dogs are on the prowl tonight as Gabe Kidd, David Finlay and Gedo face a Hontai trio of Hikuleo, Shota Umino and Master Wato. Hikuleo and Umino have grown well familiar with Kidd’s vicious approach as part of the War Dogs, and even with A Block now in the books, the savagery is not likely going to stop until the Hontai side can stop it.
2nd Match: Ryohei Oiwa & Kaito Kiyomiya vs TMDK (Mikey Nicholls & Kosei Fujita)
Kaito Kiyomiya continues to take Young Lion Ryohei Oiwa under his wing in the face of TMDK competition tonight. Mikey Nicholls has spent is own extensive and successful time in the NOAH ring Kiyomiya calls home, and the cerulean blue should have an emerald green flavour in this second bout.
1st Match: Yuto Nakashima & Eddie Kingston vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL & SHO)
Kicking off the action tonight, Eddie Kingston seeks revenge for an early C Block loss to EVIL. Can he and Yuto Nakashima get the job done opposite the King of Darkness and SHO?