In the first of three wild nights at Korakuen Hall, the wrestlers of A block once again clashed in a battle of strength, guts and will power. The night ended with two wrestlers leading the pack on 6 points as each competitor proved determined to try to secure their spot in the final at Budokan.
Match 9: Kota Ibushi defeats Will Ospreay with a Kamigoye
In their first singles meeting since Wrestle Kingdom 13, both wrestlers were coming into the match nursing a pair of injuries; Ibushi to his ankle and Ospreay to his neck. The match started in gentlemanly manner with each combatant feeling each other out, until Ibushi and Ospreay both decided to take advantage of each other’s weaknesses. After the 10 minute mark, the match started to heat-up with both men showing off their remarkable physical abilities. As the match ramped up in terms of agression and brutality, Ibushi emerged victorious in a hard-fought contest. After the match, Ibushi stood in the ring and promised the assembled fans that he would “never lose, never run away, never give up and never betray the fans.”
Match 8: Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Zack Sabre Jr. with a Jackknife hold
Both men came into the match from 0-2 down and needed a win to get their G1 record back on course. Both men had scored one victory and one loss against the other this year and came into the match as competitors that constantly looking for the upper hand. Tanahashi came into the match looking to overshadow Sabre’s technical prowess and was largely successful, giving him a run for his money. Whilst Sabre was looking to employ his idiosyncratic brand of technical inventiveness, Tanahashi tried a more grounded and fundamentalist approach in a clash of styles. There were a couple of points where the Ace looked beat during the match and for every move, Sabre seemed to be able to wriggle out of trouble and into a new form or torture. Eventually, Tanahashi managed to beat Sabre at his own game and gained victory via a jackknife cover.
Match 7: Kazuchika Okada defeats Bad Luck Fale with a roll-up
The match was almost over before it ever even began as Fale didn’t come out during his entrance as usual, instead appearing suddenly from the red corner entrance, having apparently jumped Okada before the bell. From the there the boat degenerated, with Chase Owens and Jado accompanying Fale to the ring providing support for the Tongan, by attacking Okada at every convenient opportunity. However, Okada had picked up a few tricks of his own and having stagged Fale, the rainmaker rolled him up for another 2 points.
Match 6: EVIL defeats SANADA with an EVIL
Although some wrestlers become familiar with their opponents’ offense through wrestling them on a frequent basis, the fact that the two tag-team partners and factionmates had won multiple awards and plaudits for their teamwork meant that they had a familiarity with each other that few could boast of. In fact, such was the level of familiarity that they started applying each others’ signature techniques, with EVIL putting SANADA into a paradise lock and SANADA executing a scorpion death-lock on EVIL The battle raged back and forth but it was ultimately EVIL who emerged victorious here, gaining another 2 points.
Match 5: KENTA defeats Lance archer with a GAME OVER
Archer came out hoping to continue his flawless start to the tournament and aggressively attacked KENTA from the start. Archer ended-up dominating the match throwing the much smaller man around the ring like a rag-doll and taunting him incessantly. However, KENTA’s spirit wasn’t able to be broken so easily and managed to counter a chokeslam into a triangle and from there countered into his signature submission hold, GAME OVER, which caused Archer to tap-out.
Match 4: Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi) when Suzuki pinned BUSHI following a Gotch-style piledriver
The match was a brutal affair with Taichi specifically looking to single out Takagi in advance of his upcoming match that Saturday. To this point, the King himself obliged his underling and got a few licks of his own into the dragon. In the end, Suzuki-gun ran roughshod over L.I.J. with Suzuki providing the finishing blow in the form of a devestating Gotch-style piledriver to BUSHI. Post match, Kanemaru spit whiskey in Takagi’s face and Taichi followed up with a brutal kick to try and gain an advantage.
Match 3: BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Jay White) defeated Ren Narita, Tomoaki Honma & Toru Yano when Owens pinned Narita following a Package Piledriver
Ahead of his upcoming match with Yano, Jay White attempted to marshal his underlings into weaking his opponent, but Tomoaki Honma ended up bravly taking a lot of the offense himself. Yano for his part managed to evade much of BULLET CLUB’s offense and avoided much of the damage. The same could not be said for Young Lion, Ren Narita however, whose relative inexperience proved his downfall after he was taken down by the package pile-driver.
Match 2: YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto & Jeff Cobb defeated Yota Tsuji, Toa Henare & Juice Robinson when YOSHI-HASHI submitted Tsuji with a butterfly lock.
With Cobb and Robinson squaring off ahead of their upcoming match, the bout actually started with Henare and Goto squaring off in an intense strong-style exchange. Yota Tsuji impressed in the match with some strong lariats, but his relative newness to the pro-wrestling scene was exposed when he was forced to tap out to YOSHI-HASHI’s butterfly lock.
Match 1: Shota Umino & Jon Moxley defeated Yuya Uemura & Tomohiro Ishii when Umino pinned Uemura with a Fisherman’s suplex.
With Jon Moxley and Tomohiro Ishii both clashing in Korakuen Hall the next day, needless to say the tension between them was at boiling point. The two were so engrossed in trying to hurt the other that they ended up having to be pulled apart by their respective partners. In the end it was a young lion duel that decided the match with Umino pinning Uemura.