REN NARITA & SHOTA UMINO vs. YOTA TSUJI & YUYA UEMURA - 4.5/10
Decent Young Lions stuff, with a post-match brawl because why not? Everyone else is doing it.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada, EVIL, & BUSHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens, & Bad Luck Fale) - 0.5/10
Bullet Club jump the bell on their opponents. They work EVIL over for a bit before we spill to the outside for the usual bullsh*t. More beating on EVIL until someone cockily paintbrushes him and lets him get up to initial a strike exchange, which EVIL wins, then EVIL hits one of his spots and makes the hot tag. Bullet Club is basically just another Suzuki-Gun at this point. Sanada got tagged in and we got the same crap we got in the match two shows ago with Chase Owens trying to put Sanada in the Paradise Lock and being unable to do it correctly. Basically this was six and a half minutes of “copy and paste” BS followed by ninety seconds of actual mental effort. I’d much rather see them work an armlock for those six minutes because at least then it would feel like there was an actual story rather than just checking boxes off of a list.
CLARK CONNORS, KARL FREDERICKS, & KENTA vs. KOTA IBUSHI, TOA HENARE, & TOMOAKI HONMA - 6.75/10
KENTA mocking Honma was fantastic. The match was very good for the time it got.
SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI & CHAOS (Will Opsreay, YOSHI-HASHI, & Kazuchika Okada) - 6/10
Suzuki-Gun jump the bell on their opponents but the babyfaces recover quickly and get some shine, then they get cut off and Suzuki does his hanging armbar spot at which point we spill to the outside for the usual bullsh*t. Is it really that much to ask for these guys to not do the same exact thing every single f*cking match?
Tanahashi rolled Zack up for the win. I know this second win is supposed to make us think that surely Tanahashi will beat Zack for the RPW belt at Royal Quest, but we’ve seen Zack beat Tanahashi this year as well. This will be their fourth singles match this year, plus several big tag team encounters. I’m just not that interested in seeing that match again.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Toru Yano vs. Jeff Cobb - 0.5/10
Yano currently sits at eight points, but if he wins here, Ishii loses or draws, and Moxley and Goto each fail to pick up points (either via losing outright or a going to a double DQ or double count-out) and the White vs. Naito match goes to a double DQ or double count-out, then Yano would be part of a five-way tie for the lead with ten points, and he and Goto would both have a 3-1 record against the field, which would either push them into a playoff match, or Goto would just win the block because he has the tiebreaker over Yano. I’m not sure if the “you vs. me tiebreaker” first-level tiebreaker gets reapplied a second time in the case of a multi-way tie when it is converted onto a “head to head record against the field” tiebreaker.
The match started with some dumb comedy with Yano trying to hide rolls of tape in his tights in ridiculously obvious places. Cobb was a dumbf*ck for turning his back on Yano under the pretense of Yano checking him for weapons, leading to a roll-up. Yano tying Cobb’s arms up in his singlet the way he did, on the other hand, was actually clever for once. After that it was a bit of the usual Yano stuff, followed by Cobb hitting some of his big stuff and getting the win, crushing what little hope Yano might have had left of winning the block, and making the above paragraph irrelevant.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Taichi (w/Miho Abe & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - 7.25/10
Neither of these men have a chance at winning the block, as even though Ishii sits at eight, even if everyone at ten stays at ten as described above, he’d had no chance at beating Goto’s 3-1 record against the field with his own pitiful 1-3. They had a match that started off with a lot of the little things that these two guys do that really annoy me, but they left those things behind and just had a hard-hitting match in which both guys targeted the head. Taichi pinned Ishii cleanly, so I guess we’re getting yet another NEVER Openweight Title match between these two.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Juice Robinson vs. Jon Moxley (w/Shota Umino) - 6.5/10
Juice ripping Moxley’s earring out of his ear to break a hold was not something I needed to see. Moxley trying to use weapons here right in front of the referee was completely moronic, as he has no chance of winning the block if he gets zero points here.
Aside from the story of Moxley working over Juice’s knee (playing off of last night’s angle), there was a bit of a story where Moxley would grab a weapon but Juice would put it away. This felt completely at odds with both the earring biting/ripping and the whole narrative of Juice’s past few months where he has needed to get tougher and more vicious to have a chance of beating guys like Moxley.
They did a clever variation on the “grab the referee’s pants as he’s about to call for the bell after your hand dropped three times” spot from Danielson vs. Homicide where Moxley didn’t see Juice grabbing Red Shoes’ pants and let the hold go because he thought he had won. This led to an argument between Moxley and Red Shoes, which, disappointingly, did not result in Red Shoes getting the ass-kicking he so richly deserves.
Instead it led to Moxley getting angry and wasting time throwing about nine different weapons into the ring from all sides before getting a table and trying to set it up in the ring, which gave Juice enough time to recover. I absolutely despise spots like this because if you’re angry enough to go get a weapon that you want to hit your opponent with, why wouldn’t you grab the first weapon you find and then go hit the opponent with it? Why would you go around looking for even more weapons after that? It’s so pathetically transparent that you’re just buying time for the opponent to recover, and winning after a situation like that (as Juice did here) does not Juice look good because Moxley had him beat but was too out of control to follow up. It just makes Ambrose look bad.
So Ambrose now has no chance at winning the block, and is almost certainly headed for another title match against Juice. I wouldn’t have minded this booking so much if not for two factors. The first, as I alluded to above, is that the story of this match and it’s finish fly in the face of what the story with these two in NJPW has been so far. The second is that we just did “champion gets pinned clean on final day of G1 to set up rematch from big June show in the previous match with Ishii and Taichi. Things like this are why I find Gedo’s tournaments so horribly overrated. I’m tired of being able to figure who the block is going to come down to by just looking at the card for the final day of the block.
OH MY G-D CAN WE PLEASE FIRE RED SHOES? First he’s standing there like a statue, seemingly not aware that there is a match going on in front of him. Then when we got a completely legal reversal of an attempted Pulp Friction, he started to point at something. Then Moxley reversed something else into an ankle lock and Red Shoes starts to shrug his shoulders or spread his arms or make all of these random gestures that seem to have nothing going on with the match in front of him. It’s distracting, it’s annoying, and it detracts from the match by making it look like the guy in charge of enforcing the rules is living in his own little world and reacting to hallucinations that the rest of us can’t see.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Shingo Takagi vs. Hirooki Goto - 6.5/10
Goto is in an excellent position to win the block, as him getting zero points and the main event resulting in zero points via double count-out or double DQ gives him the win on tie-breakers, him doing to a draw and the main event going to a draw gives him the win on tiebreakers, or him winning and the main event going to any result other than a Naito victory gives him the win, either on points outright or on the tiebreaker over White.
The story of the match was Goto working on Shingo’s neck. He beat the crap out of Shingo for a very long time, then Shingo made a short comeback and won. This was extremely disappointing, and is yet another frustratingly predictable booking choice from Gedo, proving once again that if you want to know who will have a chance of winning a block kin a Gedo-booked tournament, just look at the main event of the last day and know the block will always come down to those two wrestlers.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) - 8/10
We start off with much stalling on the outside, and then a lot of fighting on the outside while Red Shoes doesn’t do sh*t. Kevin Kelly assures us that “Red Shoes Uno under no circumstances is going to call for a disqualification.” The defense for this (and Red Shoes not counting people out) is that “there needs to be a winner.” Well if a count-out or a DQ aren’t legitimate ways to win a match, then why are they in the rules in the first place?
This whole idea that we need to have a “satisfying” finish so therefore we’ll ignore any wrongdoing is do f*cking stupid. If everyone from Bullet Club ran in and just beat the sh*t out of Naito, the referee shouldn’t call for a DQ? An eleven-on-one gang-attack that is a perversion of justice is more satisfying than a DQ just because it ends with a f*cking pinfall? How stupid is that?
The announcers told us that when Jay White was a young-boy and he would hold the ropes open for Naito, Naito would kick the ropes into Jay White’s face. Wow. Naito’s a f*cking dick, isn’t he? So we’ve got the asshole vs. the cheater. Why would I want to see either of these guys win? If Goto had won his match I could at least cheer for White so that Goto would win the block on tiebreakers. Now my only hope of someone respectable winning this block is the double DQ that the announcers just hold me will never happen.
They had some good strike exchanges, after which we spilled to the outside for more of the obligatory whipping an opponent into the guardrail while Red Shoes refuses to count them out. Even when White got back into the ring Red Shoes refused to count, even though White did nothing illegal. This shoots down all of the bullsh*t people spout in defense of Red Shoes about him refusing to count being about not letting cheaters take advantage of situations. He’s just a dickhead who arbitrarily changes the rule as he sees fit, and the governing body of the promotion and the audience viewpoint characters (the babyface announcers) and our heroic babyfaces just don’t seem to care because it almost always benefits what they want.
Now Red Shoes won’t count a pin because White was whipping Naito into the barricades and the ring apron. F*CK. OFF. This sh*t happens in every single match and no one ever treats it as illegal, but the guy who will let chairshots go won’t count a pin because of this sh*t? The announcers then told us that Red Shoes has order Jay White not to go to the outside anymore. Jay White then pulled Naito’s hair to take him down, and Red Shoes wanted over and finally told him off for doing almost fifteen seconds after it happened, after White had already started to kick Naito in the head. Well if you’re not going to count the guy out if goes to the outside and you’re not going to disqualifying for doing illegal things, what makes you think he has any incentive to listen to you?
They told a great story with the work on Naito’s neck and had a lot of great emotion and reversals, but I can’t give it a higher rating than 8/10 because of how frustrating I found swaths of it to be. I feel bad that so much of what I talk about in the reviews of these G1 matches is negative, but those are my prevailing feelings during large portions of the match, and I find it so frustrating because none of this crap is ever necessary for the story of the match. They could have had the same match without Red Shoes doing his buffoonery and with White just rolling in to break the count-out every so often, and it would have been outstanding, but instead they keep doing all of this annoying, stupid, immersion-damaging bullsh*t all the time, and in basically every match on the card, and Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero’s attempts to explain it away just make it worse.
A typical night of Block B mediocrity to close out the block stage of the G1. I don’t really have anything else to say that I haven’t said so far.