The first of three shows from the legendary Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, 6,180 reported in attendance. Today saw Block A being determined with White, Tanahashi and Okada still in the running. Jay White would have needed to beat EVIL and Okada to beat Tanahashi. Tanahashi held the most control, only needing a draw against Okada to go to the final.
CHAOS (SHO & Tomohiro Ishii) defeat Shota Umino & Toa Henare
Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) defeat Gedo & Toru Yano
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOH) defeat David Finlay & Juice Robinson
Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) defeat Suzuki-gun (TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr.)
BULLET CLUB ELITE (Chase Owens, Kota Ibushi & Marty Scurll) vs. BULLET CLUB ELITE(Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) – no contest due to Tongan interference.
Togi Makabe vs Michael Elgin
A nicely paced, hard hitting affair between two beasts, and regardless of my criticisms of Elgin, he often does deliver. He did dominate much of the match with spells from Makabe who mounted comebacks against the big Canadian. Makabe won following a King Kong Kneedrop.
YOSHI-HASHI vs Hangman Page
Another nicely paced match as YOSHI-HASHI looks to draw level on points with Page. The only really surprising bit move wise for me was the Canadian Destroyer that YOSHI-HASHI did. He soon after got the win following Karma despite Page looking the better in the match I thought.
Bad Luck Fale vs Minoru Suzuki
Another garbage finish. DQ win for Suzuki.
EVIL vs Jay White
Jay White needs a win here to apply pressure on Tanahashi and Okada but EVIL will be wanting to finish off the G1 strongly. Jay White used much of his regular tricks in his attempt to carve a path to the final but EVIL was reading from a different script. One Everything is Evil was all it took to get the win for EVIL. Decent enough match, despite the chair and ref spots.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada
A fantastic story was told between these two giants of Japanese wrestling, the Ace of the Universe and arguably, the greatest IWGP Heavyweight Champion of all time. Okada hasn’t lost to Tanahashi since 2015, that’s 3 years of frustration for the Ace/former Ace, depending on who you ask, with his most recent defeat coming in May of this year, when Okada broke his record for most defences against him. Okada went big early on, trying for his Tombstone but failing, using Tanahashi’s Dragon Screw to weaken his leg. Tanahashi never gave in though and they fight on. The match went back and forth but their was only one chant that was filling the Budokan. ‘Go Ace’. As the clock was reaching the time limit of 30 minutes, both men were going for it, Okada couldn’t hit his Rainmaker though as Tanahashi countered them all. Tanahashi hit a High Fly Flow to the back of Okada as 20 seconds remained, but time ran out as he began his climb again. A time limit draw sends Tanahashi to Sunday’s final, Okada still hasn’t lost to Tanahashi so the 2015 record continues.
That was likely match of the tournament there. Go watch it.