Jeff Cobb still undefeated, will showdown with Kazuchika Okada for B block supremacy
The last night of G1 action before finals week in Yokohama and Tokyo’s famed Budokan saw EVIL fall by the wayside as Jeff Cobb made history, and Tama Tonga stunned with a massive upset over Kazuchika Okada, Okada and Cobb the only two alive heading into Wednesday’s group finals.
Kazuchika Okada headed unbeaten into his main event with the four point scoring Tama Tonga. On a night of fast starts, Okada was measured in the early going, going to the mat and then pressuring Tama to the ropes. It would be the BULLET CLUB member who denied the clean break though, increasing the pace and getting the first strikes of the match in before Okada shut him down with a basement dropkick and a neck breaker.
As the match spilled to the floor, Tonga had the resourcefulness to drop Okada jaw first over the guardrail with a modified Gunstun, putting the match firmly in his hands. A dropkick and suplex kept Okada in place, but when the Good Bad Guy wanted to accelerate, the Rainmaker slammed on the brakes with a big time flapjack and a DDT for two, and a signature dropkick would send Tonga spilling to the floor from the top rope.
This time Okada had control on the outside, booting Tonga over the railing and blocking another guardrail Gunstun to land a DDT on the floor. Scoring a dropkick back inside, Okada applied the Money Clip, Tama making the ropes but clearly slowed. Still, the BULLET CLUB member had enough to counter a Rainmaker attempt with a Veleno DDT, and a Complete Shot swung momentum back to Tonga’s corner.
Staying on his toes to avoid Okada’s biggest shots, Tonga got wide to block the Tombstone and escaped a Shotgun dropkick and then the reverse neckbreaker to hit the SRC and the Supreme Flow for two. Okada was similarly resilient though, and blocked Tonga’s underhook piledriver to land a big time dropkick and the Tombstone.
Okada twice wanted the Rainmaker, and Tonga twice wanted a counter into the Gunstun, both moves denied; as Okada again wanted the finish he was countered this time into Bloody Sunday. When Okada blocked yet another Gunstun he would look for the Landslide Tombstone, countered with Gunstun; Okada kicked out, but not from the DSD, giving Tama Tonga the biggest win of his singles career.
Needing a win to stay in the hunt against the undefeated Jeff Cobb, EVIL went quickly to the bag of tricks, Dick Togo creating a distraction, only to be foiled with a dropkick as Cobb got on his horse. Yet the Imperial Unit being sent to the floor was an inevitability, and EVIL would take over with a home-run chair swing that instantly ensured this would be anything other than a walk in the park.
Despite Cobb fighting back from his knees, EVIL kept the pressure on outside the ring until a Cobra Twist with a Togo assist saw Cobb hip tossing both men at once. Getting sweet revenge on behalf of the Makoto Abe, Cobb would seat his opponent at the timekeeper’s table and drive Dick Togo into his charge, and took control of the HOUSE OF TORTURE leader inside the ring as the match reached ten minutes.
EVIL found a sneaky response, driving Cobb into the turnbuckle Togo had exposed early, and then rocking the Imperial Unit with a lariat before going for the kill. The EVIL was countered with an Oklahoma Stampede, but when Togo drew the referee into Cobb’s path, the door was open for an impromptu handicap match. A chair shot and Magic Killer was followed by Darkness Falls as the referee came to, but would only get two as Cobb remained unbeaten for a while longer.
Cobb withstood yet another shot to the exposed buckle and cracked EVIL with a lariat, but couldn’t hit Tour of the Islands, and a Spin Cycle saw EVIL grab the referee on the way down. Togo applied the Spoiler’s Choke, but Cobb still had the life to drop the Spoiler, only to be hit low. Yet another dirty trick from the playbook was foiled as a chair was superkicked into EVIL’s face, and the Tour of the Islands followed to give Cobb his eighth win.
Out of contention for the top of the block, Hiroshi Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI were battling for another two points and the best possible end to their G1 runs as they tied up third from the top of the card. The Ace would hone in on the leg of his opponent, who would respond with his trademark stinging chops, and some crunching neckbreakers to get valuable space and time.
YOSHI-HASHI tried to hit a series of suplexes on Tanahashi, but would be countered on alternate attempts with the Twist and Shout. The Headhunter swung from the hips with vicious palm strikes as he fought to stay in the game, eventually landing a Dragon suplex as the match passed the ten minute mark. Wrestling with smarts as well as effective moves, YOSHI-HASHI misdirected Tanahashi into expecting Karma but would be nailed with a backbreaker and then Kumagoroshi, but Tanahashi’s will was every bit as strong as the CHAOS member’s as he continued to kick out.
YOSHI-HASHI had the bettr of the Ace with lariats and thrust kicks, but would be met with a Tanahashi Slingblade. The Ace went high to crash into the Headhunter from the top, and then the High Fly Flow landed flush for the win.
Hirooki Goto and SANADA were similarly both out to end their campaigns on a high point, with Goto quick to dive to SANADA out on the floor, and pressure the LIJ member into a series of nearfalls before SANADA found a response. Goto would be brought to the floor, and throat first into the ringside steel, before being trapped in the Paradise Lock as Yamagata rallied behind Cold Skull.
Goto would fire back in response to SANADA’s strikes, sending him crashing to the canvas with a lariat and then a bulldog, but would be caught with a dropkick, and then forced to catch a plancha. An Ushigoroshi from Goto would stop Cold Skull momentarily, but when Goto escaped a Destino styled Skull End, SANADA would hook him into his own version of the Ushigoroshi, and then landed a rope hung TKO for two.
A Moonsault missed, and a backflip into Skull End was met instead with a Goto neckbreaker for two. The CHAOS member would follow with a GTR attempt, countered to a Samson Clutch for two, and as the pace quickened, SANADA nearly scored the win with an O’Connor Roll. A reverse GTR scored for Goto, but as he tried to follow up, a second O’Connor Roll led to the victory.
The first group match of the night had Chase Owens and Taichi trying to break their losing streaks. The frustrated Taichi went right for the throat of Owens on the outside of the ring, but would get reversed into the steel guardrails as Owens set to work on the Holy Emperor’s injured ribs. Taichi would fire back with a spin kick and an Ax Bomber, but was dealing with intense pain as he removed his pantaloons to bring the crowd to his side.
Owens would respond with a back breaker and the Prince’s Throne gutbuster to remain in control, but making an appeal to Miho Abe was beyond the pail for Taichi, who fought back with wild abandon and a gamengiri. A Dangerous Backdrop brought Taichi close to victory, but a C-Trigger would land in the ribs, and, with a shoutout to Bobby Eaton, the Alabama Jam was followed with the Package Piledriver for the victory.