Naito, Juice, Yano atop B Block in Nagaoka
The G1 moved to SANADA’s home prefecture of Nagaoka on October 1 for night eight of the tour, Cold Skull ending the night by finally stopping Tetsuya Naito’s win streak and his own losing one. Naito, Juice Robinson and Toru Yano are now top of B Block at six points while Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI and SANADA sit at the bottom with two.
The first group match of the evening saw Toru Yano try and retain his own perfect record against Juice Robinson. Yano offered Juice the gift of his brand new Tshirt at the start of the match, an ambassador for sportsmanship as well as Noboribetsu. It was all a ruse however, as Yano pulled the shirt over Juice’s eyes before spraying them with alcohol disinfectant for two counts. At ringside, Robinson grabbed Yano’s bottle of cleansing spray, pouring the contents into Yano’s face, but the YouTuber was able to beat the 20 count, taking the corner pad off once back inside.
Yano’s antics continued to enrage Robinson, and the thief was able to bait Juice outside, where he was waiting with a roll of tape to bind the legs of the former US Champion. Still, Juice was able to bunny hop to the ring, and deliver a Full Nelson Slam to buy himself enough time to get free. Forced to wrestle, Yano got two from the NU clutch, but ate a right hand, and Juice blocked his Pulp Friction counter to sit down and get the three.
The second block match saw Hirooki Goto and Zack Sabre Junior both at two points with a need to improve. Sabre was quick on the offense, pushing the referee aside to unleash a brutal attack on the damaged right shoulder of Goto. the CHAOS member fired back with his left hand as best he could, but had to sacrifice his right to finally put Sabre down, following with an Ushigoroshi, and strong mid kick. As both men picked up the pace however, Sabre caught a quick European Clutch to score the victory in just 3 minutes 59 seconds.
After the earliest intermission on the tour thus far, Hiroshi Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI bought the action back from break. After Tanahashi took control on the mat, YOSHI-HASHI came back with strikes, and was able to tear a page out of the Ace’s playbook with a Dragon Screw. Finding a target in the right leg of Tanahashi, the Headhunter kept the pressure on, before Tanahashi replied with a forearm blow at the five minute mark.
Tanahashi followed with his own Dragon Screw, but chops only succeeded in firing up his opponent, who responded with a lariat and superkick. A powerbomb followed for two, but Tanahashi was able to reply with a Straightjacket German for his own nearfall. A Slingblade connected as the Ace fired up, but a High Fly Flow attempt was denied with knees to the midsection.
Both men stood and traded strikes, YOSHI-HASHI getting the upper hand with a lariat before locking in the Butterfly Lock. After a long struggle, Tanahashi managed to reach the ropes, but still found himself pulled back to center ring, with a double wrist clutch. Eventually the Ace was able to work free, attempting a Texas Cloverleaf before hitting a ground Dragon Screw. YOSHI-HASHI dug down deep however, with a Dragon Suplex and Kumagoroshi for two.
YOSHI-HASHI looked to finish with Karma, but Tanahashi counrtered and hit a second Slingblade. This time, a High Fly Attack and High Fly Flow hit flush, leading to the pin.
KENTA and EVIL met next, the semi main event of the evening seeing the first of two factional derbies. After EVIL gave a two sweet to Dick Togo, but not to his teammate, KENTA’s ire was drawn, and in the early going, KENTA took control on the floor. Hard strikes continued in ring, as KENTA dominated the former double IWGP Champion with surprising force until Dick Togo got involved.
A tug of the heel, and EVIL shot KENTA into the ringside steel, and then used a steel chair wrapped around the arm to do significant damage to the left shoulder. Piling on the pressure, EVIL tore at the affected body part with a Fujiwara armbar, before KENTA bought time with some high boots and a powerslam.
The shoulder still hurting, KENTA relied on his feet, scoring with a kick combo and drawing EVIL into the corner where he found a Tornado Gunstun and flying lariat for two at the ten minute mark. Before he could hit Green Killer though, Togo again made his presence known, buying EVIL time to counter with an armbreaker over the ropes.
Fighting villainous fire with fire, KENTA struck the referee from behind, before levelling EVIL with two US Championship briefcase shots, creating the space for a double stomp and Busaiku Knee, but EVIL fired back with Darkness Falls and a lariat. Avoiding the EVIL, KENTA landed repeated overhand rights, and tried to hit Go2Sleep on the invading Togo, only to eat a low blow and the EVIL for three.
After one intrafactional battle full of controversy, anticipation was for a cleaner bout in the Los Ingobernables De Japon derby, SANADA in front of his home prefecture crowd needing to break his duck against the 3-0 Naito.
Tension was thick as the two men circled before tying up, Naito with the quick take down before both stood off. Grappling in the ropes, neither had the upper hand before SANADA and Naito tried to one up one another with taunts for the crowd. Having had enough of the showmanship, Naito threw the first strikes, in ring and out, sending SANADA into the guardrail.
In ring, signature offense followed for Naito, with a leg Nelson and corner combination, but SANADA was able to rely on his athleticism, connecting with a leapfrog dropkick and plancha. Naito regained control after SANADA missed a backflip Skull End attempt, but a Magic Screw brought the match into the home corner.
Naito responded with a swinging DDT, continuing a neck focused approach that followed with a top rope Frankensteiner attempt. SANADA worked himself free of the situation however, landing a dropkick upward from the mat and sending Naito face first into the ringpost. Bringing Naito’s head crashing down across his knee from the top rope, SANADA then followed with a Tiger Suplex to draw two.
Acting on instinct, Naito was able to fire off a spinebuster to buy himself some time, and threw in repeated back elbows to buy full control. A second Frankensteiner attempt this time found the mark. SANADA tried to respond with Skull End, but Esperanza and a half Destino scored, SANADA able to turn an attempt at the full version into a TKO as both men were down at the 20 minute mark.
Forearms were traded as both found their feet, SANADA finding sudden acceleration to backflip out of the corner and sink in Skull End. Even after Naito pushed himself free of the clutch, SANADA got the hold again, this time releasing of his own volition to try the Moonsault, but Naito escaped and SANADA crashed and burned at 25 minutes.
Naito landed a running Destino for two before looking once again for the full version, SANADA countering, and leading Naito to try and hit Valentia, the knee buckling mid move and landing his opponent on his head. El Ingobernable attempted the move again, but this time, SANADA had the wherewithal to counter with a modified Destino and two Moonsaults for the victory.