Good morning, and we are back!
Today the pro wrestling world woke up to the news that there was a new boss in town. Tomorrow they will wake up and get ready to see Tanahashi and Ibushi dance the dance of a thousand swords.
Back from a fantastic finale to Block A, here to see who will walk out of Block B. OK, so let me break this down for you. Naito faces Zack Sabre Jr first. He has to get more points in that match than Omega gets against Ibushi to win the block. Next, if Naito loses, the winner of Omega-Ibushi wins. If Naito does not lose, Omega has to get at least as many points as Naito to win.
I hope I got that right, if not, we will see from the celebration at the end. Once again, I am going to skip the boring tag matches and the irrelevant G1 matches to bring you the two that have impact on the tournament’ result.
Tetsuya Naito vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Sabre attacks Naito first, but as he follows him out of the ring, Naito gets in and avoids Sabre. Sabre gets in, Naito goes outside. Sabre gets frustrated and Taka has to calm him down. Naito avoids Sabre one more time and goes into Tranquilo pose, but Sabre dives down and latches crossscissors armbar on the lifted arm. Some tranquilo of his own by ZSJ.
Naito gets a rope break and does some mind games with going outside, but eventually it’s chain wrestling submission time by Zack. Cross-leg surfboard, followed by a cravat, but Naito jumps to the outside of the ropes, and gets leg-swept by ZSJ. Half a crab to Fujiwara to kravat to bridged kravat. Naito briefly reverses, but it returns to head scissors position. ZSJ stands on Naito and taps his chest. Tetsuya is not happy. Slap exchange begins. Naito eventually nails a neckbreaker into a backbreaker, followed by a sliding dropkick.
Naito now has the initiative. Head scissors, leg trip and another sliding dropkick. Inverted atomic drop, Swing Destino and a Rude Awakening. 2 count. Belly to back, reversed into a belly to back by ZSJ, then another couple of wild reverses, Naito hits a rolling kick, but Sabre doesn’t fall and latches an STF. “Shades of John Cena!”–screams Kevin Kelly. No, I am just kidding. I don’t watch English Commentary. Sabre lets go of the leg and latches a Fujiwara, but Naito’s foot is on the ropes.
Sabre Jr starts kicking Naito around, but he stops it with a forearm and an elbow. Sabre hits an uppercut, but Naito responds by kicking ZSJ around. Every move now knocks the Englishman down and has him grabbing his clavicle area. Backslide by ZSJ, Naito reverses, no count, and LIJ leader hits a Tornado DDT. Biggest move of the match so far, and now he wanats to continue with Gloria, but Zabre holds on to the arm and it’s a triangle armbar. Naito tries to power bomb out of it, but he can’t, so he rolls through for a 2, and a huge knee from ZSJ sends us into the next portion of the match.
Reverse DDT by Naito, almost a Destino. After some reversals, Gloria, successful this time, and a 2. It’s time for the finale. ZSJ rolls through it, Naito hits him with a rolling kick and tries to run the ropes, but Submission Master catches him with the Octopus Hold. After a very long period of time, Naito reaches the ropes. Once both wrestlers recover, Zack hits two big knees. The third one is blocked and Naito nails a belly-to-back. Eat, Sleep, Tranquilo, Repeat. Bridged cracle by ZSJ, twice, both times for a 2. Enziguri by Naito. Destino is blocked. Octopus Hold is bloked. Destino, but it’s not enough, Zack falls too far away. Second Destino is reversed into a Michinoku Driver. 3 count. Oh my god, I think Ibushi is winning.
2. Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi
I see Matt (or maybe it’s Nick, they are both equally bad spot monkeys) Jackson in Kenny’s corner, he hugs Omega, but gives thumbs up to Kota. There is just enough time left for this to go the distance, which could mean tournament winner does not get a title shot.
A lot of running the ropes to start things off. Ibushi stops it by dropkicking Omega out of the ring. Omega comes back with a big chop. Ibushi blocks the next whip and gets a huge chop for his troubles. Big kick to the chest by Ibushi. It’s a duel, which Kota wins, but when he goes for a plancha, Omega just stands there and lets him fall. Into the guardrail goes Ibushi and Omega slams him onto the apron. Leapfrog bulldog by Omega gets a two. Barely five minutes in, and these guys are already going to pins and selling like they have been fighting all night. Sliding dropkick by Omega. Chants are for Ibushi.
Bunch of stiff kicks by Ibushi, but Omega seems more angry than hurt now (again, if that didn’t hurt, why are you angry?) Power slam by Ibushi and a moonsault attempt. Omega picks his knees up. “You Can’t Escape” by Kenny, but this time Ibushi picks his knees up. Head scissors exchange. Ibushi fights off attempt to suplex him on the apron and slides inside the ring, when he is picked up for a belly-to-back. Double underhook piledriver on the apron by Omega. Both wrestlers manage to actually not fall off the apron. Enzudropkick and a shoulderbreaker by Omega. 2 count. Not sure if the chants are “Kenny” or “Ibushi”.
Running knee is reversed, but the second one is not. Croyt’s Wrath. 2 count. Another reversal is neutralized quickly, Tornado DDT. Suicide dive senton. Omega goes to the top rope, but Ibushi bicycle kicks him and tries to power bomb him off of there. Omega threatens a back-to-belly, Ibushi jumps off and does a top rope hurricanrana. 2 count, Omega kicks out and escapes to the outside, but Ibushi nails him with a corner post quebrada. Omega is up and in the ring seconds later, so I guess that wasn’t that good a move *eye roll* and even somehow sets up an electric chair, but it doesn’t happen and Ibushi viciously turns a standing moonsault into a double knee drop to the gut. But why bother to pin, when you can wait till Kenny feels like getting up and do a couple of high spots? V trigger is reversed into a bicycle kick, then is finally delivered. Spin kick and corner post V-Trigger. Dragon suplex off the top turnbuckle comes to naught, when Ibushi lands on his feet. Double clothesline by Omega. Running knee, but Ibushi comes back with two belly-to-back suplexes and a lariat for the finish. Sit down power bomb by Ibushi. 2 count. V Trigger by Ibushi. Very close 2 count. Omega delivers several weak elbows, because he is selling. Ibushi stands right up each time to deliver a big one of his. A few more exchanges, and a knee downs Kota. Another running knee by Kenny. They run the ropes some more and Ibushi fells Omega with a big kick to the side of the head.
Follow-up Moonsault by Ibushi misses. Rain Trigger. Facebuster. V-Trigger being set up. Watch it miss….it does not! One-Winged Angel in progress, Ibushi fights it and tries to slide down Omega’s back, gets back-to-bellied for his troubles. 1, 2, kick out.
Another V Trigger. At this point I find it hard to care about them, as we have had about 8. One-Winged Angel is set up again, Ibushi fights it, now it’s being set up off the second rope, series of elbows by Kota, and he jumps off and delivers a double stomp to Kenny’s hanging head. Looked really dangerous and spectacular. Sit out powerbomb on still perched Kenny. 1, only 2. Man, that would have been a memorable finish. Rain Trigger by Ibushi. 1! 2! 3! Ibushi is going to face Tanahashi. Omega hugs his friend and wishes him good luck. Young Bucks pick the winner up.
This was a spot monkey match, with nice highlight footage and not much of a build or story. Definitely a step down from matches of late.
I should be back tomorrow to report on the big finale. Interestingly, no other matches seem to have been announced.