Back for a second night of action in Osaka, the members of B Block battle for the final time to etch their names into quarterfinal berths.
Feeling somewhat punished by an early start on a Sunday, we’re here for the final night of action in B block before heading into the playoffs. In the main event, El Phantasmo takes on Will Ospreay but we also have an undercard of five matches to get us started before the main G1 competition.
Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa vs. Just 5 Guys (DOUKI & SANADA)
In the opening contest, the young team of Kaito Kiyomiya and Ryohei Oiwa took on SANADA and DOUKI. Amid speculation of how Kiyomiya feels about having come from another company and washed out of the tournament, his Young Lion tag team partner had a good showing against the veteran presence of Just 5 Guys. Despite getting a nearfall of two over the champion, SANADA tapped out Ryohei Oiwa with Skull End.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii vs. TMDK (Kosei Fujita & Mikey Nicholls)
Next up was a preview of upcoming C block contest between Mikey Nicholls and Tomohiro Ishii, as they teamed with Kosei Fujita and Hiroshi Tanahashi, respectively, in tag team action. Fujita had most of the time in this match, kicking off the supposed Fujita World Tour, but Tanahashi tapped him out in the Texas Cloverleaf to give his NEVER Openweight Six Man Championship team the win.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tama Tonga vs. United Empire (HENARE & Jeff Cobb)
Legendary Hiroyoshi Tenzan teamed with Tama Tonga to take on HENARE & Jeff Cobb, next. Three of the four of these men are yet to close out their group stages yet with Jeff Cobb looking especially healthy in D block, despite some setbacks. Cobb and Tenzan held the ring for the majority of this match with Cobb, almost coming out on the losing end thanks to Hiroyoshi’s hard head, but he was able to survive and deliver Tour of the Islands to pick up the win for this team.
Eddie Kingston & Togi Makabe vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & David Finlay)
The seemingly perfect pairing of Eddie Kingston and Togi Makabe took on Bullet Club’s David Finlay and Chase Owens in our next contest. This match was a preview of Tuesday’s matchup between Finlay and Kingston. Despite Kingston doing most of the work in the match, Finlay was able to isolate Makabe and hit Into Oblivion to pick up the win.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & Yota Tsuji) vs. House Of Torture (Dick Togo, EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi)
The next match was an eight man tag team stable war with the team of BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & Yota Tsuji for Los Ingobernables de Japon facing off against Dick Togo, EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi from House Of Torture. Despite Takagi, Naito and EVIL all still fighting for places in the playoffs in the coming days, none of these men held back. Eventually, Tetsuya Naito tapped out Dick Togo to give LIJ the win. After the match, EVIL tried to shave the head of Shingo Takagi, perhaps foreshadowing his own fate should he not advance to the quarterfinals.
Final B Block Battles
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – KENTA (2-4) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (2-4)
Only pride, personal rivalry and possibly title shots on the line in the first of four final B block bouts as KENTA took on YOSHI-HASHI in a battle of the mathematically eliminated. The match quickly spilled to ringside with KENTA bouncing YOSHI-HASHI off the barricades. Back in the ring, KENTA turned his attention to squashing the face of HASHI and pounding the damaged areas of his body with vicious kicks. As YOSHI-HASHI rallied back, KENTA shoved him into the official in order to use a Kendo Stick in the match. His attention soon turned to HASHI’s Bo Staff but, as KENTA looked to strike, HASHI ducked and the Bullet Club member hit himself in the face when the staff ricocheted off the top rope.
With the referee back in the match, KENTA tried to hit a low blow behind his back. Not only was he caught but YOSHI-HASI blocked the strike. Although the cheating move was unsuccessful, KENTA quickly rolled HASHI into a cradle and was able to pick up the win.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – Taichi (3-3) vs. Great-O-Khan (2-4)
Bragging rights was the only attainable prize in the next match, too, when Taichi took on Great-O-Khan. In the early going, Khan tried to keep Taichi grounded but, when this was unsuccessfully, he instead opted to throw Taichi out of the ring and use the ringside area to play pinball with the Just 5 Guys member. Back in the ring, Taichi fought back into the match by applying submissions to O-Khan but it would be Taichi that would tap out after Khan locked him in an Anaconda Vice type manoeuvre to pick up a win.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – Kazuchika Okada (5-1) vs. Tanga Loa (3-3)
There weren’t too many stakes in the next contest either, where it pertains to the G1 tournament. With Kazuchika Okada guaranteed playoff entry and Loa eliminated, only Okada’s seeding could change as a result of this match. Okada went for the Rainmaker early but Tanga Loa avoided doom. He took a breather at ringside but this only served as a method of baiting Loa out of the ring to be DDT’d on the floor. Okada received boos from the crowd as he bounced Tanga Loa off the English announce table.
Back in the ring, Tanga Loa seemed annoyed by the disrespect Okada had shown him and began his own offensive drive on The Rainmaker. Loa got a close nearfall after a swinging side slam but could not follow up with his finisher. Tanga Loa looked again for the Reverse Piledriver but Okada slid off the back of his opponent and was able to deliver the Rainmaker to cement his place at the top of B block with a 6-1 record.
G1 Climax 2023 Block B Match – El Phantasmo (3-3) vs. Will Ospreay (4-2)
Who would join Kazuchika Okada as the second man to advance in B block? Our main event would decide the answer as El Phantasmo took on Will Ospreay. For El P, it was a simple edict – win and you’re in. For Will Ospreay, a tie would suffice. A fistbump of respect got things going as El P went on the offensive, sending Ospreay scurrying up the entrance way for a breather. Ospreay’s return to the ring marked a quick turnaround of momentum with the Englishman sending Phantasmo out of the ring and dropping him to the ground with a Plancha.
El P tried to get cute and reached for the nipples of Ospreay but the IWGP U.S. Champion spurned the move and admonished Phantasmo for trying such shenanigans in the G1. This didn’t deter El P from being flashy, though, as with Ospreay on the entrance way once again, Phantasmo walked the ropes before delivering a picture perfect Moonsault to Ospreay below.
Back in the ring, the pair turned their attentions to back and forth strikes. Ospreay got the better of the exchange, using his power base to inflict damage, and followed up with an Oscutter on the ring apron. Phantasmo narrowly beat the 20 count and Will Ospreay tried to surprise him with a Phenomenal Forearm but El P caught him in mid air with a Superkick. This launched a flurry of offense for El Phantasmo that garnered him several close two counts including one following El P’s own Oscutter and CR2 combo.
With three minutes remaining, El P desperately tried to close things out but this allowed Will Ospreay to open the door. Ospreay hit another Oscutter and followed it with Hidden Blade but couldn’t get more than two out of it. Will Ospreay finally went for the kill and hit the Storm Driver ’93 and pinned him to ink his name into the quarterfinals.
Two Days of Block Competition Remain
A day off tomorrow, then we’re back to action in C block on Tuesday before closing out the group stages with D block on Wednesday. Join us then, and throughout the playoffs, for continued coverage of G1 Climax on JEZ Sports.
With SANADA carrying an arm injury, has the favourite to win the tournament changed? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!