Compared to what has been a truly incredible B block, the A block has perhaps been the weaker and less consistent of the two blocks during this G1 so far, with night 9 being particularly unmemorable in all truth. We’re talking G1 standards here though, so don’t think for a second that means the A block hasn’t produced a boatload of great matches for us to enjoy. The ascendancy of Jay White has easily been the biggest story of the A block to this point, with some high profile wins and great matches turning the underwhelming youngster into a true main event ready star. Okada, who’s going through an entertaining early midlife crisis, and Tanahashi still seem the more likely to go through to the final, but Jay White certainly seems a more likely winner then he did going in to this tournament, though it is EVIL who is leading points wise at the moment. Still the best is likely still to come for the A block, so lets take a look back at the most must-watch matches we’ve seen so far…
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki
These two have plenty of history, but it is their most recent New Beginnings match that this encounter plays off of. Much like he did in his winning effort there, Suzuki tortures the ace with a series of brutal submissions. It’s only the first night of the tournament, but Tanahashi once again risks injury to try and find a way to win in another superb chapter of their long standing rivalry.
Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada
Both men had recently been dethroned as champions going into the G1, losses they dealt with in very different ways. Jay White enters with a chip on his shoulder and a newfound aggression despite no longer being a champion. Okada meanwhile, finally free of the pressure that comes with being the IWGP World champion, is going through some kind of early mid life crises almost, complete with red hair, balloons and a new care-free attitude. Okada perhaps takes too White too lightly and White makes him pay with brutal violence, but Okada is still the man whatever attire he’s wearing, and this is yet another classic match for him and a breakout performance for Jay.
Hangman Page vs. Michael Elgin
It’s Page’s first G1 tournament, so he’s looking to make a name for himself for sure. His first match resulted in two points for him, but it came via DQ in a fairly poor match. Here against Elgin, Page gets the chance to really show what he can do match quality rise, and he more then steps up to the mark.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Togi Makabe
These two met at the anniversary show most recently and produced a brilliant ‘big Hoss’ battle there. Here the two vets replicate the same formula to much success. If your a fan of angry men punching, chopping and just generally beating the hell out of each other, then you can’t go wrong with this.
Hangman Page vs. Kazuchika Okada
Okada was unsuccessful in his first two matches, and it seems he’s not quite the same rainmaker we all Know and love anymore. Time it seems, for Page to take advantage and make a name for himself. Page seems almost disappointed by the all ‘new’ Okada early on, but Okada soon brings the goods and we end up with a brilliant match on our hands.
Michael Elgin vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Oh YOSHI-HASHI… No one expected much from the underdog of this tournament going in, and despite some decent enough performances early on, he goes into this match with little to no momentum. Just when you’ve completely counted YOSHI out though, is when he pulls out one of his brilliant performances from out of nowhere. Of course you have to give some credit to Elgin for leading him through to a great showing here, but YOSHI more then brings the goods in what is not only his best match of the tournament so far, but one of the best matches of the tournament period.