Zak Sabre Jr played the smart game in his match against Bad Luck Fale, immediately jumping on him and locking in a flying octopus hold. It broken by Jado with the kendo stick then Chase Owens attacked while the referee was distracted.
They fought to the outside and far into the crowd, ZSJ locked in a triangle hold then let go in time to run back to the ring and win by countout! ZSJ finally broke his losing streak and showed once again that he can put a good match on with anyone.
Hiroshi Tanahashi v Lance Archer was a solid match with Archer playing to his strengths as a big man and Tanahashi selling him as a legit threat. The biggest spot was a chokeslam on the apron to Tanahashi that looked brutal. Archer followed up with a great running senton off the apron too. Tanahashi eventually overcame Archer with a victory roll for the win.
KENTA v EVIL This was a fun match that featured a brawl into the crowd where EVIL evicted some of the audience and piled up their chairs. They blocked each others suplex attempts until KENTA suplexed EVIL onto them.
EVIL really took it to the undefeated KENTA here, but he wasn’t able to kick out of the GTS.
Ibushi and SANADA were next. We got a fun spot with the referee, Red Shoes, trying to determine who had most crowd support, I’m pretty sure the man can dance!
This was a great match, with Ibushi not really showing his injury. There was a prolonged session of duelling strikes that looked painful on both men but ended with a clothesline to SANADA and a sit out powerbomb for 2.
SANADA hit a Kamigoye for 2! Then missed a moonsault. Ibushi hit a bomaye but couldn’t follow up as his ankle gave out, the length of the match was taking its toll. SANADA locked in Skull End, Ibushi reversed into his own, SANADA countered, but Ibushi countered again and threw SANADA into the turnbuckle pad. There was a great series of counters ending in a high kick by Ibushi to knock SANADA down. Ibushi hit another bomaye for 2, then pulled down his kneepad and hit Kamigoye for the win.
Brilliant match, but I expected no less.
Next up, it was one the most anticipated matches of the tournament, Will Ospreay v Kauchika Okada.
The match started off with some back and forth/ Ospreay hit Okada with hard chops but Okada barely flinched, then levelled Ospreay with a forearm. Ospreay came back with a suplex, then a handspring backflip kick and Pip Pip Cheerio for 2.
Okada was looking really aggressive and acting superior to Ospreay, showing his heel side.
There was a chop from Ospreay that sounded like a whip crack and took Okada down. Ospreay was all over Okada until Okada caught him and hit an air raid crash right on the neck. He followed up with a shotgun dropkick. Okada hit a perfect elbow, called for the Rainmaker and Ospreay backed him into the corner. Ospreay tried a standing shooting star press but Okada got his knees up, Ospreay bounced up and got hit with a dropkick then a Tombstone.
Ospreay is great as the underdog, something he rarely seems to be this year, his selling is fantastic. The fight on the apron was great, I was surprised Okada was going to go for a tombstone on the floor. Ospreay escaped and hit an OsCutter using the barrier.
Okada crawled back in at 19 and Ospreay hit an amazing missile dropkick almost fully across the ring and followed up with an OsCutter for 2.5.
Ospreay went for a super OsCutter but Okada grabbed him into a German suplex then hit a dropkick, went for Rainmaker but Ospreay countered with a Spanish Fly for 2, then a shooting star press for 2, the crowd was going crazy for both men!
Ospreay called for the end, picked Okada up, but Okada countered for a tombstone, Ospreay countered into a tombstone of his own after kneeing Okada in the face! Ospreay picked Okada up and hit a hook kick, Okada countered Stormbreaker with a Rainmaker,, holding onto Ospreay’s wrist. He pulled Ospreay up and hit a second rainmaker, called for a third and Ospreay countered, almost hitting Stormbreaker but Okada jumped off and hit a spinning Rainmaker then picked Ospreay up and hit a final Rainmaker for the win.
That was the match of the tournament so far, maybe even of the year so far, just over 20 minutes of amazing action! I love Okada/Ospreay matches, it’s going to be a special moment when Ospreay does finally beat him, but this wasn’t the night.