The G1 was in Shizuoka, and it’s a battle of Los Ingobernables, with Tetsuya Naito taking on EVIL in the main event.
#TLDR: A fine Battle of the Ingobernables headlined another evening’s G1 action, with a card of good matches which ultimately couldn’t come close to what we got the prior day.
The Full Review: After Osaka on Saturday, block B are back in action, and we’re headlined by a curious G1 match between Tetsuya Naito and EVIL.
Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA & David Finlay vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask & Captain New Japan
More sing-a-long with Taguchi here, and the Captain’s back with his elder bad influences. I wonder if/when he’ll ever move along from the Bullet Club Hunter gear, since he’s hardly faced them as of late?
Taguchi and Tiger Mask get us going, and the fourth move of the match is a hip attack. And the fifth. And the sixth. Tiger stomps on Taguchi’s arse, and then he works over the left arm of Taguchi, before passing it over to Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Cue the refuse-to-tag-in Captain New Japan joke… and Liger actually just hesitates, rather than refuse to tag him in. Taguchi easily works free of the arm wringer, then brings in KUSHIDA, then David Finlay as the tables turn.
KUSHIDA wrings the arm of Captain New Japan several times, then sits on him in an armbar, before an attempted shoulder tackle from the Captain saw him miss completely, and fall into another armbar. Liger broke it up, but not before he stomped on his own partner out of disappointment.
Captain took down KUSHIDA with an uranage, then brought in Tiger Mask, who went for a double armbar that Finlay quickly ran in to cut-off. An overhead kick took down Tiger Mask, but he immediately replied with a Tiger Driver, only to be unable to make the cover.
Liger found himself cornered as he took avalanches in the corner from Finlay, KUSHIDA and Taguchi, before a Finlay roll scored a two-count. Out of nowhere, Liger shocked Finlay with a backslide, and that was the match. Your usual basic opener, but I really like how the youngsters are getting shocked with basic moves, rather than absorbing finishers for the loss. **¾
SANADA & BUSHI vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto
They’re building towards Ishii vs. SANADA tomorrow, so they start with BUSHI instead, who has to roll away from an early kick. Served him right for starting with a pose.
SANADA tripped Ishii as he went into the ropes, and held him in place for a tope from BUSHI who sent him into the guard rails, as SANADA then took him into the crowd. The Ingobernables pair worked over Ishii, with BUSHI using his shirt to throttle the man with, before switching to SANADA’s shirt.
The double leapfrog and dropkick from SANADA took down Ishii, as did a back suplex, which got a two-count. Ishii countered with a bodyslam off the ropes, then finally made the tag out to Goto, who was quickly swarmed by BUSHI. Goto overcame that with a spinning heel kick, then another back suplex to SANADA for a two-count.
SANADA hit a nice standing moonsault, but landed on his feet before hitting a dropkick to Goto’s back, as BUSHI came in with a missile dropkick and ending a sequence with a lungblower for a two count which Ishii broke up with – of all things – a barrel roll.
Nevertheless, BUSHI went up top and looked for the MX, but only got a kick to the midsection from Goto as Ishii came in to avoid a TKO and send SANADA out with a German suplex. BUSHI avoided an ushigoroshi and countered with a kick to the head, before finally taking an ushigoroshi, then a GTR en route to the win. Pretty good tag match, with yet another loss for the Ingobernables in these matches… ***
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Juice Robinson
We start with Makabe and Kojima, and it’s the usual headlock into a shoulder tackle opening. Makabe doesn’t budge, nor does Kojima, before a kick to the midsection takes Makabe to his knees, then knocks down Kojima with a shoulder tackle.
Mabake ends up in the wrong corner, and runs for it when Nakanishi gets the tag in, as does Juice Robinson. Juice tries his hardest with forearms and headbutts, but leaps into the clutches of Nakanishi, who easily dumps him with a bodyslam. Robinson avoids a suplex then tries for one of his own. Good luck with that…
Tanahashi comes in to help, but instead takes a double suplex from Nakanishi, leaving Robinson in the corner for Kojima’s rapido chops… and this time he’s actually able to follow up with a top rope elbow, in spite of the cameraman nearly knocking him off the apron. In comes Tenzan, who follows up a Koji Cutter with a falling headbutt for a near-fall.
Robinson catches Tenzan off the ropes with a spinebuster, then tags out to Tanahashi to give us a preview of that match tomorrow. Tanahashi knocks everyone off the apron, then gets whipped into the ropes, before almost landing Tenzan on his head from the slam that set up for the senton flip.
Tanahashi blocks a suplex from Tenzan, but takes a headbutt before blocking a Mongolian chop… only to fall to a Mountain Bomb instead. We’re back to Makabe and Nakanishi, but not for long as a massive spear knocks Togi to the mat, before Nakanishi gets a near-fall with a clothesline.
Makabe gets hoisted up in an Argentine backbreaker, and of course Robinson isn’t breaking it. A leg lariat does sent Nakanishi to the mat though, before Robinson takes the TenKoji Cutter (3D). Makabe clotheslines his way through presumably another TenKoji Cutter, before Nakanishi’s taken down with a Slingblade that sets him up for the King Kong Kneedrop, and Makabe takes the win! ***½
Naomichi Marufuji, Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi
We start with Gedo and Takahashi, and Takahashi immediately bites himself free of a headlock. Gedo replies in kind, before ducking a couple of headlocks and lighting into Takahashi with the “Juice” punches, only for a beard hair-pull to cut him off.
Tama Tonga comes in, but demands to face Marufuji ahead of their match tomorrow, and he gets his wish. Ineffective shoulderblocks, before Marufuji leaps over Tonga, who then ducks a boatload of kicks and eventually gets taken down with a dropkick. Fale hauls Marufuji to the outside and takes him into the barriers, then into the crowd as the panicked ring announcer couldn’t get his words of impending doom out quickly enough.
Back in the ring, Marufuji gets dropped with a forearm from Takahashi, before Tonga comes in to sit on him for a two-count. Marufuji replies with a chop, but his eyes get raked, before he gets confused by Tonga’s rope running and ultimately takes a headbutt. Tonga’s quickly dropped with some kicks, and we’re treated to a preview of Okada/Fale tomorrow, as Okada drops Fale with a DDT.
Takahashi runs in and gets flapjacked for his troubles, and Okada manages to lift up Fale for a bodyslam. The tombstone however, ain’t happening, and Okada gets dumped with a Samoan drop, before he dropkicks himself out of a Grenade.
Takahashi tags in and sends Okada into the corner, but a Yakuza kick is caught, before Takahashi drops Okada with a Fisherman’s buster for a near-fall. The Heavy Rain takes out Takahashi, and in comes Gedo to finish things off with a jawbreaker, before a superkick to a seated Tanakashi gets a two-count.
Yujiro elbows out of a Complete Shot attempt, before Fale holds Gedo in place for a big boot from Takahashi, then a diving dropkick for a near-fall. The ring fills, then clears just as quickly, before Gedo nearly shocks Takahashi with a small package. It’s replied to with a clothesline, and then a short DDT gets Takahashi the expected win. Better than expected given who’s involved, but I still expect Takahashi to have little heat going into his tag title match next weekend. ***
G1 Climax, Block B: Toru Yano vs. Michael Elgin
Given that Michael Elgin’s on top of block B going into today, I would strongly suspect that this won’t have a cheap finish like we saw against Shibata or Nagata…
Yano kicks Elgin in the midsection early, then gets rocked with a shoulder tackle, before Elgin falls for the old hand-hake gimmick. More kicks to the midsection, but Elgin brings Yano to his knees with a firm handshake, and finally… break!
Elgin punches Yano during the “break” gimmick so he see-saws in the ropes, before mocking the same stupid spot himself. A cover gets Elgin a two-count, before a slingshot into a splash gets Elgin from the apron into the ring for a two-count. Yano avoids an avalanche and goes straight for the turnbuckle pads and finally removes them at the second attempt. Unfortunately for him, Elgin also removed him with a German suplex, before being surprised with a roll-up for a near-fall.
Elgin ducks a turnbuckle padding shot, then clotheslines Yano, who again gets a near-fall with a roll-up. Elgin runs into the unprotected turnbuckle, but still pulls off a slightly-stalling vertical suplex.
Elgin teases a buckle bomb into the unpadded corner, but Yano works free and mule kicks Elgin, which ends up being the finish as a roll-up gets Yano the win. It was what it was – but I cannot believe that result, particularly since it means that technically he and Elgin now share top spot with eight points from a 4-3 record. **
G1 Climax, Block B: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Someone forgot to turn on the ring announcer’s microphone here, and we start with YOSHI-HASHI launching himself into Shibata, firing away with forearms in the corner. Shibata eventually brushes him off, then launches into him with a kick, then a Yakuza kick to send YOSHI-HASHI into the guard rails.
More Irish whips into the guard rails follow, before Shibata takes him back into the ring for a figure four leglock. YOSHI-HASHI eventually rolled over to reverse the hold, but Shibata rolled back and forced him to grab the ropes to break it up. Shibata nonchalantly kicks at the grounded YOSHI-HASHI, and takes him into the corner again for more stomps, then the diving dropkick of doom.
YOSHI-HASHI tried to chop away at Shibata, who replied with a big boot before they launched into a war of forearms, which ended with a lariat from YOSHI-HASHI to send both men to the mat. A chop in the corner set up YOSHI-HASHI for the dropkick across the back of Shibata on the top rope for a near-fall, before scoring another near-fall with a folding pin.
Shibata rolled away from a senton bomb, but his PK attempt is caught and YOSHI-HASHI connects with a clothesline, only for Shibata to stomp free from a pumphandle driver. Out of nowhere, YOSHI-HASHI catches Shibata in a butterfly lock, but Shibata is able to reach for the ropes, before being knocked back down with a lariat.
YOSHI-HASHI went for the senton bomb again, and this time landed it for a near-fall. Another attempt at the pumphandle driver was blocked, as Shibata turned around to knee YOSHI-HASHI in the face and try the butterfly lock himself. After a rope break, Shibata scored a double underhook suplex, then locked in a sleeperhold, which was the prelude to a PK for the win. A really solid match, but seemed to lack the crowd heat these guys have had in prior bouts. Somehow, Shibata (for now) has a share of the lead, whilst YOSHI-HASHI’s odds continue to fade away. ***½
G1 Climax, Block B: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Tomoaki Honma
The usual lock-up and shoulder tackles to start us with, with Nakajima missing an early kick before a Honma shoulder tackle knocks him down. Bodyslam and the first missed Kokeshi comes our way, as Nakajima’s low dropkick sends Honma onto the apron.
Honma follows by suplexing Nakajima onto the apron, then he takes a DDT onto it, as Nakajima followed up by kicking Honma over the guard railings and into the crowd. Nakajima works some leg scissors after Honma returned to the ring, which led into that not-at-all-suggestive “humping the mat” spot.
After Honma broke via the ropes, Nakajima stood up and took a series of chops, which he eventually retaliated with using some forearm strikes, before taking down Honma with a DDT for a near-fall. A deadlift Honma suplex followed next, as did a series of forearms, then a bodyslam – but no Kokeshi yet.
Honma picks up Nakajima for some chops, then lands a flying forearm in the corner, a bulldog out of it, then finally a Kokeshi! An attempted high foot was shrugged off by Honma, but he was quickly taken down with a Dragon screw, before a Yakuza kick and a stiff kick to the chest sent Honma to the mat. Nakajima climbed the ropes and went airborne with a missile dropkick for a near-fall.
Honma elbowed out of a backdrop suplex, as they resumed forearms, before he ducked a kick and attempted Kokeshi Otoshi. Nakajima avoided that, threw some more kicks and landed a German suplex, only for Honma to pop up and drop him with a clothesline. More chops and kicks rocked both men, before Honma spun around Nakajima and landed a leaping Kokeshi to the back of the head. Another leaping Kokeshi followed, as did the Kokeshi Otoshi for a near-fall.
Nakajima rolled away from a swandive Kokeshi, before running into a back elbow, then knocking Honma off the top rope with a spinning heel kick. A backdrop suplex gets Nakajima a two-count, before a series of kicks to the head drops Honma, and gets another near-fall.
Nakajima follows up a PK with a brainbuster, since we can’t have two matches in a row finishing the same way, and that loss eliminates Honma from the G1. Another good, hard-hitting match, but at this point in the tournament it feels like these guys are really just making up the numbers. ***¾
G1 Climax, Block B: Kenny Omega vs. Yuji Nagata
Both men work a wristlock to get us going, but Nagata grabs an advantage after Omega misses a leaping elbow in the corner. Nagata rolls away and lands a “just kidding” dropkick to the knee, before literally kicking Omega’s arse.
Omega returned the favour with the “just kidding” dropkick, before working a toehold over Nagata, who then gets dragged under the bottom ropes as his left leg is bitten and smashed over the apron.
Back inside, Omega drops Nagata with a knee-breaker, then goes for a Nagata Lock leg grapevine that forces a rope break. The target on Nagata’s left knee continues as Omega stomps away, but Nagata fires back with some kicks to the chest before landing a Yakuza kick into the corner, then an Exploder out of it for a near-fall.
Omega chopped away at Nagata then landed a low dropkick and the leg lariat to the back of the head for a two-count, following up with a Finlay roll and a moonsault for another near-fall. A deadlift gutwrench from Omega’s blocked, as Nagata tried for a gutwrench suplex of his own and gets it, but Omega counters a big boot with an enziguiri, then a Dragon suplex and a Shining Wizard for another near-fall.
Nagata grabs Omega as he’d leant out through the ropes, and pulled off a nice looking Exploder suplex from the ring into the barricades. Back on the apron, Omega tried to suplex Nagata to the outside again, but countered with a spinning draping suplex, then a brainbuster that got Nagata a two-count.
Another battle of forearms ended with a spinning heel kick from Nagata, then a knee to the head from Omega, who then got caught in Nagata’s eye-rolling armbar for a spell. Nagata followed up with a pair of armbreakers, and a leaping knee strike in the corner, before trying for a super Exploder off the top rope. Omega elbowed free, and countered with a sunset flip, but couldn’t pull off the powerbomb, and instead set up Nagata for the One Winged Angel.
Nagata got out, and tried in vain for a backdrop hold. A second attempt was lost, but Omega took another Exploder, then followed with a knee to the head for another near-fall. From there, Omega lifted up Nagata for the One Winged Angel, and that was enough to take the win. Another decent match, but this was a really tough crowd for anything in the way of responses. ***¾
G1 Climax, Block B: EVIL vs. Tetsuya Naito
The Battle of Los Ingobernables de Japon… and I’ve a feeling this isn’t going to be a Fingerpoke-of-Doom style ending. Naito takes his time getting out of his Saturday Night Fever gear, and we’re finally underway.
They spend a lot of time stalling, and EVIL starts with a kick to the midsection, before Naito low bridges him to the outside. No dive, just tranquilo!
Naito rolls outside the ring as EVIL returned, before landing a shoulder charge on the apron as he tries to suplex EVIL to the floor. No joy there, and instead he takes a forearm smash, then a clothesline onto the apron. They go outside, and EVIL whips Naito into the barriers, and then grabs some chairs from under the ring… he’s gonna do it! Chair to the midsection, then Naito wears one, before EVIL bats it off his head with a second chair. That’s just evil… (sorry!)
Back inside, EVIL ground the point of his elbow into Naito’s face, before hitting a curb stomp for a near-fall. They go to a rear chinlock, then EVIL tried for a suplex which Naito blocked, and then countered with a tornado DDT off the ropes. A hiptoss then a dropkick followed, as Naito then dropped EVIL with a neckbreaker.
EVIL blocked an on-rushing Naito with some big boots, but ran into an inverted atomic drop and took another low dropkick. The outside-in dropkick followed on a cornered EVIL, before Naito landed a kneebreaker, a dropkick to the knee, and then a leg grapevine as he heaped the pressure onto EVIL’s knee.
EVIL finally makes the ropes for the clean break, but Naito goes straight for the left knee with some elbow drops, before EVIL elbows out of another kneebreaker. A dropkick to the knee, then a cartwheel kick staggered EVIL, before he countered a Gloria with a Fisherman’s suplex to send both men down.
Naito took a discus clothesline in the corner, as EVIL went to the top… and came down with a leaping lariat for a near-fall. EVIL tried for the Fireman’s carry spinebuster, but Naito elbowed out, before EVIL connected with a half nelson suplex, then a lariat for a near-fall. The Fireman’s Carry Spinebuster was hit on the second attempt, before an STO attempt is countered into Naito’s new inverted leglock.
EVIL finally crawls his way to the ropes, but Naito easily picks him up and places him on the top rope. More elbows to the knee from Naito, and he climbs to the top, before EVIL catches him in a Fireman’s carry… but it gets turned into a hurricanrana on the way down for a near-fall. Gloria from Naito for another two, but Destino’s caught and turned unto a side slam for a near-fall.
After fighting back to their feet, we got more forearms as they went back and forth, with EVIL sending Naito into the ropes, before being slapped and rocked with an enziguiri. A legdrop-assisted reverse DDT got Naito a two-count, but EVIL turned him inside out with a lariat, before an STO was countered with Destino as Naito got the win. A fun, fun main event that increased EVIL’s standing in defeat. Naito stands alone at top of block B with ten points from a 5-2 record, whilst EVIL stays bottom on 2-5. ****¼
Post-match, the rest of the Ingobernables rush the ring as BUSHI and SANADA help EVIL – and the two men who’d just given their all saluted, and all’s well that ends well.
Whilst not a bad show, this struggled badly to come close to the heights we saw yesterday with Block A stealing the weekend. It says a lot when you have a card with matches just-below four stars that feels flat, but if you took this on its own and didn’t look at any other G1 cards, this’d have been pretty good. Sadly, I feel that the great EVIL/Naito main event will end up being overlooked by the end of the tournament.
Block A Standings (not including any tie-breakers)
Kazuchika Okada (5-2, 10pts)
Bad Luck Fale (4-3, 8pts)
Hirooki Goto (4-3, 8pts)
Togi Makabe (4-3, 8pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (4-3, 8pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (4-3, 8pts)
Tama Tonga (3-4, 6 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (3-4, 6 pts)
SANADA (2-5, 4pts)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-5, 4pts)
Block B Standings (not including any tie-breakers)
Tetsuya Naito (5-2, 10pts)
Michael Elgin (4-3, 8pts)
Toru Yano (4-3, 8pts)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (4-3, 8pts)
Katsuyori Shibata (4-3, 8pts)
Kenny Omega (4-3, 8pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (3-4, 6pts)
Yuji Nagata (3-4, 6pts)
EVIL (2-5, 4pts)
Tomoaki Honma (2-5, 4pts)