July may be coming to an end, but it’s still full steam ahead for the G1 – and today’s block B action was unmissable stuff from Aichi.
#TLDR: You need to watch this. Four fantastic G1 matches, all of which offered something different capped off a fantastic show. Take your pick which was the best match – Shibata/Naito, Elgin/Omega, Nagata/Nakajima… heck, even EVIL/YOSHI-HASHI delivered. I can’t say enough. Go out of your way and watch this!
The Full Review: You know the drill by now – four undercard matches, three of which today were tag matches building up some of Sunday’s G1 matches – and five block B matches. Going in, all five of today’s matches were appetising in their own way, but those final three should be absolutely special in their own way.
David Finlay vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
It’s not a new observation, but can we please get some new Young Lions for the kid Finlay to work with? Since Jay White’s gone, he’s been collecting L’s like Pokemon.
The started with basic hammerlocks and headlocks, with Taguchi grounding young David with a headlock. Finlay lands a dropkick for a two-count, then Taguchi goes in with some hip attacks… because of course he does.
Taguchi works a bodyscissors on Finlay, then stands on him after a rope break. A couple of sit-down splashes follow, as does a seated splash off the top rope, but Finlay gets the knees up for the block. Finlay mounts a comeback with forearms and uppercuts, before following through with a Finlay roll.
Taguchi throws some more forearms, before sitting down on a sunset flip attempt, only for Finlay to get out of the way in time. A back elbow saves Finlay in the corner, but Taguchi sidesteps a missile dropkick and puts on the ankle lock… then loses it, and re-applies it after a hip attack, but Finlay again makes the ropes.
Some running hip attacks rock Finlay, but he again comes back with uppercuts, before Finlay hits an enziguiri. Finlay counters a Dodon into a roll-through for a near-fall, but Taguchi reverses and applies another ankle lock. Taguchi holds Finlay back from the ropes, then decides “oh, sod it” and hits the Dodon for the win anyway. Decent, basic opener. Nothing too flashy from either guy, but some good transitions from Taguchi who chained hip attacks into . ***¼
Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan
Good news, Tama Tonga’s ring gear seemed to have been delivered. Bad news, Fale is working in a pair of Zubaz. Yep, we get our jump start, but Nakanishi and Kojima reverse Irish whips as Fale and Tonga get whipped into each other.
It’s not long before the Bullet Club reserve team take the advantage, and Fale goes for a Grenade early on Nakanishi. The veteran grabs a throat to counter it, but it’s undone and Nakanishi ends up in the wrong corner. Takahashi rakes Manabu’s eyes, then lands a snapmare and a legdrop for a near-fall. Tama Tonga is next to keep up the offence, and of all things, he does the Hacksaw Jim Duggan “ho!”. And gets booed for it.
Nakanishi resists an Irish whip, then reverses it and spears Tonga to the mat, before tagging in Kojima. Rapid-fire chops in the corner to Tonga, before a top rope elbow drop gets him a two-count. Tonga tags out to Takahashi, but a Yakuza kick is blocked, but Takahashi gets a neckbreaker anyway, before he knocks Nakanishi off the apron. Quite telling he didn’t even touch the Captain.
Kojima drops Takahashi with a Koji cutter, then hesitates to tag in the Captain, and we know how this goes. They run the corner attacks on Takahashi, before Captain’s urged to climb to the top, and of course he misses the swandive headbutt.
Captain New Japan almost shocks Takahashi with a roll-up, before Tonga breaks a cover after the uranage. Takahashi ducks a clothesline and lands a Fisherman’s brainbuster for a near fall as the ring had cleared, before a short DDT adds another W to Takahashi’s impressive tour. **¾
SANADA & BUSHI vs. KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson
Juice and SANADA start off here, and it’s simple stuff with a waistlock, before the pace quickens and Robinson sends SANADA into the ropes with a monkey flip. More rope-running sees BUSHI trip Robinson, and the Los Ingobernables duo quickly make light work of KUSHIDA as they go into the crowd.
KUSHIDA takes a chest-first bump into the crowd barriers, whilst SANADA pulled a page out of the Marty Scurll playbook by using an umbrella from a fan to jab into Robinson. We get the usual BUSHI-chokes-Robinson-with-a-t-shirt spot, and that then gets upgraded to a baseball jersey after the referee took away BUSHI’s shirt.
Robinson shoves SANADA away, but he recovers to knock KUSHIDA off the apron and prevent him from tagging out. Juice hooked onto the top rope to prevent some double teaming, before tossing out SANADA and dropping BUSHI with a leg lariat and finally making the hot tag to KUSHIDA, who starts with a kick to the head of BUSHI, then a clothesline.
BUSHI catches a kick, but ends up taking an inverted atomic drop, then a dropkick to the head. KUSHIDA Rick Rude’s his way out of a sunset flip, then goes for a Hoverboard lock, but they’re far too near to the ropes, so BUSHI gets an instant break.
BUSHI goes for a backslide, then connects with the rewind enziguiri, before bringing Robinson back in. We get the “Juice!” jabs at SANADA, before a diving clothesline and a cannonball splash in the corner rocks SANADA. A cross body off the top gets Robinson a near-fall, but SANADA counters a suplex and shoves Robinson into a kick from BUSHI.
KUSHIDA makes a save with a handspring back elbow to take out BUSHI, before SANADA catches Robinson with the TKO for a near-fall. From there, SANADA dragged Robinson into the middle of the ring and locked in the Skull End for the instant tap-out. It was fun whilst it lasted, but it was odd that they did pretty much nil with KUSHIDA and BUSHI, so I’m not expecting that direction anytime soon. ***¼
Naomichi Marufuji, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Tiger Mask
Ah, the ten man CHAOS vs. everyone-else tag match to wrap up the first half… Makabe and Marufuji start off against each other, trading kicks and shoulder tackles, before they switch into a war of chops. A back elbow staggers Makabe in the corner, as does a big boot and a kick to the head, but Makabe drops Marufuji with a clothesline, then forces a tag out… to Tomohiro Ishii.
Ishii gets Liger in the ring, and Liger actually lands a suplex before he dropkicks him out of the ring… then sends Ishii into the barricades with a baseball slide dropkick after Ishii’d been held in place.
Liger tries for the surfboard, but Okada, Goto and Gedo run in to break it up, and Okada follows that up with a slingshot hilo into the ring on Liger for a near-fall. The CHAOS team keep Liger in the wrong corner, as Gedo and Goto take shots, but Liger switches it and drops Goto with a superplex and finally tags in Tanahashi, who makes a beeline for the apron. A bodyslam on Goto sets up for the senton bomb flip for a near-fall, before descending into a forearm battle with Goto.
Tenzan came in and laid out Okada with Mongolian chops, before a suplex got him a near-fall over the champion. Okada laid out Tenzan with the Heavy Rain, then a top rope elbowdrop, before Tenzan blocked the Rainmaker and hit a spinning heel kick.
Tiger Mask got the tag and took down Okada with a crossbody, then shocked him with a Tiger Driver for a near-fall. Gedo came in and nearly had his head kicked off by Tiger Mask, whose attempt at a Tiger suplex was blocked when the CHAOS team again ran in to break it up. We switched to Makabe breaking a clothesline, then knocking down Gedo and Marufuji with a double clothesline, before Tiger Mask countered a Complete Shot with a double armbar on the ground, and getting the surprise win here. Really good tag match, even if I was distracted by the leopard-print-like suction marks on Tenzan’s back throughout! ***½
G1 Climax, Block B: Toru Yano vs. Tomoaki Honma
Onto the tournament matches now, so lets get this out of the way. Honma gets some water thrown at him by Yano, and he instantly flashes a “I’m going to kill you” look. And I believe him…
Yano starts by ducking a clothesline, then raking the eyes to avoid some forearms, before a shoulder tackle takes him down. Missed Kokeshi #1 follows, quickly followed by #2 and Yano reaches to undo the turnbuckle padding. Honma rushes into the exposed turnbuckle, chest-first, but then deadlifts up Yano for a suplex… and tries for the Kokeshi again, but stops himself as Yano log-rolled away.
We get the break spot, and Honma rushes in with a bulldog out of the corner and FINALLY a Kokeshi. Honma with a clothesline into the corner, and he shoves down Yano for a leaping Kokeshi off the top rope, but he misses a swandive-style Kokeshi off the top rope. Yano grabs the referee to cause a distraction, but he misses the mule kick, and gets taken down with another diving Kokeshi.
Honma runs into an inverted atomic drop, before he bumps into the ref and gets punched low. Yano drops Honma, then uses another mule kick as the referee’s again distracted, and catches Honma in a backslide for the win. That was a surprise result, but at least the match wasn’t too long to be offensive. Honma came over real badly as a guy who only had one move and didn’t know what to do other than to keep spamming it… Honma now drops to 2-2, whilst Yano is on the board finally. **¼
G1 Climax, Block B: EVIL vs. YOSHI-HASHI
EVIL ran straight into some strikes from YOSHI-HASHI, before a low dropkick and a DDT got the parrot-lookalike an early advantage, only for EVIL to send him to the outside with a clothesline.
On the floor, YOSHI-HASHI gets stomped on in the aisle, before being whipped hard into the barriers as the camera shows his left shoulder is about 70% tape. EVIL grabs a chair, and of-course, YOSHI-HASHI wears it as he’s tossed into the ringpost, but makes it back into the ring where he’s curb stomped into the mat.
EVIL goes for a chicken wing, but can’t quite hook it in as YOSHI-HASHI elbows himself free, but gets a chop and a back senton for his troubles. YOSHI-HASHI fought back with the Bunker Buster, then he lit into EVIL with some chops, before scoring a diving twisting neckbreaker off the ropes.
YOSHI-HASHI chops EVIL in the corner, then connects with a dropkick to the back after dumping EVIL across the top ropes. EVIL blocks a piledriver, and backdrops his way free, before connecting with a clothesline in the corner and a Fisherman buster for a near-fall. YOSHI-HASHI lands the bridging powerbomb for a two-count, then sets up for a senton, only for EVIL to get the knees up.
EVIL connects with a Fireman’s carry into a spinebuster for a near-fall, and this crowd is buying into all of this. YOSHI-HASHI blocks the STO with an armbar, but struggles to take down EVIL… before floating over into the Butterfly lock as EVIL just about made it to the ropes, with a pained look on his face to boot. This is getting real good real quick!
Forearms from YOSHI-HASHI stun EVIL, who replies with forearm smashes that got punctuated by a superkick, before dumping YOSHI-HASHI on his head with a release German suplex. YOSHI-HASHI lands a lariat to sent EVIL down, before prepping once more for the senton bomb, and this time he connects for just a two-count!
YOSHI-HASHI went for another chicken wing, but instead hit a back cracker, then dropped EVIL with a pump handle driver for the win! This crowd erupted as YOSHI-HASHI picked up his second win of the tournament. Fantastic match, and helped a LOT by the crowd. ****
G1 Climax, Block B: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Yuji Nagata
This is going to be stiff, just like Nakajima/Shibata… and Nagata gets jumped with a kick on the apron by Nakajima, who instantly heels himself in the process. They work on the floor for a bit, as Nakajima kicks Nagata over the crowd barrier and into the front row.
Nagata gets posted, but makes his way back in as Nakajima works a snapmare takedown into a strong kick to the back, and those boos keep coming. More kicks to Nagata get a similar unpopular response, but Nagata finally fires back with forearm strikes against the ropes and a shot really close to Nakajima’s groin.
A rear headlock sees Nagata ground Nakajima, as Nagata drilled the NOAH invader with knees and kicks to the chest after the rope break. Nakajima suddenly starts no-selling, but gets forced to sell some brutal forearm shots to the head, before he dropkicks off the ropes into Nagata’s knee.
Nakajima connects with a missile dropkick off the top for a near-fall, before Nagata elbows out of a headlock. More kicks to the left leg of Nagata slow down the veteran, but he’s still able to toss Nakajima over his head with a release belly-to-belly suplex. Some big boots from Nakajima get him an instant receipt as Nagata fires back with forearms, but again Nakajima kicks Nagata in the knee before springboarding off the ropes into a kick to the back.
Nakajima lands a back suplex for a near-fall, but Nagata ducks a PK attempt and takes him down with an armbar… and yes, the eyes roll! Nagata rolls into a cross armbreaker, but it’s an instant rope-break, and they go back to trading full-on slaps to the face. The Nagata strikes are waking this crowd up again, as he knees Nakajima in the corner, following up with a leaping knee strike that sent Nakajima crumpling to the mat.
Another back suplex from Nagata gets a two-count, but Nakajima again sweeps the wounded leg to get Nakaga on the back foot once more, then downs him with a Dragon screw. Nagata gutted through, but walked into two superkicks, before landing a spinning heel kick… and then getting dropped with a PK from Nakajima, who landed a brainbuster for the unpopular win. That was brutally stiff, but bloody fantastic to watch. On current standings, Nakajima leads block B once you factor in tie-breakers as both men go to 3-1. Nagata’s unbeaten run is over… ****
G1 Climax, Block B: Kenny Omega vs. Michael Elgin
These had a fantastic ladder match back at Dominion six weeks ago, and this starts with a jump start in the aisle as Yujiro Takahashi attacks Elgin from behind with a broom before Omega took out Elgin with a tope con hilo on the floor.
Omega immediately rips up the floor padding and covers up Elgin for the double stomp off the top rope… but Elgin popped up and floored Omega with a bicycle kick on the floor. Elgin tosses Omega into the crowd, as he calmly opened the gate and joined him, throwing in some chops as they wandered around the fans at ringside.
Omega takes a hiptoss over the barriers and back into the ringside area, then Elgin’s taped-up shoulder got used for a top rope shoulder tackle. Elgin tried for a powerbomb, but Elgin backdropped free, before Omega did the same for another powerbomb attempt.
Elgin missed a slingshot plancha attempt into the ring, and was baseball slid to the outside by Omega, whose moonsault off the barriers was caught, but he recovered to post Elgin anyway. They just about beat the count-out, and Omega stayed on top of Elgin in the ring, stomping on the arm.
Elgin tried to make a comeback with some forearm smashes, but Omega impressively hit a Papa Shango-like shoulder breaker for a two-count. Omega landed some axe-handle smashes onto the arm, after the tape had been ripped off, before taking an enziguiri out of the corner from Elgin, who threw him into the top turnbuckle with a release German suplex. Just because.
— LARIATOOOOO!!! (@SenorLARIATO) July 30, 2016
Omega blocked a Fireman’s carry attempt, then worked free before taking an enziguiri on the apron. Elgin again picked up Omega by the waist, but spun around into a discus forearm, before Omega pulled a page out of the Tama Tonga playbook with some wacky rope running then a leg lariat to the back of the head for a near-fall.
Omega lifted up Elgin off the mat in a gutwrench, but lost the grip as Elgin replied with a gutwrench suplex. A spit from Omega missed the mark, but he rolled through Elgin with a Finlay roll, and was then caught by Elgin, whose powerbomb attempt was countered with some headscissors.
Another Finlay roll saw Omega try and miss a moonsault, before a buckle bomb saw Omega immediately reply with a knee to the face. Omega blocked a German suplex and replied with a superkick, then took a lariat from Elgin that turned him inside out.
After getting to their feet, Elgin battered Omega with clotheslines to the front and back, but shocked Elgin with a Dragon suplex… which was no-sold. But the second one was, as Elgin stumbled into a reverse ‘rana for a near-fall. Omega set Elgin on the top rope, then joined him in a superplex attempt, but got shoved to the mat, before returning to chop Elgin. Another superplex try was blocked, as Elgin again shoved him down, but Omega again kept trying, but got caught in a Fireman’s carry, and switched into an Emerald Fusion off the top rope for a near-fall.
Omega dropped Elgin into the top rope with a buckle bomb, then followed through with a sit-out powerbomb of his own for a two-count… and now I want to see Elgin do a One Winged Angel in revenge! Instead, Omega goes for it, but Elgin works free… and yes! He goes for it! He gets it! And Omega kicked out at two!
— LARIATOOOOO!!! (@SenorLARIATO) July 30, 2016
Omega blocked a lariat and hit a knee to the head, but ran into a pair of stiff lariats from Elgin, and then a spinning sit-out powerbomb for the win. That was amazing. I absolutely loved them stealing each other’s finishers, and my Lord, Omega had his worker’s shoes on tonight. Well, good luck to whomever’s following THAT! ****½
G1 Climax, Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Katsuyori Shibata
How’s this for contrasting styles? Naito had his white Saturday Night Fever jumpsuit, whilst Shibata had only a scarf… and a lot of tape around his right shoulder and left knee. Does Bushiroad/New Japan have shares in the company making that tape? The temple-like gong sounds, and we’re underway!
Naito shrugs off a test-of-strength offer at the start, then mocks Shibata… to the point where Shibata runs in with a Yakuza kick and sends him to the floor. An Irish whip sends Naito chest first into the crowd barriers, and gets sent over into the crowd as he becomes very familiar with the blue railings. I think Shibata may be going for GBH here…
Naito’s tossed back in, but he again scurries to the floor, before log-rolling in and out of the ring to break a count. Shibata patiently waits as Naito again breaks a count, but then Naito spends too long on the apron and gets booted off it and into the barrier as Shibata then gets a whip reversed and Naito gives him a receipt for those earlier chest-first bumps into the railings.
Naito wraps Shibata’s knee in the guard rail, then lands a dropkick off the apron that could well have snapped a ligament. Shibata beat the count out, but then rolled out immediately to recover some more. Back inside, Naito wringed the taped-up arm, then jerked it down, before hitting a dropkick to the taped knee, as he worked over the two obvious weaknesses.
An armbar attempt from Naito forced Shibata into the ropes, but Naito returned with a kneebreaker before stomping on Shibata’s taped-up shoulder in the corner. A big boot did little to Naito, but a forearm smash did… only for Shibata to start feeling his shoulder. Shibata followed with some Yakuza kicks in the corner, and unloaded into Naito with forearms as he entered the “clearly pissed off” stage of the match.
A leaping dropkick sent Naito to the mat, and Shibata followed up with an abdominal stretch which Naito tried to work out of via a hair pull. Some elbows to the knee did the trick though, as Naito grabbed the taped up body part and went for a kneebar instead. Shibata tried to grab onto the referee to avoid tapping, then missed the ropes, and finally reached back to grab the rope for a break.
In response, Naito was given a kneebar by Shibata, and the two rolled into the ropes for the clean break. Naito followed with a missile dropkick that sent Shibata into the corner, and yes, the inside-out legsweep dropkick… but this time Shibata nailed an uppercut to counter it, before a reverse STO sent him down once more. They exchange forearms in the ring, before Naito gets dumped on his head with a sleeperhold suplex.
— LARIATOOOOO!!! (@SenorLARIATO) July 30, 2016
Naito recovered to roll through for a near-fall, then connects with an enziguiri, before Shibata kneed him in the midsection for a break. Shibata missed a PK, and Naito grabs him in an inverted figure four to try for another submission… except Shibata stood up and just punched his way free.
A cartwheel kick knocked Shibata loopy again, but he recovered to slap Naito and apply another sleeperhold, which sent Naito to his knees… then followed up with a PK, and then what looked like the old Tazmission (half-nelson choke) as the referee waves off the match. Good lord, Shibata held on and may have succeeded in killing Naito! ****¼
— LARIATOOOOO!!! (@SenorLARIATO) July 30, 2016
Ignoring the undercard, this was the best day of G1 action so far. The Yano/Honma match was too short to be offensive, and with four ****+ matches following it, all offering something different… This is an evening’s G1 action you simply need to see. Absolutely fantastic, thrilling stuff!
Block A Standings (not considering tie-breakers at this stage)
Togi Makabe (4-0, 8pts)
Kazuchika Okada (3-1, 6pts)
Hirooki Goto (2-2, 4pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (2-2, 4 pts)
SANADA (2-2, 4pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (2-2, 4pts)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-2, 4pts)
Bad Luck Fale (1-3, 2pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-3, 2pts)
Tama Tonga (1-3, 2 pts)
Block B Standings (not considering tie-breakers at this stage)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (3-1, 6pts)
Yuji Nagata (3-1, 6pts)
Michael Elgin (2-2, 4pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (2-2, 4pts)
Tomoaki Honma (2-2, 4pts)
Tetsuya Naito (2-2, 4pts)
Kenny Omega (2-2, 4pts)
Katsuyori Shibata (2-2, 4pts)
EVIL (1-3, 2pts)
Toru Yano (1-3, 2pts)