Fukuoka’s the latest to get a dose of the G1, as block B faced their sixth round of action on Wednesday.
Katsuya Kitamura & Ren Narita vs. Shota Umino & Tomoyuki Oka
Kitamura was OK to wrestle after that awkward end to yesterday’s tag match with Michael Elgin… but it’s the smaller halves of each team who start, with Umino and Narita getting us going. They certainly didn’t hold back, trading forearms until Umino brought him into the corner for some chops from Oka, as Narita found himself in the position of being isolated… because nobody wanted to face Kitamura.
Eventually the big guy comes in and dropped Umino with a suplex for a near-fall, before dispatching Oka after his attempt at interference. We go back to Oka and Narita, with Oka missing a corner splash before recovering to slam Narita repeatedly. In the end, Oka turns Narita over into a Boston crab, sinking the hold in for the submission. Your typical Young Lion tag – not much stood out, but likewise, nothing else dragged it down. **½
Kota Ibushi & Tiger Mask vs. Yuji Nagata & Hirai Kawato
We open with Nagata and Ibushi, ahead of Friday’s block A match as they initially ended in the ropes… with Nagata shoving away as Ibushi wouldn’t break. So they started laying in with forearms before a missed dropkick and a missed PK left us even. Tags take us to Kawato and Tiger Mask, with the veteran connecting with kicks early before a vicious thrust kick looked to daze Kawato. We’re back to Nagata blasting Ibushi with kicks, as an Exploder out of the corner gets a near-fall, but Ibushi gets some revenge with kicks of his own and a standing moonsault for a near-fall.
We’re getting a LOT of Nagata and Ibushi here, which is making me think their match on Friday may be a bit short… but we do go back to Tiger Mask and Kawato. A springboard missile dropkick gets Kawato a two-count as he then flipped Tiger over into a Boston crab… but Ibushi kicks it away as Nagata quickly dispatches him, as Kawato tried to snatch a win with a roll-up. In the end though, another kick and a Tiger Driver is enough for a near-fall thanks to Nagata’s interference, before Tiger Mask got the win with a butterfly superplex. Pretty decent, but I’m concerned they gave away way too much of the Nagata/Ibushi match now… **¾
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens) vs. Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
It’s Fale/Ishii on Friday, whilst the rest of the CHAOS trio here actually face each other on the same night. Tensions? Nah…
We start with the big guys, as Ishii tries to suplex Fale… but instead he’s easily picked up and slammed as Goto and YOSHI-HASHI (now with a completely bare rear-end, as all of his name’s fallen off) were also obliterated. Ishii becomes really acquainted with the guard rails and the commentary area, before he takes some double-teaming inside from Chase and Yujiro.
Eventually Ishii outsmarts them as the Bullet Club trio run into each other, allowing the Stone Pitbull to finally bring in Goto, who drops Yujiro with a spinning heel kick in the corner, then a back suplex out of it. Yujiro bites back though, and we end up back with Owens and YOSHI-HASHI… with some added interjections from Fale, who ends up connecting with an avalanche in the corner.
We get the hokey “windmill forearms on the back” stuff from Goto and Ishii on Fale of all people, who of course roared out of it, as YOSHI-HASHI ended up having to block a Package Piledriver before dumping Owens with a left-arm lariat before floating into a Butterfly lock for the win. Given one team was all G1 entrants, it was extremely unlikely they’d take the loss, but this was another good, not great undercard tag. **¾
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & El Desperado)
Yes, it’s Sabre/Naito on Friday… which’ll be tasty to say the least! Taichi’s got the BUSHI mask he stole earlier in the tour, and of course that baiting leads to him being instantly attacked as the match started on the floor.
Naito tries to back away from Sabre, but Zack wasn’t listening to any pleas for “tranquilo” and instead locked on a guillotine choke… before almost being laughed at by Naito!
When things calmed down, Hiromu manages to take down Desperado with some headscissors, then a Dragon screw, before Naito and Sabre go back to laying into each other. The hiptoss/dropkick combo leaves Sabre down briefly, as does the slingshot dropkick, before trapping Naito in a grounded Octopus hold that ended when Naito grabbed the rope.
Taichi comes in to pick apart the downed Naito, mocking the LIJ salute, but of course he’s overwhelmed thanks to some help from BUSHI. Hiromu and BUSHI work over Taichi in the corner for a spell, before everyone’s most loathed member of Suzuki-gun took a trio of dropkicks for a near-fall… as everyone else headed outside for more brawling.
That just left Taichi in to take an MX, but Desperado has the ref tied up with a chair… allowing Taichi to use his mic stand on BUSHI before a Gedo clutch took the pin. Well, that’s my appetite whetted for Friday – bring on Naito and Sabre! ***
After the match, Taichi wore his BUSHI mask and tried to claim a second hood, only for Hiromu to make the save as we had a stand-off…
Togi Makabe & David Finlay vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin “Thunder” Liger
Our final prelim builds towards Friday’s Makabe/Tanahashi match… and given how successful David Finlay’s tour has been thus far, I wonder who’s taking the fall!
We start with Tanahashi styling it out after Makabe escaped a takedown, before they went to Liger and Finlay for a spell. Finlay tries to drop down past a running Liger, but instead he just gets an elbow as Liger pulled him into a Romero special, which ended up being the precursor for Makabe to come back into play…
A Shotei takes down Makabe though, allowing Tanahashi to come back in and connect with a flip senton off the middle rope, getting a two-count in the process. Makabe rebounds with a series of clotheslines to take down Tanahashi, before bringing in Finlay to try and pick apart the Ace. Some diving European uppercuts get Finlay a near-fall though, but Tanahashi quickly takes over with a Cloverleaf… which Makabe broke after evading Liger’s watch.
Finlay comes back with a uranage back breaker for a near-fall, but Tanahashi manages to avoid a Stunner before landing a Slingblade as a High Fly Flow gets the win. Not much to see here – I’ll just repeat my usual comment re: Finlay. It’s surely excursion or bust for him now? **½
G1 Climax, Block B: SANADA vs. Juice Robinson
Juice – already mathematically eliminated – is still limping to the ring, and has a rather marked chest too. Yep, G1’s taking its toll!
They start with some wristlocks as they go through some of the basics, leading to a pair of missed dropkicks as they squared off… with SANADA quickly getting dropkicked to the outside after Juice evaded the double-leapfrog dropkick. On the outside, Juice whips SANADA chest-first into the guard rails, but he took so long getting back into the ring that SANADA could recover and hit a Drive-By-ish dropkick on to the apron as Juice’s leg again started to get worn down.
SANADA tries for an early Skull End, but Juice is able to switch out and turn it into a reverse DDT instead as that knee continued to cause some bother. A falling DDT gets another cover in for Juice, who’s able to keep up with some avalanches in the corner en route to a cannonball attempt that SANADA cuts off with a low dropkick to… yup, the knee.
From there, SANADA kicks Juice’s leg out of his leg before locking in a figure four, but Juice rolls over to reverse the pressure, only for the rolling to resume as SANADA kept rolling into the ropes and to the outside – keeping the hold locked in in the process. Very impressive! It looks like SANADA’s going to leave the hold on and dash back into the ring… and sure enough, at the count of 16 he relinquishes, but Juice is able to beat the count too, even if he’s a sitting duck.
SANADA tries for another figure four, but it’s turned into a small package for a near-fall, before a spinebuster gets Juice… not even a cover as he instead pushed SANADA away and went for a falling powerbomb! That connects for a near-fall, but SANADA’s able to rebound with a springboard missile dropkick, then a backdrop suplex for a near-fall, before running into a clothesline as he went for a Skull End.
Juice again tries for Pulp Friction, but SANADA shoves him away… only to get a vicious left-hand jab. He recovers to roll through more Pulp Friction attempts, before a chop block takes down Robinson ahead of an inevitable Skull End… which SANADA relinquishes so he can finish him off with a moonsault instead. A fun outing, with Juice showing plenty of heart and fire, but it’s yet another loss as he continued on with the trial by fire that was his G1 debut. ***¾
G1 Climax, Block B: Toru Yano vs. Michael Elgin
These two have met in the G1 before, with Yano getting the win, but you’d not expect a repeat if all he’s doing is charging into Elgin with shoulder tackles. Big Mike stops him from undoing a turnbuckle pad, but as he ties it back up Yano’s got the other one untied… which just angers the Canadian. Elgin comes back with a stalling suplex before Yano sandbags himself a few times.
Elgin’s smart to Yano’s low blow tactic, but he ends up falling for the mule kick as the referee’s having a field day stopping low blows. Yano does an Eddie Guerrero and fakes out a low blow, which the ref (Marty Asami, aka Japanese Chris Roberts) falls for! An ultra-rare DQ finish in New Japan, but hey, if neither man’s doing much, then why not? Of course, the downside is that a fake foul eliminates Elgin from the G1, but eh… *
G1 Climax, Block B: Minoru Suzuki vs. Satoshi Kojima
Fun fact – Suzuki-gun was originally Kojima-gun at the end of 2010… but Kojima was overthrown in May the following year as Minoru Suzuki returned… and the rest is history!
Of course, there’s a jump start as the referee was chatting to Tenzan, and we instantly have Suzuki getting clubbed with forearms against the guard rail, before reversing a whip to send Kojima there. El Desperado gets involved, because he can’t help himself, but Tenzan makes the save as Kojima just gets thrown into the guard railing ad nauseum.
Taichi’s come out too, but Tenzan’s able to fight off him and Desperado… but that’s angering Red Shoes who’s threatening to eject Tenzan. For what?! Suzuki gets a chair and rams it into Kojima as the memories of Kojima-gun continued to yield so much bad blood, but in the ring Kojima catches a boot in the corner and takes Minoru there for some machine gun chops.
Suzuki tries to throw a PK, but that too is caught as Kojima comes back with a DDT, only to get caught on the top rope as Suzuki stretches him in an Octopus hold before letting go. The PK follows for a two-count, before a Fujiwara armbar keeps Kojima down until he’s able to get his foot to the bottom rope. A rear naked choke follows as Kojima then backdrops out of the Gotch piledriver, before staggering back to his feet for a Strong Arm lariat attempt.
That lariat connects at the third try, but he’s too dazed to even attempt a cover. Suzuki rebounds with a dropkick as Kojima was going for the lariat again, and from there it’s another rear naked choke and a forearm en route to the Gotch piledriver, as Suzuki picked up the elementary win. This was fine… but Kojima at this point was barely putting up much of a fight as he continues his hunt for a win. **¼
G1 Climax, Block B: Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada
Tonga jumps Okada during the introductions… but only so he could take his jacket and do the poses! Okada’s not impressed as he pulls Tama down and starts booting him before finally claiming his jacket back.
An Irish whip gets countered on the outside as Tama lifts Okada onto the apron with a flapjack before doing the Rainmaker pose. With zoom-out too!
Tama keeps up the pressure, clubbing away on Okada for a while as he picked up a series of innocuous near-falls… but it was only a matter of time before Okada got into it, landing a back elbow off the ropes then a DDT and a diving European uppercut. Tama gets close with another fireman’s carry flapjack, as the match continued at a pace that was almost ponderous, with Tama following up with a Stinger splash… only to run into an Okada flapjack instead.
Okada has to fight to land a neckbreaker slam as Tama kept wriggling free, before we got a top rope elbow and the authentic Rainmaker pose. A Rainmaker’s attempted, but ducked, as Tama’s misdirection confuses Okada on the way to a spear for a near-fall. He tries to follow up with Vereno, but that’s blocked, as is a Gun Stun, as Tama gets Vereno anyway for a near-fall.
Another Gun Stun attempt gets countered with a dropkick as Okada pulled him up by the waist for a Rainmaker… but the counters continue as Tama stayed alive, going for yet another Gun Stun that’s easily shoved out. An overhead kick out of nowhere puts Okada down though, but get another Gun Stun try is turned into a German suplex as Okada finally lands the Rainmaker for the win. Technically, a good match, but this was at such a slow pace I got bored really early. No clue what happened, but this felt like a match in slow-motion. **½
That win eliminates Tama Tonga, and leaves just EVIL, Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki and SANADA with any hopes of winning the block.
G1 Climax, Block B: EVIL vs. Kenny Omega
Go on lads, drag this show up! EVIL goes for a headlock early as the feeling out process saw Omega take a shoulder tackle in the early going, as the match spilled to the outside for the usual litany of cable choking and bumps which saw EVIL dismantle part of the ringside area in a bid to slam Omega onto concrete.
Kenny avoids it and slams EVIL instead, before clearing the timekeeper’s table and slamming the King of Darkness onto it as he went in search of a count-out win. Of course, EVIL beats the count as Omega continues to work over the back, as I spit out my coffee when commentary brings up some comments made by Omega, mocking EVIL with his “Everything is Cleaner” line.
I guess that’s a career for him after wrestling…
A backbreaker gets Kenny a near-fall, as he then cut off an attempted comeback by blocking a back senton with his knees as the match became a little more even among the two. They head back outside as Omega sets up a chair for EVIL… but it’s not for him to sit on, as EVIL instead reversed a suplex to avoid going through that chair. The chair-based fun continues as Omega blocks wearing a chair and being sent into the ring post as he eventually gets hit with one mid-springboard as EVIL then knocked a chair off his head with the usual baseball spot.
Back in the ring, EVIL tries for the Banshee Muzzle, but Omega rakes the face to get free before landing a ‘rana to take EVIL outside for the Terminator dive. The action keeps up outside as Omega slams EVIL onto the side of the ring, before pulling out a table… and we all know how co-operative those Japanese tables are… a double stomp sees Omega plant his feet through EVIL and the table, before Omega looks for the exclamation mark by draping EVIL onto what’s left of the table for another dive.
He slips as he went for a tope con hilo, but EVIL gets up anyway and charges Kenny into the apron before attempting to suplex him through the table. That doesn’t come off either as EVIL’s slammed onto the apron, allowing Kenny to set up for something through the table…
EVIL headbutts it away and ends up throwing Kenny through the table with the Everything is EVIL STO – with EVIL getting a nasty cut around the eye during the landing. Both men somehow make it back into the ring, with Omega just barely beating that 20 count, as EVIL headed up top for a big back senton for a near-fall.
The fireman’s carry powerbomb – Darkness Falls – gets EVIL a near-fall, as he sets up for another Everything is EVIL… but Omega dragged them both to the ropes for a break. A V-trigger puts an end to some back-and-forth strikes, before a Shoudou (cross-legged brainbuster) only sparked EVIL back into life. That’s nothing a V-trigger and a Dragon suplex couldn’t sort out, as Kenny gets another two-count, before EVIL escaped a One Winged Angel attempt.
A German suplex from EVIL looks nasty as Omega’s dumped on his head. Another V-trigger is blocked and met with a clothesline for a near-fall as EVIL goes to the Banshee Muzzle, which Omega thought he’d broken via the ropes… but EVIL pulls him back! Eventually Kenny gets rolled back into the ring as the ref does the old arm-drop check, which seems to wake up Omega as he finally pulls himself into the ropes.
EVIL tries for another STO, but ends up hitting a headbutt as Omega flies back in with a V-trigger and a reverse ‘rana for a near-fall, before another V-trigger looks to have knocked EVIL out cold. Eventually, Omega rolls him down for a cover, but they’re way too close to the ropes, so the Cleaner just throws another V-trigger before lifting up EVIL for a One Winged Angel… and that is that! A pretty scary ending to the match with EVIL being knocked out, but this was a remarkably great main event. Not anything to trouble the year-end awards or anything like that, but plenty of stuff that’ll be remembered – for good and bad. Omega’s win keeps him on track to win the block… IF he picks up no further losses and beats Okada on the last night to win via tie-breaker. ****¼
This wasn’t a good night for the G1 – aside from the as-rare-as-hen’s-teeth DQ, there was precious little to write home about until the main event – which is one that left a mark on both men, figuratively and literally. Thursday is a day-off for the G1, as Friday sees the tour go to Ehima for the start of a three-day mini-sprint as the G1 heads into the business end of the tour!
G1 Climax 27 Standings
Block A (after six matches):
Tomohiro Ishii, Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr., Hiroshi Tanahashi (4-2; 8pts)
Bad Luck Fale, Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe (3-3; 6pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (2-4; 4pts)
Yuji Nagata (0-6; 0pts)
Block B (after six matches):
Kazuchika Okada (6-0; 12pts)
Kenny Omega (5-1; 10pts)
EVIL, SANADA, Minoru Suzuki (4-2; 8pts)
Michael Elgin, Tama Tonga, Toru Yano (2-4; 4pts)
Juice Robinson (1-5; 2pts)
Satoshi Kojima (0-6; 0pts)