It was a night of upsets in Osaka as block B experienced a few coupon-busting results.
Katsuya Kitamura vs. Chase Owens
A rare singles match on the undercard sees Katsuya Kitamura face his biggest challenge to date. Despite using his power early, Kitamura found himself frequently falling for the tricks learned from Owens’ experience, as he got thrown to the outside for a diving dropkick early on.
Some palm strikes to the face and a front facelock saw Owens just rile up Kitamura, who chopped back with some gusto… only to run into a dropkick. Pretty much every comeback from Kitamura’s thwarted until he dropped Owens with a back body drop, as he set up for a spear and then a gutwrench suplex for a near-fall.
Owens escaped a suplex then booted Kitamura in the face a few times… before he scored a PK for a one-count that led to Owens being launched out of the ring from the kickout. Kitamura gets off that suplex though, but he’s quickly caught in the corner with a Diamond Dust as Owens then got him up for the Package Piledriver for the win. Perfectly acceptable graps – giving Kitamuta something, but whilst also reminding us that for all of his impressiveness thus far, he’s still got a LOT to learn. **¾
Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & El Desperado) vs. Yuji Nagata, Shota Umino & Tetsuhiro Yagi
In terms of experience, this may as well be a handicap match as Nagata’s partners can’t even decide who should start! We do open with Tetsuhiro Yagi attacking Taichi on the apron as he openly mocked the youngster… sandbagging him and barely acknowledging the attacks.
Yagi eventually takes town Taichi with a slam after he’d gotten too cocky, before bringing in Nagata… who only had eyes for Sabre. There’s plenty of waistlock reversals as Nagata tried to outdo Sabre, with the pair jockeying for position for an Octopus hold before Zack just blasted him in the ropes with an uppercut. If Nagata were ten years younger, this’d have been quite a dream match.
Nagata eventually knocks Sabre down with kicks but Zack quickly leaps in with a mounted guillotine… that’s turned into an overhead belly to belly as the veteran escaped! Sabre escapes a Backdrop Hold attempt and locks in another Octopus hold as Nagata escaped into the wrong corner to take some double-teaming. He eventually outsmarted it and brought in Umino… whose eyes are instantly raked by Desperado.
Nagata kicks Despy into a backslide as Umino nearly got the win, and tried again with a Boston crab… but Taichi ambles in and frees his partner with a kick. That just led the way for Desperado to hit a spinebuster for a near-fall, before forcing a submission with a Stretch Muffler as Nagata’s attempt at a save was thwarted by another Sabre Octopus. A fun trios match, which really had me excited for tomorrow’s Nagata/Sabre match. Fingers crossed, eh? ***
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tomoyuki Oka
It’s the weekend, so Yujiro’s found someone to walk to the ring with him. Tenzan starts out with Fale, and actually drops him with a headbutt and some Mongolian chops, but Fale gets out as we head to the “others”… with Oka actually getting off a hiptoss after Yujiro’d bit his hand.
Tenzan saved Oka after a low dropkick, but that just gets him taken outside as the Bullet Club tandem worked over Oka some more. Chops from Yujiro give way to Fale coming in to add some more oomph to things, with a simple sit-down on Oka getting the Tongan a near-fall. Yujiro returned, and just took a belly-to-belly from Oka as he finally managed to get a tag back to Tenzan… who cleared house with a brainbuster for a near-fall on the Tokyo Pimp. Fale returns to eat a spinning heel kick, before Yujiro took a Mountain bomb for another two-count… but Oka demanded to be tagged back in, which led to his team’s downfall.
Despite Oka scoring with a powerslam, Fale broke up the count and took Tenzan to the outside. Although Oka lands a brainbuster, he quickly misses with a lariat as Yujiro strung together a brainbuster then a Pimp Juice DDT for the win. Simple but effective stuff as Yujiro picks up another undercard tag win. **½
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs. Togi Makabe, Tiger Mask & Hirai Kawato
Learning absolutely nothing from the past, Naito spat at Makabe at the bell… but those two didn’t start us off really, as Hiromu and Tiger Mask really started us off, as the match quickly broke down… with Hirai Kawato getting obliterated with a low dropkick from Naito.
When things settled down, BUSHI choked away on Tiger Mask with a t-shirt, as it seemed that the lighter veteran was going to be the one taking a beating. Tiger Mask did try to fight back, landing a tiltawhirl backbreaker before planting Naito with a Tiger Driver. From there, we get Makabe and Naito for a bit, with Makabe going through some of his usual routine before being trapped in the ropes for an over-the-knee reverse DDT.
Naito’s slingshot dropkick follows, but Makabe recovers enough to tag in Kawato… and I think you can guess how this goes. Spirited comeback against BUSHI and Hiromu, before his attempt to win with a Boston crab’s cut-off as the ring fills – with Naito being spiked with a Makabe clothesline in the process. In the end, BUSHI gets a near-fall out of a Codebreaker, before turning Kawato over into a Boston crab for the submission. Hey, I thought it was just Takahashi, but the Ingobernables beating the Young Lions with their stock submission hold is just as fun! **¾
After the match, Makabe went after Naito with a chair… Naito then grabbed said chair to sit in, but was instantly shoved out of it as the pair had a run-of-the-mill pull-apart to build to tomorrow.
Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & David Finlay
We start with Tanahashi bulling Ishii into the ropes as the Ace started out surprisingly cocky against a man who wouldn’t register any of his forearms.
Of course, Tanahashi took one from Ishii as YOSHI-HASHI gets tagged in to go to work with Tanahashi… and he almost falls over as he swung for a chop. Still, everyone was too busy focusing on Tanahashi and Ishii, who were tearing into each other… but Tanahashi was firmly on the receiving end of things as he was kept well away from his partners. It was quite strange to see Tanahashi on the receiving end so much, but he’s finally able to take down YOSHI-HASHI with a spinning neckbreaker… just for Ishii to come in and knock him straight back on his rear end. Finally, Tanahashi makes the tag into Ibushi, who kills YOSHI-HASHI with a flurry of kicks before landing a standing moonsault for a near-fall.
A ‘rana from Ibushi sparks some more back-and-forth as YOSHI-HASHI lands a left arm lariat, before we go to Finlay and Goto. I think I can guess who’s winning… Finlay gets a bright start, but is dropped by a clothesline as Goto then has to fight off an interfering Tanahashi to spark a parade of moves. Goto shoves off a Stunner from Finlay, then drops him with an ushigoroshi for a near-fall as the GTR does the trick. Simple stuff, and yet again Finlay eats a loss. Move along! **½
G1 Climax, Block B: Tama Tonga vs. Toru Yano
A Toru Yano special starts off our G1 action for the day – Tama Tonga bumrushes the aisle during Yano’s entrance, and appears behind the Sublime Master Thief as he was mugging for the cameras.
We start with Tama scaring Yano as they Benny Hill around the ringside area, with Tama going under the ring to surprise Yano as they brawled for a bit. Apparently Tama found some tape under the ring and tried to tape Yano to the guard railings. Somehow Yano got some scissors to cut his way free and narrowly beat the 20 count, and so we got the usual Yano shtick. Yano yelling break, Tonga mocking him, before the pair went for the turnbuckle pads… which Tama was stumped by. So Tama gets whacked with the pad Yano’d untied, before he went for a Gun Stun… Yano avoids it and Benny Hills around the outside some more before grabbing the ring bell hammer.
Tama commandeered the hammer, but that just gets him to swing and miss allowing Yano to hit him low and get the schoolboy for the win. Short and sweet – perfect Yano usage. Moving along…
G1 Climax, Block B: SANADA vs. Satoshi Kojima
Kojima’s already out of the G1, but SANADA needs a win to keep his slim chances alive of making it to the finals. Should Kojima get his first win here, SANADA joins him in being eliminated… so it really is win or bust.
It’s a fairly even opening sequence as neither Kojima nor SANADA can get an advantage, let alone hold onto it as they swung and missed repeatedly. SANADA’s first offence was to tie Kojima into the Paradise Lock then kick him free as the pair traded shots… before Kojima flailed back to the mat after a right hand.
Of course, this being Kojima, the bad guy has to mock the machine gun chops… and you know that that means. Instant receipts! Problem was, that looked to absolutely knacker Kojima, which led to him having the rope kicked into his groin as he tried to go up for an elbow drop.
Kojima recovered to hit a DDT, but just as SANADA decides to start getting serious, Kojima throws in a suplex for a near-fall. SANADA rebounds with a crossbody that he turns into a Skull End, before countering a counter into a brainbuster as a TKO gets him a two-count. Another attempt at the Skull End drags Kojima to the mat, but Kojima’s able to wriggle his way towards the rope… only for SANADA to switch it up and go for a moonsault, which misses!
SANADA tries again after a ‘rana, but again his moonsault misses as Kojima instead levels him with a lariat to the back of the head… and it’s switching time as Kojima busts out the CCD (Cozy Crush Dynamite – or a rebadged Emerald Fusion) to almost pick up his landmark win… but again SANADA kicked out! Eventually Kojima gets a lariat off, but SANADA kicked out… at one! Undeterred, Kojima goes for the Strong Arm, flipping SANADA onto his head… and that proved to be good enough for Kojima to break his duck – and get his first win of the G1! A really good back-and-forth match, without too much of the cliched “I’ll try my finisher and miss”. Lovely stuff from the lover of Bread! ***¾
G1 Climax, Block B: Minoru Suzuki vs. Michael Elgin
During Elgin’s entrance, the camera totally misses a Young Boy being knocked off the apron…. I’m betting it was Taichi. Suzuki had Taichi and el Desperado out with him for this win-or-bust match for him, and they start off trying to distract Elgin.
It didn’t exactly work as Desperado ate a diving dropkick from the Canadian, who took Suzuki outside for a spot of brawling by the crowd barriers. Taichi causes another distraction, which allowed Suzuki to trap Elgin in a rope-hung armbar before going for a PK on the apron… which looked to be turned into a death valley driver on the outside, but Desperado gets involved. This leads to Suzuki smashing a chair into Elgin’s arm and back as Taichi has the ref distracted… because Red Shoes is the Japanese Chris Roberts.
Suzuki repeatedly whacks Elgin in the back with a chair as the ref’d stopped counting because… reasons. Red Shoes just about saw Suzuki throw Elgin’s arm (with a chair on it) into the ringpost, but that’s no DQ so Suzuki’s able to keep working over Big Mike’s right arm. Elgin’s able to come back though, slamming Suzuki and hitting a slingshot splash in from the apron, before using that injured right arm to blast Suzuki twice – once with a roaring elbow, and then with a straight forearm shot. Eventually, Suzuki goes back to the arm, but the armbar’s quickly broken up in the ropes, which prompts Suzuki to hit the ref.
That allows for some more interference, and this is exactly the kind of garbage that puts people off of Suzuki-gun. Suzuki goes back to the armbar, only for Elgin to powerbomb himself free. He backdrops out of a Gotch piledriver attempt, before Suzuki kicked away the right arm and just grabs a front facelock instead… which Elgin switched into a Falcon arrow for a near-fall.
From there, Elgin keeps up the pressure with a buckle bomb, but Suzuki falls into the ref as we have yet another bout of interference, which Elgin dispatches of by way of a fallaway slam/Samoan drop combo onto the eviltons. Suzuki switched out of another Elgin bomb, grabbing a rear naked choke instead, before Elgin turned the switch into a Gotch piledriver into a backfist as he snuck in the Elgin bomb for the win. This was a good match, but the abundance of interference wore old pretty quick. Thankfully that’s not been an enduring feature of the G1! ***¼
G1 Climax, Block B: Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega
Hell froze over! Juice came out looking mighty pensive ahead of his biggest challenge to date, but he came out of the blocks well, working over Omega’s arm before being taken into the corner as Kenny looked to be taking Juice rather lightly.
Let’s just say, if the House Show Tights hadn’t ripped, they would have been worn today.
Juice replies with some of his Dusty punches (incidentally, his are one of the best punches in wrestling), before using a monkey flip to send Omega flying. A crossbody off the top gets a near-fall, but Juice isn’t looking to explode out of the gates, rather taking his shots before Omega insanely suplexed him to the floor! That gave Omega the opening to start working over Juice’s knee, wrapping it around the ringpost before busting out a figure-four around the ringpost! Kenny looked to have gone down hard for the move though, and so his next order of business was to drop Robinson knee-first over the commentary table.
Back inside, Omega starts to work over the knee that’s troubled Juice for the entire G1, grapevining the leg until Juice forced a rope break, before kicking at the knee and hamstrings as Robinson was trapped in the corner. Juice manages to get back with a reverse DDT, but a piledriver perhaps was a bridge too far as Omega wriggled free and again went back to that knee… before crashing and burning into Robinson’s knee from a springboard moonsault.
With Omega in the corner, Juice capitalises with a running cannonball, before he has to take two goes to hit the falling powerbomb to pick up a near-fall. A Shoudou (over-the-knee brainbuster sees Omega hit back, as he teases a V-trigger and runs straight into a leg lariat as Juice avoided the bell ringer… for a matter of seconds as his Pulp Friction is avoided and met with a V-trigger. Back and forth they go, with Juice catching a V-trigger and dropping Kenny with a right hand, before they fight over some Pulp Friction…
Instead, Omega teased a One Winged Angel, before shoving away Pulp Friction and hitting a reverse ‘rana instead for a near-fall. Another V-trigger follows, and then Kenny goes for the One Winged Angel… but Juice rolls through into a Victory roll, and ohmygod… JUICE WINS! Osaka erupted, as did Juice’s potty mouth – the Underdog had his day! For someone who’d taken his losses in this tournament – and had some critics (somehow?!), the crowd were still on the side of Juice. Which paid off massively with this win. Perhaps not a match-of-the-year contender, but this is a moment that’ll stick in the memory, particularly as it could derail Kenny Omega’s G1 chances! ****¼
G1 Climax, Block B: EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada
They start pretty slowly out of the gates, but EVIL certainly isn’t holding back after having been knocked the heck out on Wednesday… although he is sporting a mighty bruise to his left bicep after that table bump…
Okada makes a point of dropkicking EVIL in the head as he dominates EVIL early, tying him up in a Japanese stranglehold. EVIL’s had enough of Okada after he lets go though, dumping him to the outside with a forearm, before wrecking a guard rail by whipping the champ into it hard.
Okada takes EVIL’s baseball bat-with-a-chair spot outside, before grinding his elbow into Okada’s forehead for the heck of it. Also for the heck of it was a curb stomp and a back senton as EVIL looked to be wearing down Okada… who then mounted a comeback with an elbow into the corner, then a DDT as he collected a two-count. An attempt at a neckbreaker slam follows, but EVIL switched it into a neckbreaker with ease, before a sidewalk slam got EVIL right back in it.
A flapjack from Okada turns the tide again, as he finally got in that neckbreaker slam ahead of the top rope elbow and – of course – the Rainmaker pose. All done with Gedo shadowing on the outside like an understudy waiting for his turn! EVIL thought he’d gotten back into it, but Okada grabbed him and made hard work of putting him on the top rope, before Okada took him into the crowd with a big boot. He wasn’t quite able to complete his run-up into a crossbody, as EVIL’d gotten back to his feet and threw a chair right into the champion’s face. Good LORD!
EVIL grabbed no less than four chairs from around the ring and went down the aisle with them… not like that. Instead, he walked past a prone Okada and dumped the chairs in a pile before coming back for his foe as he eventually dropped Okada into the chairs with the Darkness Falls. OUCH. Instead of taking a count-out, EVIL dragged Okada back to the ring, and so the match continues.
Another Darkness Falls in the ring gets a near-fall for EVIL, but Okada elbows away an attempt at Everything is EVIL, as he instead gets taken into the corner and has to fight out of a top rope fisherman’s suplex attempt. It’s successful as Okada manages to fly with a missile dropkick to a kneeling EVIL, only to have to fight out of a full nelson as the champ instead gets a dropkick to EVIL’s back… then his front!
A massive lariat from EVIL restates his intentions, as he finally got off that half-and-half suplex, followed by a second lariat as Okada barely kicked out in time… and I mean BARELY! That shoulder just left the canvas as Red Shoe’s hand grazed the mat. Sensing blood, EVIL goes for the Everything is EVIL, but it’s ducked and countered with a Rainmaker… and despite not being able to make the cover, Okada kept hold of the wrist – the ever-present sign of a panicked Okada.
Another Rainmaker followed, before Okada pulled up EVIL into another Rainmaker… which is ducked and hit away! Okada ducked another Everything is EVIL and hit a German, before pulling EVIL up for yet another Rainmaker… but this time EVIL ducks and gets the Everything is EVIL STO… and my God, that’s another shock loss today! Commentary sounded shocked that Okada lost – and given his last singles loss was almost a year to the day (against Bad Luck Fale), these are as rare as hen’s teeth. An absolute barn-burner of a main event, and a match that will quietly sneak into your discussions for match of the year. EVIL stays alive in the G1… but the likely lads are Omega and Okada. ****¾
So, day 14 of the G1 was the proverbial coupon buster – surprise wins for Satoshi Kojima and Juice Robinson, coupled with vital losses for Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega might look like it’s wrecked people’s predictions… but it still leaves us on for next Saturday’s Omega/Okada meeting… where a win for Omega will win him the block on tie-breakers. Assuming he matches what EVIL and Okada do in Kanagawa on Tuesday…
Today’s G1 show was memorable, and not only for the results!
G1 Climax 27 Standings
Block A (after seven matches):
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito (5-2; 10pts)
Bad Luck Fale, Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii, Zack Sabre Jr. (4-3; 8pts)
Togi Makabe (3-4; 6pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (2-5; 4pts)
Yuji Nagata (0-7; 0pts)
Block B (after seven matches):
Kazuchika Okada (6-1; 12pts)
EVIL, Kenny Omega (5-2; 10pts)
SANADA, Minoru Suzuki (4-3; 8pts)
Toru Yano (3-4; 6pts)
Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson, Tama Tonga (2-5; 4pts)
Satoshi Kojima (1-6; 2pts)