Omega/Okada III. Yes. Did it live up to the hype? Read on to find that out… and who joins Tetsuya Naito in tomorrow’s final!
Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku) vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger, KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask & Hirai Kawato
As you’d expect, we had a Suzuki-gun jumpstart as the cameras immediately struggled to keep up… It quickly settled down into a frenetic pace as Liger gave everyone Shoteis before pulling Desperado into a Romero special… which Suzuki-gun instantly broke up.
TAKA takes his shots as he stomps away on Liger for a spell, before the mile-a-minute pace (impressive for some of these guys) calmed down again when a Tiger Driver gets a near-fall for Tiger Mask. We go back to KUSHIDA and Desperado, with a hiptoss dropkick from KUSHIDA… getting him a beating before he took out Taichi and Kanemaru with handspring elbows.
KUSHIDA pulls Despy down into a splits, but the masked one rebounds into a Stretch Muffler, only for KUSHIDA to pull himself up into a sunset flip for a near-fall. Of course, Kawato felt left out, so KUSHIDA brings him in… and Kawato’s actually figured out to clear the apron! Kawato helps with some four-way attacks ahead of a missile dropkick that barely got the one-count as Suzuki-gun flooded the ring.
The ring clears to leave Despy and Kawato, with the latter trying for a Boston crab, only for Taichi to kick it away. It falls apart for a bit, until TAKA kicks Kawato in the back of the head, leaving the rookie open for Despy’s Pinche Loco for the win. Well, it was frenetic and fun, all you can ask for in these matches. **¾
Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Tanga Loa) vs. Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
So, for yesterday’s show, I thought I’d gotten all my picks right. Except on the Voices of Wrestling form, I’d put YOSHI-HASHI down instead. Stupid YOSHI-HASHI…
We start with the Bullet Club trio getting taken to the outside as Yujiro takes a ‘rana from YOSHI-HASHI, then some chops before he bites free of a Bunker Buster. Yujiro gets back in and tags Chase Owens into the match as he tries to nonchalantly choke YOSHI-HASHI with his shin as the Bullet Club’s reserves were firmly in the driving seat.
Tanga Loa gets a boot as he charges YOSHI-HASHI in the corner, before a spin kick takes down the Silverback as Ishii gets the tag in to try some shoulder tackles. Chase eats a German suplex as he tried to interfere, but in truth he needn’t have bothered as Loa’s able to get back into it somewhat, shrugging off a suplex to drop Ishii with a Samoan drop.
We go back to Goto and Owens, the latter getting hit with a spinning heel kick before Goto shrugged off a knee to the head to hit Owens with an ushigoroshi, then the GTR for the win. This was a match that had flashes, particularly from Owens, but on the whole it did little for me. Welcome to undercard tag city, eh? **¼
Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Takashi Iizuka) vs. Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata
This was Iizuka’s return after several months out with a broken ankle/leg – so that means we get his funky silver oven glove! Zack Sabre Jr. didn’t come through the crowd, and of course, this being Suzuki-gun, we have a jump start, with Makabe instantly taking Iizuka to the outside.
That means we had Sabre and Nagata in the ring, with Sabre looking for retribution as he was the only guy Nagata beat during the G1… trading uppercuts and forearms was the order of the day there. Iizuka trips Nagata and takes him to the outside, where he’s tied up in an Octopus hold as Iizuka takes Makabe into the crowd with a chair… which becomes close friends with Makabe!
Desperado gets involved as he takes shots at Nagata by ringside, but things turn around as Nagata boots Iizuka, then brings in Makabe to take some shots in the corner thanks to those mounted punches. Iizuka replies by choking Makabe into the opposite corner, before trying for what looked like a choke bomb, only to get dumped with a clothesline instead.
Sabre tries for a Bully choke on Nagata, but instead we get a display of Nagata Locks 2 and 3 (the crossface variants), before Yuji’s trapped in an Octopus hold. I’m NOT going to copy and paste that insanely-long name Zack gives it… especially when Makabe broke it up! Iizuka deals with Makabe again, using a chair to knock him down outside before Nagata dumps Sabre with an Exploder for a near-fall.
In the end, Iizuka grabs his funky oven glove and smashes it into Nagata, before a Sabre PK gets him his win back. After the bell, Makabe gets jabbed with the iron fist/oven glove, and that’s that. Decent enough while it lasted, and Iizuka looked okay after so long off. **¾
Bullet Club (Cody, Hangman Page, Bad Luck Fale & Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Rowe), Rysusuke Taguchi, Ricochet & Katsuya Kitamura
Cody’s insisting that they win the match with a moonsault in less than ten minutes. That went so well last night… all of that meant that we missed Bad Luck Fale being here, as he swiped the ring announcer. He finally got him!
We open with Ricochet and Nick Jackson… with the Young Buck getting shoulder charged before some wacky rope running led to a leapfrog being dropkicked away. Ricochet dumps Matt with a hip attack, and then that’s the cue to go to Cody and Hanson. Yeah, big size difference! A basement uppercut a la Goldust barely fazes Hanson, who shrugs off some double-team attempts before taking Cody into the other corner, where Rowe dumps him with a backbreaker and gut buster. Hangman Page gets the same tandem, as does Matt and Nick, before Fale cuts off an expected powerbomb.
Yeah, Fale almost got a backbreaker, but the rest of Bullet Club make the save before Taguchi tried to mock the Bullet Club… and leapt into a quartet of superkicks. Kitamura comes in and is quickly dispatched before the Bucks double-teamed Hanson into a slam. Everyone but Kitamura’s down with slams as the Bullet Club went for moonsaults… but yeah, they all got stuffed as Hanson went to do a moonsault onto everyone-but-Fale… and yes, it was Bad Luck as Fale makes the save. Ricochet springboards in and eats a clothesline for good measure, before Kitamura bulls down Cody with a shoulder charge. A parade of movez ensues, ending with a Space Flying Tiger Drop to the outside by Ricochet, then a cannonball by Hanson into the pile.
Kitamura wants in too, but a slingshot lariat from Page and a Rites of Passage (belly-to-back piledriver) cuts that off and gets Hangman the win. A really fun tag – not as much wackiness as yesterday as this quintet fell on the other side of the Marmite divide. ***¼
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & David Finlay
Under his shirt, you could see Naito’s right shoulder was heavily taped up… such are the rigours of a tournament like this. The good guys have an argument over who should start, and they’re jumped for their indecision as we start with Naito and Ibushi, before Finlay gets in and enjoys a brief flurry on Naito, who is forced to kick out after a diving European uppercut.
BUSHI comes in and chokes Finlay with his t-shirt, before Hiromu’s dumped with a big clothesline as Finlay makes the tag out to Tanahashi. An instant rematch from last night ensues, but BUSHI gets involved briefly, as Naito can’t stop a Dragon screw before Tanahashi gets in the Cloverleaf.
Naito escapes and then has to deal with Ibushi… by spitting at him. Kota retaliates with a flurry of body blows and kicks, before a standing twisting moonsault gets him a near-fall over the block A winner. BUSHI returns to blast Ibushi with double knees and a swinging Fisherman’s neckbreaker as he looked to finish Kota with the MX… but it’s avoided as Tanahashi hits a Slingblade to spark a mini Parade of Moves.
Finlay manages to end it with a uranage backbreaker on Naito, before BUSHI takes a head kick from Ibushi, as the Kamigoye knee strike gets Kota the win. Brief, but much fun, as Kota racks up another win… and the big question out of this is, where next? Title shot, or does he go back to pottering around Japan’s burgeoning indy scene? ***
G1 Climax, Block B: Juice Robinson vs. Michael Elgin
Amazingly – for different reasons – both guys come into this with a 3-5 record… of course, that’ll change here.
Elgin and Juice roll out of wristlocks early, but despite Juice hitting a belly-to-back suplex, it’s not long before Elgin’s power shows, as he whips Robinson into the corner and out of the ring. A cannonball off the apron follows as Big Mike Flies, and a series of forearms in the ring leave Juice down… but he does manage to headbutt away from a superplex attempt. His attempt at a crossbody is caught and rolled through as Elgin tried a fallaway slam… only for Juice to slip out and throw some Dusty punches, before eventually dropping Elgin with a face-first DDT for a two-count. A full nelson slam gets Juice a near-fall after he misses a leg lariat, but Big Mike starts to hit back with forearms and enziguiris as the tide turned back-and-forth.
Another attempt at a leg lariat sees Juice get caught and dropped with a powerbomb, before a lariat drops Juice again for a near-fall. Robinson tries to come back with a suplex, but instead he slips out of a reversal and hits a sweeping reverse DDT, before he somehow powerbombed Elgin out of the corner for just a two-count.
From there, Juice tries for Pulp Friction, but Elgin tries to reverse it, only to get lifted up into a fireman’s carry gutbuster! A cannonball follows, but Juice is caught and powerbombed out of the corner as Elgin followed up with a buckle bomb, only for Juice to jack-knife him to nearly steal the win!
Instead, Elgin tries to come back with a Burning Hammer, but Juice slips out and lands a couple of big left hands before Pulp Friction put down Big Mike for the win! That’s four wins in his inaugural G1, and that’s a better record than anyone had Juice down for. A tidy match, maybe not helped by the dead rubber status of it, but the Juice story continues – and he’s in for big things, I feel. ***½
G1 Climax, Block B: SANADA vs. Tama Tonga
We open off with the wacky rope running, but some dropkicks put paid to that before the pair displayed two completely different ways of taking off t-shirts. Tama perhaps having one that was a touch too tight for him…
Once they were in tights, the pair tried to kick each other simultaneously, before letting go… and sneaking in shots and swear words. A ‘rana from SANADA’s met with a ‘rana from Tama as we have a mirror match in play… at least until Tama takes down SANADA with some punches from the mount.
Tama tries for the Paradise Lock, but I don’t think he revised that enough… so he stomps away some more instead. SANADA responds by taking Tama into the aisle, where he displays a real Paradise lock, then locks the gate as Tama’s left all alone… before Yujiro and Tanga Loa come out to try and undo him. They finally figure it out as Tama spills over the guard railings as I swear they counted 19 twice before he beat the count.
They calm down back in the ring, as Tama took over with a simple slam, then a Stinger splash in the corner, before SANADA took the Ric Flair corner bump… and sprung back in with a missile dropkick, then a plancha to the outside! SANADA tries for a Skull End on the outside, but Tanga Loa clotheslines his brother free as Yujiro had the ref tied up as another count-out tease is made… but they both beat the count just before Marty Asani got to 20.
A TKO gets a near-fall, as the pair go into a lot of back-and-forth counters, with SANADA blocking a Gun Stun and grabbing the Skull End instead. Tama reverses it, as SANADA takes it back to the Skull End, before a small package nearly won it for Tonga. Out of nowhere, SANADA drops a Gun Stun, but Tama kicks out, before some more counters lead to a Tonga Twist!
Tama leaps in for another Gun Stun but gets caught in a backslide for a near-fall, before he kicks out, hits the Gun Stun, and there’s the win. This was a lot better than I expected going in – can we have this again? ***½
G1 Climax, Block B: Minoru Suzuki vs. Toru Yano
Surprisingly, Yano has the better head-to-head record here… but I’m expecting something close to legalised murder.
Suzuki boots Yano before he could even finish his water, and takes the Sublime Master Thief to the outside for a whip into the guard rails. Taichi’s there to add in some shots for the hell of it, and somewhere in there the commentary team’s GoPro takes a fall.
They head back to the ring as Yano tries to undo the turnbuckle pads, and succeeds, as Suzuki just responds by booting him in the back. Body shots follow as the sadistic Suzuki quickly goes to the rear naked choke, but Yano grabs the ref to block the Gotch piledriver… it doesn’t lead to a low blow as Taichi gets some shots in on the outside, then ties up the ref so Suzuki can go back to work.
An atomic drop on the outside drops Suzuki as Yano finds a roll of tape underneath the ring… he tries to tie up Suzuki, but the ref gets involved and takes a bump as he tried to stop it. Suzuki takes the hint, and ties Yano’s feet together, which raises the prospect of legalised murder, especially as there’s no ref. Kicks take Yano down, as does a PK, and finally the ref comes back in… and notices the tied-up legs!
Rocky Romero leaves commentary and hits the ring to stop Taichi whacking Yano with a chair… but he just turns around into a pissed off Suzuki, who throws some punches… and gets some receipts too! Yano joins in and tries to tape up Suzuki’s arm, but fails as a chairshot follows… and now Yano tapes Suzuki’s arms to his body! Low blow, 1-2-3, and Toru Yano somehow gets the win! That was amazing! Toru Yano has been a revelation here, not replaying the same shtick every time… ***¼
After the match, Suzuki’s arms are untied, and yes, he kills some Young Lions with chair shots. Poor Tetsuhiro Yagi… Tomoyuki Oka… and everyone in his path!
G1 Climax, Block B: EVIL vs. Satoshi Kojima
Shoulder-tackles early see Kojima take EVIL to the outside… before he misses a plancha as EVIL capitalises by taking Kojima into the guard rails early.
EVIL grabs a pair of chairs for his usual baseball bat spot, which Tenzan doesn’t stop despite being right there! Kojima easily beats the count, but EVIL stays on top of him with a curb stomp, before Kojima made a comeback by way of Mongolian chops.
Machine gun chops in the corner follow as EVIL reels from the barrages of chops, before a Kojima elbow off the top gets a near-fall. EVIL rebounds with a thrust kick to Kojima’s gut, but just as quickly Kojima comes back with a Koji Cutter as the match felt delicately poised. A hotshot drops Kojima over the top rope as he tried to suplex EVIL in off the apron, and the pain continues as EVIL dragged Kojima onto the apron as he looked for Darkness Falls… but instead Kojima spikes him onto the apron with a DDT! That looked nasty!
Back in the ring, Kojima takes EVIL up top for an avalanche Koji Cutter, but that’s still only good for a two-count as EVIL started to claw back, scoring a two-count from a Fisherman’s suplex, as Darkness Falls gets a similar result. EVIL tries for the Everything is EVIL STO, but Kojima elbows free… only to get a series of lariats! Those drop Kojima to the mat, but he pops back up immediately with a Strong Arm before slumping across the ropes!
Kojima drags himself back up as he looks to end EVIL with a brainbuster… but EVIL kicks out at two! EVIL picks himself up and headbutts Kojima as he signalled for a lariat, before Everything is EVIL gets the win… a rather sudden end to a really hard-hitting match. A match that on paper looked a little underwhelming, but in practise delivered, and then some! ****
G1 Climax, Block B: Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada
Omega’s going into this having not beaten Okada – a 46:45 loss at WrestleKingdom and an hour-long draw at Dominion. Both of those matches broke Dave Meltzer’s scale, so it’s safe to say there’s a lot of anticipation going into this. Especially when this only has a half-hour time limit…
They start out fast with chops, before Omega avoids a Rainmaker and snaps into Okada with a Dragon suplex! A V-trigger in the corner misses as Omega tries for a One Winged Angel early… but Okada escapes and responds by lifting up and dropkicking Omega to the floor!
On the outside, Omega takes a barricade shoulder-first, then gets booted into the crowd as Okada flies over the barriers with a crossbody to knock Omega into the second row. If this is their greatest hits… they’re certainly blasting through them thick-and-fast! Okada switches to the elbow drop and the Rainmaker pose as he teases wrapping it up in under five minutes, as Omega instead avoids, takes Omada to the outside and sent him into the barriers with a pescado.
The story here was that Okada’s already-sore neck was taking a pounding with Omega’s offence, including with that missile dropkick to the back of the head as Omega cranked away at the neck back inside. Of course, a tied-up neck crank didn’t do it as Omega threw in some Danielson elbows to the neck before he ripped off the tape that covered Okada’s neck.
A running backbreaker gets Omega a near-fall, as did some kicks to the back, but a big boot from Okada follows, as the champ crashed and burned as Omega gets the knees up to block a back senton. Okada backdrops out of a piledriver, before catching a charging Omega and hits him with a neckbreaker slam! The resurgence continues with an elbow in the corner, a DDT… but again, Okada can’t kip up ahead of a diving European uppercut as Omega’s able to kick-out at two.
Okada struggles to lift up Omega for a tombstone, and that gives the Cleaner a route back in as he aims for the back of the neck with cops, before teasing his own tombstone, before the Finlay roll leads to a crash and burn as Okada gets the knees up to block the springboard moonsault! Straight away, Omega gets in a ‘rana to take Okada outside, before dropkicking him in the back as his attempt at the Terminator dive ended when Okada slid back in to flapjack him instead.
Okada tries for a tombstone again, but Omega escapes, before his springboard is caught with a dropkick as Kenny crashes and burns… before he sneaks in a reverse ‘rana on the floor! MY GOD THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL EACH OTHER.
Again they tease a ref stoppage as a doctor goes over to check on Okada, but Omega picks him up and drags Okada onto the apron as they teased another flavour of murder… a Dragon suplex on the apron! Shoudou in the ring… but somehow Okada kicks out! Omega blasts Okada with a V-trigger as we passed the 15 minute mark, celebrating it by rocking Okada’s head back with such vigour… but somehow it fires up Okada!
Another V-trigger’s caught as Okada throws some elbows, before taking another V-trigger… but he’s able to escape a One Winged Angel and drop Omega with a snap tombstone! There’s no cover attempted as Omega gets back up to his feet first, and teases a Fisherman’s buster off the top… but Okada fights free and knocks Kenny down for a missile dropkick that sent Omega back into the corner… but also caused more damage for Okada.
A shotgun dropkick from Okada keeps Kenny in the corner, before a Rainmaker’s blocked and met with a chop, then a V-trigger! Okada’s dropkick keeps it even. Another V-trigger looks to be followed up with a reverse ‘rana, but Okada gets off a German before Omega plants Okada high on the neck with a uranage! My GOD!
Omega still can’t get off the One Winged Angel as Okada slips out and lands a Rainmaker as we pass 20 minutes, with Kenny barely kicking out. Time’s starting to tick away for Kenny, who remember, must win to make it through… and he almost falls to a tombstone before countering into a roll-up for a near-fall as Kenny just turned around into another Rainmaker! Okada keeps hold of the wrist though, and hits a second… but doesn’t go for the cover, knowing that he doesn’t need the win.
Another Rainmaker is ducked as Omega hits a series of German suplexes, dumping Okada on the neck once more, before another reverse ‘rana leaves Okada down… for only a two-count as Kenny didn’t get close to hooking a leg. He hoists up Okada for a One Winged Angel, but instead Okada fights out and takes the Croyt’s Wrath (German suplex after an Electric Chair), as the pair turned up the intensity even further… ripcord V-trigger, then an Angel’s wings gets a near-fall, before Kenny finally gets the One Winged Angel… and in under 25 minutes, the boy Kenny gets the pin and is going to the G1 finals!
All he had to do… was hit the One Winged Angel to win, and today, he proved it! *****
How on earth do you sum that all up? When the G1 matches were announced, everyone singled out Omega/Okada 3 at the showpiece match, and this did disappoint. The G1 blocks started with a ***** classic (in my mind) for Naito/Ibushi, and ended with a nailed-on snowflake-fest with Omega/Okada 3… but importantly, that hasn’t gotten Kenny the belt.
Omega still needs to beat Naito to get another shot at Okada at WrestleKingdom, otherwise this win… is all for nought.
What a night. What a G1. Nothing close to a bad match on this show, as seems to be the way here, and the entire final round of block matches were on fire. Just like Okada’s neck (and many other’s injuries, no doubt). Omega’s going into tomorrow hoping to be the first ever gaijin two-time G1 winner… and I cannot wait for that final tomorrow night.
G1 Climax 27 Standings
Block A (final):
Tetsuya Naito (7-2; 14pts)
Bad Luck Fale, Hiroshi Tanahashi (6-3; 12pts)
Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr (5-4; 10pts)
Tomohiro Ishii, Togi Makabe (4-5; 8pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (2-7; 4pts)
Yuji Nagata (1-8; 2pts)
Block B (final):
Kenny Omega (7-2; 14pts)
Kazuchika Okada (6-2-1; 13pts)
EVIL (6-3; 12pts)
Minoru Suzuki (4-4-1; 9pts)
Juice Robinson, SANADA, Tama Tonga, Toru Yano (4-5; 8pts)
Michael Elgin (3-6; 6pts)
Satoshi Kojima (1-8; 2pts)