Nineteen shows. 185 matches… and it all comes down to the last one. Tetsuya Naito. Kenny Omega. Someone’s going to become a two-time G1 winner and head to the Tokyo Dome in January!
Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku) vs. KUSHIDA, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask & Hirai Kawato
The Suzuki-gun jump-start saw Liger having to fend off Taichi’s valet, Miho Abe as Taichi just watched on. We quickly settled down into Liger dropping Taichi with a tiltawhirl backbreaker before he and Tiger Mask worked over the lip-syncer.
Suzuki-gun flood the ring, but KUSHIDA comes in and gets a handspring back elbow to Desperado and Taichi, before trapping Despy in a Hoverboard lock. A hiptoss into a cross armbreaker follows, but Desperado escapes out and tries for the Stretch Muffler – way too early as KUSHIDA’s able to scramble into the ropes.
Desperado ducks as KUSHIDA headed outside… where he was met with a wild tope con hilo through the ropes that sent Despy into the announce table! KUSHIDA recovers though and brings in Kawato who starts a fun series of attacks before almost beating Kanemaru with a sunset flip! A missile dropkick gets the rookie another near-fall as the ring temporarily filled, but things again calm down as Kawato slips out of a suplex… only to get taken down with a big clothesline for a near-fall.
A kick from Taichi leaves Kawato down, and all that’s left is for the kid to take a powerbomb before he’s rolled up for Kanemaru’s Deep Impact DDT off the top, and that’s another loss for Kawato. Entertaining enough, and I guess we’re getting Desperado/KUSHIDA at one of the Destruction PPVs next month… especially since Despy tried to run off with his belt again! **¾
So… KUSHIDA chases after Desperado, taking him into the crowd as some fans got a very intimate view of a Hoverboard lock and everyone else but Taichi it seemed!
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
The standard jump-start sees Tanga Loa take Nagata into the corner, only for the Guerrillas to be outsmarted by the veterans, as Nagata and Nakanishi get off some shoulder tackles and kicks early.
After a brief spell outside, the Guerrillas took over on Nagata, with repeated shoulder charges keeping him as far away from Nakanishi as possible. Just like that, Tanga’s dropped into a Nagata Lock II (the crossface flavour), but that’s broken up as the numbers game persisted.
Finally Nakanishi comes in as Tama Tonga really struggled to try and whip him into the ropes. He didn’t get it off as a clothesline instead took down Tama before Tanga Loa cuts him off, only for Nakanishi to drop both Guerrillas with a suplex. Cue a big boot/clothesline combo as the Guerrillas are forced to kick out at two before a Nakanishi torture rack and a Nagata armbar looked to force other submissions… but Tama rakes the eyes to free himself, then his partner.
From there, the Guerrillas asserted their authority over the old guard, with Tanga headbutting away a punch before dropping Nakanishi with the old Rikishi driver for the win. That looked a little snug, but hey, it’s nice that Tanga’s getting his own finish! The Guerrillas bowed to Nagata after the match, as “Blue Justice” gave the crowd one last salute to bring his final “proper” G1 tour to an end. By-the-numbers, but this was fine… **¼
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Togi Makabe & David Finlay
If you’re keeping tracks of YOSHI-HASHI’s disintegrating ring gear, this time he’s used Tippex to paint in a missing letter. Except he’s only done one of the missing S’s…
He and Finlay start out, but it’s not long before everyone heads outside and into the crowd barriers, before Goto holds Finlay in the ropes for a dropkick that gets YOSHI-HASHI a two-count. Eventually Finlay gets in a dropkick to Goto, before Makabe comes in to do his usual tricks on Goto… powerslam, mounted punches, the works.
Makabe and Goto batter each other with clotheslines until both men fall down, and we’re back to Finlay and YOSHI-HASHI, with corner uppercuts getting Finlay another near-fall. Just like that though, YOSHI-HASHI surprises Finlay with a Butterfly lock, but Makabe breaks that up, and yes, Makabe’s double clothesline knocks both of his opponents down.
Finlay tries to pick up the pieces, dropping YOSHI-HASHI with a uranage backbreaker for a near-fall, but after kicking out of a wacky lucha roll-up, a left-arm lariat and Karma ends up getting the win for YOSHI-HASHI and his poor-quality gear! Another by-the-numbers tag… decent, but in the long run it’ll mean nothing apart from yet another loss for Finlay. I wonder when things’ll change for him? **½
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Juice Robinson
Yup, jump start! It doesn’t quite pay off though as Chase ate a load of Mongolian chops and Dusty punches for his part, before the Kokeshi/slingshot elbow got Kojima and Tenzan into the driver’s seat.
It’s not long before the usual tricks get the Bullet Club back in front though as everyone’s dragged to the outside, where Yujiro blasts Tenzan with his cane, allowing Owens to keep up the pressure in the ring with a punch from a headlock as we saw Juice just watch from the floor as Tenzan took a beating.
Yujiro’s big boots just ended up angering Tenzan, who replies with a Mountain bomb before bringing Kojima back in, and it’s the bread lover who clears the apron before dishing out machine gun chops to Owens and Yujiro. Juice comes in for cannonballs, before a crossbody to Owens gets a near-fall… Yujiro takes a TenKoji Cutter, but Owens is able to come back with a gutbuster attempt… only for Juice to block it and hit a Dusty punch. One Pulp Friction later, and that’s another win for Juice… and I’m left wondering where the heck Fale disappeared to here! Another decent undercard tag, solid, but not spectacular, and I’m kinda glad that commentary didn’t dub the winning trio “Balls Deep In Bread” after Juice’s comments yesterday! **½
Hopefully this marks the end of the run-of-the-mill tags as we’re now into some title action!
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet vs. Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c)
We start with Taguchi playing the Young Bucks at their own game before they swing, miss, and clatter each other with hip attacks!
Next up for swinging and missing is Ricochet and Nick Jackson, with Nick eating a leapfrog dropkick before Matt joins him outside for a Space Flying Tiger Drop. Back inside though, the Bucks start to press ahead, with Matt stomping on Ricochet in the corner, only for Ricochet to roll up into a clothesline as the Bucks low bridge Taguchi to the floor as we was going crazy with hip attacks.
An apron powerbomb leaves Taguchi down after Ricochet’s knee was worked over by the guard rails, and it looks to be elementary as Nick takes his time wearing down Taguchi with knees to the ribs. A step-up knee in the corner gets Nick a two-count as the Bucks try to wear down Taguchi with atomic drops, only for the Funky Weapon to drop them with a reverse/regular DDT combo.
Finally Taguchi’s able to bring Ricochet back in, but that knee quickly gives out as he’s forced to uppercut away from a superkick, before a Benadryller’s cut-off with a superkick. Nick catches Ricochet in a Sharpshooter, but he’s able to make it to the ropes with ease , only for a chop block from Matt to spark more knee-centred offence.
Taguchi returns for some more hip attack fun, with one off the top rope nearly getting the win over Matt, but an atomic drop and a pair of superkicks restore order for the Bucks, but only gets them a near-fall. Another hip attack’s caught, but Taguchi’s able to make the tag out as Ricochet comes in to block an IndyTaker… but his delayed powerbomb’s also stopped with a superkick to the knee as Matt locks in the Sharpshooter again.
Ricochet again drags himself to the ropes for a break, but a senton from Nick breaks the rope-break as Ricochet’s tried to pull himself up in the ropes. Nick tied up Taguchi in another Sharpshooter, but the Funky Weapon breaks it as everyone’s freed… only for Taguchi to take a PK off the apron as the Bucks then called for the buckle bomb/superkick combo. More Bang For Your Buck comes up short though, but Ricochet got his knees up… which wasn’t a smart move for him!
Ricochet nearly snatches a win with a small package, but Matt superkicks the knee away again after the kick-out. Taguchi springboard hip attacks away a Meltzer Driver, before Matt takes a Dodon… which leaves Ricochet with a dodgy choice to go up top for the finish. The shooting star connects – and with Nick held back by an ankle lock, Ricochet gets the pin as Taguchi Japan score the upset… and the junior tag titles! So, the rarely-successfully-defended belts keep up their record, after a match that was really good, with the Bucks again cutting the ring in half as they kept Ricochet in there… but for me didn’t come close to breaking through that ceiling. Perhaps it’s watching this on a few hours sleep? ***¾
Just before intermission, Katsuyori Shibata’s music hits… Shibata came out for the first time since his match with Kazuchika Okada at Sakura Genesis back in April, when he ended up injuring himself – and seemingly forcing himself into retirement. He takes a bump, then sits in the middle of the ring as the crowd chant his name… and I have chills!
He takes the mic, which is where I rush over to Chris Charlton’s Twitter feed for translations: “I’m alive, that’s all!”. He throws the mic down, and that’s it. Considering how bleak those blog updates were, the fact that he’s able to make this appearance is a lot more than most expected. Man, this G1 finals weekend is giving us chills, huh?
Before the next match, they play a spooky vignette of someone running a switchblade down a wall… someone’s coming? In the arena, some thought Jay White, but remember last year’s Time Bomb… everyone thought that was Minoru Suzuki…
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Bullet Club (Cody & Hangman Page) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) (c)
Whatever shine Cody had in New Japan looks to be gone, as whatever response he got… was polite at best.
Cody and Rowe open us off, as Cody goes straight to the Goldust basement uppercut as the Bullet Club tandem try to assert a numbers game… only for the athletic big guys to stack up Cody, Page, then Hanson with slams on top of each other! Rowe quickly misses with some shotgun knees in the corner, and that lets Page into the match as the challengers keep Rowe down on the mat.
A forearm from Rowe leaves Cody on his backside as Hanson comes in to pound Cody and Page with the corner-to-corner lariats. Cody comes back with almost a Downward Spiral in the ropes, as the challengers start to work over Hanson in the opposite corner, with Cody (and to be fair, Page) barely eliciting any response as he stomped away on Hanson. Has anyone ever seen him and the Bone Soldier in the same place at the same time?
Finally Cody riles up Hanson into trading cartwheels before both men tagged out, and finally business picks up as Rowe lays into Page with a series of strikes. The shotgun knees take Page into the corner, as Rowe follows up by dumping him with a uranage onto Cody’s back, resulting in an awkward landing.
Cody takes a whoopee cushion from Hanson, as we spark a parade of moves… Page takes a vicious knee from Rowe, who then eats a Cross Rhodes as Hanson breaks a double clothesline and gets a springboard back elbow! The match heads outside as Cody’s tossed into the English language commentary team. Good.
Meanwhile, Page takes a clothesline-assisted German suplex for a near-fall, then a pop-up powerslam for a near-fall as Hanson charges into Cody on the outside with a tope to prevent interference. Rowe pops up straight away after a German suplex from Page… a second one sees him stay down.
On the outside, Cody shoves Hanson into a shooting star headbutt from Page, before Cody swings the ringside gate into his head as if he were Mick Foley… before stringing together a Disaster Kick and a slingshot lariat for a near-fall on Rowe back inside. Page heads up for what everyone thought was a moonsault, but he takes out Hanson as Cody gets a moonsault… then Page… but that’s still only a near-fall.
The challengers go to “plan B”, which was apparently Rowe headbutting away their forearms, just as Hanson comes back in to save his partner from a double team suplex and set up for a slam/powerbomb combo! Hanson looks to follow up with a moonsault of his own, and he squashes Page… but Rowe rolled him too close to the ropes as Cody drapes a leg onto the ropes for a save.
A missed foul sees Cody punt his own man low, as Rowe takes Cody out for a tope… Hanson wants to fly again, and takes out the pair of them with a cannonball! All that’s left is Fallout, and thank God, the team nobody wanted to win… didn’t. This was alright, but a massive disappointment as a title match. ***¼
We get a new/old direction afterwards, as the Guerrillas of Destiny head out… and I guess they want their rematch. There’s a long pause, which just seems weird, and for good reason… Rowe snatches the mic, but before they can accept, the Killer Elite Squad – Davey Boy Smith Jr and Lance Archer – return to lay waste to everyone, finally dropping Tama with a Killer Bomb. Archer’s got a bottle of water in his jeans, so he can spray everyone, and I guess they’re still with Suzuki-gun… but most importantly, it looks like we’ve got a three-way feud for these belts now!
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Takashi Iizuka) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & Michael Elgin
We’re back to the jump starts as Elgin and Suzuki get the spotlight outside the ring, whilst Iizuka chokes on Ibushi with a camera cable. Meanwhile, Sabre stands on Tanahashi’s Intercontinental title belt, and I’m guessing that’s the next title match they’re building towards. Good.
Things settle down with Iizuka missing a charge into the corner, but Ibushi’s quickly overwhelmed by Sabre and Suzuki… at least until he hits an overhead kick. A standing moonsault gets a near-fall for Kota, who then gets caught in the ropes with an armbar by Suzuki, and we’re back to the outside as Suzuki waffles Elgin with a chair to the back.
Ibushi gets one from Iizuka too whilst Sabre just wears down Tanahashi’s arm, before whipping him into the guard railings. This is one of those “too much to focus on” matches, as the camera bats around the different pairings, ending with Ibushi getting thrown back into the ring where Iizuka tries to choke at Ibushi with a rope.
The ref stops it though, and Iizuka just uses his hand instead as Suzuki gets the rope… and throws it to Iizuka as the ref’s tied up. Yep, shortcuts city! Ibushi stays down though, with Sabre twisting his neck between his legs, before Ibushi and Suzuki trade blows.
Those shots just awaken Ibushi, as he tries to chop down Suzuki with kicks before a dropkick takes Minoru down! Iizuka ties up the ref as he tries to use a chair, which allows TAKA, Taichi and Kanemaru to get involved… but that’s a cover for a fallaway slam/Samoan drop combo by Elgin before TAKA takes a buckle bomb.
Elgin keeps up with a suplex attempt, but Suzuki slips out and ends up taking a forearm before slipping into the sleeperhold and a Gotch piledriver… but Big Mike backdrops free! My feed stutters and comes back when Tanahashi’s getting triple-teamed, before Iizuka uses that rope again as a set-up for a Sabre PK for another two-count.
Tanahashi escapes a guillotine by landing a spinning neckbreaker, before Elgin’s attempt at a reverse fly swatter onto Sabre goes wrong as Tanahashi lands right into Zack’s guard… and a triangle armbar as Sabre rattles through some holds, eventually locking in an Octopus hold as Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness forces the submission. A fun, but meandering tag, showing some of the worst of Suzuki-gun’s tropes. ***½
I guess we’re going to get Suzuki/Elgin as well as Sabre/Tanahashi on the Destruction tour next month, eh? I’m not complaining about any of that! Guess what, Suzuki bent a chair over the back of some Young Lions. I know, shocking, right?
Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, EVIL, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) vs. Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Gedo
DARYL IS BACK!
EVIL and Okada get us going, but of course it’s a jump start as the Ingobernables attack Okada from behind. Okada shrugs it off and peppers EVIL with back elbows, before the DDT led to another failed kip-up as the champ continued to sell the neck.
EVIL rips off the tape before he nonchalantly stands on Okada’s head, as Takahashi comes in and adds some extra whiplash from a dropkick. SANADA too, with a double axehandle to the back of the head, but then Yano gets tagged in to go through his shtick. Break! It doesn’t quite work as SANADA ties him in a Paradise Lock, and leaves him there!
Meanwhile, EVIL just wears down on Okada’s neck in the aisle, before going in to take a breather by standing on the balled-up Yano. Okada comes back to try and help, but EVIL takes him outside… whilst Yano is still balled up! There’s a wild throw into the guard rails that snapped the gate into Okada, before SANADA dropkicks Yano free as we go back to business.
BUSHI’s dropkick to Ishii is just waved off as the Stone Pitbull obliterates everyone before dumping EVIL with a German suplex, as the chops and forearms in the corner rock BUSHI. Hiromu makes a save as BUSHI was about to get pinned… but it doesn’t last as BUSHI and SANADA instead combine with a back cracker to take the big man down. Gedo comes in, but gets dropped with a Dragon screw as a Falcon arrow from Hiromu barely gets a one count.
Okada and EVIL head outside, as a parade of moves takes place in the ring, ending with an Okada dropkick to EVIL. A Rainmaker’s ducked as EVIL gets in a lariat instead, before Gedo slips out of a Time Bomb and almost won with the Gedo clutch. Instead, SANADA makes the save, as the home straight ended with Takahashi taking down Gedo with a ‘rana into an arm triangle for the submission. I love Hiromu trying out different finishers – it keeps him fresh and not as predictable as others. ***½
After the match, EVIL throws a few chairs in the ring and drops Okada with the Darkness Falls… and I guess that’s our next IWGP title match? Good!
G1 Climax 27 Final: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega
This is what it all boils down to… winner goes to WrestleKingdom 12 next year for an IWGP title shot… and Ryogoku Kokugikan is electric with split chants for both finalists! These two met only once before, in last year’s G1 Climax block B finals, with Omega getting the win that booked his spot in the finals itself – albeit on tie-breakers!
We’ve got no time limit here, so there’s no need for either man to shoot out of the blocks, as Naito sidesteps Omega’s early lock-ups. After some spitting, Omega retaliates with wild chops before Naito took him outside for a faked-out dive. Tranquilo! Naito eventually joins him outside for a whip into the guard rail… but Kenny blocks it and uses the railings to moonsault off of!
Back inside, Omega hits a Kotaro Krusher for an early two-count, only for Naito to sweep the legs to drop Omega on the apron ahead of a neckbreaker onto the hardest part of the ring! Another one follows off the apron as it’s clear that Naito’s trying to soften up the neck ahead of a Destino finish. Even more so when Naito threw in an over-the-knee reverse DDT and a dropkick to the back of the head… before sending Kenny into the commentary tables with a tope!
Naito heads over the rail to join Omega on the table… but an attempted piledriver goes awry as the table doesn’t break and Omega seemed to hit his head on the guard rails on his way down. That looked NASTY for Kenny. Still, they made it back into the ring, as Omega’s dumped back on his head with a German suplex for a near-fall, before taking Omega into the corner for the slingshot dropkick, but Kenny pushes it away!
That signals a comeback for Omega by way of wild chops, before he ties up Naito in an Arabian clutch. A hard Irish whip into the corner puts the Ingobernable down again, before Naito’s dropped with a Finlay roll… but Omega’s neck forces him to pause and he’s stopped from the moonsault as Naito drops him with a neckbreaker out of the second rope!
Naito’s resurgence continues with a low dropkick, an atomic drop, and finally the slingshot dropkick as we passed the 15 minute mark. That went by QUICK! Omega elbows away another neckbreaker, before taking Naito outside with a ‘rana… and we know what’s next. With only corner aisles available, the Terminator dive has a higher risk, but the tope con hilo connects!
Back inside, Omega dropkicks Naito in the back of the head for a near-fall, before finally getting off a gutwrench’d German suplex and a shoudou. Naito sidesteps a V-trigger and tries a German suplex, which is blocked, before he comes in with a tornado DDT to take Kenny flying into the corner! Naito tries for a top rope ‘rana, but Omega slips out and powerbombs him into the corner before sneaking in a snap Dragon suplex and a V-trigger… but Naito gets out at two!
We’re passing the 20 minute mark now, and the tables turn again as Naito countered a powerbomb into a DDT! Naito goes back to the neck as he teases Gloria, but instead rattles Kenny with an enziguiri before a forearm dumped the Cleaner on his head. Gloria comes next as I swear they’re trying to decapitate each other!
Destino comes next, but Omega blocks it and hits a package tombstone piledriver to almost secure back-to-back wins… but Naito kicked out! Kenny goes up top, but gets cut off… and counters back by DDTing Naito’s head into the ringpost as he went for a superplex. Omega teases a top rope powerbomb, but Naito countered it into a ‘rana that almost spikes Omega on his goddamned head!
HOW THE HELL ARE EITHER OF THESE GUYS STANDING?!
A reverse ‘rana off the top follows as Naito keeps up his bid to destroy Kenny’s neck, but still Omega kicks out at two after landing on his head. Naito goes up top for the old Stardust Press (corkscrew moonsault), but Omega rolls away as both men lay flat out on the mat. Omega tries to follow up with an Impact Driver (Jay Driller), spiking Naito… but again, kick-out!
Omega nonchalantly waffles Naito with a series of V-triggers, but he doesn’t go for a cover as he has a bigger plan… a One Winged Angel! Instead, Naito slumps to the mat, echoing Omega’s dodging of a Rainmaker at Dominion, before catching a knee… and getting waffled properly. A Dr Wily Bomb comes next for a near-fall as I literally fell off the edge of my seat!
One more V-trigger follows, and Omega sets up for the One Winged Angel… but Naito just about pulls off a reverse ‘rana to keep the match alive! Straight after that, Naito bursts back with a Destino, but it’s only good for a two-count, before a second one is caught, hoisted up into a One Winged Angel, and then pulled down into the Croyt’s Wrath German suplex for another two-count.
More V-triggers! Another One Winged Angel attempt, but Naito turns it into Destino, as they go back to chops, slaps and forearms in a bid to wear down what little resistance was left. Another V-trigger ends that, with Naito being left in the ropes… but then a Koppo kick and a Dragon suplex get the Ingobernable a two-count as we eked closer to a finish. Destino’s blocked again, but Omega can’t stop a spinning Destino… but he could kick out just in time! One more Destino plants Omega, and that… is… it! The match of a lifetime! There are no words – you need to watch this, and find out why – if you didn’t know already – these two are among the very best in the world. *****
Naito teased throwing the G1 trophy into the crowd, but stopped short as Masahiro Chono busted out the LIJ fist-bump – whilst the rest of the Ingobernables (including Daryl + plaster) watched on. Cue the LIJ roll-call, confetti… and now, what the hell do we do with our time? 19 shows gone, the G1 delivered, and left us all wanting more.
The G1 finals were noteworthy, but perhaps underwhelming… sure, there was nothing horrible on show (a trademark, it seems), but it felt like everything was holding back for the main event. The heavyweight tag title match was “there”, and the junior tag match was fine until the final moments, which dragged it up.
As for the rest, it was typical undercard fare, with the return of the Killer Elite Squad and (more importantly) Daryl and Katsuyori Shibata being more memorable. Then we got to the G1 finals… This is why I love wrestling. The goosebumps caused by the unexpected return of a favourite. The endless “oohs” and “aahs” you get from a really good, suspenseful match. The storylines throughout shows and matches. This is what we all want from our wrestling – beautiful simplicity!
Thanks to everyone who’s read our coverage of this year’s G1. Same time next year?
G1 Climax 27 Final 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)
G1 Climax 27 Winner: Tetsuya Naito