After a day off, it’s back to the G1 grind as Fukushima played host to the third round of block B action.
Fukushima’s Big Palette is a jarring change to the arenas we’ve been used to seeing so far on the G1 tour, but also a pleasant one. At least it’s not Korakuen yet again!
Kota Ibushi & Shota Umino vs. Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi
Taguchi’s got a copy of Togi’s chain, and it looks… odd? It’s not a costume change I Can see Taguchi Japan keeping, let’s just say that! We have the usual jump start as Ibushi takes Makabe outside and into the guard rails as Taguchi started to work over Umino in the ring.
Taguchi wore down Umino with stomps, before Makabe had his turn… and you can probably guess how it went for the man who’s been drawing a lot against his fellow Young Lions! Finally Umino makes the tag out to Ibushi, who teased Makabe with kicks as the pair went back and forth with forearms, until a kick and a standing moonsault gets Ibushi a near-fall.
More kicks see Ibushi soften up Makabe for a German suplex… but that’s instantly replied to with a clothesline that dumped Kota on his neck. Taguchi jumps back in to hit some hip attacks, but Ibushi gives some receipts before bringing Umino back into the fray. Shota tries for a Boston crab, but of course it’s not going to work, especially when Makabe booted it apart!
Ibushi gets rid of Makabe with a missile dropkick and a plancha, leaving Umino in there to take a Funky Weapon for a near-fall. A schoolboy nearly nicked it for Shota, as did some more pinning attempts, before a low dropkick took him down for an ankle lock that forced the submission. A fun opener, and a brisk one at that – you can’t go wrong with a tag that moves along swiftly! **¾
Of course there were afters as Makabe and Ibushi repeatedly went after each other. Once Togi brought his chain into it, Ibushi walked away, wisely.
Tomoyuki Oka & Katsuya Kitamura vs. Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
Oh dear… I foresee lots of clubbering and clonking in these Young Lions’ immediate future.
Oka starts by being taken into the ropes by Ishii, as the Stone Pitbull unloaded on him with a barrage of chops. Those gave way to forearms as Oka tried to fight back, before getting put down with a running shoulder block. Instead of tagging out, Oka charged back at Ishii, and was quickly cornered as YOSHI-HASHI tagged himself in.
YOSHI-HASHI instantly grounded Oka in a chinlock until a rope break was made, and then Ishii came back in to continue to lay waste to the rookie. You’d think Oka owed him money or something, such was the beating. A dropkick takes Oka out of the ropes for a near-fall, and despite making a brief comeback, he had to fend off the interference from Ishii before being able to bring in Kitamura.
Kitamura instantly charges down Ishii with a shoulder tackle before going back to YOSHI-HASHI, dropping him with a suplex and a gutwrench suplex for the heck of it. YOSHI-HASHI quickly recovers though, and catches Kitamura in a Boston crab, but Oka breaks that up before dumping YOSHI-HASHI with a spinebuster.
Oka even dumps Ishii with a Fireman’s carry slam as the Young Lions got a lot more offence in than anyone expected, squashing YOSHI-HASHI in the corner before Oka threw him into a Kitamura spear for another two-count. Eventually YOSHI-HASHI snapped back in with a left-arm lariat before trapping Kitamura in a Butterfly lock, and just like that the youngster tapped. This was all sorts of fun – and shockingly even after you got past the initial Ishii barrage. Oka and Kitamura are destined for big things… just you watch! ***¼
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi) vs. Yuji Nagata & Hirai Kawato
Hiromu’s still mourning Daryl, cradling an invisible version that Naito even fist-bumped. Such strange people…
Kawato sprinted to the ring and for once restrained himself from going after the Ingobernables, as we instead opened with Hiromu and Nagata… which of course was just a cover for a cheapshot. Nagata tagged in Kawato early as the pair peppered Takahashi with kicks, only for the youngster to quickly get isolated in the wrong corner.
It’s a rather methodical pace from the Ingobernables, as Hiromu wore down Kawato with almost an Arabian clutch as they seemed somewhat lackadaisical about the challenge in front of them. A dropkick finally gets Kawato some separation as he tagged in Nagata, who went to town on Naito with kicks to the chest before an Exploder suplex took him down for a near-fall.
Naito comes back with the slingshot dropkick into the corner, then an enziguiri, before he’s met with an overhead belly-to-belly from Nagata… who then answered Kawato’s pleas and tagged back in. Kawato drops Takahashi with a ‘rana off the ropes as the plucky kid fired up, following with a springboard missile dropkick for a near-fall, only to get cracked with a clothesline as Takahashi tried to beat him with a Boston crab.
That didn’t work out as Nagata quickly came in to break it up, but Kawato’s instantly double-teamed some more, as Takahashi tried for the Boston crab yet again, eventually forcing the submission. That’s a nice little touch to keep Kawato in his place – beating him with the Standard Issue Submission – as Takahashi continues to find himself after the tragedy of the weekend. ***
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahshi & Chase Owens) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & El Desperado)
Yeah, we had a jump start as Sabre instantly took Fale to the outside, looking to wrench his arm out of its socket. Instead, Fale countered by throwing Zack into the guard rails as we saw someone fly out of camera shot… who turned out to be Yujiro Takahashi going after Taichi.
In the ring, Desperado simply stood on Owens’ head as the pair exchanged dirty tactics, before Chase pulled Despy into a splits. A death valley driver sees Chase stay on top as Sabre and Fale come in… but Zack’s mounted guillotine is easily shrugged off as he tried to trap the monster Tongan in an Octopus hold as he’s forced to use Fale as a climbing frame.
Zack gets off a PK for a near-fall as Fale powered out, before Yujiro came in to knock down Sabre with a basement dropkick. An overhead kick gets Sabre back in, along with a leg sweep, as Taichi had his turn… and yeah, against Fale he wasn’t doing anything. Once he realised what he was doing, Taichi tried to leave, but ended up needing Despy to help out as Fale roared back into life.
That led to a Bullet Club comeback with a slingshot Codebreaker to Taichi, before Yujiro finished him off with the Pimp Juice DDT for the win. Extraordinarily brief, but I’m not complaining that I barely saw Taichi! **½
Hirooki Goto & Jado vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay
It’s a rather measured opening as Jado took his time against Finlay, throwing some chops to pop the crowd, before Finlay’s European uppercut rocked Jado so much that he Flair flopped.
That seemed to be the cue for Goto to rush the ring and take Tanahashi outside, into the guard railings and ring post as Jado got back to his feet for some old school “running the rope into the eyes”. It’s like I’m watching that NBC “Pro Wrestling’s Greatest Secrets” special here… Finlay gets dumped with a double shoulder block as the CHAOS pair throw in some stomps, as Goto sinks in a single-leg crab for effect. Eventually Finlay gets the rope, then gets in a dropkick as Tanahashi comes in to get some payback for that brief skirmish outside… dropping Goto with a leaping forearm, then heading up to the middle rope for a flipping senton.
Goto tries a back suplex, but Tanahashi elbows free as he pulled off a Dragon screw instead, before scoring with a swinging neckbreaker to Jado. In the end, Jado ate the fall via a Stunner as Finlay picked up the win. **¾
G1 Climax, Block B: Michael Elgin vs. Satoshi Kojima
One of these guys will get their first points tonight, after losing both of their opening block matches.
We had our big lads’ opening, with both men running into each other with shoulder tackles that Kojima eventually won out on, allowing him to work up to a neckbreaker as the veteran took an early lead. Elgin used his size to make a comeback though, laying into Kojima with a vicious forearm, before missing a charge into the corner that left him open for those machine-gun chops.
An elbow off the top gets Kojima a near-fall, but Elgin hits a German suplex before mocking those very chops. That’s not wise… not does it endear him to the Fukushima crowd. Kojima comes back with a DDT on the apron though, only to take an apron powerbomb as the high-impact stuff continued, leaving Kojima so dozy that he ran into the apron as he tried to get in! When he did beat the count, Elgin met him with a Falcon arrow for a two-count, before Kojima lariated away a clothesline, then delivered one of his own. A brainbuster follows for a near-fall for Kojima, only for Elgin to get even closer with a big lariat, before landing an enziguiri.
Kojima keeps the momentum swinging back and forth with a Koji Cutter though, before following up with an awkward clothesline as Elgin leapt off the top rope, again collecting a near-fall. Despite snapping back with a pop-up powerbomb and a buckle bomb, Elgin’s dropped with another lariat, before countering a superplex with a sunset bomb, as a spinning sit-out powerbomb earned Big Mike the big win. This had some real good moments, but it seems that the lover of bread is going to be mirroring Nagata’s block A run this year. Sad. ***½
G1 Climax, Block B: EVIL vs. Tama Tonga
After a spot of shoving, the pair convinced themselves to start the match outside… or should I say, start the fight? EVIL rakes the eyes early before he was posted, and the pair end up deep in the crowd as some got a closer view before EVIL got thrown into some roller shutters at the back of the arena.
One of those portable queue barriers gets thrown onto EVIL as Tama takes shots at just about anyone that moves, before heading back to the ring with the referee in tow as he tried to get a count-out victory. When he spotted EVIL rising, Tama ran out to knock him down… which for some reason didn’t restart the count… but not to matter, as EVIL managed to drag himself back into the ring.
EVIL finally made a comeback, clotheslining Tama outside again as he then took the Bullet Club’s “Bad Boy” into the guard rail ahead of the “hit a chair off of the head” spot. Back inside, a suplex gets EVIL a near-fall, before he uses the referee to inadvertently help with a superkick. Tama comes back with an Alabama Slam out of the corner for a two-count though, only for EVIL to out-fox Tama’s rope running and get off a clothesline. The fireman’s carry sit-out spinebuster gets another two-count for EVIL, who then looked for the Everything is EVIL STO.. which is blocked and met with the Vereno leaping DDT as Tama almost snatched the points.
EVIL tried to counter a Gun Stun into an STO as the pair teased finishers… but in the end, Everything Is EVIL outlasted both the Gun Stun and a Tonga Twist as the Ingobernables member picked up the win. An entertaining, if not outstanding match – one that would be well worth a rewatch! ***½
G1 Climax, Block B: Minoru Suzuki vs. Juice Robinson
Pray for Juice! He came to the ring noticeably limping… so you can guess what Suzuki’s going to go for. Yep, a straight kick to the back of the knee as the match instantly spilled to the floor, where el Desperado tried to get involved, only for that to backfire as Juice got a foothold in the match.
Back in the ring, Juice took down Suzuki with a shoulder block before hitting a back senton, as he was then caught with a knee-bar in the ropes by the sadistic Suzuki. They go back into the crowd, where Suzuki throws part of a crowd barrier at Juice’s knee, before going back to the ring with the ref… as Despy took some more shots using a fan’s umbrella?!
Still, Juice is able to make his way back to the ring and beat the count, only to get sent back outside as Suzuki continued to wear over the knee, trapping it in the guard railings and throwing a chair at it. The beatdown continued in the ring as Suzuki peppers Juice with kicks, but those are quickly returned as the pair entered a chop battle, before Juice somehow got off a spinebuster!
Suzuki quickly comes back by tripping Juice and grabbing another knee-bar though, one that Juice fought through in a bid to survive, before he was dragged into the middle of the ring and scissored. Despite that, Robinson’s able to claw his way to the ropes for a break, before landing a lariat to take down Suzuki for a surprising near-fall.
Juice tries for Pulp Friction, but Suzuki countered into a rear naked choke before slapping him silly… that earns Suzuki a right hand, which he eagerly returned the favour, before pulling Juice into a delayed Gotch piledriver that earned him the win. A heck of a showing from Juice, who sold the knee throughout, and put up more of a fight against Suzuki than anyone expected. Of course, Suzuki kept up afterwards and instead went for the Young Lions at ringside, decking Kawato with a right hand before almost snapping at Despy! ***¾
G1 Climax, Block B: Kenny Omega vs. Toru Yano
Some technical issues delayed this match as Yano tried to give Omega a peace offering… his latest DVD! Omega teased throwing it into the crowd, before Yano told him to just open it… it was full of powder that Yano pushed into his eyes!
The gag led to Yano rolling him up for a near-fall, before a blinded Omega nearly killed the ref with a One Winged Angel. Yano takes advantage with a low blow and a schoolboy for a near-fall before he removes all of the turnbuckle pads… and we’ve now reached peak peak Yano!
Yano tries to whip Omega into the exposed corners, but there’s a whole load of reversals before Omega finally took the exposed buckle. They do the double hair-pull tease, this time breaking before going back to hair pulling as Red Shoes is forced to intervene! This is total comedy, and I’m completely fine with this.
They do the Benny Hill chase around the ring as Milano Collection AT on commentary mentions “pro wrestling” (this sure is!). In the meantime, Yano gets a bucket from under the ring and whacks it on Kenny’s head, before pulling out some tape as he tied up his legs. I now have flashbacks to the many times he’s done that before, but this time Kenny’s able to stop Yano… and then ties up HIS legs too!
This now becomes a contest of two men with tied up legs as they hop around the ring into right hands, before Jim Cornette’s worst nightmare came to life as they hopped across the ring en route to a double stomp to Yano! Of course, with tied up legs, the One Winged Angel’s out of the question, but Kenny can still get off a snap dragon suplex!
Finally, Chase Owens comes out with some scissors to help free up Kenny, but Yano rakes the eyes and gets the scissors… only to eat a V-trigger for a near-fall that was broken up by a shock Yano roll-up! A baseball slide takes Yano back to the floor, before another dropkick kept him there… and that’s a count-out win for Kenny. ALL. THE. STARS! A hell of a fun match, and I’d like to see them do this stunt again. Just with Omega/Yano though… not with anyone else! ***
Yano had trouble getting to the back… as he ended up hopping and log rolling instead. Was there only one pair of scissors in the entire building?!
G1 Climax, Block B: SANADA vs. Kazuchika Okada
The stream struggles again ahead of the main event, and the stream returns just in time for the opening bell. Sorry, no Rainmaker entrance for us this time!
SANADA focuses on Okada’s arm early, but the favour’s returned before Okada lifts SANADA up top… and avoids a leap down as SANADA grabbed his knee in agony. It was a ruse though, as he rose from the dead and knocked Okada to the outside for a plancha as soon as the champ’s back was turned.
Outside, SANADA throws Okada into the guard rails, before taking over inside with a snap suplex that earned him a near-fall. A rear chinlock keeps Okada down, but the champ rebounds with a neckbreaker before flying into SANADA with a series of right hands and elbows. Okada keeps up the pressure with a diving European uppercut that gets him a near-fall, before they head back outside where SANADA’s sent into the crowd for that giant crossbody!
After returning to the ring, Okada’s forced to resist a Paradise Lock, but SANADA gets it in the end, only to get caught with a flapjack as the momentum continued to swing. Okada impressively catches a springboard and plucks SANADA off the top into a neckbreaker slam, before heading up top himself for the elbow drop and… Rainmaker!
SANADA counters a Rainmaker and eventually followed up with a springboard missile dropkick, before hitting a back suplex for a near-fall. A Tiger suplex is attempted next, but Okada resists and ends up falling into a Skull End after SANADA moonsaulted out of the corner, before frantically reaching for the ropes.
The pressure’s maintained when SANADA hits the double leapfrog into a dropkick, then a TKO before missing another moonsault off the top. Okada tries to hit a tombstone, but SANADA catches him with a Skull End on the top rope before Okada used a handful of hair to pull him into that tombstone after all. From there, Okada raced ahead with his signature dropkick, before pulling SANADA into a Rainmaker… but it’s ducked as they counter each other’s counters, ending with a SANADA tombstone!
After the tombstone, SANADA quickly leaps into a Skull End as Okada’s forced to cling on, eventually rolling into the ropes to force a break. From there, SANADA hits another moonsault before going back to the Skull End, but Okada flips back out of it and nails a Rainmaker as both men collapsed to the mat. Okada gets up first again, but a battle of Rainmakers ends when Okada countered a Destino with a German suplex, then finally a Rainmaker from Okada as he kept his 100% record intact! A hell of a main event – easily the finest match on the show – as these should be! Back-and-forth all the way, and it says a lot that someone like SANADA, who’s not been on the greatest of runs, can still convince you that he might just have stolen a win! ****¼
This was one of those shows where not much stood out – yet there’ll be moments buried away here that’ll stick in the mind. Yano/Omega, come to think of it… and it’s not just coincidence that Omega and Okada are the only ones with 100% records after three rounds. Spoiler alert: they’ll remain neck and neck until the final day…
G1 Climax 27 Standings
Block A (after three matches):
Bad Luck Fale, Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr., Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-1; 4pts)
Togi Makabe, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI (1-2; 2pts)
Yuji Nagata (0-3; 0pts)
Block B (after three matches):
Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada (3-0; 6pts)
EVIL, Minoru Suzuki (2-1; 4pts)
Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson, SANADA, Tama Tonga, Toru Yano (1-2; 2pts)
Satoshi Kojima (0-3; 0pts)