The G1 continues on, as YOSHI-HASHI and Kazuchika Okada main event with the latest battle of out-of-sorts CHAOS members.
“Break the contradictions as you go”… yeah, it’s an easy line from the song, but today’s card isn’t THAT inspiring. We’re in an echoey Shizuoka for the latest round of block A action, with Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero once again on the English call.
Toa Henare & Shota Umino vs. Hirooki Goto & YOH
Goto’s got Tetsuya Naito tomorrow, and after an easy win over Toru Yano yesterday… he may well be taking it easy again today!
Henare and Goto get us going, with Toa throwing the first few shots before we go into the shoulder blocks. Plenty of clunking, but little movement until Henare leapt into his… and Henare enjoyed a little surge until he’s pulled off the top rope by Goto. In comes YOH to help pick Toa apart, and then try and get his free sushi with the obligatory CHAOS pose. A rear chinlock keeps Henare down as the New Zealander’s cornered, but he’s able to avoid SHO and make the tag out to Umino, who brings the forearms to SHO, knocking down the former junior tag champion. Another wonky dropkick from Umino gets a near-fall as Henare comes in for a spinebuster-like takedown ahead of a missile dropkick from Umino that connected for a two-count.
SHO cuts off Umino with a leaping knee off the ropes, before he’s caught with a snap inside cradle as Umino again tried to get the win with some flash pins. Instead, he’s met with a superkick and a Falcon arrow as SHO almost took home the win, before Shota’s turned over into a Liontamer-ish Boston crab… which he eventually has to tap from. There’s something to be said for SHO winning with a Lion Tamer – given the feud with Chris Jericho and Tetsuya Naito (the man he idolised as a Young Lion)… this was decent for an opener, but decidedly slow-paced. **½
The acoustics inside Act city Hamamatsu are atrocious. LOTS of reverb for the ring announcing and music… Roppongi-gi 3KK anyone?
Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & TAKA Michinoku) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Before the match, Tanga Loa takes the mic and mocks TAKA Michinoku’s entrance stuff, while reminding me… I prefer cheesy Doritos. But not as cheesy as their interference stuff that’s gotten no results. It leads to a jump start by TAKA, who finds out that his shoulder tackles are ineffective as he’s quickly isolated in the Guerrillas’ corner.
There’s boot choking and a running powerslam as TAKA’s on his lonesome, helpless against a poke to the eye… but he is able to avoid a charging Tama in the corner before tagging out to Sabre. Zack’s all about those European uppercuts, before he pulls down Tama from the air, as a floating Northern Lights suplex led to an armbar attempt. That doesn’t quite get the result, so Sabre goes to an Octopus hold, which Tama escaped by way of a Samoan drop as my feet stutters a little here. Sabre has to make a save when TAKA’s powerbombed, but that just ends up with him getting choked outside by Tama, as TAKA tries to fight back with a leaping hook kick. In the end, TAKA tries for the Michinoku driver, with predictable results as Tanga blocks it and turns it into Apeshit for the win. Not much of a match, but at least this was relatively inoffensive. **
Toru Yano & Gedo vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
A loss for Juice Robinson tomorrow will see him out of the G1 – with Toru Yano his next for. That’d be humiliating. Even if Yano is a wrestling machine.
You ever noticed that Rocky Romero has a very Vince McMahon-like laugh? Just not as exaggerated… Anyway, from the off, Toru Yano goes to hug the turnbuckle pads as he offered Juice a free shot… before he looked to rake the eyes. Fair play! He stops himself and gets kicked in the gut as Juice looked to rip a page out of Yano’s book, including the Yano poses.
Some Dusty punches were stopped when Gedo grabbed Juice’s broken hand, and we’re well away from fair play as Yano removes a turnbuckle pad and whips Juice into the corner. Eventually Juice fights back and gets the tag to Finlay, who wipes out Gedo with uppercuts for a near-fall. Gedo counters a stunner with a backslide, before he goes for the Complete Shot and a Gedo clutch as Juice needs to break up the pin. Dusty punches are next for Yano and Gedo, but Gedo gets in a poke to the eye to stop Juice, before Finlay’s back in with a Stunner for the win. Another brief one, but at least this was entertaining and a breeze. I don’t exactly see Juice taking any points tomorrow though… **½
Kota Ibushi & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii & SHO
This is going to be such a killer match tomorrow… as for the warm-up tag… let’s see.
Those two lock up to start us off, and they’re quickly in the ropes as Ibushi nails a kick but sees Ibushi avoid pretty much everything else. A pair of tags follow as that’s all we’re getting for now, as SHO originally gets kicked in the gut before Yujiro bites his way out of a headlock. Yujiro keeps up with a Hot Shot in the ropes as Ibushi’s brought back in… who watches on in disbelief as his attempt to shove Ishii off the apron resulted in nought.
Ibushi and Yujiro are able to double-team though, getting a near-fall on SHO, who’s left in to take a lot of offence, including a nasty-sounding boot to the face from Yujiro. A chinbreaker follows, but SHO manages to sneak in a spear to give him a chance to tag out to Ishii… which he does as we get part two of the preview! A flurry of kicks from Ibushi take down Ishii, as a standing moonsault nearly wins it, but Ishii’s back in with some slaps and rocking elbows, which earned him… a Pele kick!
A scoop slam’s good for a near-fall before both men tagged out… and Ibushi needs to return quickly to break up a cross armbreaker on Yujiro. SHO shrugs it off and keeps up o n the arm, before a leg sweep puts him down on the mat ahead of the Pimp Juice short DDT… but SHO escapes with a knee, only for Ibushi to cut him off with a missile dropkick, allowing Yujiro to get the win with the Pimp Juice. A well-worked tag match, with just about enough exchanges to hype up tomorrow’s match, as well as a post-match staredown as Ibushi had a laser-focus on Ishii on the way to the back. **¾
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) vs. Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Chase Owens)
After winning in the main event last night, SANADA’s got Kenny Omega tomorrow. From the frying pan and into the fire, eh?
We start with Omega and SANADA, switching waistlocks and the like as the feeling-out process began in earnest. SANADA trips Kenny as he’s looking for Paradise Locks, but Chase Owens breaks it up and begins some double-teaming… which instantly backfired by way of a double dropkick as Naito’s tagged in. Owens makes another save as Naito went for his slingshot dropkick, as more double-teaming sees Kenny and Chase hit a double-team elbow drop onto Naito.
A series of wishbone leg splitters puts Naito in some more pain, before SANADA’s attempt to save led to a good old-fashioned game of row row row your boat. Naito tries to fight back, eventually taking down Omega with a snap ‘rana before bringing SANADA back in… as a low dropkick wiped out Omega. Another crack at the Paradise Lock is saved by Chase, who gets tied up for good measure, and left to fester as Omega was taken out with the double leapfrog dropkick.
Eventually a diving dropkick from SANADA frees Chase, but Kenny returns with a ‘rana of his own. Tags out bring in Naito and Owens, with Naito edging ahead, but some double-teaming saw Naito dumped into Owens’ knee courtesy of a Kotaro Krusher for a near-fall. SANADA and Omega head outside while Naito has to fight out of a package piledriver, and with Omega held back, he can only watch as Naito made light work of Chase, finishing him off with Destino. Easily the best of the undercard matches, if only for Kevin Kelly’s Latin American football-like call for the finish. ***
Post-match sees SANADA again leave Naito behind in the ring, as their problems continued to build…
G1 Climax, Block A: Minoru Suzuki vs. Michael Elgin
Go and watch Suzuki’s post-match comments from night eight. Kevin Kelly perhaps left out a little bit of them, including a rather choice name for “Big Mike”…
We start with Elgin taking Suzuki into the ropes, only to be met with a cheapshot… which he replied to in kind with chops before fighting out of a hanging armbar as the match was taken to the outside. Elbows from Elgin send Suzuki around the ringside area, before Minoru used the referee as a human shield and for distraction tactics as he grabs a chair from the crowd. Of course, it’s used on Elgin’s back before Suzuki wrapped the Canadian’s arm around the turnbuckle irons. They go deeper into the crowd, but Suzuki doesn’t want to take the count-out as he just wants to fight… and work some more on Elgin’s arm.
Elgin quickly returns with chops, but Suzuki restores the focus, kicking Elgin’s arm in the guard railings. They return to the ring as Elgin hits an enziguiri, but he can’t follow up with a suplex… so instead has to make do with a scoop slam. He’s able to hit a Falcon arrow, but there’s a delay in making the cover as Elgin can only get a near-fall, and Suzuki mounts a bit of a comeback, booting Elgin in the corner ahead of a PK. A keylock’s next as Suzuki works on Elgin’s other arm, following in with a cross armbreaker as Elgin had to reach for the ropes. Elgin throws a chop, but Suzuki doesn’t even dignify it with a response, as he sparked an elbow battle, knocking Elgin loopy as we passed the ten minute mark. There’s one huge elbow from Elgin in reply, before a knee to the gut and a roll-up nearly put Suzuki away… but Minoru’s right back in the arm, holding onto it through a German suplex as he wrenched away.
Elgin powerbombs himself free, then lands a lariat for a near-fall as a buckle bomb looked to put Suzuki away… following in with an Elgin bomb, only for Suzuki to escape! A rear naked choke has to be countered by Elgin, who comes in with a superkick before a Tiger Bomb drew a near-fall…There’s a big dropkick in the ropes from Suzuki as he tried to turn things back around, and he has to settle for a guillotine as Elgin countered another rear naked choke. Another counter to the guillotine’s countered though, and Suzuki’s swiftly in with a rear naked choke then a piledriver as he lived up to his word! This was really good stuff, with Suzuki again wearing down a body part, and this time came up with the win! Elgin’s a hair shorter, and leaves with the L as Suzuki climbs a little higher up the board. ***½
G1 Climax, Block A: Hangman Page vs. EVIL
I can think of better birthday presents to give Page…
EVIL takes Page into the rope and slaps him in the chest a few times, before catching a boot… only to get caught with an early Rite of Passage attempt as Page ends up powdering to the outside. When he returns to the ring, EVIL clamps on a headlock, before we broke into shoulder tackles, with Page again getting sent to the outside.
On the outside, EVIL grinds Page’s face in the guard rails, before he has a chair kicked into him – throwing EVIL a taste of his own medicine there. Back in the ring, there’s a pumphandle fallaway slam that Page bridges for a near-fall, before a chop has EVIL reeling. An attempted comeback from EVIL led to him quickly whiffing on a back senton, before a bell clapper left EVIL again on the back foot.
EVIL has to wriggle out of a Fireman’s carry as he followed in with a thrust kick to the gut, and we’re back outside as Page gets some more birthday presents… trips into the barricades! There’s another gift too, in the form of some chairs as it’s time for some impromptu baseball with Page’s head having a chair knocked off it as EVIL went for the home run. Page beats the count out, but can’t avoid a Bronco buster in the corner before he responds with a dropkick and a German suplex for a near-fall. A huge moonsault from the top rope to the floor’s next as he only clipped EVIL on the way down. Back inside, Page misses another moonsault, but scores with a standing shooting star for a near-fall as EVIL looked to fight back with a back superplex… flipping Page inside out on the landing!
EVIL barely gets a cover and a near-fall out of it, before Darkness Falls draws a near-fall as the pair looked to be bloodied and worn. Page manages to elbow out of Everything is EVIL, throwing in a superkick for good measure, before both men found their second winds… with Page almost taking the win with a Buckshot lariat. Instead, EVIL kicks out and keeps on going before taking home the win with Everything is EVIL. This picked up greatly in the finishing straight, but this match was missing a little something for me… fine, but it didn’t grab me one bit. ***¼
G1 Climax, Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs. Jay White
Yeah, Fale has back-up. We all think we know what’s coming…
White rolls out of the ring before the bell, so he can attack Tanga Loa… and that’s a hell of a tactic as White’s actually LAUGHING about it. With Tanga thrown into the guard railings, Fale gives chase and gets stomped on as he returned to the ring, where White tries to chop him. It registered, just about, before Fale blocks an Irish whip and sent him head-first into the corner with the reversal.
Frustrated, Fale heads out and grabs a chair… and yeah, it’s a con as Tanga Loa’s back to attack White on the floor. White turns it around as he continued his assault on English commentary teams, charging Fale into the guard railings and wiping out Kevin Kelly (and the audio), so we’ve got raw crowd noise as White tries to Brookes Fale in the crowd… with a little help from all of the Young Lions, who get thrown and slammed into Fale!
— Italo Santana 🇧🇷 (@BulletClubItal) July 27, 2018
Fale’s back to his feet and gives out the predictable response after a rather questionable insult from Tanga Loa, but the Switchblade’s able to stagger back into the ring… and into some stomps as Fale squashes him. Clubbering lariats are next as Fale – and the rest of the crowd no doubt – were really feeling the heat, but White’s able to get back in with some chops as Fale was on his knees.
A low dropkick sets up White for a single leg crab, but Fale pulls himself onto the apron as he’s met with a hotshot and some uppercuts while he was between the ropes. White drags him back into the ring for a Jado-like draping DDT for a near-fall. Fale mounts a comeback with a storming shoulder tackle, then an avalanche clothesline in the corner and a big splash for a near-fall. White still plays keepaway though, and hauls up Fale for a back suplex! Good grief, I was not expecting that, as Fale counters out of the Bladerunner… and here’s the ref bump as he backs into the corner, squashing Red Shoes in the process. Here’s Tanga Loa to mug White, catching him with a back suplex of his own before he screams for Tama Tonga… who’s out with a chair.
Except Tama pauses and instead puts the chair down for a Gun Stun… it’s avoided as White uses the chair instead to clear the ring, before a low blow took down Fale! Tama’s back in with a Gun Stun afterall as YOH just watched on from commentary… one Bad Luck Fall later, and we have a three-count as Red Shoes clearly saw none of it, and decided not to risk his life yet again. A loss for Jay White means he is in trouble despite his early momentum, and we’re all shocked as he managed to get a good match out of this scenario. ***¼
Knocked of the air due to switchblade Jay White…. crew working on getting us back on! pic.twitter.com/x12PJUILId
— Rocky Romero🇵🇷 (@azucarRoc) July 27, 2018
G1 Climax, Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
It looks like Jay White really did kill the commentary as Kevin and Rocky still aren’t back.
Tanahashi gets us going as he looked to grab the arm of Makabe, before he instead tripped him as Makabe looked for – and got – a hammerlock. Commentary finally returns as Makabe had Tanahashi on the mat, but they don’t mask Makabe’s frustration as Tanahashi fought free. Still, Makabe keeps the upper hand, and worked his way into a leg grapevine as Makabe was perhaps borrowing Toru Yano’s “wrestling master” tag here.
After another grapevine, Makabe takes Tanahashi into the corner, but the Ace’s fightback starts there as a springboard crossbody out of the corner takes the Unchained Gorilla down. A flying forearm followed, as did a slam and a flip senton out of the middle rope, before his attempt to do the mounted punches just angered Makabe. Makabe charges Tanahashi into the corner and a lariat, before some mounted punches of his own rocked the Ace, ahead of a Northern Lights suplex for a near-fall. A King Kong Lariat bulldozes Tanahashi to the mat, but he’s able to respond with a Dragon screw… only to get caught in a powerslam as order was restored.
Once both men returned to their feet, they exchanged elbow strikes, before another lariat from Makabe took both men back to the mat. He’s back up to powerbomb Tanahashi, folding him for a near-fall as Makabe was building up momentum, taking Tanahashi up top for a spider German suplex attempt. Except Tanahashi clung on and looked to elbow himself free… but Makabe sat back up and instead hits a spider belly-to-belly!
A King Kong Kneedrop off the top misses though, as Tanahashi began his comeback, landing a Slingblade for a one-count! Tanahashi heads up top next, with a crossbody High Fly Flow, then the frog splash, and that’s all folks! This was a solid, easy match for these two, even if it was not an earth-shattering outing… and the win puts Hiroshi Tanahashi at the top of the A block alongside EVIL as Tanahashi’s gotten some serious momentum after his opening loss. ***
G1 Climax, Block A: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kazuchika Okada
Well, this was always going to be a huge test for YOSHI-HASHI – and that was while Okada was in his “falling down” phase. YOSHI already has points, and I don’t think many people are expecting him to cause an upset tonight.
Balloon Man Okada’s here, and look how happy YOH is!
We start with YOSHI-HASHI showing aggression, taking Okada to the outside and into the guard rails… but the plan quickly backfires as Okada sent him into the railings, before booting him into the crowd. Okada’s angry now as he Brookes’ YOSHI, then throws chairs at him, perhaps annoyed because someone burst a balloon?
Okada returned to the ring as YOSHI nursed his always-taped shoulder… before Okada rushed back out to hit a draping DDT off the railings. It’s another count-out tease as YOSHI rolls in at the last possible second, somehow wiping out commentary yet again briefly. Back in the ring, Okada focuses on YOSHI’s arm, before he whiffs on a back elbow into the corner as YOSHI tried to make a comeback.
A Bunker Buster attempt’s blocked as Okada goes for a suplex, but instead YOSHI gets his move off as Okada’s neck looked to be causing him some issues. YOSHI keeps up the momentum with the Head Hunter off the ropes, before he looked to chop Okada off the apron, instead dragging him in for the dropkick in the ropes. Okada’s up at two, and responds with a flapjack as he tried to mount a comeback, only for him to be forced to ‘rana his way free as YOSHI countered a neckbreaker slam.
Okada rushes in with a shotgun dropkick to cut-off YOSHI though, then a missile dropkick, before a sit-out neckbreaker slam really spiked YOSHI. We’re back to the old-school falling Rainmaker in a throwback to Okada’s early days with the move!
— Italo Santana 🇧🇷 (@BulletClubItal) July 27, 2018
Since it doesn’t get the win he goes for a tombstone, which YOSHI rolled out of for a near-fall before turning the tables with a lariat to counter a Rainmaker! A flipping powerbomb’s good for a near-fall, before YOSHI misses with a senton bomb, as Okada returned fire with more dropkicks. Another Okada Rainmaker’s countered as YOSHI rolls into a butterfly lock, rolling Okada into the middle of the ring as he struggled to keep the hold on.
— Italo Santana 🇧🇷 (@BulletClubItal) July 27, 2018
Okada tries to counter, but he’s met with a dropkick from YOSHI, who’s still rolling his way into butterfly locks as you got the sense that the crowd perhaps weren’t buying, nor expecting, an upset, no matter how much YOSHI was wrenching on the hold. There’s tap-out teases from Okada as he struggled to get to the ropes, eventually reaching them as the break was called for. YOSHI keeps up the pace by kicking Okada in the back a few times, but it just seems to rile up the former champion as he grabbed him by the throat and throws a few slaps. He gets instant receipts as this turned into a brief slugfest, before a Western Lariat decks Okada for a near-fall. Another crack at the Bunker Buster’s avoided as Okada just gets slapped, then superkicked… and could we have the upset?!
A Fisherman Buster drops Okada for a near-fall as the crowd were finally believing, but Okada elbowed out of Karma and spun himself into a back cracker. Another crack at Karma’s countered into a tombstone, then a discus Rainmaker as Okada was throwing his big guns. One more Rainmaker puts YOSHI-HASHI down, and after the almightiest of scares, Okada gets the win! Not a shock, but this was the best match on the card, with Okada still stuttering as he limped over the proverbial finish line. Okada’s right behind EVIL and Tanahashi in the placings, but with tie-breakers coming into play, Okada really needs to get back to his best! ***¾
We’re past the halfway mark now in the tour, and while today’s G1 matches weren’t groundbreaking, they were largely nice, easy watches that kept the tournament rolling. The latest stretch of the G1 comes to an end tomorrow in Aichi with B block matches featuring Kenny Omega vs. SANADA in the main event, and a tasty looking outing between Tomohiro Ishii and Kota Ibushi.
EVIL, Hiroshi Tanahashi (4-1; 8pts)
Kazuchika Okada, Minoru Suzuki, Jay White (3-2; 6pts)
Michael Elgin, Bad Luck Fale, Togi Makabe (2-3; 4pts)
YOSHI-HASHI, Hangman Page (1-4; 2pts)
Kenny Omega (4-0; 8pts)
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA (3-1; 6pts)
Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii, Zack Sabre Jr. (2-2; 4pts)
Tama Tonga, Toru Yano (1-3; 2pts)
Juice Robinson (0-4; 0pts)