Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day four! Today’s show was from the Takamatsu City Gymnasium in, erm, Takamatsu, wherever that is! We’re back on the hardcam again!
Just to shake things up, the Bullet Club – in the shape of Doc Gallows, Tama Tonga & Cody Hall – came out for the opener, against Captain New Japan, Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV.
Liger & the Captain wore capes, while Tiger Mask had a swank ring jacket. This must have angered the more plainly-dressed Bullet Club, because they attacked before the bell. The crowd booed, heartily. Talking of booing, the reason Hiroshi Tanahashi was booed yesterday against Hiroyoshi Tenzan was because they were in Tenzan’s home town. FACTS.
This is a bit of a mismatch – three of the Bullet Club’s four biggest members against two light heavyweights and a shitarse. And an impotent referee doesn’t help things – when will there be a wrestling referee worthy of the name?
The heels beat on Tiger Mask for an age until he finally made the hot tag to Liger, who is really old and really over. He got double-teamed, too, but made a tag out to the Captain, who got MASSIVE cheers. Takamatsu is weird. The heels triple-teamed him and Gallows got a nearfall, which the crowd popped big for. Then the Captain rolled Gallows, which they popped even bigger for.
Sadly for the fans, Gallows hit a sitout chokeslam and got the pin. A total nothing match which ruins the run of great openers. No young boys, see?
There was one in the second match, however, when David Finlay teamed up with Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Mascara Dorada to take on the Chaos team of Gedo, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI. Poor Gedo.
Yano threw water over Tenzan before the match started. Careful, might ruin that hair! Yano then did comedy, which this fucking crowd lapped up, and Tenzan did Mongolian chops. Total house show stuff.
Mascara Dorada, who was wearing a SILVER mask, got a big cheer for his lucha, and Gedo played a good base for him. The lucha influence rubbed off, because they went into a rudo breakdown, with the heels beating the babyfaces all around the ring. Yano took the opportunity to take off the turnbuckle pad. LIKE ALWAYS.
YOSHI-HASHI & Yano took over on Mascara Dorada but he got a hope dropkick and made the tag out to Tenzan. Yano found himself in with the guy he’d pissed off and got, yes, Mongolian chopped for his troubles.
Finlay came in and ran wild on YOSHI-HASHI, hitting some nice uppercuts and getting a nearfall with a rolling fireman’s carry slam, of all things. YOSHI-HASHI hit back with a nearfall from a neckbreaker but then got rolled up for another nearfall. This nearfall sequence has zero excitement. HASHI got the win with a top rope senton to end a boring match.
After the match, YOSHI-HASHI extended his stick, which is the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen him do, and then Tenzan ran Chaos out of the ring. I think Tenzan versus Yano might on tomorrow’s show. I weep for myself.
But at least I get more young boy action (stop it) next, with Jay White teaming with Kota Ibushi against the Bullet Club duo of AJ Styles and – FFS! – Bad Lucking Fale.
White wanted to start out against Styles but Ibushi pulled rank. Styles and Ibushi had a really good match at Wrestle Kingdom 9, so you never know… Yeah, I know Fale is in this.
They did a fast, almost lucha start, ending in a face-off. Ibushi then got the better of Styles and tagged White in. They kept the pace up but you just know it’s coming.
Yeah, Fale tagged in. The first thing he did was smash Ibushi off the apron. Then he threw White around a bit and tagged out. Hey, I can handle that.
But then he tagged right back in and I made a sad face. And then tagged back out again. STOP PLAYING WITH MY EMOTIONS! White managed to tag out, too, and brought Ibushi in. He ran wild on Styles, taking him down with speedy kicks, and getting a nearfall with a quebrada. He went up top but Fale pulled him down and Styles got a nearfall with a fireman’s carry driver.
Fale tagged in and charged at Ibushi. He missed and White came in and went crazy on Fale. Fale fought back and had White up for the Bad Luck Fall but Ibushi blocked it. Styles sent Ibushi to the outside and hit a slingshot plancha out onto him.
Back in the ring, White unloaded on Fale but got caught in a chokeslam cum lariat for the pin. Sad times again. It wasn’t a bad match, though. Definitely the best match I’ve EVER seen Fale in.
I can already call the next match as the match of the night because it’s Hiroshi Tanahashi, Katsuyori Shibata & Ryusuke Taguchi versus Tetsuya Naito, Togi Makabe & Yohei Komatsu. I mean, even though the G1 matches are Block B (and therefore not the shit of Block A), surely they can’t match that?
Naito came out first, looking like it was all too much bother for him. Heh heh. By contrast, Komatsu & Makabe almost sprinted to the ring. They’re not dicks. Sadly. Naito then spent the start of the match lounging on the apron. Tanahashi tried to make him get up and tag in but he was having none of it.
He did rouse himself up later, though, rushing in to break up a Tanahashi submission on Komatsu but then looked like it had ruined him. Tanahashi tagged out to Taguchi, who used his “funky weapon” all over Komatsu. It’s a learning curve for these young boys.
Shibata schooled Komatsu in the battle of the black pants, kicking Makabe off the apron in the process. Komatsu made the tag to Makabe, and he & Shibata went at it, no quarter.
Naito finally came in almost ten minutes in to the match, when Tanahashi had been knocked down by Makabe. He moved lazily between hits and acted like a right dick. I heart him.
Komatsu and Taguchi sped things up again, and Taguchi did a great Randy Orton on his way to a bum out of nowhere. Komatsu saw it coming and rolled it through for a nearfall. Taguchi took back over and, after a couple more nearfalls, got the win with the Dodon facebuster. Fun match.
After the interval, the G1 matches kicked off with Yujiro Takahashi, from The Bullet Club, against Tomohiro Ishii, from Chaos. Ah, the eternal battle (of the last few years, anyway). Takahashi came out with his stripper and she was, let’s say, of a lesser quality than his usual girls. She made up for that with her trashiness, though, banging her fanny on the ring mat as she slut-dropped and did the splits in the middle of the ring. Oh, Cody Hall was also out there, too. Thankfully he didn’t slut-drop.
Takahashi spent the first part of the match avoiding Ishii, sensibly so in my opinion, but he got caught on the outside and Ishii ran him into the barriers. Takahashi made it inside the ring and distracted the referee while Hall beat on Ishii outside.
Back in the ring, Takahashi stomped and beat Ishii down. Ishii made a brief comeback with a powerslam, but Takahashi soon regained the heat, and was acting like a massive dick. Of which, you should know by now, I approve heartily. Ishii didn’t, and fired up ad started no-selling Takahashi’s offense. Cody Hall got involved and Ishii had to knock him off the apron, but that was enough distraction to allow Takahashi back on top.
They went back and forth, and Ishii got a nearfall with a powerbomb. That would read so weirdly even twenty years ago. Takahashi whipped Ishii across the ring and Ishii almost hit the ref. He stopped short, the ref cowered, and this allowed Takahashi to low blow Ishii and roll him up for a nearfall. He got another with a Dominator, and both men went looking for their finishers, ending with them both down on the mat, spent.
The referee, who wasn’t having his best day, came into play again when Takahashi grabbed him to stop a German suplex. Ishii hit a massive headbutt to take Takahashi down, hit Sliding D for a nearfall, and then a brainbuster for the win. They ended up having a decent match – nothing outstanding but very much okay for its position on the card.
Next up was Michael Elgin versus Satoshi Kojima, which must have reminded Kojima of his time in MLW. Elgin overpowered Kojima to start out, but Kojima hit back with a Koji Cutter. Elgin came back with MORE STRENGTH and hit a stalling suplex for AGES, but Kojima outsmarted him. The evil foreign monster may be big & strong but he is DUMB.
So dumb that he fell victim to Kojima’s shitty tiny chops and the worst top -rope elbow drop in history, which hit Elgin in the abdomen and looked super ouchy. Elgin came back and got some nearfalls with some roaring elbows, and Kojima hit back with a DDT. Then they went back and forth with Elgin hitting meaty chops, Kojima hitting tiny chops, Elgin hitting meaty chops, Kojima hitting tiny chops, and Elgin NO-SELLING.
Elgin got a nearfall with a deadlift powerbomb that was pretty sweet, and then took Kojima up top for a superplex. Kojima fought out before he could hit it and went up top himself. Elgin hit a jumping kick to take him down which belied his size and muscle meat.
Elgin tried a powerbomb off the apron but Kojima fought it off and hit a knee, and then scored a nearfall with a brainbuster back in the ring. He threw the elbow pad away and called for the ELBOW but Elgin blocked it and hit a buckle bomb, and then took Kojima up top for a huge powerbomb. Kojima fought out and dropped down to the mat, and Elgin leapt off, straight into an elbow which gave Kojima the pinfall victory. The match didn’t flow as well as it could have but it was bad.
After his surprise win over Nakamura on day two, Karl Anderson said he was going to win the G1. That would be interesting, and more interesting than Hirooki Goto or the match these two will no doubt have here. It’s not that they’re bad, just boring. Anderson came out with Tama Tonga and Cody Hall who – shock of shocks – did NOT get involved.
They started out slow, and then took it outside. Goto used the barrier to put the ouch on Anderson, who fought back and hit a powerbomb on the apron. Goto almost got counted out, which would have been a novel finish.
Back in the ring, Anderson tied up Goto in the ropes, beat on him, and then kicked him out of the ring, Goto hitting the apron on the way down. Goto almost got counted out again, but made it back in and fired up for a brief comeback. Anderson regained his heat for a second but then Goto came back for a nearfall. Anderson got a nearfall of his own with a backbreaker, and then took Goto up top for a superplex. Goto fought out of it and hit a Sunset Bomb for a nearfall.
Anderson hit a desperation Stun Gun to halt Goto’s momentum, and they went into a forearm battel, which Goto won. Anderson fired up and called for the Stun Gun, but Goto shoved him off. They did a fast exchange of moves and holds and Goto looked to finish it but Anderson hit a Stun Gun OUTTA NOWHERE for the win. These two had a good professional wrestling match but not one that was particularly engaging.
Shinsuke Nakamura versus Yuji Nagata, though, had to be engaging, right? Nagata came out with NGT47 on his t-shirt – is that the year he was born? BECAUSE HE LOOKS OLD, YOU SEE.
They started off with holds and reversals, tit for tat matwork until Nakamura hit his VIBRATING LEG THINGY. Nagata came back with kicks and Nakamura blocked an Exploder. Things warmed up when Nakamura kicked Nagata off the apron to the floor, and then ran him into the barrier and kneelifted him over into the crowd. Nagata got back in on eighteen.
And then I saw it. Something that I cannot unsee. Nakamura’s stomach has a face. Just like Baron Corbin’s. Damn it.
Despite his stomach-face, Nakamura went on the wear down but Nagata came back with a kneelift, and hit an Exploder into the turnbuckles. He tried to earn the submission victory with a crossface but Nakamura made the ropes.
Nakamura then made his own comeback, throwing knees like Stereo Mike in 2004, and looked for the Bom A Ye, but Nagata hit an overhead suplex to counter. Nagata then locked on his armbar, and I presume he was doing the weird thing with his eyes but he was facing the wrong way for the hardcam to see. Nakamura made the ropes after FOREVER.
Nagata hit a German suplex but Nakamura landed on his feet, hit a dropkick, and both were down on the mat, fucked. Nakamura was up first but missed Bom A Ye and Nagata hit a Saito suplex for a nearfall. Nakamura then did hit Bom A Ye for a nearfall, and then hit a diving knee off the top rope, but Nagata popped right back up with a high kick. Nakamura then hit his own high kick for the win. This was decent enough but there wasn’t really the spark you’d hoped would be there.
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s IWGP champion Kazuchika Okada versus Tomoaki Honma! They made a tentative start and then went into a forearm battel, which Honma won, knocking Okada down. Weirdly, he didn’t go straight for the headbutt. Instead, he did two scoop slams, and then did the headbutt, which – of course – missed.
They took it outside and Okada threw Honma into the barriers and kicked him over into the crowd. He then hit a draping DDT and left Honma outside to take the count-out. Honma made it back on eighteen and I swear they’ll do it one day.
Okada was on top but missed a charge into the corner, which gave Honma control. Honma hit a deadlift suplex and the crowd were more into him than they were into anything, which still wasn’t much at all. He took Okada down with a bulldog and then HIT HIS HEADBUTT!!!
They went back and forth, and Okada put Honma in a whacky submission that started out like a Figure Four but didn’t end much like one. I presume he learned that in Mexico. Honma made the ropes and they went back and forth some more before they had an uppercut battel, which Okada won decisively.
Honma got some nearfalls, and called for the top rope headbutt to put Okada away, but Okada popped up and hit a dropkick to take the wind out of those sails. Then Okada got some nearfalls and went for the Tombstone piledriver, which Honma blocked. Instead, Okada hit another dropkick, a top rope elbow drop, and then called for the Rainmaker. Brilliantly, Honma hit a standing headbutt to block it.
Honma got a very nearfall with a shoulderbreaker and went back up top for the diving headbutt but Okada moved. They both lay there, spent. Okada then hit the Rainmaker for the win, to end a super finishing sequence. In the end, though, this was just a match with a good ending.
This was an Okay Show. Really nothing special at all, these early shows in provincial towns are a bit of a slog. Still, we’re only 21% into the tournament, so early days, eh?
Block B Standings: Anderson 2-0, Ishii 2-0, Okada 2-0, Kojima 1-1, Nakamura 1-1, Goto 1-1, Nagata 1-1, Elgin 0-2, Honma 0-2, Takahashi 0-2