Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day ten! They’ve made it to the Sendai Sun Plaza Hall in Miyagi, where that Mr Miyagi fella came from, probably.
The opening match was a rare non-G1 singles match, between David Finlay and Ryusuke Taguchi. They did matwork early doors, with Finlay having to use a rope escape, before standing up for holds and reversals. Simple stuff, effectively done.
Finlay took Taguchi down with a dropkick and then hit some bums, much to the delight of the crowd, if not the bum-meister general. Taguchi came back with some bums of his own and professional wrestling is a very strange world.
Taguchi began wearing down Finlay’s arms and legs, using his Funky Weapon, and rubbed his bum in Finlay’s face. He did his Randy Orton-apeing deal but Finlay blocked the final bum with an uppercut.
Finlay took over, and scored a nearfall with a Kamikaze roll, and another with a sweet diving uppercut. He locked on a version of a Stretch Muffler, which Taguchi reversed into an ankle lock, and Finlay had to make the ropes.
They traded blows and Finlay got a nearfall with a nice roll-through, but found himself locked in an ankle lock for the submission defeat. Decent opener.
Finlay’s fellow Young Boy, Shohei Komatsu was out in the second bout, teaming with Katsuyori Shibata against the Chaos team of Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI. Shibata is a natural to team with a Young Bou because he still dresses like one.
Komatsu tried to start out for his team but Shibata wanted that job, and the inevitability of dealing with Yano’s shit. Thankfully for Shibata, Yano quickly tagged out. Shibata controlled YOSHI-HASHI on the mat and kicked Yano off the apron. He returned to YOSHI-HASHI and locked on a Figure Four leglock. YOSHI-HASHI made the ropes.
Shibata tagged out to Komatsu, who took it to YOSHI-HASHI with forearms and a dropkick. YOSHIHASHI-HASHI took over and kicked Komatsu outside, running h into the barriers. Meanwhile, Yano removed a turnbuckle pad.
Back in the ring, Yano tagged in and ran Komatsu into the bare turnbuckle. Yano really is an odd looking man. Chaos made some quick tags to keep the heat on Komatsu, even through the youngster fighting back with some chops. Shibata took issue with their double-teaming and came in to even up the odds, and ended up taking them both out on his own.
Komatsu recovered and hit a low dropkick on YOSHI-HASHI in the corner, then a cannonball and a German suplex for a nearfall. He locked on the Boston Crab, one of his specialities, but YOSHI-HASHI escaped. They went back and forth some more and YOSHI-HASHI hit a senton for a flat win. A nothing match in every way.
Two tournament stand-outs were out next, with Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi on opposite sides of a tag-team contest. Naito teamed with IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA, while Ibushi hooked up with Mascara Dorada.
Ibushi & Dorada came out first, and then KUSHIDA appeared to Naito’s entrance music. Then Naito sauntered down to the ring, all apathetic cool. Dick. Ibushi wanted Naito to start and surprisingly got him, and Naito even took off his t-shirt. They circled each other and Naito sidestepped a lock-up. He did it again and then got lured into a brawl. When the red tried to break it up, Naito pushed him over. Naito then left the ring and stood out by the entrance.
KUSHIDA and Mascara Dorada came in and went all lucha. Dorada went to dive out onto KUSHIDA but Naito tripped him and dragged him outside, where he beat on him a little bit before throwing him back in the ring. KUSHIDA wound Dorada up for the armwringer spot and went to tag out to Naito so he could do one, too, but Naito wasn’t interested. What a dick.
After some urging by KUSHIDA, Naito finally tagged back in, and got hit with a DDT, which allowed Ibushi to make the tag. Ibushi wanted Naito to fight and they had a mini battel, before Ibushi took him down with a dropkick and got a nearfall. Ibushi missed a dive off the top and Naito took him down with a low dropkick and then roughed up the referee.
Naito and Ibushi went back and forth, until Ibushi hit a Pele kick and they both tagged out. Dorada hit a deep armdrag off the top and a whacky roll-through for a nearfall, then hit a plancha out onto KUSHIDA who had retreated to the floor. Naito went outside, too, and Ibushi tried to hit his quebrada off the turnbuckles but missed.
Back in the ring, KUSHIDA and Dorada traded nearfalls, before KUSHIDA slapped on the Boverboard Lock for the submission victory. Out in the crowd, oblivious to all this, Ibushi and Naito brawled, and Naito shoved over Jay White when he tried to intervene. The timekeepers furiously and forlornly rang the bell…
Naito is fun.
The Bullet Club made their first appearance of the night in the next match, sending out AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, Tama Tonga & Bad Luck Fale to face Togi Makabe, Hiryoshi Tenzan, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Captain New Japan. For those of you keeping score, that means no Gedo, no Jushin Liger, no Tiger Mask IV, no Jay White and no Cody Hall on today’s show. Hall didn’t even come out with the Bullet Club. Hey, maybe he had a dentist’s appointment or something?
Tonga and Tenzan started out, and the Bullet Club steamed into the rest of the babyfaces at ringside. Tonga stole Tenzan’s Mongolian chops and then got some right back. Fale came in and he got some, too, before being dumped outside. Styles and Makabe, and then Gallows and Tanahashi tagged in, before it fell apart into a rudo breakdown on the outside.
Tanahashi was left lying at ringside but made it back in on seventeen, where the Bullet Club continued to wear him down. Gallows’s facepaint looked like a bird had done an elaborate series of shits on his face. He also took a Dragon Screw in the worst possible way, allowing Makabe to tag in and clean house. Gallows tagged out to Styles, who had equally little success against Makabe.
Makabe tagged out to Captain New Japan, who did his weird but where he takes out and stalls the heels. He missed a headbutt off the top rope and got quadruple-teamed by the Bullet Club and almost pinned by Tonga. Everyone started brawling at ringside, and the Captain got a nearfall with an uranage but then Tonga hit a spear and the Headshrinker DDT for the win. Not much of a match, good excuse for those live to say they saw these wrestlers. After the match, the teams brawled and the timekeeper got back to ringing his bell, redundantly.
The interval was up next, and that marks the half way point in the G1 series of nineteen shows. HALF. WAY.
The G1 resumed after the interval, with Yujiro Takahashi versus Michael Elgin. Takahashi had a fine stripper with him. Oh, and Cody Hall, who must have finished at the dentist.
Elgin overpowered Takahashi early doors and, well, he would, wouldn’t he? Elgin did his talking suplex, wowing the crowd, and got a nearfall. Cody Hall got up on the apron and distracted Elgin, allowing Takahashi a sneaky shot. Takahashi then took the referee away while Hall beat in Elgin outside. Takahashi joined them out there and ran Elgin into the barriers and ringpost, right in front of his stripper.
Back in the ring, Takahashi wore down Elgin with elbow drops and punches and eye rakes, and then scurfed his head, like a dick. This never ends well. Elgin powered back momentarily, but Takahashi regained control.
Elgin came back with a kick to the head and a slingshot senton, and a series of shots in the corner, and then scored a nearfall with a sidewalk slam. He herked Takahashi up for a suplex but Takahashi bit his way out of it, and Elgin bit him right back. Takahashi scored some nearfalls but then Elgin KILLED him with a German suplex into the turnbuckle. He followed that with an inside out herking suplex for a nearfall and, when Takahashi rolled outside, a cannonball off the apron.
Elgin went to powerbomb Takahashi on the floor but the heel reversed it into a backdrop. They both made it back into the ring, and went back and forth some more, until a lariat, a Buckle Bomb and an Elgin Bomb got the win for the gaijin. So-so match.
You’d expect an entirely heavier contest out of Tomoaki Honma and Satoshi Kojima next, and they delivered on that. Honma, who never wins and is UTTERLY OVER despite that (think Dean Ambrose), came out first, and then Kojima. I’d like to say what kind of reception they got but the sound got muted for copyright reasons.
They started with a forearm battel and Honma won. He slammed Kojima and missed his headbutt. Of course. Them Kojima took him down and wobbled his pecs. House show stuff so far.
Kojima wore down Honma for a while, and then hit his tiny chops and his shitty top rope elbow for a nearfall. Honma fired back with some chops and then missed another headbutt. Kojima got some hits in but Homma came back again, hitting his herking suplex and finally hitting that headbutt. He went up top and Kojima caught him up there, and tried to hit a superplex. Honma headbutted him away and hit a Sunset Bomb for a nearfall.
Honma hit a lariat and Kojima no-sold it. He wound up and hit another but Kojima blocked it and hit a Koji cutter, and then took Honma up top and hit one from there. Kojima stood up and threw the elbow pad away but Honma hit a flying headbutt to block a lariat. He followed up with a brainbuster but only got a nearfall, so he went up top for a top rope falling headbutt. Which missed.
They were both down, fucked, but Kojima got up first. He laid in some forearms and a roaring elbow but Honma came back at him. Kojima hit a German suplex but Honma popped up and ROARED! Kojima took him down with a lariat for a nearfall and they both lay on the mat again. Kojima was up first again, and they exchanged holds before Kojimasmacked Honma in the head and hit a lariat off the ropes for the win. After the match, Kojima held out his hand for a handshake, and Honma smacked it away in acceptance. A war of attrition, that.
After that, the prospect of watching Yuji Nagata versus Tomohiro Ishii wasn’t exactly enticing. Never liked Nagata, never will. Still, I am nothing if not committed, and if I could get through Gallows versus Fale then I can get through this.
They started out slowly, wrestling, with Nagata obviously getting the upper hand in that. They stood up and Ishii laid in the chops. Nagata took them and fired back with forearms, an old man having a straightener with a goblin. Ishii got the better of that one.
Ishii moved onto kicks and still Nagata dared him to lay them in. I guess this is “toukon” or something. Nagata fired back with kicks of his own and took Ishii down with a kneelift. He hit a big boot into the corner and an exploder for a nearfall. I think this might be exactly the kind of match that stopped me watching New Japan all those years ago.
They warred over a suplex, with no man winning, and then Ishii hit an overhead belly-to-belly to take Nagata down. He took over, with clotheslines into the corner and a suplex for a nearfall. Nagata came back with kicks, met by chops from Ishii, and it was back to that old shit again. Then Nagata took Ishii up top and hit an exploder from the top rope for a nearfall. They traded and Ishii hit back with a German and they both went down. Better.
Ishii took Nagata up top and they fought. Ishii hit a headbutt and then superplexed Nagata into the ring for a nearfall. Nagata hit a knee, clutched at his ribs, and charged into the corner. Ishii caught him and hit a powerbomb. Then hit a lariat for a nearfall. Slowly slowly weary downy.
Ishii went for the brainbuster but Nagata reversed it into the Shirome armbar, which he NEVER wins with. Perhaps mindful of that, he transitioned into a cross armbreaker and Ishii made the ropes. For his troubles, Ishii got explodered into the turnbuckle and hit with a rope assisted Drive Screw suplex, with looked really cool. Only a nearfall, though.
Nagata got his breath, still clutching at those ribs, and then hit a running knee in the corner and a belly-to-back suplex for another nearfall. Ishii, indestructible goblin that he is, would not stay down. Nagata set up another exploder but Ishii fought out of it and took him down with a kick.
They stood up and fought, forearms, kicks, exploders, and lariats, and then both went down again. Red Shoes stood over them, urging them up, and they DID get up. And started slapping the shit out of each other. Ishii hit a headbutt and took Nagata down, and then a lariat and Sliding D for a nearfall. Now the old man won’t stay down! A final brainbuster, though, got the win for Ishii. That was a match that was less than the sum of its parts.
Karl Anderson, standing a good chance of winning the G1 this year, took on the man he might get to face if he does, IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada, next. Anderson came out with Tama Tonga, who was waving an American flag, and Okada, as always, was accompanied by Gedo. Anderson looked cocky before the match started, Okada simply calm.
They exchanged holds to start, leading to a stand off. Then they did the same again, but faster. They kept the pace up, but Okada got on top, and hit a low dropkick which sent Anderson rolling outside for respite. Okada joined him out there and threw him into the barriers, a picture of beautiful confidence at all times.
Back in the ring, Anderson ambushed Okada before he could step through the ropes, and they brawled over the top rope. Anderson hit a Stun Gun with Okada still on the apron and then kicked him to the floor. He lay out there until the fifteen count, when Anderson went out and powerbombed him on the apron. He left him out there again, seeking a count-out win.
Okada made it back in on eighteen and Anderson sought to take advantage with those quick pins he does. Okada made a weak fightback, and Anderson mocked him. Anderson missed a charge into the corner and Okada dropkicked him to the outside. He made it back in on fifteen.
They went back and forth, and Anderson got a nearfall with a neckbreaker. Okada escaped a Stun Gun attempt and they went back and forth some more, until Okada got the shine and called for the Rainmaker. Anderson avoided it and hit a powerbomb, then went up top for a diving Stun Gun for a nearfall.
They both avoided more finishers and an Okada dropkick saw them both go down. They had a forearm battel on their knees, standing it up into uppercuts, and then traded moves. Anderson saw a Stun Gun blocked, and then Okada hit a Tombstone piledriver and the Rainmaker for the win. It was a good match without being anything special.
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Shinsuke Nakamura versus Hirooki Goto! They had a tentative feeling out to start, but Nakamura got the first nearfall, almost as if he was testing his injured elbow. Goto powered back and Nakamura rolled outside, holding his elbow. Goto went out after him, they tussled, and Namakura got sent into the barriers.
Back in the ring, Goto stomped and kicked at Nakamura, and worked on the damaged elbow for a loooooong time. Nakamura kicked out at him, they traded blows, and then both went down. Nakamura was up first and kicked Goto in the corner. He did his vibrating leg thingy and then hit some knees. They had a brief back and forth and Nakamura did the running knee up into Goto’s tummy in the corner.
Goto came back with a side suplex, and hit a spin kick into the corner. A bulldog and a huge lariat got a nearfall. Nakamura hit a dropkick and they both went down again. Nakamura was up first and hit a quick facebuster and overhead back suplex but Goto roared back with a lariat. He went for Shouten Kai but Nakamura reversed it into a sleeper, which Goto broke and hit a belly-to-back suplex. They traded blows and Goto put Nakamura up top for a top rope neckbreaker, scoring a nearfall.
Goto, seeking an end to this, put him up top again but Nakamura wouldn’t go so easy. They traded forearms, and Nakamura elbowed and kicked Goto down to the mat. Nakamura hit a knee off the top for a nearfall. They had a forearm battel, which Nakamura won,and then he hit knees on the mat, an axe kick, and a low running knee for another nearfall. Nakamura called for Bom A Ye but Goto caught him and hit Ushigoroshi and they both went down.
Goto got up and hit Ushigoroshi off the top for another nearfall and then Ura Shouten for an even nearer fall. Nakamura blocked Shouten Kai and they traded blows. Goto hit a lariat which Nakamura rolled through into an armbreaker. Goto kept his fingers locked but Nakamura eventually broke them apart and extended the arm, and Goto tapped out. It was okay, but not as good as it was laid it to be, if that makes sense.
This was an Okay Show. It was a bit of a comedown after two good shows in a row but it’s a long haul, right?
Block B Standings: Ishii 4-1, Okada 4-1, Anderson 3-2, Elgin 3-2, Goto 3-2, Nakamura 3-2, Kojima 2-3, Takahashi 2-3, Nagata 1-4, Honma 0-5. (Honma cannot win Block B)