Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day eleven! And it’s the brilliantly-named Industrial Bunka Center Apio in Iwate today! I wish there was an Industrial Bunka Center Apio in my town!
So all the shows start with the same be-mulleted dude running though the card before announcing the opening match. Tonight that’s Yuji Nagata, Yohei Komatsu & Satoshi Kojima versus Michael Elgin, Mascara Dorada & Hirooki Goto. Oh, and it’s a fixed camera show.
Kojima and Goto start out. They went back and forth early doors, each showing their strength, house show style. Then tagged out to Elgin and Nagata. Elgin also showed his strength and got kicked by Nagata for his troubles.
Elgin won a forearm battel by kneeing Nagata in his ouchy ribs, and did his stalling suplex spot, keeping it on despite Kojima & Komatsu kicking him, for a nearfall. Mascara Dorada tagged in and did brief lucha before Goto came back in, pretty much to get hit with an exploder for the hot tag to Kojima. Tiny chops and the shitty elbow drop followed, for a nearfall.
Kojima and Goto traded hits, with Kojima getting the upper hand and tossing his elbow pad away. His lariat was blocked, though, and Goto hit Ushigoroshi, and both men tagged out. Komatsu and Mascara Dorada came in, with the luchador out-flipping the Young Boy, but Komatsu nevertheless getting the first nearfall with a roll-up.
Dorada got a nearfall with a dive, which brought everyone in for a brawl, and Dorada and Komatsu were left in the ring for Dorada to finish Komatsu with the Screwdriver. A lukewarm opener.
Karl Anderson & Cody Hall came out for the Bullet Club next, facing eternal loser Tomoaki Honma & his partner, Jay White. White’s hair still looks stupid.
The crowd decided Honma would start out, against Anderson, who mocked them for their choice of hero. Honma missed his headbutt in the first minute and ’twas ever thus. Anderson missed a senton and Honma tagged out to White, who has great agility and a good dropkick. Anderson got the drop on him, though, and threw him outside for a count-out.
White made it back in on six, and the Bullet Club got the heat on the Young Boy, Hall tagging in to do some damage before Anderson came back in to do some more. Anderson got hit with a surprise DDT, though, and that allowed the hot tag to Honma, who hit the bulldog AND the headbutt for a nearfall. Cody Hall ran in and Honma threw him out, but that gave Anderson chance to hit a spinebuster for a nearfall. They went back and forth, and Honma blocked a StunGun before hitting a diving headbutt and making the tag to White.
White ran wild on Anderson, and scored a nearfall, which proved a double-team from Honma – the upshot of which was Honma missing a top rope headbutt and the Bullet Club double-teaming White. Hall tried to make a cover, despite not being the legal man, but Anderson got the win with a Stun Gun, after White had kicked out of one and almost got the win with a backslide. A so-so encounter, that.
More Bullet Club out next – they really are nWo 2015 – as Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi fought the Chaos pairing of Tomohiro Ishii & Shinsuke Nakamura. I like all four fellas in this one, although Takahashi loses points for being stripperless. Hey, I have my needs!
Ishii and Tonga started out, doing “powerful professional wrestling 101”, which Ishii – of course – got the better of. Tonga tagged out to Takahashi, who wanted Nakamura, because sleaze can smell its own. They did the Nakamura start, and an early vibrating leg thingy, before Takahashi used shenanigans to send Nakamura outside, where a rudo breakdown ensued.
Back in the ring, the heels kept the heat on Nakamura, working his poorly elbow over, until a spin kick won him space to make the tag to Ishii, who ran wild on Takahashi and Tonga. Takahashi managed to stop his charge and tagged out to Tonga, who took over and got some nearfalls. The heels double-teamed Ishii but still couldn’t put him away, and Nakamura ran in to make the save, the Chaos pair hitting a double-suplex on the Bullet Club.
Nakamura cleared Takahashi out of the ring and Ishii scored a very nearfall with a lariat, before Tonga got one of his own with a Headshrinker DDT. Nakamura returned for more double-teaming – a sliding knee/Sliding D combo – before Ishii got the win with a brainbuster. Fun, if slight.
The final match in the first half was IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Captain New Japan versus a Chaos team of IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada, Gedo & YOSHI-HASHI.
Captain New Japan has been saving his skills for cold tags lately, but he started out with Okada, who killed him from the off. Then the Captain did his “comedy” shit and Okada is great enough to play along and not be demeaned in any way.
Bum-meister Taguchi and YOSHI-HASHI tagged in, and did lucha-lite, before Taguchi got his bums in, the crowd cheering each one. To stop him getting the upper bum, Chaos started a rudo breakdown, brawling into the crowd. Never great on a fixed camera show.
Taguchi made it back into the ring on nineteen and they really should do a random shitty count-out result sometimes. Gedo came in and dicked it up, before tagging Okada and then YOSHI-HASHI back in to keep the heat on Taguchi. Gedo came back in but fell prey to Taguchi’s bum and KUSHIDA got the hot tag.
KUSHIDA sped things up, and even took down YOSHI-HASHI and Okada when they ran in, getting several nearfalls before tagging out to Captain New Japan. With an assist from Taguchi, the Captain got a nearfall on Okada, before everything broke down into a bumfest. Okada ended that with a flapjack, and then pinned the Captain after the Rainmaker. A decent throwaway contest.
After the interval, during which they showed the pre-tournament press conference on the big screens AGAIN, the G1 matches started again with Bad Luck fucking Fale versus Hiroyoshi Tenzan, a match I’d rather never existed anywhere, let alone on my TV in my front room. Still, I’ve made it this far – match number NINETY-FOUR of this tour – so why the fuck not, eh?
Fale had Tama Tonga out with him, his awesome beard recognisable in silhouette at the bottom of the screen. Meanwhile, in the ring, two fellas bulled around a bit. Tenzan sent Fale out of the ring and then got dragged out himself, where they brawled mostly out of shot and in the dark. Then the camera and Spotlight found them and there was no discernible difference in entertainment.
Sadly, Tenzan made it back into the ring on fifteen and the match continued. Fale beat up Tenzan for a bit and it struck me that, were this the 90s, Fale would be brought into WWE or WCW to fight The Undertaker or Hogan. Progress is a good thing sometimes. Tenzan got a hope spot – I hoped the match would end but it didn’t – and then made an actual comeback with some bulling and clubbing and Mongolian fucking chopping. He scored a couple of nearfalls, which sadly weren’t fall enough.
Tenzan went up top for his diving headbutt – the one which split Yano wide open – but Tama Tonga pushed him off the turnbuckle and into the ring. They went back and forth – Tenzan and Fale, not Tonga – and Tenzan locked on Anaconda Vice. Fale stood up and forced Tenzan to release the hold, then got a nearfall with the world’s shittiest clothesline. He went up top, hit a knee-ruining splash, and got the win, although it looked like he fucked himself worse than he did Tenzan. Awful, awful match.
Hey, speaking of awful, here’s Toru Yano to ruin everyone’s day some more! Hang on, though, because he’s on with Katsuyori Shibata, who attached him before the bell because he can’t stand the unfunny shit.
Shibata laid in some kicks and almost got pinned by a schoolboy and a hair pull. KICK BETTER AND HARDER! Yano tried to hide in the ropes but Shibata forearmed him to death and then kicked him off the apron. I’m liking this so far. Shibata went outside after Yano and got thrown into the barriers, which gave Yano chance to – *sigh* – remove the turnbuckle pad. Back in the ring, Shibata got tossed into the bare turnbuckle because God hates me.
BUT! Shibata locked on a sleeper! Yano made the ropes and escaped, only for Shibata to kick him to the mat. He went after him and got suckered into a cradle and TORU YANO FUCKING WON! Sack the booker! There are no words.
Because we’ve obviously not suffered enough, Doc Gallows came out next, accompanied by Cody Hall, to take on Hiroshi Tanahashi. And maybe Gallows will win because this show hates me.
The match started with stalling and headlocks. Because, really, what else can you do with Gallows? Okay, he’s better than Fale, but still. Gallows then bulled and kicked his way on top, sending Tanahashi to the outside, where he used the barriers like a girl with a boyfriend who only wants her for sex uses her male best friend for the other stuff, to destory a man. Tanahashi made it back in on sixteen.
Gallows continued on the attack, throwing Tanahashi around and wearing him down. Tanahashi got a bit of hope but Gallows got back to the pounding and the clubbing. Remember when he was Festus? Yeah, I liked that. This, not so much. Gallows then blew a jump off the second rope – something only Sid ever managed before – which allowed Tanahashi back into the match.
They went back and forth – Tanahashi did the skinning the cat spot – and Gallows got a very nearfall with a chokeslam, and another with a spinning dominator. Tananhashi came back, got a nearfall with a slingblade, and then went for High Fly Flow but Gallows got his knees up.
More back and forth followed, with more nearfalls, but Tanahashi hit an awkward Victory roll to win a bad match.
Poor Cody Hall had to watch that last match from ringside and he was out for the next one, too, accompanying AJ Styles to the ring for his match with Togi Makabe. Styles tried to cheap shot Makabe early doors but Makabe just shrugged and smiled. More beast than man.
They went back and forth, and Styles pulled Makabe out of the ring for shenanigans. Makabe had other ideas, though, and wouldn’t let said shenanigans happen, instead beating Styles into the crowd himself. Hoist by his own petard, Styles made it back into the ring on eight.
Back in the ring, a DDT out of the corner allowed Styles to take over, and he went on the wear down, but a precision wear down, unlike Gallows & Fale’s clubbing. He missed a corner charge, though, and Makabe hit a back suplex to start his shine.
Makabe hit the ten punch in the corner and set up a Northern Lights suplex but Styles hit back with a snap suplex into the turnbuckle. He tried for the DDT off the turnbuckle again, but Makabe blocked it and hit that Northern Lights for a nearfall. He scored another with a lariat but couldn’t follow up and Styles regained the heat.
Styles tried to finish it with a the Styles Clash but couldn’t get Makabe up and instead got hit with a powerslam. Makabe took Styles up top, hoping to hit a German suplex off the top rope, but Styles escaped and kicked Makabe to the mat. He followed up with a springboard diving forearm for a nearfall.
They traded some more, and Makabe missed the King Kong kneedrop off the top, before a Pele kick, an enzuigiri, and the Styles Clash gave the Bullet Club man the win. Acceptable professional wrestling.
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Tetsuya Naito versus Kota Ibushi! Naito came out in his suit and silver skull mask get-up, and then took an age to take them off. Because that’s what dicks do. And he is King Dick. Red Shoes, like he did the other day, ordered the bell rung, and Ibushi went after Naito. Then Red Shoes stepped in to separate them. MAKE YOUR MIND UP!
Naito decided to fight anyway, beating Ibushi down and shoving the referee, whilst still wearing his shirt and trousers. Ibushi fired back and Naito took a powder, wandering into the crowd to pose in a spotlight. Ibushi appeared out of nowhere and kicked him to the floor, and they brawled. Somewhere in there, Naito left Ibushi lying and made it back to the ring, where he began undressing again. Ibushi ran in after him while he was taking his trousers off and this match has taken a very strange turn.
Naito finished undressing and choked Ibushi with his trousers. He gave him a neckbreaker on the apron and sauntered around ringside, before introducing Ibushi to the barriers. Ibushi made it back into the ring on thirteen, where Naito kicked him and acted the dick, spitting at no-one – and therefore EVERYONE – to display his cockishness. He got a nearfall and then pushed Red Shoes again to protest at a slow count. One day Red Shoes will snap, his mood matching his footwear.
Ibushi made a comeback with a double footstomp out of nowhere, and then kicked and flipped his way to a nearfall. Naito came back with a DDT and then went up top for a sweet missile dropkick which sent Ibushi scurrying into the corner, where Naito hit his in and out dropkick for a nearfall. Naito spat again, this time on Ibushi, and the youngster hit back with a huracanrana to send the rudo out of the ring, and the quebrada off the turnbuckles out onto him. They both lay on the floor as Red Shoes counted, and Ibushi threw Naito back in on fourteen.
Ibushi hit some quick kicks when they were back in but Naito took them and came back with a Koji clutch. Ibushi made the ropes but Naito wouldn’t release the hold until Red Shoes got to five. Dick. Naito then put Ibushi up top but Ibushi escaped and tried to hit a Dragon suplex from up there. Naito resisted, elbowing his way out of it and hit a reverse rana which went a bit wrong, and they awkwardly tumbled to the mat. He made a quick cover but Ibushi kicked out.
Naito got another quick nearfall with Gloria and Ibushi rushed back with a snap German suplex. He measured Naito for a kick but Naito ducked. Ibushi caught him and hit a sit-down piledriver for a nearfall, and a sitout powerbomb for another. Looking to end it, Ibushi went up top for a corkscrew moonsault, but Naito moved and they both lay there, fucked.
They got up for a forearm battel, which turned into (not so) girly slapping. Naito hit a pair of suplexes for a nearfall and then Destino for the win. A worthy main event. After the match, Naito attacked both Ibushi and Red Shoes, and then cut a talky. The latitude they’re giving him has me convinced he’s winning Block A.
This was Not A Great Show. The G1 matches were mostly poor, with a good main event, and the prelims were forgettable. There’s another eighty-odd matches left on this tour, though, so you can forgive them an off night.
Block A Standings: Fale 4-2, Naito 4-2, Shibata 4-2, Styles 4-2, Tanahashi 4-2, Ibushi 3-3, Makabe 3-3, Yano 2-4, Gallows 1-5, Tenzan 1-5 (Gallows & Tenzan can not win Block A)