Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day sixteen! And it’s the last day of three at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo!
The show started with a feast of Young Boy action (and if you’re new to these reviews I realise how odd that will sound) with Jushin Liger teaming with rookies Jay White & David Finlay against Ryusuke Taguchi and his dojo graduates, Yohei Komatsu & Sho Tanaka, who’s been on tour with Pro-Wrestling NOAH for the past few weeks.
Liger and Tanaka, whose mop top is ridiculous now, started out, with the youngster giving no quarter to the veteran. Liger came right back at him but Tanaka again took it to the old-stager. Liger finally fired back, taking Tanaka down with a lariat and stomping him in the corner. Finlay tagged in and resumed the beating – welcome home Tanaka!
Tanaka made a comeback with a dropkick and tagged in Komatsu. He kept the furious pace up and hit Finlay with all manner of basic offense, just the way I like it. Finlay hit back with an elbow and a dropkick and tagged out to White, while Komatsu made it to tag in Taguchi.
White and Taguchi didn’t slow things down any, and White cleared the apron of his fellow Young Boys. He got a nearfall with a dropkick off the top and tried to lock on a crab but Taguchi kicked him off and brought his bum into play.
Before the bum could be too effective, White fought back, and the (nominal) heel team took over. White & Finlay used their bums and mocked Taguchi and he took them both down for it, suckering them into taking each other out and getting a nearfall with a roll-up.
Tanaka and Komatsu came in to clear the ring, leaving White and Taguchi going at it, and Taguchi got the win with the Dodon facebuster. These guys delivered a really good opening match.
The next match was another chapter in the seemingly endless war between Chaos and the Bullet Club: YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano versus Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga. Fale has had the shocker of two decent, watchable matches on the last two shows, but this surely can’t stretch that run, can it?
Fale and Yano started the match, with Yano suckering Fale in – offering a handshake, then slapping his face, and sidestepping him and slapping his head. He hid in the ropes and Fale was pulled away by the referee and then slapped Fale’s head again, running to tag out. “Comedy!”
Fale threw YOSHI-HASHI about but the smaller man soon got the upper hand, keeping the heat on the shitnick until Tama Tonga interfered. The match fell into a rudo breakdown at this point, Tonga dealing with both Chaos men on the outside while Fale looked annoyed in the ring.
YOSHI-HASHI made it back in on fourteen and Fale threw him around some more. I’m already bored. Tama Tonga tagged in, punching and choking YOSHI-HASHI in the corner, and the match just died. The crowd tried to lift it again but they didn’t have much to work with.
Tonga kept the (very low) heat on YOSHI-HASHI until the Chaos man hit a neckbreaker and tagged out. Yano immediately removed the turnbuckle pad and Tonga rushed at him and hit the bare turnbuckle. Yano did more “comedy” and got double-teamed by Fale & Tonga, but then suckered them into coliding with each other and rolled up Tonga for the win. At least it was short. Awful.
You’d expect better of at least some of the fellas in the next match, though, with Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe & IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA versus Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi & Mascara Dorada.
Tenzan demanded Naito start but Naito wasn’t interested. Tiger Hattori tried to make Naito come in but, instead, Mascara Dorada stepped up. Then Dorada tagged in Naito, who tagged out to Ibushi. Tenzan also tagged out, to Makabe, before any kind of action happened. Weird.
Ibushi went fast and flying at Makabe, who urged him on. Makabe took the smaller man down with a shoulderblock and tagged in Tenzan. Tenzan still wanted Naito and Naito finally held out his hand for the tag. He made the referee keep Tenzan away and stepped through the ropes…
Tenzan rushed in and attacked Naito, headbutting him to the mat and stomping him down there. Naito lay on the mat, under the ropes, and the referee had to move Tenzan away. Tenzan picked him up and headbutted him down again, and then laid in the Mongolian chops and Naito exploded into action, taking Tenzan down and outside with a flying kick.
Naito followed him out and threw him into the barriers, then rolled him back in the ring and laid in some stomps. Tenzan fought back but Naito kicked him a bit and then did his Ingobernables pose, standing on Tenzan’s face. The referee tried to move him off and Naito reacted angrily, then tagged out to Mascara Dorada. I heart Naito a BILLION TIMES.
Dorada kept the heat on Tenzan and tagged in Ibushi. Ibushi and Tenzan went back and forth, and Tenzan hit a desperation backdrop and tagged out to Makabe. Makabe cleared the apron and hit two clotheslines on Ibushi in the corner and the ten punch deal up on the turnbuckles. He got a nearfall with a Northern Lights suplex and I feel like I’ve written this many times before.
Makabe and Ibushi had a forearm battel, which Ibushi took up a notch with kicks and strikes, and then hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall. He kept up the speed but Makabe watched him carefully and laid him out with a lariat. Following up, though, Makabe got caught by a Pele kick, and both men tagged out, to KUSHIDA and Mascara Dorada.
These two went all lucha, with Mascara Dorada hitting a flip plancha out onto KUSHIDA. While they were outside, Ibushi knocked Makabe out of the ring and missed his quebrada off the turnbuckles. Back in the ring, Mascara Dorada hit a ropewalk crossbody, but KUSHIDA rolled it through into a keylock. Naito broke the hold and Tenzan fought him out to the floor.
KUSHIDA sped things up on Mascara Dorada, who nevertheless got a nearfall with a rana off the top. The luchador look for the Screwdriver but KUSHIDA escaped. Dorada hit a springboard huracanrana but KUSHIDA rolled it through for the win. Good match.
After the match, Tenzan and Naito brawled on the outside, and Naito taunted Tenzan in the ring. They fought again, and Young Boys separated them. Tenzan had a cut on his cheek and their match tomorrow ought to be firey. Then Ibushi and Makabe, who also fight tomorrow, got into it, laying in forearms as the Young Boys forlornly tried to stop it. It’s been a long tour…
The last match before the interval was another one for the Bullet Club, with AJ Styles, Cody Hall & Doc Gallows taking on Hiroshi Tanahashi, Katsuyori Shibata & (guess who gets pinned here) Captain New Japan.
Styles wanted Tanahashi to start the match and, unlike Naito, Tanahashi was game. They exchanged holds and Tanahashi called for an early finish with the Styles Clash but Styles escaped and tagged in Gallows. Styles did not like that Styles Clash theft one bit.
Tanahashi tagged out to Shibata, who suckered Gallows to the mat and locked in a quick Figure Four. Gallows reversed it, and Shibata reversed it back, and they rolled into the ropes to force a break. Up first, Shibata stomped on Gallows in the corner, starting the Shinjiro Ohtani facewashing but prevented from completing it by Gallows’s fist.
Gallows tagged in Cody Hall, who felt the fury of Shibata’s forearms and got trapped in the opposition corner. Captain New Japan tagged in and almost immediately got bulled into the Bullet Club corner, where he was grabbed by the heels. Hall kept the heat on the Captain while the others fought outside, and then made a tag to Styles and then Gallows, who had returned from his extra-curricular activities, before coming back in to finish the job.
The Captain hit a desperation uranage, though, and made the tag out to Shibata, who cleared the Bullet Club apron and then KILLED Hall in the corner, finishing him with the low dropkick to the FACE. He got a nearfall with a suplex and then applied the sleeper – Hall stood up to try and minimise its effects but still feel prey to it. Shibata dropped Hall to the mat and ran off the ropes for the PK but got tripped by Gallows, who tagged in.
The Bullet Club triple-teamed Shibata but he managed to tag out to Captain New Japan, and the match broke down into a pier six brawl. When the dust had cleared, Gallows hit the chokebomb for the inevitable win. Not the worst match I’ve ever seen, and fun when Captain New Japan wasn’t in it.
That took us into the interval, and with a non-TV show it was the usual – people milling around and a Young Boy checking the ropes. They showed something on the big screen that WASN’T the press conference, and then the lights dimmed for the G1 portion of the show.
The first match was an all-Bullet Club affair – Karl Anderson versus Yujiro Takahashi – and I’d imagine they were hoping it would go better than yesterday’s match between AJ Styles & Bad Luck Fale.
Takahashi & Anderson came out together and sat in the corner of the ring to enjoy the stripper, surrounded by the rest of the Bullet Club who were doing the same. Anderson even had a cheeky dance with her, which displeased Takahashi. See? Dissent already!
During the opening exchanges, Anderson waved at the stripper, and Takahashi got surly. He bit Anderson to break a pinfall and Anderson moaned to Styles. Takahashi offered a Too Sweet and Anderson bit him. That’s some good parenting.
They did a short matwork section, which must have surprised both men, and Anderson poked Takahashi in the eye when he went for another Too Sweet. Poor Takahashi. He should take his stripper and go. Anderson then tried to suplex Takahashi out of the ring to the floor, but the Bullet Club implored him not to. Takahashi blocked it at any rate and they fought on the apron, Takahashi tumbling to the floor while the Bullet Club regretted ever entering this tournament.
Things got more heated when Anderson tried to dive out of the ring and Styles stopped him. Styles and Anderson got in a shoving match and Takahashi took advantage with a roll-up for a nearfall. Anderson and Styles got into it again but Gallows kept the peace.
Anderson took back over, and bit Takahashi again, wearing him down until Takahashi hit a back suplex to get a break. Takahashi went on the attack, scoring a nearfall with a Fisherman’s Buster, but couldn’t get Anderson up for Miami Shine and Anderson hit back.
Anderson got a nearfall with a neckbreaker and went up top for a Stun Gun, which got another two count. He called for the finish but Takahashi blocked the Stun Gun and hit a German suplex for the double down.
They stood up for a forearm battel, which Takahashi won with a big boot, and the Tokyo Pimp got a nearfall with a low dropkick. Takahashi hit another big boot in the corner and blocked a Stun Gun, hitting a low blow when the referee couldn’t see for another.
Takahashi roared for the finish, taking Anderson up for Miami Shine but Anderson hit a Stun Gun out of nowhere for the win. After the match, Anderson and Takahashi hugged and made up, and Styles and Anderson both hugged the stripper. Heh heh.
Proto-HOSSes up next, with Michael Elgin versus Hirooki Goto. Neither man truly big enough to be a HOSS but I’m sure they’ll go all out.
Elgin overpowered Goto from the off, and the crowd have really taken to him. He’ll be back, I guess. Goto suckered him in for a kick from a knucklelock, but Elgin flipped his way out, drawing an “ooh!” from the crowd, and overpowered Goto once more.
Goto came back with a shoulderblock and an elbow for a nearfall, and then went on the wear down with a chinlock and and elbows to the head. They fought out onto the apron and Elgin tried to German suplex Goto to the floor, much to the horror of the referee, but Goto blocked it by grabbing the ropes.
They fought on the apron, trading forearms, and Elgin hit a Death Valley Driver. Goto tumbled to the floor and the referee began counting. Goto made it back in on seventeen and Elgin gave him time to gather himself before smacking him in the mouth and covering him for a nearfall.
He got another with the stalling suplex before Goto made a brief comeback, stopped by Elgin with a high dropkick for another nearfall. They traded clotheslines and forearms, and Elgin missed a charge into the corner, where Goto smacked him with a clothesline. They went back and forth again and Goto decked Elgin with a lariat, laying in kicks and the spin kick in the corner to set up a nearfall from a side suplex.
They traded blows again and Elgin hit rolling deadlift German suplexes for a nearfall, and then called for the finish. He softened Goto up with some lariats but Goto fought back, blocking and headbutting Elgin to the mat. Goto took Elgin up for Ushigoroshi but Elgin fought out and hit knees to the head and then a HUGE lariat for a very near fall.
Elgin stood up, determined, as Goto sought refuge on the apron, where Elgin herked him in and slammed him for another nearfall. Finally, Elgin hit the Buckle Bomb and went for the Elgin Bomb but Goto flipped over into a pin, which Elgin kicked out of. They ran at each other, bouncing off with a double clothesline, and Goto finagled his way into a Shiki cradle for the win. They battered each other for our enjoyment and the crowd chanted for Elgin afterwards.
Given the tough job of following that were Satoshi Kojima and Shinsuke Nakamura, a man still trading on his pre-millennium glory and someone who reinvented himself to everyone’s glee.
They started slow, working holds, leading to Nakamura’s trademark rope break spot, and then they exploded. A little bit. Kojima hit his tiny chops, and called for his shitty elbow drop, but Nakamura blocked the whip and hit a knee and an axekick to send him scurrying outside. Nakamura caught him on the apron and hit kneelifts and kneedrops, and somewhere in there smacked his eye and started bleeding.
Kojima got back into the ring but Nakamura kept on the attack, getting a nearfall with a standing kneedrop and then kicking and leg vibrating like a proper dick heel. Kojima came back with a strike in the corner and then called for his shitty elbow drop. He paused to hold his head but then hit it for a nearfall. These two are falling apart.
They fought over a suplex in the middle of the ring, which turned into a forearm battel, won decisively by Nakamura. Kojima came back with some more forearms and hit a Koji cutter but couldn’t follow it up. That gave Nakamura a chance to go back on the attack, laying in kicks and hitting his kneelift in the corner for a nearfall.
After laying in the Stereo Mike knees, Nakamura hit a facebuster and applied a front facelock. When that didn’t work, he hit an overhead belly-to-back suplex and called for Bom A Ye. Kojima half-blocked it, then dodged a running knee into the corner, but got hit by a knee from the top and a sliding knee for a nearfall.
Nakamura stood up for another Bom A Ye, which Kojima avoided and then hit three big lariats for a nearfall of his own. They both lay on the mat, fucked. Kojima was up first, and threw the elbow pad away, but Nakamura stayed down, negating the lariat. Frustrated, Kojima picked him up for a brainbuster, but Nakamura kicked out at two.
Kojima stood Nakamura up again and ran off the ropes for the lariat but Nakamura rolled it through into a cross armbreaker. Kojima stood it up and escaped, made a cover for a nearfall, and then hit a HUGE lariat which hurt his arm as much as Nakamura’s chest. He crawled over to make the cover but, again, Nakamura kicked out.
Kojima screamed and picked Nakamura up. He threw him off the ropes but Nakamura returned with Bom A Ye and got the win! Jesus, these two killed each other…
Okay, so maybe Nakamura & Kojima did a decent job of following Elgin & Goto. Could Yuji Nagata and IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada follow them both?
They started out exchanging holds and reversals, before Okada kicked it up by attacking on the rope break. Nagata came back with a kick and they went back and forth some more, ending in Nagata ducking a clothesline, limbo-style, and Okada smiling at his cheek.
Nagata went back to the WRESTLING! and Okada got frustrated into a kick. Nagata took him down again and, once again, Okada kicked out. This was a game of patience that Nagata was winning.
Okada started a forearm war that Nagata was only too keen to fight, adding in some knees and a kick to take the champion down. He locked on a crossface and Okada had to make the ropes to escape, and then followed Okada outside when he went out for some respite.
They brawled around the ring and Nagata got thrown into the barriers and over into the front row. Okada hit a draping DDT off the barrier onto the floor and then sauntered back to the ring while Red Shoes checked on Nagata, who made it back in on nineteen.
Back in the ring, Okada locked on a stretch and drove his fist into Nagata’s ouchy ribs. It’s easy to forget Okada’s a heel sometimes. The doctor checked on Nagata as Okada waited, smiling as Nagata stood up to strike back at him. Okada took him down again with a kick to the ribs and then laid in some more, and the crowd actually booed.
Nagata exploded out of the ropes and took Okada down with a kneelift, but then fell against the ropes holding his ribs again. He recovered to smack some forearms into Okada’s face and then whipped him across the ring and followed up with a big boot. Okada tried fighting back but Nagata hit a Drivescrew using the top rope for a nearfall.
Nagata went back on the attack with some meaty kicks and scored a nearfall despite a brief comeback by Okada. Okada made a more solid comeback with a neckbreaker and followed up with a charge into the corner and a DDT. He hit a rising uppercut for a nearfall and then that massive elbow drop onto Nagata’s ribs.
Okada called for the Rainmaker but Nagata ducked it and hit an Exploder for the double down. Gedo pounded on the apron like a woodpecker at a tree and they stood up for a forearm battel which Okada won. He tried to set the Tombstone but Nagata reversed it into the Shirome armbar. Okada was in it for an age but eventually made the ropes for the break. However, Nagata dragged him right back into the middle of the ring and reapplied it, dripping sweat through the exertion of keeping it on. Okada made it to the ropes once more.
Nagata stood up and laid in some kicks to Okada’s chest, the champion doubled over on his knees. He went for an armbreaker but Okada switched it into a Rainmaker, which Nagata blocked with a kick and hit a German suplex. Nagata kicked again and hit an Exploder for a nearfall, and the fans really bought that that could be the finish.
Nagata went for another Exploder but Okada blocked it. Nagata went for a kick but Okada blocked that, too, and hit Heavy Rain, and they both went down. Nagata got up and missed a charge into the corner, Okada hit a high dropkick and looked for a Tombstone. Nagata blocked that and hit a suplex. They exchanged kicks, Okada hit a high dropkick, then the Tombstone, and hit the Rainmaker for the win. Fuck me, another war. Korakuen Hall has really brought the best out of these fellas.
Hey, it’s our main event! And it really is BLUDGEON NIGHT at the G1 because it’s Tomoaki Honma versus Tomohiro Ishii!
They went right to trying to knock each other each and Ishii was the first to succeed. Then Honma got Ishii down and called for his headbutt. Before he could hit it, Ishii was up. Honma slammed him down again and… missed his headbutt.
Honma laid in some heavy chops to Ishii and the little goblin no-sold each one. Then Ishii hit one to Honma and he went down. Heh. Ishii started trash-talking Honma, and laying in headbutts, and then started scurfing him like a proper dick heel should.
Honma stood up and laid in some more forearms but Ishii hit one of his own back again to take Honma down. Honma lay in the middle of the ring, Ishii kicking at his head, while Red Shoes admonished him. Ishii, that is, not Honma. They fought over a suplex – and I mean fought – and Honma won, and got some shine, chopping Ishii into the corner and hitting his bulldog and that falling headbutt!
Honma got a nearfall with a snap neck and I got to thinking… is this in the main event because the unthinkable may happen? Or do they just want me to think that?
Anyway, they traded blows again, and Honma went down. Ishii picked him up and threw him into the corner, clotheslined him and hit a brainbuster, Honma popped back up and Ishii hit a German suplex. This time Honma stayed down. Ishii went back to trash-talking and dick-kicking and they traded forearms and lariats they both went down.
Standing back up, they traded chops for AGES, beads of sweat flying off their chests with every blow, and Red Shoes looked a little bit bored. Seriously, this was, like, two minutes of chopping. Honma finally went down, Red Shoes accusing Ishii of hitting him in the throat, and Ishii came back with another chop. Then he lifted him onto the top turnbuckle and hit a stalling superplex for a nearfall. One day that will work, Tomo, one day…
Honma ducked Sliding D, and then Ishii ducked a falling headbutt, and THEN HONMA HIT A DDT WHICH PUT ISHII UPSIDE DOWN ON HIS HEAD FOR AN ETERNITY! They got up and traded lariats, and Honma put Ishii down. He picked him up, they traded waistlocks and Honma hit a diving headbutt to Ishii’s back. Slamming him down, he went up top and missed a falling headbutt. Poor Honma.
Ishii got up in the corner and Honma ran at him, aiming a headbutt. Ishii dodged and hit a release German suplex but Honma popped right back up. He aimed another headbutt at Ishii but the Stone Pitbull met it with a forearm.
Ishii then went on the attack, throwing forearms and hitting a lariat for a nearfall. The crowd were still chanting for Honma as Ishii hit Sliding D. Honma kicked out! It can’t be, can it? Ishii picked Honma up for the brainbuster but Honma reversed it into one of his own and they both went down once more. They traded lariats and slaps and Ishii laid in a headbutt but Honma jumped right back up with one of his own, then hit a diving headbutt off the ropes, and another for a very, very near fall. I thought that was finally Honma’s first ever G1 win! Dang it!
Honma was up first but Ishii hit him with a jumping kick. Honma fell into the corner and Ishii rushed in, where Honma met him with a kick. He hit a diving headbutt off the top and then a falling headbutt running off the ropes and THEN went up top for a super falling headbutt for the FUCKING WIN!!!
The place went crazy, the Young Boys at ringside embraced each other and jumped around, and Red Shoes raised Honma’s arm. The whole second half of this show had been about fellas KILLING each other and these two finished the job. Good work, fellas.
This was another Good Show. The G1‘s visit to Korakuen Hall has been a blast, and has made up for a ton of lacklustre matches on the tour before this. Now we move onto Sumo Hall, for the final three days…
Block B Standings: Okada 7-1, Anderson 6-2, Goto 6-2, Nakamura 6-2, Elgin 4-4, Ishii 4-4, Kojima 2-6, Nagata 2-6, Takahashi 2-6, Honma 1-7 (Only Okada, Nakamura or Goto can win Block B, Anderson having lost to Okada previously)