New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax continued on Friday with night three, the second of three straight nights at Tokyo’s famed Korakuen Hall.
Naito and Goto lead the A-Block
Friday’s A-Block match-ups more or less evened up the field. However, two wrestlers sit at the top of the A-Block standings with four points after scoring second wins: Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto. Both men picked up victories against their respective opponents Friday.
Naito found himself in a tough battle against CHAOS stable member Yoshi-Hashi, but he was able to pull away with the win.
It was a solid back-and-forth between the two. There were a couple of points in which Yoshi-Hashi had Naito in the Butterfly Lock, the latter’s new submission finishing. It certainly looked like Yoshi-Hashi could pull off the upset late in the match. However, Naito reached the ropes.
Naito reversed Yoshi-Hashi’s Karma finisher into a short version of Destino. Yoshi-Hashi kicked out quickly before Naito finished him with another Destino.
At this point, Naito is a pro and a legitimate roadblock to the rest of the contenders in the A-Block. His 2013 G1 victory gives him particular credibility. Getting these early wins will help him stay towards the top of the leaderboard.
As for Goto, he got the win over veteran Yuji Nagata. That was also a great back-and-forth battle, and truth be told, it might have been my favorite match of the night.
Goto definitely benefits from these early wins, as well. He might have another solid G1 tournament run in him after a surprise run to the finals a year ago.
For Nagata, it’s tough to see him start this tournament 0-2. With this reportedly being his last G1, it would be nice to see him have a little success. I’d love to see him make a run, even if he doesn’t win the A-Block.
With Naito and Tanahashi still ahead, it’s going to get tougher for Nagata to get those much-needed wins, unfortunately.
Ibushi gets on board with a win
Kota Ibushi was one of the wrestlers to get his first win of the tournament on Friday with his win over Zach Sabre Jr. NJPW and the G1 Climax delivered on the most anticipated match of last year’s Cruiserweight Classic, though WWE ultimately did not pull the trigger.
This match-up featured a lot of mat wrestling, mostly from Sabre Jr. It’s very possible ZSJ knows 10,000 submission moves — that’s 8,996 more than 1,004.
That man could probably figure out a way to use ears as a submission maneuver.
Ibushi hung in there, though. A caliber of wrestler like Ibushi shouldn’t be starting G1 with an 0-2 record.
This was my second favorite match of the night. However, this might have been my favorite finish of the show. Sabre Jr. goes for a flying triangle choke and after nearly a minute, Ibushi dead lifts him and turns it into a Last Ride Powerbomb.
Fale works over Tanahashi’s arm, yet still loses
As expected, Bad Luck Fale did work over Hiroshi Tanahashi’s bicep in their match-up. This was an okay match for what it was.
It ended when Tanahashi did the Sling Blade on the apron and got back into the ring before the 20 count. Yes, Bad Luck Fale lost by countout.
I can’t knock it, though. If I was wrestling Fale, I’d try to win by countout too. It’s an effective video game strategy. So why couldn’t it work in real life?
Ishii also scores a victory
If you were wondering which one was the hard-hitting match of the night? You should already know that it involves Tomohiro Ishii.
This time around, it was Ishii against Togi Makabe. If you expected these two to have a high-flying juniors match, then…well…you’re probably trolling!
That said, Makabe also falls to 0-2 in this edition of the G1 Climax. It sets up an interesting scenario if both Makabe and Nagata are still winless when they face off.
Bread Club Watch
Our hero recovered from his loss to get a nice win in the six-man tag match. Satoshi Kojima teamed up with his partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Micheal Elgin to defeat CHAOS’ Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano and Gedo.
This time it was Tenzan getting the pinfall victory. It’s okay, though! You gotta let your tag team partner claim the victory once in awhile. That’s just good teamwork.
That said, I’d be foolish if I didn’t mention how excited I am to see Okada and Elgin face off on Saturday.
Other tag notes
Los Ingobernables de Japon mates EVIL and Hiromu Takahashi opened the show with a solid victory over Juice Robinson and David Finlay. This was a pretty good match and it sets up EVIL and Robinson to have a good match Saturday.
Minoru Suzuki and Taichi got the victory over SANADA and BUSHI. This got me excited to see Suzuki and SANADA face off. That could be a very good match.
Unfortunately, Taichi felt the need to remove BUSHI’s mask, which was uncalled for. There’s no reason to do that. BUSHI is great and separating masks from wrestlers is wrong.
We also had an all-Bullet Club match-up between Tama Tonga and Chase Owens versus Kenny Omega and Yujiro Takahashi.
This was mostly a comedy match, until Tonga and Owens started working over Omega’s knee. Omega and Yujiro got the win, although Omega and Tonga got a little testy after the match. I look forward to seeing these two act like jerks to each other.
What’s next in the 27th G1 Climax:
Saturday will be the third and final day at Korakuen Hall. Here are the B-Block match-ups:
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Michael Elgin
- Kenny Omega vs. Tama Tonga
- SANADA vs. Minoru Suzuki
- EVIL vs. Juice Robinson
- Satoshi Kojima vs. Toru Yano
The tag matches will feature these match-ups:
- Finlay/Ibushi/Makabe vs. Gedo/Ishii/Goto
- Jado/Yoshi-Hashi vs. Sabre Jr./El Desperado
- Tanahashi/Kitamura vs. Nagata/Oka
- Owens/Yujiro/Fale vs. Takahashi/BUSHI/Naito