The New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax tournament just wrapped up its fifth show, and fourth night in a row. The tournament stayed in Tokyo, but this time moved from Korakeun Hall to Machida Gymnasium.
A-Block completed its third night of action and it looks like things are getting a little crowded at the top.
Naito and Goto have company at the top following losses
Going into Sunday, the A-Block had two wrestlers at the top of the leaderboard. Now there are six wrestlers.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Bad Luck Fale and Zack Sabre Jr. joined Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto in a tie for first place.
Goto lost in the main event to Togi Makabe, who picked up his first win in this G1 Climax. Their bout had a lot of hard hitting, but didn’t quite feel like a main event. It was a good match, but the rest of A-Block provided better pairings.
Nonetheless, good for the veteran and former tournament winner Makabe to get on the board in this G1. We’ll see if Makabe makes a run the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Naito lost his A-Block match-up to Bad Luck Fale. Everyone obviously hoped Naito would avenge the death of Daryl.
However, Bad Luck Fale is a powerful dude. Naito couldn’t use his Destino finisher on a big guy like Fale.
It was still a pretty fun match to watch. Fale’s win really sets him up to be a tough out beat in this A-Block.
Los Ingobernables de Japon will have to avenge Daryl’s death another day.
Ibushi wins a physical battle against Ishii
I looked forward to watching this match and it didn’t disappoint. Granted, I was curious about how Ibushi would handle a physical match with Tomohiro Ishii.
However, Ibushi showed up. He stayed tough and went toe-to-toe with Ishii, and it made for a fun, and at points dangerous, match.
Ibushi’s win helps him enter that group of guys at the top of the A-Block. Whether he can stay towards the top or not remains to be seen.
As for Ishii, the loss doesn’t hurt him. However, the Stone Pitbull needs a win in the coming week if he wants to stay in contention in this A-Block.
Tanahashi wins again as Nagata remains winless
If ever there seemed like an opportunity for Yuji Nagata to get a win, it would’ve come against Mr. Arm in a Sleeve, Hiroshi Tanahashi.
I really enjoyed this match. I’ve enjoyed watching Nagata in this, his final G1 Climax tournament. He hasn’t had a bad match and with the rest of the block, I can’t see him having a bad match the rest of the way.
I hoped Nagata could get the win. And there were a couple of near falls, including the exploder suplex off the top rope, in which I thought this had to be it.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for Nagata. Tanahashi indeed got the win and joined the top-loaded A-Block.
Nagata probably should’ve worked over Tanahashi’s arm a little more. He did get Tanahashi in an armbar, but it wasn’t enough.
Sabre Jr. scores win over Yoshi-Hashi
I don’t know how much attention this match will get because it was the opener of the block matches. However, it should warrant a little consideration.
I liked the match. Sabre Jr. is such a fun wrestler to watch and Yoshi-Hashi has had a pretty good G1, performance-wise, thus far.
A lot of near-falls by both wrestlers and of course Sabre Jr. once again showcased all of his moves.
ZSJ worked over Yoshi-Hashi’s arm and would win the match thanks to an Octopus Hold, which is such an amazing move.
The Bullet Club once again continues bring up the tragic death of Daryl Takahashi (the stuffed cat. Bullet Club leader Kenneth J. Omega (that sounds like a semi-professional name for Kenny Omega) offered his “condolences.”
— Kenny Omega (@KennyOmegamanX) July 22, 2017
Meanwhile, Hiromu Takahashi returned to action, still obviously mourning the loss of Daryl, as part of a tag match with EVIL against Tama Tonga and Chase Owens.
Ever the sensitive type, Tonga, who presumably is much better after his Bullet Club therapy session Friday, took the opportunity to taunt Takahashi and yell Daryl’s name. Takahashi did get a few hits in on both Tonga and Owens. EVIL got the win by making Owens tap out.
However, it’s clear things aren’t over between Los Ingobernables and Bullet Club.
Bread Club Watch: Almost missed this one
Truth be told, I missed this match live because I didn’t wake up in time to catch some of the early matches.
Thankfully, I rewound the footage and caught the opener between Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan against Michael Elgin and Katsuya Kitamura.
I liked this opener and ready to see Kojima and Elgin face off. The two had great interaction against each other.
Kojima got the win thanks to a lariat to Kitamura, who also looked pretty good. Hopefully, this leads to Kojima getting on the board.
Other tag notes
There was no shortage of interaction between Minoru Suzuki and Juice Robinson in their six-man tag. Suzuki teamed up with El Desperado and Taichi, while Robinson had David Finlay and Hirai Kawato.
Suzukigun is so good at isolating opponents from their tag partners. I can’t imagine anything scarier than Suzuki working over your knee and you’re alone in the ring because your teammates were attacked on the apron and are on the floor.
Unfortunately, that happened to Robinson for much of the match. He held on to get the tag.
Esperado got the win over Kawato thanks to a Pinche Loco. Suzuki continued to attack Robinson after the match.
We also had Omega and Yujiro Takahashi taking on Toru Yano and Jado.
Yano hit Omega with the turnbuckle pad. Yujiro pinned Jado.
That said, I’m a little excited to see Yano against Omega. It could be a fun match amid the hard-hitting competition commonplace in this tournament.
Finally, we had SANADA and BUSHI taking on Kazuchika Okada and Gedo.
BUSHI, ever the gentleman, offered a handshake of sportsmanship to Gedo. And to prove sincerity, BUSHI shook the referees hand.
Gedo rejected the offer, instead shaking the referees hand, which I assume he hoped to do as a proxy move. As you can imagine, this disappointed BUSHI.
Now you might ask why this wasn’t a trick by BUSHI. I trust BUSHI and genuinely believe he would never resort to trickery.
You can always trust a mysterious masked man who wants to shake your hand.
Ironically, BUSHI got over the rejection by pinning Gedo. I’m all for BUSHI overcoming the adversity. Good job, BUSHI!
Oh and by the way, this match sets up SANADA and Okada, which should be a lot of fun. The two did have some interaction. I’m intrigued to see how this goes, because I think it could be a really fun match.
We have nothing for Monday! It’s nice to get a bit of a break. The tournament continues on Tuesday in Fukushima. The B-Block matches feature:
- Kojima vs. Elgin
- EVIL vs. Tonga
- Robinson vs. Suzuki
- Omega vs. Yano
- Okada vs. SANADA
I really like these match-ups. This could really be a lot of fun for B-Block. The tag matches feature:
- Makabe/Ryusuke Taguichi vs. Ibushi/Syota Umino
- Kitamura/Tomoyuki Oka vs. Ishii/Yoshi-Hashi
- Nagata/Kawato vs. Naito/Takahashi
- Sabre Jr./Taichi/Desperado vs. Fale/Yujiro/Owens
- Tanahashi/Finlay vs. Goto/Jado