G1 Climax Recap: A night full of upsets


Another great night of G1 Climax action for New Japan Pro Wrestling! This night of block action might have been my favorite, thus far. It featured a night full of upsets, including in the main event.

The crowd in Osaka received a big treat with this show. We can’t help but love how this Osaka crowd can be. But before we get to the main event, let’s start somewhere a little more important.

Bread Club Update: A VICTORY FOR ALL!

It finally happened! Our tournament-long nightmare has ended! Satoshi Kojima, noted fearless leader of the Bread Club, has a victory in the G1 Climax.

Kojima defeated SANADA on Saturday night with his patented lariat, which led to a nice pop from the crowd, who chanted for him during the match.

It’s nice to see Kojima get a win in this G1. He’s had some pretty good matches during this entire tournament.

Realistically, it should have served as the first indicator that we’d see a lot of upsets.

Unfortunately, at two points, Kojima doesn’t stand much of a chance of winning B-Block. But there’s no reason why he couldn’t rally and win his last two matches, which are against Tama Tonga and EVIL (the latter might serve as a spoiler).

SANADA isn’t quite out just yet, but he does face a must-win situation in his final two matches in B-Block. All he has left are the Bullet Club’s Kenny Omega and Tama Tonga.

Tuesday is a must-win for SANADA. He’ll need to defeat Kenny Omega to keep his hopes alive.

EVIL scores the biggest upset of the G1 Climax

If there has to be one match from Saturday you need to watch, it’s definitely the one between EVIL and Kazuchika Okada.

Such a fun match that featured a lot of back-and-forth between the two guys.

EVIL did quite a bit. He hit Darkness Falls (a fireman’s carry into a spinebuster) right on some steel chairs in the crowd. Okada could’ve been counted out, but EVIL, in good sportsmanship, dragged him back in and continued the beat down.

Okada did get a couple of Rainmakers in; however, he tried one too many. EVIL revered the last rainmaker attempt into his self-named STO and got the pinfall victory.

With his win, EVIL is now tied with Omega for second place, just two points behind Okada, who remains in first with 12. If recent tradition follows, EVIL will get an IWGP Heavyweight Championship shot at King of Pro Wrestling after scoring the G1 Climax win over the title holder.

For EVIL to win the whole G1, he’ll need to win out, plus need both Okada and Omega to stumble down the stretch. EVIL has Kojima and Michael Elgin left for his matches.

Okada still has Suzuki and Omega next. A win over Suzuki would eliminate a few competitors, but it won’t eliminate EVIL because of the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage.

And it won’t eliminate the man who sits tied for second with EVIL.

Robinson scores a big upset over Omega

This match probably would’ve been the upset of the night and possibly tournament, had it not been for the main event.

Omega dominated most of the match against Juice Robinson. He spent much of that time working over Robinson’s leg.

Robinson hung in there and reversed the one-winged angel into a cradle, which led to a three-count.

The win stood as a surprise to everyone, especially Robinson, who proceeded to curse loudly in shock.

The loss doesn’t kill Omega’s chances, but as previously mentioned, he shares second place with EVIL. Omega wrestles SANADA next. A win for him on Tuesday, plus a loss for Okada to Suzuki, would put him in a tie for first going into their final match next week.

Robinson isn’t in contention to win the G1 Climax B-Block. He’ll wrestle Toru Yano and Michael Elgin in his last two block matches.

Elgin puts a slight dent in Suzuki’s chances

Suzuki by no means is eliminated from the B-Block contention. He can possibly keep his hopes alive by defeating Okada on Tuesday.

Suzuki lost to Michael Elgin, who won with an Elgin Bomb. The match featured no shortage of interference from Suzukigun members Taichi and El Desperado. Both men made themselves useful by attacking Elgin whenever they had the opportunity to do so.

Meanwhile, Suzuki mercilessly attacked Elgin’s right arm. And his two Suzukigun-mates helped in attacking the arm, as well. Elgin eventually got his revenge on Taichi and El Desperado and threw the two around.

Elgin doesn’t have a shot at winning B-Block. He has EVIL and Robinson for his final block matches. Elgin could play a spoiler role for EVIL’s chances, potentially.

Suzuki has to win out against Okada and Yano, in order to have any hopes of making it out of B-Block.

Yano somehow has three wins

Yes folks, Yano won another match, this time against Tama Tonga. It’s worth pointing out that Yano has six points. He finished with 10 in last year’s G1. If Yano wins his remaining two matches, he’ll finish with 10 for the second straight year.

Tonga opted to resort to his own shenanigans early on as he sneaked up from behind on Yano. This led to Tonga chasing Yano around the ringside for about a couple of laps.

As an aside, I’d like to think running around the ring is an exercise they make you do in wrestling school. Builds stamina, or something!

Tonga confiscated Yano’s tape and taped his one hand to the guard rail, then taped his mouth closed and got back into the ring.

Facing a countout, Yano conveniently found a pair of scissors nearby and freed himself to get in before the 20-count.

Tonga proceeded to imitate Yano, which included trying to undo the padding on the turnbuckle. However, it didn’t work out too well for Tonga as Yano undid his end successfully and hit Tonga with the padding.

It just goes to show that removing the padding from a turnbuckle is an art form. Yano is an artist in that sense. Or he’s a scientist that can easily remove padding. Maybe he’s both! You can be an artist and scientist. You can be anything!

Anyway, Yano scored the victory thanks to a low blow. So don’t be surprised to see Yano win at least once more in this G1. He has Robinson and Suzuki left.

What’s next?

The tournament continues on Sunday at Shizuoka. A-Block returns to action with these matches:

  • Yuji Nagata vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Kota Ibushi vs. YOSHI-HASHI
  • Hirooki Goto vs. Bad Luck Fale
  • Togi Makabe vs. Tetsuya Naito
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii

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