NJPW G1 Climax 25/7/17, The Review

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By Austin Grinnell @WolfmanAustin13

July 25, 2017

From Big Palette Fukushima

The opening bout of the evening is bringing two guys into the G1 Climax tour for the first time this year, as Ryusuke Taguchi teams with Togi Makabe against Kota Ibushi & Shota Umino. Makabe picked up his first two points of the tournament on the 23rd in a hard hitting affair with Hirooki Goto, and will meet Ibushi tomorrow night in A Block action.

This one has definitely been a showcase for Kota Ibushi, but Umino is getting in a decent amount of offense as well. Taguchi comes close to scoring a three count with a Flying Hip Attack off the second rope. Umino with some quick pin attempts, but the young lion eventually succumbs to Taguchi’s Ankle Lock submission as Ibushi and Makabe battle outside of the ring. Officials have to separate the two men, but they will meet tomorrow night with two big points on the line.

Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi d. Kota Ibushi & Shota Umino

More young lions in action for our next match, as Tomoyuki Oka teams with Katsuya Kitamura to take on the CHAOS team of Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI. While waiting for the CHAOS duo to come out, the camera focused in on a beautiful shot of Oka & Kitamura, side by side, waiting aggressively for their opponents to come out. Both young lions have displayed good ability to hang in there with some of the best in New Japan.

Oka plays the Robert Gibson role here, taking the brunt of the assault from YOSHI & Ishii, before making the hot tag in to Kitamura, who gets a chance here to display his immense power and explosiveness. Don’t sleep on those Knife Edged Chops either, as Kitamura has some of the most brutal chops in the business. Even with the size difference though, Kitamura can not overcome the Butterfly Lock of YOSHI-HASHI, and taps out to give the win to CHAOS.

Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI d. Tomoyuki Oka & Katsuya Kitamura

Tetsuya Naito is such a good friend, interacting with Hiromu Takahashi as if Daryl were still around. Naito offers up the fist bump to Hiromu and gets it, and then offers one up to “Daryl”, and Hiromu allows it to happen. The mental state of Takahashi has got to be slipping, and even though he’s teaming up with Yuji Nagata tonight, I expect that Hirai Kawato will be on the wrong end of Hiromu’s aggression.

Nagata is still pointless in the G1 Tournament, but I don’t expect him to pick up any against Naito tomorrow night. The former Intercontinental Champion is coming off of a loss to Bad Luck Fale in the third match of A Block action, so I’m expecting a rebound tomorrow night against Nagata. Blue Justice and Kawato double team Hiromu with big Roundhouse Kicks, and the evolution of Kawato has begun, as he incorporates more of those kinds of strikes into his arsenal and changes up his ring gear slightly with knee pads just below his knees, a la Ric Flair.

Kawato has been separated from his partner in the late stages of the match, but refuses to give up. The fighting spirit in this kid is strong, but former young lion Hiromu Takahashi is hell bent on forcing him to submit to the standard young lion’s Boston Crab, and eventually does force the tap out as Kawato can only hold on for so long, with a former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion stretching him to the limit.

Naito and Nagata get into it after the match, as Blue Justice does not approve of Naito’s nonchalant attitude.

Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi d. Yuji Nagata & Hirai Kawato

We’ve got six man tag team action coming up here as Bullet Club takes on Suzuki-gun. Bad Luck Fale leads the Bullet Club team of Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens against Zack Sabre Jr, El Desperado & Taichi. Tomorrow night, Sabre and Fale will do battle, with the winner taking the lead in A Block with six points. Again, as Don Callis so helpfully pointed out two shows ago, Sabre is wearing the black and white of Suzuki-gun while in tag team action, after having worn his traditional red attire in his A Block win over YOSHI-HASHI on the 23rd.

The size difference between Fale and Sabre is tremendous, and was on display as ZSJ tried for a running Shoulder Tackle and just bounced right off the big man. Suzuki-gun took advantage for a bit, but Taichi is trying to bully Fale to zero effect. He and Desperado start double teaming, but again, Fale is having none of it.

Thus far, this match has had the least interaction between the upcoming G1 participants, but aside from being in the tournament, there isn’t a lot behind the upcoming match between Bad Luck Fale and Zack Sabre Jr. Tonight, Bullet Club would be victorious as Yujiro plants Taichi with the Pimp Juice DDT to score the win.

Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens d. Zack Sabre Jr, El Desperado & Taichi

Hirooki Goto and Hiroshi Tanahashi are getting ready to do battle tomorrow night in the G1 Tournament, but tonight they will collide in tag team action, as Goto teams with Jado against the team of Tanahashi & David Finlay Jr.

Tana and Goto also sit with four points each, leading into their match tomorrow night. Thus far into the match, it’s been mostly Goto & Jado working over Finlay, with Goto continuing to make sure that Tanahashi cannot tag himself in. Finlay fights back and gets the tag, allowing the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion to come in and clean house, even busting out the second rope Flipping Senton Bomb on Goto for a two count.

After some more back and forth, it’s Finlay connecting with the Stunner on Jado that secures the victory for the team of the Prince & The Ace in the final match before tonight’s tournament bouts.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay Jr d. Hirooki Goto & Jado

The first of the tournament matches for the night pits Michael Elgin against Satoshi Kojima. Neither man have scored any points yet in the G1 Climax, but at least one of them will walk out with something on the scorecard here. Both have put on fantastic performances thus far, but it’s Elgin who has had the tougher of the first two matches, and I feel like he needs the win here.

The early goings of the match definitely favor Elgin here, as his youth and power advantage over the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion are evident. Koji connects with a big DDT onto the ring apron, turning the tide of the match, but misses with a Slingshot Plancha, allowing Elgin to Powerbomb him onto the ring apron. Kojima barely makes it back in, and then falls victim to a Falcon Arrow for a two count.

The fans are rallying behind Kojima as he refuses to go down from Elgin’s Lariats. A Koji Cutter counters another Lariat attempt, and both men are down! The finish of the match comes as Elgin fights off Kojima on the top rope, hitting a Sunset Flip Powerbomb, and then rolling through into the Spinning Elgin Bomb to pick up the win over the veteran Kojima. Elgin escapes the basement here, leaving Kojima as the only man left in B Block without a point.

Michael Elgin [2] d. Satoshi Kojima [0]

I have no idea who is coming out of this next match with the win, as both EVIL and Tama Tonga have put in great showings, and could benefit greatly from a strong run in the G1 Tournament. With Naito & SANADA also in the G1, I’m leaning towards personally wanting Tonga to pick up the win here, as I feel like he may be getting groomed here to take over Bullet Club in the event that this is Kenny Omega’s final year with New Japan.

It doesn’t take long for the fight to make it outside of the ring, as Tonga and EVIL both slide outside as soon as the bell rings. The two men have made it all the way to the corner of the building now, where Tonga is punishing EVIL. Tama drags the referee back to the ring and demands that he begin the twenty count. EVIL manages to make it back in time though, despite being badly beaten.

Tonga loses control of the match as he misses a Stinger Splash and gets planted with a Sidewalk Slam. The match winds up back outside the ring, and it’s EVIL’s turn to inflict some punishment as he sends his opponent hard into the guardrail, and then hits a home run with a steel chair, and another wrapped around the neck of the wild man.

The King of Darkness tries for the Banshee Muzzle submission, but Tonga isn’t worn down enough for that yet. EVIL with a Fireman’s Carry Bomb for a two count, but it’s a Superman Punch from Tonga out of nowhere that leads to the Headshrinker DDT for a two count. Both men are back up and trading attempts at their different signature moves, but the end comes as EVIL counters his way out of a Tongan Twist, directly into the STO for the three count. Tonight, everything is EVIL. What a great showing for both guys.

EVIL [4] d. Tama Tonga [2]

Next up is Minoru Suzuki against Juice Robinson. Last show, Suzuki injured the knee of Robinson, and I would fully expect him to be right back on it tonight. Juice is showing discomfort just walking to the ring, so this could be a quick one if Minoru gets hold of that knee early on… and as I write that, here comes Suzuki with a kick to the back of the knee before the bell even rings.

There’s no denying the heart of Juice Robinson, and he’s had great showings so far in the 27th G1 Climax, but he’s coming into this one at a disadvantage against one of pro wrestling’s most legitimate bad asses. Suzuki applies a Leglock through the middle rope, wrenching on the knee before the fight winds up in the crowd. Away from the ring, Suzuki brutalizes the knee of Juice with the guardrails and spectator chairs.

Robinson makes it back into the ring at the count of nineteen, but Suzuki just takes him back out and wraps his leg around the guardrail again, driving another chair into the injured knee. Robinson refuses to give up fighting though, getting back into the ring and asking the veteran for more. For the first time in the match, Juice seems to be gaining some momentum as he strikes with Suzuki and then catches him with a big Spinebuster.

It doesn’t last long for Juice though, as Suzuki is back on the attack with a Kneebar, targeting the injured knee of his opponent once more. Minoru adjusts as Juice tries to reach the ropes. Red Shoes Uno is right there in Robinson’s face asking for the submission as Suzuki turns the hold into an Ankle Lock with the leg grapevined. Juice keeps fighting though, and does manage to get his hand on the bottom rope to force the break.

Robinson keeps countering out of the Sleeper Hold, but his attempts at the Pulp Friction are equally fruitless. It would come down to a delayed Gotch Style Piledriver, dropping Juice directly on his head, and Suzuki picks up the win, collecting two more points in the tournament.

Minoru Suzuki [4] d. Juice Robinson [2]

What I’m presuming is going to be our comedy match of the night (no surprise, it’s Yano To-Ru) is up next, as Yano does battle with Kenny Omega. Omega is looking to get to six points here so that he can maintain the lead in B Block, as rival Kazuchika Okada looks to pick up his sixth point in the main event tonight. Yano wants to give Omega his newest DVD release, but Kenny won’t take it from him, so he gives it to Red Shoes Uno to give to Kenny. Omega takes it, and Yano asks him to “Please Open”. Kenny obliges and winds up with a face full of white powder!

Yano rolls him up for a two count, and Omega springs to his feet, grabbing Red Shoes and almost putting him down with the One Winged Angel by mistake, but Yano is there with a low blow and a School Boy for another two count. Kenny finally gets some water to get the powder out of his eyes, but in the time it took him to recover, Yano has removed all of the turnbuckle pads, making the ring more dangerous than usual.

Outside of the ring, Yano gets hold of Omega’s feet while the United States Champion was trying to get into the ring, and he has used athletic tape to tie his feet together. Omega gets the upper hand again though, and is now doing the same to Toru Yano. We have ourselves a Hop-Along G1 Climax Challenge, as both guys try to maintain their balance while throwing right hands. Kenny with a Headlock, but Yano fires him off into the ropes with a Hopping Irish Whip. Kenny hops his way along and comes back at Yano with a Shoulder Block, and even manages a Double Foot Stomp.

Neither guy can get the other over for a Suplex, but even with his legs taped together, Omega manages to connect with a very nice Dragon Suplex on Yano, before getting scissors from Chase Owens, allowing himself to get free. Yano gets hold of the scissors, but before he can free himself, Omega catches him with a nasty V-Trigger. This match has been ridiculous fun.

Yano tries to get himself back into the ring, but Kenny hits him with another V-Trigger, sending him back to the floor for the twenty count, as Omega picks up his sixth point by way of count-out.

Kenny Omega [6] d. Toru Yano [2]

Main event time as my boy SANADA goes one on one with the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. SANADA has two points to Okada’s four, currently and would like to stay in contention at the top of B Block, so this is a big one for him. For Okada, this match is all about picking up the win to secure himself the two points and keep pace with his rival Kenny Omega.

The match has been pretty respectful and even thus far, but SANADA jumped off the second rope, over top of Okada and seemed to hurt his knee badly. With Okada’s back turned though, he shows us that it was all a ruse as SANADA attacks, taking the fight to the outside and sending Okada back first into the guardrail. Back in the ring now, and the Cold Skull is using his shirt to choke the champion.

SANADA is showing a great mind for pacing here, slowing things down to not allow Okada to gain momentum, but the Rainmaker is the best for a reason, and Okada forces the pace to quicken, using his explosiveness to overwhelm his opponent. It’s time for Okada to fly, as he dives over the guardrail with a Running Crossbody into the seats.

Back in the ring, SANADA keeps trying for the Paradise Lock, but Okada keeps countering it. Okada with an Irish Whip into the corner, but SANADA floats over the buckle and goes for the Springboard Dropkick. Okada is ready for him though, stopping him at the ropes and catching him with the Reverse Neckbreaker over the knee. SANADA does catch him with the Springboard Dropick, before hitting a Saito Suplex for a two count.

SANADA locks in the Skull End, but Okada manages to get his foot to the ropes before the move can be fully sunk in. Another attempt at the Skull End sees SANADA lock it in while seated on the top rope, but Okada fights out of it, connecting with a Tombstone Piledriver out of desperation. This has been a very solid good guy vs bad guy match, as SANADA is showing a lot of great old school heel tendencies and controlling the pace of the match.

After a big Dropkick, Okada tries for the Rainmaker, but SANADA escapes and goes for the Skull End again, directly in the center of the ring. Okada’s squirming and close to the ropes, but cannot make it. The bicep of SANADA has been creeping up the face of his opponent though, and the hold isn’t completely locked in, allowing Okada the time he needed to finally make it to the ropes for a break.

SANADA isn’t playing around though, and he connects with the ode to Mutoh, as he comes off the top rope with the Moonsault before immediately trying to apply the submission again, but Okada counters with a Rainmaker! The champ holds onto the wrist and pulls SANADA up for another half-power Rainmaker to take control again.

Okada tries to put SANADA away, but the Cold Skull still has some fight in him as they trade reversals. It would ultimately come raining down on SANADA though, as Okada finally connects with a full power Rainmaker to put SANADA down for the three count.

With the win, Okada joins Kenny Omega on top of B Block with six points after three nights of action. Another great showing from SANADA here as well, as he makes his case for a singles push in the latter half of 2017.

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