NJPW: G1 Special in San Francisco Review

Match 1: CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Gedo, Rocky, Sho, & Yoh) vs Bullet Club (King Haku, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi, & Chase Owens)

Haku and Hashi start, Bullet Club work over Hashi.  Action spills to the floor for brawling.  Bullet Club now working over Rocky.  Yoh gets the hot tag and Roppongi 3K turn the tide for CHAOS.  It all breaks down until Gedo and Tama Tonga are legal.  Haku locks in a Tongan death grip and Tonga hits Gedo with the Gun Stun for the win.  Fine opener but nothing memorable.

Winners: Bullet Club Rating: 4 out of 10

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Photos © NJPW

Match 2: CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs Suzuki Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr)

These two teams have got to know each other very well on the undercards lately.  They always mic Yano’s comedy well with ZSJ’s technical prowess all while letting the two hard hitters strong style the hell out of each other.  For the finish, we get Yano attempting a Low Blow to distract ZSJ allowing Ishii to lariat him into oblivion for the win.  Always really enjoyable matches between four very talented performers.

Winners: CHAOS Ratings: 7 out of 10

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Photos © NJPW

Match 3: Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA) vs Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Marty Scurll)

The Juniors start off.  Usual junior exchanges followed by the usual Scurll Schtick.  The two heavy’s tag in.  Quick little exchange between the two until KUSHIDA tags back in.  Heat segment on KUSHIDA until Tanahashi gets the hot tag.  Tanahashi runs wild and turns the tide.  It breaks down until Page and KUSHIDA are the only men left.  As always the heavyweight gets the win as Page hits the Rite Of Passage for the win.  Usual undercard performance for Tanahashi and Scurll while the other two tried hard and dragged this to a decent match.

Winners: Bullet Club Rating: 5 out of 10

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Photos © NJPW

Match 4: NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto (c) vs Jeff Cobb

The two hosses lock up and do the usual pushing into the ropes.  Shoulder tackles, flying tackle from Cobb who follows up with the German Suplex.  Goto gains control and grounds the action. The pace picks up once Cobb escapes.  They trade shots and nearfalls before Cobb knocks Goto’s head off and hits the standing moonsault for a very close 2 count.  Cobb attempts Tour of the Islands but Goto reverses into a sleeper.  Goto gets a close 2 with a good combo ending in the Ushigoroshi.  Goto finally puts Cobb away with the GRT.  Fine hoss battle that is among one of Goto’s worst of the year in what has been a banner year for Goto.

Winner: Hirooki Goto Rating: 6 out of 10

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Photos © NJPW

Match 5: IWGP Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (c) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & SANADA)

Nick and SANADA to begin. They knock EVIL and Matt to the floor and Nick escapes skull end and then EVIL and Matt join in for a four-way submission spot. The Bucks work double teams. They work over SANADA but EVIL is back in and the challengers take control. SANADA works over Nick and locks on the paradise lock. The dropkick to the ass follows and EVIL tags in. Double teams follow. They work over Nick until he makes the hot tag to Matt.  Matt fights off the challengers, bodies moving everywhere as all four men are involved in the action until a missile dropkick from SANADA has everyone down.  SANADA locks in the Skull end and swings Matt around and misses a moonsault attempt.  The Bucks work over SANADA and almost get him to tap until he makes the Hot tag to EVIL and he’s fired up.  SANADA is in and they hit magic killer for 2 as Matt makes the save. Matt fights off SANADA and we get the Ref Bump.  EVIL gets a chair and it’s superkicked into his face. Matt lays out the chair as but SANADA cuts that off and LIJ hit the indie taker onto the chair for 2 as Nick just barely makes the save.  Magic killer follows on Matt for another close nearfall.  SANADA hits his beautiful over the top cross body on Nick on the floor, Matt counters everything is evil and hits a superkick. Superkicks on SANADA follow as he flies in. The Meltzer driver finishes EVIL.  Another balls to the wall tag team match with some amazing nearfalls down the stretch

Winners: The Young Bucks Ratings: 8 out of 10

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Photos © NJPW

Match 6: CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay) vs LIJ (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)

Naito and Okada start.  Usual Tranquillo stuff from Naito.  The Juniors tag in and we get the usual junior exchanges.  LIJ work over Ospreay with some heelish methods.  Okada eventually gets the hot tag and gets to work taking out both LIJ members.  Okada and Naito look for their big moves and the juniors tag back in.  High speed counters leading to Ospreay picking up the win with the Storm Breaker.  This was rather average and clearly a house show performance from the two bigger names

Winners: CHAOS Rating: 4 out of 10

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Photos © NJPW

Match 7: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs Dragon Lee

This is Hiromu Takahashi vs Dragon Lee.  We got what we expected.  Insane chop exchanges.  Eye opening spots and all the death defying antics that you could hope for. And then this happened:

Takahashi landed on his freaking head and probably broke his neck on this spot.  The match finished not long after with Hiromu hitting the Time Bomb for the win.  We got what we expected from the match up until the Phoenix Plex.  Had this match not featured the botch and maybe headed for the real finish it would have been their best match yet.

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi Rating: 8 out of 10

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Photos © NJPW

Match 8: IWGP US Championship: ‘Switchblade’ Jay White (c) vs. Juice Robinson

Robinson shoots out of the gate and takes the fight to White.  White eventually takes control and takes the action to the floor.  White then begins to work over Robinson’s hand.  White works over Juice with holds and strikes making sure to focus on the injured hand as much as possible.  Juice tries to fire up but White not letting it happen.  White takes the action to the floor again as he slams Juice onto the barricade right in front of the announce team.  Which hilariously infuriates Barnett and JR, who has been as bad as ever tonight.  White and Robinson end up on the apron.  German attempt reversed by Juice who hits a Russian leg sweep from the apron to the floor.  19 spot.  Both men back in and Juice is rallying.  The referee stops juice from using his cast to his advantage allowing White to take control.  It all gets confusing as the ref gets distracted allowing Juice to hit his big left hand and the Pulp Friction for a super close near fall.  Robinson goes for the Pulp friction again but White reverses into two Dragon Suplexes.  White attempts the blade runner but Robinson counters into a roll-up for the win.  Fine match with the big moment for Juice finally winning the big one in front of a hot crowd.

Winner: Juice Robinson Rating: 6 out of 10

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Photos © NJPW

Match 9: IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Cody

Cody did his heel things.  This was a 34 minute match which is way too long to have Cody in a ring.  The match ended up being overbooked and far too long,  Easily one of the weaker NJPW main events of the year and was really a vessel for the post-match action.

Winner: Kenny Omega Rating: 3 out of 10

Omega helps Cody to his feet post-match. Kenny cuts the show closing promo.  Bullet Club arrives to celebrate with Omega BUT TAMA TONGA ATTACKS.  G.O.D and Haku They lay out Omega and beat down the Bucks. Adam Page, Marty, Owens & Takahashi arrive and they get taken out as well. Tonga now lays in chair shots. The Tongan side of Bullet Club stands tall. Cody now limps his way out to the ring and Tonga hands him a chair BUT HE TURNS ON TAMA AND SIDES WITH KENNY eats a stun gun. Haku piledrives him and they leave.  Cody now helps Omega to his feet and they embrace.  Exciting angle to close the show as Bullet Club has well and truly split in 2.

Overall, this was a weaker show.  The US crowd was treated to 2 fantastic matches but got more than enough filler and weak performances.  Throw in the injury to Hiromu and this is really a below-par NJPW show.