The Linus Report: NJPW G1 Climax, day 2 (23/07/2015, Shizuoka)

Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day two! Day one happened on Monday, and day two on Thursday. You got day one on Friday and now day two on Saturday. There’s a bonus for you there somewhere, I’m sure of it.

Anyway, we’re at the Twin Messe in Shizuoka, and it’s a hardcam shoot, with no commentary, like they use for house shows on New Japan World. It’s a little odd to watch at first but you soon get used to it. They played the intro from yesterday’s show on a screen for the fans in the arena and you could see it on a tiny screen in the corner.

The announcer ran down tonight’s card, and it’s G1 matches from Block B, as well as a supporting card of junior heavyweights, non-tournament heavyweights, and the guys from Block A.

First up was a tag-team match, with Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV taking on Jay White & Yohei Komatsu. If you read yesterday’s day one review, you’ll know I have a bit of a thing for these young boys. Wait, that doesn’t right at all… fuck it, let it ride. So, yeah, these “young boys”, trainees from the New Japan Dojo, are really fun to watch, because they concentrate on the fundamentals. I like that.

Another quirk of the hardcam shoots is that, for copyright reasons, some of the entrance music is verboten. So they just cut the sound, and you’re watching a fixed camera in silence. Like I said, you get used to it. It happened to Liger & Tiger Mask here.

There was a nice contrast here, between the ultra-colourful costumes of the veterans and the plain black trunks, black boots of the rookies. As well as basic ring gear, the rookies only do a few moves, the ones they’ve really mastered. They both have sweet dropkicks. Although, saying that, Komatsu did a dive off the top rope and White did a missile dropkick, so they’re progressing.

The young boys played nominal heel, which is odd because Komatsu is usually a babyface, but it worked for the match. They had the veterans in Boston Crabs at the same time but the oldsters came back, Tiger Mask hitting a Tiger Driver on White for the win. Nice little match.

The Bullet Club were out next, and – Christ! – is it the shitty end of that stick. Bad Luck Fale, Doc Gallows & Cody Hall may be about a billion feet tall between them but they’re also not very good. They’re fighting Kota Ibushi & Togi Makabe, from Block A, and Captain New Japan, who wasn’t invited into the tournament, with good cause.

The Bullet Club attacked before the bell rang, because I guess who couldn’t wait to see this match, eh? Ibushi and Fale paired off and that just made me sad because at some point I’m going to have to see that match. After a brief return to normalcy, the Bullet Club led another rudo breakdown, and the match kinda suffered a bit from all that heat.

Cody Hall wrestles like a trainee. This should not be news, because he kinda is, but he made his debut three years ago. Still, as I said, he’ll make Vince McMahon lots of money one day. Doc Gallows does not wrestle like a trainee but he’s still not great. Actually, while his offense is rotten and I don’t know what his character is, he’s good at selling. And he moves well for a big man. FAINT PRAISE!

The good guys got the win when Togi Makabe pinned Cody Hall with a kneedrop and it was probably better than it had any right to be. Ibushi mostly had a night off.

More Bullet Club out in the following match, with AJ Styles & Tama Tonga upping the quality a little. Facing them, though, was the team of YOSHI-HASHI and Toru Yano. FFS.

Tama Tonga had #BizCliz written on his trunks. Okay. And then he acted like a savage to scare Yano, and if I’m honest he doesn’t do enough of that. Savages are a professional wrestling staple, after all. YOSHI-HASHI has Loose Explosion written on his tights. I have no idea what that means but it’s not something you should have around the bum area, I think.

The Bullet Club made hard work of this, and Tonga got outsmarted too much by Yano. The man’s clearly a loon, don’t fall for it. Tonga did get a nearfall, with a standing splash. It was at this time that, despite seeing at least a dozen Tama Tonga matches this year, I have no idea what his finisher is.

Maybe it’s the spear, because he likes to do that. He tried it on Yano but Yano sidestepped him and Tonga hit Styles. Yano then rolled up Tonga for the win. Jeez. This was a nothing match, really.

The last match before the interval was a six-man tag, – Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito & Mascara Dorada versus Katsuyori Shibata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Ryusuke Taguchi.

Naito came out wearing a Los Ingobernables t-shirt, his stable from CMLL. He kept it on throughout the match. His thing seems to be that he doesn’t give a shit. I like that. Shibata did not care about his not caring, and sat down in the ring to wait for him. Naito wasn’t all that keen and tagged Tanahashi in, but Shibata kicked Naito RIGHT OFF THE APRON. So he did care.

Tenzan came in with Tanahashi and sucked ALL THE FUN out of him. Tanahashi is a joy to watch when he’s on, but he seemed kind of on autopilot here. I’ll tell you something about Tenzan, though: he hates Naito, too. Naito has turned into a MASSIVE DICK since his return from Mexico, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Mascara Dorade and Ryusuke Taguchi do some lucha, but only after Dorada offered his bum up to Taguchi, and Taguchi bummed it with his bum. Their spot ended with Dorada hitting a flip plancha out onto Taguchi, and Jay White was there in the aisle, keeping the peace, and selling his elbow. Good lad.

Naito and Shibata went at it some more and they seem to be having quite the feud, which should make their G1 match cool. And by cool I mean hot. Taguchi got the win for his team with a running bum on Dorada, but the match had kinda fallen apart and gotten boring by that point.

They had another long interval and nothing happened. Well, people got up and went to the toilet and the merch’ stand, I guess, but the hardcam stayed focussed on the ring, where the young boys tightened the turnbuckles. IT’S JUST LIKE BEING AT THE SHOW.

The first Block B match was between Tomohiro Ishii and Satoshi Kojima. They had issues on day one, when they were on opposing sides in a tag-team match, which was weird given that they’re fighting on the very next show. What are the odds?

They started out with an INSANE forearm war. Seriously, they must have hit, like, FIFTY each. Disappointingly, at the end, Kojima’s forearms were more powerful than Ishii’s and if there were any justice in this world we’d get a training montage of Ishii working on closing that gap.

They worked a slow pace, and did some brawling outside. The ringside photographers went and stood right between the wrestlers and the camera so we saw NOTHING. IT’S JUST LIKE BEING AT THE SHOW.

They did a good clothesline sequence but the match was much longer than it needed to be. Ishii won with a brainbuster and although it lost its way a bit it was a decent enough match.

The first person out for the next match was Takahashi’s stripper. There is a god. Who can’t love a gimmick that requires you to come to the ring with a hot, scantily-clad lady? Actually, I don’t know what his gimmick really is, but my point still stands. Cody Hall was out with him, too, but FUCK THAT.

So Takahashi and Hirooki Goto had a match and it was long and boring. They started slow and then Goto exploded and Takahashi took a powder. Goto got on top but Takahashi reversed that by biting him. Such a great dick.

They went to the outside and began doing stuff, but they were on the opposite side of the ring to the camera. What’s that? Yes, IT’S JUST LIKE BEING AT THE SHOW. Back in the ring, Takahashi beat on Goto, who fired back but then got beat down again. Goto then made another comeback, and got some nearfalls, but Takahashi stopped him by biting him again and got a nearfall of his own.

The crowd really didn’t care for this, despite Takahashi stepping things up with a sweet brainbuster. Then he hit Goto with A LOT but somewhere in there Goto got a nearfall with a cheeky roll-up. Goto got the win with the Shouten Kai, and this was all over the shop, really. Far too long to be interesting at any point.

Just like Ishii & Kojima, Yuji Nagata and Tomoaki Honma had issues on Monday. And they’re fighting tonight, too! Yeah, it’s Nagata’s pudgy face versus Honma’s scarred forehead, and the first exchanges of the match were obscured by a BLINDING LIGHT from the entrance way. They did a fast back and forth, and then Honma missed his first headbutt, so the match was truly on at that point.

Nagata took over after that, but Honma made a comeback by blocking a suplex and deadlifting Nagata over for one of his own. THEN HE HIT HIS HEADBUTT! That got a nearfall and he called for the top rope headbutt but Nagata cut him off. Honma tried a Sunset Bomb but Nagata blocked it and hit an Exploder suplex into the turnbuckles. He followed up with a knee in the corner and Honma’s selling was AWESOME here.

 

They did an exchange into an armbar from Nagata, but Honma made the ropes. He came back and missed a top rope headbutt and both men lay there, fucked. Then came some furious nearfalls, including a really ouchy backdrop driver by Nagata, and then he hit another one for the win. Good match, that.

Michael Elgin impressed me on Monday’s show and he continued that into his G1 match with Kazuchika Okada. Elgin told Okada to bring it from the off, so it looked like he was over any nervousness. In the opening back and forth he hit a somersault legdrop and I’m becoming a fan. They did a good heat segment, with Elgin playing the foreign monster – who has a SKULL on his singlet – well.

Okada got some shine but Elgin cut it off with a deadlift inside-out Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. All the time, Gedo was on the outside, willing Okada on, wearing that bandana that makes it really hard to see stuff.

Elgin hit a deadlift buckle bomb but Okada hit an immediate backbreaker comeback, high on adrenaline. Both men were down, wasted, but Okada got up first and went for a Tombstone piledriver. Elgin reversed it but Okada wriggled out, hit THAT dropkick, and then an elbow off the top rope. He called for the Rainmaker but Elgin blocked it. Booooo!

Elgin took Okada up top but Okada escaped and hit another dropkick. He pulled Elgin back into the ring, hit another Tombstone, and then the Rainmaker for the win. These two had a really good match, and kept the time to just the right length.

Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Shinsuke Nakamura versus Karl Anderson! Anderson came out with Doc Gallows, Cody Hall & Tama Tonga. Nakamura came out on his own, dancing, because he is a FUCKING BAD ASS.

They started slow, with Nakamura mocking Anderson’s machine gun pose, and trading even stevens holds & reversals. Then they sped it up a bit, with holds & reversals, moves & counters. They brawled outside and Anderson dumped Nakamura into the front row. Fourteen-year old David Finlay checked on him.

Anderson kept wearing Nakamura down, trash talking to the crowd and mocking “YEAOH!” Nakamura made a sudden comeback from the apron, hitting a kick, a running knee, and a kneedrop. Back in the ring, he did his vibrating leg thingy. WHAT IS IT CALLED? IT MUST HAVE A NAME!

They went back and forth some more and women in the crowd just kept on screaming, “Shinsuke!” and it was ANNOYING. Nakamura kicked out of two Stun Guns (which is Anderson’s finisher, his version of Marc Mero’s TKO which Mero did better), including one off the top rope. He blocked a third and hit a big knee, but then missed Bom A Ye and got nearfalled.

They did more back and forth and then Nakamura hit Bom A Ye for a nearfall. He missed another and Anderson hit a Stun Gun out of nowhere for a surprise win. Huh. This wasn’t bad, but the crowd were just so, so quiet.

After the match, Anderson cut a promo in Japanese, talking about losing in the finals in 2012, and saying he’d win this year. Okay.

This was a Decent Show. There was nothing on the level of day one’s Tanahashi versus Ibushi, or even that day’s Chaos versus Bullet Club six-man. But it had nothing quite so bad as day one’s lowlights either. Hey, it’s a long haul, right? Join me tomorrow for day three!

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