Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day three, from the Kyoto City Budokan Center!
The opening match was Michael Elgin, Mascara Dorada, Jay White & David Finlay versus Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV, Satoshi Kojima & Yohei Komatsu.
The gaijin make for an odd team. That’s the beauty of a tournament like this, the supporting bouts can be utterly random. That said, apart from the regular team (and regular opponents) of Liger & Tiger Mask, the other team is pretty random, too.
Tiger Mask and Mascara Dorada started out and did some lucha. Then Jay White came in and got KILLED by Tiger Mask and Jushin Liger. Being a young boy sucks sometimes.
Komatsu and Finlay were in with White and it was black pants everywhere. The other young boy, Sho Tanaka, is off with NOAH, doing their junior heavyweight tournament. He’s cool, too.
Mascara Dorada lucha‘d Komatsu for a while but the young boy fought back and made the tag to Kojima. Elgin came in on the other side and the crowd got excited – what’s the betting they face each other in the tournament tomorrow?
Kojima did his spots and then it became the ELGIN IS STRONG show, which I have absolutely zero problems with. He hit a clumsy-looking double slam with Kojima & Komatsu, which was kinda impressive all the same.
Elgin tagged out to Finlay, who got a nearfall on Kojima, which was broken up by his teammates. Everyone brawled and left Kojima alone in the ring with Elgin & Finlay, and Elgin accidentally clotheslined the young boy, leaving Kojima to hit a cutter for the win. Good match, fast-paced and well-booked.
If it’s the second match, it must be The Bullet Club, right? And, yeah, it was. They sent out Yujiro Takahashi & Cody Hall to fight the Chaos team of Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI. Thankfully (but not really because I’ll have to watch it), Toru Yano is in the G1 later.
Takahashi had no stripper with him. Minus points. Cody Hall is not a suitable replacement. YOSHI-HASHI did have his stick, though. Again a poor substitute. Ishii and Takahashi started out and Takahashi used shenanigans and cowardice to avoid a beating from the Stone Pitbull.
YOSHI-HASHI came in and took Takahashi down, and the crowd liked that, and then Cody Hall smacked the shit out of him, and I liked that. It’s redundant to keep saying how green Hall is, but he’s already better than Bad Luck Fale.
The screen behind the action shows that this match has a thirty minute time limit. COULD YOU IMAGINE THAT?
Ishii is a tiny monster. He ran wild on Takahashi AND Hall, and the crowd loved that. Then Takahashi made a cover after a common-or-garden suplex – who does that???
Hall almost got the win, with a discus clothesline on YOSHI-HASHI but Ishii broke it up. The Hall tried the Razor’s Edge but HASHI escaped. HASHI then made a cover after a SINGLE LEG TAKEDOWN. What bizarro world is this? YOSHI-HASHI got the win, though, with a senton off the top rope on Hall. Decent, simple match. Two for two so far.
As is the pattern in the tournament so far, The Bullet Club were out in the third match, too, with Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga versus Hirooki Goto & Captain New fucking Japan.
Goto and his odd trousers started out with Anderson, who was wearing camouflage trunks so you couldn’t see his bum. Anderson has that look that a billion wrestlers had in the 90s, of a bald head and goatee, and I respect him for staying with it.
Captain New Japan came in to do some comedy and somewhere Antonio Inoki wept. Although, after some punishment, he did kick out of Anderson’s Stun Gun, so I guess it sucks to be Anderson.
Anderson hit another for the win and this was a perfectly acceptable preliminary bout that even those in it won’t remember much after they’ve gone through the curtain.
The inexplicably popular met the utterly cool next, when eternal loser Tomoaki Honma, bum artiste Ryusuke Taguchi, and pudgy face Yuji Nagata took on the Chaos team of Shinsuke Nakamura, Gedo, and IWGP champion Kazuchika Okada.
The crowd chanted for Honma and Okada nodded along with the beat. Like I said, cool. Honma called for an early headbutt and almost got a Rainmaker for his trouble. Fun.
Gedo and Taguchi did some sweet exchanges and then some comedy, and then Honma ropes Taguchi into trying a headbutt with him. They both missed.
Namakura and Taguchi did some fun stuff, including Nakamura’s vibrating leg thingy, and then Nagata came in, and he & Nakamura took it up a level.
Honma finally hit his headbutt, on Okada, and then followed up with a deadlift suplex for a nearfall, but Nakamura broke it up. Okada went for a tombstone, while Honma reversed, and then Okada reversed that and looked for the Rainmaker. Honma escaped but got triple-teamed by the heels.
It all broke down, in a good way, and Honma headbutted his way to a pinfall on Gedo. Really fun match, that.
After the interval, and even though it was a multi-cam show nothing actually happened, it was on with the G1 tournament, and the second round of Block A matches.
First up was Kota Ibushi versus Doc Gallows. Yup. Gallows came to the ring and swung his title belt between his legs like it was a big penis. Ibushi is clean and has never had to shave and so I doubt he even got what Gallows was doing.
They started off telling the story of Ibushi being fast and kicky, and Gallows being a mean bully. Gallows did a low dropkick into Ibushi while he was in the Tree of Woe that didn’t look hurty at all.
Gallows’s facepaint started to rub off and he looked like he’d sneezed in some talcum powder. Ibushi hit a Pele kick and made his comeback, hitting his quebrada off the turnbuckles.
Back in the ring, they went back and forth, and Ibushi hit a sweet bridging German for a nearfall. The finish was a horribly-blown powerbomb, roll-up thingy, but at least Ibushi got the win. It wasn’t a great match.
Hey, it’s Togi Makabe! Who’s he fighting? Aww, shit, it’s Bad Luck fucking Fale. He is, apparently, “The Underboss”, whatever one of those is. Is it gangster for “shit”?
They quickly brawled into the crowd and Fale strangled Makabe for a bit with some string. Are there no rules in this tournament? Makabe made it back in on fifteen and how hilarious would it be if that was a count-out? It’s a Fale match, you have to make your own entertainment.
Makabe’s red mouthguard makes it look like something has prolapsed on his face. Fale kept piling on his terrible offence and at some point Makabe decided he’d had enough and Hulked up (and, no, that doesn’t mean used a racist swear).
This was boring and awful and Fale won with Hernandez’s Border Toss, only he had a silly little smile when he hit it and Makabe didn’t die when he landed. AVOID.
From Gallows & Fale to AJ Styles, and for most people a massive step-up in Bullet Club quality. You should know by now, though, that I don’t care much for Styles and his lack of emotion, and the thought of him facing Toru Yano here is frightening.
Yaho had a Chaos DVD & CD with him and got the announcer to plug them before the match. He looks like Pigsy from Monkey. Yano, that is, not the announcer.
Yano tried to bottle Styles with a plastic bottle and Styles was, like, WTF? He upped it with a chair, and that time Styles felt it. Styles later got the same chair and told Yano, “I’m gonna kill you!” but Red Shoes wouldn’t let him use it. Booooo!
Back in the ring, Styles took Yano down and put the hurt on him. Then he tried to make a pin with his foot on Yano’s chest but Red Shoes wouldn’t allow it. Styles told him, “I’m flexing here! There’s pictures being taken, for God’s sake!” Okay, that was good.
Styles dominated some more, with Yano making brief, comedy comebacks, and taking off the turnbuckle pad. Styles got sent into it and couple of times for a Yano nearfall, that the crowd totally bought, but Styles came back with the Pele kick. Yano hit a low blow behind Red Shoes’s back and got another nearfall with a roll-up but then Styles locked on the calf-cutter for the submission victory. That was better than I thought it would be. Almost fun!
Next up was Tetsuya Naito versus Katsuyori Shibata. Naito came to the ring in his suit and silver skull mask, because I don’t know why. Shibata was his usual vanilla self.
These two had a to-do in the prelims on yesterday’s show, with Shibata seemingly nonplussed at Naito’s shitty attitude. He didn’t like it here when Naito hadn’t disrobed by the time the bell rang and kicked him in the bum. Naito rolled out of the ring and then got back up on the apron, where he started to take his jacket off, and Shibata kicked him right into the barriers.
Shibata bulled Naito around ringside, and then beat him down (and up!) in the ring, and all the time Naito was still in his shirt and trousers. It looked like Shibata was beating up one of the fans, albeit one with shitty hair.
Naito made a comeback and put the ouch on Shibata over the barrier outside, and then got back into the ring where he finally stripped down to his trunks. Back in the ring, Naito kept on top until Shibata just stopped selling and started grimacing. Shibata made a brief, fiery comeback but Naito went at him again.
Shibata came back again, hitting Shinjiro Ohtani’s face-washing spots, to the delight of the crowd, but Naito regained the heat. Only momentarily, because Shibata got back on top in a very back and forth period.
They continued exchanging until Shibata caught Naito in a sleeper hold and dropped him to the match, drowsy and out of it. He followed up with a kick to the chest and a pin for the win. Decent match, I thought.
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Hiroyoshi Tenzan! Tenzan had the worst hair in professional wrestling – so bad that he’d be from the Black Country if he was British. Tananhashi is a rock god.
They had an early feeling out before Tenzan’s power brought him on top. He did his shitty Mongolian chops that people seem to like but then Tanahashi hit back. That got some boos in the crowd, so maybe he’s more John Cena than I thought?
Tenzan dumped Tanahashi outside and then went out after him. Tanahashi worked him over on the ring apron and then posed for the crowd. Again, a mixture of cheers and boos. Very much like Cena, it was like the men cheered Tenzan and the women cheered Tanahashi.
He especially got booed when he did Tenzan’s chops, and that fired Tenzan up into a comeback, chops and all. Tenzan tried to finish it with Anaconda Vice but Tanahashi made the ropes. Tanahashi tried a submission of his own, a Dragon sleeper, but again Tenzan made the ropes.
Tenzan missed a diving headbutt, which looked like it actually hurt, and then got his knees up for the High Fly Flow, which left both men down and fucked. Tenzan was up first but they hit a double clothesline and both went down again.
Tenzan was up first again, and locked on Anaconda Vice but Tanahashi wouldn’t tap. He forced them to their feet but Tenzan hit an Anaconda slam for a nearfall and then went back to the vice. Tanahashi rolled him up to escape it but was clearly suffering the effects.
Tanahashi found his fire and blocked a suplex, hitting a rolling cutter to take Tenzan down. When Tenzan staggered to his feet, Tanahashi hit the slingblade, and then the High Fly Flow for the win. Not bad, really, and short enough that it was fun to watch.
This was a Decent Show. The preliminary bouts were once again more fun than the G1 matches but it’s still early days in that tournament, and Block A is the more sucky, it seems. Onto tomorrow with more Block B!
Block A Standings: Styles 2-0, Tanahashi 2-0, Fale 1-1, Ibushi 1-1, Makabe 1-1, Naito 1-1, Shibata 1-1, Tenzan 1-1, Gallows 0-2, Yano 0-2