Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day five! And we’re in Hiroshima, at the Green Arena!
This was a full, multi-camera shoot, which was good for reasons we’ll get into at the beginning of the second match.
The show started with Tomoaki Honma, Mascara Dorada, David Finlay & Ryusuke Taguchi versus Hirooki Goto, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Yohei Komatsu.
Liger & Mascara Dorada were first in, and did some lucha, bookmarked by a topé suicida by Dorada. They came back into the ring and Liger did his quebradora & surfboard bit, which was broken up by Taguchi, who then did some bum-based comedy with Tiger Mask.
Komatsu and Finlay did a battle of the Young Boys, before Taguchi came in for a bum attack on Komatsu. If you’ve never seen New Japan before – or never read one of my G1 reviews – this will all sound very odd.
The (nominal) heels kept the heat on Komatsu and Honma came in and missed his headbutt. Of course he did. Komatsu tagged out to Goto, and he & Honma went back and forth. They had a clothesline battel, which Honma won, and then Honma hit his headbutt!
Tiger Mask got a nearfall on Finlay with a Tiger Driver, and in the course of breaking up the pin a massive brawl broke out. They all spilled outside, leaving Tiger Mask & Finlay alone, and the veteran locked on a whacky submission, which was broken up by Taguchi’s bum.
Liger came in and dumped Taguchi out, before hitting a shotei on Finlay, and then Tiger Mask hit a Tiger Superplex on Finlay for the win. Good opening match.
It was back to the usual pattern, and The Bullet Club were out for the second match. It was Yujiro Takahashi & Cody Hall versus Yuji Nagata & Captain New Japan.
Takahashi brought his stripper out, dressed as a tigress. She bumped and grinded around the ring, and THIS is why you have a multi-camera shoot.
Takahashi got the heat on Nagata early doors, before Nagata fired back and Takahashi took a powder. They each made a tag, and Captain New Japan got a double-team beating on the outside. Nagata came round to make the save and a brawl broke out. Back in the ring, the heels beat up the Captain, but he made a fiery comeback when Takahashi started being a dick, and made the hot tag to Nagata.
Nagata got a nearfall on Takahashi with an exploder, and then they had a forearm battel, with no clear winner. Takahashi took Nagata down with a suplex and tagged in Hall, and they double-teamed him in front of the referee, who is useless. Hall got a nearfall with a discus lariat but Captain New Japan broke it up. Takahashi took the Captain outside, and Hall got another nearfall.
Hall then set up the Razor’s Edge but Nagata escaped and then locked on the armbar – complete with spooky eyes – for the win. Nothing much of a match, really.
The third match brought more Bullet Club, with Tama Tonga & G1 surprise package Karl Anderson against Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI. They had a nothing opening which spilled into a rudo breakdown outside the ring, and then back in the ring Anderson was heeling it up on YOSHI-HASHI.
Tonga took over but YOSHI-HASHI made a comeback with a neckbreaker and tagged in Ishii, who ran wild with headbutts and shrugged off Tonga’s dropkicks. Ishii then made a mistake and allowed Tonga to tag out to Anderson, who came in and slapped Ishii around.
Ishii made the hot tag to YOSHI-HASHI but that didn’t last long and the heels double teamed him into a nearfall, which was broken by Ishii. Anderson then hit a Stun Gun, which YOSHI-HASHI kicked out on two, and then went for another, which YOSHI-HASHI blocked. Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI both hit Sliding D, and YOSHI-HASHI made the cover, which was broken up by Tama Tonga.
YOSHI-HASHI then went for the Swanton, but Anderson moved and hit another Stun Gun for the win. These guys had an okay match.
The final match before the interval was the Chaos team of IWGP champion Kazuchika Okada & Gedo versus Satoshi Kojima & Michael Elgin. Nervous-looking girls chanted for Okada, much to his amusement.
Okada and Kojima started out tentatively, before Kojima won a battle of strength. Elgin and Gedo came in and Elgin did his stalling suplex – with squats – that survived a kick from Okada. Okada bulled Elgin over and he & Gedo double-teamed the gaijin. He shrugged them off, hit his Samoan Drop/Fallaway Slam combo, and got a nearfall on Gedo.
By the way, this should have been Shinsuke Nakamura teaming with Okada in this match, but he injured his arm and might miss G1 matches. I kinda got the feeling that they’d planned for him to win Block B but that might have to change. Booking nightmare, ironically, for Gedo.
Kojima & Elgin did quick tags on Gedo, and Elgin hit a HUGE elbow drop for a nearfall. He then missed a charge into the corner, almost allowing Gedo to make the tag, but not quite. Gedo tried a Sunset Flip and Elgin faked that it was working before stopping, laughing, and hitting a sit-down splash. Unfortunately for the Canadian, Gedo moved and made the hot tag to Okada.
Okada came in and took Elgin down with a DDT and then hit a flapjack for a nearfall. He hit a scoop slam and then went up top for the elbow drop but Elgin got up. Kojima distracted Okada and hung him over the ropes and Elgin hit a somersault legdrop off the top turnbuckle that looked hurty.
Kojima came in and hit his tiny chops and then a sloppy elbow drop for a nearfall. Okada blocked a roaring elbow and regained his heat but Kojima slipped out of the Tombstone piledriver and hit a Koji cutter. He threw his elbow pad away and went for the roaring elbow, but Okada blocked it with a dropkick.
Gedo came in and hit a jawjacker, and scored a nearfall with a dropkick. Elgin broke that up by herking Gedo up and holding him up for Kojima to clothesline him. Gedo moved and Kojima clattered into Elgin. Gedo then rolled up Kojima for a nearfall.
Okada came in and took down Elgin, and then went to hit the Rainmaker on Kojima, but Kojima spun round and hit an elbow, and then hit an elbow on Gedo for the win. Good stuff.
During the interval, Hiroshi Tanahashi sat down with some guy for an interview, and then Jushin Liger visited the announcers’ desk for a chat.
The second half started with one of the matches I’d long been dreading – the battle of The Bullet Club shitarses, Bad Luck Fale versus Doc Gallows. Fale came out alone but Gallows had Cody Hall with him. Interesting.
They Too Sweeted before the bell and then went at it, like two bull elephants, and with all the wrestling ability those animals possess, too.
After they were done just charging and pushing, Fale clotheslined Gallows over the top, but Gallows dragged him out after him. They brawled around ringside and then Gallows sent Fale into the barriers – the Young Boy guarding them was sent flying. They brawled into the crowd, sending more barriers flying, and then Gallows used barriers as weapons and left Fale lying out there.
Fale made it back to ringside, where he sent Gallows into the ringpost, and then into the barriers. Then he dragged Gallows out to where Gallows had dumped barriers on him, and returned the favour. Gallows just made the count back in.
Back in the ring, they went back and forth, and Gallows got the heat – if you could say anyone got any heat in this match – with kicks and terrible elbow drops. Gallows then went up top but Fale caught him up there and set up the Bad Luck Fall. Gallows wriggled out but Fale hit the world’s worst clothesline for the win. If I were to describe this match in one word, it would be “plodding.”
Still, things can only get better, right? Christ, it’s Toru Yano versus Hiroyoshi Tenzan. I keep forgetting Tenzan is the NWA World Heavyweight champion and thank the Lord the title isn’t on the line here because I don’t think the city St Louis could withstand the tidal wave created by the spinning of Lou Thesz’s ashes in the Merrimac River if Yano became NWA champion.
Yano began the match by squirting water all over Tenzan and then quickly rolling him up for a nearfall. Yano then did his usual trick of retreating to the ropes and urging the referee to keep his opponent away, but a soggy Tenzan ignored it and pushed him outside.
Tenzan joined him out there and Yano grabbed a chair. Tenzan robbed it off him and whacked him in the head. Yano staggered against the barrier and Tenzan charged in, but Yano moved and Tenzan crashed into the barrier. Yano then TAPED him to the barrier and went back into the ring. Tenzan, a grown man and professional wrestler, struggled to free himself and only made it back into the ring on eighteen. Jesus.
Back in the ring, Tenzan missed a charge into the corner, right where Yano had removed the turnbuckle. Yano then choked him with the tag rope, which he’d removed from the opposite corner, and scored a nearfall. The referee found the rope and looked at it like it was an alien egg or something.
Yano kept the hat on with kicks and an eye rake, and then used Tenzan’s own Mongolian chops, but Tenzan fired back with Mongolian chops of his own, and a headbutt into the corner. He got a nearfall with a plain, common or garden suplex and I’d LOVE that to have been the finish.
Yano took back over with a hairpull, taking Tenzan down, which made Yano giggle like a girl. Tenzan got up and whipped Yano into the padless turnbuckle and hit a spin kick for a nearfall. He went up top and hit a diving headbutt and BUSTED YANO WIDE OPEN. Yano bled a GUSHER and Tenzan was also cut.
When things resumed after the bloodbath, Tenzan tried to backslide Yano but Yano grabbed the referee to prevent Tenzan getting him over. While he had the referee, he low-blowed Tenzan three times and hit his own backslide for the win. An oddly compelling match.
Things kicked up a notch next, with Togi Makabe versus Katsuyori Shibata, a beast of a man versus a no-nonsense fighter. Makabe exploded from the start, knocking Shibata outside. He followed him out and rolled him back in, but then Shibata knocked him out.
Back in the ring, Shibata went on the attack and locked on a Figure Four. Makabe reversed it, but Shibata turned it back over again. Makabe made the ropes. Shibata continued on the attack but then Makabe EXPLODED with two huge lariats in the corner. He hit the ten punches deal and then got a nearfall with a Northern Lights suplex.
They continued going back and forth, and then Shibata got the shine with heavy forearms and the Shinjiro Ohtani facewashing in the corner. Shibata charged in but Makabe met him with a kick and scored a nearfall. Makabe went up top but Shibata hit a diving knee to take him down. They began a forearm battel and Shibata laid in some kicks. Makabe came back with huge clothesline after huge clothesline and took Shibata down, but then collapsed himself from the effort.
They resumed their forearm war, and Makabe got another nearfall with a clothesline, and then one more with a powerbomb. He hoisted Shibata up for a Death Valley Driver but Shibata elbowed his way out of it. Shibata locked on a sleeper and then hit the PK for the win. Good match, that.
And so to a re-match from Wrestle Kingdom 9 – AJ Styles versus Kota Ibushi. Styles came out with Cody Hall, and I just figured it’s because he’s a Young Boy and he has to be at ringside watching the matches. Ibushi was a massive crowd favourite, I guess because Japanese people don’t like the pound shop nWo.
They started off with holds and reversals, back and forth. Ibushi started laying kicks in, and knocked Styles to the outside. Styles came back in and Ibushi laid in more kicks. Kick kick kick kick kick. Styles made a brief comeback but Ibushi hit a huge dropkick to put a stop to that, and then hit more kicks.
Styles came back again with a HUGE chop, but Ibushi hit back with forearms. Styles hit a cutter over the top rope, and Ibushi was left in a heap on the apron. Back in the ring, Styles hit a backbreaker and then wore Ibushi down with a headlock. Ibushi fought out and they went back to holds and reversals, until Ibushi hit a snap German suplex for a double down.
Styles was up first and whipped Ibushi into the corner but Ibushi came back and took out Styles’s knee. He hit more kicks and then a standing corkscrew moonsault for a nearfall. Styles came back with a clothesline and a springboard diving forearm, and then hit his spinebreaker for a very, very near fall.
Styles tried to set up the Styles Clash but Ibushi dumped him onto the apron and laid in a kick. Ibushi went to herk Styles back in, but Styles reversed it into a Styles Clash attempt to the floor. Luckily, Ibushi was able to reverse it into a rana, throwing Styles to the floor.
Ibushi hit his quebrada off the turnbuckles and threw Styles back into the ring. He went up top for the Phoenix Splash but Styles knocked into the ropes and sent Ibushi down. Styles dragged him back up top with him, intent on hitting the Styles Clash from the top turnbuckle, and Red Shoes waved, impotently, trying to get him to quit it. Ibushi shrugged it off and tried to hit a rana but Styles held n.
Styles jumped off the top turnbuckle, hitting a huracanrana on Ibushi and then looking to set up the Styles Clash. Ibushi kicked his way out of it but Styles hit a HUGE larait and a piledriver for a nearfall. With Ibushi down, Styles went to the apron and hit a springboard kneedrop but Ibushi got his own knees up to block it .
They traded blows, both hitting Pele kicks, and then Styles hit the Bloody Sunday for another very near fall. Styles looked to finish it with an Avalanche Styles Clash but Ibushi rana‘d out of it for a nearfall of his own. Ibushi then hit a powerbomb, and the Phoenix Splash for the win. Cracking match.
Hey, its our main event! Its Tetsuya Naito versus Hiroshi Tanahashi! Naito came out wearing his suit and silver mask. There is no sensible reason why – what the hell happened in Mexico? Tanahashi is SO over with the Hiroshima crowd, but then he’s pretty over everywhere. Except Kyoto. Don’t forget Kyoto.
Naito slowly disrobed. And then slowly wandered round the ring after the bell. He’s such a dick. Tanahashi took him down and controlled him early doors, and then they had a forearm war in the corner, which Naito won. Tanahashi came back with a twisting press and some arm drags, and Naito sought refuge outside. Tanahashi went to the top turnbuckle, threatening High Fly Flow, but Naito just walked off and lay down on the ramp.
When he came back to the ring, he rolled in to break the count and then attacked a cameraman. He tried to grab Tanahashi’s feet to pull him out of the ring but no dice. When he did roll back in, Tanahashi stomped him, because NAITO IS A DICK.
Naito did get Tanahashi out of the ring, pulling him out with a headscissors, and then ran him into the barriers. He then took the timekeeper’s table, and hit a neckbreaker onto it. You’ll notice I said “onto it” because it’s a Japanese table and they don’t break, although it did bend a bit.
Red Shoes checked on Tanahashi while Naito reclined in the ring, but then made it back to start the count. Tanahashi made it back into the ring on nineteen, much to the slight annoyance of Naito. Actually getting angry would be too much effort.
Naito stood with his foot on Tanahashi, earning boos from the crowd, then hit a low dropkick for a nearfall. He locked on a headscissors, which you really don’t see much of these days. Tanahashi made the ropes and Naito exercised the full five count. Of course he did.
Tanahashi tried to make a comeback but he was weakened and Naito fought it off. He got another nearfall with a neckbreaker and then pushed Red Shoes over. Red Shoes sold for a bit then got right back up and resumed refereeing. *shrug*
Tanahashi tried to make another comeback but got spat on for his troubles. BUT! he did finally get some shine, hitting Naito with a flying forearm, and the scoop-slammed him and hit a senton off the top for a nearfall.
Naito spat at him again and Tanahashi slapped him. Spit. Slap. Spit. Slap. Slap. Slap. Slap. Tanahashi hit a low dropkick, and Naito rolled out of the ring, so Tanahashi hit the High Fly Flow to the outside. Take that and party.
Tanahashi hit the Dragon Screw legwhip over the barriers and the whole front row took pictures on their ‘phone. He rolled Naito back into the ring and looked for the cloverleaf, but Naito made the ropes. Naito hit a desperation kick that took Tanahashi down, and they both lay on the mat.
Tanahashi got up and leaned in the corner. Naito rushed in and hit a draping neckbreaker. He waited for Tanahashi to get to his feet and rushed in again and locked on a whacky submission. Tanahashi eventually made it to the ropes and Naito took the full five again.
Naito got cocky and Tanahashi came back with some Dragon Screws and locked on the Cloverleaf. Naito was in it FOREVER but eventually made the ropes. Tanahashi, because he’s a decent sort, released the hold straight away.
Tanahashi hit another Dragon Screw and then went up top for the High Fly Flow but Naito popped up and caught him up there. They brawled up top and Naito got the better of it, and hit a rana to the mat. He went back up top himself, and then hit a missile dropkick to Tanahashi’s back, sending him crashing, and followed up with a bridging German for a nearfall.
They traded blows, and then Naito acted the dick, kicking Tanahashi in the head. Tanahashi came back with a Slingblade and then went up for the High Fly Flow. He wasn’t done, though, because he went up for another. This time Naito got the knees up and we had a double down.
They fought on their knees, and then to their feet, and then Tanahashi spat at Naito and they fought some more. Naito sent Tanahashi into the ropes and caught him for a German but Tanahashi reversed it and hit a release German of his own. This is a WAR.
Naito tried to fight back but Tanahashi hit a spinning neckbreaker. He then ran at Naito but Naito caught him with his new finisher, Destino, for the win out of nowhere. That was a great match!
After the match, Naito attacked the referee, and also Jay White, who was tending to Tanahashi in the ring. He grabbed a mic’ and cut a talky, declaring Los Ingobernables to be unstoppable.
This was a Decent Show, with a good opening match and two great G1 matches to finish. Naito has really stepped it up in his new gimmick and Tanahashi is two for two in great tournament matches. Day six tomorrow – you can’t stop the march of the G1!
Block A Standings: Fale 2-1, Ibushi 2-1, Naito 2-1, Shibata 2-1, Styles 2-1, Tanahashi 2-1, Makabe 1-2, Tenzan 1-2, Yano 1-2, Gallows 0-3