The Linus Report: NJPW G1 Climax, day 12 (07/08/2015, Shizuoka)

Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day twelve! And we’re in another wonderfully-named venue, the Act City Hamamatsu in Shizuoka!

The show started with a Young Boy battle between Yohei Komatsu and Jay White. They did a crisp, basic opening, exchanging holds, before Komatsu took over. White made a comeback with a back elbow and I know I keep beating this drum but it’s refreshing to see a match filled with simple, accomplished holds. Like time travelling.

White locked on a Boston Crab and Komatsu made the ropes. They went back and forth, Komatsu scoring a nearfall with a suplex and White with the deadly roll-up, before Komatsu rolled through a charging White into a single-leg crab for the submission victory. Nothing bad here.

Apathy abounded in the second contest, when Tetsuya Naito ambled his way out to team with David Finlay against Chaos’ Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI. You have to wonder what Finlay thought when he saw this on the booking sheet…

Yano wanted Naito to start but Naito was having none of it and so it was Finlay and YOSHI-HASHI in from the off. Finlay took YOSHI-HASHI down with a dropkick and then went to tag Naito, who dropped off the apron. YOSHI-HASHI came back and Yano removed the turnbuckle pad, and Finlay ended up in the bare turnbuckle.

Yano and YOSHI-HASHI kept the heat on Finlay, while Naito watched from the floor, until Finlay managed to make the tag, although Naito made him work for it. Naito ran wild, taking the Chaos fellas out and then doing his Ingobernable pose. He then tagged back out and dropped to the floor.

Finlay got some good shine and a couple of nearfalls on YOSHI-HASHI, but the more experienced man came back, while Yano and Naito fought on the outside. YOSHI-HASHI got the pin, with a senton off the top, though Naito could have broken it up but chose not to. Fun match.

Eight-man action next, with Captain New Japan, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe & Hiroyoshi Tenzan taking on the Bullet Club, who sent out Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & AJ Styles.

They brawled before the bell had rung, because rudos, and Tonga & Tenzan were left in the ring. Tonga stole Tenzan’s chops but Tenzan came back and hit them on the whole heel team. Tenzan dominated Styles and tagged out to Ibushi, who was quickly heeled on and Fale came in.

Ibushi took Fale apart with kicks, and went to go up top but Gallows caught him. Things fell apart into another rudo breakdown, brawling all around ringside and into the crowd, although the camera stayed fixed on the ring and our only clue that anything was happening out there was squealing women. Ibushi and Fale reset in the ring, and Gallows tagged in.

The Bullet Club made quick tags to keep the heat on Ibushi, until he managed to hit Gallows with a step enzuigiri and tag in Makabe. Makabe ran wild on Gallows – and dumped the rest of the heels to the floor – and hit his ten punch deal in the corner. Gallows out-bulled Makabe and brought in Tonga, while Makabe made the cold tag to Captain New Japan.

Things broke down again, but this time the babyfaces got the better of the heels in the brawl, leaving the Captain and Tonga in the ring. Tonga scored a nearfall with the Headshrinker DDT and then hit another for the win. Good little match, really.

Jushin Liger made his return to the tour in the final match before the interval, teaming with Katsuyori Shibata & Ryusuke Taguchi against IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA, Mascara Dorada & Hiroshi Tanahashi. Tanahashi and Shibata started out and I’ve still not fully recovered from both these men losing to Toru Yano this year.

They did matwork to start, to a stalemate, and then tagged in KUSHIDA and Taguchi. They sped things up, with flips and kicks, and KUSHIDA roped his team in to do the armwringer spot. Taguchi made it back to his corner and tagged in Liger, who did lucha with Dorada.

Tanahashi came back in and got a nearfall with a flip senton off the second rope, before Liger saw off some double-teaming by KUSHIDA & Dorada, and a double-down with KUSHIDA to make the hot tag to Shibata. Tanahashi came in, too, and Shibata ran wild on him, hitting the corner dropkick for a nearfall. He locked on an Octopus submission but Tanahashi made the ropes and hit back with a Dragon Screw legwhip.

Shibata made the tag to Taguchi, who launched his bum, but Tanahashi avoided it and tagged in Mascara Dorada. Dorada got a nearfall with a deep armdrag off the top rope and looked to hit a moonsault for the win, but Taguchi got his feet up. Taguchi went on the bum attack and locked in an ankle lock, but Tanahashi & KUSHIDA broke it up and things fell apart.

Taguchi and Dorada were left in the ring, and did a series of roll-ups, before Taguchi locked on that ankle lock again for the win. Another fun match, and weird to see Tanahashi playing subtle heel.

Nothing happened during the interval again, other than that fucking press conference playing on the big screen while people milled around, doing interval stuff.

After the break, the G1 resumed with Michael Elgin versus Yuji Nagata. They did a back and forth start – Nagata was the first to hit the mat but Elgin took the biggest hit. Nagata locked on an armbar, and stood it up to hit an armbreaker, but Elgin fought back, and caught Nagata in that stalling suplex he does, scoring a nearfall.

Elgin kept the heat on but Nagata fought back with forearms. Elgin no-sold them but Nagata took him down with a kick, and followed up with more kicks, clutching at his rib in pain as he did so. They went back and forth some more, Nagata hit an Exploder for a nearfall, and this match is really boring.

They had a forearm battel, and Nagata hit a spin kick to Elgin’s considerable back, but Elgin came back with a lariat for a nearfall. Looking to end it, Elgin picked Nagata up in a fireman’s carry and took him up top. Nagata elbowed his way out and dropped to the mat and Elgin hit the WEAKEST KICK EVER and Nagata lay down. Elgin missed a corskcrew senton off the top. *sigh*

Nagata locked on the Shirome armbar but Elgin made the ropes with his tippy toes, the lamest of all rope breaks. Nagata went for it again but Elgin one-armed him up for a slam and they both went down. Elgin was up first and hit something off the top for a nearfall. Nagata hit back with one of his own from a side suplex.

They struggled with the spot where Elgin hits the inside out herking suplex, but saw it through for a nearfall. They went back and forth some more, Nagata got caught on a corner charge and Elgin hit a Buckle bomb and the Elgin bomb for the win. For a match with lots of MOVES~!, that was really dull.

You’d expect better of Karl Anderson versus Tomoaki Honma, right? And it wasn’t dull, but it still wasn’t all that great. Anderson had Tama Tonga out with him, Honma had the hopes and dreams of the crowd as his back-up.

They started out exchanging holds to a stalemate stand-off. Then Honma rushed in, hit a slam, and missed his headbutt. Anderson came back at him, kicking him to the floor, and Honma only made it back in on nineteen. Anderson immediately went back on the attack, biting and keeping the heat on, doing his multiple covers schtick and generally going on the wear down.

Honma made a very brief comeback but Anderson scored a nearfall and went back on keeping a very slow heat on. He called for a brainbuster but Honma blocked it and hit a suplex for the double down. Honma was first up and attacked Anderson, setting up the headbutt, which he missed. Anderson then mocked Honma’s taunt but missed a senton. Did he really think it would work? Honma’s a loser!

BUT! Honma did hit his headbutt, and a snap neck for a nearfall. Anderson hit back with a Stun Gun and then a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for a nearfall. He picked Honma up for the Swivel Stun Gun but Honma wriggled out and hit a lariat and they both went down.

They got up for a forearm battel, which Anderson won. he then stupidly tried a headbutt and got ouched. Honma came off the ropes for a lariat but Anderson turned it into a Stun Gun for a nearfall, the crowd JUBILANT when Honma kicked out. They went back and forth, and Honma blocked the Stun Gun twice. Anderson hit an uppercut and then set up a powerbomb, but Honma Victory Rolled for a nearfall.

His dander up, Honma hit a diving headbutt and a brainbuster for a nearfall. He went up top to hit the falling headbutt, but Anderson caught him as he was falling for a Stun Gun for the win. Nice finish but not all that great a match.

And if I didn’t enjoy the first two matches, I really wasn’t looking forward to the third. It’s not that Kojima or Goto are bad, they’re just dull. Kojima was great in All-Japan fifteen years ago but he’s mostly just a tribute act now, for the most part. Goto has never connected with me, although neither did Shibata and he put that right this G1 so hope springs, eh?

They traded holds to start out, and then went back and forth, until Kojima won a shoulderblock test of strength and wobbled his pecs. They stood up for a forearm battel, and Kojima got knocked to the mat. Goto went on the wear down, locking on a lengthy headscissors, but Kojima came back, blocking a clothesline and hitting one of his own to send Goto to the outside. He went out after him, stomping and throwing him into the barriers, like what everyone does now.

They fought out on the apron, where Kojima hit a DDT. Back in the ring, Kojima kept the heat on, hitting his shitty elbow drop for a nearfall. He won another forearm battel but Goto hit a lariat and they both went down. Goto was up first, hitting a spin kick for a nearfall, but Kojima hit back with a kick to the gut and a DDT. The old classic. They traded nearfalls and Kojima hit the Koji cutter, then took Goto up top for another. This, too, only got a nearfall.

Kojima threw the elbow pad away and came off the ropes for a lariat. Goto caught him and hit Ushigoroshi, but couldn’t follow it up. Instead, Kojima put him back up top for a superplex. Goto blocked it and hit a Sunset bomb for a nearfall. The women squealed at that. Goto went to hit Shouten Kai for the win but Kojima blocked it and hit a brainbuster, and they both went down.

Back up again, they traded lariats, and Goto got ANOTHER nearfall with a spinning uranage, before hitting Shouten Kai for the win. It was a match that would like to think of itself as an epic battle but it just didn’t flow for me, you know?

Hold up, though, because Shinsuke Nakamura is out next, against Yujiro Takahashi. A lot of people don’t like Takahashi but I think he’s perfectly fine for what he is. Plus, I like strippers. He didn’t have one with him tonight – bringing out a Bullet Club flag-bearing Cody Hall instead – but we’ll let that slide.

Takahashi attacked Nakamura as he was doing his pose on the ropes, the bastard, and the bell rang as a formality. His advantage didn’t last long, though, as Nakamura kneelifted him and then hit his vibrating leg thingy.

Takahashi came back, targeting Nakamura’s poorly arm, but needed Cody Hall to drive home any advantage. With Hall’s help, Takahashi clotheslined Nakamura over the top and ran him into the ring apron and the barriers, while Red Shoes waved forlornly.

Back in the ring, Takahashi kept the heat on Nakamura, with brief hope spots eventually turning into a kick-inspired comeback and those knees in the corner that Nakamura loves.

Takahashi used his teeth to stop the shine, and then laid in with some forearms and chops and a big boot in the corner. He hit a flapjack on the ropes that looked like it SUCKED TO TAKE, and scored a nearfall. Nakamura hit back with a flying knee and they both went down.

They stood up for a forearm battel, which Nakamura won and hit a facebuster. He slapped a front facelock on Takahashi to wear him down, then hit an overhead belly-to-back suplex. Takahashi hit a desperation knee and they both went down again.

This time, Takahashi was up first, and hit another big boot and a sliding dropkick, scoring a nearfall with a fireman’s carry dropkick. What would Japanese wrestling do without firemen? He hit an ouchy German suplex, right onto Nakamura’s shoulder, and then picked him up for Tokyo Pimps, but Nakamura fought out. He hits knees and an axe kick, and then a sliding knee for a nearfall.

Nakamura called for Bom A Ye but Takahashi avoided it and hit back. They went back and forth, Nakamura hit a knee off the top and then hit the Big High Kick for the win. A Good match which I Liked.

Hey, it’s our main event! It’s IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada versus his Chaos stablemate Tomohiro Ishii! Gedo was out with Okada, which must have made Ishii feel terribly lonely…

Okada looked like he’d had his hair cut. French crop, if I’m not mistaken. Ishii took control from the bell, and didn’t react kindly to Okada doing his “I’m cool, it’s okay” bit from a lock-up on the ropes. He smacked back with a forearm and they went back and forth, but Okada got the better of things and took him down for the slingshot senton.

Okada went on the wear down, holding Ishii in a rear chinlock, and then dropping an elbow and throwing him outside. He followed him out and used the barriers as a weapon, sending Ishii into the crowd, where fans filmed them both on iPads. Okada tried to hit a draping DDT on the barriers but Ishii fought back, threw him into the barriers, and left Okada lying outside.

Okada made it back in on eighteen, where Ishii was waiting to beat the piss out of him. There’s nothing like Ishii on a beatdown. As Ishii beat him in the corner, Okada asked for more and Ishii obliged. He hit a brainbuster for a nearfall and then began kicking him in the head, like a dick heel. With the Bullet Club and Naito around, it’s easy to forget Chaos are heels.

They exchanged holds and Okada hit a straitjacket neckbreaker for a double down. They both got back up and sped things up a little, and Okada hit a DDT before kipping back up and hitting a flapjack. He locked on Red Ink, imploring Red Shoes to ask Ishii if he wanted to quit. Ishii, however, is a stone pitbull goblin and does not quit. He made the ropes to break the hold and they reset, with Okada still on top.

Ishii came back with a German suplex, but went down with the effort. The crowd chanted for Ishii as Gedo beat on the apron, and Ishii was first up. He missed a corner charge and Okada laid in some forearms. Ishii no-sold them, roaring, and began headbutting Okada’s arm, and then hit a forearm of his own to take Okada down. He charged in again and Okada caught him, trying to hit Heavy Rain, but Ishii reversed that into a powerbomb for a nearfall.

Ishii took Okada down with a lariat and then went for Sliding D. Okada dodged and took Ishii down with an uppercut. As they both got back to their feet, Okada hit a dropkick, sending Ishii flying into the turnbuckle, and then a brainbuster for a nearfall. Okada hit Heavy Rain for another nearfall, hit the diving elbow drop, and then called for the Rainmaker. He missed it once, Ishii missed a lariat, he missed it again, and Ishii headbutted him. Then Ishii got a nearfall with a lariat and hit Sliding D for a very, very near fall.

With Red Shoes urging him to finish – weird that – Ishii went to a brainbuster but Okada escaped and hit a dropkick for the double down. Okada was first up and reached for the Tombstone piledriver. Ishii fought out of it and hit another headbutt. He ran off the ropes and Okada met him with a sweet dropkick.

Okada missed the Rainmaker again and Ishii tried to backslide him. Okada escaped that but got kicked in the head. They traded holds and Okada hit a German suplex, picked Ishii up and hit the Rainmaker for the win. A good – if slightly oddly booked – main event.

This was an Odd Show. Nothing about it really clicked. The prelims were good, but house show stuff, and some of the G1 matches were just boring. However, the last two matches picked things up to end the show well.

 

Block B Standings: Okada 5-1, Anderson 4-2, Elgin 4-2, Goto 4-2, Ishii 4-2, Nakamura 4-2, Kojima 2-4, Takahashi 2-4, Nagata 1-5, Honma 0-6 (Kojima, Takahashi, Honma & Nagata can no longer win Block B)

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