Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s G1 Climax, day fifteen! And we’re back at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo again! Let’s hope it’s as good as yesterday!
The show started with Yujiro Takahashi & Cody Hall, representing the Bullet Club, versus Mascara Dorada & Jay White. White and his stupid haircut started out against Hall and his stupid haircut. Ah, the folly of youth!
They did some WRESTLING! early doors and Hall didn’t look out of place. That dojo is paying off. And at least he’s not wearing his dad’s pants any more. White fired up on Hall, and knocked Takahashi off the apron, but Hall’s bigness came back and he took over.
Takahashi tagged in – no stripper today, mind – and kept the heat on the Young Boy. Hall tagged back in and White fought back, hitting his lovely dropkick to make the hot tag to Mascara Dorada. He immediately took Hall off his feet but Hall came back and bulled him over. Dorada hit back with speed and flipping, but not actual lucha because Hall.
Hall tagged out to Takahashi who dicked on Dorada. White tagged in and went back and forth with Takahashi, scoring a nearfall with a missile dropkick that Hall had to break. Mascara Dorada ran in and got rid of Hall, kicking him outside and flipping out onto him, and Takahashi and White went back and forth some more.
Mascara Dorada broke a nearfall and then got dumped to the floor by Hall, and White and Takahashi traded nearfalls. Finally, Takahashi hit hit Miami Shine to win a fun match which broke down a bit towards the end.
More Bullet Club – because who can’t get enough of the nWo D team? – in the second match, and Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga jumped IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA & Captain New Japan before the bell.
The Captain made an aborted comedy comeback and then got his mask torn at by Anderson, who pushed the referee when he tried to stop it. Anderson did his multiple nearfalls deal and tagged out to Tonga, whose painted beard makes it look like he has a really long face.
Tonga kept the heat on the Captain, and dropkicked KUSHIDA off the apron for good measure, but got caught by the Captain’s flying shoulderblock, and KUSHIDA tagged in. KUSHIDA flipped and kicked his way on top, killing an attempted double-team, and then hit a flip plancha out onto the heels.
Back in the ring, Tonga and KUSHIDA went back and forth, and then both made tags. Captain New Japan got double-teamed for a nearfall, broken by KUSHIDA, and then a Stun Gun from Anderson got another. A second Stun Gun was blocked and the Captain got a nearfall with an uranage, but distraction by Tama Tonga allowed Anderson to hit a final Stun Gun for a win. Another good Korakuen Hall prelim.
The gaijin team of Michael Elgin & David Finlay took on the home pair of Hirooki Goto & Yohei Komatsu next, and Elgin and Goto started out, despite Finlay wanting a piece of the man with ridiculous trousers.
As usual, Elgin overpowered his opponent early doors, but Goto got the better of a forearm battel and made a knockdown with a shoulderblock. Elgin came back and returned the favour and they both tagged out.
The Young Boys are often my favourite thing about New Japan, and Finlay has fitted in well so far with Komatsu, White & Tanaka. He & Komatsu did some speedy matwork to a stand-up, which the crowd appreciated. Finlay got the better of a back and forth, and tagged in Elgin, who threw Komatsu around like a rag doll, herking him up into a stalling suplex from a scoop slam position. Goto ran in to break it and got caught in a fireman’s carry and Elgin hit the Samoan Drop/Fallaway Slam combo for a nearfall on Komatsu.
Finlay came back in and hit some nice uppercuts, but Komatsu hit a dropkick to send him outside and make the tag to Goto. Goto ran wild on Finlay, scoring a quick nearfall, but got caught with a dropkick and Elgin tagged in. Elgin and Goto went back and forth and Komatsu tagged in for a nearfall with a cannonball off the top. Elgin caught him with a kick in the corner and then hit a cannonball into the turnbuckles for a nearfall, which Goto broke up.
Finlay chased Goto out of the ring and Elgin hit a Buckle Bomb and the Elgin Bomb for the win. Another good match.
The final match before the interval was a big eight-man, with Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi, Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata taking on Chaos, in the shape of Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, Shinsuke Nakamura & IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada.
Taguchi mocked Nakamura’s mannerisms before the match began, and Nagata called out Okada to start. Okada took a back seat, however, and it was YOSHI-HASHI who stepped in to fight Nagata.
They went back and forth until Nagata knocked YOSHI-HASHI to the mat and kicked Okada off the apron. That brought Okada in but Nagata tagged out to Taguchi. Taguchi mocked Nakamura again – Okada didn’t look amused at all – and got steamrollered. Okada knocked Nagata off the apron and, when Taguchi gained control Nagata tagged in.
Finally, Okada and Nagata went at it, and the veteran took it to the champion, laying in kicks until Okada hit back with a DDT and a diving uppercut and the heel team ran in for a rudo breakdown.
Back in the ring, Okada tagged out to YOSHI-HASHI, who kept the heat on Nagata. Namakura tagged in and went after Nagata’s ouchy ribs. After some Chaos quadruple-teaming, Ishii came in but Nagata fought back. He made the hot tag to Honma, who hit his bulldog and missed his headbutt. Honma and Ishii had a chop battel and Ishii hit a German suplex. They traded some more and Honma took Ishii down with a clothesline but went down himself.
Kojima and Nakamura tagged in and Nakamura did his vibrating leg thingy but then missed a knee. Kojima hit his tiny chops and his shitty elbow drop and, really, everyone’s just hitting their spots and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Nakamura hit his knees in the corner but Kojima fought out of a suplex to hit a Koji cutter for a nearfall. He threw away the elbow pad but Nakamura kicked out of the lariat and Taguchi tagged in. He cleared the apron and he & Honma double-teamed Nakamura, blowing a hip toss but hitting stereo headbutts.
Taguchi did his Randy Orton deal and everyone came in to brawl. Once the ring had cleared, Nakamura and Taguchi were left and Taguchi got a nearfall with a bum. Ishii ran in and hit Sliding D but Nagata broke up the subsequent pinfall and Okada had to dropkick him out of the ring. Finally, Nakamura hit the overhead side suplex and Bom A Ye for the win. Fantastic house show main event.
After the match, Honma & Ishii and Nagata & Okada had a to-do, so I guess they’re fighting on tomorrow’s G1. Then came the interval. No sign of a raffle again and, because it wasn’t a TV show, there was no sign of anything other than that press conference video again. If I didn’t keep Dugganing I’d know it by heart now, Japanese or not.
The first tournament match after the interval saw Tetsuya Naito fight Doc Gallows. Now Naito had a terrible match with Gallows’s stablemate Bad Luck Fale, so I’m fearing the worst here. Naito came down to the ring in his silver skull mask and suit and baffled Gallows, who is a simple man.
Naito slowly undressed and Gallows let him. Naito has this wonderfully bored look on his face when he does this. I heart him. He went after Gallows’s knee early on but Gallows powered back and Naito sought refuge in the outside. Gallows followed him out and they brawled at ringside, with Gallows being introduced to the barriers.
Back in the ring, Naito wore Gallows down, alternating between headlocks and elbows to his bald head. Gallows powered back again, hitting half-decent punches, until Naito suckered him out of the ring. Naito teased a dive but instead just lay down in the ring. Quality dicking.
Naito went back after Gallows’s knee, taking him to the mat and locking on a head scissors. Gallows made the rope but Naito had to be pulled off by the referee, who he threw out of the ring. Gallows powered back once more but Naito hit back with his in & out dropkick and went up top to hit another dropkick. Gallows charged in at Naito but he got taken down again and Naito locked on another headscissors. Gallows made the ropes again.
Gallows finally got some heat, scoring a nearfall with a Dominator, and another with a powerslam. Naito fought out of a chokebomb but Gallows hit a superkick. BUT! Naito scored a couple of quick nearfalls with roll-ups and then turned a chokebomb into a DDT for a double down.
Gallows went up top but Naito caught him up there. He was going for a rana but Gallows hit a chokebomb from the top for the surprise win. Huh, wasn’t expecting that there. In the match was fine but nothing great. Man, Naito, eh?
Old school met medium school next, with Hiroyoshi Tenzan – bafflingly, still NWA World Heavyweight champion, remember – against Katsuyori Shibata. These two got quite heated during a tag match yesterday and fired up right from the off, all grunting and kicking and striking and Mongolian fucking chopping.
Tenzan knocked Shibata outside early doors and went out after him with headbutts and stomps and barrier shots. The referee forlornly ordered them back in the ring, with little success. Eventually, Tenzan threw Shibata back in and continued his attack, acting like a right dick.
Shibata fired back, kicking and uppercutting, and locking on a Figure Four. Tenzan made the ropes after an age trapped in the hold and Shibata went right back after him, scurfing him in the corner, hitting the Shinjiro Ohtani facewashing, and the the dropkick to the FACE. Shibata dragged Tenzan out of the corner and stood him up for a suplex but Tenzan turned it into a Northern Lights suplex and switched things around.
They went back and forth and Tenzan got caught up top by a high kick. Shibata went up after him and they battles up there, with Shibata tumbling down. Before Tenzan could set himself, Shibata popped up and slammed Tenzan to the mat.
Shibata was up first but Tenzam took him down and locked on Anaconda Vice. Shibata’s skin on his forearm went a really unhealthy texture and colour. Shibata stood the hold up and slammed Tenzan down to break it, and then locked on a sleeper hold. Tenzan fought out so Shibata kicked him to the mat and made a cover for a nearfall.
Tenzan came back with headbutts and Mongolian chops but Shibata caught him in another sleeper. Tenzan escapes and put Anaconda Vice back on and the referee stopped the match when Shibata failed to respond. A good contest, that.
The sublime AND the ridiculous next, with Kota Ibushi against Toru Yano. Yano was $hilling merch, as usual, and the ladies sure love young Kota. Yano tried to untie the turnbuckle pad from the off but Ibushi stopped him. Ibushi then untied the turnbuckle and Yano ran into it.
Ibushi exploded and got some quick nearfalls, forcing Yano to hide behind the referee. He threw Red Shoes at Ibushi and used that distraction for a low blow and a roll-up for the win. WTF??? Minus a BILLION stars.
AJ Styles, accompanied by the whole Bullet Club, came out to fight Bad Luck Fale, who I guess was also accompanied by the whole Bullet Club. Okay, let’s get this shit over with. Can Korakuen Hall work its magic on a Bad Luck Fale singles match?
Fale lay down as soon as the bell rung and indicated Styles should cover him. Yeah, I saw the nWo do this once. Styles made the cover but Fale kicked out at two, throwing Styles off which knocked Red Shoes out of the ring. Styles stood up and shouted, “what are you doing?” and started angrily poking his finger in Fale’s chest. Fale turned his back and Styles shoved him…
Fale turned around and shoved Styles back, sending him flying. The rest of the Bullet Club got up on the apron and remonstrated with him but Styles got back up and gave Fale a hug and offered the Too Sweet. Fale went for it but Styles poked him in the eye. BEST FALE MATCH EVER RIGHT HERE.
Fale came back and chokebombed Styles over the top rope to the floor, where the rest of the Bullet Club checked on him. I’m not sure but I think this is a resignation. While Fale was distracted, Styles ran around the outside of the ring and attacked him from behind, dumping him over the top rope to the floor. He ran off the ropes to dive out onto him but Karl Anderson – who I guess is the leader of the Bullet Club since Prince Devitt jumped ship – stood on the apron and told him to stop.
Fale, though, didn’t stop. He pulled Styles out of the ring and they brawled at ringside. Styles got sent into the front row – thankfully vacated – and Fale went out after him, dumping him up on the bleachers and grabbing a chair. Fale went to smack Styles with the chair but Tama Tonga grabbed it off him and Styles hit a flying forearm off the bleachers. Styles went to hit Fale with a chair but Takahashi stopped him
They fought back to the ring but Styles took a powder again and went into the crowd on the other side of Korakuen Hall. They brawled up the bleachers, the Bullet Club following them, and Red Shoes really ought to have counted them out. At this point I didn’t see much because some dick stood up in the way of the camera. Just like being at PROGRESS.
When the camera had caught up with them again, Fale was about hit a Bad Luck Fall down the rows of seats, which would have meant DEATH for Styles. Parted by their stablemates, they both made their separate ways back to the ring, where they went back and forth – Styles’s speed versus Fale’s power.
Fale tried to hit the Bad Luck Fall but Styles grabbed the ropes to block it and hit a springboard forearm for a nearfall. Styles tried to pick up Fale for the Styles Clash – idiot – but Fale powered out and sent Styles flying high into the air. Fale went after him but Styles locked in the Calf Killer, which Fale broke by being STRONG. Both men lay on the mat, sweating. One more than the other, obv.
Fale got a nearfall with the Grenade and then set up the Bad Luck Fall. Styles wriggled and Fale turned it into a Styles Clash, which Styles avoided. Styles hid in the corner and when Fale came after him he took him down with a double-leg and got the pin with his feet on the ropes.
After the match, the Bullet Club made Fale and Styles kiss and make up and I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST ENJOYED A BAD LUCK FALE MATCH! Korakuen Hall works miracles!
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Togi Makabe! For those of you unfamiliar with the product, it’s kind of like John Cena versus Rusev!
They started slow, but Tanahashi took Makabe down the first chance he had. Makabe fought back, exhibiting SKILLZ, and it was an enjoyable period of holds and reversals, ending in a stand-off and air guitar from Tanahashi.
They locked up again, with Makabe getting the better of a knucklelock, unsurprisingly, which forced Tanahashi to get extra twisty turny to reverse the pressure. Makabe made the ropes and Tanahashi slapped him on the break, whiuch made Makabe mad. And you don’t want to do that.
Makabe took it to Tanahashi, and shrugged off his return of offense, until Tanahashi outsmarted him, tripped him, and rammed his knee into the ringpost. Tanahashi went to work on the knee – kicking, elbowing, and splashing it – and then stood on it, playing air guitar. That’s kind of a dick move, Hiroshi.
Tanahashi wore down Makabe’s knee with a leglock until Makabe made the ropes. From his knees, Makabe taunted Tanahashi, who responded with kicks, and then stood up and no-sold his attacks. The crowd started to get behind Makabe and he took it to Tanahashi, hitting clotheslines in the corner and his ten punch deal, and scoring a nearfall with a Northern Lights suplex.
He got another one with a lariat, but Tanahashi fought back. It didn’t last long and Makabe clotheslined him to the floor, and went out after him. He threw Tanahashi into the barriers and hit a powerslam on the floor and a cute girl in the front row filmed Tanahashi on her ‘phone.
Meanwhile, Makabe had returned to the ring but broke the count to fetch Tanahashi back in. Tanahashi popped up and attacked Makabe’s knee, hitting Dragon Screw legwhips through the ropes. He kept the heat on the knee, locking on a Texas Cloverleaf, and Makabe had to make it to the ropes to break the hold.
Tanahashi took some deep breaths and went back on the attack, slamming Makabe down and then going up top for the High Fly Flow. However, Makabe caught him up there and stopped him. They brawled and Makabe hit a huge clothesline for a double down.
They fought to their feet, trading blows, which Makabe got the better of, but Tanahashi snapped back with a rolling cutter and went up top for the High Fly Flow. Makabe moved, it missed, and Makabe hit a German suplex for a nearfall. Makabe hit a big powerbomb for another nearfall and went up top for the King Kong kneedrop. This time, Tanahashi moved and hit a Dragon Screw legwhip, a Slingblade and a High Fly Flow to take Makabe down and keep him down. He returned up top for a High Fly Flow for the pin and that was a pretty good match.
This was another Great Show. Once again, Korakuen Hall came up with the goods, and despite the Toru Yano bullshit I’m happy with pretty much the whole show, including Bad Luck Fale. That’s a rare, rare thing, isn’t it?
Block A Standings: Styles 6-2, Tanahashi 6-2, Fale 5-3, Naito 5-3, Makabe 4-4, Shibata 4-4, Ibushi 3-5, Yano 3-5, Gallows 2-6, Tenzan 2-6 (The winner of Tanahashi versus Styles on day 17 will win Block A)