Hey, it’s New Japan Pro-Wrestling G1 Climax, day eight! We’re at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, where only prefects are allowed to do gym, or something!
The show started with The Bullet Club – this time Doc Gallows & Cody Hall – versus Jay White & David Finlay. It’s Doc Gallows and three Young Boys. He’s still the worst worker in the match.
Cody Hall has a weird face. Not as weird as Gangrel’s kid but still weird. There’s no Tiger Mask IV in this opening bout for the first time on the tour, and that seems odd. Liger yesterday and now Tiger Mask today. I don’t know what’s happening any more.
Jay White pulled Young Boy rank on David Finlay again and started out with Hall. Hall use his STRENGTH and POWER to dominate White. White came back with a huge SLAP and then found his FIRE! He hit a dropkick and made the tag out to Finlay, who roared in with some meaty uppercuts. Nice.
Gallows came in and the heels got the heat on Finlay. Hall was just tossing him around the ring, like Titus O’Neil on, well, anyone. Finlay made a dropkick comeback and a tag (is that this week’s thing at the dojo?) and White fired up on Gallows with some forearms. He hit some running uppercuts into the corners but Gallows caught him and things broke down.
The Bullet Club double-teamed White and Gallows hit a gut-wrench driver type thing for a nearfall, broken up by Finlay. Hall ran in and kicked Finlay out of the ring, and went out after him. Meanwhile, Gallows hit a sit-out powerbomb for the win. Disposable stuff, really.
Next up was Mascara Dorada, Kota Ibushi & Tetsuya Naito versus Hiroshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe & Yohei Komatsu. They showed the commentary team and they looked like massive geeks. Which is as it should be.
Makabe wanted Naito from the off and Naito, surprisingly, acquiesced. He even took off his t-shirt! Then, without even locking up, he tagged out to Ibushi and stood out on the floor. Dick.
Tenzan came in and he & Ibushi had a short exchange, and then Tenzan hit the Mongolian chops. Komatsu and Mascara Dorada came in and Dorada did some lucha – Komatsu was a great base for him. Dorada hit an Asai moonsault and, back in the ring, started on the wear down. Dorada & Ibushi made quick tags, and Ibushi put Komatsu in an ouchy stretch. He made it to the ropes.
Komatsu found some FIRE! and hit a great dropkick to make the tag to Tenzan. He hit more Mongolian chops on Ibushi and then headbutted him in the corner – thankfully without splitting him open like Yano. He got a nearfall with a suplex and Ibushi came back with kicks and a standing moonsault and a springboard moonsault for a nearfall. Tenzan popped up, and hit a lariat, and they both went down.
Naito tagged himself in, but Tenzan made it to Makabe. Makabe hit Naito with a lariat and took him down. He hit the ten punch deal in the corner and then kept on top of Naito. Naito hit back with a low dropkick to take out Makabe’s knee, and then hit an in & out dropkick in the corner. Makabe lay in the middle of the ring and Naito stood on his head, posing. DICK!
Naito put Makabe in a leg lock but Tenzan broke it up. Well, it took him a while. The ref got bumped and Naito dumped Tenzan out of the ring. He set up Makabe for the Polvo de Estrella but then just dropped him to the mat and walked out of the ring, tagging in Mascara Dorada.
Makabe KILLED Dorada with a lariat and then tagged out to Komatsu, and things got fast-paced. They showed Naito just hanging out in the crowd again. Komatsu got a nearfall with a bridging suplex and then went up top. Dorada caught him up there, brought him down to the mat, and then got a nearfall with springboard twisting senton, broken up by Makabe.
Things broke down and Komatsu got nearfalls with a backslide and a Majistral cradle, before Dorada came back with a dropkick and a screwdriver for the win. Decent enough. Naito was fun. After the match, Naito lay on the ramp for a bit. Because he’s a dick.
The Bullet Club were out again next, this time with AJ Styles, Tama Tonga & Bad Luck Fale versus Katsuyori Shibata, Tiger Mask IV & Captain New Japan. Yeah, the Captain was back after his day off.
Fale and Shibata had a staredown to start, so I figure I’ve got that match-up to look forward to in the G1 tomorrow. After an early back and forth – with Shibata’s strikes versus Fale’s power – Tonga & Tiger Mask tagged in. Tiger Mask got distracted by Styles and Tonga attacked him. Tiger Mask came back and got the shine with some kicks, but then got distracted again, by Fale this time, and we got a rudo breakdown.
When things settled down, Styles and Tiger Mask were in the ring, and the Bullet Club got the heat on Tiger Mask. Fale wore him down with a nerve hold but Tiger Mask made his own comeback with a Tiger Driver on Styles that brought Shibata in. Styles and Shibata went back and forth until Styles missed a forearm into the corner and Shibata hit that ouchy low dropkick to the face that he does.
The Captain and Tama Tonga came in, and the Captain took out the entire Bullet Club before Tonga came back at him. The heels triple-teamed him and Tonga got a nearfall with a rolling cutter. The babyfaces ran in and Tiger Mask broke it up. He got hit with a piledriver by Styles while Fale hit Shibata with a Grenade. The Captain rolled Tonga up for a nearfall but Tonga hit the Headshrinker DDT for the win. It was a match.
The last match before the interval saw the Chaos team of Gedo, YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano take on Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion KUSHIDA, making his first appearance of the tour. That meant a day off for Jushin Liger, and why not, eh?
Yano told the others he had this. They were either easily convinced or didn’t care. Tanahashi started out for his team. Oddly the crowd were chanting for Yano, who did his retreat into the ropes thing from the off. Tanahashi took him down and Yano rolled out of the ring, smiling, which brought Gedo & KUSHIDA in.
KUSHIDA sped things up and hit a lovely low dropkick to Gedo’s head. Then he did multiple armwringers, and did the tagging armwringer thing with Tanahashi & Taguchi, only for Gedo to poke Taguchi in the eye. Good spot.
YOSHI-HASHI came in and he & Taguchi went at it, doing armdrags and the missed armdrag spot, before Taguchi got his bum into play. YOSHI-HASHI slid past Taguchi and out of the ring, and pulled him out with him, and then things broke down. A man at the commentary desk had a hat with YAM written on it.
Taguchi made it back into the ring on nineteen but got thrown into the turnbuckle, where Yano had removed the pad during the rudo breakdown. The heels worked Taguchi over, stomping & kicking, until he made his bumback and tagged out to Tanahashi.
Tanahashi sent YOSHI-HASHI into the bare turnbuckles, knocked him down and hit a rolling senton from the top. Yano came in to double-team Tanahashi with YOSHI-HASHI but Tanahashi fought back. Atomic Drops were handed out to Tanahashi, Yano & YOSHI-HASHI, and they all sold their balls.
KUSHIDA roared in and killed the heels, but they came back and overpowered him. They triple-teamed him in the corner and Gedo got a nearfall with a superkick. KUSHIDA made his own comeback, which Gedo stalled, but that gave Taguchi and Tanahashi time to take out the rest of Chaos. KUSHIDA went up top and hit a moonsault but Gedo got his knees up.
Gedo went for the Gedo Clutch but KUSHIDA rolled it through into a keylock. Gedo almost made the ropes but KUSHIDA rolled him back into the centre of the ring, keylock still on, and got the submission victory. That was a ton of fun.
During the interval, they showed some footage from last month’s Dominion show, and the announcers chatted about stuff. Great for Japanese speakers, Duggan for me.
The second half kicked off, as always, with the first G1 match of the night – Yujiro Takahashi versus Satoshi Kojima. Takahashi had a particularly trashy-looking stripper with him. Oh, and Cody Hall. Kojima just had that nose plaster he wears.
They shook hands before the match and Kojima was reluctant. Nothing happened, though. Bad judge of character, that Kojima. They started with holds and reversals, which I always like because it reminds you that some of those guys that take short cuts – like Takahashi – still have the fundamentals.
Kojima overpowered his smaller opponent and then went on the wear down, cynching in a headlock and stomping away, as the stripper looked worried. Then Takahashi got his bite on, and distracted the referee, and Cody Hall beat on Kojima outside. Takahashi joined them out there and used and abused the barriers to inflict some damage.
Back in the ring, Takahashi took control, laying in kicks and scoring nearfalls. He threw Kojima into the corner and charged in. Kojima got his foot up and then sidestepped the next one, switching over to hit his tiny chops and then his shitty elbow drop. Kojima won a forearm battel, by some distance and then tried to suplex Takahashi. The Bullet Clubber blocked it and hit a Fisherman’s suplex, and Kojima rolled onto the apron.
Takahashi joined him on the apron and tried to hit another Fisherman’s suplex out there but Kojima blocked it and hit a DDT. He picked Takahashi up and threw him in the ring, and unloaded with some shots and chops, taking him up to the top turnbuckle, and then hitting a Koji cutter. He threw the elbow pad away but Takahashi rushed in and German suplexed him, and they both went down.
Kojima got up in the corner and Takahashi rushed in for a big boot, and then scored a nearfall with a lariat. Takahashi hit a huge forearm and Kojima sold being knocked silly. He stumbled to his feet and Takahashi hit a Buckle Bomb, waving off the concerned referee. As Takahashi readied the finish, unsteady himself, Kojima popped up and blocked a lariat, then hit a Koji cutter and a brainbuster for a nearfall.
Kojima steeled himself for the finish, and hit his huge lariat. The ref counted but Cody Hall pulled him out of the ring before he could get to three, and dumped him into the crowd. Hall got in the ring to attack Kojima but Kojima sent him packing and looked to finish Takahashi again with the lariat. He missed, Takahashi hit a low blow, and Miami Shine, and the ref arrived to count the three. Okay, until the screwy ending.
Out representing The Bullet Club – but not Tokyo Pimps – next, Karl Anderson brought Tama Tonga to the ring with him. Anti-aging (apparently) Yuji Nagata came out, and they had a match. Because why else would they be out there?
They started out slow and quiet and Nagata hooked on a cross armbreaker which sent Anderson scuttling over to the ropes. They reset and Anderson came out fast, throwing Nagata outside and joining him out there, but Nagata rolled back in.
Nagata started laying in the kicks, and wearing down Anderson’s arm, but Anderson fired back with some old fashioned brawling, forcing Nagata to take a break on the outside. Anderson went out after him and ran him into the barriers, leaving him lying clutching his ribs. Anderson went back into the ring and mocked Nagata’s salute.
Nagata made it back in on seventeen and Anderson went right to stomping his ribs. Over and over again. He started taunting Nagata, slapping him and mocking his salute, and Nagata FIRED UP! with a kneelift and some heavy kicks.
Nagata got a nearfall with an exploder, but Anderson blocked a brainbuster and hit a Stun Gun for a nearfall of his own. Anderson took over but Nagata popped back up and no-sold everything Anderson smacked him with, and hit a suplex off the top for a nearfall.
They went back and forth some more and Nagata locked on his Shirome armbar. Anderson made the ropes and then hit a spinebuster after the reset. He did the Randy Orton thing and went for the Stun Gun but Nagata blocked it and hit a spin kick to the back of Anderson’s head. He hit another to take Anderson down and picked him up for an exploder, which Anderson reversed into a Stun Gun for the win. A decent professional wrestling match.
After teaming up yesterday and still managing to get into it, Michael Elgin met Tomoaki Honma in the next G1 match-up. The crowd was firmly behind Honma, because he’s a loveable crazy man.
Elgin overpowered Honma early, with Honma outsmarting him and missing his headbutt, before Elgin returned to the power game. The stalling suplex squat followed and it’s getting over with the fans. He tried to get the fans to chant his name, though, and that didn’t work so good.
Elgin herked Honma around the ring, scoring some weak nearfalls, and Honma hit back with a DDT. He missed his headbutt again, and Elgin went back on the attack, trying to suplex Honma but getting herked up and over himself. Honma hit a forearm in the corner, a bulldog, and then hit his headbutt! He almost scored a nearfall but Elgin kicked out.
They traded back and forth, with Elgin getting a big hit in off the top before herking Honma up & over for an inside out superplex which the crowd loved. That got a nearfall, too. Elgin tried to hit a powerbomb but Honma fought out. Elgin smacked him in the mouth, and hit a Buckle Bomb. Honma exploded back out with a headbutt and they both went down.
The crowd chanted solidly for Honma as they both got to their feet. Honma hit a headbutt from behind, slammed Elgin and then went up for the top rope headbutt, which missed when Elgin sat up. They started a forearm battel on their knees, and fought to their feet. Elgin scored a nearfall with a HUGE lariat, they traded some more, and then Elgin hit THREE powerbombs to get the win. A good HOSS match.
An all-Chaos battle was up next, with Tomohiro Ishii versus the returning from injury Shinsuke Nakamura. Would Ishii go easy on his stablemate? Would he fuck.
Nakamura, who had his injured elbow strapped, and Ishii laid in kicks early doors, before a tentative holds and reversals exchange which ended in a heelish forearm to the face from Nakamura. He took Ishii down and laid in some more kicks, but Ishii no-sold them, went after Nakamura’s knee and applied a side headlock. Nakamura fired him off and Ishii shouldered him to the mat. POWER!
Ishii took control, slapping and kicking Nakamura, who fired back with forearms, to little effect. Ishii took Nakamura down again with a forearm, kicking him like a dick, which Nakamura didn’t appreciate. Nakamura fired back with forearms which Ishii again no-sold, responding with a headbutt.
Nakamura changed tack, and took Ishii down with kicks. He did the vibrating leg thingy, Ishii came briefly back, and Nakamura took him down again with a knee. Ishii wrestled out of a hold and took over, scoring nearfalls and generally ouching Nakamura with chops, forearms, clotheslines, and a brainbuster. Nakamura blocked a power bomb and backdropped Ishii over, and they traded forearms. Nakamura hit the running knee in the corner and covered but Ishii kicked out.
Nakamura laid in the knees, hit a facebuster, and went for Bom A Ye. He missed and Ishii hit a whacky brainbuster for the double down. Ishii hit a powerbomb for a nearfall, and a superplex for another, and if this is working at less than 100% then Nakamura is a BEAST.
Nakamura came back with kicks and knees for another double down, and I noticed dired bloodstains on the canvas which must have been there from days ago, the dirty gits. Nakamura got a nearfall with a sliding knee after a belly-to-back brainbuster and then called for Bom A Ye, which Ishii blocked and then hit a HUGE lariat for a very near fall.
Ishii hit Sliding D for another nearfall and both of them were fucked. Still, Ishii got up and dragged Nakamura to his feet, looking for a brainbuster, but Nakamura escaped, hit a kick and then Bom A Ye, but was too damaged to make the cover. Nakamura got up, went up top, and hit a diving knee for an even nearer fall. He hit more knees, Ishii came back with a lariat, Nakamura turned that into an armbar, and Ishii tried to hit a powerbomb. They broke apart and Ishii hit a DROPKICK!
Nakamura hit a punch, Ishii hit a headbutt, Ishii went for a brainbuster but Nakamura hit a fireman’s carry driver, and then hit Bom A Ye for the win. WHAT A WAR. Christ, these guys will kill themselves for our entertainment.
Hey, it’s our main event! It’s IWGP champion Kazuchika Okada versus Hirooki Goto! Goto holds the Intercontinental title, so this is the two biggest championships in the company in one match. Not a title match, obv, but still!
They did holds and reversals to start, ending in a stand off, which there really isn’t enough of in top-level wrestling these days. They went back to it, and Goto used his superior bulk to overpower the champion, scoring an early nearfall with a neckbreaker.
He continued to dominate, wearing Okada down with strikes and a headscissors on the mat. After an age, Okada made the ropes and Goto released the hold, but only after getting the counting treatment from Red Shoes.
Okada went outside for a break but Goto followed him out, laying in strikes and running him into the barriers. He charged in after him but Okada moved and Goto went over, into the crowd. Okada backed up and dived over the barriers, taking Goto into the front row of (soon vacated) seats. Someone had a t-shirt on that said FRUITFUL LIES. Okada hit a draping DDT off the barriers at ringside and then returned to the ring.
Goto made it back in on eighteen and Okada went right back on the attack, hitting a low dropkick for a nearfall. Goto found some FIRE! and hit some chops but Okada dropped him again and ran him into the corner. He charged in and Goto moved, and then hit a lariat when Okada stumbled back out. Goto laid in some kicks and hit a spinning kick in the corner, and took Okada down with a bulldog.
He went to hit a backdrop suplex but Okada reversed out of it and they exchanged blows before Goto hit it for a nearfall. They traded holds and Okada hit a flapjack, and followed up with a corner charge, a DDT, and a rising uppercut for a nearfall. This was very much Okada’s match at this point and the crowd chanted for him.
Okada slammed Goto to the mat and went up top. Goto popped up and charged in. Okada dived over him and landed on his feet but Goto met him with a lariat and both men went down. Gedo, out there with Okada, slapped the apron in support, and they went into a series of quick falls, which ended when Okada hit the reverse neckbreaker to take Goto out of the game.
Okada set up the piledriver but Goto wriggled out of it. Okada hit his magnificent dropkick and dragged Goto to the centre of the ring and hit his even more magnificent elbow. He signalled for the Rainmaker but Goto ducked and hit Ushigoroshi, which proper took the wind out of Okada’s sails.
Goto fired up and hit Ura Shouten for a nearfall, then lifted Okada up for Shouten Kai. Okada escaped and made it to the corner. Goto charged in and Okada got the foot up but Goto shrugged it off and put him on the top turnbuckle. He laid in some forearms and looked like he wanted to hit Ushigoroshi, but Okada fought out and hit a German suplex.
Okada picked Goto up and went for the Rainmaker but Goto met him with a headbutt. Both men went down, but Goto was up first. They traded blows and Goto hit Shouten Kai for the (kind of) shock win. Another fantastic match. Okada is such a talent.
This was a Really Good Show, probably up there with yesterday’s as the best so far on the tour. Things are warming up, and with KUSHIDA on the shows now – and Nakamura back from injury – it will only get hotter from hereonin.
Block B Standings: Anderson 3-1, Goto 3-1, Ishii 3-1, Okada 3-1, Elgin 2-2, Nakamura 2-2, Takahashi 2-2, Kojima 1-3, Nagata 1-3, Honma 0-4