G1 Climax 27 Night Six
July 25 2017
We’re in Fukushima for the third round of Block B matches. I remember this grim looking building from previous tours. It’s imposing grey walls are fairly depressing. Both Okada and Omega are still at 100% but face tricky challenges this evening in the form of SANADA and Toru Yano. SANADA pushing everyone at the moment and Yano, the sublime master thief, always capable of an upset.
Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kota Ibushi & Shota Umino
Makabe vs. Ibushi is taking place tomorrow so this is their hype match. It’s also the first tour appearance for both Taguchi and young lion Umino. Young Shota is the least far along of the existing pride and it shows. Togi pretty much ignores him.
The exchanges between Kota and Togi are downright tasty. They throw a lot of lumber; Ibushi landing with heavy kicks and Makabe responding with a huge lariat. They should have a good contest on Night 7. For what Umino lacks in skill he makes up for with enthusiasm. He repeatedly charges across the ring to convey a strong element of energetic effort. The exchanges between Umino and Taguchi are genuinely good and I’m a little sad when Shota gets outdone and submitted with anklelock. Good opener!
Final Rating: ***
Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka vs. Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
CHAOS will collide tomorrow but instead of setting that table they’re teaming up to show some unity.
Speaking of unity; look at this pair! Kitamura looks dangerously insane. I love him. Oka is more like Ishii. He’s all business. Focused on the art of pro wrestling. Ishii vs. Oka is really good. They batter each other and Ishii comes out on top, as you’d expect. YOSHI-HASHI has serious issues against Kitamura, who beats him up. Tacos has to resort to relatively cheap offence (like superkicking his way out of a chop battle he was losing). YOSHI-HASHI ends up getting the win, via Butterfly Lock but the Young Lions looked solid. Every time I see Oka & Kitamura I wonder how long it’ll be before they’re being taken seriously. They’re big lads.
Final Rating: **3/4
Yuji Nagata & Hirai Kawato vs. Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi
Nagata vs. Naito is second last tomorrow. Given Nagata’s performances so far it should be good. He’s taking this ‘final G1’ very seriously. LIJ make a point of isolating, and brutalising, Kawato. It doesn’t do Naito’s G1 hopes much good but it does allow Hiromu to take out his Daryl related frustrations on an easy target. Kawato landing a dropkick on Naito seriously pops the Japanese commentary lads. Kawato has a stunning degree of pluck. Hiromu makes him pay for it. The former dojo boys love to punish the new dojo boys. Hiromu makes a point of submitting Kawato with the Boston Crab because it’s all he deserves. He’s not worthy of a wasted Timebomb. The post match is epic with Naito pulling out his pose at Nagata’s feet, which has predictably kicky results but Naito isn’t finished and leaps on the buckles to do Nagata’s pose. He’s such a prick. No wonder he’s one of the most popular wrestlers in Japan.
Final Rating: **3/4
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr, Taichi & El Desperado)
If this match was just Zack Sabre Jr confusing Yujiro Takahashi with superior mat wrestling skill it’d be alright. Instead it’s Zack using Fale as a climbing frame, much to the Kiwi’s dismay. Somehow the rest of the match just flows over me like a river of slime flowing under New York City and when I regain control of my faculties Yujiro has pinned Taichi. Any time Taichi takes a job I’m happy. I have no idea if the match was any good. Tuned that shit out.
Final Rating: *1/2
Hirooki Goto & Jado vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay
Tana vs. Goto is the N7 main event. Goto’s aim is to soften Tanahashi up a bit but the Eternal Ace isn’t in the mood for his shit. This is one of those Tanahashi matches where he doesn’t want to leave his feet, if entirely possible. I don’t blame him. Sometimes in wrestling you need to pick your battles with your own body. That bump clock is ticking. Goto is livelier and he kicks Finlay so hard at one point he hurts his own leg. It doesn’t phase Finlay who drops Jado with the Stunner for the pin. I’m glad Tana took it really easy here but it makes the match a total skip.
Final Rating: **
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Michael Elgin  vs. Satoshi Kojima 
The good news for one of these gentlemen is their streak of losses is over. The bad news is that whoever loses is left alone on zero points.
Both men have a similar style, which involves a barrage of Strong Style and stubborn refusal to be beaten down. This leads to a war of strikes but Elgin has the added bonus of all his power moves. When they come out even on the strikes he can switch it up. Elgin shows a little personality here, stealing all of Kojima’s trademark stuff but refusing to pander to the crowd with it. The match becomes a battle of Elgin’s all-round strength versus Kojima’s durability. It becomes an intriguing fight because Kojima just won’t stay down. Whether it’s on the floor, from an apron powerbomb, or in the ring where he keeps firing back. He will not quit. While Kojima’s resistance makes for a good tale, he can’t keep it up forever and Big Mike slips out of a superplex to hit a sunset bomb. Big Elginbomb finishes moments later, leaving Kojima virtually motionless in defeat. What a war these two had though. Top stuff.
Final Rating: ***3/4
G1 Climax 27 Block B
EVIL  vs. Tama Tonga 
Both these guys are technically heels with LIJ and Bullet Club so this becomes a contest of who can be the biggest asshole. This seems to be Tama, who not only assaults EVIL with part of the crowd barrier but also throws the referee into a shutter before insisting on a count out. Due to Tama insisting on such awful spots as the ‘almost a count out’ it’s left to EVIL to create excitement. Which he does by hurling Tama around with reckless abandon and smashing a chair over his head. You brought that on yourself Tama. The Tongan tries some of his weird rope running, which EVIL counters by switching directions quicker and instead of mucking around, hits a lariat. They throw in a great counters spot at the finish, to compensate for an underwhelming match, where EVIL busts out the Everything is Evil STO for the win. I like the teases at the finish and I’m glad Tama lost.
Final Rating: ***1/4
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Minoru Suzuki  vs. Juice Robinson 
Kaze ni nare is a banging entrance tune. I love the way it builds to the crescendo and how MiSu enters the ring at that point. Juice comes out with a bad leg, which Suzuki made worse by destroying it in the ‘warm up’ tag. One legged man in an ass-kicking competition is it? Juice does a solid job of modifying his approach to compensate for the leg problems. As Suzuki does a bang up job of fucking up the leg again.
Suzuki is a horrible bastard here, throwing chairs and bit of guard rail at Juice’s leg, hoping to do it significant damage and basically end Robinson’s G1. With every fresh assault MiSu offers Juice the chance to give up, or take a count out. He wants this kid to quit on him. Admit he’s not man enough to fight Minoru Suzuki. Logically this string of abuse should lead to a leg-based submission. Juice’s refusal to do so speaks volumes about his character. He doesn’t want to look like a quitter, even though submitting and living to fight another day is the sensible thing to do, given the circumstances. As he continues to torture Juice it’s easy to forget that MiSu is every bit the senior citizen but whether other older wrestlers are showing signs of age, Minoru is evergreen. Juice continues to refuse the submission so Suzuki stuffs him with the Gotch Piledriver for the pin. For all of Juice’s courage he still lost. Minoru, almost annoyed he couldn’t get that elusive tap out, smacks around some young boys for his amusement.
Final Rating: ***1/2
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Kenny Omega  vs. Toru Yano 
Kenny’s slightly fan-friendly deal of dishing out wolfie kisses to fans wearing his merch is incredibly endearing to me. Also Kenny pointing out “I forgot the belt” (the IWGP US title) “I’m going to get in big trouble”. This is predictably goofy.
They didn’t get to do much in the tag the previous show and do a tonne here. From Yano hiding powder in his DVD box to a blinded Omega almost killing Red Shoes to Yano exposing ALL the turnbuckles. It’s a total night off for Kenny. Just when you think it can’t get any sillier they both tape each others legs up so neither guy can walk. Pro wrestling is amazing. The variety that a fake fight can create never ceases to amaze. It’s part of the appeal. The tape just adds to this with them doing Irish whips and the International. Kenny, the superior athlete, doing most of the leg…uh, hop work. In the midst of all the silliness is the incredible tension of the near falls, with Omega almost losing to fluke roll ups many times over. Yano eats a V-Trigger that knocks him off the apron and he lacks the athletic capacity to get back into the ring with his legs taped together. The Sublime Master Thief has been outdone! Omega dodged a bullet here. He’s overcome the savagery of Suzuki and the trickery of Yano with a 100% record. It looks increasingly likely to be Omega and Okada going unbeaten throughout the tournament to set up a meaningful final match.
Final Rating: **1/2
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Kazuchika Okada  vs. SANADA 
Okada is now playing catch-up with Kenny having gone 3-0.
SANADA is quite the test. He’s one of the few wrestlers in the company to not only match Okada is stature but also in athleticism. Okada is famed for his vertical leap but SANADA’s may be superior. SANADA is certainly the more devious of the two, feigning a knee injury to sucker Okada into a cheap shot assault. You’d think Gedo, supporting Okada as cheerleader at ringside, would have advised the champ to not turn his back on an injured heel. It happens again when Okada gets a low blow entering the ring and before long SANADA has him in the Paradise Lock. For someone who used to be a heel, as part of CHAOS, Okada comes across as quite dumb in this match. Okada’s natural charm comes from a combination of his boyish good looks and a natural capacity to out-perform any opponent, no matter their reputation. With SANADA he waits for an opening and counters his way into superior positions. Okada is a big match wrestler. There’s no doubt of that. He’s grown up, as a wrestler, in the spotlight and that experience is proving invaluable to his decision making and timing. SANADA, as a character, is vanilla but his bursts of offence and established moveset make him a genuine threat to Okada as a wrestler. I must admit, I had SANADA doing far better in this Block than he is at this point and I had him winning here. Gedo looks like he’s going a different route; with Okada and Omega starting strong.
There are times where it looks as if SANADA will pull off a minor upset, and he traps Okada in the middle of the ring with Skull End. Big Kaz is having none of it. He escapes that and batters SANADA with the Rainmaker for the win. This felt strangely underwhelming for some reason. Perhaps because it’s the only match I’d been spoiled on in the tournament so far. The wrestling was clinical though and they told a decent story but I wanted to see Okada pushed harder than he was.
Final Rating: ***3/4
A glance at the Block B standings reveal the pattern I spotted early on; Omega & Okada are both unbeaten after three matches. There’s a chance they go the whole tournament without losing, only to clash on the final night with everything at stake. EVIL and Suzuki are both trying to chase but they need the frontrunners to falter at some point to give them a chance.
BLOCK B Standings
Kenny Omega 6
Kazuchika Okada 6
Minoru Suzuki 4
Juice Robinson 2
Tama Tonga 2
Toru Yano 2
Michael Elgin 2
Satoshi Kojima 0
This is the first G1 show this year which dragged. The undercard is the main culprit with five tags in the first half. This will be the case for the entire tour and I’m considering following the traditional reviewers stance of skipping the non-tournament matches. I won’t but I’m considering it.