NJPW G1 Climax 27 Final
August 13 2017
I made it! It’s been an exhausting run but we’re at the final day of G1. Omega vs. Naito. Winner goes to the Dome in January. A few thoughts on the tournament –
- My original final was Naito vs. SANADA, in the picks, but given the ongoing storylines this final makes the most sense. These are the two guys NJPW are pushing hardest outside of Okada. One of them is getting the Dome.
- I thought Omega would take longer to get a win over Okada but it makes sense that he beat him with no title on the line.
- English comms has been good. Callis has settled into his heel-ish role nicely, without going too far overboard with it and he makes some excellent points. Shame about all the perversion but that’s part of the package.
- The tournament has been far less of a slog this year than ever before. The strength in depth in this field has been a delight. Hell, I’ve been resorting to complaints about the banality of YOSHI-HASHI and Tama Tonga. That’s how fucking strong the field has been this year. Nobody has been outright bad.
- EVIL and Juice Robinson have had terrific tournaments. Their stock has notably risen.
- Saying goodbye to Yuji Nagata, G1 Performer, has been a sad experience but he’s gone out with a string of great matches. A contrast to Tenzan last year where he faded badly after the opening night.
- I’ve seen too many undercard tags that achieved nothing.
Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi, El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku) vs. KUSHIDA, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Hirai Kawato
Taichi does his full entrance and has Miho Abe in his corner.
Liger is molested by Miho so he spanks her. Maria Bennett called him a “dirty old man” incidentally. All your favourite legends are perverts. Desperado is determined to put on a good showing here, aiming to challenge KUSHIDA. This includes an insane dive. Kawato is superb in these multi-man tags, going after the toughest opponent he can find. Tonight that means Kanemaru. Oh, I hope he pins him. Instead Taichi interferes and Kanemaru hits Deep Impact for the win. I love Kawato’s fire and Despy was on form here but the match was really short.
Final Rating: **1/4
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
Yuji Nagata may have finished his G1 career but he’s still around kicking ass and taking names. Tama is great here. He’s at his best on cameos. His inability to Irish whip Nakanishi is fantastic. Tama has so much potential that his inconsistent singles career remains a complete mystery to me. Nakanishi gets to look very powerful until Tanga jacks him up and hits the Island Driver for the pin. Guerrillas of Destiny surprise Nagata by saluting and bowing before him on their way out. Holy shit. Love the respect for Nagata. He actually looks choked up. I hope Nagata continues to mentor the boys as he’s winding his career down. He’s an inspiration.
Final Rating: **1/4
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Togi Makabe & David Finlay
Kevin Kelly says that YOSHI-HASHI has a “bright future” as he comes out here. He’s in his mid 30s Kev! He should have a bright present if he wants to be anything special. Finlay has been looking bulkier during this tour and arguably could step up to heavyweight without surprising anyone. He has one of those bar fighter/NWA 1982 bodies that makes him look genuine combined with Tanahashi Jr hair. Goto vs. Makabe is a contest where they forget the G1 tournament is over and beat the piss out of each other. I’m not that big of a fan of either Makabe or Finlay but putting them together is a great idea. Togi does all the power and the hot tag saves and David has all the flair and passion. I would honestly watch the team all the way to the titles. Naturally Finlay loses here, as he’s the low man and wasn’t in G1, but long term there’s huge potential there.
Final Rating: **3/4
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens) vs. Balls Deep in Bread (Juice Robinson, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan)
Yujiro has both his girls with him tonight and Muffin Ass once again has a temporary tattoo on her cheek. No lads, not that one. I’ve listed Juice first here because he has a better G1 record this year than Kojima and Tenzan is too old to be in G1. Juice went balls deep into beautiful Japanese women last night to celebrate his G1 performance. Urgh, that sentence. The whole match represents the sleazier side of Japanese wrestling. Like greasy Yujiro and his ladies. Meanwhile Chase Owens steals the show by doing sneaky cheating. The kind that’s almost a lost art. If you cheat in front of the referee it should be a DQ. If you hide it using your body position then it’s art. Juice looks inspired here, having enjoyed a solid G1 and the company of many womenfolk. His punches are sharp. His movement is good. He puts Chase away with Pulp Friction. I’m still not sure I like Juice, as a person or as a wrestler, but there are less holes in his game than before and as long as he keeps that ego in check he’ll be a star.
Final Rating: **3/4
IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks (c) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet
Taguchi Japan is going for some gold.
Meanwhile Taguchi is preparing for it by feeding his plastic parrot. The Bucks are better at psychology than people give them credit and they make a point of wiping out Ricochet’s leg to slow him down. The potential was for a slightly goofy match, given Bucks-Taguchi interactions in the past, but it soon turns serious. It’s not what I was expecting at all but the Bucks are vicious. Ricochet doesn’t help his cause by accidentally hitting the Benadryller on the ring post. It’s a pity because the early going in the match was fun. I also loved the interactions these two teams had on Friday in an undercard ten-man tag. With Ricochet immobilised Taguchi goes on a divez rampage. It’s very easy to forget Taguchi is a world class wrestler on his day. The goofy stuff and all the butt attacks and plastic parrots are a distraction. When he’s on, he’s fucking amazing. Fair play to him, the goofy stuff has prolonged his career and should help his body when he’s old. Ricochet himself does solid understated work, blocking a move with his bad knee and thus hurting himself more and avoiding stuff instead of coming up with wacky counters. Ricochet being forced to minimise his offence creates an entirely different wrestler. Taguchi continues his Stirling work, catching the Indytaker in mid move with a springboard hip attack. Ricochet manages a shooting star press on one leg and the belts switch to Taguchi Japan! Thus ends yet another Bucks title run. Taguchi Japan are a great unit, continually entertaining me.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Post Match: Katsuyori Shibata has arrived!
— LARIATOOOO!!! (@MrLARIATO) August 13, 2017
He doesn’t say anything other than “I am alive”. I have chills. What the fuck? I thought he was done for good. Maybe he is. Just seeing him walk out here and hear his music was a wonderful moment though. It warmed my heart on this chilly August morning.
Video Control takes us to a bizarre promo video before the show re-starts. It’s…strange. Not sure what to make of it.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
War Machine (c) vs. Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page
This feels like a mismatch, despite Cody’s win-loss record in NJPW. War Machine are a dominant babyface team and Page has never been presented as anything other than a midcard nobody. The crowd isn’t receptive to the challengers and in general Gedo’s heavyweight tag division has been disinteresting over the years. I thought War Machine could salvage it but the lack of interesting challengers is a major issue. The fact they put together two guys who aren’t a team to challenge on one of the biggest shows of the year says a lot. Cody’s concept for the finish is putting Hanson through the English commentary table but he finds himself thrown into it, dislodging Don Callis in the process. Page turns up the volume by dropping Rowe on his head, twice off German suplexes. The first is completely no sold. Ray Rowe for G1 next year lads! Ray convinces Hanson to hit a moonsault and if it wasn’t for sneaky Cody it would be over. A lot of this match doesn’t click but awesome War Machine spots are scattered throughout, usually involving Rowe no selling and Hanson doing cruiserweight spots. Fallout finishes. I was never into this, mainly because the challengers were such a damp squib, but the War Machine stuff is enough for a recommendation.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Post Match: the former champions, GOD, come out to join the incumbent champs. Tama gets lost during his promo but it turns out they were only stalling because Killer Elite Squad were late on their run in. This tag team division is so depressing.
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr & Takashi Iizuka) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & Michael Elgin
Haven’t we had enough of Suzuki-gun? The only positive is that Suzuki and Sabre represent the peak of the group and as a team are the best SKG can offer. The numbers game is able to see all the babyfaces take a beating. Most of it is illegal and not concealed at all. At least Suzuki hides a rope while passing it to Iizuka by drawing Red Shoes into the corner. He’s an expert. Everyone else sucks at cheating. When the wrestlers are actually interacting in the ring, which is very rare, it’s a good match. However we then get chairs and three guys flat out running into the ring. It’s fucking stupid. I was sick of Suzuki-gun years ago. The act is stale beyond belief and it won’t stop. With KES coming back and the group getting bigger it’s almost unbearable. At least they have Suzuki and Sabre but you could put the rest of the group in the bin right now and I’d be fine with it*. Sabre spends his chunk of the match brutalising Tanahashi’s arm. He’s clearly aiming at getting a title shot for the IC belt, having submitted Tana in the Block.
Sabre ties Tanahashi into knots, rips apart the protection on his arm and gets Tana to tap out for the second time on this tour. Meanwhile Elgin and Suzuki are beating the crap out of each other. This match did a lot to establish a couple of feuds, even if the first half of the match was bad.
Final Rating: ***
*Despy can stay. He can hold the banner.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Gedo)
The big news in this is that Daryl Takahashi has returned from death, complete with a cast on his leg. It’s a stunning recovery. Meanwhile Okada is fired up and he calls out EVIL, for beating him in the Block. If EVIL hadn’t beaten Okada then Omega wouldn’t have won the Block even without the win on the last day.
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) August 13, 2017
This results in the already injured Okada being isolated and beaten up by LIJ. Yano gets a hot tag and SANADA leaves him trapped in the Paradise Lock for ages. Hiromu, nutcase that he is, tries to go after Ishii with predictable results. He is a crazy. Okada starts to look troubled during the match, as he’s taken such a beating, but he’s still capable of popping off that dropkick and eating a massive lariat from EVIL. Hiromu chokes Gedo out for the win and we can get on with the main event. EVIL, sadist, hits Darkness Falls on a stack of chairs to make sure he leaves his mark on the champion. EVIL wants a title shot. That’ll be on the Destruction shows next month no doubt.
Final Rating: ***
G1 Climax 27 Final
Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega
I had Naito pre-tournament (albeit over SANADA, with Omega-Okada being a draw eliminating both). I still think that makes sense. Naito vs. Okada is the same main event (which wasn’t) that turned Naito into a jerk a few years ago. To repeat that WK match with Naito finally getting the main event and the respect he feels he deserves is logically the way to go. Meanwhile Omega isn’t entirely focused on this match. He feels like he beat Naito last year and this is merely a stepping stone on his way to the Dome.
Globally the smart move would be Omega, with his American connections and the popularity of Bullet Club but Naito is the right move for the promotion domestically. The crowd is definitely split. A lot of people are invested in this. Naito is calm, collected and immediately pisses Omega off with his posing and showmanship. Naito uses this to his advantage, faking Omega out with his standard pose before hitting a bullet tope on the unsuspecting Kenny. It’s a sign Naito is taking this more seriously than his calm external condition. Then he piledrives Kenny on the announce table in vicious fashion; Omega landing head first on the edge.
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubItal) August 13, 2017
Jesus fucking Christ.
Omega has done his homework and goes after Naito’s shoulder/neck, which is apparently injured and had tape on under his t-shirt yesterday. Naito has tried to not draw attention to it here but Omega knows about it and goes after it with a vengeance. Naito takes some savage looking abuse on it too. He’s always been great at taking sick bumps, usually landing right on his shoulder and neck area. Naito’s response is to go after Kenny’s neck, mirror that offence. The piledriver has already set all that up for him. There’s something unsettling about neck offence. So many wrestlers have bad necks anyway that it feels like they’re not selling but showing their actual neck pain. Omega’s offence and counters are so phenomenal. His creativity is amazing. The way he drops Naito into the turnbuckle is fantastic and Naito takes a sickening bump from it. The neck bumps continue with both guys being tortured repeatedly. Some of the slow-motion replays are horrifying. Omega lands on his head off Gloria. Naito takes a DDT into the ring post off the top rope. These are insane bumps that shouldn’t happen. The standard is so high. The difficulty is off the charts. Naito countering a superbomb into a rana in mid-air, after all the abuse he’s suffered, is stunning. It’s breathtaking action.
— The Tag Rope (@tagropemag) August 13, 2017
Naito decides to turn back the clock with the Stardust Press, his old finish as a babyface, but he misses! Naito doesn’t just take sick bumps though, the timing on his kick-outs is amazing. The one from the Jay Driller, where his eyes are shut and he can’t even hear the count because he’s folded under Kenny is unreal. Also his selling and how he collapses when faced with the V-Trigger, like Omega dodging the Rainmaker. Omega unloads with offence on the dismantled Naito but he keeps kicking out. The savagery of Omega’s V-Triggers are unrelenting. I’m reminded of how they effected Naito’s mate EVIL. It makes Naito’s insane last gasp counters all the more incredible. It becomes a war of attrition with both guys taking so many horrible strikes and bumps. Naito counters into a Satellite Destino but Kenny gets a shoulder up. Destino! It’s over. Naito wins G1.
Final Rating: *****
— LARIATOOOO!!! (@MrLARIATO) August 13, 2017
Interesting point on the conclusion where Naito has all of LIJ in there with him and even fist-bumps Daryl. Compare that to various other winners who’ve been there solo. Naito has family and those who believe in him beyond everything else.
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubItal) August 13, 2017
Undercard is meh. Don’t worry about it. Forget that shit. Main event is everything. Match of the Year. I am exhausted by it. Both guys are lucky to walk away from that level of abuse.