NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Fourteen
August 5 2017
The G1 fatigue is real. The shows have started to take a toll upon me, which has not been helped by an extended shift at work today. One that saw me leave me house around 8am and return home at 11pm. These are days I could live without. Tonight we’re in Osaka, which is arguably the number two market in Japan after Tokyo and one New Japan prosper in. The main event is Okada vs. EVIL with poor EVIL recovering from the thrashing he received from Kenny Omega just days ago.
Katsuya Kitamura vs. Chase Owens
Gedo has heard, he has listened and he understands. What the world wants is more goddamn Katsuya Kitamura and they want it right goddamn now. His enthusiasm is infectious. He positively bounds to the ring like Tigger. Which would make Chase Eeyore I guess? Although from the way he sucks up to Kenny Omega, he could also be Piglet. I would totally put Kitamura over here. Fuck the rules. Fuck the whole ‘Young Lions need to job to learn the biz thing. Just put him over.
Just look at him! You don’t get many muscle monsters in Japan and this guy is jacked to the nines. He’s not a great wrestler yet but he hits hard and he’s willing to learn. Plus he’s a genetic jackhammer. Chase whips him into the guardrail and the first three rows get pregnant. Even the men. The match is another fine display of how badass Kitamura is and he hits Chase really hard before eating the Package Piledriver for the loss. Owens nailed it too. It was a sick bump. This was a pleasant break from the monotony of undercard tags.
Final Rating: **1/2
Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & El Desperado vs. Yuji Nagata, Shota Umino & Tetsuhiro Yagi
Sabre vs. Nagata is taking place on Sunday and Yuji is eager to show he’s up for it. He jogs to the ring like a young lion. Speaking of the younglings, I enjoy their intensity here and an undercard bout with Nagata teaching kids to show some fire is never filler. Desperado has made a habit of making young lions tap though and he does so, again, here. I’d be quite happy to see Sabre putting the kids through their paces in singles matches. If not all the boys then definitely Kawato. He looked tremendously confused when faced with Sabre’s escapes.
Final Rating: **1/2
Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tomoyuki Oka
Yujiro has Muffin Ass with him so we’re clearly into the business end of G1. Meanwhile Tenzan finds himself drafted into the re-shuffle (which is required due to Jado’s injury). The pervert cameraman is not interested in Tenzan and tests out his zoom lens on Yujiro’s valet. The cameramen/producers in this company should be shooting porn. They’re good at capturing important moments, can follow the action and love the ass. My enjoyment of the undercard drops off sharply here, although Oka overhead suplexing Yujiro is quite pleasant. This might coincide with the late hour, as it’s nearly 1am by this point and I’m rapidly fading. Oka looks decent but Yujiro predictably drops him with the short DDT. Given the strength of this huge crop of Lion cubs one of them will eventually score an upset win and the likes of Yujiro are in their crosshairs.
Final Rating: *3/4
Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Togi Makabe, Tiger Mask IV & Hirai Kawato
Osaka has always been an interesting building for Naito. They always hated him as a babyface. Makabe’s team is a bit of a hodgepodge compared to Naito’s Ingobernable unit. Naturally this is occurring ahead of Naito vs. Makabe on Sunday. I’m so far behind on today’s show that as I write this, Naito vs. Makabe has probably already happened. The gruelling schedule of G1, combined with a gruelling work schedule. The match is relatively unsurprising with Naito trying to avoid Makabe and both G1 competitors leaving the bulk of the heavy lifting to the juniors. These days Naito revels in the boos of Osaka and loves hearing them drift down from the rafters. A huge contrast to when they hated him as a babyface. Kawato is looking better by the match and he’s super energised here, flying around the ring and popping the crowd. He’s the one to submit, as always, with BUSHI strapping him in a Boston crab to achieve the tap out. This was fine and Kawato again looked like a star in the making.
The post match is glorious with Togi taking a chair to Naito. The leader of LIJ takes it from him and instead of hitting Togi, he just sits down on it. Makabe is furious and comes after Naito with the blood lust. Now *that* is how you preview a singles match. There is a huge gap in how these two men perceive wrestling and I adore clashing ideologies. The angry old man versus the young punk will never get old.
Final Rating: **1/4
Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & David Finlay
Tana vs. Ishii and Ibushi vs. YOSHI-HASHI are taking place tomorrow. There’s another match previewed though as Goto has Ibushi in his final Block match. Tana vs. Ishii is another wrestling clash of ideologies. Ishii is a thug. Tanahashi is a rock star with perfect hair. Every time Tana hits him you can see the contempt on Ishii’s face. Fuck you and your fucking hair, you fuck. Hitting people is my thing. You have your perfect looks, legion of female fans and adoring public. Leave the hitting to me. With five of the six competitors here involved in the G1 there’s only one guy who’s taking the pin and it’s Finlay, courtesy of Goto’s Revolution. This was a solid undercard main. The Tana-Ishii interactions suggest a mouth-watering main event on Sunday.
Final Rating: **3/4
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Tama Tonga  vs. Toru Yano 
This is a dead rubber match. Both guys are already out and are just competing for points tally. Tama looks all geared up for a nothing match and has full face paint on. It has the desired effect as Yano is mysteriously terrified of Tama with face paint. Maybe he’s afraid of clowns? They immediately tease a great count out with Yano being taped to a guardrail and barely cutting himself free in time. The pre-existing count-outs create the sense that another count out could occur. Tama’s mockery includes the rope break business and trying to remove a turnbuckle pad but he can’t figure it out! As far as comedy matches go it’s pure gold. The Sublime Master Thief outwits his opponent, nut shots him and gets the cheeky roll up for two points. I really enjoyed this! Best Yano match in the tournament.
Final Rating: ***
G1 Climax Block B
SANADA  vs. Satoshi Kojima 
Kojima getting blanked has made me sad. I didn’t realise how close he was to being put out to pasture by Gedo but here he is. SANADA, being the only top tier guy who’s already come up short against Okada, could be eliminated tonight even if he wins. If Kojima beats SANADA then Cold Skull is finished as a contender. I had him pegged as the dark horse winner of the Block but maybe it’s too early for that and the LIJ collision I had pencilled in as the final. Kojima is clearly off the pace, compared to SANADA and the near miss sequence they run is all about SANADA’s athleticism. Everybody jobs to Father Time eventually. SANADA largely controls matters and no matter how much support Tenzan yells Kojima finds himself outdone by the younger man. SANADA makes a massive tactical error by assuming Kojima is out in Skull End and going for a moonsault, which is countered. I don’t understand the mentality of giving up on a submission when it’s working. Although it works for MiSu all the time. Kojima makes him pay for it, firing up, refusing to stay down a second time, and battering SANADA with the lariat to put him out of the G1. Wow! This was Kojima turning back the clock to prove he still belonged. The crowd appreciate it. Poor SANADA ended up as a sacrificial lamb. The win means far more to Kojima than it ever would to SANADA though.
Final Rating: ***1/2
MATHS: SANADA’s earlier loss to Okada comes back to haunt him here. Because he lost to the champ, who has four points more than him, he can’t overcome Okada in the remaining two matches. So SANADA is eliminated. The sixth elimination in Block B. Oddly enough, all six men have been beaten by Okada. If Okada beats EVIL tonight, the other LIJ member will meet the same fate. Kojima interests me a great deal now. I had him written off and scoring zero points but this win puts him on the board and makes him a genuine threat to both EVIL and Tama Tonga. Should he win both of those he’d finish on a passable six points, enough to put him in the tournament next year for one final hurrah.
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Minoru Suzuki  vs. Michael Elgin 
Suzuki has to win in order to stay in contention as he trails Okada by four points. A loss would leave him on the brink of elimination.
Suzuki comes in with a game plan. He’s going to be a jerk and use his numbers advantage and a chair. As per usual the blind referee misses it all. I get increasingly annoyed as all of Suzuki’s matches have been wrecked by outside interference that makes no sense. It totally ruins this match, making Red Shoes look incompetent. If Suzuki-gun were behind any wrestler, it would render their matches useless. If it was Okada-gun then Big Kaz wouldn’t have cracked **** all year. In between the bullshit Elgin gets to look decent in overpowering Suzuki and Minoru looks like a sadist who gets off on torture. I bet it would have been a good match without the Suzuki-gun nonsense. At one point both Taichi and Despy are in the ring. Fuck this shit. Red Shoes must be blind and deaf to miss it. Elgin slaps Suzuki to block the sleeper and the Elginbomb finishes. Which pretty much ends Suzuki’s G1 campaign. Given the bullshit I’ve had to suffer through in his matches that’s fantastic news. I love Suzuki but I hate his stable. They’re my current least favourite thing about wrestling and that’s been the case for years.
Final Rating: *3/4
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Juice Robinson  vs. Kenny Omega 
There have been a couple of upsets tonight but if Juice wins here that would take the upset cake and eat it. Kenny is clearly into his upper echelon on performances when he’s throwing in spots like a suplex over the ropes. The intent is to ‘injure’ Juice’s knee but in doing so Kenny is sacrificing himself. The same applies to a ringpost figure four where Juice doesn’t grab his leg so Kenny, falling backwards, lands on the floor neck first. On the surface it’s Juice who’s getting hurt, with Kenny dropping him knee first onto the announce table but in reality Omega is taking a beating in this one. Kenny makes a point of varying his offence but remaining focused on Juice’s bad wheel, the focus of Robinson’s entire tournament. I like that Juice has problems hitting his own offence because of the bad leg. His leaping sidekick leaves him screaming in the middle of the ring. The finish is unthinkable but the same as every other match; one guy dominates (Kenny) and the other wins (Robinson). In this case with a fluke roll up out of the One Winged Angel. This leaves Omega up the creek and needing a favour. If no one else can beat Okada (EVIL and Suzuki are left) than Kenny can’t do anything about Okada advancing to the final. Even if Kenny beats Okada on the final day he cannot win the Block if Okada doesn’t drop a match.
Final Rating: ****
MATHS: Juice is long eliminated but this massive upset gives Okada a clear path to victory. If he defeats EVIL tonight and Minoru Suzuki in the next round of Block B matches he can afford to lose to Omega on the final night of G1 and still win the Block.
G1 Climax 27 Block B
EVIL  vs. Kazuchika Okada 
King of Darkness EVIL suffered a head injury against Kenny Omega but came through a tag unscathed yesterday and looks to be fine for this contest. Hopefully there’s no permanent damage. The commentators are still debating the potential outcomes as this kicks off, looking at the standings and Omega’s failure to beat Juice could have huge ramifications. Osaka may not have had the best wrestling card of the tour but it’s certainly had the best upsets. EVIL is keen to dismiss any concussive issues he has by clobbering Okada in the head with a chair to even the odds. Unlike every other match on the card it’s a competitive back-and-forth contest where neither guy has a clear-cut advantage. EVIL has a slight edge but this can be put down to Okada’s usual laid-back approach. He’ll absorb various bits of offence to figure out what your tactics are and then he’ll gradually take over. EVIL shows the odd sign of mental instability and tumbles off the top buckle, with Okada having to hold him in place. The crowd chuckle at it, knowing something has gone wrong. Like the trousers falling down on an actor in a play. EVIL takes this badly and hits Darkness Falls on Okada onto a stack of chairs. He does this way out in the crowd, in an attempt to score a count-out win. Not laughing now, are you Osaka? The weird part is that EVIL drags Okada back in, becoming interested in beating Okada clean as a whistle in the middle of the ring. Dismiss that laughter for good. This merely spurs Okada on. The strikes become stiffer, the action more intense.
First from an agitated Okada, then from a fired up EVIL. Some of the lariats that EVIL land are harsh as fuck. Which in turn drives Okada to bash EVIL with a sequence of his own lariats. The Rainmaker is blocked right into the STO though and EVIL picks up a massive win, consigning Okada to his first defeat and blowing the Block wide open.
Final Rating: ****1/4
MATHS: Okada’s defeat puts Omega back on track. Now all he has to do is win his remaining matches and Omega wins the Block. The same is also true for Okada. However the pressure is suddenly on the champ, spoiling his perfect record with only a few matches to go. Now he must overcome Minoru Suzuki and Kenny Omega. Technically he can still lose to Suzuki and if he defeats Omega he still wins the Block. EVIL is also in the running with that win. EVIL’s final two matches are against eliminated wrestlers in Elgin and Kojima. Should he win both matches he would be involved in the conclusion of the Block.
Suzuki’s path is harder. He needs to overcome Okada and then needs a favour from Omega on the last night. This would result in a mathematical nightmare of a three-way tie. Possibly four-ways if EVIL also wins just one of his remaining two matches. This won’t happen but if it did it would result in complex head-to-head maths, which would (I’m fairly certain) result in Omega winning the Block on a four-way head-to-head record. Even if EVIL loses both of his matches and it’s only a three-way tie I’m pretty sure head-to-head would be with Omega. Therefore even if Suzuki gets maximum points there’s no way he can win the block. Maths! You’re out MiSu!
BLOCK B Standings
Kazuchika Okada 12
Kenny Omega 10
Minoru Suzuki 8
Toru Yano 6
Michael Elgin 6
Tama Tonga 4
Juice Robinson 4
Satoshi Kojima 2
A rollicking good time was had in Osaka with a pile of shocks coming from the pen of Gedo. You could argue the lack of ***+ consistency makes this one of the worst G1 shows this year but you’d be wrong. The wacky results and excellence in the last matches makes it all worthwhile. If it wasn’t for SANADA’s wonky psychology we might even have been looking at three matches over **** here.