NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Nine review (7.29.17)

NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Nine review (7.29.17)

NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Nine

 

July 29 2017

 

We’re in Aichi, Japan. We have matches from Block A today, which I have dubbed the “Block of Death” on account of there being many suitors to the top slot. Of course I have the feeling that Naito is winning it regardless but he’s rubbing shoulders with Zack, Tana, Goto, Fale, Ibushi, Ishii and Makabe. Only YOSHI-HASHI and Nagata have made such slow, stumbling starts to be already out of contention. I can’t see either man mounting a Herculean comeback and stealing a spot in the G1 Finals at this point. Nor at any point beforehand.

 

SANADA & BUSHI vs. Michael Elgin & David Finlay

Elgin, re-energised by victory over Kenny Omega, faces SANADA tomorrow in Gifu. It might just be because this is the opener but the crowd is very receptive to Elgin. He’s connected with the crowds around Japan during his previous tours. So has Finlay. He’s very popular here. Aichi like them white-meat babyfaces. The match clips along at quite the rate and LIJ have their usual flawless chemistry. BUSHI wipes out Elgin with a tope leaving Finlay prone for SANADA to submit him with the Skull End. Lively start to the show!

Final Rating: **1/2

 

EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Katsuya Kitamura & Hirai Kawato

This was supposed to be LIJ vs. Yano & Jado, because Yano has EVIL tomorrow but that’s been called off. Possibly because Jado is injured. That means we get the Young Lions! And the best possible combination of cubs. Huge Kitamura with his glimmering muscles and pointy teeth and Kawato with his pure heart and determination. Kitamura gets fired the fuck up at the prospect and he’s going to be a huge star if he doesn’t get injured. Probably in the vein of Nakanishi where not everyone will enjoy his work but he’ll always be over. He almost looks down on EVIL, a man who also went through the Young Lion system but he’s a year younger than Kitamura. Unlike Kawato who is merely a child, getting ready to step up into a man’s world. He’s so fresh-faced and innocent. Hiromu vs. Kawato is really good, as it was last time they wrestled and Kawato is again strapped in the Boston Crab with Hiromu making a point of winning via the simplest possible move. Can’t wait for Kawato to power out of that and kick his ass!

Final Rating: ***

 

Minoru Suzuki & Taichi vs. Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi

Taichi vs. Yujiro eh? Urgh. Yujiro turns up with the girl Don Callis calls “muffin ass*”. The NJPW cameramen turn into colossal perverts.

G19Muffin

She is definitely flaunting her assets but that doesn’t mean you test out your zoom lens by attempting a colonoscopy. It has been pointed out to me that the filthy sexism of New Japan is why they don’t have a women’s division and are not likely to get one any time soon. Given the cameramen and directors, it’s probably for the best. Tama is out to ruin everything tonight and jumps Suzuki before Kaze ni nare peaks. Oh, he’s dead. Why is everyone trying so hard to upset Suzuki during this tour? Do you people have a death wish? I’m particularly fond of Suzuki trying to stab Tama in the eye with the ring bell hammer. He takes one of Taichi’s lamest spots and turns it into something vicious. The two G1 competitors have to be separated after the match, which is won by Yujiro’s short DDT. Suzuki is livid. He charges through the crowd and kills a few young lions in the process.

Final Rating: *3/4

 

*In fairness her twitter handle is @muffin030ass.

 

TenCozy vs. Kenny Omega & Chase Owens

Omega vs. Kojima is happening tomorrow. Omega does outstanding prop work with Taichi’s microphone stand, which is left in the aisle. Sadly the normal crack NJPW camera guys can’t get a decent shot of it. If was a girl’s ass they’d have been all over it.

G19Omega

“My neck hurts. My leg hurts. My internal bleeding hurts” says Kenny. This is what happens when you wrestle Michael Elgin. The pressure and strain of the G1. Chase has learned from Kenny that undercard tag matches are not to be respected in the slightest. He works goofball old-timey spots that Hustler Rip Rogers would be proud of. Omega himself makes a point of selling Kojima’s chops in the stupidest way he can possibly think of. It’s still only 0.7 Big Daddy Yum Yum. It’s like the interview with Ricky Bobby where he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Kojima, perhaps slightly miffed, batters Chase with a lariat for the pin.

Final Rating: **

 

Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Gedo vs. Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tomoyuki Oka

CHAOS are once again messing with people by having Yano not interact with his opponent tomorrow, as they did with Goto. Are we to read into that, or is Gedo just allowing CHAOS to do whatever they want. Juice is over huge in Aichi. His rising popularity has been an ongoing trend of the tournament. His knee seems better here as he doesn’t hobble to the ring like FDR. He’s even able to use his increased mobility to demonstrate a hip attack with attached gyrating. Okada meanwhile, who’s taken a turn towards the dark side, gets really into stacking chairs to bounce Juice’s face off. It’s like the more chairs are in a stack, the more intense the impact. He’s been doing research and stacking chairs in his house*. Somehow the impact of the stack of chairs re-injures Juice’s knee. Okada vs. Juice is going on last tomorrow, with Okada protecting a 100% record. Which poses the question; can a one-legged man win an ass-kicking competition? Yano sneaks the win here with a low blow. Just think, Oka has years of those to look forward to. How fortunate is he? Juice tries to swear at Okada but Kaz just walks off and Gedo yells “he’s gonna fucking kill you” back.

Final Rating: ***

 

*By house I mean frat-house where all the CHAOS boys live, surrounded by beer bottles and discarded girls bras.

 

G1 Climax 27 Block A

Togi Makabe [4] vs. Yuji Nagata [0]

Poor old Yuji has been blanked thus far and I can’t see that changing. Maybe he’ll get a sympathy win on the last night (he has Fale, so unlikely). Nagata has been at the Thai cupping massages already and had those suction cups on his spinal column, like last year. It looks disgusting, like an octopus jumped him from behind.

G19Nagata

It confirms that Nagata is struggling to keep up with the intensity of the tournament and allows Makabe to put a beating on him with relative ease. The story is very much Nagata vs. his own body, rather than Nagata vs. Makabe. Yuji has developed a new technique during this tour, which is to mount his opponents and bludgeon them with ground and pound. Somehow during this match when Nagata does that he busts himself open. Perhaps predictably this little spell of dominance doesn’t last and Togi floors him before finishing with the King Kong Kneedrop. Nagata looked to be struggling, compared to his earlier matches, and the sheer scope of G1 may see a decline in his quality, as with Tenzan last year. Togi meanwhile, after a sluggish start, jumps up to six points. He’s back in the game.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

G1 Climax 27 Block A

Kota Ibushi [4] vs. Bad Luck Fale [4]

Fale steals a fan’s Daryl and eviscerates it while walking down the aisle.

G19daryl2

He’s histories greatest monster. Fale may not be the mountain for Ibushi that he has been for other people. Kota can combat the big man with kicks that keep him at range and raw speed. It worked last time they faced in G1, where Ibushi came out the winner. Fale came in prepared though and takes out Ibushi’s leg, rather than focus on his usual clubbing, abrasive style. Tactically it’s interesting but it also doesn’t work. When Fale attempts the Grenade, Kota merely backflips to avoid it.

G19Fale

Kota Ibushi’s secondary aim this year, after winning G1, is to prove he’s adaptable. He overpowered Sabre Jr. He went headlong into Tomohiro Ishii. Here he jacks Fale up for a German suplex. Kota is keen to prove he has range as a performer. The kind of range that belongs in the main events. That’s not the ace in the hole though because Kota Ibushi is the one wrestler in G1 who’s capable of coming off a balcony, for shits and giggles.

G19Kota

No one else can come close to his level of daredevilry. It’s a total game-changer. Fale sells massively after it and Ibushi would probably win the match if he wasn’t so stupid. He attempts the Last Ride. It fails. Fale promptly mows him down with the Grenade and the Bad Luck Fall. Game over. If Ibushi had comes off the ropes, instead of being keen to attempt a move he had no chance of executing he’d have won. Kota may be dumb but at least he’s dumb in spectacular fashion.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

G1 Climax 27 Block A

Hirooki Goto [4] vs. Zack Sabre Jr [6]

It’s highly improbable but Sabre has the chance to go top of Block A on his own, at least for twenty minutes or so. Goto is ill prepared for Sabre’s technical expertise, which is how Sabre has already put six points on the board, besting Tanahashi and Fale in the process. Meanwhile Sabre has come in prepared, aware that Goto likes to run the ropes at odd angles, and in turn confuses Goto with his own peculiar patterns.

G19Sabre

Goto’s only available tactic is brute force and even that is only sporadically successful due to Sabre’s canny ability to counter. Win or lose, Sabre establishes himself (again) as one of the best technical wrestlers in the world, capable of out-wrestling almost everyone in New Japan, arguably the best wrestling promotion in the world. Sabre’s only weakness is wanting to mix it up and inflict punishment with strikes in between his stretches. That’s when he’s talking Goto’s language. As a lifelong pal of Katsuyori Shibata, there’s no way Goto is selling a PK off Zack. It’s almost an insult. Goto is further able to goad Sabre into striking contests, which he has no hope of winning. Like Kota Ibushi, if Sabre was able to stick to his core game plan, he’d have won. But he doesn’t and the GTR gets the win. This was great until the last few minutes where it fell apart completely. I still hate Goto’s finisher. Bring back Shouten Kai.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

G1 Climax 27 Block A

Hiroshi Tanahashi [6] vs. YOSHI-HASHI [2]

Tanahashi has been in a groove since losing his opener to Sabre. Tacos has looked somewhat out of his depth this year. He’s shown hardly any of last year’s fire and I genuinely think of him as cannon fodder for the majority of this Block. Certainly for the one in a thousand year talent and eternal ace Tanahashi. The physical embodiment of rock n roll.

G19Tana

They spend the entire match trying to convince the crowd that YOSHI-HASHI can win. He gets a load of quick-fire counters and Tanahashi has to wrestle defensively throughout. YOSHI-HASHI is rewarded for his persistence and gets to spend ages surviving in the Cloverleaf, a move that caused Naito to tap out earlier in the year. Tanahashi eventually puts an end to YOSHI-HASHI with the High Fly Flow. I never bought into YOSHI-HASHI having a chance here. It felt like a prolonged squash.

G19hair

Final Rating: **1/2

 

G1 Climax 27 Block A

Tetsuya Naito [6] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [4]

This is always a good match. The pressure is slightly on Naito here, as he now trails Tanahashi by two points. All the more on Ishii, if he’s serious about contesting the G1 this year. He trails Tana by two wins. The chances of Tanahashi dropping three matches between now and end of G1 is slim.

G19Ishii

Naito bullies Ishii here, going after his fucked up neck/shoulder and provoking the Stone Pitbull into losing his cool. Naito, as a strategist, has gone to a different level since starting Los Ingobernables de Japon. It’s not just the viciousness but the sense of calm he exerts on matches. This is a master of his craft. Speaking of which, Ishii is fired up for this spot. Main eventing puts additional pressure on him as a competitor, who already breaks his neck for the business in nothing midcard bouts, but he fucking loves it. The match is loaded with neck drop spots and stiff strikes. Naito in particular lands on his neck a lot of times for a main event talent. Does everyone in New Japan just hate their necks? Ishii has kinda lucky because he doesn’t have one but I assume he has vertebrae in there somewhere and they can’t be in good shape. Ishii gets to look strong here, taking it to Naito on a par with one of Japan’s biggest stars, all while bleeding from the mouth. At one point Naito attempts his patented Destino and Ishii sort of takes the bump for it before completely no selling the move and battering Naito with a lariat. Not sure how I’d feel if I was Naito but that looked pretty badass. Ishii even pulls off the upset, dropping Naito with the brainbuster. It’s a shock, with Naito having already been upset by Fale. He’ll need a solid second half of G1. I’m thrilled for Ishii though, who moves into contention by having such a high profile victory. Easily Match of the Night. Nothing else came close.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

A glance at the standings reveal Tanahashi now alone at the top of the Block. Nagata remains blanked, which means he cannot win G1 this year. He’s the first man to be mathematically eliminated.

 

BLOCK A Standings

Hiroshi Tanahashi 8

Zack Sabre Jr 6

Tetsuya Naito 6

Togi Makabe 6

Bad Luck Fale 6

Hirooki Goto 6

Tomohiro Ishii 6

Kota Ibushi 4

YOSHI-HASHI 2

Yuji Nagata 0

 

Summary:

Until the main event the show of this show was rather flat. It’s hard to account for why this was the case. Maybe the smaller venue. Maybe general fatigue is to blame. Nagata in particular looked weary but Tanahashi’s match with YOSHI-HASHI felt like a house show bout rather than a competitive G1 contest.

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