NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Sixteen
August 8 2017
We’re in Kanagawa, Japan. This is the penultimate night in Block B.
Tomoyuki Oka vs. Chase Owens
Kitamura bagged a singles match on N15 so now it’s Oka’s chance to shine. Although Kitamura stands out, thanks to his muscle structure, Oka is further along as an in-ring talent. His strikes look almost as good as Kitamura’s, without probably being so goddamn stiff, and his technical wrestling is better. Chase lets Oka get in little moments where it looks as if he won’t get squashed but then drops him with the Package Piledriver. This was decent but it was way fast and Oka didn’t get enough.
Final Rating: **
Zack Sabre Jr & El Desperado vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Shota Umino
Sabre’s final block match is against Ishii but Tomohiro is off supporting CHAOS elsewhere and the card has been shuffled due to Jado’s injury. CHAOS don’t tag with non-CHAOS. Sabre wants a piece of Tenzan! Umino wants a piece of Despy! Tenzan isn’t happy with his G1 jobber status and takes it out on Suzuki-gun! El Desperado has developed a fondness for Sabre on this tour and has his back! Desperado’s solution to the plucky Umino approach is to slap him in the Stretch Muffler for the submission. They don’t teach Stretch Muffler’s and associated escapes in the dojo. That’s for the advanced class only.
Final Rating: **1/2
Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Yuji Nagata & Katsuya Kitamura
Yujiro has a new girl! Fale has a Christmas sweater on! It’s August, you crazy bastard.
Nagata has been at the Thai massage therapy again and has those cup marks across his back. Looks like his shoulders are giving him the most trouble. Kitamura looks like a fucking beast here, throwing Yujiro around for fun and even smacking Fale’s arm away when the big man has him ready for a Grenade. Keep in mind that’s a power counter on the biggest man in the company. The kind of counter virtually no one in the company does! Sure, Yujiro drops him with the short DDT moments later but Kitamura is making an impact during this tour and you’d better believe it’s intentional.
Final Rating: **3/4
Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Togi Makabe, Kota Ibushi & Hirai Kawato
My favourite part of this match is Ishii utterly refusing to even consider selling for Kawato. You’re still in the dojo, pal, get fucked! I’m also quite enamoured with Kota showing Goto what real fire looks like as he kicks the shit out of Hirooki. You never know, Ibushi might even give Goto such a beating that he fires Goto up into having a great match with him. Nagata managed it. Goto is a weird guy. Sometimes he’s a bore and sometimes he’s great. The difference between him and, say, Tanahashi is that Tana has the personality and the charisma to carry him through a half-assed performance. Goto half-assing something is a chore to sit through. Seriously though Ishii vs. Kawato is so fantastic. Kawato unloading with everything he’s got, getting nowhere and then almost getting the win with a fluke backslide. I could watch 10-15 minutes of the same. Eventually Ishii batters him and wins with a Boston crab but this was seriously tremendous stuff for a while. One of my favourite undercard tags on the entire tour.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay
This is the big preview match as Naito vs. Tana will decide the Block on Saturday. Due to time constraints there’s a few strong chance I’ll only get to see that match from Saturday’s show. I can’t see any other way around it. Like with Kawato in the last match the bulk of the content falls on a non-tournament guy in the form of Finlay. His stuff with Hiromu is really good and the little cameo bits with Naito are too. Naito vs. Tana is both simple and allows them to slip in some familiarity spots. The idea is that they’re used to wrestling each other by now and can pick off trademark spots. It’s a heads up for what to expect from the Block match on Friday. They make a point of showing us a lot of counters here, so who knows how much stuff they’ve got lined up for their big match. Taguchi taps BUSHI for the finish but Naito isn’t done and goes after Tanahashi’s arm like a motherfucker after the bell. This was also really good. You can tell when the tournament is reaching its conclusion as the undercard tags get spicier.
Final Rating: ***1/4
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Tama Tonga  vs. Satoshi Kojima 
Both these guys are already out, by some distance, but there is an avoidance of the wooden spoon to be pursued. Kojima is the current recipient but a win here would put pressure on Tama and Juice. Again Tama gets his jollies from impersonating his opponent. Someone get this man an entrance jacket, stat! Outside of his imitation banter Tama basically spends the match taking an ass-whuppin’. It effects his equilibrium and he fails to take a clothesline over the top rope. It’s such a sad sight to see someone fail to make it over and have to slump to the mat and roll under the bottom rope. Especially as it leads to a count-out tease! The match is kept bright and breezy with Tama eventually turning to the dark side to go after Kojima’s heavily taped right arm. The lariat arm. Kojima goes deep into his bag of tricks but gets flattened by the Gun Stun…outta nowhere! Really enjoyed Kojima’s work here but I hate the outcome as it guarantees Kojima bottom spot, thanks to his loss to Juice in the first round of Block matches. At least give him something to fight for on the last night!
Final Rating: ***
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Toru Yano  vs. Juice Robinson 
You know the drill, both these guys are out, now it’s just about increasing points tally. Yano develops a new tactic here; having the match under the ring and just using sound effects. That is next level genius. His next move is tying Juice’s dreds to the rail and Robinson barely beats the count, legitimately. Which is interesting as Juice goes over, managing to avoid most of Yano’s nut shots and getting the pin with Pulp Friction. I’m not sure how to rate this but I enjoyed it. It’s Juice’s third win, which is tremendous news for the young man. Six points is above expectations for him pre-tournament.
Final Rating: NR
G1 Climax 27 Block B
EVIL  vs. Michael Elgin 
EVIL has had an exceptional tournament, besting Okada and racking up five wins. Elgin has not had a good tournament, despite a win over Kenny Omega and several excellent displays. This is a switch of pace after the comedy match with Elgin looking surly and EVIL in a similar mood. They’re in contention for the title of ‘most miserable/serious’ wrestler in the promotion. Obvious MiSu is winning that but they’re in the race. And they be clubberin’ Tony! Big Dust would fucking love this. Sadly it loses a bit of steam and both guys look gassed. It’s been a long tour. I do mark out for EVIL smacking Elgin with a bit lariat and throwing him with Darkness Falls. Is EVIL on his way to being the big monster that he’s always had the potential to be?
Sometimes it’s fun to watch two large men throw each other around and these are two of the best at it. Elgin fucking kills EVIL with Splash Mountain. It’s terrifying watching EVIL’s already broken head bounce off the canvas. He follows that with a brutal lariat and the Elginbomb sends EVIL packing. His G1 is effectively over thanks to this spoiler loss, leaving us with two final G1 days where there are only two guys involved. Weird booking. Anyway, this fucking ruled after a sluggish middle section was done with. The final stretch was fiery good.
Final Rating: ****
G1 Climax 27 Block B
SANADA  vs. Kenny Omega 
SANADA is in a unique position here. If he beats Omega, he can put Okada’s fate in his own hands. A SANADA win would leave Okada needing only a draw from tonight’s main event to win Block B.
An early spot is Kenny hitting a moonsault off the rail and landing right on the top of his head. Oh my god, it’s horrific. Did you want a couple of killer matches from Kenny at the end of G1? Well, it’s too bad because he just broke his neck. SANADA is nice and lays around covering for it. I don’t know what’s more impressive; SANADA’s vertical leap or SANADA’s vertical hair. They wrestle this match with great intensity, both taking some horrible looking bumps and doing dangerous moves. The aim is to create a match that feels important. This is slightly hampered by timing issues they suffer throughout. Starting with the moonsault off the rail and continuing from there. It’s as if Kenny loses confidence in SANADA’s capacity to protect him. SANADA cheekily attempts to lift Destino but gets countered straight into One Winged Angel. This alternated between dangerous and dodgy but I like my wrestling on the raw edge and this was certainly raw as fuck.
Final Rating: ***3/4
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Minoru Suzuki  vs. Kazuchika Okada 
The result of this match is slightly irrelevant. If Okada loses he has to beat Omega on Saturday. If Omega wins, he can hang on with a draw and still win the Block. With either result Omega can still beat him and win the Block. These two had a banger earlier in the year where Suzuki worked the leg like a bastard. I wasn’t as keen on it as other people but it was a very memorable main event. My concern here is that Suzuki’s matches have been routinely ruined by interference and cunty Taichi is out here again. Okada comes in with a heavily taped neck, another victim of G1’s torturous schedule. Suzuki’s boys naturally interfere but Okada beats them up, because they’re scrubs. The sight of Young Lions dragging those Suzuki-gun pricks out of the building is glorious. Why wait until the second to last match on the tour to do it? Those assholes have ruined almost all of MiSu’s matches. Free to wallow in his own crapulence MiSu brutally assaults Okada’s neck, with the same venom that accompanied his leg abuse in their title bout. It makes me upset that Suzuki’s whole tournament has relied on outside interference and bullshit. Because if he’d been rocking this kind of surly attitude throughout the match quality would have been amazing.
Okada shows tremendous fire in this match, getting all worked up by Suzuki’s strikes and his neck attacks. They do a lot of standing switches, which are downright tidy and the match plays to Suzuki’s many strengths. Bizarrely the crowd absolutely turn on Okada when he decides to hit a clutch Tombstone. The implication being that Suzuki does the Gotch style piledriver and it was aimed at mocking his opponent. Suzuki promptly hits a Tombstone to roars of approval. Is Japan getting fed up with Okada, the future and present of New Japan? Attendances say otherwise. There is definitely a call for fresh blood though and it’s understandable. Just look at Okada’s stats over the past four years. So many main events, so many title reigns. He’s lived up to the hype but there are other options. Suzuki aims to submit Okada with Inoki-levels of bastard behaviour. He doesn’t want to just win, he wants to tear Okada down and destroy him. Working the neck is a far more effective tactic than the leg and it allows Okada to effectively sell throughout the match without modifying his moves. It also plays into Suzuki’s sleeper hold, as that directly targets the neck, and his piledriver, which directly targets the neck.
The stretch is incredible with both guys slapping the shit out of each other. It’s so intense it’s impossible to glance away.
When they smile at each other and then continue to slap the shit out of each other it’s so great. Okada absolutely batters Suzuki with the Rainmaker, sending his opponent flying across the ring. MiSu is done but Okada can’t get across the ring to pin him and the time limit expires! Oh, this was fucking grand. Well played lads.
Final Rating: ****1/2
MATHS: As with Block A nobody is left alive outside of Omega-Okada, leaving their match as the only one worth seeing on the last night of Block B. This is quite frustrating as it’s been a long haul and has come down to the same four guys as always. I’m sure they’ll have good matches to conclude the G1 but there’s a niggling doubt that a lack of Shibata caused this samey booking to occur.
BLOCK B Standings
Kazuchika Okada 13
Kenny Omega 12
Minoru Suzuki 9
Michael Elgin 8
Toru Yano 6
Tama Tonga 6
Juice Robinson 6
Satoshi Kojima 2
I had fun watching the undercard and I loved the main event. I’m glad G1 hasn’t turned into a chore this year. My attention drifted a little around show 11-12 but it’s firmly back on the action now. I can’t wait to see how it turns out this weekend.