NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Two
July 20 2017
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall for the second night of G1 action. Night one was pretty fucking special, with the main event, pitting Naito against Ibushi, clocking in at ****3/4. For night two we’re heading over to B Block where Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada are the main players. Omega main events tonight’s show, squaring off with Suzuki-gun ruler Minoru Suzuki. Both guys deliver in G1 tournaments. Here’s hoping they’ve got something special lined up for this evening.
Hosts for the English commentary are Kevin Kelly and Don Callis. The latter’s voice has recovered after struggling through Night One.
Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & El Desperado) vs. Kota Ibushi & Hirai Kawato
A gentle reminder from New Japan that tomorrow Sabre vs. Ibushi is happening. I am very excited. It’s a beautiful clash of styles. Kelly reminds us it was supposed to be the final of the Cruiserweight Classic! Until neither of them wanted to sign for WWE and plans changed. Sabre vs. the plucky Kawato is pretty decent too. I find it intriguing to see how various people cope with Sabre’s assaults. Kota’s entrance is greeted by a lively Korakuen Hall, treating him like a returning hero. Zack greets him as someone with limbs to torture. It’s interesting to see how much Kawato gets during the match and the crowd seem very receptive to him beating Despy. It doesn’t happen though and Despy scores the pin. The teases of Sabre-Ibushi were excellent. Hyped for that match.
Final Rating: **3/4
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo) vs. Togi Makabe, Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask IV
Goto has Nagata tomorrow. Ishii is up against Makabe. That’s an old feud. They’ve had a few wars over recent years. Both those matches are going to be slobberknockers. Ishii certainly brings out the best in Togi and Nagata helps Goto along too.
Ishii and Makabe go to war, especially considering this is a nothing, throwaway tag. Save some energy for tomorrow lads! Tiger Mask didn’t get any ‘take it easy’ memo either, high kicking Gedo in the temple. You’re all nuts. It’s only Gedo’s goofball antics that bring the match down a peg. He does the pin with the ropes business and gets into it with the referee before being rolled up for the loss. Nobody cares as Ishii and Togi are still fighting on the floor.
Final Rating: ***
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay
The ring announcer still hasn’t learned to run the fuck away from Fale during introductions. He gets floored again. Tanahashi and his majestic all-time great hair has Fale in Block A tomorrow night.
Those are usually decent matches as Tanahashi knows how to combat a larger, more powerful opponent. The intent of Fale is to rough up Tana ahead of tomorrow’s clash and there is already plenty of damage to his arm thanks to Zack Sabre Jr. That’s the focus and point of the match existing. That and to compare Finlay’s up and coming hair versus the master hair of Tanahashi. Fale beats Finlay with the Grenade. No surprises there.
Final Rating: **
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI) vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Jado)
Naito vs. Tacos is tomorrow’s main event. Cyrus is ranting about Omega as Naito comes out and he almost gets attacked because of it. Naito isn’t going to waste energy in this sort of match and he leaves BUSHI to do most of the legwork. Only occasionally sticking it to Tacos to remind him who’s boss before their match. YOSHI-HASHI looks pretty good throughout, keeping Naito from dominating the contest and still able to show ass for BUSHI. It’s a measured performance but one that shows why YOSHI-HASHI remains a midcard guy. He’s too selfless. Jado should win it with the crossface but BUSHI rolls him up. This was ok but Naito coasted by a personality.
Final Rating: **1/4
Post Match: Naito chases Don Callis up the stands.
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Juice Robinson vs. Satoshi Kojima
This is the first Block B match and Juice’s G1 debut. Tenzan is out here watching his mate Kojima.
This makes Juice doubly intimidated. This would probably be easier for him if he wasn’t facing someone he so admired and looked up to. Kojima uses Tenzan for motivation, which includes Mongolian Chops. The strikes in this are well tasty. From Juice’s chops to Kojima’s elbows, which channel the glory of Misawa. Both guys utilise their knowledge of their opponent to counter trademark spots but as the battle continues it becomes about attrition. Two guys wearing each other down until one can no longer compete. Kojima turns back the clock and Juice looks good in taking his beating. For instance; Juice goes after Pulp Friction but gets shoved off and nailed in the back of the head with a lariat. Juice pops me by kicking out of the lariat. His timing is excellent. The way he shoots that shoulder up at the last possible moment. Juice then shocks me by hitting Pulp Friction for the win! I did not see that coming. I mentally had Kojima down as the guy to go on an early run to top the Block but here he is getting downed by the super inexperienced Juice. Good match too. He comments on his way out that “there’s a reason I do everything Kojima tells me”.
Final Rating: ***3/4
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Tama Tonga vs. Michael Elgin
Elgin’s thick upper body is a clear cut advantage for him. Tama is quicker but Elgin doesn’t panic and lets Tama run around, wasting energy. My hot take here is that I struggle to care about Tama Tonga, one way or the other, and my attention drifts badly during this match. Which is a huge contrast to normal Elgin matches in New Japan. The match has a decent structure, with Tama using his speed to cut off Big Mike ahead of plastering the Tongan with a mighty strike. There’s a very tidy spot where Elgin slingshots in and gets caught in mid-air with the Gun Stun, which shows what happens when powerhouses go outside their wheelhouse. They crash and burn, baby! They spend a while setting up the finish, with Elgin trying to grab a non-existent wrist, until Tama counters in mid-air into the Gun Stun off the top for the win. A lot of this worked but it was held back by my general dislike of Tama Tonga.
Final Rating: ***1/2
G1 Climax 27 Block B
EVIL vs. SANADA
The clash of LIJ is happening. They did some tidy work in a tag match on night one without giving too much away. EVIL finished BUSHI in that match with the Banshee Muzzle, his new submission finish. Apparently SANADA’s mask was amusing to the fans but they’re still into him as a wrestler. Sort that mask out though mate. It’s terrible.
The two LIJ members spend a little time trying to out-cheat each other with chairs and shenanigans. EVIL seems more deliberate in his attempts to batter SANADA. Hey, he was here first. SANADA is a johnny-come-lately. But he’s also got a sick vertical leap, which he hits with minimal effort. Also the Paradise Lock.
The match is loaded with the kind of spots that show increased risk and drive on the part of both guys. Including a cutter from the ropes to the floor. It’s a deliberate case of both guys trying to out-do each other. It’s a beautifully hard-hitting match with both guys working super hard. The pacing gets quicker and quicker too. As EVIL pushes the pace, SANADA matches it effortlessly. They go after each others finishing holds and the counters are fast and excellently executed. SANADA gets the Skull End but EVIL slips out. Perhaps the sweat from the matches intensity was the deciding factor there. Interesting psychology or accidental win? SANADA makes amends by hitting the moonsault for the pin. This was great. EVIL pushed SANADA as hard as possible but SANADA was equal to him.
Final Rating: ****1/4
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Toru Yano vs. Kazuchika Okada
This is a total night off for Okada.
There’s plenty of stalling and goofing around. They probably planned the match over a few beers last night. I’m particularly pleased with Okada re-tying the turnbuckle pad back on. This does not stop Yano’s craziness and he soon has that buckle cover off and even blames it on Gedo. It’s surprising how foolish Okada is prepared to make himself look. It’s proof positive you can look silly at times as champion as long as you come through when it matters. Something some belt marks never understand. Yano’s rampage includes low blowing his own cornerman; Jado before Gedo low blows Yano too. Okada almost gets counted out due to a nut shot. Yano gets a load of near falls, which all totally convince me that he’s winning. Okada hooks Red Ink though and gets the submission. This was a total night off for the champ.
Final Rating: **1/2
G1 Climax 27 Block B
Kenny Omega vs. Minoru Suzuki
Kenny shows fear in the early going, which is a big statement regarding MiSu’s reputation in Japan. He’s a scary dude and Omega wants to sell that before we even start. He doesn’t want to be the favourite in this match. Suzuki rattles him with early strikes too, making the Suzuki-gun leader the firm favourite.
Suzuki makes a point, having scored this psychological advantage, to also go after Omega’s leg and try to not only defeat the man but ensure he permanently damages Kenny’s chances of winning G1. Omega seems unperturbed by wrestling on one leg and even hits a moonsault without using his injured limb. Suzuki continues his dickish ways by dragging Red Shoes into the V-Trigger. This leads to Suzuki-gun, shitheads that they are, running in. Fale makes the save but why on earth are there run-in’s anyway? It’s the fucking G1. The one time of the year you’re pretty much guaranteed clean matches. Consider me disappointed. Once we get back underway Suzuki’s aggression takes over and he again goes after Omega’s knee. I’m sure it’s not slipped Omega’s mind that Suzuki did the same thing to Okada and Okada overcame him. Suzuki’s tactics are very similar, aiming to dismantle Omega’s base before choking him out and hitting the piledriver. Omega has to fight him off at every stage. Kenny landing big knee strikes, with his bad leg, is a highlight. Especially as Suzuki drops dead with each one. Kenny V-Triggers Suzuki into position and hits the One Winged Angel to win against all odds. The psychology of this was a bit wonky, especially for two guys who live on psychology, but it was suitably exciting for a 20 minute main. This would easily have topped four stars without the interference, which was completely uncalled for.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Juice Robinson 2
Tama Tonga 2
Kazuchika Okada 2
Kenny Omega 2
Michael Elgin 0
Satoshi Kojima 0
Toru Yano 0
Minoru Suzuki 0
I fully expected Kenny Omega to lose this tough opening match but hey, the G1 can be wildly unpredictable. This wasn’t a patch on night one but several key players scored big wins and the LIJ battle was suitably superb. The table is set in Block B.