NJPW G1 Climax N15 review (8.5.18)

NJPW G1 Climax N15 review (8.5.18)

G1 Climax 28 N15

 

August 5 2018

 

We’re in Osaka, Japan. I have not had a lot of sleep. Please excuse any errors. This is the most tired I’ve been doing one of these. Hosts are Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero.

 

Juice Robinson & Shota Umino vs. Tomohiro Ishii & SHO

G115SHO

Ishii battled to victory over Omega yesterday in dramatic fashion. His neck took a savage beating during it. He should let SHO do all the hard work here. So naturally he’s in there bouncing off Juice and no selling from the bell. I love him so much. There’re no days off. He even lets Umino tee off on him. Ishii refusal to ever rest is the core of the match and his motivation to work super hard even though it’s not in any way necessary gets everyone else fired up too. Especially Umino who’s all fired up again. SHO takes him out with a German suplex, Ishii still patrolling the ring to set a mental marker down on Juice. This was one of the best tags of the tour. Shota has been in most of the good ones.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

David Finlay & Toa Henare vs. Tetsuya Naito & SANADA

Shame the Finlay/Henare match was cancelled because this would build some interesting heat between them. Oh well. Instead the focus will be on Naito and SANADA who will face each other on Wednesday. They’ve not been communicating all tour as part of the tension ahead of that match. There’s a lot of energy here as Finlay and Henare want to prove themselves against superior opponents but the real intrigue is the internal LIJ issues. Finlay makes a balls of a drop down spot and Naito won’t be thanking him for that after being dropped on his head yesterday.

G115Henare

It occurred to me I had no caps of Henare this tour so enjoy this lovely picture. LIJ win, because of course they do, and then Naito finally gets into SANADA’s cold skull with a little banter. SANADA has stated in an interview that his refusal to fist bump isn’t about disrespect or an urge to overthrow Naito as LIJ leader but rather an overwhelming emotional concern about facing Naito in the ring.

G115NaitoSanada

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Hirooki Goto & YOH vs. Zack Sabre Jr & TAKA Michinoku

G115Goto

This is a preview of Goto getting stretched by Sabre on Wednesday. To prepare Zack puts YOH through the ringer. In their brief interactions Goto doesn’t seem to have any answer to Zack’s technique but maybe he’s just scouting it out ahead of Wednesday. YOH gets into trouble against TAKA but gets out of it himself and gets the pin.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

Kota Ibushi & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa

Yujiro has Pieter for the first time on this tour.

G115Pieter

She’s a significantly better dancer than the random girl he had earlier on the tour. If you want to follow Pieter on Twitter she’s at muffin030ass. I’m not kidding. Tama offers Yujiro the chance to become Tongan, which would fit in with Takahashi’s habit of betraying everyone he’s ever teamed with. Apeshit puts him away and this was a nothing match. Kota vs. Tama on Wednesday, which should be interesting because Ibushi really needs the win to stay in touch with Kenny but Tama wants to fuck him up to send a message to Omega.

Final Rating: *3/4

 

Toru Yano & Gedo vs. Kenny Omega & Chase Owens

Omega’s penultimate match is Yano. Could Yano win and get himself a title shot? Given these two teams love of comedy this could be a laugh. Kenny comes in hurt, thanks to Ishii beating the absolute fuck out of him yesterday. Omega gets in some cheeky selling by struggling to get his foot up on the corner boot spot. However the bulk of the match is extremely daft with hair pulls, beard pulls, turnbuckles being exposed, turnbuckles being used as weapons. It’s a real day off for Omega after a gruelling match yesterday. Chase flattens Gedo with the Package Piledriver and we’re done with the undercard tags.

Final Rating: **

 

Block A

YOSHI-HASHI [2] vs. Bad Luck Fale [6]

Name two wrestlers in A Block I don’t give a shit about. Hiyo! YOSHI-HASHI’s problem is there are only so many spots for stars and he doesn’t qualify because he’s either hurt or he’s got no heart (comparatively, lot of heart in this company). As per usual the Firing Squad do their thing. Hashi tries to valiantly fight from underneath but he keeps doing dumb things like trying to lift the giant Fale. A lot of the action is ponderous with Tanga on the apron and a gassed Fale bumping into him in slow motion. Tanga jumps in there and they fail on a spot where he’s clotheslined out. Once upon a time just entering the ring was a DQ. Fale gets caught in an armbar and Tama runs in for yet another DQ.

Final Rating: *

 

Block A

Minoru Suzuki [8] vs. Hangman Page [4]

Suzuki has had one of those all-timer careers. Trained by Karl Gotch. Wrestled Antonio Inoki. Incredible MMA career. Scares the bejesus out of everybody. The only thing he hasn’t done is win the IWGP title. Hangman learns from yesterday by not bringing the rope with him so Minoru can’t choke him with it and then attacks ahead of the bell.

G115Page

Hangman decides to moonsault off the stage and he’s very focused on catching Suzuki by surprise. It doesn’t garner Page as much success as he was hoping for and just makes Suzuki mad. The best thing about Page’s run in G1 is that he’s not looked out of place. He’s looked like he belonged. YOSHI-HASHI has looked out of place most of the tournament but Page has slotted right in.

G115Suzuki

A mad Minoru Suzuki is a truly special thing. Page getting to go 50-50 just winds him up. Page earns a lot of respect by standing up to Suzuki and eating his best shots. I’m also very fond of Suzuki just charging into the Buckshot Lariat. No standing around waiting for it. He motored into that son of a bitch. The GSP is countered right into the Rite of Passage, Suzuki landing hard, and Page picks up a huge win.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Block A

Togi Makabe [4] vs. Jay White [10]

The crowd are still in shock that Suzuki got beaten. Jay still being alive this late into the tournament is a surprise to me but his character work has been exemplary. Jay has been a great chickenshit during this tournament but he tells a story with Makabe that involves no fear because Togi is so old. It’s a mark of disrespect that Jay shows no cowardice.

G115JayWhite

The cowardice has been my favourite aspect of Jay’s work during G1 so the match doesn’t quite click with me. It doesn’t help that I feel that Makabe’s work hasn’t delivered during this G1. He shows flashes of his best work but the performance in general is laboured. The chair assisted lariat is a beauty. It’s a shame they feel the need to do the ref bump spot but it does allow Switchblade to cheat, with a chair, ahead of finishing with Bladerunner. Jay is onto 12 points! With a tiebreaker win over Okada and Tanahashi.

Final Rating: ***

 

Block A

Hiroshi Tanahashi [12] vs. Michael Elgin [6]

I had this as the stand-out match tonight with them having a little history as buddies and few previous encounters. They play into their tag moves with Elgin using them as actual aggressive spots rather than a teaming spot.

G115Tanahashi

There’s also a degree of familiarity with them both catching each other’s feet and both hitting Dragon Screws.

G115Tanaelgin

Tanahashi targets the leg, as he tends to, but Elgin came in with a bad arm so perhaps his tactics are off. Stick with your best moves, I guess. Despite the arm problem Elgin is able to execute a lot of power moves. Which wouldn’t happen if Tana had worked the arm. Tanahashi does have a plan B, which involves a lot of flash pins. It’s hard to criticise Tanahashi tactically when he’s got the most G1 wins of anyone, ever. They start into the meat of an excellent storyline of Elgin’s power versus Tanahashi’s experience and range. The match is going well into they fuck the finish with Tanahashi slipping off on a roll up and Elgin having to pin himself. That takes the lustre off what had been a very good match.

G115Tanaace

Final Rating: ****

 

Block A

Kazuchika Okada [10] vs. EVIL [8]

Okada lost to EVIL in G1 last year.

G115Evil

If he loses here he’s eliminated. He must win here and best Tanahashi on the final night of Block A. If that final match goes to a draw Tanahashi makes the final regardless of other results. Okada also needs Jay White to lose his final Block match. That’s a lot of ifs, buts and maybes. EVIL has often been successful outside the ring and tries to drive that here but finds himself out-done at his own game. Although Okada does wreck his spine hitting a John Woo on the entrance ramp. EVIL does some innovative use of Red Shoes here, dropping Okada’s feet onto Uno’s shoulder to allow a solo Magic Killer. As the match progresses EVIL dismantles Okada, smashing him with big spots one after another, including a counter to the Rainmaker with his own damn Rainmaker, something he discovered he could do in a tag yesterday. Okada gives him a receipt by stealing EVIL’s finisher. Fun stuff. EVIL’s lariats are great all match. He decks Okada with them at frequent intervals. Rainmaker finishes for Okada and he moves up to 12 points to stay alive into the final night. He needs to beat Tanahashi but he needs Jay to lose too.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

Summary:

The last two matches were very strong but nothing here lived up to last night’s sensational Block B show. Elgin/Tana could have stolen this show but the little flub at the finish took the edge off it and left Okada to reclaim his spot as the current ace. Page/Suzuki was also good and apart from the predictably dreadful Fale/Hashi match everything worked.

 

Standings:

BLOCK A

Hiroshi Tanahashi 14

Jay White 12

Kazuchika Okada 12

Minoru Suzuki 8

EVIL 8

Bad Luck Fale 6

Togi Makabe 4

Michael Elgin 6

Hangman Page 6

YOSHI-HASHI 4

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