NJPW G1 Climax Night Four review (7.22.17)

NJPW G1 Climax Night Four review (7.22.17)

G1 Climax 27  Night Four

 

July 22 2017

 

We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall for night four of this year’s G1 Climax tournament. We return to Block B tonight where Kenny Omega got off to a winning start, as did, unexpectedly both Tama Tonga and Juice Robinson. Tonight’s main event sees IWGP champion Kazuchika Okada defend his 100% record against Michael Elgin who got blanked by Tama on Night Two. Tama meanwhile clashed with Omega. Could Okada and Omega go unbeaten throughout G1 to set up a winner takes all final day clash? We shall see.

 

There was an editing delay on today’s action, which I missed live on account of work. Hence the delay on the review. G1 is hard enough as it is New Japan!

 

English commentary comes from Kevin Kelly and Don Callis. They’re up top tonight, instead of in the aisle.

 

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo) vs. Togi Makabe, Kota Ibushi & David Finlay

Makabe vs. Goto is tomorrow’s main event. However Ishii vs. Ibushi is also on tomorrow’s card. How is that not the main event? The announcements suggest why; Goto and Makabe are the last announced on the teams. They’ve won more prestigious events and titles. Good look following Ishii-Ibushi tomorrow though lads. Nobody told them to take it easy tonight either and they do the violence. Goto and Makabe take it slightly easier with Togi busting out the hair punches. Goto’s hair takes a savage thrashing. Ibushi didn’t dive at all yesterday but he hits a pescado here (known in Japan as the “house show dive”). This is enough distraction for Finlay to pin Gedo. He’s moving on up the ranks in New Japan. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him move up to heavyweight at some point in the next twelve months. The next G1 might come too early for him.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

YOSHI-HASHI & Jado vs. Zack Sabre Jr & El Desperado

This is another preview match with Tacos facing Sabre in G1 action on Sunday. English comms points out that YOSHI-HASHI was too predictable and hit last night’s main event at “one speed”. I’m not sure I agree with either of those stances but YOSHI-HASHI doesn’t belong in the main events, that much was abundantly clear yesterday. Sabre is the star here, torturing Jado and poor Tacos, who’s going to get shredded tomorrow. Sabre softening up YOSHI-HASHI’s arm is only part of the tactics, with him routinely bamboozling his Japanese opponent. Sabre ties up Tacos allowing Despy to finish Jado with Angels Wings (or whatever he calls it). Sabre looked dominant here and YOSHI-HASHI looked out of his depth.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Katsuya Kitamura

Tana vs. Nagata is tomorrow night and it’s booked in as the second Block match, which is bizarre to me. You’ve got Tana selling the big arm injury and Nagata on his G1 retirement tour. Big match, surely? Kitamura is a monster. Look at this guy! He’s still a ‘young boy’ but in the way that Big T Justice is a trainee. You know he’s going to be huge because he has that natural size. Plus muscles on top of muscles.

G14Kitamura

It makes poor Oka look like a dumpling on legs and he was the big hopeful a year ago. Now he’s in the shadow of Kawato and looking up at Kitamura’s muscles. Kitamura almost makes the match about him by no selling Nagata. He’s a star in the making. The only concern is that he started late and he’s already in his 30s so you would have to fast track him if you want a decent return. Both he and Oka are designed to look impressive here and allow the veterans to rest. Nagata does get in a little psychology by hooking his armbar on Tana’s injured bicep. It’s a giving performance from the veterans as they both take significant abuse from their ‘junior’ opponents. Nagata pins Kitamura with the Backdrop Hold but the ‘youngster’ gave a good account of himself.

Final Rating: ***

 

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI)

Fale versus Naito is tomorrow. For once that positions Naito firmly in the midcard of G1 Block matches. However the focus here is on Daryl, Hiromu’s stuffed cat. Naito has been interacting with it recently, which is a sign it’s gotten over. Then comes the path of devastation from Fale. He puts Naito through a table and then destroys Daryl! HE’S HISTORYS GREATEST MONSTER!

Naito gets a measure of revenge by kicking Chase in the balls and scoring the pinfall win. Hiromi is, naturally, inconsolable.

G14RIPdaryl

Naito’s level of cockiness, even when faced with Bad Luck Fale is tremendous. He’s not afraid of Fale at all. Naito just sees Fale as another asshole to fall to his style. He’s a much bigger asshole than the standard asshole but he’s an asshole nonetheless.

Final Rating: **

 

G1 Climax 27 Block B

Satoshi Kojima [0] vs. Toru Yano [0]

Both these guys were blanked on night two. Yano isn’t too bothered about this. Yano acts as a spoiler throughout G1, beating anyone with his antics and giving veterans a day off. Kojima is probably glad of this match, although it would be better if it took place later in the tournament. Tenzan is here to support Kojima, which means he can limit Yano’s bullshit. You can’t stop it outright though and Yano deliberately messes with Kojima’s trademark spots, because he can. Poor Satoshi is starting to show signs of aging. The height on his elbow drop is telling. He can’t have too many G1’s left himself. He’s 46 years young, which is still three less than the ‘retiring’ Nagata. Yano sneaks in a low blow and a cheeky roll up to beat him here. Yano’s refereeing positioning was excellent. I’ll give him that much.

Final Rating: **1/4

 

G1 Climax 27 Block B

EVIL [0] vs. Juice Robinson [2]

EVIL was beaten by his stablemate SANADA on night two. Juice scored a big win over Kojima. I expected the former but the latter was a genuine surprise. Juice has neck issues and deliberately sells it on his way to the ring.

G14Juice

Juice starts fast to try and win before his neck hampers his chances. It doesn’t pan out for him as EVIL gives him a drop toehold into the rail that fucks him up big time. The impact coming all on that injured neck. He has further issues due to his dreadlocks, which EVIL uses against him. The painted bullseye being hit again and again. The crowd rally behind him and Juice has certainly gotten over in Tokyo. Whether he’ll get the same support throughout the provinces remains to be seen. Traditionally gaijin take time to get over around the smaller Japanese markets. Juice is innovative in both protecting himself and creating unorthodox offence. Juice also finds support by taking moves from Kojima and Honma. The combination of factors see Juice get over huge. They love his moxy and his attempts to no sell a German suplex on his bad neck. He slumps into the ropes in a tremendous piece of selling. The neck injury prevents Juice from getting Pulp Friction and EVIL pins him with the STO. Great scrap with some terrific selling mixed in.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

G1 Climax 27 Block B

Minoru Suzuki [0] vs. SANADA [2]

MiSu came up short in his first match but it was against tournament favourite Kenny Omega. SANADA meanwhile bested LIJ buddy EVIL. This match should give us a better read on how important SANADA is going to be to this year’s tournament. SANADA would probably be more over with me if he wasn’t so stoic and yet that trait defines his work. It’s a tough path to walk. SANADA shows some early passion here, wanting to stop Suzuki from imposing himself.

G14Misu

SANADA might be part of a group billed as “ungovernable” and yet Minoru Suzuki defines “ungovernable”. Nobody can control him. Suzuki-gun are problematic and shouldn’t be allowed to interfere freely in matches, especially when every other group acknowledges that G1 is special and should be left as one on one combat. What makes Suzuki-gun (frankly a bunch of dickheads) so special? Apart from Suzuki himself? It annoys me even more when Suzuki himself is so capable in the ring and doesn’t need that interference. MiSu is such a prick during this match that SANADA gets a lot of crowd support. Blind referees allow El Desperado to literally run in the ring and attempt spots. It angers me that I have to watch that bullshit. SANADA manages to bring a smile to my face by attempting the Paradise Lock. You never learn! He does it twice in this match and gets hooked in armbars. He eventually locks Suzuki up but that’s just going to piss him off.

G14paradise

When he gets out, you’re dead mate. SANADA then doubles down by going after the Skull End, another move that Suzuki counters with ease. In fairness SANADA is trying to test himself against the excellence of Suzuki. Hence all the foolishness. It hurts him in the end. He attempts the Skull End one time too many, Suzuki slips out and nails the Gotch Piledriver for the pin. SANADA looked good here but his decision making, on discovering Suzuki could kick his ass in submissions, was to try more submissions. Meanwhile MiSu is off the mark, scoring his first points.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

G1 Climax 27 Block B

Tama Tonga [2] vs. Kenny Omega [2]

Bullet Club explode! There is conflict within the group although Omega has made Bullet Club more popular than ever before. It’s interesting to note these are the only two guys who won their first round matches who are clashing in the second round of bouts. We are guaranteed our first competitor to four points in this match (unless it’s a draw). Kenny has taken to giving wolfie kisses to fans but only when they’re wearing his merch. Here he refuses point blank to do it to someone sporting a “Rainmaker” tee. Quite right too. Kenny comes out wearing Elite gear, which is quite deliberate and Tama gets annoyed with him for it. Both guys are friends away from the ring and are both incredibly quick, which results in a frantically paced contest with familiarity selling. Tama’s tactical approach includes assaulting Kenny’s injured knee, which puts the Tongan’s position in Bullet Club under scrutiny. Although he’s cornered by Bad Luck Fale, the other guy who’s been in Bullet Club since day one. Maybe the Elite are destined for a separate path? The storyline ends up overriding the match. Kenny’s use of knees are great in this match. He catches Tama beautifully multiple times. A final one of those leaves Tama staggered and the One Winged Angel finishes. Tama, for all his bluster, never threatened Omega’s wellbeing nor his chances of advancing to four points. Post match they hug it out at Kenny’s insistence. Bullet Club is stronger together.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Tangent: my ‘Omega and Okada both go unbeaten into the final night’ theory remains intact.

 

G1 Climax 27 Block B

Michael Elgin [0] vs. Kazuchika Okada [2]

Elgin was blanked in his opening match, surprisingly, by Tama Tonga. Okada beat Yano. Immediately my Okada-Omega theory is put to the test here, as Okada has a tricky hurdle in Big Mike. A powerhouse who’s main evented shows for NJPW.

G14MIKE

Elgin immediately imposes himself with superior power. Even when Okada tries an early Rainmaker and Elgin just throws the champ. Okada tries the rail hurdling attack too and that ends badly with Mike catching and slamming the Rainmaker. Okada looks in trouble. While he briefly seems unable to deal with Elgin’s power, Okada’s range of counters of ideas soon levels the playing field. The one thing that sets Mike apart is his capacity to overwhelm. Whether it’s the huge deadweight suplexes or the harsh strikes. Every time Elgin kicks it up a notch he’s scary. They tell a good story with both guys bringing their respective strengths and occasionally finding the opponent stronger. You can’t beat a battle between two established top guys who are just good at wrestling. The best part of the match is Okada going for the Rainmaker and Elgin battering him with a lariat before Okada can begin his swing. It’s a sensational moment and the impact is amazing. Okada is almost a victim of his own vanity, attempting big power moves to beat Elgin at his own game. Okada’s ego almost wins the match for Big Mike.

G14Okada

When he puts the ego in check and goes back to trying to win by any means necessary he finds the same blunt force trauma of Elgin’s power moves. It looks as if Elgin simply has too much for the champ tonight. It’s Okada’s perseverance and instincts that allow him to overcome Elgin. He goes to his solution to all problems; the Rainmaker. He clouts Mike with several of them before finishing with an epic third. This was pushing the time limit but a worthy main event.

Final Rating: ****1/4

 

A look at the early standings reveal it’s Okada vs. Omega. Will it stay that way?

 

BLOCK B Standings

Kenny Omega 4

Kazuchika Okada 4

Juice Robinson 2

Tama Tonga 2

SANADA 2

Toru Yano 2

EVIL 2

Minoru Suzuki 2

Michael Elgin 0

Satoshi Kojima 0

 

Summary:

Another solid night of G1 action. The main event stood above the rest of the card but EVIL-Juice is well worth seeing if you’re cherry picking. Also go out of your way to see the tragic demise of Daryl. Hiromu may never recover.

 

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