Thursday, October 22, 2015
With this G1 Climax format, everyone gets a day off. On the first night, Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer were off, but are scheduled for this show. As of the end of this show, I’ll have the updated point totals posted at the bottom of this reviews.
Knowing how Tomohiro Ishii and seeing Satoshi Kojima’s first match, this should be stiff. That’s exactly how it begins too. They just wail on each other until Ishii hits a powerslam. Ishii over bumps on a DDT on the apron and it looks pretty bad. That’s a disappointment for sure. Inside, Kojima and Ishii trade brutal chops in the corner like MEN. The crowd is amped up for all of this. They fight up top, where Ishii does his second rope stalling suplex. They seem to either know each other well, or be playing off of their similarities. Both guys bust out big moves like a powerbomb and top rope cutter, getting near falls. Ishii has a busted lip, but I’m sure a bad motherfucker like him doesn’t care. I thinks it’s coming up to the final stretch as Ishii batters Kojima with nonstop forearms. Kojima fires back and hits a DDT, followed by a Brainbuster but it isn’t enough. Ishii hits a rough headbutt, kick and lariat but can’t put Kojima down. He finally does with the Brainbuster.
Satoshi Kojima is two for two in delivering damn good matches in this tournament. This was intense, stiff, paced perfectly for an opener and had a hot crowd to boot. I like how it was a clash of two similar guys, but Ishii had to bust out a hell of a lot to put Kojima down.
Shelton Benjamin knows this is going to be a tough fight, so he comes out of the blocks firing. Of course though, Bad Luck Fale is booked as a monster and he just clobbers the former “Gold Standard”. I appreciate how smart Shelton looks, hitting a superkick to the calf and working an ankle lock. Wear the big man down. Fale gets out and hits a big splash for two. Shelton surprises the hell out of me, busting out a rock bottom. He gets into a lariat battle and actually wins it but has Paydirt blocked. Shelton slips out of the Bad Luck Fall, nails two kicks and then Paydirt! The crowd didn’t react to it the way I’d hoped and he pulls this off!
A completely surprising result here as I was sure Bad Luck Fale would win this considering how he looked on day one and that he’s the Intercontinental Champion. Shelton has done a good job selling for two big men so far and worked very well on both nights. You can tell that he’s motivated here.
Dammit, Hirooki Goto’s theme is fantastic. Yujiro is pretty much in control from the start, which doesn’t make for the most entertaining television. Goto does send him into the guardrail, but back inside, Yujiro goes to the dreaded rear chinlock. Every single time Goto seems to get things going, Takahashi has an answer. It’s an interesting idea but I can’t buy it with Takahashi. He hits the EDDIE GIBLERT hotshot and a lariat for two. Finally, it seems like Goto is rallying, turning Takahashi inside out with a lariat after surviving some of his trademark offense. He wins with the Shouten Kai.
Considering how I don’t like much of Yujiro Takahashi’s work, I was unimpressed with this match as a whole. Takahashi was in control for far too long. Goto should have either made quicker work of him or got in more throughout, since it would have probably been better that way.
I’m intrigued by this since I have never enjoyed anything Lance Archer has done. Whether it was as Lance Hoyt or Vance Archer. Granted, this is my first time seeing him in Japan. Smartly, Tetsuya Naito avoids Archer because of the size difference. Once Archer grabs him, he starts to wear down his faster opponent. Archer just kills him with a corner splash. Archer continues to play the bully until Naito starts the rally. He goes in a flurry of little man offense that is pretty good. Naito misses the Stardust Press but hits an enziguri. He tries for the rebound attack again but is caught and Archer just flips him over on a release German. He then hit a VICIOUS looking Chokeslam for two. The fans are very much pushing for the 2013 G1 winner. When Archer goes for the F’N slam, Naito counters into a small package for the two points.
Solid big man/little man match. These can work well with the right guys and I didn’t really expect it to work here but it did. Tetsuya Naito was better here than on the first night and I was slightly impressed by Archer for the first time ever.
Hey, Yuji Nagata’s theme starts with the Pirates of the Caribbean song. I never knew that. After a basic starting sequence, Tomoaki Honma misses some headbutts because that’s just what he does. This allows Nagata to go to work on the arm. Honma is so good at being the guy to ell and get the crowd behind him. He sells the arm and manages a suplex before finally nailing the headbutt. Nagata then counters into the armbar, complete with eye theatrics. The crowd is into this more than any math outside of the opener. Nagata attempts the backdrop driver but Honma falls on him for two. Honma hits a running powerbomb and Brainbuster but can only get two. He goes up for the big headbutt, but misses. They begin to hammer away on each other in the middle of the ring until Honma pulls him into a rollup for two. Nagata hits a German but FIGHTING SPIRIT! Honma is up only to eat a Brainbuster for a near fall. That’s a lot of Brainbusters on this show. Backdrop river hits, with a bridge and that’s all.
Add these two to the list of guys who have delivered on both nights. I really liked the intensity of this thing and the crowd being super into it helped out as well. They truly love Honma. This was a very enjoyable match between two intense dudes. Nagata amazes me that he can go at this level at his age.
I’ve heard good things about Harry Smith since he left to Japan so this should be interesting. They feel each other out early on and when Smith catches Nakamura with a hard kick, he celebrates. Despite him not having an impressive frame, he was the bigger of the two and used his power advantage well. He would hit a big move, like a belly to belly suplex and then try and wear down Nakamura. Nakamura uses his kicks to change the momentum. They begin to trade shots until Smith goes to a knee to the gut. I’m liking how much he’s getting here, even hitting a double underhook suplex. He tries to take a page out of his dad’s book with a stalling vertical suplex, but Nakamura counters and hits a knee. Unfortunately for him, he misses the Boma Ye and eats a lariat. Smith powers out of an armbar type move with a powerbomb. Nakamura gets some close calls until pulling it out with the Boma Ye.
Here is a case of enjoying a match more than you expected to. Shinsuke Nakamura is one of my favorite performers but I was unsure about Davey Boy Smith Jr. He delivered and they put on a very good match. In the loss, Smith looked great as he really made Nakamura work. It’s like Shinsuke had to fight his ass off to obtain the win, which was really good.
The row is pretty into Toru Yano here. Yano wants a handshake but AJ clearly knows not to believe him, and declines. He goes on a vicious attack but Yano pulls him down by the hair. AJ does his dropkick spot, clearly controlling Yano. They mess up a baseball slide spot as AJ mostly whiffs and Yano falls awkwardly. His Indian deathlock spot gets a cool reaction. He’s in complete control until he taunts and Yano has an opening to remove the turnbuckle pad. AJ charges and eats the post. Yano gets a chair but misses and takes a drop toe hold onto it. Yano manages to slingshot AJ into the exposed corner and hit a powerbomb for two. Behind the official’s back, he hits a low blow for two. The crowd bites on the low blow near fall more than the powerbomb, which is telling of how good Yano plays his role. AJ counters a move into the Styles Clash to win.
A fun Toru Yano match. His antics were enjoyable here and AJ Styles played the heel role very well. The outcome was kind of obvious since the IWGP Champion lost his first match in the tournament, but still fun.
Early on, Hiroyoshi Tenzan lights up the young star with his signature chops. However, Kazuchika Okada quickly gets in the driver’s seat and pretty much dominates. I get the sense they’re trying to go for a story of Tenzan not being able to hang with Okada at this point in his career. He busts out that spinning heel kick to turn the tide. Tenzan scores with some comeback attempts, but Okada is ready for them and stops them before they can take their toll. Okada hits the flying elbow and calls for the RAINMAKKKKAAAAA! Tenzan avoids it and applies the Anaconda Vice, which is how he won on night one. Tenzan gets two on a diving headbutt and looks to pull off the upset. Okada scores with his pretty dropkick but Tenzan ducks the Rainmaker. He still is in trouble though as Okada hits the tombstone and then the Rainmaker puts him down.
A rather fun match here. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, as I mentioned before, wasn’t much fun in 2015 due to his injuries, but has done well on two straight nights here. I liked how Tenzan was able to show that he can still go with a guy like Okada.
I’ve admitted that Togi Makabe isn’t one of my favorite guys to watch in NJPW. For some reason I just can’t connect to him. I do like me some Karl Anderson though. Despite this, I couldn’t really get into the match. After some back and forth that I was disappointed by, Anderson hit a TKO for two and Makabe hit a powerbomb for two. He climbed up but Anderson leveled him with a leaping kick. He hits the Gun Stun but Makabe gets a shoulder up. The fans bit on the near fall, as did I. They fight up top, where Makabe hits a German and a diving knee drop to win.
Something about this just didn’t click to me. Both guys are solid but something didn’t work here. I expected a good showing out of Anderson but he’s 0-2 so far.
On paper, I’d say that this has to be one of the weaker main events in this tournament. Much like the first night, Doc Gallows is doing a good job at playing the bully, which I’ve said he doesn’t do enough of. He’s shutting me up. They brawl outside and tease a double countout. The count pretty much stalls at 19 to allow Gallows to slide back in. Gallows continues to hold serve inside, surprising me with how much he’s getting here. I guess it makes sense since it is the main event. Tanahashi begins the babyface comeback and nails the High Fly Flow onto Gallows’ back. He turns him over and hits another one to score the win.
About as good a match as you could get from these two. I liked how Doc Gallows was allowed to look like a threat and that Hiroshi Tanahashi had to overcome the odds. It was a good old fashioned big man vs. little man battle.
Overall: Despite having one of the weaker cards of the entire tournament, this show managed to deliver in my eyes. While nothing was out of this world, everything managed to at least be solid. That mad for a fun watch and a vast majority of the guys here put in the effort to try and get the best out of the card. They succeeded.
Hiroshi Tanahashi 4
Shelton X Benjamin 4
Katsuyori Shibata 2
Shinsuke Nakamura 2
Satoshi Kojima 2
Yuji Nagata 2
Tomohiro Ishii 2
Bad Luck Fale 2
Tomoaki Honma 0
Davey Boy Smith Jr. 0
Doc Gallows 0
Kazuchika Okada 4
Hirooki Goto 4
AJ Styles 2
Togi Makabe 2
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 2
Toru Yano 2
Tetsuya Naito 2
Yujiro Takahashi 2
Lance Archer 0
Karl Anderson 0
Minoru Suzuki 0