Friday, October 23, 2015
So far, the G1 Climax has produced two good shows, with night one being better than night two. This card doesn’t look better than the first, but my biggest disappointment is that it looks like two of my favorite guys to watch here, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, both have the night off here.
In classic Tomoaki Honma fashion, he misses a headbutt early on that allows Doc Gallows to take control. He pounds away on Honma on the outside for a bit. Gallows starts to work his wear down offense, which works here because the crowd is always so hot for Honma and, strategically, Gallows should want to take them out of the equation. They mess up a body slam spot, but eventually nail it and then Honma hits the headbutt. Honma uses several lariats to get Gallows down and calls for the big headbutt. He’s Honma though, so he misses. The Gallows Pole hits but when Honma kicks out, the place comes alive. Honma blocks a second one and gets two on a rollup. A second Gallows Pole puts him down though.
Relatively fine match here. Tomoaki Honma is a good person for Doc Gallows to go against here considering the crowd is always hot for Honma and his frantic comebacks, making Gallows’ offense worth sitting through. The close calls for Honma and the finish were my favorite parts.
The early focus of Karl Anderson is the leg of his larger opponent. He kicks it, stomps it and wraps it around the guardrail. Anderson does a real number on it, but it seems like Archer forgets about it for a second, going into a flurry. Anderson eats a Chokeslam but kicks out. Anderson gets two of his own on a TKO. Seriously, Archer’s tramp stamp is distracting. They both counter each other’s moves and Archer hits a reverse DDT. He does a lot of screaming around the ring. Archer nails his finish and…wins.
For a guy who made the finals two years prior, Karl Anderson isn’t doing too hot. I wasn’t a fan of this match. Lance Archer’s lack of selling really hurt it and nothing about it was really worth seeing. That’s two disappointing Anderson matches so far out of three. Not good.
During the 2015 G1 Climax, neither of these guys were among my favorites to watch but both guys have been better so far in this. They start with some uninspiring back and forth that isn’t wowing anyone. Yujiro hits a nice dropkick on the outside for our first interesting moment and Tenzan gets in at the count of 15. Tenzan tries to rally but misses a headbutt. Who does he think he is? Tomoaki Honma? They trade blows in the center of the ring until Tenzan busts out his chops. Tenzan eventually applies the Anaconda Vise and wins via submission.
Just a very uninspiring match. It was two guys that I don’t particularly enjoy, and they didn’t do much to change my perception of them here. It was kind of just there.
Okay, things should start picking up here. It looks like Shelton may be selling work done from the first two nights, which I appreciate. Ishii tries to overpower him early but Benjamin is having none of that, knowing Ishii on his ass. Because he’s Ishii though, he wants to trade shots, yelling after some of Benjamin’s strikes. Shelton misses a corner splash so Ishii clotheslines him. They go to another forearm battle, which is always fun with Ishii. Brilliantly, Shelton trips him up as he goes for a big one and applies the ankle lock. Ishii counters into one of his own because why not? Shelton counters back and locks it in. Remember when Kurt Angle would do that and it was a wrap, you weren’t getting out? Shelton hits a stinger splash and then a series of Germans for two. Man, he looks motivated. Shelton goes for Paydirt, but Ishii ducks and hits a sweet German of his own. Ishii comes close with some lariats but Shelton blocks the Brainbuster. Ishii shrugs off the dragon whip but charges into a superkick. Paydirt hits and Shelton moves to 3-0.
Yup, Shelton Benjamin leads the G1 as of this moment. This was my favorite match of his so far. Tomohiro Ishii is not someone I expected him to gel this well with but it happened. The constant counters, the stiff shots and the near falls and the surprise win all made this entertaining. I wish this got the time that the previous match did.
BREAK! BREAK! Toru Yano is up to his usual antics. He does it pretty much every single time Naito tries anything, even shouting it after Naito is pulled far away. Naito is finally able to send Yano outside, but when he follows, Yano hits him with a chair and busts him open. Inside, Yano uses his famous buckle spot and Naito even misses a splash, running into it himself. It’s fun that Yano is a step ahead of Naito throughout, until Naito trips him up and hits a corner dropkick. They work a fun spot involving the referee before Naito hits his rebound attack. He goes into a burst of offense, finishing with the Stardust Press.
As usual with a guy like Toru Yano, this was no technical masterpiece, but it was a fun bout. The blood added something to it though, making it a bit more than most Yano matches I’ve seen. Solid work from both guys here.
Hey, it’s the two guys who faced Shinsuke Nakamura so far. The match starts with chain wrestling that commentary is rather soft spoken for. For some reason, this adds to the work and I like it. Once things get physical, Shibata does what he does and kicks delivers stiff ass shots. Shibata applies the sleeper and Smith breaks it with a back suplex, but Shibata goes right back to it. I love that Shibata just goes to these badass submission style moves and they all look pretty legit. He tries for the PK after Smith is unable to break the hold due to being worn down, but misses, only to hit a kick to the back. A LARIATOOOO and powerbomb win it for Smith.
Another upset tonight. I wasn’t in love with Davey Boy Smith Jr. in WWE, but he’s done pretty well so far in the G1. I liked that it started slow and then moved to the physical stuff before ending on a good finishing stretch. Similar to the Shelton/Ishii match, I wish this got a bit more time.
Like any smart wrestler against a guy bigger than him, Yuji Nagata’s early focus is the leg and he takes Fale over and out with a big boot. Nagata tries to shift focus to the arm but Fale overpowers him. Nagata turns the tide by locking in a figure four, involving both guys slapping the fuck out of each other. Then Nagata goes badass old man and just suplexes the hell out of Fale. He then locks in the seated armbar but Fale is free. Fale then hits a Samoan drop and the Bad Luck Fall for the two points.
Bad Luck Fale has impressed me for the most part so far in the tournament and this was another strong showing. Yuji Nagata is a blast to watch as he just does things that men his age shouldn’t be able to. Not the greatest match but a fun outing by both men.
Unlike the recent matches, this begins with a brawl. Minoru Suzuki fakes out Goto as the trade violent chops in a funny moment. They fight outside where Suzuki kicks a seated Goto, giving us a countout tease. Back inside, they headbutt each other and it just looks so brutal. Suzuki holds the referee as Taka Michinoku tries to interfere. It backfires when Goto nearly kills him with a neckbreaker. There’s an awkward moment where they kind of get stuck but Goto quickly recovers to make it look as good as possible. Goto looks to be falling out from a sleeper but is playing possum and rolls Suzuki up in odd fashion to steal it.
Disappointed in how short this ended up going because it was pretty good. I do appreciate that they knew they weren’t getting much time, but wanted to do everything in their power to make that time work. Hot stuff.
Here, Tanahashi starts in control, sending Kojima to the outside and following with a dropkick. Once inside, Kojima is the one to take control, trying to wear down the top dog in New Japan. They move into trading blows, which Kojima wins out in. Kojima strikes with a diamond cutter but both guys are down. They fight to the middle rope where Tanahashi fights off some offense, only to take a lariat that sends him to the outside. Kojima seems to call for the finish but Tanahashi is having none of that, nailing a straightjacket German for two. Tanahashi then nails a diamond cutter of his own, only to have High Fly Flow blocked. Kojima misses a lariat but hits one on the rebound, covering Tanahashi for a close two count that the fans absolutely bite on. Once up, Tanahashi takes another one to the back of the head but comes back with sling blade. Two High Fly Flows later and that’s a wrap.
My favorite match of the night so far. Satoshi Kojima looking like he prepared for this and having a game plan ready was good, as it gave Tanahashi something to overcome.
Despite my feelings that these two guys may not mesh, I’ve heard good things about their clashes. They surprisingly brawl here with Okada being the aggressor. I didn’t expect this to take this route. He uses the guardrail to his advantage and is just a complete ass as he holds the upper hand. Hell, even as Makabe tries to fire up, Okada is ready with a DDT. It’s still early but the Rainmaker pose comes, which upsets Makabe who just gets right in his face. Togi lays him out with a lariat, seemingly ready to swing the momentum. The crowd is firmly behind him. There are some cool guardrail spots outside and once they go back in, Okada is back in charge with a kneebreaker and red ink submission. Makabe gets out and ducks the Rainmaker, only to hit his own lariat. A powerbomb is unable to get him the win so he hits a corner lariat and spider German! Makabe misses the big knee drop, so Okada dropkicks him. Makabe counters the Tombstone which leads into a series of counters ending in an Okada German for two. He holds the bridge and then uses the Rainmaker to win.
Okay, new match of the night. I didn’t expect this to work as well as it did but they delivered. I loved the brawling aspects and the crowd being red hot, especially for Makabe, added to this. Okada is so good in the dick heel role that I always end up preferring the matches, like this one, where he does that.
Overall: In the same vein as the second show, the card for this event didn’t wow me but I think it again, delivered better than I thought it would. The first half of the show is kind of just there as only Ishii/Benjamin stands out and Naito/Yano is solid. The second half is much better, with every match being good and culminating in a great main event. So far, so good in this tournament, but it hasn’t blown me away just yet.
Hiroshi Tanahashi 6
Shelton X Benjamin 6
Bad Luck Fale 4
Katsuyori Shibata 2
Shinsuke Nakamura 2
Satoshi Kojima 2
Yuji Nagata 2
Tomohiro Ishii 2
Davey Boy Smith Jr. 2
Doc Gallows 2
Tomoaki Honma 0
Kazuchika Okada 6
Hirooki Goto 6
Tetsuya Naito 4
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 4
AJ Styles 2
Togi Makabe 2
Toru Yano 2
Yujiro Takahashi 2
Lance Archer 2
Karl Anderson 0
Minoru Suzuki 0