Wednesday, November 4, 2015
The end of this show will put us at the halfway point of the tournament, which has been a blast so far. On this show, Tomoaki Honma and Tetsuya Naito have the night off. Honma has been a joy to watch each time out, while Naito has really stepped up and had two great matches on the last two shows.
Due to their alliance, the two big men “too sweet” each other at the bell. Gallows is one of the only guys big enough to match power with Fale and they play into that from the start, showing that they are rather even. They brawl outside, leading to a guardrail spot. I swear NJPW does these at least 5 times per show. Gallows hilariously misses a shoulder block in the ring and just crashes. They go back to colliding, with neither guy gaining a full advantage. Gallows hits the Bicycle Kick and surprisingly walks out as the winner.
Considering the two guys involved, this was about as good as it could have been, but that isn’t saying much. They smartly played the dueling power game, but it was still pretty dull. Add in the lack of heat since both guys are BC members and you’ve got recipe for arguably the worst match of the G1 so far.
This begins with some chain wrestling before going outside. Smith slams Nagata outside and we get an extremely close countout tease. Like, I thought Nagata was done and we’d have a quick result here. Yuji tries to rally, but Smith is able to just toss him around the ring. In a cool moment, Nagata goes to whip Smith but instead pulls him down and into the armbar. When Smith survives that, Nagata goes off, hitting a big release German and spin kick. He finishes with an exploder.
I’m going to say that it is a good thing that this was longer than the opener, but felt shorter. Davey Boy Smith Jr. continues to just have solid match after solid match. Fun stuff here.
Struggling to pick up wins in this tournament, Takahashi attacks early and beats up Makabe on the outside. A dropkick out there brings us another countout tease. It seems like Takahashi’s focus is the mouth or jaw of Makabe. Takahashi has a weird lump or something on his leg, which is distracting. Makabe starts to take control but ends up missing the big King Kong knee drop. They trade shots until Takahashi shoves Makabe into the referee. That allows him to hit a low blow, followed by a buckle bomb and Miami Shine. That’s all folks.
Not the worst match I’ve seen Yujiro Takahashi have, but this still wasn’t very good. I liked the idea of going after the jaw, as you don’t see that very often, but it just wasn’t that interesting.
This should be hard hitting fun. It starts like that before going outside and giving us that good old guardrail spot. Kojima does the apron DDT, which looks better than it has all tournament so far. Kojima lights Shibata up with chops, but Shibata turns it around with strikes until Kojima hits a massive chop. There is a VERY close countout spot after a suplex. I hated how Kojima just shot up to get in. Now inside, they just pound on each other with stiff shots and suplexes. It’s all pretty great. Brainbuster scores two for Kojima. Kojima fires off some shots but Shibata comes back with a spinning back fist. He then hits the GTS and a PK right to the face that looks like it may have killed Kojima.
One of the better matches all tournament. I’ve found myself really becoming a fan of Shibata’s style and he delivered another good hard hitting match here. The closing stretch was pretty excellent and had me on the edge of my seat.
A surprise comes early when Karl Anderson actually gives a clean break. They go outside where we again get a guardrail and false countout spot. If I have one issue with this tournament so far, it’s that I’ve seen this way too many times. Anderson is in firm control, toying with Goto by slapping him around. They do a spot where they can’t knock each other down with lariats until Goto hits the ropes and wipes him out. They fight to the top where Goto connects on his sunset flip bomb for two. There are a few counters next until Goto nails a big neckbreaker for two. He calls for a Brainbuster but it’s blocked and we go to more counters. It’s a fantastic finishing sequence that ends with a Gun Stun.
My favorite Karl Anderson match of the G1 24 so far. He was disappointing early but had a good match with Okada and a fun one with Yano. Goto has been consistently good and this just worked well. The counters were fun, the near falls were well done and that finishing sequence was something else.
This should be interesting since they are from the same stable and have both been working very well as heels so far. Guess what happens here guys? Another guardrail spot. Archer has been using his power, but Suzuki uses his brain to go after the leg. He does something different with the guardrail at least, applying a submission on it. He continues to work it until Archer starts making a comeback. He goes for his finish but Suzuki blocks and tries a sleeper. Archer tries a Chokeslam but it is blocked with a high knee. Suzuki applies saka otoshi for the submission win.
Fun match here. Two relatively bad dudes going at it. The leg work from Suzuki was well done and wise. Nothing must see, but still solid.
During his trademark entrance pose, Nakamura is attacked by Benjamin. Benjamin seems to be targeting the knee, slamming it into the apron and stretching it on the guardrail. Even as Nakamura attempts to rally, Shelton is ready with kicks to the leg. It’s well done leg work. Shinsuke gets in some of his trademark stuff for a near fall. I like Shinsuke slapping his leg, seemingly trying to get feeling back. It’s a nice little touch. Shelton makes use of the leg work with an ankle lock. When Shinsuke survives that, Shelton hits a superkick and German for two. Nakamura counters Paydirt into an armbar but doesn’t win until two Boma Ye’s connect.
Remember when Shelton X Benjamin had the big lead? As for the match, it was solid while it lasted. The leg work was well done and made sense given Shelton’s multiple ankle lock attempts. I would like to see them work a longer match, which I believe that have in the past. Will be checking that out.
Early on, AJ steals the Mongolian chops but when Tenzan gives him one back, it takes him down. Tenzan, the veteran of the G1, is kind of teaching AJ a lesson through the beginning portions. AJ hits a cool superkick in the crowd before taking over on the inside. His dropkick is always a thing of beauty, even if he’s nearly 40 now. Styles continuously goes for the Styles Clash but Tenzan seems to have this well scouted and blocks or counters it multiple times. Tenzan goes into a series of headbutts, including one from the top that earns him two. He moves straight to the Anaconda Vice but AJ survives. Tenzan misses a moonsault, giving AJ an opening. He hits a springboard punch and looks for Bloody Sunday. Tenzan blocks but eats the Pele before taking the Styles Clash.
Really fun match here. AJ Styles continues to have nothing but good matches regardless of his opponent. I don’t think he’s had a standout one yet, but this was another in a string of really good performances. I liked how Tenzan had him well scouted, but his ability was able to win out.
Both guys are members of CHAOS. Yano wants his usual BREAK but Okada doesn’t give it and instead does his Rainmaker pose. Yano responds with his trademark shrug which was fun. Outside, Yano goes to use a chair but Gedo stops him. Okada charges and Yano moves, which was supposed to lead to Gedo getting hit but they whiff completely. Yano teases a countout win by throwing Okada way into the crowd. It obviously fails as Okada makes it back. The turnbuckle spot also backfires, allowing Okada to go into his offense. However, his Rainmaker attempt is countered and he’s sent into the exposed corner. The finish has a cool sequence involving a low blow and rollup false finish before the Rainmaker puts Yano down. It sounded impactful too.
I rather enjoyed it. It wasn’t a great match or anything like that, but it was the typical Yano fun upped a bit by the interactions with Okada, the low blow false finish and the cool finish.
The winner of this will tie Benjamin, Shibata and Nakamura for the Block A lead. A fair amount of Tanahashi’s stuff gets no sold as Ishii is looking like a beast. They get into a chop battle, which, if you’ve ever seen Ishii, you know is not a good thing for Tanahashi. Tanahashi goes after the leg with dragon screws and a cloverleaf. It’s cool to see Ishii turn the tables and apply a Sharpshooter. Ishii gets some near falls before they stumble a bit in the middle of the ring, leading to the slingblade. Tanahashi is now the one getting the close calls and looks for High Fly Flow. Ishii gets his knees up and both men are down. Ishii comes close to a win with both a lariat and a running headbutt. The fans are biting on nearly all of these. When Tanahashi hits a few moves, he instantly runs up and nails the High Fly Flow to win.
Really good match but it had a really abrupt ending. It seemed like they were building to something special and then the finish came out of nowhere and not in a good way. It kind of just fell flat. Outside of that, everything else they did worked very well and was a fitting main event.
Overall: Here we have another show in this tournament chock full of good matches. Unlike some nights, this didn’t many great matches as the only one that stands out as great was Shibata/Kojima, but it’s still an easy watch with tons of good stuff. The main event, Styles/Tenzan, Anderson/Goto and the second half of the this show all delivered. Six for six in good events.
Katsuyori Shibata 8
Shinsuke Nakamura 8
Shelton X Benjamin 8
Hiroshi Tanahashi 8
Bad Luck Fale 6
Tomohiro Ishii 6
Satoshi Kojima 4
Yuji Nagata 4
Davey Boy Smith Jr. 4
Doc Gallows 4
Tomoaki Honma 0
Tetsuya Naito 8
Kazuchika Okada 8
AJ Styles 6
Toru Yano 6
Hirooki Goto 6
Minoru Suzuki 6
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 4
Karl Anderson 4
Yujiro Takahashi 4
Togi Makabe 4
Lance Archer 4