Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night Six Review

NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night Six
July 27th, 2016 | Nagano Big Hat in Nagano, Japan

After a night off, the G1 Climax returns with some B Block action and a first time ever main event of Michael Elgin vs. Katsuyori Shibata. Will Elgin get his first win? Can Yuji Nagata stay unbeaten? Will Tomoaki Honma continue his unbelievable start? As always, I’ll just be reviewing the tournament matches.

B Block: Yuji Nagata [6] def. YOSHI-HASHI [2] in 11:56
Nagata has begun this tournament 2-0 with wins over both Los Ingobernables de Japon members in his block, Tetsuya Naito and EVIL. We were treated to some really fun hard hitting exchanges in the early goings. The men respect each other and there was no person issue here, but it didn’t stop them from the stiff shots. There was a funny delayed sell by Nagata on a spin kick that made me laugh. The final stretch was really good, with YOSHI-HASHI’s butterfly lock getting a strong reaction and of course the same went for Nagata’s armbar. YOSHI nearly won a few times, including a late small package. Both guys racked up several near falls in the end actually. Nagata ended up putting YOSHI away with the backdrop driver to move to 3-0. YOSHI-HASHI continues to be a good choice for the opening G1 match, having good outings that get the crowd going. Meanwhile Nagata continues to defy Father Time. A good performance from both men in a solid, hard hitting match. ***¼

B Block: Katsuhiko Nakajima [4] def. EVIL [2] in 10:31
Man, I wasn’t lying when I said that pretty much every B Block match was interesting. They went right at each other form the bell. EVIL did his chair into the ring post spot pretty early, gaining an upper hand. Things really got going when Nakajima started to rally by going after EVIL’s legs. It was the type of offense you’d expect to see against a much larger opponent, but I believe it still worked very well here. It was a very satisfying comeback route that led to some cool exchanges as things moved along. After both men were down, they got up while trading shots. EVIL came close a few times before hitting a headbutt following a missed kick from Nakajima. He went for a lariat but ran into a beautiful dropkick. Nakajima then wrapped it up with a Brainbuster. Really good effort from both guys. They worked a compact, stiff match that was very smart. Nakajima going after the legs went exactly how it needed to. ***½

B Block: Tetsuya Naito [4] def. Toru Yano [0] in 4:54
Like Okada/Goto on night five, this is a matchup that has happened in each of the past four G1 Climax tournaments. Naito didn’t care for Yano’s antics, but Yano was going to be himself. He did his “BREAK” spot longer than ever before. It was funny to see him get mad at Naito for untying the turnbuckle and going to the opposite one to do the same. Naito took advantage of a blow before winning with Destino. Typical match from these two. They kept it short and it was fun. **¼

B Block: Kenny Omega [4] def. Tomoaki Honma [4] in 13:59
Omega spoke to the camera before Honma’s entrance and said that he was going to “wax on, wax off that bald head” of Honma’s. Honma went for an early Kokeshi on the apron, which of course missed, but I was just happy to see more variation of the move. Omega did his springboard stomp onto the mats while Honma was under it and looked for the countout. When that didn’t work, he actually spit on Honma’s head and waxed it, so kudos to him for being a man of his word. Honma mostly sold some leg work. Omega decided he didn’t feel like selling today so he could get in his bicycle knees and suplexes. They both picked up several near falls down the stretch, but it wasn’t until Omega hit the One Winged Angel that Honma went back to his losing ways. Not a bad match, just easily the weakest performance from Omega so far after starting out strong in the first two matches. ***

B Block: IWGP Intercontinental Championship Michael Elgin [2] def. NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata [2] in 15:53
Coming into the G1, this match was very high on my list of highly anticipated ones. Shibata is not only a favorite of mine, but he almost never has bad matches. Elgin has been really good at times over the past year and, if they have the right kind of match, it could deliver big time. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the match I wanted. Instead of being two badass dudes beating the shit out of each other, this just severely lacked. It never felt like a Shibata match and he seemed really out of place. Most of this was Elgin getting his shit in, while Shibata fired in some sporadic shots here and there. Some of the stuff they did either didn’t look as good as it should have (Elgin powerbombing Shibata into the ring post) or came off way telegraphed (Shibata applying a triangle choke). Eventually, Elgin won with the Elgin Bomb. This just fell so flat. While Okada/Goto on night five really felt like two guys phoning it in, this felt different. It’s as if they tried, but laid things out very poorly. **¾

Overall: 6/10. A very average performance from the B Block for the first time. Nagata and YOSHI started things on the right foot. EVIL and Nakajima had the match of the night for sure. Naito and Yano worked about as fun a five minute as they were capable of. While Honma/Omega wasn’t bad, Omega easily had his worst performance of the G1 Climax so far. The main event was a massive disappointment and left a sour taste in my mouth.

Togi Makabe6 (3-0)Yuji Nagata6 (3-0)
Naomichi Marufuji4 (2-1)Katsuhiko Nakaima4 (2-1)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan4 (2-1)Kenny Omega4 (2-1)
Kazuchika Okada4 (2-1)Tetsuya Naito4 (2-1)
Hirooki Goto4 (2-1)Tomoaki Honma4 (2-1)
Tomohiro Ishii2 (1-2)Katsuyori Shibata2 (1-2)
Bad Luck Fale2 (1-2)EVIL2 (1-2)
Tama Tonga2 (1-2)Michael Elgin2 (1-2)
Hiroshi Tanahashi0 (0-3)Toru Yano0 (0-3)

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 7/27/16 Review

WWE Cruiserweight Classic
July 27th, 2016 | Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida

The pre-match video packages for Dux and Sabre are great. Dux spoke about injuring his ACL while under contract with the WWE in 2004. Sabre is just all kinds of awesome.

Zack Sabre Jr. def. Tyson Dux in 8:27
Sabre represents England, while Dux is from Canada. Also, the two countries I want to move to after Trump becomes President. Some fans try to chant Sabre's name to the tune of "Seven Nation Army" like they do in RPW, but other fans just chant it normally. Sabre is just a joy to watch. He was doing simple things but it's all so smooth and expertly done. Daniel Bryan pretty much orgasmed several times at the things Sabre did. The sight of Sabre wrenching Dux's wrist was vicious. Dux got two on a nice fisherman buster. Sabre swiftly got into an octopus hold, putting an emphasis on the wrist but Dux made the ropes. Sabre swept him up and hit the PK for two. Dux came back with a big lariat. Sabre countered a fireman's carry like move into one submission that transitioned into two others before Dux finally gave up. That might have been my favorite CWC match so far. Dux did his part but it was the Sabre show and that was awesome enough. ***1/2

Drew Gulak def. Harv Sihra in 5:16
Sihra is competing for India, while Gulak is from the US. I've never seen Sihra, but Gulak is the leader of the awesome Catch Point stable in Evolve. Sihra is one half of the Bollywood Boys and seems have a good time with his dancing. The fans chanted "Catch Point" and Mauro name dropped ECCW. 2016 is a weird year. Gulak took him to the mat early and applied a body scissors, but Sihra countered that by crossing his legs over Gulak's. I've never seen that before. Gulak slammed Sihra into the ropes, causing him to take a breather. Gulak caught him in a dragon sleeper with a body scissors. Sihra nearly countered the scissors again, but Gulak adjusted and made him tap. Solid little match. I really liked that the cool counter from earlier played into the finish. Gulak takes on Sabre in the second round. **1/2

Tony Nese def. Anthony Bennett in 6:31
Nese is someone I see a lot in Evolve. Both guys are from the States. Bennett has a high top fade that Iman Shumpert would be jealous of. Both guys competed at a quick pace. Nese cartwheeled off of the apron and drilled Bennett with a sweet superkick. Bennett is tiny. He looks like a child. He did hit some decent looking forearms and leaping clotheslines, but those didn't look too great. His popup dropkick was nice though. He got close to a win with a tornado DDT at one point. Nese nailed a powerslam and went up top. The referee stopped things to check on Bennett, which was interesting. He let things go and Nese won with a 450 splash. Nese celebrated with an Ahmed Johnson/Big E like wedgie. The match itself was about what I expected. Bennett looked fun, while Nese was himself. Nothing special. **1/2

The Brian Kendrick def. Raul Mendoza in 7:34
Kendrick got to keep his amazing MAN WITH A PLAN theme. It got a big pop. Kendrick reps the US, while Mendoza is from Mexico and idolized Eddie Guerrero. Mendoza showed off speed early but barely landed on a handspring back flip and it looked weird. Mendoza did a nice submission but once Kendrick got an opening, he connected on a big boot. Mendoza wears braces, adding to the viciousness of Kendrick grinding his mouth on the ropes and kicking it, making him bleed. They stopped things again to check on Mendoza's mouth. Once he said he was okay, Kendrick charged and attacked. Mendoza fired up with a sweet corkscrew dive outside and spin kick inside. He got Kendrick in the tree of woe and hit the coast to coast. Kendrick nearly lost after a suplex backbreaker hybrid but got his foot on the bottom rope. Kendrick faked an injury to open the door and win with the bully choke. Really good stuff here. I loved the braces spot and Kendrick being vicious in general. Mendoza impressed too, fighting through the blood and showing off some really nice athleticism. Kendrick takes on Nese in round two. ***1/2

Next week, Rich Swann takes on Jason Lee, Noam Dar goes one on one with Gurv Sihra, Jack Gallagher again Fabian Alchner and Johnny Gargano clashes with partner Tommaso Ciampa!

Overall: 8.5/10. My favorite episode of the tournament so far. If we're going based on match quality alone, it wasn't amazing but it accomplished everything it had to. Sabre and Kendrick won two of the best matches so far, with Sabre establishing himself as a wizard and Kendrick being a great lunatic. The middle two matches weren't anything special, but Gulak and Nese got shine, while even the losers did week impressed, especially Dux and Mendoza.