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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Overall: 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 Makabe||6 (3-0)||Yuji Nagata||6 (3-0)|
|Naomichi Marufuji||4 (2-1)||Katsuhiko Nakaima||4 (2-1)|
|Hiroyoshi Tenzan||4 (2-1)||Kenny Omega||4 (2-1)|
|Kazuchika Okada||4 (2-1)||Tetsuya Naito||4 (2-1)|
|Hirooki Goto||4 (2-1)||Tomoaki Honma||4 (2-1)|
|Tomohiro Ishii||2 (1-2)||Katsuyori Shibata||2 (1-2)|
|SANADA||2 (1-2)||YOSHI-HASHI||2 (1-2)|
|Bad Luck Fale||2 (1-2)||EVIL||2 (1-2)|
|Tama Tonga||2 (1-2)||Michael Elgin||2 (1-2)|
|Hiroshi Tanahashi||0 (0-3)||Toru Yano||0 (0-3)|