Sunday, August 7, 2016

Kevin's NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night Fourteen Review

NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night Fourteen
August 7th, 2016 | Act City Hamamatsu in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan

It hasn’t happened often, but the B Block has a tough act to follow. A Block had arguably their best night 24 hours earlier. The B Block combats it with another strong card featuring two stablemates, Tetsuya Naito and EVIL, going one on one in the main event, as well as some other intriguing matchups. As the tournament progresses, we get closer and closer to weeding out the contenders and start to eliminate some people. Anyway, let’s jump into this. As always, I’ll just be reviewing the tournament matches.

B Block: Toru Yano [8] def. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin [8] in 5:01
Both men have rebounded from slow starts, with Elgin winning four straight after an 0-2 start and Yano entering on a three match winning streak after an 0-3 start. They played off of Elgin being too strong and Yano being cowardly. BREAK. There was a lot of Yano being Yano and Elgin tossing him around a bit. Elgin set up for the buckle bomb, but Yano got free, hit a timely low blow and rolled him up to make it four in a row. Surprising result to me here. Either way, it was Yano stuff and again, it was fun. **¼

B Block: NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata [8] def. YOSHI-HASHI [6] in 11:11
These guys came out of the gates firing away on each other. Shibata took control early with a running boot that sent YOSHI outside. Thank goodness they didn’t do the typical countout tease. Instead, Shibata brought him back in quickly and worked a figure four. They ended up trading shots in the middle of the ring and kudos to YOSHI for hanging tough with Shibata. YOSHI ended up applying the butterfly lock but Shibata isn’t the kind of guy to submit. Shibata reached the ropes and kicked out of the swanton bomb shortly after. He blocked Karma and applied his own butterfly lock. YOSHI reached the ropes but quickly got put in the sleeper hold. A penalty kick later and Shibata got the win. A solid match here though I believe they are capable of more. It never reached that next level. It still featured hard hitting stuff from both guys, which I appreciate. ***¼

B Block: Katsuhiko Nakajima [8] def. Tomoaki Honma [4] in 13:01
Honma has lost four straight after winning his first two. Meanwhile, Nakajima has a case for B Block MVP (Ishii pretty much took a huge lead in overall tournament MVP). Honma missed an early Kokeshi, because that’s what he does, and Nakajima DDTed him on the apron. They traded shots in the ring until Nakajima went to another DDT. Honma ate some of Nakajima’s signature kicks, but fired up and wanted more. It kind of became Honma’s chops against Nakajima’s kicks. Honma nailed some leaping headbutts, but missed the top rope Kokeshi. Oh Honma, when will you ever learn? He survived a backdrop driver and several kicks before staying down after a Brainbuster. About what I’ve come to expect from Honma this year. Good, not great. Nakajima continues to be one of the best things about the entire tournament. ***¼

B Block: Kenny Omega [8] def. Yuji Nagata [6] in 14:20
Nagata entered on a three match losing streak. Omega has been really good at times (vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Shibata & Yano) and really disappointing at others (Honma, Elgin & EVIL). During his entrance, Omega noted that he likes Nagata’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” intro. Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear it as it is muted on NJPW World for copyright reasons I assume. Nagata did his leap frog fake out early before slapping and kicking away at Omega. Omega went to work on Nagata’s leg for what felt like a long time. They made it to the ten minute mark and almost nothing interested happened. They did a lengthy double countout tease spot and the leg work pretty much stopped mattering. Eventually, both guys blocked each other’s finishers before Omega connected on the One Winged Angel to win. Lackluster at best. The leg wok never really came into play, it felt like it dragged and even the crowd wasn’t very interested. **

B Block: Tetsuya Naito [10] def. EVIL [4] in 21:38
Los Ingobernables de Japon explodes! Two of my favorite theme songs in all of NJPW too. We got some early stalling before both guys did some signature stuff. Naito faked a dive and did his pose, while EVIL showed no favoritism and did his chair spot outside. EVIL took control inside for a bit until Naito went after the knee. It was much better knee work, from Naito’s offense to EVIL’s selling, than the previous match. EVIL had Naito’s rebound attack well scouted, catching him in a half nelson suplex and getting two on a lariat. A lot of this match was very 50/50. They built to a really good finish, where EVIL just beat the hell out of his leader. Destino failed and EVIL came back with some more big blows. Naito countered a big lariat into Destino and got the win to the crowd’s liking. This might have gone a bit long to be really great, but it was still really good. They worked at a slower pace than most G1 matches, which was a nice change of pace, and things really picked up down the stretch. ***¾

Overall: 6/10. One of the lesser B Block shows so far. The main event was relatively strong but nothing really stood out. Nagata/Omega was pretty garbage and Elgin/Yano was classic Yano. The middle matches (Shibata/YOSHI and Nakajima/Honma) were both solid. Even in a case like this show, where nothing was great, the B Block managed to be consistently good for the most part.

Kazuchika Okada10 (5-2)Tetsuya Naito10 (5-2)
Togi Makabe8 (4-3)Katsuhiko Nakajima8 (4-3)
Hiroshi Tanahashi8 (4-3)Toru Yano8 (4-3)
Hirooki Goto8 (4-3)Michael Elgin8 (4-3)
Bad Luck Fale8 (4-3)Katsuyori Shibata8 (4-3)
Naomichi Marufuji8 (4-3)Kenny Omega8 (4-3)
Tama Tonga6 (3-4)YOSHI-HASHI6 (3-4)
Tomohiro Ishii6 (3-4)Yuji Nagata6 (3-4)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan4 (2-5)EVIL4 (2-5)
SANADA4 (2-5)Tomoaki Honma4 (2-5)