Saturday, August 13, 2016

NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night Eighteen Review

NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night Eighteen
August 13th, 2016 | Ryogoku Kokuhikan Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan

It is the final show for the B Block. There were five outcomes yesterday, but four today. Michael Elgin wins if he wins his match and Kenny Omega beats Tetsuya Naito. Katsuyori Shibata wins B Block if he wins, Omega wins and Elgin loses. Omega takes it with a win and loses by Shibata and Elgin. Naito just has to beat Omega to make the finals. As usual, I will just be reviewing the G1 Climax matches.

B Block: Tomoaki Honma [6] def. Yuji Nagata [6] in 10:30
Nothing on the line here since both guys are towards the bottom of the standings, but they both usually bring it. Of course, Honma missed the early Kokeshi attempt. You know it’s coming, but it still gets a reaction. Nagata ripped the tape off of Honma’s ribs and began to attack that area. Honma did a good job of selling the work, even as he was hitting his offense. He started lighting Nagata up with chops, but got caught in the armbar. He escaped and kicked out of a backdrop driver. They went into a vicious war of slaps until Nagata nailed a German. Honma got hit, hitting a running Kokeshi before winning it with the top rope Kokeshi. A really solid way to kick things off. The crowd was hot, though less hot than the past two years of Honma matches. I liked the ribs coming into play and, though it isn’t as cool as it used to be, seeing Honma win is always a treat. ***½

B Block: Toru Yano [10] def. YOSHI-HASHI [6] in 3:31
Yano looked like he would throw his water at YOSHI, but decided against it. He even gave a legitimate handshake. CHAOS FOREVER! He went for another a few moments later and rolled him up for two, only to get up and yell “JOKE, JOKE, JOKE!” Yano brought out all of his tricks, from exposing the buckle to the classic Eddie Guerrero “blame your opponent” spot. He ended up getting hit by the turnbuckle pad himself. Yano rolled him up from out of nowhere to steal it. Fun little Yano match, as always. I do wish YOSHI went over here. The G1 usually books everything close and Yano didn’t need to finish with ten points. **¼

B Block: EVIL [8] def. NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata [10] in 9:44
Considering his win over Elgin on night one, I suspect EVIL gets an Intercontinental Title shot down the line, however, I’d dig a feud between these two at some point. Shibata tried to take it early, going right for a sleeper hold but missing the Penalty Kick. Outside, EVIL went after Shibata’s injured arm and used a chair on it. Shibata beat the count inside, but EVIL was still in control. They started trading big blows, with neither guy holding anything back. Shibata went back to the sleeper and EVIL wisely broke it by wrenching on the arm. EVIL came close on a sitout powerbomb variation before winning with the STO. Another good, but not great match. They could probably do more with a healthier Shibata down the line. EVIL beats both the NEVER and IC Champions, while Shibata ends another G1 with a disappointing spot in the standings. ***¼

B Block: Katsuhiko Nakajima [10] def. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin [10] in 16:39
Elgin needs to win and have Omega win the main event to stay alive. This is Gedo though, and it all has to come down to both guys in the main event having a chance, so the result was kind of obvious. They chop each other hard in the first few minutes. Nakajima took control with some brutal sounding kicks. I love his kicks. Their back and forth was really good throughout. Nakajima came close on a backdrop driver, but Elgin kicked out. Elgin went for a big lariat, but ran into a dropkick. Elgin went into a series of suplexes before missing a splash off the top. They began to trade forearms in the center of the ring and then Elgin DID THE DEAL! Nakajima escaped the Elgin Bomb and fired off a series of kicks before pulling out the win with the Brainbuster. Really good work from both guys. It was stiff, did a decent job building drama and had some great false finishes. The NOAH guys beat the Heavyweight and IC Champions in this tournament. ***¾

B Block: Kenny Omega [12] def. Tetsuya Naito [12] in 28:17
The last two results opened the door for Kenny Omega. I knew this result before watching it and it really hurt my interest. Naito did his laid back stuff early and heel Omega responded by spitting at him. Naito went after the leg, which Omega sold well, not even being able to make it to the guardrail he was tossed into. As Omega took over on offense, he did Naito’s trademark eye taunt. Omega powerbombed Naito through a table on the outside and I was surprised he didn’t go for the countout victory. Instead, he followed with a somersault from in the ring out into the crowd onto Naito. When Naito beat the count, Omega hit a dragon suplex on the apron and another inside for two. They began to trade stuff for a while, including Omega’s high knee and Naito’s tornado DDT. There was a great moment where Naito went for a German, seemingly knowing that Omega would land on his feet, and did so because it would hurt Kenny’s leg more. Naito countered the One Winged Angel into the knee bar but Omega survived and reached the ropes. Omega came back and hit his big knee. He went for One Winged Angel again, but Naito reversed into Destino. He was unable to cover instantly, meaning the match continued. Naito took him up top for a super reverse rana. Omega countered Destino and then couldn’t get Naito up for the One Winged Angel because his knee. He did counter the rebound attack with a knee, which was great. Suddenly though, he had use his leg again and nailed a German for two. Another knee got the same result before winning with the One Winged Angel that he could do again. Look, the match itself is great. Kenny sold the leg well for the most part, there was a fair amount of drama towards the end and some big time spots with a hot crowd. The best Omega match I’ve ever seen. ****¼

I loathe the fact that Naito lost. I didn’t care for the idea of Goto/Naito again but come on Gedo. Naito spent the past year reinventing himself to the point where he was the hottest act in the company. Then he won the Heavyweight Title and things felt fresh. Instead of running with that, Gedo put the belt back on bland Okada and things were status quo again. People said it was a good decision because Naito could win the G1 and get the big win at WK11. Instead, he doesn’t win here and will probably be stuck in the midcard at Wrestle Kingdom. Gedo basically said “f*** you for getting yourself over, now you have to job to my flavor of the month gaijin.” NJPW is just like WWE. You get yourself over (Shibata, Naito, Goto) and in the end, it doesn’t matter.

Overall: 8/10. The show was good. I’m too upset about the booking of the main event to write anymore. Someone remove Gedo as a booker.

Hirooki Goto12 (6-3)Kenny Omega12 (6-3)
Hiroshi Tanahashi11 (5-3-1)Tetsuya Naito12 (6-3)
Kazuchika Okada11 (5-3-1)Katushiko Nakajima10 (5-4)
Bad Luck Fale10 (5-4)Toru Yano10 (5-4)
Naomichi Marufji10 (5-4)Michael Elgin10 (5-4)
Tama Tonga8 (4-5)Katsuyori Shibata10 (5-4)
SANADA8 (4-5)EVIL8 (4-5)
Tomohiro Ishii8 (4-5)Tomoaki Honma6 (3-6)
Togi Makabe8 (4-5)Yuji Nagata6 (3-6)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan4 (2-7)YOSHI-HASHI6 (3-6)