Wednesday, August 2, 2017

NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Twelve Review

NJPW G1 Climax 27 Night Twelve
August 2nd, 2017 | Fukuoka City Gymnasium in Fukuoka, Japan

Will Kazuchika Okada finally lose? Can EVIL beat Kenny Omega and prove that the B Block isn’t only about two guys? Will Satoshi Kojima get two points or continue to go the route of Liger and Nagata? Those questions would be answered on the sixth B Block G1 show this year. The G1 is in the lull stage right now and, on paper, this doesn’t look like the show to turn the tide. Let’s find out.

Shota Umino and Tomoyuki Oka def. Katsuya Kitamura and Ren Narita in 5:33
Kota Ibushi and Tiger Mask IV def. Hirai Kawato and Yuji Nagata in 7:49
Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI def. Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi in 7:44
El Desperado, Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. def. BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi and Tetsuya Naito in 6:10
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin Thunder Liger def. David Finlay and Togi Makabe in 6:36

B Block: Juice Robinson [2] vs. SANADA [6]
Honestly, this was my easily my most anticipated match on this show. Hell, it was probably in my top five of this entire block. Their interactions during multi-man tags this years were great. Juice continued to sell his injuries. We got the standard fight inside, then brawl outside G1 stuff. SANADA wisely went after the injured leg, kicking it into the guardrail. SANADA remained in control until Juice countered Skull End. However, his run was cut short by a dropkick to the knee. Smart work. Juice beat a second countout tease and pulled SANADA into a small package for a good near fall. SANADA escaped Pulp Friction twice, Juice countered Skull End again and delivered a stiff punch. Another series of counters led to Skull End. Juice faded, so SANADA finished him with the moonsault in 13:48. I liked this. Juice showed fire once again, while SANADA was smart to work the leg. It was sold well and all made sense, rather than doing it for the sake of it. [***¼]

B Block: Michael Elgin [4] vs. Toru Yano [2]
Elgin needed to win here to have a small chance of winning. We got the usual Yano antics early, like removing the turnbuckle pad and such. Elgin beat him up a bit and blocked a low blow. Yano then pulled an Eddie Guerrero and faked getting hit with a low blow, selling it in front of the referee. The ref called for the DQ at 2:58. Absolute shit. I’m usually not too harsh on Yano’s stuff, because I get it and it gives guys a night off. But that finish was so stupid. Why not just have Yano roll him up if he had to win? The referees are lenient in the G1, allowing chairs and such, but a low blow they didn’t see gets a DQ? From a guy who they should expect shenanigans from? Bad. [DUD]

B Block: NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki [6] vs. Satoshi Kojima [0]
I still hate the booking of Kojima in this tournament. Though they’ve met nine times in their career, this was the first time I saw it. Suzuki jumped him before the bell and they brawled outside. It’s the Minoru way. One thing I did like was how Kojima is the rare guy to have someone to combat Suzuki’s cronies. Tenzan beat up the worst wrestler in NJPW, Taichi. However, the dumbass referees again pushed him back, while Suzuki-Gun jumped Kojima. Again, I understand the point of it, but it makes the refs look like complete buffoons. Back inside, Kojima continues to get in hope spots that were cut off. Kojima nailed the big lariat, but Taichi pulled the referee out before the three count. Tenzan took him and Taichi out, before Kojima got a near fall on the brainbuster. Suzuki came back with the sleeper and Gotch piledriver to win at 10:13. I wish this was better. Both guys can deliver in the right situation, but we got a dumb official, too much interference and action in the ring that wasn’t great. [**¼]

B Block: IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada [10] vs. Tama Tonga [4]
Their match in last year’s G1 (***) was solid. A loss eliminates Tonga. He attacked Okada during his entrance, took his robe and mocked him. Okada can’t have that, so he dropkicked Tonga and kicked his ass a bit. After some brawling outside, Tonga had slight control inside. Okada went into his FIVE MOVES OF DOOM sequence and called for the Rainmaker. Tonga escaped but his misdirection stuff failed. He still hit Veleno, getting two, but Okada was tired of his shit. He countered Gun Stun into a German and won with the Rainmaker in 11:22. I’m so glad he didn’t do the Rainmaker/wrist hold/counter stuff. However, the match was very average. There was no drama here, which is part of the issue of undefeated Okada. You just know a guy like Tonga isn’t going to hand him his first loss. Technically fine, but very hollow. At least they didn’t have this go 20+ minutes. [**½]

B Block: EVIL [8] vs. IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega [8]
I gave their G1 match last year ***. This time though, both are in striking distance of first place. They’re both heels, so they brawled outside. A lot of that tonight. In every match but the short Elgin/Yano one actually. They did a “pull up the floor mats” spot, which is something I love. Omega took control, before EVIL brought chairs into play. They had some solid back and forth with that for a while. After Omega hit the Terminator tope, he placed a table on EVIL and delivered a big double stomp. EVIL one upped his table use, delivering a jumping uranage off the apron through it. EVIL had a cut eye but it was Omega who barely beat the count back in. They went at it some more inside, with Omega hitting V Triggers (not nearly as many he usually does) and EVIL applying his submission. Omega looked out of it, but made the ropes. They went into a series of counters, with Omega hitting another V Trigger that seemed to legitimately knock EVIL out. Either that or he sold the hell out of it. EVIL was done after a One Winged Angel in 23:37. This was good, but felt like it went on forever. I don’t think it needed to be 23 minutes. It would’ve worked better as a slightly shorter brawl. I got the sense they were trying for an epic, but it never reached that level. Plus, as expected, nobody bought EVIL as a legitimate threat in this block. It’s all Okada and Omega, so everything else feels lesser. [***¼]

Overall: 5/10. The general feeling, from what I’ve seen, is that this was the worst G1 show thus far. I think I have to agree. SANADA/Juice and Omega/EVIL were both good matches that never truly sniffed great territory. Everything in the middle was painfully average. Okada/Tonga was just there, while Kojima/Suzuki was overbooked. Elgin/Yano was completely stupid. I continue to be let down by the B Block.

Tomohiro Ishii8 (4-2)Kazuchika Okada12 (6-0)
Tetsuya Naito8 (4-2)Kenny Omega10 (5-1)
Zack Sabre Jr.8 (4-2)Minoru Suzuki8 (4-2)
Hiroshi Tanahashi8 (4-2)SANADA8 (4-2)
Bad Luck Fale6 (3-3)EVIL8 (4-2)
Togi Makabe6 (3-3)Toru Yano4 (2-4)
Kota Ibushi6 (3-3)Tama Tonga4 (2-4)
Hirooki Goto6 (3-3)Michael Elgin4 (2-4)
YOSHI-HASHI4 (2-4)Juice Robinson2 (1-5)
Yuji Nagata0 (0-6)Satoshi Kojima0 (0-6)