NJPW G1 Climax Night 2
July 22, 2016
Watch: NJPW World
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Captain New Japan
Aside from being your typical New Japan throw away tag team match, there was a pretty large focus on Tenzan, which makes sense as he’s the only one currently doing anything relevant to the G1 in this match. David Finlay bumped around like a fool in the beginning for Tenzan as well, which was enjoyable. Kojima nails a lariat on Captain New Japan who is turned inside out and pinned to give Kojima and company the win. If only that lariat turned him out of that hideous combination of black and green he’s wearing, too. Overall, it was nothing offensive, but nothing you’ll need to go out of your way to see as it’s not vital at all to the G1 experience.
Naomichi Marufuji, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga
Pop quiz time, kids! My least favorite wrestler on the entire roster happens to be in this match, can you guess who it is? I’ll just go right out and say it: I truly and honestly cannot stand Bad Luck Fale as an in-ring talent. He’s honestly worse than the newly revealed SmackDown Live and RAW logos that got put up on Twitter earlier today. The only good matches that Fale is going to have during the G1 will be with Tanahashi and Okada, simply based on the merit that they’re the only two people in New Japan capable of carrying his esteemed lack of talent to a watchable affair. Ishii added his name to that category after this match, as I wasn’t expecting a hell of a lot going into it, blindly purely by my hatred of Bad Luck Fale. I think Ishii and Fale will end up having one of those sleeper-pick matches of the night that end up being surprisingly good, but nothing near a match of the night contender by any means. Marufuji also looked pretty decent in this match, being up against the brick, talentless wall of Fale and all. In a surprising twist, Bullet Club is used and abused, and Marufuji ends up picking up the win for his team, pinning Takahashi.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & Togi Makabe
We go from a match that features probably my least favorite wrestler on the face of the entire planet to one that features two of my favorite guys in New Japan. Of course, I’m referring to Tanahashi (who doesn’t love Tanahashi, honestly?) and KUSHIDA. On the opposite side of things, we have Taguchi flying around trying to shove his rear into everyone’s face, which is nothing out of the norm, really. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who’s agitated by his gimmick, but I’d be willing to bet I am. I was expecting some sort of preview of the upcoming Makabe and Tanahashi clash, but it wasn’t teased very much at all. Instead, it was more of KUSHIDA, Taguchi, Liger, and Tiger Mask doing the heavy lifting, per say, in the match. KUSHIDA is able to squeak out a victory by pinning Tiger Mask, and one of the odder post match moments I’ve seen in a while occurs with Taguchi and Tanahashi just hanging out on the ring apron, kicking around their legs as if they’re throwing a tantrum. KUSHIDA plays the roll of a disappointed father, urging both men to go to the back. Thank you, KUSHIDA, you’re the real MVP here.
Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs. Sanada & BUSHI
Los Ingobernables De Japon continues to be one of my favorite things about my New Japan viewing experience as of late. Leave Naito out of the picture for a second, because even without him, Sanada, BUSHI, and EVIL have all elevated their game and have shown some great ring work and commitment to their characters in the past few months since this stable has become a main stay. Nothing to write home about here, as Los Ingobernables picks up the victory with BUSHI getting the clean as a whistle pin on Gedo.
(G1 Climax B Block) Toru Yano vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima
There wasn’t a hell of a lot for me to really write about here. To quote a cliche saying: it wasn’t a good match, it wasn’t a bad match, it was just a match. Yano is currently working in NOAH a lot as tag champion and Nakajima comes from NOAH. I’m pretty surprised that this affair came off as…bland, as it did. Yano did try to cheat his way to a victory several times during the match, even using his shirt to tie up Nakajima on the outside. In the end, Nakajima connects with a Brainbuster for the clean victory.
(G1 Climax B Block) Kenny Omega vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Woo! Kenny Omega and YOSHI-HASHI, more specifically YOSHI put on one hell of a match here. In one of multiple upset victories in the night’s match-ups, YOSHI ends up picking up the victory tonight using Karma. Looks like a pumphandle slam variation, but I’m not entirely sure. There were some pretty interesting moments where he paid homage to Shinsuke Nakamura, as well, throwing a Boma Ye at Omega at one point. As for Omega, it’ll be interesting to see where he goes following this loss. I’d be all about him winning the G1 at some point, but that’s if he doesn’t decide to go to greener pastures with some fellow New Japan alumni. If he does, I’d consider that a major blow for New Japan, weakening an already thin roster.
(G1 Climax B Block) Michael Elgin vs. EVIL
As I previously mentioned, Los Ingobernables De Japon is one of my favorite things about New Japan right now. EVIL, in particular, has taken what seemed to be a fairly doomed gimmick and really turned it into a winning formula. Having watched some of his matches in Ring of Honor, I wasn’t really overly impressed with the guy. Nothing stood out and said he was must watch material, but he’s shrugged that stigma off very nicely since returning to New Japan and aligning himself with Los Ingobernables De Japon. In another shocking upset of the night, EVIL plants Elgin with an STO, picking up the victory. A perfectly acceptable, and watchable match. Nothing crazy, but you’ll enjoy watching it and seeing how EVIL is progressing as a worker. I know I certainly did.
(G1 Climax B Block) Tetsuya Naito vs. Yuji Nagata
It could very well be because I was just annoyed at how my day was going by this point, but this match seemed to drag on way longer than it had any reason to. It could also have a lot to do with the fact that Nagata just refused to do anything to Naito aside from employing lazily locked in submissions. I really just did not, at all, care for this match. Forget the laziness on the part of Nagata in working with Naito, but the fact that it was ended off with Nagata’s backdrop, really? If you were going to work submissions the entire match, you may as well have just ended the match based with submissions. An out of place match, and nothing you need to see. I’d actually recommend skipping this one, in all honesty.
(G1 Climax B Block) Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomokai Honma
It may be because I don’t watch New Japan quite as frequently as I used to, but I haven’t seen very much of Honma lately. The last I saw of him, he won the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Makabe, and had a rather underwhelming run with the titles too. That being said, he and Shibata put on a perfectly acceptable match up, especially when compared to the letdown of Naito/Nagata. It seemed to me that Honma didn’t get his usual underdog reaction, and maybe that’s just an observation on my part of maybe people view him differently after the allegations he had brought against him. Who knows? It also seemed like Honma didn’t miss nearly as many Kokeshi’s and he should have been missing. Just an odd match, but it was a good match either way.
Naomichi Marufuji (2), SANADA (2), Hirooki Goto (2), Togi Makabe (2), Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2), Tomohiro Ishii (0), Tama Tonga (0), Bad Luck Fale (0), Hiroshi Tanahashi (0), Kazuchika Okada (0)
Tomoaki Honma (2), Yuji Nagata (2), EVIL (2), YOSHI-HASHI (2), Katsuhiko Nakajima (2), Katsuyori Shibata (0), Tetsuya Naito (0), Michael Elgin (0), Kenny Omega (0), Toru Yano (0)