NJPW G1 Climax Night 3
July 23, 2016
Watch: NJPW World
Machida Gymnasium – Tokyo, Japan
I still slept in. That explains why this is going to be a half-review of Night 3 of the G1 Glimax with matches and updated standings. Ironically I made a rule of thumb for everyone here to have to review the *entire* G1 show, but quickly it looks like that has been broken. That rule will probably be going away soon. It’s much easier to do it this way none the less, but I assure you this was an accident! This is no half-assed screwjob. I hope you won’t miss the undercard too much.
(G1 Climax A Block) Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tama Tonga
Just as skippable as we expected it to be. WHY ARE YOU WEARING MORE $30 LEGGINGS TAMA? Now it’s The Young Bucks edition. I thought Tama was going to give a better performance here but nope. From the outset, when that damn theme hits and there is no reaction; that pretty much remains a constant. This is Tokyo, Japan. This is a Tenzan’s last run match for god’s sake! Near the end the reaction got better, but everyone knew this was one of those filler type matches. They went through the motions and Tenzan was fun to watch. Nothing is memorable from this match whatsoever. I have more faith in Marufuji/Fale to eclipse this. The two ran into each other and … collided? After that Tonga survived a little longer only to fall victim to the Tenzan moonsault. Tenzan goes 2-0! Tama goes 0-2. Rightfully so.
(G1 Climax A Block) Naomichi Marufuji vs. Bad Luck Fale
Okay, definitely not as bad as expected. I put this on my hit-list of the five most scary looking A Block matches on paper. It exceeded expectations and I am the “Marufuji hater” here. For the most part he put in a good performance. Fale was a solid base for the way more athletic and deadly Marufuji. I just used deadly and Marufuji in the same sentence and as a descriptive for my arch nemesis. WHAT THE HELL. The majority of the match was based on evasion. Could Marufuji avoid the Bad Luck Fale and the giant? Yes he could. Only to an extent. Marufuji ended up taking the pin but did a good job convincing everyone he’d win. Ko-oh’s, side kicks (sans another terrible whiffed one) and more got Fale down. Fale surprisingly took the win after the Grenade. I put this over. Unreal.
(G1 Climax A Block) Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto
This was really good but won’t even crack my Top 5 of the tournament so far. Ishii sold on a God-tier level once again for Goto. This was a condensed version of these two’s longer battles in the past. They have excellent chemistry and it always shines through. My favorite aspect of this match was the fact it gave off a near hyper-realism vibe. Goto got dropped and I nearly believe he was out of it. He was wobbling on his two feet and the offense kept mounting. When you tick that box in the strong style subset, it is quite awesome. Ishii was the glue that held this match together. The structure was fine but I always found myself invested in Ishii and what he was doing. Goto was fine and all, but he still comes off as second rate, even in this match. He hasn’t had “the” performance yet. We got some great sequences that capped off with Ishii giving the Sliding D to the back of Goto’s head. Goto had to comeback and deliver two GTRs to stop Ishii in his tracks. Ishii is now 0-2 and is looking to bounce back. That will be an awesome story.
(G1 Climax A Block) Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA
This was a good solid match. I’d even argue that Goto/Ishii was better, but this served its purpose. Instead of match quality I’d more so lean towards put overs, but in the sense that I’m putting this match over for doing so well in its role. Having back to back matches against Tanahashi and Okada, the two biggest names in the company is a wild start for SANADA. The Tanahashi match was more flashy and BIG. But this felt more intimate and a nice twist on the typical Okada formula that had to be changed. This wasn’t a long title match, this wasn’t a longtime rival and this also had a time cap on it. All things that worked out for the better – as this was refreshing. The new star born vs. Tanahashi couldn’t do it against the current champion. We got some tremendous sequences as in most Okada matches. The skull end also opens up many flood gates for those sequences. Okada just made it out of it. Okada then hit Germans and the Rainmaker for the win. Both guys even out at 1-1.
(G1 Climax A Block) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Togi Makabe
This wasn’t anything to phone home about. A completely fine yet skippable main event. Definitely the weakest of the three main events thus far on the tour. However, near the end it turned in to “a bit more” than skippable which is a testament to Makabe. He didn’t phone it in all the way. He got the voicemail and decided to muster up something. It was double digit minutes of meandering until the final sequences kicked in. Fine by me, I’m not going to yell and scream about it. The live fans probably enjoyed it more than the most of us did. They traded bridging Germans but that wasn’t enough. They teased the Spider German … no … THEY DID THE SPIDER GERMAN. Hiroshi Tanahashi, on Night 3 of this damn tournament, took the Spider German bump on his neck. A true ace sacrificing that body. A King Kong Knee Drop was hit and another upset goes down. Makabe beats the ace of the company in the main event.
When all is said and done, this show will be hidden amongst all the gems and greatness this tournament pumps out. I don’t even know if I’d say this show was good. It was skippable as an entity, but you still want to check out the Goto/Ishii, Marufuji/Fale and Okada/SANADA matches. That’s about a 40-50 minute block where you can block out the rest of the show and get essential viewing in. For match of the show my pick would have to be Goto and Ishii, which wouldn’t even crack my Top 5 matches of the tournament so far.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4), Hirooki Goto (4), Togi Makabe (4), Naomichi Marufuji (2), Kazuchika Okada (2), Bad Luck Fale (2), SANADA (2), Tomohiro Ishii (0), Tama Tonga (0), Hiroshi Tanahashi (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)