NJPW G1 Climax Night 4
July 24, 2016
Watch: NJPW World
Korakuen Hall – Tokyo, Japan
Looks like no undercard from here on out…at least for my reviews. I was just finishing up my Dragon Gate live coverage alongside Quentin which you can find here. Literally minutes after YAMATO wins the Open the Dream Gate title comes the tournament matches for Block B on Night 4 from Korakuen Hall. There’s not much more time to waste, so let’s get right to it.
(G1 Climax B Block) YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tomoaki Honma
I liked this match. It went from something I considered under delivering to a match that quite simply delivered. This matchup provided one of the coolest matchups on paper in the tournament. The dynamics are eerily similar as both men are huge underdogs, always feeling the need to prove themselves. Both were 1-0, but one had to walk out with a loss. That man was YOSHI-HASHI. HASHI tended to be on offense a lot of the time. He hit all his moves except Karma, which was reversed. Honma did a fine enough job playing bottom until he routed a comeback and hit a running Kokeshi on the ground. He then got up top and hit a top rope Kokeshi for the pinfall. HONMA IS NOW 2-0. Honmania really is running wild, brothers and sisters, no matter how we feel about it. Sucks Tacos had to take the pinfall loss, but it is what it is. It’d be a neat pass of the torch like scenario if Honma lost to HASHI.
(G1 Climax B Block) Yuji Nagata vs. EVIL
This was fine. I love EVIL but this wasn’t anything to hit home about. There was a little bit of continuity to pop Big Dust and I as Nagata’s leg was worked over at times – but it wasn’t a main component of the match. In fact, I’m not even sure what the main component of the match was in the first place. Nagata got sense of the jump from EVIL early on and right away got him in a choke. I almost thought they were going to do a surprise finish just like that. EVIL got out and spent a good portion of the match in control. The home run chair spot was hit via the post! Nagata took a beating. However, Nagata be damned, he wouldn’t go down without a fight. He won the fight. The Nagata arm bar and the rest of his arsenal got him over the hump. It took two backdrops but EVIL stayed down for the count. Not a surprising result. You do not need to watch this match at all. It was okay.
(G1 Climax B Block) Kenny Omega vs. Toru Yano
“Please bring out the DDT Pro in them…” I prayed upon both guys coming face to face. And that’s what essentially happened. However I believe it went a hair too long and played up the sequences a bit much. That was what it was meant to do though. It was two larger than life people trying to beat each other in their own game. Kenny heels it up, YTR does it and you more so associate it with just winning. Since these guys knew each other well there were counters upon counters upon counters for the usual tricks in the book. The turnbuckle pads were off and multiple Irish-whips later we needed other distractions as well. All the roll-up teases were well done, making you feel as if it could end anytime. I definitely could have saw Yano get Omega for a cheap one only to set him off. However, that wasn’t the case. Bullet Club spray, “YTR knows what you’re about to do”, etc tricks later the ref ironically has his back turned to the action after every single annoying thing (to him that is) that has gone down. A low-blow and two knee strikes were hit. Toru Yano is pinned and beaten at his own game by Kenny Omega.
(G1 Climax B Block) Katsuyori Shibata vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima
Everybody better have watched their Big Mouth Loud match. I don’t remember enough to connect the two matches together (callbacks and all). How hypocritical. This was really good and one of the better matches of the tournament so far. Everything clicked and there was logical storytelling. Shibata nursed shoulder tape, continuing to be fatigued/hurt from the Honma loss on Night 2. Nakajima took advantage of this by doing things such as German suplexing Shibata into the corner ON HIS NECK, priming him for the brainbuster which would do even more damage to said injured body part and more. There definitely was a tension which the match showcased. It’s the two real shooters in the tournament, 10 years later after Big Mouth Loud, seeing who’s really better now. Nakajima heeled it up and it was fantastic. The crowd booed loudly, making sure everyone knew they’re in Shibata’s corner. After mounting a comeback Shibata reversed the brainbuster, caught a Nakajima PK to everyone’s relief, did a slap almost as hard as the 2013 Tanahashi backhand, leaving Nakajima dazed and confused. The Penalty Kick came after and so did a comeback win for Shibata.
(G1 Climax B Block) Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito
This could be a main event anywhere for New Japan. This is the first time the two have met in singles action in Japan (having met in 2015 in ROH). This was pro wrestling brilliance. I could even see this being match of the tournament so far for some people. For me nothing beats Ishii/Tenzan still, but this was right up there with it, neck and neck. #2 in the tournament so far for me. Theoretically you’d look at this card and probably come to the conclusion that Shibata/Nakajima will be match of the night, but nope. Reality sets in and this match blows everything else on the card out of the water. The match kicked off and kept pace in a limbwork story. Elgin’s legs were decimated and it began to take a toll. Naito would continue to troll Elgin in the most amazing ways, telling him to hit harder, telling him to get out of the submission he’s trapped in. The ref had to take Naito out of the leg lock so Naito milked all the time he had Elgin in such. Naito began to start fighting for the match and not just targeting the leg. Elgin still got shots taken at his leg and it began to heal in some ways. The last few minutes were insane. From leg work to a DDT “botch” (wasn’t too bad) to working around it to get to big spots, this was the beauty of the G1 Climax. Naito kicked out of the Elgin Bomb! He then routed all the way back to get another leg lock in, and also countering the Big Mike brainbuster into a Destino. The regular Destino was hit and Naito gets the win, with Big Mike going 0-2 so far. I. Love. Wrestling.
Night 4 of the G1 was simply good. Even though the undercard of the tournament matches was alright, the two great-FANTASTIC matches really set in and saved this show. I am still on a kick from Kobe World, which at the time I reviewed a few matches live, combined with me being up for 24 hours – probably hindered my review status, but I tend to think undercard is much easier to watch no matter what state you’re in. I’d say EVIL/Nagata was fine if I’m watching from a luxury hotel suite or a hospital bed. Shibata and Nakajima told a great story, bantering back in forth in only the way real shooters can. Naito and Elgin had arguably the best match of the tournament so far, leg locked in a tie with Ishii/Tenzan for me. If you’re going to watch the show, don’t. Just watch the two top matches. Thanks for visiting Wrestling With Words for your G1 Climax 2016 coverage.
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 (4), Yuji Nagata (4), Tetsuya Naito (2), Katsuyori Shibata (2), Kenny Omega (2), EVIL (2), YOSHI-HASHI (2), Katsuhiko Nakajima (2), Michael Elgin (0), Toru Yano (0)