NJPW G1 Climax Night 7
Watch: NJPW World
July 28, 2016
Tokorozawa Citizen Gymnasium – Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan
Even though I was sick yesterday, Quentin filled in for me, doing a great job recapping the B Block action. It’s time for more questionable A Block action, as I return to continue to embark on Wrestling With Words’ G1 Climax escapades. A reminder that most of us are not crazy enough to cover the undercards of the shows, so for that you’ll either just curse us or look at results. With that being said let’s get into the show.
(G1 Climax A Block) Togi Makabe vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Bah gawd! It’s one of the “holy shit this may be really bad” matches that appeared in my preview. I’ve been outed as a not good wrestling journalist. These guys delivered a killer match. Makabe went from “phone it in” G1 levels to complete badass trying to spoil Tenzan’s miracle run, and it worked perfect. The two found a balance and kept the work up. I never felt bored or felt like I was watching uselessness take place. There was a story, they stuck to it, and it was a really fun watch. Tenzan hit headbutts on many occasions, but ended up missing the trademark moonsault. Makabe couldn’t hit the spider German, and let’s be realistic, did you really want to see Tenzan take that not even halfway through the tournament (or at all)? The last few minutes were incredible. The struggle tale was told so well by both. They were exhausted and ran through moves that have put away others before. Headbutts and Makabe gained the advantage somehow. He hit a brutal DVD/King Kong Knee Drop to remain undefeated.
(G1 Climax A Block) Hirooki Goto vs. SANADA
Although a step down from the opener (I can’t believe I’m saying this), this was Goto’s best G1 performance thus far, as SANADA, on top of such, continues to deliver every single time. I found Goto endearing for the first time in a long time. This isn’t just because I don’t want to end up back bedridden. I truly mean it. Whenever he was locked in the skull end, or selling extremely well a la shaking whilst on the ground – I may have even chanted his name at my computer once or twice. This match still lacked in structure and slightly bent the wrestling rule of thumb at times. Such as SANADA being put to sleep in multiple sleeper variations only to pop into a roll-up the second it’s let go. I ain’t Cornette on this issue though. SANADA sold the Ushigoroshi like death. The skull end never tapped Goto out so SANADA relied on an eventual pinfall. Through good sequences and counters came the opportunity. Goto found himself lying on the canvas and SANADA jumped up top, hitting the moonsault for the pinfall.
(G1 Climax A Block) Naomichi Marufuji vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Both “miracle” runs intertwine for this match. Marufuji has over-delivered and Ishii as he does yearly, has incredible matches night in, night out. BECAUSE THIS MATCH WAS EXACTLY LIKE THAT. These two guys put on performances of the tournament. Marufuji has been so good in all matches not vs. Okada. I still don’t like that match nor want to rewatch it. About three minutes in Ishii’s chest was already busted up. Beat red. Both guys brought legitimacy to the counter and delivered the goods. Marufuji didn’t even whiff on anything. Ishii made Marufuji look like a million dollars, which also contributed to the flow of the match because we didn’t get any excessive Marufuji offense. In a ridiculous spot Ishii went for a top rope brainbuster but ended up getting dropped on his head instead. The finish of the match capped off greatness with Ishii delivering a brainbuster after a sliding D kickout for the win. Everyone should watch this, both guys at their best. Still not an elite match of the tournament but a great display of wrestling from two guys stepping their game all the way up for the G1.
(G1 Climax A Block) Kazuchika Okada vs. Tama Tonga
If Tonga weren’t to have a good match here I’d have nearly given up on him in the G1. This match didn’t benefit from following three good-great matches and on paper…it’s like paint drying. Just brutally average. This never kicked into the next gear, nor did I expect it to. I enjoyed the first stretch of the match with Tama brutalizing Okada in any means, then it got to formulaic Okada comeback, duck a few things, provide some solid “oooo and ahhh” moments for the crowd and win. I don’t understand why Okada would kickout of the Headshrinker DDT, some may think it added to the match but just protect the finisher and have Tama never be able to deliver it. That would tell a more effective story. A German and a Rainmaker put away Tama, who’s underdelivered the most out of anyone in the field. I can’t say Makabe after that Tenzan match. Whatever, we’ll get stuff like this along the way.
(G1 Climax A Block) Bad Luck Fale vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
These guys will never have a bad match. They have the perfect chemistry and dynamic. Another GREAT match between these two. They work the “hope surge” style as I like to call it. The big man constantly dominates only for the smaller, bottom worker, transitions in control only to keep being beat down. It works perfect with Fale’s moveset, Tanahashi being the ace, and his moveset as well. Like I said, these two just have perfect chemistry. We did get countout teases, but that was a given. There was so much wackiness and awesomeness that was showcased. Things got really exciting towards the end. The standing splash, which is the best mid-match near fall tease in wrestling was hit and the crowd deflated only to clap for a kickout. The best long term storyline in wrestling, the “when will the Bad Luck Fall actually be hit?” continued when Tanahashi got out of it. He also kicked out of the Grenade. But Fale said screw you to Tanahashi’s finishers as well! A High Fly Flow to the back was hit and I was fully convinced after the roll over that it was going to be hit again like in most of the other matches. However Fale put his knees up which resembled a final warcry. He got advantage of The Ace again only to be landslide pinned. The image of Tanahashi near dead on the mat after a triumphant victory can be showed to anyone, and you just know he is The Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling. An exquisite wrestling match.
Night 7 of the G1 Climax was a bottom to top good show. The low point of the card was a mediocre Okada/Tama Tonga match. I’m in the clear to say that this was one of the better shows of the tournament thus far, although I haven’t watched Night 6. It was highly enjoyable, and from a match quality standpoint all four matches aside from the co-main event stood out. We even got multiple “best performances of the tournaments” from people. My match of the night is pretty much a three way tie. I could tell you Tenzan/Makabe, Marufuji/Ishii as well as the main event and be okay with any of the three as an answer. The A Block does it again. They pull off another fun, good, enjoyable show. For your G1 Climax coverage, continue to stick with Wrestling With Words.
Togi Makabe (8), Kazuchika Okada (6), Tomohiro Ishii (6), SANADA (4), Naomichi Marufuji (4), Tama Tonga (4), Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4), Hirooki Goto (4), Hiroshi Tanahashi (2), Bad Luck Fale (2)
Yuji Nagata (6), Tetsuya Naito (4), Katsuhiko Nakajima (4), Kenny Omega (4), Tomoaki Honma (4), YOSHI-HASHI (2), EVIL (2), Katsuyori Shibata (2), Toru Yano (0)