G1 Climax Day 17, Ryogoku Sumo Hall, August 12:
The Briscoes defeated Captain New Japan & Yoshitatsu
This was a glorified squash match. Tatsu got in some of his Triple H mockery before he was taken out with a powerbomb/neckbreaker double team. Captain was finished off after a Froggy Bow. The Briscoes looked great here
Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV, Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata defeated David Finlay, Ryusuke Taguchi, Juice Robinson & Tomoaki Honma
This was a fun tag. Nagata and Honma previewed their meeting tomorrow. Robinson was all fired up when he was tagged in against Nakanishi. Liger pinned Finlay with a crucifix style pin.
Satoshi Kojima, Katsuyori Shibata, Michael Elgin & KUSHIDA defeated Atsushi Kotoge, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI
This was really good. Shibata & YOSHI just went at it with YOSHI showing all the fighting spirit in the world as he traded shots with him. Elgin & Nakajima previewed their upcoming match. Kotoge is one half of the GHC Jr tag champions and was making his NJPW debut here. He looked okay, but he didn’t get the chance to blow anyone away. He fell to Kojima’s lariat.
Hangman Page, Tanga Loa, Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi defeated BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & Jay Lethal
This was the first ever LIJ vs Bullet Club match, something that could be a huge feud in the future. We also had the back story of Lethal vs Bullet Club going back to his head shaving in ROH. Omega and Naito face tomorrow. We had Omega spit at Naito here and Naito think nothing of it. Yujiro messed up a Lethal Injection. Page looked great here again. The finish saw a flurry of big moves and bodies flying everywhere. It came down to Page hitting the Right of Passage on BUSHI. Page & Yujiro challenge The Briscoes for the IWGP tag titles on Sunday.
SANADA defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan
This was likely Tenzan’s last ever G1 Climax match, and it was great match to go out on. This was a really good match and a win that SANADA needed. SANADA missed a moonsault, but hit a nice German suplex. Tenzan hit a Tombstone Driver for a near fall and also missed a moonsault. He couldn’t get SANADA to submit to the Anaconda Vise, and SANADA kicked out of a Cozy Lariat. SANADA tried for Skull End, but Tenzan got to the ropes. The near fall of the match came when Tenzan kicked out of a moonsault, but SANADA followed up with Skull End to get the submission win. Kojima embraced Tenzan in the ring afterwards.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Togi Makabe
If you ever seen these guys have a match before you know what to expect. This was brutal. It was stiff, intense and at times hard to watch. They hit each other with the stiffest of strikes and dropped each other with nasty suplexes. At one point Makabe kept hitting lariats, with Ishii popping up every time. Makabe hit the Spider German, but missed the King Kong Kneedrop. They traded some headbutts that were beyond sickening and completely unnecessary. Ishii won with the Brainbuster. This was a spectacle if you enjoy strong style pro wrestling.
Tama Tonga defeated Bad Luck Fale
This was a collision of Bullet Club members. A win for Fale here would have potentially seen him win the block depending on other results. Tonga laid down for Fale, but of course double crossed him. This of course pissed off Fale who hit Tonga with a Bad Luck Fall to the floor into the rest of Bullet Club. Fale was a monster as he slugged away on Tonga with Vader styles blows. Tonga made a comeback and the crowd got into him in a huge way as he fired up. He used his speed to run rings around Fale. Fale hit a big spear. Tonga hit a DDT and won when he hit the Gun Stun. This was great and a stature enhancing win for Tonga. It was a hell of a performance from a guy that we have seen grow throughout the tournament.
Hirooki Goto defeated Naomichi Marufuji
This was awesome. Marufuji capped off an excellent G1 with another top quality match. Goto continues to be the most underrated and under appreciated man in NJPW. Marufuji was on point with his striking. He hit knees and kicks from all sorts of angles. At one point Marufuji flew through the air for a knee and was caught with a headbutt. Goto hit his brutal offence for some big near falls. The Ushigoroshi got a long two count. They had the crowd going nuts by the time they got to the finish. Marufuji couldn’t put Goto away after more knees and kicks. Goto then locked on a sleeper and eventually weakened him to hit the GTR. This kept Goto alive in the tournament. Awesome stuff.
Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi – Time Limit Draw
This was another classic. So much has been said about this rivalry, but they did it again and produced another match for the ages. They went to the 30 minute time limit, meaning that Hirooki Goto wins A Block and goes on to the final on Sunday. If anyone says they called that, they’re lying.
This match was an amazing display of storytelling. It was 30 minutes that felt like 10. Right from the bell we had Okada hit the diving elbow drop and go for The Rainmaker, which Tanahashi countered into a pin for an amazing near fall. Tanahashi spent the match targeting the knee, using the dragon screw over and over again. He did it on the guardrail, across the middle rope, the top rope and the apron. When he put on the Texas cloverleaf, people believed the match could end. The finishing sequence here was stunning, and as the time limit drew closer the drama was intensified. Okada hit a Rainmaker, and went for a second, which Tanahashi countered into a Dragon suplex. The Slingblade was hit in ways that have never been done before. The knees blocked the High Fly Flow. Okada hit a Tombstone in the dying minutes for a huge near fall. Tanahashi hit High Fly Flow just a s the time expired. This is a match you must see. Unbelievable stuff that just reminds us all that we are lucky to be living through this rivalry.
Hirooki Goto had a relatively uneventful G1. He had some very good matches, but nothing that blew anyone away. NJPW have tried time and time again to get him to the next level, but it never clicks. No one will believe he has a chance of winning this tournament no matter who his opponent is and if he does win it, it will be a very odd choice. Tomorrow we find out his opponent.
This show was superb. The G1 matches delivered big time and we got a classic main event. It is available now at NJPWWorld.com with English commentary from Steve Corino, Kevin Kelly & Rocky Romero.
Final A Block Standings:
Hirooki Goto 12
Hiroshi Tanahashi 11
Kazuchika Okada 11
Bad Luck Fale 10
Naomichi Marufuji 10
Tomohiro Ishii 8
Togi Makabe 8
Tama Tonga 8
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 4
B Block finishes up tomorrow morning, again live on NJPW World.
8/13/2016, Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo, 18.30 JST (5.30AM EST/10.30AM UK)
– Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV vs. Yoshitatsu, Captain New Japan, Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay
– Togi Makabe & Juice Robinson vs. Tomoaki Honma & Naomichi Marufuji
– Hiroshi Tanahashi, Satoshi Kojima & KUSHIDA vs. SANADA, BUSHI & Jay Lethal
– Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Gedo, & The Briscoes vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page
B BLOCK : Toru Yano vs. YOSHI-HASHI
B BLOCK : Michael Elgin vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima
B BLOCK : Yuji Nagata vs. Tomoaki Honma
B BLOCK : Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega
B BLOCK : Katsuyori Shibata vs. EVIL
B Block standings:
Tetsuya Naito 12
Michael Elgin 10
Katsuyori Shibata 10
Kenny Omega 10
Toru Yano 8
Katsuhiko Nakajima 8
Yuji Nagata 6
Tomoaki Honma 4