The world may be coming to an end, but the G1 Climax continues on, and forever will long after we’ve been reduced to ash. So here we are, with a double — no — a triple-sized update covering the three shows held over this past weekend. Nights three and four came to us from the famed Korakuen Hall, while night five was live from the Machida City Gym, which is not famed.
NIGHT THREE (A BLOCK)
Hirooki Goto defeats Yuji Nagata
This was a lot of Nagata and Goto snarling at each other while landing shots that sounded like a baseball bat hitting a slab of raw beef. I’m not sure if they did it out of pride, honor, or just a general disregard for their own well being, but I loved it all the same.
A headbutt from Goto dropped Nagata to his knees, and the end was spelled with a G, a T, and an R. Goto now the second man to rain on Nagata’s farewell parade. The much fabled “fighting spirit” distilled into fifteen perfect minutes.
Tomohiro Ishii defeats Togi Makabe
These two have a history, and by a history I mean they enjoy putting the hurt on one another. So naturally they rammed into each other like two bulls, took turns crashing into the steel guardrail, and then traded lariats for what I think was two hours, which is strange because G1 matches are only supposed to go thirty minutes.
It came to an end when Ishii hit the brainbuster, leaving Makabe glassy eyed and down for the three count. If this were a video game, your thumbs would’ve exploded at the halfway mark.
Kota Ibushi defeats Zack Sabre Jr
A technical bout for those who found the crass brutality that came earlier distasteful. It was the age old battle of striker versus grappler, as Ibushi threw laser-guided kicks, knees, and palm strikes, which Sabre in turn tried to catch so he could snap and/or mangle either bone and/or ligament.
As I said, high-brow stuff.
Sabre had Ibushi locked up tight in a triangle choke for what appeared to be the end, until Ibushi lifted him up and slammed him to the canvas with a Last Ride for the much coveted two points.
A less maniacal (and suicidal) Ibushi on display than usual. I have mixed thoughts.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Bad Luck Fale
The real live-action Beauty and the Beast as far as I’m concerned. Tanahashi is the second most beautiful man in the promotion after Okada. Bad Luck Fale is the beast, but next to Tanahashi, aren’t we all?
Tanahashi went for a roll-up in the opening seconds in an attempt to end things quickly and preserve his injured bicep. Fale then wrapped said injured bicep up in the guardrails. You know, your basic tit-for-tat.
Tanahashi managed to hit Fale with a High Fly Flow on the outside, followed by a slingblade. He then rolled back in the ring, leaving Fale out cold on the floor to earn the countout victory. Clever game planning by Tanahashi. If you’re going to go the countout route, this is how it’s done. The Ace indeed.
Tetsuya Naito defeats YOSHI-HASHI
Disrespect was the name of Naito’s game, as he looked to squash YOSHI-HASHI’s attempts to further establish himself as a main event player.
Naito looked downright at ease when torturing YOSHI-HASHI to kick things off. A little too at ease, allowing YOSHI-HASHI the opportunity to explode with a flurry of big moves. This woke the former champ up, and the two then stood on equal ground for a chaotic endurance test that saw them utilizing literally every move in their respective arsenals.
But it was a pair of Destinos from Naito that put an end to this war. Another notch in the win column for Naito, but a moral victory for YOSHI-HASHI as he proved to be nothing short of a main eventer.
An incredible card from top to bottom.
NIGHT FOUR (B BLOCK)
Toru Yano defeats Satoshi Kojima
Kojima likes bread, not tomfoolery, but he found himself eating a half a loaf of nonsense as Yano distracted the ref, then caught Kojima with a low-blow, and rolled him up for the pin. As a card carrying member of the Bread Club, this sickened me.
The crowd once again cheered Yano. I’m starting to question the types of people who attend these events.
EVIL defeats Juice Robinson
Juice was on fire from bell to bell, looking determined to become the breakout star of this year’s G1. Unfortunately for him everything was indeed EVIL, as the rotund little man in black reversed the Pulp Friction to hit an STO for the win.
I don’t expect Juice to rack up many victories this G1, but if he keeps looking this spectacular in defeat, it won’t really matter.
Minoru Suzuki defeats SANADA
Suzuki kicked a young trainee in the balls on his way to the ring, because he’s Minoru Suzuki and that’s just what he does. SANADA entered sporting a bull-skull mask in place of a personality.
Suzuki reversed the Skull End to spike SANADA into the canvas with a Gotch pile-driver, scoring the win while likely shortening SANADA’s spine in the process. Umpteen miles below the ring, the Devil smiled.
Kenny Omega defeats Tama Tonga
Kenny Omega is the leader of The Bullet Club; Kenny Omega is also a member of The Elite. Tama Tonga is a member of The Bullet Club; Tama Tonga really does not like The Elite. As you can imagine, this would create a lot of tension in the work place.
Enough to make Tonga attack Kenny before the bell, and grab the mic to say some very bad words about The Elite — like the F-word and stuff. From there this became less about Tonga fighting for points, and more about him fighting for control of The Bullet Club.
But Omega proved why he’s the boss with a Rise of the Terminator and a Dr. Wily Bomb, before solidifying his spot atop The BC with a One Winged Angel. Post-match the pair shared a “Too Sweet,” and peace was restored to everyone’s favorite pro-wrestling faction.
Kazuchika Okada defeats Michael Elgin
If you’ve never been given the gift of seeing IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, then this mini-epic will give you an idea as to why he’s considered the premier performer of his era.
The match continued the grueling tale Okada has been telling since the start of the year, where his opponents take him to his absolute breaking point, only for him to somehow persevere in the end. But how many more concussion-inducing shots to the skull can he take, how many times can one man be dropped on his neck? What price will he ultimately pay for being the greatest artist in the greatest of arts?
I won’t pretend to know, but I will tell you this: Savor every moment this man spends in the ring, because there won’t be another like him ever again.
The best match of the tournament thus far.
NIGHT FIVE (A BLOCK)
Zack Sabre Jr defeats YOSHI-HASHI
Sabre’s clavicle was protruding even more than usual, he clearly hasn’t been listening to my advice about bulking up. It opened with Desperado grabbing ahold of YOSHI-HASHI’s leg from the outside, and my cries for an immediate disqualification falling on deaf ears.
Sabre spent the majority of the match working over YOSHI-HASHI’s arm with enough submission holds to fill an encyclopedia, until a late rally by the Headhunter saw him floor Sabre with a neck-breaker. But it wasn’t enough to stop Sabre from latching onto him once again, and twisting YOSHI-HASHI up in an Octopus Stretch until he cried uncle.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Yuji Nagata
Nary a flip or a flop in sight — this is how real men wrestle. Real meat n’ potatoes stuff. Hell, I bet Tanahashi and Nagata rarely if ever eat something that isn’t a meat or a potato.
This one answered the age old question: Is a slap enough to split your cheek wide open (spoiler: Yes). Tanahashi put Nagata at 0-3 with a High Fly Flow for the pinfall.
Bad Luck Fale defeats Tetsuya Naito
Naito attacked Fale as he entered through the ropes, then lounged on the canvas to taunt the big man. Fale may not be the best wrestler in the world, but he’s enormous. Pissing him off seems like a horrible idea, but that’s just me, I could be wrong.
But then Fale vented his frustrations by picking Naito up and tossing him like a sack of garbage. So I guess I wasn’t wrong. Fale then stood on Naito’s back — did I mention that he’s enormous? — and crushed him with a butt-drop. Fale’s butt is also enormous, by the way.
Naito eventually got his bearings, and went for a Destino, only for Fale to counter it with a Grenade, followed by a Bad Luck Fall for the win. Told you that sneak attack was a crummy idea.
Kota Ibushi defeats Tomohiro Ishii
Ah yes, here it is again: Two men who battled not for points, but to satisfy some deep-rooted desire to meet the Reaper. Those who don’t have a taste for savagery need not apply, as this was all about one trying to goad the other into actually killing him in front of a gathering of thousands.
When Ibushi got the pin via the Last Ride, he could hardly mask his disappointment at scoring the win, rather than tasting sweet death.
Togi Makabe defeats Hirooki Goto
This was fun, but alas it was a bit of a letdown going from two men who seek a glorious death, to just two guys destroying their bodies for our entertainment.
Machida City is Makabe’s hometown, so the crowd was behind him all the way. Probably because they’re all terrified that he knows where they live. Makabe got the win after landing the King Kong knee-drop that had eluded him thus far in the tournament.
For those keeping track, here’s where things stand points-wise after five events:
Tetsuya Naito – 4
Kota Ibushi – 4
Hiroshi Tanahashi – 4
Hirooki Goto – 4
Zach Sabre Jr – 4
Bad Luck Fale – 4
Tomohiro Ishii – 2
Togi Makabe – 2
YOSHI-HASHI – 2
Yuji Nagata – 0
Kazuchika Okada – 4
Kenny Omega – 4
Minoru Suzuki – 2
Juice Robinson – 2
Toru Yano (ugh) – 2
Tama Tonga – 2
SANADA – 2
EVIL – 2
Michael Elgin – 0
Satoshi Kojima – 0