Night 14 of the G1 Climax and there is a touch of magic in the air. The upsets are coming and who are we to delay them? Let’s dish out those star ratings.
Toru Yano defeated Tama Tonga
Yano is still in my bad books after that farce of a match with Elgin. Tonga meanwhile keeps being set up as smarter than his opponent, only to then go on and lose. This was what it was. Yano did some antics, Tonga tried to use those antics to his own ends, but Yano caught him with the low blow and the roll-up. It was over and done with nice and quickly at least.
Verdict: Two Stars
Satoshi Kojima defeated Sanada
A win for one of our golden oldies. The Cozy side of Tencozy was long overdue picking up some points, and he finally got some against the inconsistent Sanada. These two went move for move as they mirrored each other for much of this match. It would be the veteran who came out on top, though, as he had too much for the LIJ member. I feel like Sanada is being set up for next year to be his year. At the moment, he is getting big wins, but he’s also slipping at the final hurdle in a lot of matches. Getting close to going over but not quite being able to seal the deal. With what happened later on in this card it makes a lot of sense. You can’t push everyone all the time and Sanada’s moment will come. As long as he keeps having good matches we don’t have to worry about the Cold Skull.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Michael Elgin defeated Minoru Suzuki
*Sigh*. Another B Block review, another match littered with Suzuki-gun interference. The one upside here is that Big Mike was not a guy to take bullying lying down. He’s Big Mike and not Normal Sized Mike for a reason, and he got a chance to get some revenge on the little trolls. It wasn’t enough to save this from being another trudge of a match, however, as Taichi and El Desperado got involved at every chance they had. At least they were kind enough to give Elgin a win after the Yano disgrace.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Juice Robinson defeated Kenny Omega
I don’t think I have ever seen a wrestler look as happy as Juice Robinson did when Red Shoes counted the three in this match. He was so happy he went and gave him a cuddle. On top of that, I was pretty damn happy too. If you’ve read even a few of these G1 reviews, you’ll know I’m a big Juice fan. The last eight months have seen him go on a journey. He has transformed from the guy tasked with putting over Cody to a force in his own right. Outside the wrestler, though, there is also a great story. Of one of the good ones taking a bet on himself and winning big. I think the reason he connects so well as a babyface is that it’s easy to believe that is actually him. When he was that happy at the end of this match, I don’t think there was much acting involved. On top of the emotional finish, this was a lovely match-up and Kenny Omega (who isn’t often relegated to second fiddle in any review) was, of course, fantastic. Presumably, Juice now gets a US Title shot somewhere down the road and off the strength of this, that is one to look forward to.
Verdict: Four Stars
Evil defeated Kazuchika Okada
What is it they say about buses? When it became apparent Okada would need to take a loss for he and Omega’s match to mean something on the last night, I imagine most people pencilled Suzuki down as being the man to inflict it. However, just minutes after one of the biggest surprises of the tournament New Japan pulled another trigger. Somehow still wrestling after being knocked out on his feet by Omega, Evil became the first man to pin Okada since last year’s G1 and propelled himself to the top of the card. He did it after a typically hard-hitting and exciting match too. Evil is a man who excels in the closing stretch as he slips in and out of moves and when Okada got too cocky and went for one too many Rainmakers, he was in position to grab the win. As a wrestler, he has really stepped up in this G1 and shone despite his slightly silly gimmick. With a future IWGP Heavyweight Title shot in the bag, it appears the future truly is Evil.
Verdict: Four Stars
It’s not often we have a show where the final two matches feature two of the best wrestlers in the world, and we spend most of the time talking about their opponents. Yet, this was the day of surprises, and it was the young stars who stole the show. It was also a day of good wrestling if you ignore Yano and Suzuki-gun shit. Just as it felt like the G1 was maybe slowing down, it has stepped up a gear again. Lovely stuff.