In the early days of the G1, it’s hard not to get carried away. You want to absorb all the wrestling and revel in its beauty. However, that’s a rookie mistake. I made it last year when I tried to do the undercards as well as the tournament matches. There aren’t enough hours in the day. We’re on night three, so there is still a long way to go. Protect yourself against burnout, people! Instead, read my reviews and decide what you want to watch for yourself. I’m doing you a favour really.
A piece of shit (2-0) defeated Hangman Page (0-2)
However, I have seen quite a few people praise Hangman Page’s performance. I’m happy about that because Hangman seems like good people and I want this to be a big G1 for him. Hopefully, he’ll have a few more impressive showings against people who aren’t scum.
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
EVIL (1-1) defeated YOSHI-HASHI (0-2)
It is impossible to talk about this and not focus on the bizarre botch. When YOSHI-HASHI was setting up for a Powerbomb he lost his balance, somehow falling backwards in such a way that he and EVIL tumbled over the top rope. It was momentarily terrifying, although they both seemed alright. I also have no idea how they managed to do it and reckon they couldn’t do so again if they tried.
That moment aside, it was solid. I like the story New Japan are telling with YOSHI-HASHI as Rocky Romero and Kevin Kelly are emphasising that he needs to impress in this tournament. It’s translating to his in-ring style too, as he’s taking more risks and looking a lot more aggressive than what we’re used to from the Headhunter.
Unfortunately, he’s still not doing enough to get the win. Time after time he went for that Butterfly Lock and time after time EVIL escaped because, well, have you seen it? It’s up there with Cena’s STF for shitty looking submissions. They’d end up battling as to who could hit their finisher first, and we learnt once again that Everything is Evil.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Togi Makabe (2-0) defeated Minoru Suzuki (0-2)
These two had a surprisingly entertaining battle for the IC Title earlier in the year which meant I came into this with a handful of expectations. A handful that they smacked out of said hand and then followed up by slapping me in the face for good measure.
It very quickly became clear that these two weren’t interested in wrestling each other. They wanted a fight. Suzuki and Makabe vanished into the crowd, shoving Marty Asami out-of-the-way whenever he dared to try to stop them. While it’s a style of wrestling that often turns me off, when Suzuki’s in this mood, he’s the best in the world at it. The evil grins he flashes as he slaps sense into Makabe’s thick skull is delightful, and you buy that the man is a sadist.
Unfortunately, his sadism hasn’t been much used to him in this year’s G1. Makabe would block the Gotch and find the energy to drop Suzuki with a Death Valley Driver. A Spider German looked to be setting up the finish, but Suzuki had one last roar of defiance in him. Makabe wasn’t taking that shit and leapt off with that giant knee anyway, colliding with a standing MiSu. Another King Kong Knee Drop was enough to put down Murder Grandpa and inflict his second defeat on him.
We should all probably take a second to pray for El Desperado. I bet he’s missing cornering Zack Sabre Jr around about now. He never beat him up when he lost.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Bad Luck Fale (1-1) defeated Kazuchika Okada (0-2)
Watch Okada’s face as he walks down the ramp. When he first comes out, he looks lost. Then, it’s almost like he remembers what’s he’s supposed to be doing and he starts the goofball routine. It’s outstanding acting from The Rainmaker.
The act continued into the ring as Okada was messing around and attempting to wind up Fale by slapping his big bald head. He even managed to fight off Tanga Loa when he got involved, taking both men out before retreating to the safety of the ring.
However, as we’ve seen, Okada’s problem isn’t that he’s got shit. His problem is that he can’t finish people off. The little things aren’t working for him, and even when he hit The Rainmaker, it wasn’t the full version. By the time he tried to set the big man up for that, Guerillas Of Destiny were able to make their presence felt, with Tama Tonga jumping in and putting Okada down with a Gun Stun. That was enough to leave him vulnerable to the Bad Luck Fall, and no-one kicks out of that.
It wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination, yet, you can’t bury it. It continued the setting up of the Firing Squad and the establishment that Okada isn’t at his best. It was a storyline match rather than an in-ring classic, and sometimes you need those.
Verdict: Three Stars
Jay White (2-0) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-1)
Whatever you think of his performances, Jay White beating Okada and Tanahashi in consecutive main events is big boy level booking. New Japan is sticking with Knife Pervert whether you like it or not (I love it).
In many ways, this was a classic Tanahashi G1 encounter. He came in nursing that injured leg and White zeroed in on it. Controlling the bulk of the action as he attacked with gleeful abandon. However, White was smart enough to figure it wasn’t working. One injury doesn’t take down an Ace. So, having dropped Tana on his head with one of those vicious suplexes he moved his focus, transitioning to attack the neck instead.
And yet, Tanahashi still wouldn’t give up. Old Hiroshi is a tough old bugger and White was beginning to get frustrated. After a snap suplex on the floor didn’t do the job, he went for the chair. Suddenly, there was a gun in the ring, and it was going to be smoking soon. They battled back and forth, Tana getting the edge and going for the High Fly Flow only for White to shove Red Shoes into the ropes.
A thrown chair to the head followed by a Blade Runner and Jay White has outsmarted the two men that modern New Japan is built on the backs of in the first two matches of his debut G1. On top of that, click on the video above and listen to the boos he’s getting. That’s not too shabby, is it?
Verdict: Four Stars
This was another night of great wrestling that didn’t quite hit the heights of the B Block’s efforts so far. Nothing was awful. However, only one match got to the fabled four-star mark. It’s worth a watch, but the main event is the only thing you have to see while even that’s going to be nowhere near the best showing of the tournament.
Top Three Matches So Far
- Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega – Four And Three Quarter Stars
- Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr – Four And A Half Stars
- Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada – Four And A Half Stars