It’s possible that I exaggerate how tough the G1 is. It’s watching and writing about wrestling. That’s something I quite enjoy doing. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t spend as much time as I do doing it for free (if you’d like to give me some money, consider clicking the donation link at the bottom of the article). For all my moaning I love this shit. So, let’s go do it!
Jay White (3-0) defeated a piece of shit (2-1)
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
Minoru Suzuki (1-2) defeated YOSHI-HASHI (0-3)
I would not want to be the man who had to face Minoru Suzuki after he’d lost his first two G1 matches. Actually, I would not want to be the man who had to face Minoru Suzuki full stop. He scary.
YOSHI-HASHI’s desperate attempts to prove himself continued here. He was dominated by Suzuki for extended periods, and while he showed hesitation about using a chair, Suzuki showed none. That taped shoulder was in for a hell of a beating.
However, YOSHI did have his moments. Those bursts of offence that prove the Headhunter still has something to give. The problem is that he always falls back on that damn Butterfly Lock and New Japan’s roster seems to treat it with as much respect as I do. They’re clearly telling the story of him not being able to get the job done, and for that, it is at least useful.
Suzuki finally cut him off with one of those horribly violent looking dropkicks before proceeding to beat the snot out of poor YOSHI. YOSHI-HASHI would have one final hope spot as a Superkick followed by an Inside Cradle got a fantastic near fall, but not a good enough one. A Gotch later and Suzuki had his first win of the G1.
This was a bit of a YOSHI-HASHI special. A decent bout that struggled to get past that. Still, the story continues to at least be interesting, so that’s something.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Evil (2-1) defeated Togi Makabe (2-1)
My favourite part of this was Rocky Romero casually saying ‘Hi EVIL’ as the big creepy bastard wearing a cloak and wielding a scythe wandered past him on the entrance ramp. It takes a lot of years in wrestling to be that casual.
Honestly, this was precisely what you’d expect EVIL vs Makabe to be. Two burly men doing burly things. It was also dull. Not bad, it never really got bad, but it failed to capture my imagination. I wanted it to explode into a violent brawl which it never did. It was just two men lumbering around throwing elbows.
While it’s possible I wasn’t in the mood for this style of match, I think it’s safe to say that this one is very skippable. Only EVIL and Makabe fans need to apply.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-1) defeated Bad Luck Fale (1-2) by Disqualification
Describing Hiroshi Tanahashi and Bad Luck Fale matches is hard. They rarely involve great wrestling and yet they always have plenty of outstanding storytelling. Tanahashi really sells having to cut down the monster and overcome Fale’s bulk.
Sadly, it does mean there have to be long periods where Fale is in control which is just a bit boring. The big man may have lost some weight, but he doesn’t seem to have sped things up. When you combine that with the ridiculous amounts of interference, it was hard to get invested.
Thankfully, Red Shoes was here to save the day. In the final section, this came to life. Tanahashi was battling against the odds and giving it everything he had. However, the numbers game would prove too much as after a ref bump both members of Guerillas of Destiny would hit the ring to deal out a beating to poor Tana. That would be a step too far for Red Shoes Uno though. Rather than count the pin he flashed the two-handed salute and disqualified the big Kiwi in perhaps my favourite moment of the tournament so far. On you go, son.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Kazuchika Okada (1-2) defeated Hangman Page (1-2)
The Rainmaker has risen. This still wasn’t classic Kazuchika Okada, for one thing, Gedo wasn’t in his corner, and it feels like he has a long road ahead of him to get to that level, but, he won. That’s a pivotal moment in his storyline.
And yet, I don’t really want to talk about Kazu. I want to wax lyrical about Hangman Page. This was a big moment for him. He was in the main event against the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion of all time. If he was going to impress, it had to be now.
Well, Hangman stepped up. This was a big boy performance. He matched Okada step for step and did more than enough to implant his own personality into the action. The guy is ridiculously athletic while it’s easy to forget he’s only 26. The ingredients that he’s always had are beginning to come together, and they might be making a delicious cake.
He was within inches of winning this one too. You got the feeling that one Rite Of Passage was all it would take and there were times when he seemed to have it. Sadly, Little Kazu found some of that old fire and kept fighting out. Then, when he got the chance to hit The Rainmaker, there was no dilly or indeed dally. He went straight for it and got the three.
Hangman Page isn’t going to get many points in this tournament. He’ll pick up a win here and there while maybe playing spoiler for someone. However, it’s vital that Hangman shines if he wants to be a G1 regular. More performances like this one and he’ll be a fixture for years to come.
Verdict: Four Stars
An alright show. It’s becoming pretty clear that B Block is the work rate side of the draw while A Block is focused on storytelling. There’s nothing wrong with that, but unless you’re invested in the stories, you might struggle with it. Still, we got Hangman’s coming out and Red Shoes’ defiance. That’s pretty good for a couple of hours of wrestling.
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
- Tetsuya Naito vs Tomohiro Ishii – Four And A Half Stars