NJPW G1 Climax Night Seven (22/7/18) Review

He’s still my champion. Credit: NJPW

We’re at the end of the four day run of G1 shows and, to be honest, I’m having a lovely time! This tournament hasn’t come close to dragging yet with the only thing that’s beginning to wear me out being The Firing Squads’ antics. Even that’s pretty easy to dismiss as it hasn’t been clogging up the main event. Anyway, we’re about to hit another break so let’s get down to reviewing night seven!

YOSHI-HASHI (1-3) defeated Michael Elgin (2-2)

I don’t review Michael Elgin matches because he’s a prick. The article contained within these words should explain all.

That won’t stop me taking a second to laugh at him for being chosen to be the guy for YOSHI-HASHI to beat. YOSHI’s story this G1 has been that while he has plenty of heart, he is ultimately a bit shit. So, what does that make you, Mike?

Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin

EVIL (3-1) defeated Bad Luck Fale (1-3) by Disqualification

Bad Luck Fale took a hilariously awful bump off the EVIL during this. He was going down before EVIL had even started hitting the move. The big man is not having a great tournament, and that’s not all the fault of the antics.

The interference was the problem for the wider match as, for a while, it looked like EVIL was going to out-think the Islanders and hold Loa at bay while not being overwhelmed by the bulk of Fale. Sadly, it wasn’t to last. EVIL worked hard but the interference started, and I began to zone out. It’s a signal to reach for the phone and check Twitter.

I won’t bother going into it further. Go back and read yesterday’s review of Tama Tonga vs Kenny Omega to see all my problems with this story. However, it is worth saying, that this is working for the live crowds. The Firing Squad are getting heat which is perhaps the most important thing? Well, if you’re not bothered about being entertained.

Verdict: Two Stars

Minoru Suzuki (2-2) defeated Jay White (1-3)

So, Jay White, you think you’re New Japan’s big bad? That you’re the new man in town with your sociopathic path to the top? Prepare to be taught a lesson, boy.

I adored this. It wasn’t a great match, in fact, it was far from it. However, the story White and Suzuki told was fantastic. Jay White went in there thinking he was the greatest thing on the planet. He’s convinced he’s the smartest man in the company and that no-one can touch him. Right from the start, Switchblade went on the run, leading Suzuki into traps and driving him into the barricade. He began to mock Murder Grandpa as he looked set to be the latest New Japan legend to fall to Knife Pervert.

However, this isn’t Tanahashi or Okada. It’s not Juice Robinson or even Kenny Omega. This is Minoru ‘Motherfucking’ Suzuki. All those dark art that White thinks he’s so good at? Suzuki invented them, so he’s not about to take this shit from some young pup. When Switchblade dared to go for a low blow, MiSu blocked it and knocked him the fuck out. A Gotch later and we were done.

One day, Jay White might pass the levels of bastardy that Minoru Suzuki has reached. He’s certainly got the potential. Right now, though? He’s a rookie with a lot to learn.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-1) defeated Hangman Page (1-3)

As a man with long hair, I get serious envy watching these two in the ring. In fact, just as a man, I get serious envy. Hangman wasn’t lying when he called it a handsome battle.

These two had a professional match. Which might sound like damning with faint praise (and in some ways it is), but that’s a cool thing to see from Hangman. He’s at a level now where he can go out and put on a solid twelve-minute bout with Tanahashi, and that’s just something he does. While you don’t come out of it feeling disappointed, you know that if these two get the nod on a bigger platform, they’re going to lap this with the performance they put on.

The action was again built around Tanahashi’s leg. It’s interesting to note that as he sells it, he’s also focusing his attacks in a similar direction. The Dragon Screw Leg Whip has been a crucial weapon in his arsenal throughout the tournament, and it would prove to be so once again. Whenever it looked like Hangman was going to build the momentum, Tana would rip that leg out from underneath him and go back on the attack himself.

In the end, the old combo of the Sling Blade followed by a pair of High Fly Flows got the win. In my fictional longer fight, Hangman avoids the second then they jump up the gears in a further five-minute stretch. For what they were doing here, though? This was pretty perfect.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Kazuchika Okada (2-2) defeated Togi Makabe (2-2)

We have a moment to rival Red Shoes telling the Tongans to fuck off. As Little Kazu made his way to the ring, he absolutely nailed Rocky Romero in the head with a balloon. Even if you’re not going to watch this, at least find that GIF.

Maybe he should do that before every match because it’s clear that The Rainmaker is starting to find his stride. However, it’s also pretty apparent that he’s still not The Rainmaker of old. His entire in-ring style has twisted, gone is that effortlessly cool swagger, in its place is a nervous jitteriness. It’s like he knows he could fall apart at any second. Even as he was controlling Makabe and acting like the biggest dog in the yard, there’s a cloak of worry lying on Okada’s shoulders. He’s wrestling like he’s scared to lose.

And that nervousness is making fights with people like Makabe all the more exciting. It starts to transfer to the crowd, and when Makabe had his big moments, you could sense the heightened emotion because there was a feeling that he might just win. The Unchained Gorilla would generally be an easy two points for a wrestler like Okada, not this year, though.

For a few seconds, it looked like he might just do it too. Makabe was perched on the top and came flying off towards Okada, that big knee ready to connect with his head. However, much like many a wrestler before him, he was brought shuddering to a halt by that damn Dropkick. He’d block the first Rainmaker with a straight punch, but after that fancy new Discus Lariat of Okada’s the second one would connect with a massive thud. Little Kazu is on fire, lads.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Overall Show

I’ve seen a lot of people down on this show and, you know what, in some ways, they’re right, as a bell to bell spectacle, it wasn’t great. If you’re purely focused on in-ring work, you can definitely skip it. However, as a show aimed at advancing storylines, I thought it was a lot of fun. Okada continues to be fantastic, while Hangman is starting to look at home among the big boys and Jay White dared to stand up to Suzuki and got slapped down to Earth. All of that works for me, so if you’ve got the time, I still reckon it’s worth checking out.

Top Three Matches So Far

  1. Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii – Four And Three Quarter Stars
  2. Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega – Four And Three Quarter Stars
  3. Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr – Four And A Half Stars

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