For all my whining at the start of the tournament about how long the G1 is, we’re now approaching the end, and it hasn’t once felt like a grind. We’ve had loads of great wrestling, some fun storylines and, well, The Firing Squad the less said about which, the better. I’ve even quite enjoyed the A Block, which a lot of people have been down on. Let’s see if that continues to be the case with night fifteen of the G1.
YOSHI-HASHI (2-6) defeated Bad Luck Fale (3-5) by Disqualification
You all know how this went. They were having a mildly entertaining match before Tama Tonga turned up with a steel chair and caused the DQ. We’ve seen it a million times before and if you want to hear more about it go back and read one of the other reviews that I’ve written.
The more intriguing stuff happened after the bell. Tama Tonga charged into the crowd and grabbed a fan by the throat. It appears that this person was neither a plant or someone Tama knew. Quite frankly, that isn’t on. New Japan has released a statement talking about disciplining Tama (making reference to his social media use), but you have to assume this incident was part of it. Being a heel doesn’t give you the right to assault members of the public, and he’s probably lucky to still have a job.
Verdict: Two Stars
Hangman Page (3-5) defeated Minoru Suzuki (4-4)
That a fucking boy, Hangman! Wow. If I got emotional when he beat Togi Makabe, you could only imagine how I felt after this. I think it’s safe to say that no-one saw this result coming. Hangman pinned The King clean in the middle of the ring.
I was worried about Young Hangman too because Suzuki was not in a good mood at the start. He’s been mathematically eliminated from the tournament, and he seemed determined to take his frustration at that situation out on Page, the ringside area and Marty Assami. It was classic Suzuki as he ripped barricades apart and dumped them onto Bullet Club’s purest soul.
Page wasn’t going to take the abuse without putting up a fight, though. He gave a masterclass in defiance, literally spitting in Murder Grandpa’s face as he demanded he brings it on. Sure, it’s the act of a colossal dumbass, but it’s pure fire at the same time. The crowd roared their approval and then winced as Suzuki’s elbow came thudding into contact with Hangman’s head.
Suzuki should have hit him harder. As he went for the Gotch, Hangman hoisted him up before placing him back down on his head with the Rite Of Passage. If there was any doubt over New Japan having plans for Page, that doubt has been put to bed. They don’t put you over Minoru Suzuki for the fun of it. Hangman’s future just got a hell of a lot brighter.
Verdict: Four Stars
Jay White (6-2) defeated Togi Makabe (2-6)
There is a legit argument to be made that everything I criticise Bad Luck Fale and his Tongan pals for, can also be said of Jay White. He has had the same match every night of the tour, and it is one which involves plenty of shenanigans. So, what’s the difference? Well, I enjoy what Jay’s doing. It’s as simple as that.
It does mean that there is not much point in going into detail. If you’ve watched Jay’s previous G1 bouts then you know what it was, if you haven’t, feel free to once again go back and read any of the other reviews I’ve written. You’ll get the gist very quickly. They’re not meant to be masterpieces of wrestling, and because of that, it’s impossible to call them great. However, I still get a decent kick out of them. If you’ve enjoyed them before, you’ll enjoy it again.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Hiroshi Tanahashi (7-1) defeated Michael Elgin (3-5)
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
Kazuchika Okada (6-2) defeated EVIL (4-4)
EVIL is one of the few men who can lay claim to having pinned Okada in the last few years. New Japan came into this hinting that it might happen again. They seemed to be suggesting that EVIL had The Rainmaker’s number.
For long periods, it looked like that was going to be the case too. EVIL dominated, seemingly showing himself to be a step ahead of Little Kazu with his bruiser style. Touches like hitting the Magic Killer with the unwilling assistance of Red Shoes were giving him the edge in this battle. He even managed to connect with a Rainmaker of his own, showing a touch of disrespect to the former champion.
However, this isn’t the Okada of a month ago. While that guy might have lost to EVIL, this one is riding high. He’s picking up wins and finding the groove that we all know he can get into. EVIL hits a Rainmaker? Well, he’ll turn around and hit an EVIL then. Kazu has his confidence back, and he loves it.
In the end, Okada would hit the Tombstone and follow-up with that thudding lariat for the win. This was great. EVIL consistently shows that when he’s in there with elite wrestlers, he will deliver fantastic performances. He’s not quite at the level where he can drag weaker wrestlers to classics yet, but he’s getting there. Okada, meanwhile, well he’s motherfucking Okada. We all know what he is and as much as I’ve been enjoying his storyline, it’s lovely to have him back delivering in the ring. Long may it continue.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
As far as potential winners of the A Block, nothing has changed. Okada, White and Tanahashi are all in the mix with White being in the treasured position of holding a tiebreaker over the other two. It is all going to come down to what happens in Okada vs Tanahashi and damn, I can’t wait for those two to go head to head once again. As for this show, it was a good one. Fale is Fale, but that aside I enjoyed it all.
Top Three Matches So Far
- Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii – Five Stars
- Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii – Four And Three Quarter Stars
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Kenny Omega – Four And Three Quarter Stars