RADICAN’S 7/17 NJPW G1 Climax 27: Night 1 report – tournament action begins with Sabre-Tanahashi, Goto-Ishii, Ibushi-Naito main event

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist

RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 27: NIGHT 1 REPORT
JULY 27, 2016
SAPPORO, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM

I will not be reviewing any of the non-tournament matches this year, but I will provide the daily results. If any undercard match turns out to be extremely noteworthy, I will make an exception in certain cases.

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) Jushin  Liger & Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan beat David Finlay & Michael Elgin & Juice Robinson.

(2)  Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado &  Taichi & Minoru Suzuki) beat Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Chase Owens & Tama Tonga).

(3) L.I.J (Hiromu Takahashi & EVIL beat L.I.J. (BUSHI & SANADA).

(4) CHAOS (Toru Yano & Jado) beat CHAOS (IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada & Gedo).

A BLOCK RESULTS & ANALYSIS

(5) YOSHI-HASHI (0) vs. Yuji Nagata (0) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. This is Nagata’s final G1 after appearing in 19 of them. These two kicked off the tournament in grand style having a physical back and forth contest. Nagata went for the backdrop driver late, but HASHI countered it. HASHI hit karma a short time later for the win.

Winner: YOSHI-HASHI (2 pts)

Star rating: (***1/4)

(6) Bad Luck Fale (0) vs. Togi Makabe (0) in G1 Climax 27 A Block match. Fale shoved the ring announcer down to the mat during the introductions. Fale dominated most of the action, but Makabe managed to slip out of the bad luck fall several times. Makabe went for the King Kong knee drop late, but Fale caught him by his throat while on his back and hit the grenade for the win.

Winner: Bad Luck Fale (2 pts)

Star rating: (**1/2)

(7) Hirooki Goto (0) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (0) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. This was an unbelievably physical match. They built around a couple of big clothesline exchanges where neither man would go down. Goto won the first exchange, but the second time around they both hit clothes lines at the same time and both men went down. Ishii showed some fighting spirit late in the match and the fans really fired up, but Goto ended up on top after hitting the GTR after multiple previous attempts during the match that were countered by Ishii. The headbutt spots are a cause for concern especially after what happened to Shibata earlier this year.

Winner Hirooki Goto

Star rating: (****)

(8) Zack Sabre Jr. (w/El Desperado) (0) vs. IWGP IC Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi (0) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. Sabre went after Tanahashi’s leg and non-injured arm during the early going. The announcers said the sleeve on Tanahashi’s arm was like a bullseye on Tanahashi. Sabre finally went after Tanahashi’s arm and he screamed in pain. Sabre continued to go after Tanahashi utilizing his signature style on the mat. Tanahashi finally mounted a comeback and hit a dragon screw. Tanahashi continued to go after Sabre’s leg and he hit another dragon screw. He went for a cloverleaf. Sabre tried to fight it by going after Tanahashi’s bad arm, but he managed to get the hold only for Sabre to quickly get to the ropes. Sabre taunted Tanahashi with some light kicks to his bad arm at one point, which lead to them going back and forth exchanging blows once Tanahasi fired up. Sabre went for an up kick on Tanahashi’s arm, but he countered it into a dragon screw. Sabre got a standing mount on Tanahashi after jumping into him to avoid the sling blade. HE went after Tanahashi’s injured arm, but Tanahashi managed to counter him with a neck breaker. Sabre countered another sling blade attempt and got a bridging pin for a 2 count. Tanahashi finally hit the sling blade and the fans fired up. Tanahashi hit a standing high fly flow and sent Desperado into the announce table when he got up on the apron. Tanahashi went for the high fly flow, but Sabre got his knees up. He immediately tied up Tanahashi in an arm submission. He took the sleeve off of Tanahashi’s injured arm and then he took the bandage off. The fans fired up and chanted for Tanahashi. He snapped at Tanahashi’s fingers and then bent his arm at a terrible angle to get the win!

After the match, Sabre held up the IC title and taunted Tanahashi. Sabre asked the cameras, “Who’s the heavyweight now?” as he headed to the back with Desperado.

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. (2 pts.)

Star rating: (****) – This was a big statement win for Sabre on the first night of the tournament. The announcers foreshadowed the win saying Tanahashi doesn’t have a great record on the first night of the G1. Sabre was brilliant here going after Tanahashi’s arm and he really never let Tanahashi fully get on track. This is a really nice win for Sabre and sets him up with a big program after G1 at the very least. Keep an eye on Sabre in this tournament.

(9) Kota Ibushi (0) vs. Tetsuya Naito (0) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. The fans fired up when the opening bell rang and Ibushi seemed to soak in the moment. Naito remained expressionless as usual. Ibushi offered a clean break and then Naito spit at him. He tossed Ibushi to the floor after baiting him in and teased a dive, but ended up hitting his signature pose as the announcers talked about Naito’s mind games and Ibushi’s rep for being emotional. Naito got the upper hand and went after Ibushi’s neck. He set Ibushi up on the apron and connected with a big neck breaker. Naito and Ibushi have met 2 previous times in G1 with each man picking up a win. Ibushi fired back and hit the golden triangle. He blocked Naito’s signature slingshot dropkick with an uppercut, but Naito tripped him face first into the turnbuckle a short time later and connected with it. Naito went for a flying forearm, but Ibushi caught him. It looked like he was going to hit a snap dragon suplex, but he hit a German instead. Ibushi lit up Naito with kicks. The ref dragged him away and admonished him for kicking Naito against the ropes. The ref checked on Naito, but he shoved him down to the mat and ran at Ibushi, who eventually wiped him out with a huge lariat for a near fall! Naito mounted a comeback a short time later and hit a German. He then hit a pump-handle suplex for a near fall on Ibushi, as Naito continued to target the neck. The fans fired up chanting for both men.

Naito hit a super poison hurricanrana, but Ibushi kicked out. He went for destino, but Ibushi countered him and hit a lawn dart into the corner! Ibushi went for his outside in German for the second time. He got up to the second rope and connected with it! Ibushi made the cover, but Naito kicked out at the very last second! Ibushi went for the last ride, but Naito countered it into a satellite DDT. Both men were down after that exchange. They went up top and Ibushi slipped under Naito. Naito fought off a powerbomb attempt. He set up on the top turnbuckle, but Ibushi hit a sick leaping back kick. Ibushi set up for an avalanche piledriver and hit it for a near fall! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Ibushi went for a pedigree, but Naito blocked it several times. Naito fired back and went for destino, but Ibushi blocked it. Ibushi hit several palm strikes and Naito countered one out of nowhere and hit destino for a near fall. WOW WOW WOW!!! Naito then hit a second destino for the win. Holy hell what a match!

Winner: Tetsuya Naito (2 pts.)

Star rating: (****3/4) – Well Ibushi hasn’t lost a step when it comes to wrestling on a big stage in a NJPW main event. Naito went after Ibushi’s neck early to set up destino. They went back and forth from there trading turns on the advantage. Ibushi got on track and hit the golden triangle. He later went for the last rights powerbomb, but could not connect. The avalanche piledriver Ibushi hit was insane and I thought the match was over, but it wasn’t. Ibushi kicked out of destino after previously countering it and that set the crowd on fire. Wow! Go watch this match.

After the match, L.I.J. came out to celebrate with Naito, who cut a show closing promo in a trucker hat much to the delight of the fans.

Overall thoughts: What a way to kick off the tournament. The last three matches were all fantastic with Naito-Ibushi being a must-see instant classic. Go out of your way to see the main event of Ibushi vs. Naito if you don’t have a ton of time. Goto-Ishii and Sabre-Tanahashi are worth going out of your way to see as well. Kevin Kelly and Don Callis were fantastic on commentary, especially Kelly, who told fans all they would need to know during the tournament matches.

I hope to see everybody Thursday when tournament action resumes!

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 1

A BLOCK

Tetsuya Naito (2)
YOSHI-HASHI (2)
Bad Luck Fale (2)
Hirooki Goto (2)
Zack Sabre Jr. (2)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (0)
Kota Ibushi (0)
Yuji Nagata (0)
Togi Makabe (0)
Tomohiro Ishii (0)

B BLOCK 

Kazuchika Okada (0)
Toru Yano (0)
Satoshi Kojima (0)
Michael Elgin (0)
Juice Robinson (0)
Tama Tonga (0)
SANADA (0)
EVIL (0)
Minoru Suzuki (0)
Kenny Omega (0)

I will provide a list of matches ranked at **** or higher for people just looking to watch the best matches from the tournament. This guide is also handy for those of you that are short on time and looking to sample the best of each night of G1 Climax 27.

Match recommendations for G1 Climax 27: Night 1

(7) Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohirio Ishii (****)

(8) Zack Sabre Jr. vs. IWGP IC Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi (****)

(9) Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito (****3/4)

Contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow Sean on twitter at twitter.com/sr_torch. Follow and like Radican’s Wrestling Community Facebook.com at Facebook.com/seanradicanrwc

1 Comment on RADICAN’S 7/17 NJPW G1 Climax 27: Night 1 report – tournament action begins with Sabre-Tanahashi, Goto-Ishii, Ibushi-Naito main event

  1. re “After the match, Tanahashi held up the IC title and taunted Tanahashi.” — that seems counterproductive.

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