RADICAN’S G1 Climax 27: Night 17 report – main event features Naito vs. Tanahashi to determine A block winner

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist

Tetsuya Naito (art credit Matt Charltonn and Sam Gardiner © PWTorch)

RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 27: NIGHT 17 REPORT
AUG. 11, 2017
TOKYO, JAPAN
SUMO HALL
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM

This show had a multi-camera shoot with Kevin Kelly and Don Callis providing English commentary alongside special guest Rocky Romero.

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) Suzuki Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Taichi & El Desperado beat Hirai Kawato & Tomoyuki Oka & Katsuya Kitamura.

(2) Bullet Club (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) beat L.I.J. (SANADA & BUSHI).

(3) Satoshi Kojima & Juice Robinson beat L.I.J. (EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi).

(4) Raymond Rowe & Hanson & Michael Elgin & Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet beat Bullet Club (Cody & Hangman Page & Chase Owens, Matt & Nick Jackson).

(5) CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano) beat Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi).

A BLOCK RESULTS & ANALYSIS

It was a great scene in Sumo Hall for the opening match of block action, as everyone in the crowd had Yuji Nagata signs. He got a huge pop when he came out for his entrance.

(6) Yuji Nagata (2) vs. Bad Luck Fale (10) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. Nagata charged right at Fale at the opening bell. Fale tossed him to the floor, but Nagata dove back into the ring. A huge Nagata chant started and Nagata booted Fale off the apron and into the guardrail. Kelly said Nagata was the last IWGP Hvt. Champion to make it to the finals of G1 back in 2007. Nagata was Fale’s mentor in the NJPW Dojo. Fale took control on the floor a short time later and slammed Nagata into the guardrail. Fale took control inside the ring and the fans chanted for Nagata. Nagata ducked a charge in the corner and caught Fale with a kick to the inside of the leg as he went by him. Nagata hit several kicks to Fale’s leg. He hit the fakeout dropkick to the legs a short time later on Fale. He went for an exploder, but Fale blocked it. Fale fired back and hit a splash off the ropes a short time later for a 2 count. Fale lifted Nagata up and his knee gave way. Fale went for a punch, but Nagata ducked it and hit an exploder for a 2 count! The fans chanted for Nagata as he set up for a series of kicks to Fale’s back and chest. Fale told Nagata to bring it and blocked a kick finally. Both men traded big forearms and taunted each other. Nagata slapped Fale across the face and told him to bring it. Fale put Nagata down with one forearm. He nailed Nagata with a series of clubbing blows to the back and a clothesline for a 2 count.

Fale went for the grenade, but Nagata countered it into the white eyes arm bar! He transitioned it into a cross-arm breaker and then a triangle. Fale tried to get to the ropes, but Nagata transitioned again to an ankle lock. Fale tried to push him off, but Nagata turned it into the Nagata lock. WOW! Fale got the ropes, but the fans fired up and chanted for Nagata. He set up for the backdrop driver, but Fale blocked it. Nagata hit the justice knee in the corner and the backdrop driver, but Fale kicked out at 2 and the fans gasped! Nagata set up for the wrist clutch exploder, but Fale fought out of it. Nagata hit a pair of heavy running boots, but Fale caught him with a spear when he went for a third. Fale made the cover, but Nagata kicked out at 2. Fale hit a Samoan drop for another 2 count and the fans exploded. Fale went for the grenade and Nagata blocked it, but caught him with a clothesline as he came off the ropes. Fale went for the bad luck fall and connected. Fale made the cover and it was good for the win. WOW!

After the match Fale offered Nagata a too sweet. The teacher and the student stood face-to-face. Nagata then saluted Fale! WOW! Nagata went down on a knee and appeared to have tears in his eyes. Fale bowed and left the ring. The fans held up their Nagata signs and chanted for Nagata. Nagata bowed to the crowd and exited the G1 tournament for the final time.

Winner: Bad Luck Fale (12 pts)

Star rating: (****) – What a way for Nagata to go out. He gave Fale all he could handle and the fans went nuts for his comebacks. Fale got the win in the end, but this match was all about the fans and their moment with Nagata.

Kelly and Romero talked about how the NJPW system worked so well with young wrestlers having mentors. They talked about Nagata having a great impact on so many young wrestlers over the years. Kelly mentioned if you looked at some old G1’s that you would see HASHI at ringside.

(7) YOSHI HASHI (4) vs. Togi Makabe (6) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. Kelly talked about the dynamic between Makabe’s personality in NJPW and his TV personality where he eats sweets. Romero said his nickname is Sweets Makabe. HASHI got the upper hand and hit a blockbuster off the top for a 2 count. Makabe fired back and went on the attack. HASHI fired back and hit a powerbomb out of the corner and both men were down. They went back and forth and Makabe took HASHI down with a double axehandle. He hit a powerbomb and went up top for the king kong knee drop, but HASHI got out of the way and eventually caught him with a kick to the back of the head. HASHI hit a western lariat for a 2 count and applied the butterfly lock. Makabe tried to get to the ropes and HASHI stepped over with his leg to block him. Makabe struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. HASHI got a sleeper, but went right into a back stabber. He went for karma, but Makabe wouldn’t go up for it. HASHI tagged Makabe with a big slap to the face and he dropped down to the mat. Makabe suddenly lifted HASHI and hit a fallaway slam and both men were down as the fans fired up. Both men ran at each other and hit simultaneous clotheslines several times. Makabe finally put HASHI down with a clothesline off the ropes. Makabe set up for the spider German, but HASHI tried to fight him off. Makabe began slamming HASHI’s head into the ringpost. He then hit the spider German and the King Kong knee drop for the win.

Winner: Togi Makabe (8 pts)

Star rating; (***¼) – This was a solid back and forth match. I still don’t “get” HASHI as a wrestler.

(8) Zack Sabre Jr. (w/El Desperado) (8) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (8) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. They went at it on the mat and came to a stalemate. Sabre hit several uppercuts and Ishii just stared at him. Ishii fired back and Sabre went down after one big forearm. Callis said perhaps Sabre was trying to prove to Suzuki that he could strike, which wasn’t the greatest strategy against Ishii. Sabre fired back and went after Ishii’s arm. Ishii fired back, but Sabre caught him with a guillotine while sitting up top. He transitioned into a rolling arm bar in the middle of the ring. The fans gasped as he twisted both of Ishii’s arms. Ishii struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. That was a crazy sequence from start to finish from Sabre. Romero and Kelly talked about Sabre being perceived as a junior, but he’s now firmly entrenched as a heavyweight after this tournament. They went to an exchange of strikes and Sabre went after Ishii’s bad knee. The announcers mentioned that Sabre would likely win most of his matches if he stuck to his gameplan and didn’t go to the striking game. Ishii countered Sabre up top and hit an avalanche suplex for a near fall. They went back and forth and Sabre went for the octopus, but Ishii hit a snake eyes in the corner and a big German. Ishi hit a folding powerbomb for a 2 count. Sabre applied a triangle as soon as he kicked out! Ishii lifted him with one arm and Sabre slipped off. Ishii then nailed Sabre with a lariat. Sabre hit a facelock suplex and a PK for a 2 count. He went right into a grapevine submission on Ishii’s leg while cranking on his ankle. Ishii struggled, but managed to get to the ropes.

Sabre hit kick after kick to Ishii’s leg. Ishii fired up and wiped him out with a chop. Sabre got the European clutch pinning combination for a 2 count. Ishii kicked out and Sabre went right back after Ishii’s leg. Sabre transitioned to an ankle lock. Ishii rolled through and grabbed an ankle lock of his own! Ishii and Sabre went back and forth. Ishii hit a headbutt to Sabre’s chest. He then killed Zack with a clothesline for a 2 count! Ishii blocked a kick and drilled him with an enzuguri. He went for the sliding clothesline, but Sabre turned it into an armbar! Sabre tried to transition the hold and got a combination arm and leg submission. He tried to stomp down on Ishii’s head, but he wouldn’t tap. The fans began to chant for Ishii, who wouldn’t give up. The ref finally dove in for the stoppage. WOW! Callis said, “You know what you call that move? Two points.”

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. (10 pts)

Star rating: (****) – What a great tournament for both of these guys. This was a heck of a match with Sabre picking apart Ishii’s arm and leg during the match. Ishii got on track late with the striking game, but Sabre got the ref stoppage after Ishii refused to give up. Great stuff from both guys here.

(9) Kota Ibushi (10) vs. Hirooki Goto (8) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. They started the match with some back and forth hard-hitting action. Ibushi eventually missed the golden triangle and Goto had the upper hand. They had some really good hard-hitting exchanged down the stretch. Ibushi went for the wrist clutch knee finish, but Goto blocked it. Goto got on track and after Ibushi had countered the GTR earlier in the match, Goto hit it for the win.

Winner: Hirooki Goto ( 10 pts)

Star rating: (***1/4) – This was just getting good when it ended.

(10) IWGP IC Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi (12) vs. Tetsuya Naito (12) in a G1 Climax 27 A Block match. The winner of this match goes to the finals. The fans started a big Naito chant before the match began. Naito ducked a couple of lockup attempts and made the calm down motion with his hands. They went at it and Naito backed Tanahashi against the ropes and slapped him across the chest before backing away. Tanahashi backed Naito into the ropes. He slapped him across the face once and then pushed up against him. Naito remained expressionless. Tanahashi backed up and slapped him across the face again. Naito charged at him, but Tanahashi sent him packing to the floor. Tanahashi played some guitar while Naito stalled on the floor. Naito baited Tanahashi into chasing him. He sent him to the floor and teased a dive. Naito hit his pose, so Tanahashi ran into the ring and nailed him with a kick much to the delight of the fans. The announcers talked about Tanahashi’s bicep injury and Naito shoulder injury. They noted that Naito had nothing on his shoulder. Tanahashi went for a cross-body, but Naito hit a basement dropkick that hit his bad arm on his way down. WOW! The fans started a Tanahashi chant. The announcers noted that Naito tried the same strategy at Dominion. Naito hit a dropkick to Tanahashi’s arm and hit his pose and the fans had a mixed reaction. Both men battled for position and Tanahashi hit a neckbreaker. The fans fired up and chanted for Tanahashi. Tanahashi hit a somersault senton, but only got a 2 count. The fans chanted go ace as he went back on the attack. Tanahashi went up top for a somersault senton, but Naito got out of the way and hit another dropkick. Tanahashi turned the tide and hit a high fly flow off the top to the floor on a standing Naito. He immediately grabbed his arm as the fans chanted Go Ace once again. Naito managed to break the count at 16. Tanahashi cut him off as he got onto the apron and hit a dragon screw around the ropes. Tanahashi went for the Texas cloverleaf, but Naito grabbed the ropes before he could hook it in.

Naito fired back on the apron and snapped Tanahashi’s arm over the top rope. Naito hit a slingshot dropkick, but this time Tanahashi was up against the ropes and not in the corner and he connected with Tanahashi’s bad arm. Naito hit a flying forearm and set up for a pump-handle driver and connected for a 2 count. The fans fired up and Naito went for destino, but Tanahashi blocked it. Naito tried to fight out of it, but Tanahashi hit a straight jacket German with a bridge for a near fall. The crowd couldn’t make up their mind and started a huge Naito chant. They battled up top and Naito grabbed an arm submission. Tanahashi fought him off, but Naito went back on the attack. He set up for a frankensteiner, but Tanahashi rolled through for a 2 count. He then hit another dragon screw and both men were down! WOW! A go ace chant rang out as Calis said his second wife was fickle like these fans. Both men began trading elbows. Tanahashi used his left forearm instead of his right due to the injury. Naito spit at Tanahashi and the fans gasped. They continued to trade until Naito hit a German with a bridge for a 2 count. Tanahashi did some misdirection off the ropes and hit a sling blade. He then hit a second sling blade for a 2 count! Tanahashi went up top for a high fly flow. Naito got to his feet and Tanahashi connected! Tanahashi went up top for another high fly flow, but Naito got out of the way. WOW! The fans chanted for Naito with both men down. A chant for Tanahashi then began. Naito ducked a charge in the corner. He then hit a hangman’s neck breaker with Tanahashi’s legs draped over the top rope. Naito went up top and dragged Tanahashi in front of him. Tanahashi fought Naito off and hit a dragon screw that sent Naito off the top to the floor! Tanahashi got the Texas cloverleaf. This is how Tanahashi beat Naito at Dominion in July. Tanahashi sat back on the hold at a very high angle. Naito fired up and began crawling to the ropes. The ref kept asking if he wanted to tap. Tanahashi sat down on the hold and the announcers said the ref might stop the match. Naito FINALLY reached out and grabbed the bottom rope. WOW!

The fans gasped and then began chanting for both men. The Naito chants were louder. Tanahashi kept going for Naito’s leg, but Naito went after his arm to fight him off. Naito suddenly hit a satellite DDT using the ropes and the fans fired up at the 25:00 minute mark. Naito hit a swinging destino out of the corner for a near fall! WOW! Tanahashi blocked another destino attempt and hit a pair of swinging neckbreakers. He hit a third swinging neck breaker and the fans lost their minds. Naito countered a sling blade. He lifted up Tanahashi and hit a second destino for the win. WOW! Tremendous match.

Winner: Tetsuya Naito (14 points) – A block winner

Star rating: (****½) – This was a tremendous match with Naito going after Tanahashi’s injured arm and Tanahashi going after Naito’s leg. The crowd was split down the middle for the most part between both men and provided a tremendous atmosphere for this stellar main event.

After the match, Tanahashi was helped out of the ring. The rest of L.I.J. came down to the ring for Naito’s promo. He said whether it was Omega or Okada, L.I.J. would win. The fans applauded his promo. Naito did the L.I.J. rollcall as the fans chanted along. What an end to the A block!

Overall thoughts: This was a memorable finale to the A block, which has been tremendous from start to finish. The show started with an emotional moment, as Yuji Nagata wrestled in his final G1 match. The crowd sent him off in grand style. The other memorable part of this show was the stellar main event between Naito and Tanahashi. They’ve had a great rivalry recently and this time around, Naito got the better of Tanahashi.

The A block went as expected. It came down to Tanahashi and Naito. It’s not a big shock that Naito won, as he is the most popular wrestler in Japan and NJPW has scaled down Naito’s push at the top a bit, although he’s still the IC champion.

The other match that stood out on the card was Sabre-Ishii. Sabre has been really good in this tournament, but he was tremendous in this match picking apart Ishii’s arm and leg before getting the ref stoppage win. Sabre’s leg/arm combination submission was filthy!

Naito vs. Tanahashi had a classic G1 main event with a big atmosphere. The match was even and the fans couldn’t decide who to get behind. It’s clear that Tanahashi’s popularity is growing in NJPW and this was a big win for him, as he gets a slot in the finals to face the winner of Omega vs. Okada. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The A block has been great and this was a memorable night in Sumo Hall.

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 17

A BLOCK

Tetsuya Naito (7-2, 14 pts) (A BLOCK WINNER)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6-3, 12 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (6-3, 12 pts)
Kota Ibushi (5-4, 10 pts)
Zack Sabre Jr. (5-4, 10 pts)
Hirooki Goto (5-4, 10 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (4-5, 8 pts)
Togi Makabe (4-5, 8 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (2-6, 4 pts)
Yuji Nagata (1-8, 2 pts)

B BLOCK

Kazuchika Okada (6-1-1, 13 pts)
Kenny Omega (6-2, 12 pts)
EVIL (5-3, 10 pts)
Minoru Suzuki (4-3-1, 9pts)
SANADA (4-4, 8 pts)
Toru Yano (3-5, 6 pts)
Juice Robinson (3-5, 6 pts)
Michael Elgin (4-4, 6 pts)
Tama Tonga (3-5, 4 pts)
Satoshi Kojima (1-7, 2 pts)

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 17

(6) Yuji Nagata vs. Bad Luck Fale (****)

(8) Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tomohiro Ishii (****)

(10) IWGP IC Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito (****½)

ATTENTION: Read Radican’s G1 Climax 27: Night 16 report by clicking HERE

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

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