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RADICAN'S NJPW "G1 CLIMAX 24: NIGHT 4 REPORT" 7/26 - show of the year contender w/ Styles-Naito, Shibata-Tanahashi, Nakamura-Nagata standout matches

Jul 26, 2014 - 9:45:39 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch columnist


JULY 26, 2014

The venue appears to be smaller than the prior night, but it looks packed and well lit.

(1) Satoshi Kojima vs. IWGP IC Champion Bad Luck Fale in a G1 Climax A Block match. Fale dominated the early part of the match. Kojima mounted a brief comeback and the fans fired up, but Fale quickly regained the upper hand and pummeled Kojima in the corner. Kojima punched through a lariat attempt from Fale before clotheslining him over the top to the floor. Kojima then took a nap in the ring while the ref applied his count. Kojima ended up tossing Fale back into the ring and he nailed him with an elbow off the top for a 2 count. Kojima went for a suplex, but Fale blocked it and slammed him down to the mat. Fale continued to dominate the action, but he could not put Kojima away. Fale signaled for the border toss and the fans chanted for Kojima. Kojima managed to fight his way out of the border toss and he nailed Fale with a kick to the leg and then a DDT for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Kojima ended up catching Fale with a huge lariat for the win.

Winner: Satoshi Kojima

Star rating: (***) – This was a good way to kick off the night. Fale looked dominant during the early stages of the match, but Kojima mounted a comeback and finished him off with a big lariat. This was a good way to follow up on Kojima’s impressive performance the previous night against Tanahashi.

(2) Shelton Benjamin vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. in a G1 Climax A Block match. Benjamin nailed Smith with a Rock bottom and a spinning kick early. He went for pay dirt, but Smith blocked it and went on the attack. Taka stopped Benjamin from using a chair a short time later, but Smith ended up using it on his stable mate. Smith put a beating on Benjamin on the outside. Benjamin managed to finally slip out of a vertical suplex attempt and he nailed Smith with a neck breaker. Benjamin fired up and nailed Smith with a series of strikes in the corner. Smith managed to block a kick and he nailed Benjamin with a big clothesline for a 2 count. Benjamin blocked a powerbomb attempt and applied an ankle lock. Smith struggled and Benjamin eventually got a grapevine on his ankle. Smith teased tapping, but ended up powering up and countering it into a sharpshooter. Benjamin eventually managed to fight his way to the ropes. Smith went for a powerbomb again, but Benjamin blocked it and nailed him with a superkick. They exchanged counters and Benjamin hit pay dirt for the win.

Smith and Benjamin shook hands and left together after the match.

Winner: Shelton Benjamin

Star rating: (**1/2) – I just don’t find Benjamin to be particularly exciting and his matches don’t do anything for me. The work was fine here and I enjoy Smith in the ring, but this just wasn’t an exciting match to watch. Smith now moves to 4-0 in the tournament and has 8 points.

(3) Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Minoru Suzuki in a G1 Climax B Block match. Suzuki dominated early and choked Tenzan inside the ring. Suzuki grabbed a kimura, but Tenzan managed to get the ropes. Tenzan fired back and hit his signature double chops. They went to a big strike exchange and Suzuki got the upper hand. He nailed Tenzan with a big running boot, but he fired right back. Suzuki nailed him with a big slap to the face. Suzuki told him to bring it and they began exchanging big punches. Tenzan hit a big double chop, but Suzuki grabbed a sleeper. He then set up Tenzan for the neutralizer, but Tenzan fought it and eventually caught Suzuki with a backdrop off the ropes. He went for the anaconda vice, but Suzuki immediately grabbed the ropes. Suzuki got the sleeper again and then set up for the neutralizer, but Tenzan fought out of it. He caught Suzuki with a spinning kick as he came off the ropes, but he kicked out at the last second. Tenzan went up top, but missed a diving headbutt. Suzuki nailed Tenzan with a running kick to the head and slung him over in a sleeper on the mat. He wrenched back on the hold and Suzuki tapped.

Winner: Minoru Suzuki

Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a really good physical match with Suzuki dominating the bulk of the action and Tenzan making comebacks that fired up the crowd. They had some really good strike exchanges down the stretch before Suzuki made Tenzan submit.

(4) Hirooki Goto vs. Toru Yano in a G1 Climax B Block match. Goto went right after Yano at the bell and nailed him with a series of strikes, but Yano dragged him down to the mat by the hair. Goto fired right back with a big clothesline. Yano tried to undo the turnbuckle pad, but Goto got in his way by pummeling him in the corner. Yano shoved Goto towards the ref and the ref got out of the way, which allowed Yano to hit a low blow and get the dirty pin.

Yano smiled on his way to the back and handed a fan his DVD. Yano is awesome.

Winner: Toru Yano – Yano was about to get murdered before he used cheap tactics to win.

(5) Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma in a G1 Climax A Block match. Honma missed a running headbutt during the early stages of the match. Honma nailed Ishii with a bunch of chops, but Ishii didn’t seem fazed and leveled Honma with a big chop. They went back and forth with both men trying to connect with a suplex and Honma finally lifted Ishii up and dumped him to the mat. Honma went for a headbutt again a short time later, but Ishii got out of the way. They had an epic chop battle and Honma finally decked Ishii with a huge chop. He then connected with a running headbutt on the mat and the fans went nuts. Ishii began to fire up as Honma nailed him with punches and forearms. Ishii screamed in Honma’s face after each strike and then decked Honma with a big forearm. Ishii followed up with a Saito suplex for a 2 count. Honma fired out of the corner and nailed Ishii with a big clothesline and followed up with a piledriver for a near fall.

The fans fired up big time as Honma went on the attack. Ishii managed to deck him when he got his foot up in the corner. They went to a big exchange off the ropes, but Honma caught Ishii with a high-angle DDT and Ishii rolled around in pain. The ref checked on Ishii as he held his neck and screamed. They showed a replay and it looked like Honma planted him right on his head. Both men began hitting clotheslines at the same time. Honma decked Ishii with a clothesline and went up top. Honma went for a diving headbutt off the top, but Ishii got out of the way. Honma needs to stop doing those. I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s just too dangerous of a move to do repeatedly. Ishii dragged Honma up top and nailed him with a superplex for a near fall and the fans applauded. Ishii went for a powerbomb, but couldn’t get Honma up. He nailed Honma with a headbutt and followed up with a powerbomb, but Honma kicked out at the last second. The fans applauded and Ishii dragged a lifeless Honma to his feet. Honma ducked a clothesline and rolled up Ishii with a pinning combination for a near fall. He then hit a big German and Ishii grabbed his neck and screamed. The fans fired up as both men were slow to get up. Honma measured Ishii and nailed him with a huge clothesline and a brainbuster, but Ishii kicked out at the last second.

Honma sold anguish on his face while Ishii grabbed his head on the mat. Honma signaled for the finish, but Ishii slipped away. Both men began beating the crap out of each other with slaps and strikes in the middle of the ring. Honma no-sold an enzuguri, but ate a huge clothesline off the ropes for a near fall and the fans exploded. Ishii lifted up Honma and hit a huge brainbuster for the win. Good lord what a match!

Winner: Tomohiro Ishii

Star rating: (****1/4) – This was an awesome match. Both guys beat the hell out of each other. Ishii’s selling is amazing and he made the match selling his neck throughout the match. The near falls and strike exchanges down the stretch were unreal. Awesome match. Honma continues to have good matches in the tournament despite not picking up a win yet.

(6) Togi Makabe vs. Lance Archer in a G1 Climax B Block match. The fans chanted for Makabe before the match started. Archer offered a clean break, but gave Makabe a little tap across the face before backing away. Makabe nailed Archer with a lariat that sent him to the outside. He followed Archer to the floor and tossed him into the barricade. Archer cut off Makabe when he tried to get back into the ring and tossed him into the ringpost. He then tossed him head-first into the barricade several times on the outside. The fans booed. Archer went into the crowd and taunted the fans before going back after Makabe. Archer tossed Makabe into the ring and made a cover for a 2 count. He yelled at the ref before going back after Makabe. Archer continued to dominate the action and hit a sit out Snow plow variation for a 2 count. Makabe fired up and told Archer to bring it. Makabe absorbed a punch and told Archer to bring it. Makabe shook his head and Archer nailed him with a punch. Archer hit a big slam followed by a running splash for a 2 count and the fans applauded.

Makabe popped up and got right in Archer’s face. Makabe went on the attack and nailed Archer with a big clothesline in the corner. He hit another running clothesline. Both guys went for clotheslines and Makabe finally connected for a 2 count. Archer fired back with a running clothesline of his own a short time later for a 2 count. Makabe ducked a charge in the corner and hit a northern lights suplex, but Archer kicked out at 1. Makabe missed a knee strike off the top and Archer set up behind him for a choke slam. Makabe blocked the choke slam, but Archer hit him with a TKO for a near fall. Makabe managed to slip out of a crucifix bomb, but Archer caught him with a scorpion death drop. Makabe’s eyes rolled into the back of his head and Archer tried to lift him, but he collapsed to the mat. Archer got on the turnbuckles and taunted the fans, but Makabe popped up and nailed him with a spider German and a knee strike off the top for the win as the fans went nuts.

Winner: Togi Makabe

Star rating: (***3/4) – The match had a few slow parts, but Makabe’s selling made the match. Archer put a beating on him, but Makabe refused to stay down. The finishing sequence with Archer taunting the fans on the turnbuckles and Makabe popping up and hitting his finishing sequence was awesome. Archer has improved a great deal since I last saw him in the US.

(7) Yuji Nagata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a G1 Climax A Block match. They had a big exchange early, but neither man could connect with a big kick. Nakamura smiled as they came to a stalemate. Both men began trading forearms until Nagata decked Nakamura with a kick to the chest. Nakamura fired back and set up Nagata on the apron before nailing him with a running knee. Nakamura worked a headlock on the mat once they got back into the ring. Nakamura taunted Nagata with some light kicks to the head. Nagata began to fire up, but Nakamura nailed him with a huge knee to the gut and then connected with a big knee to the chest in the corner. Nakamura did his signature boot choke in the corner and strutted around, but ran right into a running knee to the gut from Nagata. Nagata began nailing Nakamura with a series of big kicks to the chest. Nagata teased a kick, but then kicked Nakamura’s legs out from under him. Nakamura fired back and caught Nagata with a spinning kick to the head after he had ducked his first kick attempt.

Nakamura taunted Nagata again and lightly slapped him on the head. Nagata looked at Nakamura like he was crazy. Nakamura grounded him with a kick to the gut and began nailing him with light kicks to the head. Nagata looked at him again and got up. Nagata slapped Nakamura in the face like he owed him money. He then began slapping him across the face in the corner. The ref tried to drag Nagata away as he nailed Nakamura with a series of knees. Nakamura popped up and nailed Nagata with a running knee to the chest. Nakamura nailed Nagata with a series of kicks in the corner. He then set him up over the top turnbuckle and nailed him with a running knee to the gut. Nakamura followed up with a suplex. The fans tried to rally behind Nagata, who managed to duck the Boma Ye. Nagata then locked in a crossface. Nakamura struggled to escape the hold and Nakamura kept going back for leverage. Nakamura slipped on top of Nagata and got a triangle. The ref checked on Nagata, but he didn’t drop his arm down. Nagata then slipped out of the triangle and got an arm bar. Nagata rolled his eyes back into his head and cinched back on the hold and the fans applauded. Nakamura struggled, but finally got the ropes.

Nagata nailed Nakamura with a running boot to the face in the corner and set him up on top. They traded strikes up top. Nakamura sent him to the mat with a headbutt and then a knee to the head. Nagata got to his feet, but Nakamura nailed him with a kick off the second rope and both men were down. Both men got up and began trading strikes. They crowd popped with each forearm each man hit. Nagata ducked a pair of kicks and nailed Nakamura with a spinning kick to the head. Nagata nailed Nakamura with a release German. He hit a Saito suplex a short time, but Nakamura kicked out at the last second and the fans popped. The announcer went nuts as Nagata went back on the attack. Nakamura blocked a suplex with a knee strike and hit 2 Boma Ye kicks, but Nagata got right up. Nakamura nailed him with another Boma Ye for the win. Wow! What a match.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

Star rating: (****1/4) – This was a great match. Nagata’s facial expressions during the match were fantastic and these two had some great exchanges leading into the finish. The crowd got really hot when Nagata kicked out after two Boma Ye kicks before Nakamura connected with a third that was good for the win. Great showing for Nagata despite taking the loss.

(8) IWGP Hvt. Champion A.J. Styles vs. Tetsuya Naito in a G1 Climax B Block match. Styles worked a headlock and Naito tried to bounce him off the ropes, but Styles held on. Naito tried to escape with a suplex, but Styles maintained the hold and really worked it over on the mat. Styles blocked a suplex attempt, but Naito caught Styles with his own signature dropkick off the ropes. Naito then took Styles down to the mat and grabbed a headlock. This time Styles had a hard time getting Naito to break the headlock. Styles finally shot Naito off the ropes and caught him with his signature dropkick and the fans applauded as Styles posed towards the hard camera. Naito came up bleeding from just above his nose and Styles went after his cut. Styles hit his signature running knee drop and the fans popped. Styles went after Naito’s cut and busted him open even more. Naito fired up and went after Styles, but he caught him with a thumb to the eye. Styles fired up with a springboard forearm and posed for the fans. Styles lifted Naito and nailed him with a big back breaker. He then grabbed a chin lock on the mat. Styles continued to target Naito’s cut as he worked him over. Styles told the fans to look at Naito because he wasn’t done yet.

Naito tried to fire back, but Styles nailed him with a big right hand to the face. Styles continued to cut off Naito’s comeback attempts, but he finally managed to backdrop Styles to the floor. He went to the outside, but Styles immediately grabbed his leg on the apron and tripped him to the floor. Both men then hit clotheslines at the same time and were down on the outside. Both men managed to barely beat the 20 count and came into the ring on opposite sides. Naito caught Styles with a running dropkick and then hit a running flip senton. Naito went up top and hit a missile dropkick and the fans applauded. The fans chanted for Naito with Styles down in the corner. He placed Styles up top, but Styles slipped out from under him and tripped him down to the mat. Styles suplexed Naito into the turnbuckle pad. Styles set up for the Styles clash, but Naito dropped down to one knee. Naito went for a clothesline, but Styles hit a Pele kick and a double underhook brainbuster. Styles then set up for the Styles clash again, but Naito dropped down to one knee. Styles tried to lift him, but Naito drove him into the corner. Naito hit a running kick in the corner and then hit a slingshot dropkick. Naito set up Styles and went for a hurricanrana, but Styles blocked it and went for the Styles clash. Naito managed to kick out of it. Styles went for a dive off the top, but Naito nailed him with a dropkick and hit a German with a bridge for a near fall. They went to a big exchange and Naito caught Styles with an enzuguri and a jumping forearm off the ropes. He then hit an arm trap side slam and went top and connected with a twisting moonsault for the win. Wow! That was one heck of match. Fantastic!

Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Star rating: (****1/4) – This was an awesome match. Styles dominated a lot of the action and targeted Naito’s cut from the previous night. I’m not a big fan of blood, but they did work it effectively into the story of the match. Down the stretch Styles kept going for the Styles clash and Naito continued to block it before putting him away in the end. Naito has to be considered a threat in the tournament at this point.

(9) IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson vs. Kazuchika Okada in a G1 Climax B Block match. Anderson attacked Okada as he posed on the ropes. The fans booed as Anderson mocked Okada’s pose. Okada fired back and worked over Anderson on the outside. Anderson got up on the apron and went for a suplex, but Okada slipped out. They went at it on the apron, but Anderson nailed Okada with a running kick that sent him flying off the apron into the guardrail. Anderson tossed Okada stomach first into the guardrail and he crumpled to the floor. Okada struggled to beat the ref’s count, but got back into the ring at 18. The fans fired up as Anderson worked over Okada and raked away at his face. The fans chanted for Okada and clapped. Anderson continued to dominate the action and he took Okada down to the mat with a chin lock. The fans chanted for Okada and he began to fight to get back to his feet. Okada went for a dropkick off the ropes, but Anderson held on and avoided it. Anderson then missed a running senton and Okada caught him with a DDT a short time later that left both men down.

The fans fired up as Okada got up to his feet first. Okada got in a flurry of offense and kipped up to his feet after hitting a flap jack. He placed Anderson up top and nailed him with a dropkick that sent him flying to the floor. Okada Anderson to the outside and sent him into the guardrail and then nailed him with a running kick that sent him flying over it. Okada then dragged Anderson over the guardrail and hit a DDT. Okada hit an elbow off the top and signaled for the rainmaker. He smiled as Anderson struggled to his feet. Anderson blocked the rainmaker with an elbow. He then countered Okada and hit a running powerbomb for a 2 count. Anderson went up top and hit a diving neck breaker for another near fall. Anderson caught Okada running at him and spiked him with a piledriver for a 2 count. Anderson waited for Okada to get up and the fans chanted for Okada. Okada blocked an ace crusher and hit a big dropkick on Anderson after shoving him off the ropes and both men were down. They showed a slow motion replay and Okada got incredible height on that dropkick. Both men began exchanging strikes from their knees. They got to their feet and continued to exchange strikes. Okada blocked a running ace crusher off the ropes and nailed Anderson with a dropkick to the back of the head. Okada then hit a tombstone and signaled for the rain maker. Okada countered the rainmaker and went for an ace crusher twice. Okada went for a third rain maker, but Anderson successfully countered it into an ace crusher for the win. OH MY GOD!

Winner: Karl Anderson

Star rating: (****1/4) – This was a big upset here. These two had one heck of a match with Anderson dominating at the beginning and then withstanding Okada’s comeback. The sequence of counters at the end leading into Anderson hitting the ace crusher was fantastic. This was one hell of a match.

(10) Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi in a G1 Climax Block A match. Shibata nailed Tanahashi with a slap early and Tanahashi returned the favor a short time later. Tanahashi avoided a pair of kicks from Shibata a short time later and bailed to the floor. Tanahashi ended up knocking Shibata off the apron a short time later and he connected with a slingshot splash to the outside. He then tossed Shibata into the ring and began working over his leg. Shibata managed to avoid a charge in the corner. Tanahashi ended up draped on the too turnbuckle and Shibata kicked him to the floor. He sent Tanahashi to the outside and nailed him with running kick that sent him flying over the barrier. Shibata maintained the upper hand for a long period of time and began working over Tanahasi inside the ring.

Tanahashi ducked a running kick in the corner and hit a flying forearm to begin his comeback. The fans changed for Tanahashi, but Shibata cut him off with a knee to the gut as he bounced off the ropes. Tanahashi hit a heat seeking missile to surprise Shibata, but he no sold it and hit a series of vicious forearms in the corner capped by a running dropkick. Shibata no sold a German from Tanahashi and hit one of his own, but was slow I capitalize. He went for a running kick, but Tanahashi caught his leg and his a dragon screw. Tanahashi applied a Texas cloverleaf on Shibata. He struggled for a long period of time. The fans fired up and he finally got the ropes. Tanahashi continued to target Shibata's leg. He played to the fans, but Shibata caught him and applied a sleeper hold. Tanahashi manage to escape a duck a kick. He hit a spiral tap on Shibata and hit high fly flow to his back. He went for it again, but Shibata got his knees up. The fans chanted for Shibata with both men down.

Both men began exchanging blows from their knees. They got up and continued to exchange blows. Shibata hit several forearms in a row, but Tanahashi fired back. Shibata nailed him with a huge chop that sent Tanahashi to his knees. Shibata went for GTS, but Tanahashi rolled him up for a near fall. Shibata then lifted him up and nailed him with a huge kick and the GTS for the win. This was an awesome match.

Winner: Katsuyori Shibata

Star rating: (****) - another fantastic match to close the show. Shibata was great here as he overcame everything Tanahashi threw at him and got the win in the end. The crowd was red hot for this match. I liked that Shibata simply beat Tanahashi clean to end the show. Shibata has had some amazing performances in this tournament.

Overall thoughts: (9.5) – This was an amazing show and a night of surprising results. The entire card delivered with the exception of Benjamin-Smith, but by no means was that a bad match. The thing I like most about this tournament is how strong everyone has looked even when taking a loss. The theme for night 4 was upsets, as two of the top contenders to win the tournament, Okada, Styles, and Tanahashi, all lost.

Nakamura was the only top star to survive with a win on this show, but it took a heck of an effort for him to beat Nagata. Nagata has tremendous facial expressions and he really fired up the crowd while he worked over Nakamura with submission holds throughout the match. It took three Boma Ye kicks for Nakamura to escape with the win and 2 more points on this night.

Naito, who won the G1 Climax Tournament last year, threw his hat in the ring as a contender to repeat with a huge win over Styles. If you’re not watching A.J. Styles right now, he’s doing some of the best work of his career in the ring and as a heel. This was a really good match with Styles viciously working over Naito’s cut that he suffered the previous night in a win over Yano. Naito made a heck of a comeback and fought off several Styles clash attempts before picking up the win.

Shibata has had a couple of amazing performances in this tournament so far even though we’re only four nights into it. Shibata threw his hat into the ring as a contender with a big win of Tanahashi in the main even. They had a really good match to close the show with Tanahasi taking a pounding throughout the match while trying to work over Shibata’s legs to soften up his kicks when he had the upper hand. They had a great finishing sequence and I really liked how they went right to the finish instead of doing a ton of near falls, which helped this match stand out from several of the others on the card.

Karl Anderson and Okada delivered an excellent match in the main event and in a surprise, Anderson handed Okada his first loss in the tournament. The sequence of counters down the stretch with Anderson going for an ace crusher and Okada going for the rainmaker were well done and it was a heck of a moment when Anderson finally hit the ace crusher for the win. The crowd seemed stunned with the result.

If you’re a wrestling fan this show is required viewing. I didn’t see Benjamin being undefeated in this tournament through four nights, but he’s cleaning up on the lower half of the card so far. I’m really impressed by the improvement of Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer. They’re both greatly improved from when the wrestled in the US. The wrestling up and down the card was tremendous, especially the last four matches. The booking of the tournament has been really well-done so far with peaks and valleys for just about every top contender in the tournament through the first four nights. I can’t wait to watch the rest of the tournament unfold. This show is a must watch!

You can purchase NJPW “G1 Climax 24: Night 4” on VOD by clicking HERE or by visiting


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