Other PPVs RADICAN'S G1 CLIMAX 24: NIGHT 8 REPORT 8/3 - show of the year contender, Honma-Shibata, Styles-Archer, Tanahashi-Nakamura
Aug 3, 2014 - 11:48:30 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 24: NIGHT 8 REVIEW
AUG. 3, 2014
(1) Tomohiro Ishii vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. in a G1 Climax A Block match. They went right at it and exchanged forearms. Both men went for a suplex, but Smith eventually lifted Ishii up and dumped him to the mat. Ishii fired up and they exchanged slaps, but Smith sent him down to the mat with a knee to the gut and the fans booed. Smith worked over Ishii and he eventually nailed Smith with a huge slap and this time he successfully connected with a suplex. Ishii lit up Smith with chops in forearms in the corner as the fans fired up. Smith shook off a clothesline and fired back. He eventually connected with a running knee out of the corner. Ishii tried to fire back, but Smith connected with a powerslam off the ropes for a 2 count. The fans tried to fire up behind Ishii once again. Ishii blocked a powerbomb attempt and hit a backdrop. Ishii then dumped Smith to the mat with a big German. They went up top and Ishii eventually connected with a superplex. He smith a running clothesline, an enzuguri, and a sliding lariat, but Smith kicked out at the last second. The fans really fired up and they went to an exchange in the middle of the ring that ended with Smith catching Ishii with a big clothesline for a near fall. Smith followed up with a big powerbomb, but Ishii kicked out at the last second and the fans applauded. Smith signaled for the finish and the fans booed. Ishii collapsed when Smith tried to pick him up, so Smith covered him for another 2 count.
Ishii tried to fire up, but Smith decked him with a knee to the gut. Smith hit Ishii with a tiger suplex, but Ishii kicked out again and the fans applauded. Smith set up for another powerbomb, but Ishii turned it into a hurricanrana. Ishii blocked a running kick and hit a headbutt and a huge running clothesline for a near fall. Ishii followed up with a brainbuster that was good for the win.
Ishii stayed down for a long time after the match and appeared to have injured his arm. Several attendants helped him to the back.
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a really good opening match with the crowd firmly behind Ishii. They went to a lot of near falls down the stretch before Ishii ultimately put Smith away. Ishii is really good at selling and his comeback in this match was well done.
(2) NWA World Tag Team Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano in a G1 Climax B Block match. Yano threw water at Tenzan when he was making his way towards the ring. Tenzan immediately charged at Yano and nailed him with a big chop. Yano fired back and dragged him down by his hair before undoing the turnbuckle pad. Yano smiled before going after Tenzan and whipped him into the exposed turnbuckles. Yano began hitting Tenzan with double chops. Tenzan fired right back and nailed him with a spinning kick as he came off the ropes. Tenzan then began nailing Yano with double chops. Tenzan went up top and connected with a diving headbutt, but Yano kicked out. Tenzan went up top again, but Yano shoved the ref into the ropes to crotch him. Tenzan ended up going face-first into the exposed turnbuckles and Yano rolled him up for a 2 count. Tenzan nailed Yano with a pair of double chops and applied the anaconda vice. Yano tried to get to his feet and he grabbed the ref and tossed him to the mat as Tenzan slammed him to the floor. Yano tapped out with the ref down. Tenzan went to check on the ref. Tenzan ducked a chair shot and nailed Yano with a big clothesline. Yano went for a low blow, but the ref grabbed his arm. Tenzan then hit a low blow with the ref distracted and applied the anaconda vice for the win.
Winner: Hiroyoshi Tenzan – This was fun while it lasted. I really liked how Tenzan beat Yano at his own game in the end.
(3) Yuji Nagata vs. Shelton Benjamin in a G1 Climax A Block match. They started off quickly and came to a stalemate. Both men yelled at each other before going at it again. They went to a test of strength before they began exchanging blows. Benjamin eventually caught Nagata and hit the Rock bottom. The action spilled to the floor and Benjamin went on the attack. Benjamin used the ropes to choke Nagata while Michinoku distracted the ref. Nagata fired up and got a crazy look in his eyes. They began exchanging blows, but Benjamin countered a Saito suplex into a DDT for a 2 count. Damn! Benjamin got a double underhook on Nagata and he lifted him up and dumped him to the mat. Nagata fired up and they began exchanging blows again. Nagata finally caught Benjamin with a big belly-to-belly suplex as he came off the ropes. Nagata fired up on Benjamin and eventually hit an exploder for a 2 count. Nagata got a wild look in his eyes as the fans fired up. Benjamin countered a Saito suplex and grabbed an ankle lock. Benjamin grapevined the hold and the fans began chanting for Nagata. Nagata screamed in pain and teased tapping. The fans really fired up and Nagata lunged forward and grabbed the ropes.
Benjamin caught Nagata with a big superkick a short time later, but Nagata kicked out. Benjamin followed up with a German with a bridge for a 2 count. Nagata fired back with a kick out of the corner and both men were down. Nagata fired up and began exchanging blows with Benjamin in the middle of the ring. Benjamin caught Nagata with his signature spin kick. He stalked Nagata for the pay dirt, but Nagata caught his arm and applied his signature arm bar. Nagata’s eyes rolled back into his head as the fans and the announcer went ballistic. Benjamin struggled to get the ropes and Nagata tried to drag him back to the middle of the ring, but Benjamin managed to counter into an ankle lock. Nagata slipped behind Benjamin and got a border city stretch. He rolled up Benjamin for a near fall and applied the cross face. Benjamin struggled, but eventually tapped!
Winner: Yuji Nagata
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a really good match with Benjamin dominating the action. The fans were hot for Nagata’s comeback. They had one heck of a spot early in the match where Benjamin countered a Saito suplex into a DDT. Nagata’s facial expressions and the fire he shows are fantastic.
(4) NWA Tag Team Champion Satoshi Kojima vs. IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champion Doc Gallows in a G1 Climax A Block match. Kojima ducked a big splash early and nailed Gallows with an ace crusher before clotheslining him over the top to the floor. Kojima went for a slingshot splash to the floor, but Gallows nailed him with an uppercut. Gallows began putting a beating on Kojima on the outside before he tossed him back into the ring. Gallows lit up Kojima with a series of punches to the gut in the corner. Kojima ducked a charge in the corner and lit him up with the Kobashi chops. The announcer went insane as Kojima mounted a comeback. Kojima went up top and hit a flying elbow for a 2 count. They began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Gallows finally decked Kojima with a bicycle kick. He went for a Vader bomb out of the corner, but Kojima got his feet up. Kojima eventually hit a DDT on Gallows and followed up with a brainbuster for a 2 count. Gallows blocked a lariat attempt and hit a big spinebuster for a 2 count. The fans began chanting for Kojima. He nailed Gallows with a big lariat when he went for his signature running kick. He hit a lariat to the back of Gallows and then finished him off with another huge lariat off the ropes.
Winner: Satoshi Kojima – This was short, but solid. Kojima took a beating before they went back and forth and Kojima eventually finished off Gallows. It was a welcome comedown from some of the other matches that had a lot of near falls and strike exchanges.
(5) Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito in a G1 Climax Block B match. The fans seemed to be chanting for both men before the match started. Naito pushed Goto up against the ropes and nailed him with a big chop. The crowd fired up as they began exchanging overhand chops to the chest. Naito ended up catching Goto with a big dropkick off the ropes and the fans booed. Goto fired back and sent Naito to the floor with a clothesline and the fans applauded. Goto put a beating on Naito on the outside and eventually tossed him into a pile of chairs in the crowd. Naito stumbled back towards the ring and barely beat the 20 count. Naito worked a head scissors submission, but Naito eventually got the ropes. Naito continued to dominate the action for a long period of time. Naito finally caught Goto with a neck breaker as he came off the ropes and both men were down. Naito nailed Goto with a flurry of offense and went up top. He waited for Goto to get up before connecting with a big dropkick and the fans booed. They went back and forth in the middle of the ring until Goto nailed him with a big neck breaker over his knee. The fans fired up as both men were slow to get up. They began exchanging forearms in the middle of the ring. The fans fired up as they went back and forth trading forearms. Naito finally decked Goto with a huge forearm and followed up with a slingshot dropkick in the corner.
Naito placed Goto up top and hit a super hurricanrana. He followed up with a German with a bridge for a near fall and the crowd applauded. Naito hit a big suplex and went for the star dust press. The announcers went nuts, but Goto managed to get out of the way. The fans chanted for Goto with both men slow to get up. Naito and Goto charged at each other and Naito got a near fall with a running pinning combination. Goto ducked a jumping elbow and eventually hit a huge headbutt. The announcer went insane and the fans fired up. Goto lifted up Naito and dropped him face-first over his knee. He grabbed Naito and covered him for a 2 count. Goto hit the hellavator on Naito for the win.
Winner: Hirooki Goto
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a very good match with a good portion of the crowd turning on Naito at times. The fans were really into the action down the stretch and they had some good near falls before Goto finished off Naito for the win.
(6) Lance Archer vs. IWGP Hvt. Champion A.J. Styles in a B Block match. Styles pulled the ropes on Archer and he fell to the floor. Styles followed up with a big slingshot splash to the outside. Styles went for a jumping hurricanrana after a big exchange off the ropes, but Archer caught him and powerbombed him to the mat. Styles went for the Styles clash a short time later, but Archer shoved him off and nailed him with a big boot to the head. Larger hit a big overhead suplex on Styles as he continued to dominate the action. Styles fired back after Archer mounted him on the turnbuckles and kicked his legs out from under him. He then applied a figure four around the ringpost until the ref undid the hold. Styles followed up with a springboard forearm back inside the ring a short time later. Styles went for a springboard off the second rope, but Archer caught him. Archer went for the blackout, but Styles slipped out of it and dropkicked his leg. Styles began working over Archer’s leg with a submission in the middle of the ring. Styles eventually applied a figure 4 in the middle of the ring. Archer struggled, but eventually got the ropes to break the hold. Archer fired up as Styles nailed him with a series of big kicks to the chest. He caught Styles coming off the ropes and went for the blackout again, but Styles slipped out and swept his leg out from under him from behind.
Styles went for the figure 4 again, but Archer shoved him off. Archer then caught Styles with a big clothesline as he charged at him. Styles hit a dropkick to Archer’s leg, but Archer managed to catch him with a Bubba bomb. Archer charged at Styles and wiped him out with a shoulder tackle. Archer sold his leg as he went to pick up Styles. Styles tried to light up Archer with a series of strikes and kicks, but Archer nailed him with a big choke slam for a near fall. Archer ended up with Styles on his shoulders, but Styles jumped off and nailed him with an enzuguri followed by a brainbuster for a near fall. Styles symbolically shot Archer and set up for the Styles clash, but he couldn’t get Archer up. Archer caught Styles going for a spinning kick and slammed him to the mat for a near fall. Wow! That was impressive. Archer went up top for a moonsault, but Styles managed to get out of the way and Archer sold his leg. Styles went for a springboard and Archer caught him, but Styles managed to escape a choke slam. He then rolled around Archer and applied a Texas cloverleaf variation for the win.
Winner: A.J. Styles
Star rating: (****) – This was excellent. Styles worked over Archer’s leg throughout the match and Archer mounted some great comebacks. Styles selling in this match really accentuated Archer’s power moves and this was a heck of a battle.
(7) Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki in a G1 Climax Block B match. They went face-to-face once Makabe got into the ring. They ref separated them before they went at it. They began exchanging forearms and ended up against the ropes. Makabe finally wiped out Suzuki with a shoulder tackle as he came off the ropes. Michinoku gave Suzuki a chair and he nailed Makabe over the back with it several times. Suzuki tied up Makabe in the guardrail and raked his eyes while pulling back on his neck. Suzuki eventually tossed Makabe back into the ring and began working him over. Makabe grabbed his jaw and Suzuki saw he was in pain and laughed at him. Suzuki then drove his boot into Makabe’s jaw before grinding his knee into it. Suzuki then grabbed a tight chin lock in the middle of the ring. Makabe tried to break free, so Suzuki dropped a big elbow into his jaw. Makabe absorbed several strikes and knees to the gut. He fired back with a series of huge forearms in the corner before hitting a running clothesline. Suzuki caught Makabe with a boot in the corner. Makabe charged at Suzuki and he got an arm bar using the ropes for leverage, but Makabe fired up and punched him down to the floor. Michinoku tried to attack Makabe and he looked at him like he was insane. Makabe obliterated Michinoku and clotheslined him over the guardrail. Suzuki missed a running kick attempt and Makabe worked over his leg against the guardrail.
Makabe went into the crowd and got a chair, but the ref took it away from him. He tossed Suzuki into the ring and continued to work over his leg. Suzuki screamed and signaled for Makabe to bring it, so Makabe nailed him with a kick to the leg and he collapsed to the mat. Suzuki slipped over Makabe on a suplex attempt and got a sleeper. Makabe tried to lift him up, but Suzuki slid around him and got the sleeper again. Makabe drove Suzuki into the corner and went back after his leg. Makabe applied a leg submission and began punching Suzuki and Makabe began trading blows, but Makabe wrenched back on Suzuki’s leg. Makabe fired up and continued to wrench on Suzuki’s leg. Suzuki struggled towards the ropes. Makabe told the ref to ask Suzuki if he was going to submit. Suzuki fired up and finally managed to get the ropes and the fans applauded. Makabe hit a big DVD a short time later, but Suzuki kicked out at 2. Makabe went for a powerbomb, but Suzuki slid behind him and got a sleeper. Makabe shrugged him off and Suzuki went after him, but his leg gave out. Makabe bounced off the ropes, but Suzuki met him with a big dropkick. Suzuki limped to his feet and decked Makabe with a short right to the jaw. Suzuki hit a huge running kick and took Makabe down to the mat with his signature sleeper hold. The fans really fired up as Makabe struggled in the middle of the ring. The ref checked Makabe’s arm three times and he was out. Wow! What a war.
Winner: Minoru Suzuki
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was an excellent match with Suzuki targeting Makabe’s injured jaw and Makabe doing extensive submission work on Suzuki’s leg throughout the match. They had a really nice build to the finish of the match with Makabe holding a leg submission for a long time. Suzuki finally managed to takedown Makabe with his signature sleeper before putting him away in the end.
(8) Tomoaki Honma vs. Katsuyori Shibata in a G1 Climax A Block match. Honma got right into the ring and went face-to-face with Shibata. They went right after each other after the bell rang. Shibata hit a series of vicious forearms. Honma absorbed a kick to the face and took down Shibata with a shoulder tackle. Shibata avoided a running headbutt and went for a running kick, but Honma ducked it and they came to a stalemate with the crowd going nuts. Ishii sent Honma to the outside and whipped him into the guardrail before he nailed him with a running kick. Honma hung upside down over the guardrail. Honma then fired back a short time later and clotheslined Shibata over the guardrail. He rolled back into the ring as Shibata sold his knee on the floor. The ref began counting, but Shibata easily beat the 20 count. Honma hit several forearms in the corner and Shibata walked towards him. Honma continued to hit big forearms, but Shibata sent him to his knees with a huge forearm. Shibata sent Honma into the corner and began hitting him with forearms. Shibata set up for a running dropkick, but Honma met him in the corner with a forearm. Shibata surprised Honma in the opposite corner with a running kick, but Honma charged at him as he set up for a dropkick in the corner and nailed him with a sick clothesline. Honma fired up and went for another running headbutt, but Shibata managed to get out of the way again.
Honma slammed Shibata and the fans fired up. He connected with a running headbutt this time, but was slow to capitalize. The fans chanted for Honma as he went on the attack. Honma tried to go up top, but Shibata nailed him with a big kick. Shibata then obliterated him with left and right forearms before connecting with his signature running dropkick in the corner. Shibata went on the attack and began working over Honma. They went back and forth in the middle of the ring. Honma slipped out of the GTS, but ate a spinning backfist. Shibata went off the ropes, but Honma nailed him with a headbutt. Honma then hit a big brainbuster and covered Shibata for a near fall as the fans counted along with the ref’s count. Honma fired up and the fans went nuts. Honma went for a slam, but Shibata slipped behind him and applied a sleeper. The ref checked Honma’s arm, but he fired up and struggled towards the ropes. Honma finally got the ropes, but Shibata nailed him with a big kick and went for the penalty kick, but Honma caught his leg. Shibata hit several slaps, but Honma nailed him with a big slap and hit a huge piledriver for a near fall as the announcers went insane. Honma slammed Shibata and went up top. The fans went nuts as Honma went for a diving headbutt, but Shibata got his legs up and both men were down. What a sequence! Shibata caught Honma with a knee to the gut but Honma kicked out at one. Shibata hit another kick, but Honma kicked out at one. Shibata bounced off the ropes, but Honma nailed him with a huge clothesline for a near fall. The fans went insane chanting for Honma. The announcers absolutely lost their minds. Shibata got up and nailed Honma with a huge backfist. He went for the GTS. Honma tried to elbow his way out, but he connected. Shibata then hit the penalty kick for the win. This was just pure insanity.
The fans chanted for Honma after the match was over. Several attendants helped him to the back after the match.
Winner: Katsuyori Shibata
Star rating: (****1/2) – What an incredible match and story. Honma has been putting on incredible performances in the tournament, but this was his best one yet. He went toe-to-toe with Shibata the entire time and managed to counter the GTS several times. The fans went absolutely insane when Honma looked to be on the verge of winning. Honma kicking out at one late in the match several times and connecting with a huge clothesline was an incredible moment. What a match!
(9) Kazuchika Okada vs. IWGP IC Champion Yujiro Takahashi in a G1 Climax B Block match. Takahashi jumped Okada from behind as he was making his entrance. They ended up back inside the ring and Takahashi dropped Okada neck-first over the top rope. He then stood on Okada’s throat against the ropes. The fans tried to fire up behind Okada, but Takahashi cut him off and did some crotch thrusts and the fans booed. Takahashi hit some light slaps to Okada’s face. Okada fired up and told him to bring it. Takahashi hit several elbows in the corner and the fans booed. Okada tried to fire back, but Takahashi rolled to the floor. Takahashi then nailed Okada with a clothesline on the floor and dropped him chest-first over the ring barrier. The fans fired up big time and Okada finally caught Takahashi with a flap jack. He followed up with a big DDT and kipped up and the fans applauded. Okada ended up dropkicking Takahashi off the top to the floor. He then nailed him with a running kick against the barrier. Okada then dragged him up over the barrier and hit a hangman’s DDT. Okada hit an elbow off the top and signaled for the rainmaker, but Takahashi ducked it and raked Okada’s eyes. Takahashi went on the attack and began working over Okada.
Okada countered Takahashi and hit an emerald frozien variation. Okada then hit a big suplex for a 2 count. Okada went for a tombstone, but Takahashi grabbed the ref. Takahashi hit a low blow with the ref distracted after he grabbed him and followed up with a big lariat. He followed up with a big German for a near fall and the fans applauded. Takahashi got Okada up on his shoulders and slammed him down to the mat with a Michinoku driver variation for a good near fall. Gedo went nuts on the outside. Takahashi set up for a buckle bomb, but Okada countered it into a hurricanrana. The fans fired up with both men slow to recover. Both men got up and began trading forearms. Both men went back and forth as they continued to exchange forearms. Okada eventually caught Takahashi with a dropkick off the ropes and hit a tombstone. He signaled for the rainmaker and turned him inside out with it for the win.
Okada put his foot on Takahashi’s chest and posed after the match.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a good match. It was a little slow at times to get going, but the fans got into it late with Okada having to overcome Takahashi’s cheap tactics throughout the match to get the win.
(10) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a G1 Climax A Block match. They went to an exchange on the mat early and came to a stalemate. The fans applauded before both men went at it again. Tanahashi ducked a series of kicks from Nakamura and played air guitar as they came to another stalemate. Tanahashi hit a big sequence of moves on Nakamura capped by a dropkick and the fans fired up. Nakamura went for a kick out of the corner. Tanahashi caught it, but Nakamura transitioned into a spin kick to deck Tanahashi. Nakamura hit a flying kick out of the corner a short time later and the action spilled to the floor. Nakamura set up Tanahashi on the apron and nailed him with a running knee to the head. He then grabbed a headlock in the middle of the ring. Nakamura continued to work over Tanahashi and hit him with a big jumping knee to the head for a 2 count. They went to an exchange in the corner and Nakamura missed his signature running knee to the gut with Tanahashi draped over the top rope after missing a splash in the corner. Tanahashi got the upper hand with a flying forearm and began working over Nakamura. He went up to the second turnbuckle and hit a flip senton for a 2 count. Tanahashi put the boots to Nakamura in the corner and did Nakamura’s signature boot choke. This made Nakamura angry and he grabbed Tanahashi’s leg and hit his signature boot choke. He then draped Tanahashi over the turnbuckles and connected with his signature running knee to the gut for a 2 count.
They went to an exchange in the middle of the ring and Tanahashi ducked a pair of kicks and hit a dragon screw on Nakamura that left both men down. They got up and began exchanging forearms. The fans fired up and Tanahashi kicked Nakamura’s leg. He went for a dragon screw, but Nakamura grabbed a triangle. Tanahashi began to stand up, but he couldn’t get the ropes. Tanahasi eventually stepped over Nakamura and countered into a Texas cloverleaf. He dragged Nakamura away from the ropes. Nakamura finally managed to get the ropes and the fans applauded. Tanahashi hit another dragon screw and the fans fired up. Nakamura managed to counter Tanahashi coming off the ropes and he eventually hit a big suplex. Nakamura then set up for the Boma Ye, but Tanahashi caught him with a spiral tap. Tanahashi went for the high fly flow, but Nakamura got out of the way and slammed him to the mat. Nakamura hit a huge knee to the gut and went for the Boma Ye again, but Tanahashi caught him with another spiral tap. The fans fired up big time with both men down. Both men got to their feet and began exchanging forearms. The pace increased as both men continued to hammer each other with forearms. They continued to go back and forth. Tanahashi hit a big slap and Nakamura grabbed his face before returning the favor. Nakamura countered a straightjacket German, but Tanahashi kicked out his legs and hit a spiral top. Tanahashi hit the high fly flow on a standing Nakamura. He went up top for another high fly flow, but Nakamura got his knees up. Nakamura set up in the corner and got on the turnbuckles. He hit a big diving knee to the back of Tanahashi’s head, but he kicked out at the last second. Nakamura set up for the Boma Ye in the corner, but Tanahashi caught hit leg. Nakamura spun out of a dragon screw and hit the Boma Ye kick, but Tanahashi kicked out at the very last second and the fans went nuts. Nakamura set up in the corner for the Boma Ye, but Tanahasi chopped his legs out from under him and got a bridging pinning combination for the win. Wow. Just wow. What a match!
Tanahashi teased leaving the ring after the match as the fans chanted his name. The fans began clapping and chanting Tanahashi’s name. Tanahashi got back into the ring and shouted on the mic and the fans went nuts. He dropped the mic and the fans cheered and chanted his name. Tanahashi took out his air guitar and shouted to each side of the ring. He began his guitar solo and the fans clapped. Tanahashi collapsed to the mat and sold exhaustion. Tanahashi got up on the turnbuckles and began playing again as the fans clapped. He then smashed his air guitar and the fans applauded. The fans began clapping once again as Tanahashi looked out to the crowd. Tanahashi had another air guitar thrown to him from the outside. He then got on his knees and began playing air guitar as the fans went crazy clapping. He then threw his air guitar into the crowd. Tanahashi got on the mic and said he would win G1. The fans applauded. His music then played.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Star rating: (****1/2) – This was an amazing match between the two biggest names in A block and it did not disappoint. Tanahashi worked over Nakamura’s leg throughout the match and the near fall down the stretch where he kicked out of the Boma Ye was incredible. The finishing sequence was crazy as well with Tanahashi getting the win after avoiding another Boma Ye with a bridging pinning combination. This was amazing. Tanahashi and Okada continue to mirror each other in the tournament.
Overall thoughts: (9.5) – This show was amazing. The G1 Climax 124 Tournament has been one of the most amazing things for me to experience as a wrestling fan. The booking is firing on all cylinders, the wrestlers are delivering some of the best performances I’ve ever seen, and the crowds have been red hot. This show in Osaka was special. The quality of wrestling up and down the card was fantastic, but once again the top stories in the tournament continued on course with Tanahashi and Okada mirroring each other on opposite blocks. The main event with Tanahashi vs. Nakamura was incredible. When you want to talk about a big match with big star power, this match delivered that and more.
The show really picked up once with Archer-Styles on the undercard and never really slowed down. Once again, Styles had a great match and made his opponent look great, which is no surprise at this point, as Styles is so locked in and he sold for Archer and made him look like a monster.
Suzuki-Makabe was an all-out war with both men employing some really good submission work in front of a red hot crowd. Makabe’s facials are great, but it was Suzuki working over his jaw and wearing him down before putting him away with his signature takedown sleeper for the win.
Honma-Shibata was incredible. Honma has to be considered for MVP of this tournament. He’s had good matches every time out, but this was his best one yet. They had an incredible back and forth match that built and built to some excellent spots down the stretch, including Honma kicking out at 1 twice after Shibata nailed him with a pair of vicious kicks.
The main event featured big time star power with Tanahashi and Nakamura going at it. They put together an incredible match with Tanahashi working over Nakamura’s leg. The match built to an incredible finishing sequence with a great near fall with Tanahashi kicking out of the Boma Ye and then avoiding another one before getting the win with a pinning combination. Tanahashi’s star power is awe-inspiring and his show-closing air guitar performance in front of a red hot crowd in Osaka was nothing short of an incredible moment.
If you’re a wrestling fan and you’re not watching this tournament, you’re really missing out. This tournament has turned out an amazing amount of show of the year contenders, especially this show and night 5. It’s truly been a special experience to watch this tournament unfold.
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