Other PPVs CALDWELL'S NJPW G1 CLIMAX REPORT 7/20 - Night 1: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Tanahashi vs. Ibushi main event, A.J. Styles vs. Shibata, more G1 Climax matches
Jul 20, 2015 - 4:10:16 AM
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New Japan G1 Climax Results
July 20, 2015 - Night 1
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The first night of the G1 Climax tournament started with a video package running down the A and B Block rosters. Great start setting the stage for the tournament and tonight's show.
(1) Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Thunder Liger & Yohei Komatsu vs. Honma & Mascara Dorada & Jay White & David Finlay in an eight-man tag opening match. Honma vs. Nagata to start, exciting the crowd. Liger entered and the announcers noted he is heading to WWE next month (for the NXT special). Another WWE reference when David Finlay, the son of Fit Finlay, entered the match. The match built back to Honma vs. Nagata until chaos broke out in the ring. Finlay was eventually legal for Honma's team and Nagata grappled Finlay for a rear suplex for the pin and the win. Nagata and Honma had a post-match stare down to set up their first match in the G1 Climax against each other on Thursday.
WINNERS: Team Nagata at 10:42. A fun opener focusing on fan favorite Honma opposite respected legend Nagata. Honma is such a big deal right now.
(2) IWGP IC champion Hirooki Goto & Captain New Japan beat Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & Cody Hall) at 9:37. Cody has really grown as a wrestler and looked good in this match. And there's Goto, who got a warm-up before kicking off his G1 quest Thursday against Yujiro.
(3) Shinsuke Nakamura & YOSHI-HASHI beat Bullet Club (Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga) at 10:30. Nakamura and Anderson started things off to set up their first G1 match against each other on Thursday. Big stalemate in the opening minutes. Bullet Club then isolated Nakamura in their corner to wear down the former IWGP IC champion. Chaos broke out with all four men in the ring, then Nakamura hit the Boma Ye knee on Tonga for the pin and the win. After the match, Nakamura did Anderson's Machine Gun pose to celebrate the win and to set up their G1 opener.
(4) Satoshi Kojima & Ryusuke Taguchi & Michael Elgin vs. IWGP World Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo in a six-man tag match. Elgin and Okada started things off to set up their G1 opener on Thursday. Solid use of the undercard tonight to set up G1 matches. Throughout the match, Elgin was given a big spotlight to get over his power offense in unique ways. Included was an attempted double suplex to Okada and Ishii that didn't quite go right. Okada then delivered textbook dropkicks to everyone in sight before doing the Rainmaker Pose. Okada spun Taguchi around and nailed the Rainmaker lariat for the pin and the win.
Kojima and Ishii got into it after the match, setting up their G1 opener on Thursday. They eventually had to be separated and pulled away from each other. That should be an intense match on Thursday.
WINNERS: Team Okada at 13:20. It feels like it's been a while since Elgin has been treated like a big deal since the awkward ending of his ROH Title run last year and this was the match for it. Plus, you can't go wrong with Okada getting in his signature offense to close the pre-G1 undercard.
5 -- NWA World Hvt. champion TENZAN vs. IWGP tag champion DOC GALLOWS -- G1 Climax A Block match
And the 2015 G1 Climax has officially begun with a powerhouse opening match. They were evenly-matched early on until Doc choked Tenzan with a rope to boos. Doc then went to work on Tenzan to capitalize on the rope attack. Tenzan made a comeback with signature chops, but Doc cut him off and landed a full nelson slam into his chokebomb finisher, but Tenzan kicked out. Tenzan responded with a neck vice submission into his version of an Anaconda Vice, forcing Gallows to tap out.
WINNER: Tenzan via submission at 9:20 to earn 2 points.
6 -- NEVER Openweight champion TOGI MAKABE vs. TORU YANO -- G1 Climax A Block match
Goofball Yano wanted to play games to throw Makabe off his game early on. Yano was succesful, frustrating Makabe into making mistakes. He nearly scored a three count on a backslide, then yelled at the referee. That allowed Makabe to grapple him for a backslide suplex into a diving knee from the top rope. Makabe covered Yano for the win.
WINNER: Makabe at 6:30 to earn 2 points. A fine change of pace for Makabe, who has been slugging it out with fellow super heavyweight Tomohiro Ishii as of late. Fun match.
7 -- 2013 G1 winner TETSUYA NAITO vs. BAD LUCK FULE -- G1 Climax A Block match
After Bad Luck Fale made his entrance, Naito showed up wearing a suit, hood, and mask covering his entire face. Very casual stroll to the ring. Once in the ring, Naito slowly removed his mask and suit. He just doesn't care right now.
Once the match started, Naito unloaded on Fale with forearms, drawing a reprimand from the referee. Naito nearly shoved down ref Red Shoes, then the match spilled out to the outside. Fale dragged Naito into the crowd, placing Naito across a row of chairs to grab a nap. Naito eventually made it back into the ring to take punishment from Fale. Naito made a comeback, survived Fale's power offense, and scored a quick pin on Fale to get the casual win. And Naito was still upset after the match, pushing aside the ref and cameraman before reclining on the entrance ramp.
WINNER: Naito at 10:45 to earn 2 points.
8 -- A.J. STYLES vs. SHIBATA -- G1 Climax A Block match
And now the match everyone has been waiting for since the G1 press conference over the weekend. Hot start, including Shibata teasing the Penalty Kick in the opening minutes. Styles responded by trying to work over Shibata's leg and ankle to go along with Shibata selling an elbow injury with athletic tape. Shibata fought back, but Styles was too much for Shibata, nailing the Clash for the win, much to the dismay of the crowd.
WINNER: Styles at 13:40 to earn 2 points. The outcome reinforced Styles as a favorite to win the tournament and Shibata got sympathy in defeat after a big-time battle with Styles. Hopefully this match happens again down the road on a PPV event/special where it can be given more time.
9 -- TANAHASHI vs. KOTA IBUSHI -- G1 Climax A Block match
Big-time atmosphere for the main event of opening night. Stalemate early on, prompting the crowd to chant Tanahashi's name. Shoulder knock down, but Ibushi popped to his feet and snapped of a dropkick. Ibushi then disrespected Tanahashi with a hard kick to the chest. And another. He's trying to be taken seriously at this level after mainly being a Jr. Hvt. during his career. Ibushi tried to complete the sequence with a standing moonsault, but Tanahashi moved out of the way and took control of the match.
Late in the match, Tanahashi hit High Fly Flow on a standing Ibushi, then wanted a traditional HFF, but Ibushi got his knees up to block. Both men sold on the mat before returning to their feet. Ibushi lit up Tanahashi with kicks and strikes into a huracanrana, then lawn-darted Tanahashi into the middle turnbuckle. Tanahashi sold intense pain, but the match continued. Ibushi then grappled Tanahashi from behind and suplexed him clear over the ropes back into the ring with a bridging German Suplex for a close two count. The crowd went nuts for that.
Ibushi tried to end it with a top-rope Phoenix Splash, but Tanahashi moved in time. Tanahashi wanted High Fly Flow again, but Ibushi kicked him in the head. Ibushi then jumped onto Tanahashi's shoulders to nail a top-rope Frankensteiner for another two count. Ibushi, frustrated, went for a powerbomb, but Tanahashi slipped out. He missed the Slingblade, but caught Ibushi with a Tiger Suplex for a two count. Tanahashi then sprung to the top rope and nailed High Fly Flow. It was good for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Tanahashi at 20:54. There was no way Tanahashi was losing on Night 1 of the G1 Climax, but they made you believe Ibushi had a chance to win this match. Great, great match. Ibushi is so good in the ring and Tanahashi was the steadying force to base for Ibushi's aerial and striking attack. (****1/4)
Post-match, Ibushi dejectedly left the ring after being consoled by Tanahashi. Tanahashi then recovered in the ring and played with the crowd on whether he would leave or stay. Tanahashi took the mic and cut a promo firing up the crowd for his G1 Climax journey. Tanahashi then found an air guitar to his liking and warmed it up before hitting the music. Tanahashi went through a few more air guitars before he made his final declaration going after the IWGP World Hvt. Title. His theme played to close out the show. But, first, Tanahashi took a victory lap doing his routine of taking fan towels and wiping sweat off his face before returning the towel. This went on for quite a while until Tanahashi hit the top of the stage and posed one more time for the fans.
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