RADICAN’s NJPW G1 Climax Night 2 Review – Kokeshi Happy, Omega & Elgin lose opening matches; Overall Reax


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RadicanSean_profileRADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 2 BLOG
JULY 22, 2016
Tokyo, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM

I’m only watching the Block action once again this year for my G1 Climax coverage. I will also include a guide at the end of each show I review with recommended matches if you’re only looking to watch the best action from each show.

This show is taking place at Korakuen Hall.

(1) Kojima & Tenzan & Nakanishi beat Juice Robinson & David Finlay & Captain New Japan in a six-man tag match.

(2) Marufuji (NOAH) & Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii beat Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi) in a six-man tag match.

(3) KUSHIDA & Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi beat Togi Makabe & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV in a six-man tag match.

(4) L.I.J. (Sanada & BUSHI) beat IWGP World Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada & Gedo.

G1 CLIMAX TOURNAMENT ACTION

(5) GHC Hvt. Tag Team Champion Toru Yano (0) vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (0) in a G1 Climax B Block match. This was about what you would expect from a Yano match. Yano spit water at Nakajima when he was introduced and Nakajima nailed him with a big running kick to kick off the match. This had the usual Yano shenanigans. At one point he tried to get a count out win by tying Nakajima to the guardrail with his t-shirt. Also, Yano got a near fall when he choked Nakajima inside the ring with the shirt and pressed down on top of him while choking him. Nakajima wasn’t going to be the victim of an upset on this show, however, as he got the win with a brainbuster.

WINNER: Katsuhiko Nakajima at 3:51 (2 pts.)

Star rating: (**) – This was about as good as I expected it to be.

(6) YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kenny Omega in a G1 Climax B Block match. This was way better than I expected it to be. HASHI is a good worker capable of putting on good matches, but this encounter was very one-sides during the early going with Omega in control. An early spot saw Omega bury HASHI under the mats and then nail him with a double stomp. HASHI mounted a comeback later in the match and really did a nice job of playing the underdog. The first time he went for a swanton, Omega got his knees up. HASHI connected with the swanton later in the match for a good near fall. At one point, Omega went for the one-winged angel, but HASHI countered it into a DDT.

They did a nice submission tease with HASHI locking in what looked like a reverse border city stretch only for Omega to just barely to get his feet on the bottom rope to break it up. HASHI hit a boma ye to the back of Omega’s head late in the match for a good near fall. He then hit Shingo’s made in Japan for the win.

WINNER: YOSHI-HASHI at 12:16 (2 pts.)

Star rating: (****1/4) – This was a fantastic match with some great near falls. HASHI did a great job of mounting comebacks and getting several near falls down the stretch before getting the win.

(7) IWGP IC Champion Michael Elgin (0) vs. EVIL (0) in a G1 Climax B Block match. Elgin hit a delayed vertical suplex early, but missed a slingshot splash a short time later. EVIL wrapped a chair around Elgin’s head on the outside and ran him into the ringpost. EVIL worked over Elgin for a long period of time, but Elgin caught him going for a splash in the corner. He held on and carried EVIL out of the corner before hitting an exploder. Elgin caught EVIL with a big forearm as he charged at him a short time later. He then lifted EVIL from his knees into the vertical suplex position right into a falcon arrow for a 2 count. EVIL fired back and hit a fisherman buster, but only got a 2 count.

They went back and forth trading forearms. Elgin caught EVIL with an enzuguri that staggered him. They went back and forth until Elgin wiped out EVIL with a huge lariat for a 2 count! Elgin went up top and hit a big splash, but EVIL kicked out at the last second. Elgin hit a buckle bomb, but Evil staggered out of the corner and hit a snow plow variation that left both men down on the mat! EVIL and Elgin went at it hot and heavy and EVIL cut him off with two huge strikes and then a half and half suplex. He followed up with a big clothesline for a near fall. EVIL then got the win with a modified STO.

WINNER: EVIL at 10:54 (2 pts.)

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a very good match. It was a little slow when EVIL was on offense during he early going. They then picked the pace up with some nice fighting spirit spots and big strike exchanges. Elgin looked really good here even though he took the loss.

(8) Tetsuya Naito (0) vs. Yuji Nagata (0) in a G1 Climax B Block match. Nagata hit a hip toss during the early going and Naito hit his salute from a knee, which fired up the crowd. Naito got the upper hand and went after Nagata’s leg. He set it up on the guardrail and nailed it with a big dropkick. Naito locked in a figure 4 back inside the ring. Naito mocked Nagata’s salute once again as he worked the hold. Nagata struggled, but finally managed to get to the ropes. Nagata fired back and hit a series of forearms in the corner. He hit an exploder a short time later, but only got a 2 count. Naito fired back and caught Nagata with a kick to the knee and a swinging neck breaker.

Naito went after Nagata’s leg again, but he suddenly countered him and got the white eyes arm bar as the fans fired up. Nagata eventually transitioned to a cross-arm bar, but Naito got the ropes. Naito spit in Nagata’s face, which angered Nagata, so he kneed him over and over and continued to knee him over and over in the corner. He then alternated kicks with his left and right leg and Naito was down in a heap in the corner. Naito then suddenly countered Nagata and got a modified ankle lock with a grapevine. Nagata teased tapping and the fans fired up. Naito applied the hold at a higher angle. Nagata struggled and teased tapping, but eventually got to the ropes.

Nagata countered Destino and hit a suplex for a 2 count. They traded strikes again in the middle of the ring. Naito went for Destino, but Nagata slapped him twice across the face and hit a backdrop driver for a near fall. They went back and forth and Nagata countered Naito and ducked his strikes before hitting a backdrop driver for the win!

Nagata looked at Naito on the floor after the match and mocked his wide-eyed pose. Naito smiled back at him.

WINNER: Yuji Nagata at 15:32 (2 pts)

Star rating: (***1/2) – The match dragged in spots and the crowd seemed a bit flat during Naito’s initial work on Nagata’s leg. The match then picked up during the second half and they delivered some great action, although they went away from Naito during the last part of the match. This got really good late.

(9) NEVER Openweight champion Katsuyori Shibata (0) vs. Tomoaki Honma (0) in a G1 Climax B Block match. Shibata beat Honma at “Kizuna Road” earlier this month. They started off trading bombs right away. Honma missed a diving kokeshi during the early going, but managed to avoid a PK from Shibata. Honma fired back after a big strike from Shibata he ended up kicking him right out of the ring. He then tossed Shibata into the guardrails several times before hitting a lariat that sent him into the stands. Shibata told Honma to bring as he hit chop after chop.

Shibata eventually got to his feet and continued to take chops. He then dropped Honma to his knees with a big forearm. They went back and forth and Shibata went for a heat seeking missile, but Honma cut him off with a clothesline and hit a diving kokeshi to his back. Shibata mounted a comeback and this time hit his signature dropkick in the corner. Honma fired back and hit a leaping kokeshi off the ropes that left both men down and the fans fired up! Both men got up and began trading forearms from their knees. They got to their feet and continued to trade blows.

Shibata suddenly grabbed a guillotine and went down to the ground with Honma with his hooks in. Honma suddenly stood up and lifted Shibata into a big jumping piledriver. Once again, both men were down on the mat. They got up and went at it again. Honma no-sold a German. Shibata then kicked out of a lariat at 1 and both men were down on the mat once again. The action is good, but the crowd isn’t providing much of an atmosphere. Honma got up and caught Shibata with another leaping kokeshi off the ropes. He hit another jumping piledriver, but Shibata got up to his feet. Honma cut off his strikes with big slaps to the head. He then hit a white noise variation before connecting with a headbutt for the win. WOW!

WINNER: Tomoaki Honma at 11:11 (2 pts.)

Star rating: (****) – This was excellent. The fans seemed to lose steam about mid-way through the block action. They had a really good hard-hitting back and forth affair. The fighting spirit spots late in the match were awesome and it’s unbelievable that after not winning a match in G1 two years ago, Honma picked up an upset win in his first G1 match this year. The crowd woke up late for the excellent exchanges leading into the surprise finish.

After the match, Honma tossed Shibata back into the ring. They went head-to-head. Honma offered a handshake, but Shibata slapped him across the face. Honma fired right back with a huge slap to the face and tossed Shibata out of the ring.

Honma then cut a promo in his raspy voice. The fans chanted for Honma. They seemed to be into what Honma said. He asked the fans to get to their feet. They applauded. He finished with kokeshi happy and the fans raised their fist with him to close the show!

 

Overall Thoughts: This was a very good night of block action overall for the B block. The B block doesn’t have the star power, but the potential is there for good to excellent matches up and down the card. The crowd seemed to lose steam about halfway through the block action. They were really hot during the early going, especially during Omega-HASHI, which was the match of the show.

The big theme of the tournament continues to be upsets, as there were two big upsets and one minor upset on the first night. Tonight there were four upsets in the five matches as all of the underdogs won. This is a nice booking twist and hopefully things remain unpredictable going forward, although I imagine the upsets won’t continue to come quite as frequently. I will say this is a nice way to keep viewers and fans guessing as the tournament wears on.

If you’re stuck for time, go out of your way to see Omega-HASHI and Honma-Shibata. If you have more time on your hands, Elgin-EVIL is worth watching as well.

MATCHES TO WATCH

(6) Kenny Omega vs. YOSHI-HASHI (****1/4)

(7) IWGP IC Champion Michael Elgin vs. EVIL (***3/4)

(9) Tomoaki Honma vs. NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata (****)

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 2

A Block Standings

Sanada (1-0, 2 pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (1-0, 2 pts)
Togi Makabe (1-0, 2 pts)
Tenzan (1-0, 2 pts)
Hirooki Goto (1-0, 0 pts)
IWGP Champ Kazuchika Okada (0-1, 0 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-1, 0 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (0-1, 0 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (0-1, 0 pts)
Tama Tonga (0-1, 0 pts)

B Block

Yuji Nagata (1-0, 2 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (1-0, 2 pts)
Honma (1-0, 2 pts)
EVIL (1-0, 2 pts)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (1-0, 2 pts)
NEVER Openweight champion Shibata (0-1, 0 pts)
IWGP IC champion Michael Elgin (0-1, 0 pts)
Naito (0-1, 0 pts)
Kenny Omega (0-1, 0 pts)
Toru Yano (0-1, 0 pts)

***

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