SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 3 BLOG
JULY 23, 2016
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 was held in Tokyo at the Machida City Gymnasium. This is the first G1 show this year without commentary, but it was a multi-camera shoot. This show has darker lighting compared to the other shows in the tournament so far.
(1) Nakanishi & Satoshi Kojima & Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV beat IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson & David Finlay & Captain New Japan in an eight-man tag match.
(2) YOSHI-HASHI & Katsuhiko Nakajima beat NEVER Openweight champion Shibata & Honma, who were forced to team up while feuding and continuing their animosity.
(3) Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi) beat Toru Yano & Gedo.
(4) L.I.J. (Naito & EVIL & BUSHI) beat IWGP IC champion Michael Elgin & Yuji Nagata & Ryusuke Taguchi. This match was used to set up Naito-Elgin and EVIL-Nagata in the B Block tomorrow.
G1 CLIMAX TOURNAMENT ACTION
(5) Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2 pts.) vs. Tama Tonga (0 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Tonga jumped Tenzan and Kojima when they weren’t paying attention. Tonga looks ridiculous in his gear with $100 bills on it. I thought his gimmick was that he’s supposed to be mysterious, but either way this is a big departure from the norm for him in terms of gear. Tonga dominated the action during the early going. Tenzan mounted a comeback and hit a big clothesline in the corner.
They went back and forth and Tenzan went for a diving headbutt, but Tonga got out of the way. Tonga hit a spear after doing some misdirection for a 2 count. He hit a draping twisting neck breaker a short time later, but only got another 2 count. Tenzan got the anaconda vice a short time later. Tonga got up to his feet, but Tenzan slammed him down to the mat for a near fall. He then went up top and hit a moonsault for the win.
WINNER: Hiroyoshi Tenzan at 10:31 (4 pts.)
Star rating: (**) – This was a fairly bland match. Tonga isn’t very exciting at all as a singles wrestler right now. The fans were excited that Tenzan won and is off to a fast start in the tournament, but this was a weak match to kick off block action.
(6) Tomohiro Ishii (0 pts) vs. Hirooki Goto (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. They had a big chop battle during the early going that Ishii eventually won. Goto fired back with forearms, but Ishii shook them off and decked him with a big forearm. Goto mounted a comeback and hit a big elbow off the top for a 2 count. The fans fired up and chanted for Ishii. They went back and forth in the middle of the ring and Ishii hit a big enzuguri that left both men down on the mat.
Ishii hit a big delayed super vertical suplex a short time later for a near fall. Goto fired up and wouldn’t go down as Ishii hit a pair of huge clotheslines. They eventually traded counters and Goto hit a big neck breaker over his knee. Goto took a series of left and right forearms, but fired up and took Ishii down with a spinning lariat. They continued to exchange and Goto caught Ishii and hit a big neck breaker over his knee out of the DVD position. Ishii hit a big powerbomb a short time later and folded over on Goto for a 2 count. The fans fired up as Ishii waited for Goto to get up. Goto wouldn’t get up, so Ishii brought him to his feet and obliterated him with a clothesline. Goto ended up kicking out at 1! Holy s—!
Goto slipped out of a brainbuster and grabbed a choke sleeper. Goto slipped out of it and set up Goto for a big sliding clothesline to the back of the head. Ishii set up for another clothesline, but Goto turned him inside out with a surprise clothesline of his own. Goto lifted up Ishii and hit another big clothesline, but Ishii kicked out at 1. They went back and forth a short time later and Goto lifted Ishii up and dropped him face first over his knee. He then dropped the back of his over his knee and hit the final cut for the win.
WINNER: Hirooki Goto at 11:49 (4 pts.)
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a good match. It was lacking the spark to take it to the next level, but they did a good job of having a hard-hitting war with some big one0count kick-out spots late mixed in with some hard-hitting back and forth action.
(7) GHC Hvt. Tag Team Champion Naomichi Marufuji (2 pts.) vs. Bad Luck Fale (0 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Once again, Fale hit the ring announcer while he was introducing him. They had a chop vs. forearm battle during the early going. Neither man would go down, but Fale’s forearms staggered Marufuji. They went back and forth and Fale went to the floor after taking two dropkicks. Marufuji followed up with a big splash to the floor and the fans fired up.
A short time later, Fale hit a big shoulder tackle inside the ring. He then took Marufuji to the outside and tossed him into the ring barrier several times. He tossed Marufuji like a ragdoll into the ringpost. Marufuji barely managed to beat the 20 count from the ref. Marufuji ended up countered Fale out of the corner and hit a suplex. Marufuji hit a beautiful crescent superkick and set up for sliced bread. Fale blocked it only to take another series of gorgeous kicks from Marufuji. Fale eventually caught Marufuji with a clothesline to deck him. Marufuji ducked a chard in the corner and hit a sick bicycle kick and both men were down on the mat!
Fale blocked a sliced bread and went for the bad luck fall, but Marufuji slipped out of it and hit another crescent kick and a knee lift. Marufuji blocked the grenade, but then jumped right into it a short time later. Fale then hit a big splash for a near fall. Fale lifted Marufuji and hit the grenade for the win.
WINNER: Bad Luck Fale at 9:36 (2 pts.)
Star rating: (***) – This was another surprising result in the tournament given that Marufuji was coming off a big win in a fantastic match against Okada. The match itself was good, but never really got going until late in the match.
(8) IWGP Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) (0 pts.) vs. Sanada (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Big chant for Okada after the opening bell rang. Okada went for the rainmaker early, but Sanada ducked and countered it into a dragon sleeper. Okada quickly got to the ropes and went to the floor where Sanada tossed him into the barrier. Sanada then grabbed a chair and went after Okada with it. Sanada went on the attack a short time later inside the ring.
Okada eventually fired up and shook off several kicks. Sanada ended up decking him with an elbow off the ropes. He then flipped around Okada and hit a big dropkick. The fans fired up and got behind Okada big time as Sanada worked a chin lock. Okada eventually mounted a comeback and went to work on Sanada. Sanada fired back and sent Okada to the floor with a big dropkick. He then hit a slingshot splash to the floor to wipe out Okada.
Okada fired back inside the ring a short time later with a flap jack. The fans fired up with both men down on the mat. Okada hit heavy rain a short time later. He followed up with an elbow off the top and signaled for the rainmaker, but Sanada countered it again. Okada went for a dropkick, but Sanada held onto the ropes. They went back and forth and Sanada eventually hit a tiger suplex for a 2 count. The fans fired up behind Okada as Sanada went up top. He missed a moonsault, but landed on his feet. He hit Okada with a big uppercut a short time later and Okada went down to his knees. Okada went for another rainmaker, but Sanada countered it only to eat the too awesome dropkick.
They went back and forth and Okada slipped out for a tombstone, but Sanada got out of it and applied the dragon sleeper. Okada teased tapping, but managed to get his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Sanada went for a moonsault once again, but this time he totally whiffed. Sanada went for a springboard, but Okada nailed him with a dropkick. Sanada ducked the rainmaker and went for the dragon sleeper, but Okada slipped out and hit a German. He then held on and went right into the rainmaker for the win.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 13:20 (2 pts.)
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a good match. It started slow and Sanada wasn’t drawing my interest with his heel work, but the match got quite good during the second half, especially the counter sequences with Sanada going for the dragon sleeper and Okada going for the rainmaker. This is a nice bounce back win for Okada after his opening night loss to Marufuji.
(9) Hiroshi Tanahashi (0 pts.) vs. Togi Makabe (2 pts) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Tanahashi backed Makabe into the ropes and slapped him across the face. Makabe returned the favor, but hit a big chop instead of a slap. Tanahashi got up after a shoulder tackle and a big slam, so Makabe clotheslined him over the top to the floor. Makabe grounded Tanahashi inside the ring a short time later and worked him over with a modified neck crank. Makabe then grabbed an arm submission a short time later, but Tanahashi managed to get to the ropes.
They went back and forth and Tanahashi caught Makabe with a flying forearm. Tanahashi went on the attack and began working over Makabe. Makabe fired back and they went at it up top. Makabe hit several punches up top and laughed. Makabe went for a kick a short time later, but Tanahashi blocked it and hit a dragon screw. They went back and forth and Makabe eventually decked Tanahashi with a big lariat and both men were down. They battled near the apron a short time later. Both men began trading forearms back and forth over the ropes. Makabe tried to suplex Tanahashi back into the ring, but he countered it into a neck breaker. He then hit a package German with a bridge for a good near fall.
Makabe ducked a clothesline and hit a German with a bridge a short time later for a 2 count and both men were down. Wow! They battled up top a short time later after nicely covering a botch when Makabe had trouble placing Tanahashi on the turnbuckles. Makabe went for a spider German. Tanahashi blocked it several times and tried to fight out of it, but Makabe hit it. He then hit the king kong knee drop for the win.
WINNER: Togi Makabe at 14:04 (4 pts.)
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a good match, but like the other matches on the card, it never felt like a great match. The result is surprising as was the action in the match, as Makabe controlled a lot of the action and it seemed like Tanahashi just couldn’t get out of the gate before losing. A very convincing win for Makabe.
Overall Thoughts: This was a very solid night of action, but nothing on the card was worth going out of your way to see. That being said with three of the match in the three-and-a-half star range, it made for a pleasant night of viewing for the block action.
Makabe cut a crowd-pleasing promo to close the show. The tournament continues to be largely unpredictable, but it seems like something is missing this year without A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in the tournament. There have been some fantastic matches, but this tournament isn’t blowing my doors off so far. That being said, this is still a really fun tournament to watch. This third night of action definitely feels like a skippable show even though Goto vs. Ishii, Okada vs. Sanada, and Makabe vs. Tanahashi were all good matches. If you’re pressed for time, you can safely read the results and move along to the next show if you’re picking and choosing what you watch in this tournament.
MATCHES TO WATCH
My cutoff for matches to go out of your way to see is ***3/4, so nothing on this show gets a strong recommendation if you’re picking and choosing what you’re watching during this tournament.
STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 3
A Block Standings
Togi Makabe (2-0, 4 pts)
Tenzan (2-0, 4 pts)
Hirooki Goto (2-0, 4 pts)
IWGP Champ Kazuchika Okada (1-1, 2 pts)
Sanada (1-1, 2 pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (1-1, 2 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (1-1, 2 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-2, 0 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (0-2, 0 pts)
Tama Tonga (0-2, 0 pts)
B Block Standings
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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