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RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 5 BLOG
JULY 25, 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 features a full camera shoot, but no commentary.
(1) YOSHI-HASHI beat David Finlay.
(2) NEVER Openweight champion Shibata & Yuji Nagata & Satoshi Kojima & Nakanishi & Jushin Liger beat IWGP IC champion Michael Elgin & IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask IV & Juice Robinson in a champions 10-man tag match.
(3) Bullet Club’s Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi beat Honma & Captain New Japan.
(4) L.I.J. (Naito & EVIL & BUSHI) beat Katsuhiko Nakajima & Gedo & Toru Yano in a six-man tag match.
G1 CLIMAX TOURNAMENT ACTION
(5) Bad Luck Fale (2 pts.) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (0 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. The story here early was that Fale was too big for Ishii to do anything with during the early going. Fale dominated with his power throughout the match, but then Ishii began to find some chinks in his armor later in the match. Ishii eventually hit a big German with a bridge for a near fall. After kicking out of the grenade at one point, Ishii finally hit the brainbuster to get some points on the board in the tournament.
WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii at 9:35 (2 pts.)
Star rating: (***1/4) – They told a good big man vs. little man story here. The action wasn’t fantastic, but I enjoyed the storytelling.
(6) Sanada (2 pts.) vs. Togi Makabe (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. This was quite good, but not fantastic. I’m impressed with Sanada’s athleticism at times. The spot he does where he hits a front and back leap frog and then hits a gorgeous dropkick is tremendous. In this match, I never felt like Makabe was in danger of losing. Sanada got the upper hand early and choked him in the crowd with his bat. They had some good back and forth action late. Makabe set up Sanada up top. He tried to fight out of the spider German, but Makabe managed to land it and then hit the King Kong knee drop for the win.
WINNER: Togi Makabe at 12:25 (6 pts.)
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was good from start to finish. They had some good back and forth action, but the downfall here is that I never felt like Sanada had the chance to win.
(7) Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Kojima) (4 pts.) vs. GHC Hvt. Tag Team Champion Naomichi Marufuji (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Marufuji blocked Tenzan’s Mongolian chops during the early going, but he eventually got some momentum and decked Marufuji with a series of them a short time later. Marufuji hit some thunderous chops on the outside before doing the same inside the ring and the fans began trying to rally behind Tenzan by chanting his name. Tenzan’s chest was bleeding from the chops he had taken in the match.
Tenzan mounted a comeback and took Marufuji down with a shoulder tackle before nailing him with several Mongolian chops. The fans chanted for Tenzan as he worked over Marufuji. Tenzan grabbed the anaconda vice. Marufuji got to his feet and Tenzan tried to slam him down, but Marufuji blocked it and hit a big knee lift to the head. Marufuji hit a beautiful crescent kick and another spinning kick for a 2 count. Tenzan blocked sliced bread and caught Marufuji with a leg lariat a short time later. He hit a flying headbutt off the top, but Marufuji kicked out at 2.
Marufuji and Tenzan traded blows. Marufuji ended up hurting his knee going for a knee life to Tenzan’s forehead. Tenzan hit a tombstone variation a short time later for a 2 count. He then went up top, but missed a moonsault attempt. Marufuji ducked a charge from Tenzan and caught him with a big running knee to the jaw. They went back and forth and Tenzan missed a lariat and ate a couple of huge kicks from Marufuji for a near fall. Marufuji hit a crescent superkick and then sliced bread for the win.
Both men showed respect to each other after the match.
WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji at 12:29 (4 pts.)
Star rating: (***1/4) – After a dull start, this match picked up during the second half. Marufuji brutalized Tenzan with chops. It looked like Tenzan would win late in the match, but he missed a moonsault and Marufuji finished him off a short time later with sliced bread. Marufuji throws some really nice kicks.
(8) Tama Tonga (w/Yujiro Takahashi) (0 pts.) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (0 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. The fans chanted for Tanahashi after the opening bell rang. Tanahashi set up for a dive to the floor, but Tonga got out of the way. Tonga caught Tanahashi going for a dropkick through the ropes and dumped him chest-first over the guardrail. I can’t believe Tanahashi took that. It looked brutal. Takahashi came over and put the boots to Tanahashi. Capt. New Japan tried to make the save, but Takahashi tossed him into the guardrail.
Tanahashi took a sustained beating, but finally caught Tonga with a big diving forearm off the ropes. Tonga slid around Tanahashi and caught him with a head scissors takedown, but Tanahashi caught a kick attempt and hit a dragon screw that left both men down on the mat. They went back and forth trading strikes and Tonga hit some kind of TKO variation for a 2 count. He then hit a twisting face buster for another 2 count.
Tanahashi really began selling his head with Tonga in control. Tanahashi fired back and hit a neck breaker and the fans fired up and chanted his name. He hit a sling blade a short time later for a 2 count. Tanahashi followed up with a package German for a near fall. He went for the high fly flow, but Tonga got his knees up and rolled him up for a near fall. Tonga then hit an ace crusher for the win. After losing, Tanahashi recovered and sold frustration leaving the ring.
WINNER: Tama Tonga at 11:10 (2 pts.)
Star rating: (**3/4) – The result is stunning, but Tonga is so dull in the ring that this didn’t get good until late. Tanahashi’s surprising slide to start the tournament is shocking.
(9) Hirooki Goto (4 pts.) vs. IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) (2pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. It’s CHAOS vs. CHAOS in the main event. The fans chanted for Okada after the opening bell rang. Goto hit a flurry of offense before clotheslining Okada to the floor during the early going. Okada fired back on the floor and hit a draping DDT off the guardrail. Okada worked over Goto until Goto finally managed to ground him with a big kick to the chest as he came off the ropes. Goto went on the attack and the fans fired up a bit.
Goto hit a big twisting version of the backdrop driver for a 2 count a short time later. Okada fired back and hit a diving uppercut for a 2 count. Goto fired back and hit a discus lariat a short time later and the fans applauded. Both men were down and the fans chanted for Okada. Okada placed Goto up top a short time later and hit his signature corner dropkick. Okada eventually booted Goto over the barricade and into the crowd when the action went to the floor. Okada got a running start and hit a big splash over the barricade that sent both men flying into a row of seats.
Okada dropped an elbow inside the ring and hit the rainmaker pose. Goto managed to block a rainmaker from Okada and eventually caught him with a big lariat as he came off the ropes. Goto hit a big face buster over his knee, but Okada blocked the final cut. Goto hit a neck breaker over his knee and went for the final cut again, but Okada German. He went for the rainmaker, but Gedo blocked it and pulled Okada by the hair so that his head went right into his knee and both men were down! WOW!
The fans fired up with both men down on the mat. Both men began exchanging blows from their knees. Goto eventually sent Okada down to a knee with a series of forearms. He then set up and nailed Okada with a big kick to the chest. Okada went for the too awesome dropkick, but Goto held onto the ropes to avoid it. Goto then grabbed a sleeper hold and Okada began to fade. Okada suddenly fired up and drove Goto into the corner.
They battled up top a short time later. Okada went to the mat and went for a German, but Goto blocked it. Goto then blocked a rainmaker attempt with a short headbutt to the chest. Okada ducked a big lariat and hit a dropkick to the back of Goto’s head. He then hit the too awesome dropkick and the fans fired up. Goto ducked a rainmaker attempt and went for the final cut, but Okada countered it and hit a tombstone. Okada did a big rainmaker pose on his knees. He then hit the rainmaker for the win. WOW!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada at 16:11 (4 pts.)
Star rating: (****) – This was excellent. Every so often Goto has a really good match and it’s no surprise he had one with Okada. The outcome was very much in doubt down the stretch, as I began to believe Goto was going to have Okada’s number on this night. Goto seemed on the verge of hitting his final cut finish several times and he also countered the rainmaker numerous times, but Okada eventually got the win.
After the match, Okada cut a show-closing promo. He said he now had two wins. He also talked about being the IWGP Hvt. champion. The fans applauded. Okada seemed to talk about winning G1 before handing the mic to Gedo. Gedo got on the mic and talked up Okada as the next G1 winner. The fans fired up a bit for Gedo’s promo. Gedo said not only would Okada remain the IWGP Hvt. Champion, but he would also win G1 to close the show.
Overall Thoughts: This was a solid night of action in the ring. Up until the main event, there were no must-see matches. The only big shocker coming out of this show is that Makabe is a surprising 3-0 and Tanahashi is 0-3. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, but here we are after three matches for the A block and Tanahashi has 0 points after dropping a match to Tama Tonga. I’m interested to see what the end game is here with the Tanahashi story, as they really need him to be a key player despite his injuries and age.
If you’re pressed for time, the main event between Okada and Goto was really good. Goto had me convinced he was going to get the win and earn a likely title shot against Okada later in the year. They had some great counter sequences around their finishers late in the match before Okada finally managed to land the rainmaker. This show was very similar to night three up until the main event in that nothing blew me away. Thankfully, Goto and Okada put together a memorable match to avoid the A block having two shows in a row that didn’t feature anything very interesting.
MATCHES TO WATCH
(9) Goto vs. Okada (****)
STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 5
A Block Standings
Togi Makabe (3-0, 6 pts)
Tenzan (2-1, 4 pts)
Hirooki Goto (2-1, 4 pts)
IWGP Champ Kazuchika Okada (2-1, 4 pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (2-1, 4 pts)
Sanada (1-2, 2 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (1-2, 2 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (1-2, 2 pts)
Tama Tonga (1-2, 2 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-3, 0 pts)
B Block Standings
Yuji Nagata (2-0, 4 pts)
Honma (2-0, 2 pts)
EVIL (1-1, 2 pts)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (1-1, 2 pts)
NEVER Openweight champion Shibata (1-1, 2 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (1-1, 2 pts)
Naito (1-1, 2 pts)
Kenny Omega (1-1, 2 pts)
IWGP IC champion Michael Elgin (0-2, 0 pts)
Toru Yano (0-2, 0 pts)
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