RADICAN’S NJPW G1 Climax Night 7 Review – Tanahashi vs. Fale, Marufuji vs. Ishii; Matches to Watch & Overall Reax

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist


G1 Climax 2016 logo (c) New Japan Pro Wrestling

RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 7 BLOG
JULY 28, 2016
SAITAMA, 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 features a full camera shoot, but no commentary.

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask beat Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay.

(2) Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata & Nakanishi & Honma beat YOSHI-HASHI & Katsuhiko Nakajima & Toru Yano & Gedo in an eight-man tag match.

(3) Bullet Club’s Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi beat Michael Elgin & Captain New Japan.

(4) L.I.J. (Naito & EVIL & BUSHI) beat NEVER Openweight champion Shibata & IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson in a six-man tag match.

G1 CLIMAX 26 BLOCK ACTION

(5) Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Kojima) (4 pts.) vs. Togi Makabe (6 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Tenzan sold a jaw injury after taking a big clothesline in the corner during the early going. Tenzan mounted a comeback with his signature Mongolian chops. They went to a big exchange of forearms a short time later. Makabe finally decked Tenzan with a big clothesline. Tenzan eventually got the anaconda vice, but Makabe managed to get to his feet to fight and he fought out of it.

Tenzan fired right back and grabbed the anaconda vice again. Makabe struggled and teased tapping. He then managed to get his feet on the bottom rope to break the hold. Tenzan went up top for a moonsault, but Makabe got out of the way.

They went back and forth and Tenzan decked Makabe with two big headbutts. Makabe then popped up and cut him off coming off the ropes and hit a big clothesline. Tenzan hit a couple of headbutts, but Makabe caught him coming off the ropes and he hit a DVD. He then went right up top and hit the King Kong knee drop for the win.

WINNER: Togi Makabe at 10:08 (8 pts.)

Star rating: (***) – This was a solid match with some good back and forth action. It never truly got going until late, but they had the crowd engaged by the end. Makabe continued his surprising start to the tournament here.

(6) Hirooki Goto (4 pts.) vs. Sanada (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Sanada went for a dragon sleeper early, but Goto got out of it. Sanada managed to catch Goto with his signature dropkick sequence. He then hit a slingshot splash to the floor. Sanada countered Goto several times and got the dragon sleeper. He then got his hooks in from the back. Goto struggled, but finally got to the ropes. Goto fired back up top and finally got on track with a sunset bomb for a 2 count.

Both men were down and they got up and began to exchange blows. Goto countered a clothesline and pulled Sanada down by the hair right into his knee. Goto set up for his signature kick to the chest and hit it. He then hit a neck breaker over his knee out of the DVD position. He set up for the final cut, but Sanada countered it. Goto then grabbed a choke sleeper. Sanada began to fade, so Goto lifted him up for the final cut. Sanada then slipped away and rolled him up for a 2 count.

Sanada and Goto went back and forth with Sanada going for the dragon sleeper and Goto going for the final cut. Sanada finally stepped back and hit an enzuguri. They continued to go back and forth and Sanada caught Goto coming off the ropes with a TKO for a near fall. What an exchange! Sanada lifted Goto up and locked in the dragon sleeper once again. Goto began to fade, but then he tried to power up. Sanada finally let him go. He then went up top and hit Lita moonsault for the win.

WINNER: Sanada at 12:05 (4 pts.)

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was really good. Goto couldn’t get on track for a long period of time and then he mounted a big comeback. They did a really nice job of putting together a fantastic back and forth sequence late in the match that ended with Sanada hitting a TKO. I’m not a big fan of Sanada’s moonsault, but he put on a great performance here.

(7) GHC Hvt. Tag Team champion Naomichi Marufuji (4 pts.) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Early on, Marufuji hit an endless series of should tackles and Ishii wouldn’t go down. Ishii finally caught Marufuji with a shoulder tackle of his own after taking a huge chops and he went down. Marufuji hit several big chops, but Ishii shrugged them off and decked him with a big forearm. Ishii fired back and did a cartwheel right into a drop kick that sent Ishii to the floor. Marufuji then hit a big splash to the floor a short time later. They went to another chop battle. Ishii’s chest was bright red, but he shrugged off Marufuji’s thunderous chops. Wow, I’m cringing at Marufuji hitting chop after chop. Ishii nearly went down after taking several chops in the corner. Ishii fired up out of the corner and leaned into several chops before decking Marufuji with a chop of his own. HOLY S—.

Marufuji managed to duck a sliding clothesline. Ishii then blocked a crescent kick and hit a headbutt. Ishii ate a kick charging into the corner, but he shrugged it off and nailed Marufuji with a big clothesline. Ishii went for a superplex, but Marufuji turned it into a sliced bread variation and both men were down on the mat. They went back and forth, as each man wanted to hit a suplex, but Marufuji finally let go of Ishii and nailed him with a crescent superkick and both men were down. Marufuji set up for sliced bread, but Ishii blocked it and hit a big side slam. Ishii followed up with a sliding clothesline, but Marufuji managed to kick out!

Marufuji and Ishii went back and forth Marufuji finally decked Ishii with a knee lift to the head after a behind the back kick to the front of the face. Ishii fired back and hit a headbutt and a big running lariat for a near fall. WOW! The fans fired up with Ishii in control. He lifted up Marufuji and hit a brainbuster for the win. WOW!

WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii at 12:14 (4 pts.)

Star rating: (****) – Marufuji has really been terrific in this tournament so far. He brought it against Ishii, especially with the chops and Ishii fought through it and overpowered him at times. Ishii’s chest was beet red from Marufuji’s thunderous chops. Marufuji got on track late in the match and hit some gorgeous kicks, but Ishii ultimately put him away.

(8) Tama Tonga (2 pts.) vs. IWGP Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Okada went for a slingshot early, but Tonga popped up and turned it into an ace crusher over the top rope. Tonga hit his misdirection dropkick a short time later and it was good for a 2 count. Okada cut off Tonga a short time later with a backdrop. Tonga managed to counter a tombstone attempt and he hit Okada with a modified TKO.

Okada hit a flap jack a short time later and both men were down on the mat. Okada countered Tonga a short time later and hit a neck breaker over his knee. He then dropped an elbow off the top and signaled for the rainmaker. Tonga ducked it and went for an ace crusher. They went back and forth and Okada caught Tonga with the too awesome dropkick. Tonga countered another rainmaker and hit a big DDT, but Okada managed to kick out at 2. Okada blocked another ace crusher attempt a short time later. Okada caught Tonga coming off the top with a German. He then held on and hit the rainmaker for the win.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 11:45 (6 pts)

Star rating: (**1/2) – This match felt flat from start to finish. It was fine, but Tonga’s matches are definitely lacking something in this tournament.

(9) Hiroshi Tanahashi (0 pts.) vs. Bad Luck Fale (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Fale came out wearing a Bullet Club mask. Fale got the upper hand on the floor. He tossed Tanahashi through a guardrail. He then slammed the very same guardrail on top of Tanahashi several times. Tanahashi went for a sunset flip, but Fale sat down on him for a 2 count. Tanahashi came up selling his shoulder and Fale targeted for a long period of time. Tanahashi mounted a comeback and took Fale down after three flying forearms. He then hit a slam on Fale and the fans gasped. The fans then chanted his name.

Tanahashi went up top, but Fale got up and clotheslined him off the top to the floor. Fale followed up with a sliding dropkick that sent Tanahashi flying over the guardrail and into the crowd. Tanahashi suddenly popped up after Fale tossed him inside the ring and hit a dragon screw around the ropes, but Fale fired right back and clotheslined him as he came off the ropes and both men were down. It wasn’t long before Fale was back on the offensive. He hit a big running splash off the ropes for a 2 count.

They went back and forth and Fale went for the bad luck fall, but Tanahasi countered it into a hurricanrana for a near fall. He then hit a big release German a short time later and the fans fired up. Tanahashi followed up with the sling blade. He went up top and hit a high fly flow to the back. He then went up top again for a traditional high fly flow, but Fale got his knees up! WOW!

Both men were slow to get up, but when they finally got up they began trading forearms. Tanahashi blocked a grenade attempt and hit a big slap to deck Fale. He crawled to the apron and went up top. Fale tried to catch him, but Tanahashi ended up on top of him. That was awkward. Fale then hit the grenade for a 2 count. He set up for the bad luck fall, but Tanahashi slipped out of it and got back slide for the win. WOW!

After the match, Fale slid to the outside and Tanahashi sold exhaustion in the ring. Tanahashi spent a long time going around ringside hugging children and wiping sweat on his towels for women.

WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi at 15:06 (2 pts.)

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a really good main event. Fale seemed to be on the verge of winning the entire match. He overpowered Tanahashi and worked over his arm for a long period of time. Tanahashi managed to slip out of the bad luck fall and finally get a win in the end. This match told a really good story of Tanahashi not being the same since coming back from injury, but finding a way to win.

After the match, Tanahashi teased leaving, but the fans chanted his name and he finally got back into the ring! He cut a promo and the fans really fired up. I believe he promised to win the rest of his matches. He then went into his guitar solo as the fans clapped along. The fans kept wanting encores as he continued to play his air guitar solos. He finally said a few more words to send the fans home happy.

Overall thoughts: The first big story is that Makabe is sitting on top of the leaderboard at 4-0 with 8 points. Okada, after taking a surprising loss the opening night of the tournament, is in second place with six points at 3-1. The action on this card was very good overall with the only real let down being that Okada was in a match that was just average.

Marufuji continued his run of putting on some really good performances in this tournament even if the results have been mixed so far. He stole the show once again with a killer match against Ishii. Marufuji chops are devastating, but his beautiful kicks make him worth watching. Another match worth checking out was Sanada vs. Goto. Sanada has put on some strong performances in this tournament and he had good chemistry with Goto.

The biggest story on this night was Tanahashi finally getting a win in the tournament to get some points on the board now that he sits at 1-3 tied for last place. The match told a similar story to some of his other matches during the tournament with Fale working over the shoulder that was injured to put him on the shelf. They told a really good story in this match and the action was really good leading into Tanahashi escaping with his first victory. Tanahashi putting on good matches and closing shows with guitar solos brought something to the tournament that had been missing so far. It has felt like Tanahashi has been somewhat of an afterthought, but I think this has been a case of some really good booking to start Tanahashi slow before having him make a run at winning the block to create some drama for the duration of the tournament.

MATCHES TO WATCH

(6) Sanada vs. Goto (***3/4)

(7) Marufuji vs. Ishii (****)

(9) Tanahashi vs. Fale (***3/4)

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 7

A Block Standings

Togi Makabe (4-0, 8 pts)
IWGP Champ Kazuchika Okada (3-1, 6 pts)
Tenzan (2-2, 4 pts)
Hirooki Goto (2-2, 4 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (2-2, 4 pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (2-2, 4 pts)
Sanada (2-2, 4 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (1-3, 2 pts)
Tama Tonga (1-3, 2 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-3, 2 pts)

B Block Standings

Yuji Nagata (3-0, 6 pts)
Honma (2-1, 4 pts)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (2-1, 4 pts)
Kenny Omega (2-1, 4 pts)
Naito (2-1, 4 pts)
IWGP IC champion Michael Elgin (1-2, 2 pts)
NEVER Openweight champion Shibata (1-2, 2 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (1-2, 2 pts)
EVIL (1-2, 2 pts)
Toru Yano (0-3, 0 pts)

***

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