RADICAN’S NJPW G1 Climax Night 8 Review – Elgin vs. Omega five-star classic, more excellent matches

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist


G1 Climax 2016 logo (c) New Japan Pro Wrestling

RadicanSean_profileRADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 8 BLOG
JULY 30, 2016
AICHI, 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 featured a full camera shoot, but no commentary.

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) Ryusuke Taguchi beat David Finlay.

(2) Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi) beat Satoshi Kojima & Nakanishi & Captain New Japan in a six-man tag match.

(3) L.I.J.’s Sanada & BUSHI beat IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson.

(4) Tanahashi & Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Liger & Tenzan & Togi Makabe beat Naomichi Marufuji & CHAOS (IWGP World Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto & Gedo) in a 10-man tag match.

G1 CLIMAX 26 BLOCK ACTION

(5) GHC Hvt. Tag Team Champion Toru Yano (0 pts.) vs. Tomoaki Honma (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 B Block match. Toru baited Honma into running into the exposed turnbuckles during the early going. Honma fired back and hit a big suplex. Honma went for a diving headbutt off the ropes, but Yano rolled to the ropes and called for a clean break. They went back and forth and Honma hit a leaping kokeshi off the second turnbuckle. He then went up top for a kokeshi, but Yano got out of the way.

Yano went for the low blow spot with the ref, but Honma countered it and hit a leaping kokeshi. Yano ended up catapulting Honma into the ref. He hit a low blow a short time later. He used the ref once again to hit another low blow and got a backslide for the win.

Winner: Toru Yano at 4:21 (2 pts.)

Star rating: (*1/2) – There wasn’t much to this one at all except some of Yano’s usual antics.

(6) YOSHI-HASHI (2 pts.) vs. EVIL (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 B Block match. EVIL got the upper hand on the floor. He wrapped a chair around HASHI’s head and whipped him into the ringpost. HASHI beat the ref’s count and sold his shoulder, which was taped up. HASHI finally countered EVIL and hit a neck breaker. He hit another blockbuster style neck breaker off the ropes a short time later. EVIL fired back and hit a fisherman suplex for a 2 count.

They went back and forth and HASHI hit a powerbomb and bridged over into a pinning combination for a 2 count. He went for a swanton, but EVIL got his knees up. EVIL hit a combination of moves capped by a running clothesline, but HASHI managed to kick out! He then hit a DVD into a spinebuster, but HASHI kicked out once again and the fans applauded. He went for a big STO, but HASHI grabbed his arm and eventually got his shoulder lock submission.

EVIL struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. They traded bombs and HASHI slipped, but got up and walked right into a discus forearm. EVIL then hit a big German suplex. EVIL went to bounce off the ropes, but HASIH turned him inside out with a big clothesline. HASHI then went up top and hit a swanton, but EVIL kicked out! WOW! HASHI hit a back stabber a short time later. He then hit a big handle driver for the win. WOW!

WINNER: YOSHI-HASHI (4 pts.) at 12:48

Star rating: (****) – This was an excellent back and forth contest. Both men have shown signs of growth during this tournament. They had good chemistry in the ring here, especially down the stretch with some nice back and forth action and good near falls leading to the finish.

(7) Yuji Nagata (6 pts.) vs. Katsuhika Nakajima (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 B Block match. Nakajima jumped Nagata as he was getting into the ring. He tossed him into the ringpost on the outside. Nagata had a hard time making it back into the ring, but he managed to beat the ref’s 20 count. Nagata fired back and caught Nakajima with a knee to the mid-section. Nagata hit several forearms to the head and then a big one to the mid-section to ground Nakajima. Nakajima fired back and nailed Nagata with a huge kick to the chest. He then came off the top and connected with a gorgeous missile dropkick for a 2 count.

Nagata and Nakajima went back and forth until Nagata caught him coming out of the corner with a belly-to-belly suplex. Nagata no-sold a pair of kicks and they began trading bombs in the middle of the ring. Nakajima eventually grounded Nagata with a combination of moves capped by a backdrop driver for a 2 count. Nagata ducked a penalty kick and eventually got the white eyes arm bar and the fans fired up. Nagata tried to transition the hold, but Nakajima got right to the ropes to break it. Nakajima nailed Nagata with some big slaps and he looked at him and slapped Nakajima like he was crazy. Both men began trading big slaps. Nagata smiled at Nakajima after taking several slaps.

Nagata eventually drove Nakajima into the corner and hit several knees to the gut. He then hit a backdrop driver, but Nakajima kicked out at the last second. Nakajima blocked another backdrop driver attempt and Nagata went for a kick, but Nakajima kicked his legs out from under him. He then grounded him with several kicks to the leg. Nakajima followed up with a dragon screw, but Nagata surprised him with a belly-to-belly and both men were down. WOW!

Nagata took two superkicks and fired back with a leg lariat. Nakajima hit another kick to the head and then a penalty kick. Nakajima followed up with the vertical spike for the win!

WINNER: Katsuhika Nakajima at 12:32 (6 pts.)

Star rating: (****) – This was excellent once again. Nagata had been on a roll, but now Nakajima has tied him for the top of the leader board at this point at 3-1 with 6 points. They told a great story here with Nakajima using his striking and Nagata targeting Nakajima’s mid-section to wear him down. Nagata took a lot of punishment, but ultimately Nakajima’s kicks were too much for him.

(8) IWGP IC Champion & CMLL Liga Elite World Champion Michael Elgin (2 pts.) vs. Kenny Omega (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 B Block match. Yujiro Takahashi jumped Elgin from behind as he was making his entrance. Elgin fended him off, but then ate a big flip dive from Omega! WOW! Omega tried to tie up Elgin in the mats on the floor, but Elgin got out of it. Elgin then greeted Omega with a big running boot to the face when he charged at him on the floor. They went back and forth inside the ring and Omega finally hit a back drop on Elgin.

Omega went for a powerbomb and Elgin quickly returned the favor with a backdrop of his own. Elgin went for a slingshot splash, but Omega got out of the way. Omega went for a moonsault off the guardrail a short time later, but Elgin caught him. Omega then slipped out of Elgin’s grasp and shoved him into the ringpost. Omega drove Elgin into the ringpost once again a short time later. Omega continued to target Elgin’s arm, which had a lot of tape on it. Omega eventually ripped off the tape on Elgin’s arm. Elgin finally fired back and hit a big German into the turnbuckles on Omega and the fans gasped. Elgin fired back and caught Omega with a slingshot power slam for a 2 count.

Omega finally fired back and hit a rocker dropper on Elgin for a 2 count. Omega went for a gut-wrench powerbomb, but Elgin countered it into a gut-wrench suplex. Omega countered a suplex and spit in Elgin’s face. He caught Elgin and hit the Finlay roll. He went for a moonsault, but Elgin grabbed him out of the corner. Omega managed to counter Elgin and hit a hurricanrana that sent him into the turnbuckles. He then went for a moonsault once again, but Elgin got his knees up! Elgin hit a buckle bomb, but Omega fired right back with a knee lift. Omega went off the ropes after a big back and forth exchange, but Elgin turned him inside out with a huge clothesline and both men were down! WOW! Elgin hit several clotheslines, but Omega hit him with a dragon suplex. Elgin got right up, but Omega hit another dragon suplex and a poison hurricanrana for a near fall. WOW!

Elgin and Omega went at it up top a short time later. Elgin kept knocking Omega off the turnbuckles to the mat. Elgin then lifted Omega up and hit an air raid crash off the top for a near fall and the fans gasped! WOW! Elgin hit a buckle bomb and set up for the Elgin bomb, but Omega countered it and hit a buckle bomb and an Elgin bomb and Elgin kicked out! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Omega pointed a gun at Elgin and hit a big knee lift. He then went for the one-winged angel, but Elgin blocked it. Elgin hit a back fist and then hit the one-winged angel for another near fall. HOLY S—! Omega fired back and hit a knee lift, but Elgin turned him inside out with a lariat. Elgin then picked up Omega and hit another lariat that turned Omega inside out. Elgin then hit the Elgin bomb for the win! MY GOD! WHAT A MATCH!!

WINNER: Michael Elgin at 16:44 (4 pts.)

Star rating: (*****) – This was easily the match of the tournament. This felt like the blow-off to their feud in NJPW this year. It started off hot and heavy and never let up. The counter sequences and fighting spirit spots were fantastic. I loved both guys trading their finishers for near falls late in the match. That was just an incredible spot. Earlier in the match another great spot saw Elgin hit several clotheslines to the front and back only for Omega to catch him for a dragon suplex. Elgin then got right up only to eat another dragon suplex and a poison hurricanrana for a near fall. I can’t say enough good things about this match. WOW!

(9) Tetsuya Naito (4 pts.) vs. NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax Block B match. Naito waved his belt at Shibata when Shibata got into the ring. Shibata grabbed it and tossed it to the side. Shibata wanted to lock up and Naito tried to toy with him by moving his hand around Shibata’s. Shibata got mad and nailed Naito with a running boot. He then tossed him into the guardrail several times like a ragdoll. Naito kept bailing to the floor each time he got back into the ring. The fans fired up and chanted for Shibata.

Naito eventually slowly began to go through the ropes to get back into the ring and Shibata nailed him with a big running kick. Naito fired back on the floor and began whipping Shibata into the guardrails. WOW! Naito set up Shibata’s leg on the guardrail and nailed it with a dropkick from the apron. Shibata managed to get into the ring and 18, but then he bailed back to the floor. Naito told the ref to count him. Naito began going after Shibata’s arm and then hit a dropkick to his injured leg. Naito continued to target Shibata’s leg. Naito hit some light kicks to Shibata’s head.

Shibata began to fire back and Naito spit in his face. Shibata then decked him with a big forearm. Shibata hit his signature forearm sequence in the corner before hitting the heat seeking missile and the fans applauded. Naito escaped an abdominal stretch and applied a leg submission. Naito smiled as Shibata writhed in pain. Shibata went for the ropes, but really had to struggle to get there. He couldn’t get the bottom rope and teased tapping. The fans fired up and chanted for Shibata, who finally got his hand on the bottom rope. Naito went for another leg submission, but Shibata grabbed his ankle and began twisting it. Both men had submissions going at the same time, although it appeared Naito was in a worse situation. Both men eventually rolled into the ropes to put a stop to that spot.

The fans fired up and chanted for Shibata. Naito went up top and hit a big missile dropkick. He went for his signature dropkick, but Shibata nailed him with an uppercut. Shibata hit a STO a short time later and both men were down. Both men got up and began trading bombs. Both men began hitting forearms at the same time. The fans fired up and Shibata grabbed a sleeper. He then hit a sleeper suplex, but Naito kicked out 2!

Shibata fired back and went for the penalty kick, but Naito ducked it and grabbed a modified trailer hitch. Shibata finally hit some big palm strikes to break free, but Naito got right back on him. Naito hit a headbutt that staggered both men. Shibata then hit a big slap to the face and grabbed a sleeper! Naito tried to fight it, but began to fade. Shibata let go and hit a penalty kick. Shibata then grabbed a rear-naked choke and the fans fired up. The ref checked Naito’s arm and it went up and down three times.

Shibata held onto the choke well after the bell until several attendants broke it up. Shibata left without cutting a promo to end the show. The cameras did catch up with him backstage and he gave an interview.

WINNER: Katsuyori Shibata at 19:24 (4 pts.)

Star rating: (****1/2) – What a heck of a way to close the show. These two had a gritty, hard-hitting back and forth war. The submission work by Naito was really good here as he worked over Shibata’s arm, but mostly his leg. They had some really brutal exchanges down the stretch leading into Shibata getting the ref stoppage.

Overall Thoughts: What an amazing night of action. Honma vs. Yano wasn’t much of a match, but the block action picked up BIG TIME after that. My suggestion is just to watch all of these great matches that closed the show. At four stars each, HASHI-EVIL and Nagata-Nakajima served as an appetizer for the last two matches on the show, which were incredible.

Elgin-Omega put on a classic to seemingly close their feud. Omega got the match off to a hot start using Takahashi as a distraction. These two tore it up from that point forward with some incredible exchanges and hard-hitting action. They really built around their other encounters well, as both men countered each other’s signature spots. I loved the spots where Elgin hit the one-winged angel and Omega hit Elgin’s buckle bomb/Elgin bomb finishing combination. These two went to war and had the best match of the tournament.

The main event was a gritty battle as Shibata and Naito went to war. They had an excellent hard-hitting match with both guys doing a tremendous job selling submissions. Naito did a ton of work on Shibata’s leg, but ultimately it wasn’t enough.

Right now Nagata and Nakajima are tied on top of the B Block standings at 3-1 with six points each. The standings are bunched up right now under them, so it’s still anyone’s block to win.

Overall, this was an amazing night of action and even if the undercard matches don’t amount to anything, this is a sure-fire show of the year contender.

MATCHES TO WATCH

(6) YOSHI-HASHI vs. EVIL (****)

(7) Nagata vs. Nakajima (****)

(8) Elgin vs. Omega (*****)

(9) Naito vs. Shibata (****1/2)

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 8

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

***

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