RADICAN’S NJPW G1 Climax Night 9 Review – Marufuji vs. Makabe, Tanahashi vs. Goto, more A Block action

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist


SEAN RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 9 BLOG
JULY 31, 2016
GIFU, 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) Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask IV beat Michael Elgin & David Finlay.

(2) Satoshi Kojima & NEVER Openweight champion Shibata & Nakanishi & Jushin Liger beat Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI & Gedo & Katsuhiko Nakajima in an eight-man tag match.

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

(4) L.I.J. (Naito & EVIL & BUSHI) beat Honma & IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson in a six-man tag match.

G1 CLIMAX 26 BLOCK ACTION

(5) Tama Tonga (2 pts.) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (4 pts.) in a Gl Climax 26 A Block match. Tonga took control early and eventually began working over Ishii on the outside. He went after Ishii’s mid-section. Ishii fired up inside the ring a short time later after taking several forearms from Tonga, but Tonga managed to ground him with a big forearm. Ishii finally ducked a charge in the corner and hit a German that left both men down on the mat. They had a fantastic exchange off the ropes that saw Tonga eventually hit a mid-direction dropkick off the ropes. The counters and back and forth movement during that exchange was great. WOW!

Tonga hit a big spinebuster out of the corner a short time later. He then hit a modified TKO for a near fall. Ishii countered Tonga and hit a suplex and both men were down as the fans chanted for Ishii. Ishii blocked an ace crusher attempt a short time later and wiped Tonga out. He went for a powerbomb and hit it, but Tonga managed to kick out at 2. Tonga ducked a sliding clothesline at the very last second and tried to mount a comeback, but Ishii turned him inside out with a clothesline. Tonga fired back and hit a DDT. He rolled right on top of Ishii, but only managed a 2 count. Ishii blocked another ace crusher attempt.

They went back and forth and Ishii kept blocking Tonga’s ace crusher attempts. Ishii hit a big suplex where he dropped Tonga face-first down on the mat, but Tonga got right up and hit an ace crusher for the win. WOW!

Winner: Tama Tonga at 11:00 (4 pts.)

Star rating: (***1/2) – This was really good. Ishii and Tonga had good chemistry and they put together some really nice sequences in the match leading into the exciting finish.

(6) Sanada (4 pts.) vs. Bad Luck Fale (2 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Fale shoved over the ring announcer while making his entrance. The ring announcer was shown being helped to the back. Sanada baited Fale into chasing him on the floor. He got into the ring and kicked the rope into Fale’s crotch when he tried to get into the ring. Sanada then tossed Fale into the guardrail. Sanada got his bat and nailed Fale with it in the mid-section. He then began choking Fale with the bat, but the ref made him let it go. Fale managed to drag Sanada to the outside and he whipped him into the guardrail. They brawled into the crowd a short time later. Fale took a section of the guardrail and slammed it down on top of Sanada and then did it again. Sanada BARELY beat the count of 20 to get back into the ring and Fale immediately stood on his chest.

Sanada fired back and hit his signature dropkick combination on Fale and the fans erupted. WOW! He then hit a slingshot splash to the floor to wipe out Fale. Fale fired right back inside the ring and hit a big standing splash for a 2 count. Sanada fired back and hit a springboard missile dropkick and the fans fired up. Sanada went for a dragon sleeper, but Fale blocked it. Fale then caught Sanada with a big spear and both men were down. Fale made the cover, but Sanada managed to kick out at 2. Sanada slipped out of the bad luck fall and got a back slide for a 2 count. Fale got right up and hit the grenade and the bad luck fall for the win.

WINNER: Bad Luck Fale at 9:06 (4 pts.)

Star rating: (***1/4) – This was short, but it built nicely from start to finish. Sanada seems to be improving rapidly. His leapfrog spot over Fale two times into a dropkick was amazing. They had some nice exchanges down the stretch leading to the finish.

(7) Naomichi Marufuji (4 pts.) vs. Togi Makabe (8 pts.) in a G1 Climax A Block match. Makabe absorbed a couple of kicks early and decked Marufuji with a big shoulder tackle. Marufuji measured him and hit a huge chop. Both men then began trading chops. Marufuji’s were much louder than Makabe’s. Marufuji ducked a clothesline a short time later, but Makabe decked him with a clothesline using his other arm. Makabe had the upper hand, but Marufuji did a cartwheel into a dropkick. He followed up with a big dive to the floor to wipe out Makabe.

Makabe caught Marufuji with another clothesline for a 2 count. Marufuji tried to hit a combination of strikes and gorgeous kicks on Makabe in an attempt to mount a comeback, but Makabe caught him with a huge clothesline and both men were down. They got up and began trading strikes again. Marufuji decked Makabe with a big chop finally and nailed him with a superkick for a 2 count. Makabe fired back and hit a big power slam. Makabe fought for a German with a bridge and got it for a 2 count.

Marufuji fired back and hit a huge knee lift to Makabe’s chin in the corner. Makabe staggered out of the corner and flopped down to the mat. Marufuji waited for Makabe to get up and he went for another knee lift, but Makabe caught him in mid-air with a huge clothesline. He then hit the kneeling powerbomb for a near fall. WOW!

Makabe no-sold several crescent kicks from Marufuji before he staggered him and hit a big knee lift. A short time later, Marufuji hit sliced bread for the win.

WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji at 10:39 (6 pts.)

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was one heck of a back and forth match. Neither guy was willing to give an inch here and they had some great striking exchanges leading into the finish when Makabe simply couldn’t walk through anymore of Marufuji’s kicks and power up. Marufuji continues to be a blast to watch in this tournament.

(8) Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Kojima) (4 pts.) vs. IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) (6 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Tenzan got a huge pop coming out for the match. The fans then chanted for him when the bell rang. Tenzan hit a shoulder tackle and then several Mongolian chops during the early going to deck Okada much to the delight of the crowd. They went to the floor a short time later and Okada hit a draping DDT on Tenzan. Tenzan had black circular marks all over the top of his back for some reason. Tenzan hit several overhand chops when he got back into the ring, but Okada screamed at him and decked him with a neckbreaker. Okada covered Tenzan with one foot, but the ref refused to count the pin.

Tenzan fired back and caught Okada with a spinning kick a short time later. Tenzan fired back with his signature Mongolian chops and ran wild on Okada much to the delight of the fans. Okada fired back and caught Tenzan with a flap jack a short time later. He hit a diving uppercut a short time later for a 2 count. Okada dropped an elbow and set up for the rainmaker, but Tenzan blocked it with a headbutt and caught him with a Samoan drop that left both men down. Okada set up Tenzan for several basement dropkick on the mat before making the cover for a 2 count.

Tenzan finally caught Okada by surprise with a lariat. He crawled over and made the cover, but only got a 2 count. Tenzan hit his piledriver variation, but Okada managed to kick out at 2. Tenzan blocked a rainmaker and hit a side slam a short time later for a near fall. Tenzan grabbed the anaconda vice. Okada fought to his feet and got out of it, but Tenzan nailed him with a headbutt. Okada caught Tenzan coming off the ropes with the too awesome dropkick.

Tenzan blocked a rainmaker attempt with a headbutt and then hit several more. He went up top for a moonsault, but Okada nailed him with a dropkick. Okada then lifted him out of the corner and hit a German. He followe3d up with a rainmaker for the win.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 12:30 (8 pts.)

Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a very good match, although it seemed to lose steam late. It seemed like the fans were really into the match, but for some reason, the match lost some steam late and Okada simply won without a ton of drama. The win for Okada seems to ensure there won’t be much drama surrounding Tenzan making one last run in the tournament.

(9) Hiroshi Tanahashi (2 pts.) vs. Hirooki Goto (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax A Block match. The crowd fired up big and chanted for Tanahashi after the opening bell. They went back and forth during the early going until Tanahasi sent Goto to the floor with a dropkick. Goto fired back on the outside and slammed Tanahashi into the guardrail. He then nailed him with several big kicks before whipping him into another part of the guardrail. Goto tossed Tanahashi into the ring and began working him over.

Goto worked over Tanahashi for a long period of time until Tanahashi caught him with a flying forearm. Goto fired back a short time later and caught Tanahashi with a kick as he came off the ropes. Goto clotheslined Tanahashi over the top to the floor and followed up with a slingshot splash. They went back and forth and Tanahashi countered Goto and hit a sling blade and the fans fired up. Goto rolled to the floor and Tanahashi nailed him with a standing high fly flow. Goto managed to get upon the arpon and Tanahashi grabbed him to break the ref’s count.

They went back and forth and battled to the apron. They traded bombs and the ref’s count reached 19 and they both slipped back into the ring. Both men traded bombs as the fans fired up. They went back and forth until Tanahashi a German with the arms trapped. He went up top for the high fly flow, but Goto managed to get out of the way. Goto measured Tanahashi and hit a big kick to the chest for a 2 count. He then dropped Tanahashi face first over his knee before turning him around. Tanahashi countered Goto, but he countered him and dumped the back of Tanahashi’s knee over his head.

Tanahashi slipped away from the final cut, but Goto managed to grab a choke. Goto then went for a final cut attempt once again, but Tanahashi turned it into the roll of the dice. Goto caught Tanahashi with another choke, but Tanahashi quickly countered it into a sling blade. He went up top and hit a standing high fly flow. Tanahashi went up top once again and hit the traditional high fly flow for the win.

WINNER: Tanahashi at 17:47 (4 pts.)

Star rating: (***) – This felt like a standard match and not a main event. They didn’t build up a lot of drama during the match and it didn’t feel like Tanahashi was in much danger of losing. The action was fine, but I just couldn’t invest much in the match.

After the match, Tanahashi did his usual main event post-match promo/guitar solo routine.

Overall Thoughts: This was a solid, but not spectacular night of block action. Everything on the show was in the three-star range. The only match that really got going and came close to being excellent was Marufuji-Makabe, which is worth checking out if you have the time.

It seems like the writing is on the wall in terms of how the A Block is going to go with the only drama being what’s going to happen when Okada and Tanahashi meet. It seems like Tenzan and Sanada are out of the running now at 4 points each. With Tanahashi likely to climb to the top and Okada likely not to drop more than 1-2 matches, the only real drama left is whether or not Marufuji ends up coming out of the A Block instead of Tanahashi. Overall, this was a show that was mostly skippable and a bit of a come down after how good Night 8 was.

MATCHES TO WATCH

(7) Marufuji vs. Makabe (***3/4)

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 9

A Block Standings

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