KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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SEAN RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 11 BLOG
AUG. 3, 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) Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV beat Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay.
(2) Satoshi Kojima & Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata & Michael Elgin beat Katsuhiko Nakajima & YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano & Gedo in an eight-man tag match.
(3) Bullet Club’s Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi beat Shibata & Captain New Japan.
(4) L.I.J. (Naito & EVIL & BUSHI) beat Honma & KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson in a six-man tag match.
G1 CLIMAX 26 BLOCK ACTION
(5) Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Kojima) (4 pts.) vs. Bad Luck Fale (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax A Block match. The fans were hot for Tenzan after the opening bell. Tenzan hit a pair of Mongolian chops and sent Fale to the outside with a big clothesline. Fale tripped Tenzan and dragged him to the floor before tossing him into the guardrail. Fale worked over Tenzan for a long period of time. Tenzan mounted a comeback with several Mongolian chops.
They went back and forth until Tenzan caught Fale with a backdrop. Tenzan got the anaconda vice, but Fale fought out of it. Fale fired back and caught Tenzan with a big boot that showed a lot of light. Tenzan hit a series of headbutts that grounded Fale. He went up top, but Fale got out of the way of his moonsault attempt. Fale hit a big splash, but Tenzan kicked out at 2. Fale caught Tenzan with a big spear for a 2 count a short time later. He followed up with the grenade and it was good for the win.
Tenzan bowed to the fans after Fale left the ring.
WINNER: Bad Luck Fale at 8:22 (6 pts.)
Star rating: (**1/2) – This was a solid match. It’s disappointing that Tenzan didn’t get a stronger run during his last G1 after starting off 2-0.
(6) Tama Tonga (4 pts.) vs. Hirooki Goto (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Goto had control of the action early, but Tonga fired back and Goto went to the floor. Tonga whipped him into the guardrail and continued his assault on the outside. Tonga then continued to work Goto over inside the ring. Goto fired back and hit a Saito suplex before sending Tonga to the floor with a big clothesline. Goto then hit a slingshot splash to the floor and the fans fired up.
Tonga hit a big spinebuster, but only got a 2 count. Goto fired back and caught him with a neck breaker over his knee out of the DVD position and both men stayed down on the mat. The fans fired up as both men tried to recover. Both men got up and traded blows in the middle of the ring. Goto got the upper hand and went for the final cut. Tonga slipped out and hit a twisting face buster for a 2 count.
Goto set up for his signature kick, but Tonga surprised him with a big DDT for a 2 count. Tonga waited for Goto to get up as the fans fired up. He went for a gun stun, but Goto blocked it. They went back and forth off the ropes. Tonga went for the gun stun, but Goto blocked it and hit the final cut for the win!
WINNER: Hirooki Goto at 12:29 (6 pts.)
Star rating: (***) – This got off to a slow start, but by the end the fans were engaged in the action. The finishing sequence was really well-done.
(7) GHC Hvt. Tag Team champion Naomichi Marufuji (6 pts.) vs. Sanada (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Both of these guys have been impressive during this tournament, so this should be a good match. Sanada offered a handshake after they had a fast exchange, but then he kicked Marufuji in the gut a pitched him to the floor. Sanada then went after Marufuji with his bat on the outside and choked him with it. Marufuji fired back a short time later and hit a big splash over the top to the floor. They began exchanging chops and Sanada took off his shirt and told Marufuji to bring it. Marufuji hit some thunderous chops and Sanada fired back with forearms.
They went back and forth and Sanada finally caught Marufuji with his signature leapfrog sequence into a dropkick. WOW! Sanada ducked a flurry of kicks from Marufuji and hit a springboard missile dropkick. He hit a tiger suplex with a bridge a short time later for a 2 count. They went back and forth with Sanada going for a dragon sleeper and Marufuji going for slice bread. Sanada finally fought off Marufuji and hit a TKO for a 2 count. He then locked in a dragon sleeper with the hooks in and the fans fired up. Marufuji struggled, but managed to get to the ropes.
Sanada missed a moonsault, but landed on his feet. Marufuji then hit a big knee lift in the corner. Marufuji hit a flurry of kicks and strikes. He capped the sequence with a big knee lift to the jaw, but Sanada kicked out. He then hit sliced bread for the win. WOW!
Marufuji wanted a handshake after the match, but Sanada blew him off.
WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji at 10:39 (8 pts.)
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was just really good. They had some great counter sequences late with Sanada going for the dragon sleeper and Marufuji countering out and going for the sliced bread leading into a big TKO from Sanada. The final stretch was really good with Marufuji sealing the win in the end with sliced bread. I would have loved if they had given these guys five more minutes.
(8) Tomohiro Ishii (4 pts.) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. If Tanahashi loses, he’s out of the running to win this block, so I don’t see that happening here. Tanahashi looked to be getting back to his old self during the early going as he caught Ishii with a pair of dropkicks and played some air guitar. Ishii went after Tanahashi’s leg during the early going. He also mocked him by playing with his top knot. Tanahashi fired back and hit a dragon screw on Ishii’s leg and the fans fired up.
Ishii fired up after taking chops and forearms from Tanahashi. They went back and forth and Ishii looked at Tanahashi like he was crazy before hitting several headbutts and then slaps. He hit some light kicks on Tanahashi. Tanahashi fired up and they traded big slaps to the face. Ishii finally went down and Tanahashi put the boots to him in the corner. WOW! Ishii fired back out of the corner a short time later and decked Tanahashi with a clothesline.
They went at it up top. Tanahashi hit several forearms, but Ishii wouldn’t go down to the mat. They continued to go a it near the apron. Tanahashi finally hit a dragon screw around the ropes and the fans gasped. They went at it up top again and Ishii hit a big vertical suplex! WOW! Both men eventually had a big forearm exchange in the middle of the ring. The fans fire dup as they continued to trade bombs. Ishii took a big uppercut, but shook it off.
Tanahashi continued to hit forearms, but Ishii kept walking towards him. Ishii hit a big forearm and a headbutt. He then hit a powerbomb and pressed over on top of Tanahashi for a 2 count! Tanahashi blocked a brainbuster attempt and hit the roll of the dice. The fans fired up big after that sequence. Ishii hit a dragon suplex. Tanahashi then hit one of his own. Tanahashi ducked a clothesline and hit a straightjacket German for a near fall! Holy s—t! He followed up with a sling blade and went up top, but Ishii rolled out of the way of a high fly flow. Ishii then hit a huge sliding lariat for a near fall. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Tanahashi shook off a big lariat. Ishii then hit a headbutt and he went down. Tanahasi countered a brainbuster and hit a dragon suplex with a bridge for a near fall. Ishii countered a sling blade, but Tanahashi fired back and caught him with one. Tanahashi then hit a standing high fly flow and a traditional high fly flow for the win.
WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi at 16:10 (6 pts.)
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was fantastic. It got personal early and these two had a great hard-hitting back and forth contest. Ishii kept going for a brainbuster, but Tanahashi managed to get out of it every time leading into the finish. This match made it feel like Tanahashi was truly back.
(9) IWGP Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada (8 pts.) vs. Togi Makabe (8 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. This is a battle of the two men that are currently tied for first in the A Block. The winner of this match has a big advantage going forward in terms of tiebreakers. Okada had the advantage for several minutes after hitting a corner dropkick that sent Makabe to the floor. Makabe tried to fire back with a clothesline, but couldn’t get anything behind it. Okada slapped him across the head and kept going after him. Makabe eventually caught Okada with a power slam and went on the attack.
They went back and forth and Makabe caught Okada with a lariat and both men were down as the fans fired up. Okada got the upper hand and dropped an elbow off the top. He did the rainmaker pose and Makabe fired up and flipped him the double bird. Makabe took every shot Okada threw and told him to bring it. Makabe finally blocked a punch and decked Okada with a big clothesline. The fans fired up and Makabe hit a kneeling powerbomb for a 2 count. He hit a big DVD variation a short time later for another 2 count. Makabe hit a spider belly-to-belly and went for the King Kong knee drop, but Okada got out of the way!
They went back and forth trading bombs, but neither man would go down. Okada hit a dropkick to the back of Makabe’s head and went to hit the too awesome dropkick, but Makabe held onto the ropes. He went to hit the rainmaker, but Makabe ducked it and hit a German with a bridge for a 2 count. Okada then hit the too awesome dropkick a short time later. He followed up with a tombstone and signaled for the rainmaker. He then picked up Makabe and nailed him with it for the win.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 15:04 (10 pts.)
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a good main event. They had some good back and forth action with Makabe mounting a comeback after Okada dominated early. There was some good action during the match, but I just never felt like Okada was in danger of losing the match.
Okada cut a promo in the ring to close the show. Gedo then took the mic and the fans fired up.
Overall Thoughts: This was a entertaining night of action from the A Block, which just hasn’t measured up to the B Block so far in the tournament in terms of being compelling and providing good in-ring action. The A Block could have had some interesting storylines to go along with the rise of Tanahashi after he started 0-3, but any drama involving Tenzan is not gone after he lost on this show. It would have been fun to see Tenzan make a final run through G1 and they teased it with Tenzan having a strong start in the tournament, but he’s really fallen off since then dropping four matches in a row.
Makabe, despite losing to Okada, is still tied for second place with Marufuji in the A Block. I would anticipate that he will slide a bit over the course of the rest of the tournament. As I said previously, Marufuji is worth keeping an eye on. He had a really good match against Sanada, who has had a good showing in G1, but is out of contention now as well.
I’m enjoying the rise of Tanahashi. He had a fantastic match against Ishii in the semi-main event that was easily his best performance since returning from injury for G1. NJPW could throw a wrench in things and have Tanahashi lose, but I see him winning the rest of his matches to win the block. The big match is going to be against Okada during the final days of the tournament. Other than that match, there’s not much to look forward to from the A Block from a storyline standpoint.
Overall, this was one of the better nights of A Block action in recent memory. The last four matches ranged from good to great, but if you’re pressed for time, watch Marufuji-Sanada and Ishii vs. Tanahashi.
MATCHES TO WATCH
(7) Marufuji vs. Sanada (***3/4)
(8) Ishii vs. Tanahashi (****1/4)
STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 11
A Block Standings
IWGP Champ Kazuchika Okada (5-1, 10 pts)
Togi Makabe (4-2, 8 pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (4-2, 8 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-3, 6 pts)
Hirooki Goto (3-3, 6 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (3-3, 6 pts)
Tenzan (2-4, 4 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (2-4, 4 pts)
Sanada (2-4, 4 pts)
Tama Tonga (2-4, 4 pts)
B Block Standings
Yuji Nagata (3-2, 6 pts)
IWGP IC champion Michael Elgin (3-2, 6 pts)
Kenny Omega (3-2, 6 pts)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (3-2, 6 pts)
Naito (3-2, 6 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (3-2, 6 pts)
NEVER Openweight champion Shibata (2-3, 4 pts)
Honma (2-3, 4 pts)
Toru Yano (2-3, 4 pts)
EVIL (1-4, 2 pts)
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