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SEAN RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 15 BLOG
AUG. 8, 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) Katsuhiko Nakajima beat David Finlay.
(2) Bullet Club’s Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi beat Satoshi Kojima & Captain New Japan.
(3) L.I.J. (Naito & EVIL & BUSHI) beat YOSHI-HASHI & Gedo & Toru Yano in a six-man tag match.
(4) KUSHIDA & Michael Elgin & Shibata & Ryusuke Taguchi & Juice Robinson beat Yuji Nagata & Honma & Nakanishi & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV in a mega-10-man tag match.
G1 CLIMAX 26 BLOCK ACTION
(5) GHC Hvt. Tag Team champion Naomichi Marufuji (8 pts.) vs. Tama Tonga (6 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. The match started out flat and didn’t pick up until very late. Tonga got near falls with his signature DDT and spinebuster down the stretch. Marufuji eventually got the win with sliced bread.
WINNER: Naomichi Marufuji at 10:54 (10 pts.)
Star rating: (**3/4) – This was very flat until the final stretch. The crowd wasn’t really into it, but then they turned up the heat late and it got good. From a storyline standpoint, this was a big win for Marufuji, as he stays alive to win the block and owns the tiebreaker with Okada.
(6) Sanada (4 pts.) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (6 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. They went back and forth right away exchanging blows. Sanada got the dragon sleeper, but Ishii managed to get to the ropes. Sanada wouldn’t break the hold at first and the ref nearly had to DQ him. Ishii fired up and took several forearms as he just glared at Sanada, but Sanada finally decked him with a big uppercut.
Ishii finally fired back and hit a Saito suplex and both men were down on the mat. Sanada caught Ishii with his signature leapfrog dropkick a short time later to send Ishii out of the ring. They went at it up top and Ishii tried to lift Sanada into a superplex, but he couldn’t do it. They traded blows and Ishii got the upper hand and landed a stalling superplex for a 2 count and the fans applauded.
They went back and forth and traded blows in the middle of the ring. They continued to go at it and Sanada took a German, but landed on his feet. He then hit a head scissors takedown and followed up with a springboard missile dropkick and the fans fired up. Sanada then hit a standing moonsault, but only got a 2 count. They went at it in the middle of the ring and Sanada got the dragon sleeper with the hooks in. Ishii struggled, but managed to get his foot on the bottom rope.
Sanada missed a moonsault, but managed to roll through onto his feet. He rolled through on Ishii and went for the dragon sleeper, but Ishii slid over him and hit a huge diving clothesline! Sanada took a German, but no sold-it after delivering an enzuguri that Ishii no-sold. Ishii then hit a huge headbutt. He waited for him to get up and hit a huge clothesline for a near fall! Ishii hit a big powerbomb and folded over for another near fall and the fans gasped. They went back and forth trading counters. Ishii hit a headbutt, but Sanada caught him with a TKO off the ropes for a 2 count. Sanada got the dragon sleeper with the hooks in once again and Ishii tapped out!
WINNER: Sanada at 12:18 (6 pts.)
Star rating: (****) – Ishii has been great in this tournament and Sanada has really come along as the tournament has gone on as well. They had some great exchanges in this match and Sanada caught Ishii with the dragon sleeper a second time in the end and it was enough for the tap out! This was one heck of a match.
(7) Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Kojima) (4 pts.) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (8 pts.) in a G1 Climax A Block match. The fans chanted for Tenzan after the opening bell rang. Tenzan hit a series of Mongolian chops during the early going and Tanahashi went down. Tanahashi fired back and went to work on Tenzan’s leg. The fans booed as he worked over Tenzan’s ankle while using the ropes for leverage. Tenzan fired back and hit a suplex and the fans fired up. Tanahashi fired back and Tenzan and hit a Mongolian chop and the fans booed.
Tenzan cut off another Mongolian chop with a headbutt, but Tanahashi cut him off with a flying forearm. Tenzan got the anaconda vice, but Tanahashi quickly rolled on top of him for a 2 count. He then went right back after Tenzan’s leg. Tenzan fired back with several headbutts. He then hit his tombstone variation for a 2 count. Tenzan went up top for a moonsault, but Tanahashi got out of the way. Tanahashi hit a German with a bridge for a 2 count. He went for the high fly flow, but Tenzan rolled out of the way and the fans fired up.
Tenzan set up and nailed Tanahashi with a big clothesline for a 2 count. He applied the anaconda vice again. Tanahashi got to his feet, but Tenzan slammed him down to the mat for a 2 count and the fans fired up. Tanahashi fired back and hit a twisting neck breaker and then a sling blade. He then hit the high fly flow for the win.
WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi at 11:17 (10 pts.)
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was very good. Tenzan got in all his signature offense, but he couldn’t hit the top rope moonsault to put Tanahashi away. They worked a match that Tenzan could pull off and he looked good here. Of course, Tanahashi continued his ascent up the leaderboard in the A Block.
(8) IWGP Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) (10 pts.) vs. Bad Luck Fale (8 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. This is a huge match for Fale to stay in contention. Fale got the upper hand on the floor and tossed Okada into the crowd. Fale controlled the action once they got back into the ring. Fale methodically picked apart Okada. He went for a splash off the ropes, but Okada got out of the way. Fale fired back a short time later and caught Okada off the ropes with a Samoan drop. He went for the back luck fall, but Okada hit a back drop and both men were slow to get up.
Okada got up and caught Fale and hit a neck breaker over his knee. He then went up top and dropped an elbow. He signaled for the rainmaker, but Fale drove him into the corner to block it. Fale then hit a big splash off the ropes for a 2 count. Fale went for the bad luck fall, but Okada slipped out only for Fale to catch him with a spear a short time later. Fale made the cover, but only got a 2 count.
Okada mounted a comeback and caught Fale with the too awesome dropkick. He went for a tombstone, but Fale blocked it. Fale fired back and went for the grenade, but Okada slipped out and hit a German. He tried to go for the rainmaker, but Fale cut him off with a clothesline of his own. Fale then hit the grenade for a near fall! Fale set up and went for the bad luck fall and hit it for the win.
WINNER: Bad Luck Fale at 11:16 (10 pts.)
Star rating: (***) – This was a back and forth match with very little heat until things picked up late. This is a huge win for Fale in terms of staying alive in his block, but I’m surprised they didn’t work a better match to make Fale’s win more memorable.
(9) Togi Makabe (8 pts.) vs. Hirooki Goto (8 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. The winner of this match is still alive in the block. They went at it on the outside during the early going and Goto tossed Makabe into the ringpost. Goto continued to work over Makabe once they got back inside the ring. Makabe came up bleeding from the mouth and nose and he told Goto to bring it. Goto began kicking Makabe in the chest over and over. Makabe got to his feet and told Goto to bring it. Goto whipped him off the ropes only for Makabe to deliver a huge clothesline to deck him.
Goto fired back and caught Makabe coming off the ropes with a kick to the chest. Goto hit a Saito suplex a short time later. Goto went up top and dropped an elbow, but Makabe kicked out at 2. Goto ducked a clothesline from Makabe coming off the ropes, but Makabe caught him with a clothesline using the other arm and both men were slow to get up. Both men began trading blows from their knees. Goto ducked a charge from Makabe and pulled him back by the hair into a neck breaker. Both men were slow to get up and the fans chanted for Makabe.
They went to an exchange off the ropes and Goto caught Makabe with a big clothesline. He then picked him up and lifted him up before dumping him face first over his knee. Goto went for the final cut, but Makabe blocked it. Goto got a choke, but Makabe drove him into the corner and hit a German with a bridge a short time later for a 2 count. Makabe signaled for the end and tossed Goto into the corner to set up the spider German. Goto tried to fight out of it, but Makabe hit the spider German.
Makabe went for the King Kong knee drop, but Goto rolled out of the way. Goto nailed Makabe with a huge kick to the chest, but he shook it off. Goto hit a clothesline and Makabe shook that off as well. Both men then traded clothesline, but neither man would go down. Makabe went for a clothesline off the ropes, but Goto slid around him and grabbed a choke. Makabe got out of it and nailed Goto with a clothesline to the back of the head.
Goto hit a headbutt and came off the ropes, but Makabe turned him inside out with a lariat for a near fall! Makabe signaled for the finish, but Goto caught him and hit a neck breaker over his knee out of the DVD position. Goto then hit the final cut for the win!
Afterward, Goto cut a passionate promo and the crowd applauded to close the show.
WINNER: Hirooki Goto at 14:12 (10 pts.)
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a very good back and forth hard-hitting match. I liked how they worked a match where it seemed like either guy could win down the stretch. These two veterans have good chemistry together and they really did a nice job of working around a crowd that didn’t give them a lot of heat.
Overall Thoughts: This was a solid night of A Block action. Fale got the upset of the night by beating Okada in a match that was fairly ordinary leading into the finish. Okada, Tanahashi, Marufuji, Fale, and Goto are all tied for first with 10 points heading into the final A Block show on August 12.
The story of the A Block seems to be on the inevitable collision course between Okada and Tanahashi even though there are several wrestlers tied with 10 points on top of the A Block. I still see Tanahashi coming out of the A Block to face Naito in the finals, as NJPW isn’t likely to pull a surprise with who comes out of the B Block.
On the other hand it would be surprising to see Okada go 5-4 in the tournament. However this shakes out, the A Block has definitely gotten more compelling after a slow start. Okada losing two matches in a row to Ishii and Fale is unexpected, but in hindsight necessary to put some drama into the close of the tournament and the rise of Tanahashi.
The standings being so crowded set up what should be a fun final night of A Block action on Aug. 12. As for this show, it was an up and down show. The crowd wasn’t really into a lot of the action. Ishii vs. Sanada was really good and that match is worth checking out. They had an excellent back and forth battle. The main event between the veterans Goto and Makabe was a lot of fun as well, but the crowd just wasn’t great supporting the action.
Overall, this tournament hasn’t been as good as G1 25 or G1 24, but it has been a lot of fun to follow over the long run as storylines unfold and different wrestlers have risen to the occasion. This block has been fun to follow since Tanahashi began his climb to the top of the leaderboard. If you’re pressed for time, just watch Sanada vs. Ishii and Goto vs. Makabe.
MATCHES TO WATCH
(6) Sanada vs. Ishii (****)
(9) Goto vs. Makabe (***3/4)
STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 15
A Block Standings
IWGP Champ Kazuchika Okada (5-3, 10 pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (5-3, 10 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-3, 10 pts)
Hirooki Goto (5-3, 10 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (5-3, 10 pts)
Togi Makabe (4-4, 8 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (3-5, 6 pts)
Tama Tonga (3-5, 6 pts)
Sanada (3-5, 6 pts)
Tenzan (2-6, 4 pts)
B Block Standings
Naito (5-2, 10 pts)
IWGP IC champion Michael Elgin (4-3, 8 pts)
NEVER Openweight champion Shibata (4-3, 8 pts)
Kenny Omega (4-3, 8 pts)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (4-3, 8 pts)
Toru Yano (4-3, 8 pts)
Yuji Nagata (3-4, 6 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (3-4, 6 pts)
Honma (2-5, 4 pts)
EVIL (2-5, 4 pts)
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