RADICAN’S NJPW G1 Climax Night 17 Review – Okada vs. Tanahashi EPIC main event to conclude A Block; Overall Reax to how A Block played out


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RadicanSean_profileRADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 26: NIGHT 17 BLOG
AUGUST 12, 2016
TOKYO, 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 and English commentary from Steve Corino, Kevin Kelly, and Rocky Romero live at Sumo Hall. This set-up will be in place for the rest of the tournament this weekend.

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) IWGP World tag champions The Briscoes beat Yoshitatsu & Captain New Japan.

(2) Jushin Liger & Yuji Nagata & Nakanishi & Tiger Mask IV beat Honma & Ryusuke Taguchi & Juice Robinson & David Finlay in an eight-man tag match.

(3) Katsuhiko Kojima & Atsushi Kotoge (NOAH) & YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano beat Shibata & Elgin & Kojima & KUSHIDA in an eight-man tag match.

(4) Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Hangman Page & Tanga Loa & Yujiro Takahashi) beat ROH World champion Jay Lethal & L.I.J. (Naito & EVIL & BUSHI) in an eight-man tag match.

G1 CLIMAX 26 BLOCK ACTION

(5) Sanada (6 pts.) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Kojima) (4 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Tenzan had the upper hand early and Sanada bailed to the outside. Tenzan tried to follow Sanada to the floor, but Sanada rolled into the ring and then cut off Tenzan when he tried to get back inside the ring. Sanada got his bat and went after Tenzan with it. They went back and forth inside the ring and Tenzan eventually hit a big suplex. The announcers talked about how crazy the tournament had been with a lot of new faces and upsets. Sanada fired back and hit a standing moonsault for a 2 count. He followed up with a backdrop driver for another 2 count.

Sanada went for the dragon sleeper, but Tenzan escaped. Sanada caught him coming off the ropes and hit a TKO for a 2 count. Sanada missed a moonsault, but landed on his feet. Sanada went for the dragon sleeper again, but Tenzan reversed it into a tombstone variation for a 2 count. Tenzan went up top for a moonsault, but Sanada rolled out of the way. Tenzan no-sold a dropkick and hit a series of Mongolian chops and headbutts. He finally decked Sanada with a clothesline to the back. He then hit another running clothesline, but Sanada kicked out at 2. Tenzan got the anaconda vice. He then hit the anaconda slam, but Sanada kicked out at the last second!

Sanada fired back and got the dragon sleeper with the hooks in. Tenzan struggled, but got his foot on the bottom rope. Sanada hit his Lita moonsault, but Tenzan kicked out! Sanada then locked in the skull end once again. The fans fired up and chanted for Tenzan, but he had to tap out. WOW!

After the match, the fans chanted for Tenzan. Kojima came into the ring and hugged Tenzan, who appeared to cry.

WINNER: Sanada at 12:12 (8 pts.)

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a heck of a way for Tenzan to go out of G1. He had a really good back and forth contest against Sanada and looked great in the ring.

(6) Togi Makabe (8 pts.) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (6 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Neither guy is alive in the tournament, but I don’t think they will hold back here. Both guys traded bombs right away. They continued to punch and slap back and forth. Ishii hit a big chop to Tenzan’s neck and both men went down. WOW!

Ishii backed Makabe into the corner and chopped him in the throat several times. Makabe began to fire up and he told Ishii to bring it. Makabe no-sold a big running forearm and wiped out Ishii with a shoulder tackle. Makabe hit several clotheslines on Ishii in the corner. Ishii struggled, but managed to hit a back drop on Makabe. Makabe then sent him back down to the mat with a big punch. Both guys began trading bombs in the middle of the ring. Makabe kept nailing Ishii with forearms, but he kept walking towards him.

Ishii finally fired back with a big clothesline. Ishii hit a big superplex a short time later and made the cover for a near fall. Both men went at it trading bombs a short time later. Makabe hit several chops to Ishii’s neck to ground him. Makabe hit a kneeling powerbomb a short time later for a 2 count. Makabe decked Ishii with a big clothesline, but he wouldn’t go down. Makabe hit another big clothesline to deck Ishii. He followed up with a German with a bridge for a 2 count. WOW! These guys are tagging each other in this match.

Makabe hit the spider German, but missed the King Kong knee drop. Both men kept going for clotheslines at the same time and connecting, but neither man would go down. They traded headbutts and Ishii leveled Makabe with a headbutt to the chest. He then hit a huge lariat, but Makabe kicked out at 1! Ishii then hit a sliding lariat for a near fall. Ishii finally finished off Makabe with a brainbuster. OH MY GOD!

WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii at 12:33 (8 pts.)

Star rating: (****1/4) – These two are always happy to see each other in the ring and they dialed it up for one hell of a hard-hitting war here. Ishii had a tremendous tournament in the ring. This was one heck of a war.

(7) Bad Luck Fale (10 pts.) vs. Tama Tonga (6 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Kelly mentioned that Fale could win the A block if he wins this match. This is a Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club match. Romero said that Tonga and Fale are cousins and didn’t even know it until they began working together. Fale and Tonga tried to tear off the ring announcers suit jacket arms. He looked very upset. Several other members of Bullet Club (Hangman Page, Tonga Loa, and Takahashi) came down to ringside to watch the match.

Fale and Tonga hit the too sweet gesture before going at it. Fale laid down on his back and the fans booed. Fale put one foot on Tonga, but the ref refused to count it. The ref then counted it and Tonga kicked out at the very last second and rolled up Fale for a near fall. Bullet Club seemed upset with Tonga at ringside. Fale told Tonga to get down. Fale then made the cover, but Tonga kicked out again at the last second. Fale then went after him with a series of punches.

Fale set up for the bad luck fall to the floor, but Bullet Club waved him off. Fale teased it to another side of the ring. He turned around, but the hit the bad luck fall to the floor to wipe out Bullet Club! Fale dominated Tonga once he got back into the ring. Tonga fired back and finally took Fale down with a neck breaker. He hit a big running frog splash for a 2 count. Tonga went for a couple of gun stun attempts, but Fale shook him off and hit a spear for a 2 count. A short time later, Tonga countered the grenade into his signature DDT for a 2 count and the fans fired up. Tonga then suddenly hit the gun stun for the win! WOW!

Bullet Club was shown on the outside and they did not look happy since Tonga eliminated Fale from contention. Fale recovered and did a too sweet with Tonga. All of the Bullet Club members then hit the too sweet gesture.

WINNER: Tama Tonga at 8:41 (8 pts.)

Star rating: (***1/2) – This was really good. The storyline was a blast to watch as it unfolded. At first, it looked like Tonga was going to give Fale a clear path to possibly win the A Block. He didn’t end up letting Fale pin him and they had a really good match. They weren’t given a lot of time, but they filled it well.

(8) GHC Hvt. Tag Team Champion Naomichi Marufuji (10 pts.) vs. Hirooki Goto (10 pts.) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. Kelly and Corino mentioned that Goto needs a win and he needs a draw, double count out, or double DQ from Tanahashi vs. Okada to advance to the finals. They mentioned Marufuji also has a difficult road to the finals as well. Goto clotheslined Marufuji over the top to the floor during the early going. Marufuji fired back and snapped Goto’s neck right over the guardrail. Marufuji began working over Goto inside the ring a short time later wth some big chops.

Goto finally fired back and caught Marufuji with a kick to the chest as he came off the ropes. Goto hit an elbow off the top a short time later for a 2 count. Marufuji fired back and hit a cartwheel into a dropkick. He followed up with a big splash over the top to the floor. Goto thought he had whipped Marufuji into the guardrail and didn’t see him block the guardrail with his foot. Marufuji surprised Goto with a missile dropkick once he rolled back into the ring and it was good for a 2 count. Marufuji went for a series of strikes and kicks, but Goto finally ducked a kick and dragged Marufuji by the hair into his knee and both men were down. The crowd chanted for both men as they tried to recover. Marufuji ducked a charge in the corner and hit a HUGE knee lift to Goto’s chin.

Marufuji went for sliced bread two times, but Goto blocked it. They went back and forth and Marufuji went for a jumping knee, but Goto decked him with a headbutt. Goto measured Marufuji and nailed him with a huge kick to the chest. He then hit another big neck breaker over his knee for a near fall. The crowd fired up with both men down on the mat. Marufuji fired back with several crescent kicks for a near fall. Goto blocked a sliced bread attempt and grabbed a choke. Marufuji tried to roll through to the mat, but Goto held on! Marufuji began to fade. Goto let go of Marufuji and hit the GTR for the win! WOW!

WINNER: Hirooki Goto at 13:17 (12 pts.)

Star rating: (****) – There was a lot of drama with both guys needing to win to stay alive in the tournament. They had one heck of a back and forth war with some great counter wrestling. Add yet another great match to the body of work Marufuji has put in during G1. This sets up for what could be a very dramatic final, as Goto could win it depending on how things play out!

(9) IWGP Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) (10 pts.) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (10 pts) in a G1 Climax 26 A Block match. If either man wins this match, they are in the finals, as they own the tie-breaker with Goto. If they go to a draw, double count out or double DQ, Goto will win the block. Each match in G1 has a 30 minute time limit. This rivalry has been incredible and although some people are sick of seeing them wrestle in big matches, I certainly like the storyline they’ve crafted leading into this match.

The fans fired up with a big Tanahashi chant when the opening bell rang. Tanahashi teased a clean break early and then slapped Okada across the face! Okada rolled through on Tanahashi and hit his signature neck breaker over his knee. He followed with a shotgun dropkick and went up top. Okada hit the elbow and signaled for the rainmaker! He went for the rainmaker, but Tanahashi countered it into a small package for a near fall. Okada got the upper hand and went on the attack. Tanahashi fired back and went after Okada’s leg. The fans fired up and started a Tanahashi chant. Tanahashi worked a modified Indian death lock, but Okada got to the ropes. Okada finally caught Tanahashi with a backdrop to cut him off.

Okada measured Tanahashi and hit a diving European uppercut. Okada locked in red ink a short time later, but Tanahashi managed to get to the ropes. Tanahashi mounted a comeback and hit a big running forearm to ground Okada. Both men were slow to get to their feet. They went back and forth and Okada ended up hitting his signature dropkick in the corner. Tanahashi ended up falling to the floor. They showed his elbow hitting the apron and he went to the floor. That looked rough. Tanahashi blocked a running kick and slammed Okada’s leg over the guardrail. He then followed up with a dragon screw around the guardrail. Tanahashi hit the high fly flow to the floor a short time later and the fans fired up big time! WOW!

Okada struggled to get to his feet and Tanahashi ended up breaking the ref’s count to pick him up. Okada suddenly fired up and hit a tombstone on the floor! The announcers questioned why Tanahashi would make the mistake of breaking the ref’s count. The ref’s count began again as both men were slow to get up. Okada got into the ring and Tanahashi barely beat the count by getting in right before 20. The fans chanted for Tanahashi. Okada went up top, but Tanahashi dodged his dropkick and hit a pair of big dragon screws.

Okada caught Tanahashi coming off the ropes. He set up for another tombstone, but Tanahashi got of it. Tanahashi then countered Okada into a sling blade out of the tombstone. WOW! He followed up with a straightjacket German, but Okada kicked out at 2. Tanahashi went up top, but Okada suddenly got up and cut him off with a big uppercut.

They battled up top and Tanahashi finally knocked Okada down to the mat. He then went for the high fly flow, but Okada rolled out of the way. He then nailed him with a diving dropkick to the back of the head. Okada followed up with the too awesome dropkick. Okada went for the rainmaker, but Tanahashi countered it into a sling blade and both men were down. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WOW!

The fans fired up and chanted for Tanahashi. Both men battled near the apron a short time later and exchanged blows. They continued to trade and Okada went for a big running boot, but Okada caught his foot and snapped it over the top rope! He followed up with a dragon screw around the ropes. He went for the clover leaf once again after not being able to get it the first time and he got it! Tanahashi applied a ton of pressure on the hold, but Okada managed to get to the ropes. Tanahashi avoided a dropkick and hit a reverse dropkick. He hit the high fly flow to Okada’s back. He went for a traditional high fly flow, but Okada got his knees up! Romero went nuts for his CHAOS stablemate on commentary. WOW!

Okada hurt himself blocking the high fly flow with his injured leg. Corino mentioned they were getting close to the time limit. Okada went for a tombstone, but Tanahashi countered it and hit one of his own! WOW! Tanahashi measured Okada for a big neck breaker. He went up top as the time began to run out. Tanahashi went for a high fly flow, but Okada got up and hit a dropkick. Tanahashi ducked a rainmaker attempt and slapped Okada in the face.

Okada hit a German and went for the rainmaker, but Tanahashi slapped him in the face. Okada held onto his hand and hit the rainmaker. He went for a second rainmaker, but Tanahashi countered it and hit dragon suplex with a bridge for near fall. WOW. Okada then slipped away from Tanahashi and hit a tombstone for a near fall. OMG!

Tanahashi and Okada both went for rainmakers, but missed. The announcers didn’t know how much time was left. Tanahashi finally countered Okada and sling blade. Tanahashi hit a standing high fly flow and a traditional high fly flow. The ref counted to two-and-a-half as the bell rang for a time limit draw. OH MY GOD.

It was announced that Goto had won the A Block because Tanahashi and Okada went to a time limit draw. This is unbelievable! The crowd looked shocked with Okada and Tanahashi down in the ring. Goto needed a draw and it happened! I cannot believe this! Corino said Goto hasn’t been to the finals of G1 since 2008.

WINNER: No winner – 30 minute time limit draw – Okada (11 pts.), Tanahashi (11 pts.)

Star rating: (****3/4) – I never expected this. NEVER in a million years did I expect NJPW to do a time limit draw in this main event to put Goto through to the finals. What a match this was. This match was EPIC. The only downside was there was no running clock as they went to the finish, but, man, did they time it out perfectly as the ref had nearly counted to 3 when the time limit expired. Amazing.

Overall Thoughts: AMAZING. I’m in disbelief trying to collect my thoughts. I cannot believe Tanahashi vs. Okada went to a time limit draw. I thought Goto was all but done for in terms of someone NJPW would push to this level. A lot of their big picture booking had become predictable. Goto winning the A Block is a shocker.

I give a ton of credit to Gedo for the way he’s booked the tournament. I just NEVER saw Goto coming out of the A block. What a night of wrestling this was. The entire night was built around all of the competitors in contention. Fale was knocked out of contention first when he lost to Tonga in a very good match. Then Goto beat Marufuji late to stay alive, but he needed Okada and Tanahashi to go to a double count out, a time limit draw, or a double DQ to win the block.

Goto-Marufuji was amazing, but Okada and Tanahashi put on an EPIC 30 minute classic to build to the time limit draw. There was no clock running down the 30 minute time limit as it drew close, but man did they get the crowd RED HOT for the finishing stretch leading into the shocking finish. This was an incredible match.

I cannot recommend watching the block action on this show enough. What an incredible piece of storytelling and drama. This is what wrestling should be all about. WOW! When the drama of a wrestling show can match that drama of a great TV show or movie, it really gets me excited and NJPW did that tonight. Kudos to Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and Rocky Romero for doing a great job on commentary. The call of the main event was especially tremendous.

MATCHES TO WATCH

(5) Sanada vs. Tenzan (***3/4)

(6) Makabe vs. Ishii (****1/4)

(8) Marufuji vs. Goto (****)

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

STANDINGS AFTER NIGHT 17

A Block Standings

Hirooki Goto (6-3, 12 pts) (A BLOCK WINNER)
IWGP Champ Kazuchika Okada (5-3-1, 11 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-3-1, 11 pts)
Naomichi Marufuji (5-4, 10 pts)
Bad Luck Fale (5-4, 10 pts)
Togi Makabe (4-5, 8 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii (4-5, 8 pts)
Tama Tonga (4-5, 8 pts)
Sanada (4-5, 8 pts)
Tenzan (2-7, 4 pts)

B Block Standings

Naito (6-2, 12 pts)
IWGP IC champion Michael Elgin (5-3, 10 pts)
NEVER Openweight champion Shibata (5-3, 10 pts)
Kenny Omega (5-3, 10 pts)
Katsuhiko Nakajima (4-4, 8 pts)
Toru Yano (4-4, 8 pts)
Yuji Nagata (3-5, 6 pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (3-5, 6 pts)
EVIL (3-5, 6 pts)
Honma (2-6, 4 pts)

***

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