SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
New Japan G1 Climax 2016 Final Show Report
August 14, 2016
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The event is available live in Japanese and English via New Japan World.
The broadcast opened with a great video package recapping how the tournament played out and how they got to the final match of Hirooki Goto (A Block Winner) vs. Kenny Omega (B Block Winner).
(1) Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV beat “Funky Lounge Singer” Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay in an opening tag match. Tiger Mask pinned Finlay with a top-rope superplex.
(2) Gedo & Jado beat Bullet Club Hunters (Yoshitatsu & Captain New Japan). Jado submitted the Captain to a crossface submission on his second attempt during the match. Poor Captain.
(3) Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI beat Togi Makabe & Honma. YOSHI pinned Honma with an inside cradle Michinoku Driver to win the tag match and end Honma’s G1 Climax run on a low note. All four men looked exhausted by the end of the tournament.
(4) Team NOAH (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima & Maybach Taniguchi & Masa Kitamiya) beat NEVER Openweight champion Shibata & Yuji Nagata & Tenzan & Nakanishi in an eight-man tag match. Shibata was covered in bandages and sold being sad that he didn’t make it to the G1 Finals once again. The match built to a big Shibata vs. Shiozaki encounter. Epic mid-match battle. All of Team NOAH eventually hit the ring to boos to attack Shibata. And, Shibata answered with a sickening headbutt to Nakajima. Nakajima slumped down to the mat and Shibata had blood trickling down from his forehead. It was almost an out-of-body look from Shibata, who tagged out. After chaos broke out, Nakajima secured Nakanishi for a vertical brainbuster. It was good for the pin.
Post-match, this turned into an all-out brawl between Shibata and Nakajima. Shibata sold being angered beyond control, drawing out dojo students to try to separate the teams. Shibata just wouldn’t let it go and went after Shioazki after he was done with Nakajima. Shibata absolutely lost it and eventually stood on the top turnbuckle with blood trickling down from his forehead waving off Team NOAH, who were announced as the winners. The crowd was hot at Team NOAH, then Shibata led his team out of the ring to the back. That was a nuts post-match brawl.
5 — IWGP World tag champions THE BRISCOES (JAY & MARK BRISCOE) vs. BULLET CLUB (HANGMAN PAGE & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI) — IWGP World Tag Title match
The Briscoes wasted no time taking it to Bullet Club’s challengers with a flurry of offense. Included was Mark Briscoe wiping out the Club with a top-rope moonsault to the outside. Yujiro and Page then ran a distraction play for Page to belt-shot Jay Briscoe behind the ref’s back to take control of the match.
The match moved back to the floor, where both teams punished each other on the outside. Back in the ring, the teams traded control until Bullet Club took over on Mark Briscoe. Hot tag to Jay, who went wild on Yujro with high-impact offense. Jay then gave Page a Death Valley Driver across the ring apron.
Bullet Club came back with a top-rope combination finisher on Mark that looked like it was the end, but Mark kicked out just before three. Moments later, The Briscoes one-upped the Club with a Doomsday Device to Page, and it was good for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Briscoes at 15:21 to retain the IWGP Tag Titles. Fine tag match to kick off the Briscoes’s tag run. Now it’s time for the Briscoes to get some strong opponents to get the tag division up and running again.
After the match, New Japan formally announced Wrestle Kingdom 11 at the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2017.
6 — ROH World champion JAY LETHAL vs. SATOSHI KOJIMA (w/Tenzan) — ROH World Title match
Both men got in their signature offense in the first part of the match. Kojima hit rapid-fire knife-edge chops opening up Lethal’s chest, but the ROH champ responded with a Lethal Combination into top-rope diving elbow for a close nearfall.
Kojima responded with Tenzan’s signature Mongolian Chops, popping the crowd. Kojima then applied Tenzan’s Anaconda Vice submission, but Lethal broke free with knee strikes. Kojima kept the pressure on Lethal before removing his elbow pad to call for a roaring elbow, which he nailed for a two count.
Lethal then blocked Kojima’s follow-up attack, sending Kojima to the floor. Lethal immediately hit consecutive suicide dives. He returned to the ring and called for a third as Kojima recovered to his feet. But, Kojima stormed back into the ring to lariat Lethal in the back of the head. Kojima called for the end, but Lethal blocked a super-lariat. Lethal then pulled the ref into him and mule-kicked Kojima. That set up Lethal to nail Kojima with the Lethal Injection for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Lethal at 10:45 to retain the ROH World Title. The big question was how Lethal would win & retain without having Kojima take a clean loss. And, with Lethal playing heel in Japan, the mule kick provided the answer. Strong title match, overall, with the crowd into Kojima as title challenger.
(7) L.I.J. (Naito & EVIL & Sanada & BUSHI) beat Tanahashi & IWGP IC champion/CMLL Liga champion Michael Elgin & IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson in an eight-man tag match. The match built to Elgin showing off his Big Mike power with a double slam to two members of EVIL, then another double slam to two more members. Elgin then slammed Tanahashi onto Naito, but it was only good for a two count. Elgin did Naito’s signature eye pose, which came back to bite him when EVIL pinned Juice Robinson for the win. Afterward, Naito called out Elgin to fight him, suggesting a future IC Title feud.
(8) IWGP World Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada & GHC tag champions Naomichi Marufuji & Toru Yano beat Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa) in a six-man tag match. Okada pinned Tonga Loa with the Rainmaker lariat to finish out the G1 Climax with a victory. Okada asked for the mic after the match. He told Bad Luck Fale what’s up, sending Bullet Club away from the ring.
Okada had something else to say. Okada addressed his tag partner for the night, Naomichi Marufuji, declaring himself the top champion. Marufuji asked to reply. Marufuji wanted a title shot, then went for a handshake, but Okada walked past him and posed. Yano, who is stablemates with Okada and GHC Tag champions with Marufuji, stood in the background unsure how to process this mini-dispute. Okada posed in the corner as Marufuji accepted the brush-off, then hopped over the top rope to the floor. Marufuji and Yano left, leaving Okada to finish posing in the ring.
Masahiro Chono made a surprise appearance to join the commentary team as a special guest for the main event.
9 — HIROOKI GOTO (A Block Winner) vs. KENNY OMEGA (B Block Winner) — G1 Climax Tournament Finals — Winner receives IWGP World Title shot at Wrestle Kingdom Tokyo Dome on January 4 — No Time Limit
As soon as the bell sounded, Omega hopped on the top rope to pose for the crowd and gauge their response after his heel promo Saturday night after winning the B Block. Omega was not selling the knee injury from Saturday’s mach against Naito, but Goto quickly targeted the knee with a kneebar. Omega broke free before Goto could inflict significant damage.
They set up an interesting spot where Omega headscissored Goto to the outside and warmed up for a dive, but Goto charged back into the ring and kicked Omega hard in the knee. The move drew loud boos from the audience, then Goto went to work on Omega’s knee. Goto used the boos as fuel to get vicious with Omega.
The match moved to the floor, where Omega countered Goto for a powerbomb across the ring apron. Goto made it back into the ring at 18 to keep the match going. The match moved to the top turnbuckle, where Goto countered Omega into a top-rope neckbuster across his knee. But, Omega kicked out. Goto then applied a sleeper looking to set up for the GTR, but Omega fought the hold and nailed Goto with a running knee.
Omega followed with a neckbuster across his knee, but Omega hurt his knee executing the move. Omega recovered, then nailed a running knee to the face. Omega tried to follow with the One-Winged Angel, but Goto slipped out the back door and applied a sleeper. But, Omega climbed up the top turnbuckle with Goto on his back. What the?! Omega then fell backwards into a back drop to get separation.
Both men sold on the mat as they hit the 20:00 mark. The crowd was buzzing as they slowly came back to their feet to trade bombs. Omega then surprised Goto with a kick to the face, followed by a huge lift-up, sit-out powerbomb, but Goto kicked out at 2.5. Omega then went to the top rope looking for a corkscrew press, but Goto moved out of the way and Omega ate the mat.
Goto got up with a gun motion to answer Omega’s Bullet Club, and he promptly kicked him in the chest for a two count. Goto followed with a spinning facebuster for a super-close nearfall. The crowd was going nuts for the finale at this point. Omega came right back with a martial arts kick strike into a Tiger Suplex for a super-close nearfall of his own. Omega tried to follow with a running knee, but Got caught his leg and blocked. Lariat-o from Goto! Goto followed with his shouten finisher, and it looked like the end, but Omega kicked out just before three. Wow.
Goto, freaking out, picked up Omega looking for the GTR, but Omega blocked and nailed Prince Devitt/Finn Balor’s Bloody Sunday. Omega then picked up Goto and nailed the Styles Clash, but Goto kicked out just before three! Omega then picked up Goto and put him on his shoulders to deliver the One-Winged Angel. Omega scored the pin for the win!
WINNER: Kenny Omega at 26:50 to win the G1 Climax Tournament. Unbelievable war. Unbelievable. Omega came out of nowhere this weekend to go from the outside looking in of the B Block to actually winning the whole tournament. The prospect of Okada vs. Omega as a possible IWGP World Title match in the Tokyo Dome is something else. (****1/2)
Post-match, Bullet Club spilled out from the back to salute Omega and hoist him in the air. Meanwhile, Goto was helped to the back. Omega then received his G1 Climax victory flag. He dropped it down, though, and waved the Bullet Club flag instead.
Omega then took the mic to cut a promo. Omega said the Bullet Club is not over and is For Life. So, is The Elite over? Omega said The Elite is not over despite the Young Bucks not being here. Omega said today happens once in a lifetime, so don’t be afraid to dream and reach for the stars. But, he will reach up and take it away from you. He then called out the boys watching this in Orlando (which could be NXT or TNA with TNA running tapings this weekend).
Omega called out Okada. He said he has never beaten Okada, nor wrestled him. Omega spoke in Japanese about facing Okada, popping the crowd and making them laugh. Omega got a round of applause, then signed off in English: “Good bye (kiss) and Good Night.” Omega did the Bullet Club pose, then confetti shot off to salute Omega. Bullet Club posed together in the middle of the ring throwing up the Too Sweet as Omega received his trophy. Omega and Bullet Club then left the ring to wrap up the G1 Climax tournament. Amazing show and tournament.