SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NJPW G1 CLIMAX – DAY 17
OCTOBER 16, 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN AT RYOGOKU KOKUGIKAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
REPORT BY RICH FANN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
(1) YOTA TSUJI vs. GABRIEL KIDD
The show kicked off with a Young Lion battle between Tsuji and a battle-hardened Kidd, who talked smack mid match in Japanese at his fellow Young Lion. Tsuji however wasn’t down with that and gave the NJUSA trainee a spear, then a giant swing and his patented Boston Crab to end this bout.
WINNER: Yota Tsuji by submission (Boston Crab) in 6:52 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Tsuji planted the flag in this “C Block” as the Young Lion to beat. While Kidd’s bravado was admirable, we all realize at this point this is Tsuji’s house. I’m interested to see how the excursion system works in a Covid environment because Tsuji is starting to get to the point it may need to happen.)
(2) YUJIRO TAKAHASHI (0 POINTS) vs. JEFF COBB (8 POINTS) – Block A Match
This next match was a horror movie. Nothing Yujiro did could affect Cobb, so the Tokyo Pimp fled for most of the encounter as Cobb stalked him. Cobb eventually followed and was suckered into a ddt on the floor, which then gave the smaller man a chance. Yujiro then pushed the advantage on Cobb until Cobb clotheslined the smaller man into Alpha Centauri. Cobb then tried to put Yujiro away with a Tour of the Islands, but Yujiro slipped out and distracted the referee. With the ref otherwise engaged, Yujiro used his Pimp cane on Cobb, followed by an Olympic slam and Miami Shine. Cobb still wouldn’t yield, until Yujiro hit Pimp Juice for the pinfall. Yujiro ensured he would not be winless with the victory.
WINNER: Yujiro Takahashi by pinfall (Pimp Juice) in 10:32 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Cobb was Matanza in this match – the monster that wouldn’t stop. Yujiro, despite being a grade-1 coward, was more afraid of the goose egg that could’ve carried into the tournament’s end should he lose. Extracurriculars are always a bit much but to explain how Cobb lost it made sense.)
(3) SHINGO TAKAGI (6 POINTS) vs. MINORU SUZUKI (6 POINTS) – Block A Match
Suzuki and Takagi began this match with headbutts and fighting spirit checks via punches, forearms and screams. Shingo got a bit too cheeky with a few of his kicks, particularly when he dragged his foot over the head of Suzuki, who then woke up and choked him out. Suzuki then transitioned to the Gotch-style piledriver, but Shingo woke up and fought it off.
Suzuki caught a Pumping Bomber attempt into an armbar (great visual) and Shingo tried to power up into a powerbomb counter, but the weight and the technique of Suzuki prevented it. Suzuki then transitioned to a Fujiwara armbar and the match turned to the question of could Shingo survive without his lariats.
Suzuki tried for another choke, and in a literal last gasp, Shingo punched him in the face and hit Last of the Dragon for the win.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi by pinfall (Last of the Dragon) in 12:29 (****)
(Fann’s Analysis: Awesome match which befit the styles of both men. The ending sequence of Shingo putting everything into his punch and the Last of the Dragon was well done. Suzuki had a solid tournament, especially considering he’s over 50 and hanging with some of the best wrestlers in the world with no qualifiers. Shingo continues to be the best.)
(4) KAZUCHIKA OKADA (12 POINTS) vs. WILL OSPREAY (10 POINTS) – Block A Match
Instead of Heavyweight banter Ospreay, we were given “Oh God Oh God it’s Okada” Ospreay, who like a kid playing a wrestling video game spent the first minute of the match spamming his signatures and finishers. Okada, who saw what the game plan was of Ospreay, in turn tried to slow things down with a Money Clip counter to an Ospreay Stormbreaker attempt. Ospreay got to the rope, and once disengaged from Okada again pulled the match into hyperspeed, as he nailed Okada with poison rana and an Os-cutter for near fall. Ospreay’s Stormbreaker again was countered with a Money Clip and Ospreay then began to fade.
At this point Bea Priestley, Ospreay’s partner, came to the ring and began to cheer for him. Bea eventually got into the referee’s face and while the ref was distracted, Oka (now known as Great O-Kharn) returned from excursion in RevPro and chokeslammed Okada. Ospreay feigned surprise and hit Stormbreaker finally for the pinfall. Post match, Ospreay hit Okada with the Hidden Blade, cursed at his former leader and claimed he held Ospreay back. With the win, barring results in the next two matches, Ospreay had a hold on the A block finalist spot.
WINNER: Will Ospreay by pinfall (Storm Breaker) in 17:04 (****)
(Fann’s Analysis: Ospreay’s heel turn involved a return of Oka and a debut of his longtime paramour Bea Priestley. It seemed as if the story for this turn was Ospreay’s feeling of being held back somehow by Okada, which is a bit overdone. Additionally, with the way Ospreay left with the other two, this could either be a new faction that has RPW tendrils at the heart.)
(5) KOTA IBUSHI (12 POINTS) vs. TAICHI (8 POINTS) – Block A Match
Ibushi and Taichi, like the Suzuki match a few days ago, decided to test each other’s spirits with a kick battle. For nearly 20 minutes both men kicked, feinted, and swept their opponent from varied angles. Taichi took the advantage, and wore Ibushi to the point of a severe limp to the left leg. Ibushi, right when it seemed a jumping high kick would be his fate countered with Bomaye, and finally the Kamigoye for the pin.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi by pinfall (Kamigoye) in 17:12 (****)
(Fann’s Analysis: Another UWFi / Shoot style match, this time Kota Ibushi and Taichi, instead of the grappling game, turned this match into a kickboxing fight. Several times, Taichi or Ibushi kicked the other person so hard it sounded like gunshots. The finish removed Ospreay from the final and the main event now determines if Ibushi or White advance.)
(6) TOMOHIRO ISHII (6 POINTS) vs. JAY WHITE (w/GEDO) (12 POINTS) – Block A Match
Ishii and White started with a delay by White. The pair finally got started and White’s entire existence early focused on the ankle and knee of Ishii to eliminate the sheer drop brainbuster
Mid-match, despite the knee/ankle pain, Ishii hit a second rope superplex for a near fall. A jumping high kick attempt was caught by White and turned into a dragon screw legwhip. White then tore at the knee tape of Ishii, and then put Ishii in the TTO (Tanahashi Tap Out) while Rocky Romero mused perhaps could be re-named the Ishii Tap Out. As Ishii fought off the sleeper suplex, White instead went for a knee clip, then with Ishii staggered hit the sleeper suplex, followed by a Kiwi Crusher for a 2.9 count.
Ishii then fought off White and gave a Kiwi Crusher variant onto White’s knee with Ishii’s own injured knee, and both writhed on the mat. Ishii then locked a leg hold onto White, which called Gedo into frame. As Red Shoes shooed Gedo out of the ring, White ran into everyone, which disabled the referee. During the distraction, Gedo and White tried to double team Ishii, who avoided it and threw the pair into each other. Ishii hit a sliding lariat for a long two. Again Gedo distracted the ref, and White hit a low blow and Regal Suplex for a 2.9 count. Despite additional interference, Ishii threw Gedo again out of the ring and hit a sheer drop brainbuster for the win.
With the win, Ishii has eliminated Jay White as the A-Block finalist and Kota Ibushi moved to the final for the third year in a row.
WINNER: Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall (Sheer Drop Brainbuster) in 24:35 (****3/4)
(Fann’s Analysis: This match was outstanding. Despite the interference of Gedo that permeated this match, the pair of Ishii and White worked so well together this was a joy to watch. Ishii in the role of the Chaos team member that would be least affected by the turn of Ospreay and solely focused on beating White. The Bullet Club issues persist, with B Block looming and the opportunity for EVIL to ascend where White could not.)
FINAL THOUGHTS (8.5): This was a strong A block final. The Ospreay turn and what happens from there bears watching, but the biggest result are the final two matches. Thanks to Trevor Dame (@TrevorDame) for the delightful observation with which I will close this report.
If I wrote for a website the headline would be "LITERAL GOD NEEDS HELP FROM ISHII".
— Trevor Dame (@TrevorDame) October 16, 2020
“LITERAL GOD NEEDS HELP FROM ISHII.”
Only in New Japan would something like that make sense.
Contact Rich at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/rich_fann.