By Big Red Machine
From July 24, 2016
NJPW G1 Climax 26: Day 4 (7/24/2016)- Tokyo, Japan
DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. JUICE ROBINSON- 4.25/10
Fun match. Finlay took a scary bump on his neck early on, but he seems to be fine.
TOGI MAKABE & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada & BUSHI)- 4.25/10
Oh come on! How is choking someone with a steel chain not a disqualification!
CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN, HIROSHI TANAHASHI, & KUSHIDA vs. BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga, & Bad Luck Fale)- 7/10
HIROYOSHI TENZAN, SATOSHI KOJIMA, MANABU NAKANISHI, JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER, & TIGER MASK IV vs. NAOMICHI MARUFUJI & CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Kazuchika Okada, & Gedo)- 6.75/10
Goto and Tiger Mask had a surprising amount of chemistry together. Another fun but ultimately meaningless undercard match.
BLOCK B MATCH: Tomoaki Honma vs. YOSHI-HASHI- 7/10
A battle of ultimate underdogs, made even more exciting by their big wins to open the tournament and last night’s tag team match. YOSHI-HASHI worked over Honma’s head, neck, and shoulders for a while, including a great struggle over trying to hit the pumphandle half-nelson driver that he beat Kenny Omega with, which is a move that will drop your opponent on at least one of those three body parts. Honma winds up with the win here, which I thought was a big mistake. We know Honma won’t win the G1, and we already know what his angle will be coming out of it. While we know YOSHI-HASHI won’t win the G1 either, I think there is a much more interesting story to tell with him as a guy who the fans have been behind for a long time finally getting into his first G1 and making a run of it (which would also be cool juxtaposed with Tenzan’s story over in A Block).
BLOCK B MATCH: Yuji Nagata vs. EVIL- 5.75/10
EVIL jumps Nagata at the start of the match and starts in with the strikes, but Nagata, the veteran grappling expert, takes the first chance he has to grab EVIL and take him down to the mat to neutralize his attack. GREAT start to the match.
Then things got not-great with EVIL using a chair on the outside, right in front of the referee. EVIL worked the knee for a bit- including the aforementioned chairshot- but Nagata didn’t sell it well, and some of EVIL’s offense looked pretty weak. Their suplexes looked good and Nagata’s a great mat wrestler. I wish they would have stuck to that sort of stuff.
BLOCK B MATCH: Toru Yano vs. Kenny Omega (w/Yujiro Takahashi)- DUD!
I guess hitting your opponent with the big turnbuckle pad is legal, because the ref didn’t even try to stop Yano from doing it. Or maybe it is, because now he’s stopping Omega from doing it. I was actually going to complement them on making this feel like a wrestling match between cartoon characters without it really feeling like a farce, but then they started doing that sh*t with the referee and blatant low blows with no DQ and all of that other horrible Yano crap.
BLOCK B MATCH: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Katsuyori Shibata- 7/10
This is one of those matches I always quickly get tired off in the G1, simply because I’m generally not a fan of matches that are 95% hitting each other as opposed to submissions or grappling, and we get so many of those in the G1 that I quickly become numb to them if they don’t have any particular emphasis on telling a good story. We’re not at that point yet, but I can already feel it coming (especially if we keep getting pointless fighting spirit spots and no-selling moves or kicking out of things at one just for the hell of it.
BLOCK B MATCH: Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito- 8.25/10
Naito picks up where he started last night, working over Elgin’s knee, and they spent the whole match on that point as well as a smaller story about Naito’s attempts to hit Destino on such a large opponent. Awesome match. One of the best of the tournament so far.
A fine show from New Japan, although the main event saves it from being a disappointment.