By Big Red Machine
From July 28, 2016
NJPW G1 Climax 26: Day 7 (7/28/2016)- Tokorozawa, Japan
JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER & TIGER MASK IV vs. DAVID FINLAY JR. & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI- 4.25/10
Taguchi was entertaining at times but annoying at others.
MANABU NAKANISHI, SATOSHI KOJIMA, TOMOAKI HONMA, & YUJI NAGATA vs. KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA & CHAOS (Gedo, YOSHI-HASHI, & Toru Yano)- 4/10
The match was pretty boring. Yano hit Nakanishi in the head with a chair because he’s a dirty cheater. They did some spots to build up Nagata vs. Nakajima on Day 8, including having them brawl after the match.
MICHAEL ELGIN & CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN vs. BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi)- 4/10
Bullet Club attacked the babyfaces from behind to start the match. They got heat on Captain New Japan and eventually beat him.
KATSUYORI SHIBATA, JUICE ROBINSON, & KUSHIDA vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, & EVIL)- 6/10
Naito worked over Shibata’s leg to weaken him for their match on Day 8.
BLOCK A MATCH: Togi Makabe vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Satoshi Kojima)- 6.75/10
Lots of focus on the head from both guys. Tenzan lost. I was extremely sad, which is not what you (or even I) would expect considering that Makabe is one of the favorite wrestlers in New Japan and he is currently undefeated almost halfway through the tournament. I REALLY want Tenzan to win this year. The story is just too great to pass up (and you can have Naito screw him out of the briefcase at some point before the Tokyo Dome so that you don’t have to put Tenzan in the Tokyo Dome main event and also so that the possibility of the G1 winner losing the briefcase will feel more real in subsequent years).
BLOCK A MATCH: Hirooki Goto vs. Sanada- 8/10
Awesome match! They’re really getting Sanada’s big moves over and that spot out of the corner (you’ll know the one) looked amazing. Sanada worked the head and neck the whole time, and they found a finish that made Goto look like one tough motherf*cker, even in defeat.
BLOCK A MATCH: Naomichi Marufuji vs. Tomohiro Ishii- 8.5/10
These two had an awesome match with some great false finishes and quite a few clever reversals. I think the three best were Ishii blocking Marufuji’s chops by thrusting his rotund chest forward to intercept Marufuji’s hand before he could build up any sort of momentum to do damage, and then two back-to-back spots where first Marufuji reversed a Super Ishii Driller into a Shiranui, and then Ishii reversed an attempted Shiranui into a f*cking EMERALD FLOWSION!
BLOCK A MATCH: Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo)- 6.75/10
Tama Tonga worked over Okada’s neck. They managed to actually scare me for a moment that Tonga would win.
BLOCK A MATCH: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale- 1.25/10
Fale picks up a guardrail and slams it down onto Tanahashi’s shoulder, but there was no DQ. Are G1 matches all No Disqualifications matches or something? I’ve never seen that written anywhere, but that’s what it seems like most of the time.
Then Fale picked the guardrail up and threw it down at Tanahashi in what appeared to me to be a horribly unsafe manner, and I think it caught Tanahashi right in the head. The referee yelled at him for this, but again did not call for the DQ. Come to think of it, why is the referee even over there yelling at Fale? If he’s not going to call a DQ, shouldn’t he be in the ring, counting them out?
The first part of this match was about establishing that Tanahashi could not pick Fale up or take Fale down because of his massive size. It didn’t matter what he tried: a leg scissors, a body slam, a sunset flip, stiff strikes… they were all futile. Then they just kind of forgot about all that, Tanahashi had no trouble taking the big man off of his feet with everything from a German Suplex to a hurricanrana to a Sling Blade to a hard slap.
They did a spot where Fale hit a chokeslam but Tanahashi kicked out. Unfortunately for them, what they were trying to do was have Fale hit the Grenade, but he completely missed Tanahashi with the lariat part, so it was just a very weak chokeslam. Tanahashi supposedly won with a backslide to pick up his first points of the tournament, but it looked to me like one of Fale’s shoulders was up. Don’t get me wrong: there was some good stuff in here, but there was a much bigger percentage of stuff that was either bad or didn’t mesh with the story they had been telling earlier in the match.
Despite having two awesome matches, the horrible blandness of the undercard (even by G1 block show standards) and the major disappointment of a main event makes this show hard for me to recommend. Save yourself the time and just watch the Ishii vs. Marufuji and Goto vs. Sanada matches.