By Big Red Machine
From August 10, 2016
NJPW G1 Climax 26: Day 16 (8/10/2016)- Yamagata, Japan
DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. RYUSUKE TAGUCHI- 3/10
JUICE ROBINSON, MANABU NAKANISHI & SATOSHI KOJIMA vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, & Yujiro Takahashi)- 5/10
A fun match. I’m really starting to think that Tama Tonga has been a bit miscast as a heel. He could probably do pretty well as a babyface (especially outside of Japan).
HIROYOSHI TENZAN & CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada & BUSHI)- 5.25/10
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, TOGI MAKABE, JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER, TIGER MASK IV, & KUSHIDA vs. NAOMICHI MARUFUJI & CHAOS (Gedo, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto)- 6.5/10
BLOCK B MATCH: Kenny Omega vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima- 8/10
Omega dumped Nakajima on his head and neck with an early Dragon Suplex on the floor, so they worked that over. Nakajima made a great comeback and they got in some fantastically convincing nearfalls as they built to the finish. Awesome match, especially for going just 10:29.
BLOCK B MATCH: Toru Yano vs. EVIL- 2.5/10
Yano did less Yano stuff than usual, thus the match was more enjoyable. Now if only someone could teach EVIL not to use a chair right in front of the referee. EVIL won, essentially taking Yano out of contention for winning the block, which is a completely baffling decision. If he is still in contention, why would you eliminate him here in a match against a guy with no chance instead of keep him alive going into the final day so that his match on that show actually means something?
BLOCK B MATCH: Tetsuya Naito vs. YOSHI-HASHI- 8.5/10
This match right here! This was one hell of a rollercoaster ride built around one simple concept: convince the viewer that YOSHI-HASHI was going to pull off the upset (the fact that a Naito victory would allow him to win the block in most cases even if he lost his final match certainly helped). Once they created that feeling, they went nuts with the false finishes and it worked perfectly.
BLOCK B MATCH: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Yuji Nagata- 4/10
It’s a Shibata match. Lots of hitting in the head, not much selling.
BLOCK B MATCH: Michael Elgin vs. Tomoaki Honma- 8/10
Very hard-hitting match built around the standard Honma headbutt spots, but they mixed in enough stuff to make it feel different. Elgin’s use of the backfists instead of the standard New Japan forearms helped this quite a bit. Awesome stuff.
This was a VERY up-and-down show from New Japan. One thing I have to comment on was the completely and totally baffling order of the G1 matches. You’d think the ones with the biggest impact on the eventual finish of the tournament would be placed towards the top, but instead they were placed first, third, and fourth, with the one with the biggest impact (and also biggest combination of names) went on first.