NJPW G1 Climax 26: Day 17 (8/12/2016)- Tokyo, Japan
THE BRISCOE BROTHERS vs. CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN & YOSHITATSU- 2/10
This was basically a squash.
JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER, TIGER MASK IV, MANABU NAKANISHI, & YUJI NAGTA vs. TOMOAKI HONMA, DAVID FINLAY JR., JUICE ROBINSON, & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI- 4/10
Stuff happened for a while, including Nakanishi hitting a diving crossbody on Robinson. If that was the finish, I would have been perfectly content. Eventually Honma and Nagata, who face off tomorrow, were tagged in… and the first piece of information Steve Corino feels compelled to give us is that Honma once hit on his sister Allison Danger at an ROH show in 2003. With the way Corino said this, I was really hoping it would set up some sort of interference by him, but alas it didn’t.
Nagata started to kick at Honma’s taped-up ribs, so that will probably be relevant tomorrow night. Liger rolled up young Finlay soon after.
KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA, TORU YANO, ATSUSHI KOTOGE, & YOSHI-HASHI vs. KATSUYORI SHIBATA, SATOSHI KOJIMA, MICHAEL ELGIN, & KUSHIDA- 6/10
Apparently KUSHIDA has “made it known that he wants to be the ROH World Champion.” This was news to me, and I’m about as hardcore of an ROH fan as you can get. Maybe we could include a promo on an ROH TV show or DVD with KUSHIDA saying this?
Speaking of New Japan guys wanting to be the ROH World Champion, Satoshi Kojima pins Kotoge to build up to his title match on the final day of the G1. I like Kojima winning, but why bring in one half of the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions just to pin him?
BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega, Yujiro Takahashi, Adam Page, & Tanga Loa) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, BUSHI, & Jay Lethal)- 5.5/10
Lethal is not only teaming with Los Ingobernables, but wearing one of their shirts, so I guess he’s still in the group. I figured that the blow-up he had with Naito at ROH War of the Worlds Tour: Dearborn in May meant he was out of the group. Apparently not. It’s frustrating because the other pieces of the ROH booking fit together so well for him to team with Los Ingobernables to face Bullet Club here that I really wish they hadn’t had any dissension at all between Lethal and Naito at that show at all. It’s another example of something happening that seems like it really should lead to something but instead it goes nowhere; a booking problem that both ROH and New Japan suffer from.
The match wasn’t much. Lethal had no problems with Naito or any other Ingobernable. Adam Page pinned BUSHI after he and Yujiro hit a combination of moves, ending with Page’s Rite of Passage finisher to build them up for their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title match against the Briscoes on Sunday.
BLOCK A MATCH: Sanada vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Satoshi Kojima)- 6.75/10
Baseball bats are apparently okay in this match. On commentary, Rocky Romero said that DQs are at the referee’s discretion, but what sort of referee lets someone use a f*cking BASEBALL BAT?!
Anyway, Tenzan loses. Again. He finishes the tournament on the tournament on a seven match losing streak. Kojima gets into the ring and hugs him and shakes his hand they’re still best buddies, but the finishing touch on what will almost certainly be the worst waste of a storyline anywhere in wrestling the entire year. For only the first time since returning from his learning excursion in 1995, Hiroyoshi Tenzan was healthy but was not picked for the G1. He did everything he could to find a way into the tournament, even saying that it would be his last… and finally his long-time tag team partner and close friend Satoshi Kojima gave Tenzan his spot, telling him that he had better use this opportunity to win it. Instead of the story that ECW told so perfectly with Terry Funk, New Japan took their legend and pretty much embarrassed him, essentially proving that management was right, and this broken-down old man didn’t have anything left. The only way that decision could possibly make sense would be if it was going to lead to Kojima turning on Tenzan for squandering the opportunity he so generously gave him… but we couldn’t even get that. They’re still best buddies. The only result of this storyline was making a beloved legend look pathetic.
BLOCK A MATCH: Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii- 7/10
I laughed my ass off at the atrociousness of Kevin Kelly’s commentary, telling us that neither man could possibly win the block… and then, later in THE VERY SAME SENTENCE trying to tell us that the points the winner would pick up were somehow “important.”
They hit each other in the head a lot very hard, and even sold it most of the time.
BLOCK A MATCH: Tama Tonga vs. Bad Luck Fale- 5.25/10
The announcers kept saying that these two were related, but I have never heard anyone say that Fale is part of the Fifita family and cannot even find any such claim on the internet.
This is a Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club match, so the rest of Bullet Club B-team (Tanga Loa, Page, & Yujiro) comes out with both guys and they all too sweet each other before the match. Tonga can’t possibly win, but Fale can still win provided that he wins this match here AND both Tanahashi and Goto lose or draw… so Tama Tonga lies down for Fale who puts his foot on his chest for the pin. Everyone is booing and the ref refuses to count but both guys yell at him to do so, so he starts to count… and Tonga gets his shoulder up at two and then quickly school boys Fale… but Fale kicks out.
Now Fale is pissed off… so Tonga lets him pin him again… and Tonga kicks out again. Fale is more pissed and starts to beat Tonga up. He picks him up and is about to give him a Bad Luck Fall all the way down to the floor but the rest of Bullet Club implore Fale not to do it… and all I can think is that this would all be a lot more interesting if they hadn’t done a much better version of the exact same sort of thing last year with Fale and AJ Styles. And it let to nothing, so I have no reason to believe that anything that happens here will lead to anything, either.
Fale eventually just gives Tonga a Bad Luck Fale onto the other members of Bullet Club. This leads to a count-out tease but Tonga makes it back into the ring at nineteen. The rest of the match was Fale just clobbering the sh*t out of Tonga until Tonga made a short but really good comeback and won. I enjoyed that action part of the match, but the first part of it was hurt by the fact that it is clearly an inferior copy of last year’s angle (and this match was nowhere near as good as that match) and the fact that last year’s angle didn’t lead to anything killed the dramatic impact for me.
BLOCK A MATCH: Hirooki Goto vs. Naomichi Marufuji- 8/10
Goto works the chest while Marufuji works over the head- and more specifically the chin- of Goto, seeming to be going for the knockout. They had their story and they stuck to it like glue while also throwing in some nice variations on some of their traditional spots.
BLOCK A MATCH: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo)- 9/10
First of all, let me take this opportunity to brag about predicting a draw finish in this match. Secondly, I’d like to congratulate these two on putting on a fantastic wrestling match. The Rainmaker sequences were great, the work on Okada’s leg story was solid (though Okada could have sold it better), and they did a fantastic job of getting across the desperation of the final few minutes.
Now let me criticize the English announcers. None of you idiots checked what time the match started, knowing that a draw was a real possibility? It was so annoying to hear one of them shout “how much time is left?!” and another shout “I don’t know!” over and over. Perhaps the only thing more frustrating than that was after thirty minutes of hearing all three announcers tell us that if these two went to a draw Goto would win the block, having the time limit expire and Kevin Kelly ask “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!” as if this was some sort of unprecedented, unplanned for event with no rules to handle what would happen and no way to tell how would affect the outcome of the tournament.
This was a great show from New Japan. Although I was disappointed with the booking of Block A for most of the tournament, I’m very happy to see Goto get the win, and the two matches that really needed to deliver tonight definitely did so.