By Big Red Machine
From July 20, 2017
HIRAI KAWATO & KOTA IBUSHI vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Zack Sabre Jr. & El Desperado) - 4.75/10
When Katato got the hot tag, Kevin Kelly said "look at Kawato come in like a house of proverbial fire." When does "fire" get the adjective proverbial but "house" doesn't? Does Kevin Kelly think that Kawato is actually a house? Either way, he certainly was quite fiery after receiving the hot tag. It's definitely a minority opinion, but Kawato is definitely my favorite of this year's crop of young lions, precisely because of his babyface fire. The match was simple but fun. This might also be a minority opinion, but I'd like to see El Desperado get some sort of push in the Jr. Heavyweight division. At least let him headline a Destruction Tour show against KUSHIDA to show us what he can do when given the proper time.
TOGI MAKABE, YUJI NAGATA, & TIGER MASK IV vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, & Gedo) - 6/10
More exciting than your average G1 undercard match, plus it did a good job of building up Makabe vs. Ishii. CHAOS played the structural role of the heels here, except for Gedo, who was acting like an outright heel.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale) - 5.5/10
Tanahashi got his arm worked over, which pretty much took him out of the match, allowing Bullet Club to defeat Finlay.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI) vs. CHAOS (Jado & YOSHI-HASHI) - 5/10
Jado tried to go antic for antic with LIJ but got suckered in and made to look like a total idiot via Naito dropkick to the side because he put himself in a pretty much indefensible position. After that there was stuff that happened. BUSHI pointed old man Jado with a roll-up because now that we have Hiromu there is apparently no need to even try to make BUSHI like anyone of any importance. Naito gave YOSHI-HASHI once extra whip into the guardrail after the bell, then taunted him a bit to build up to their G1 match tomorrow night.
BLOCK B MATCH: Juice Robinson vs. Satoshi Kojima (w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan) - 6.75/10
Well... that was an unexpected upset. Both guys worked the head, and Kojima also did some of Tenzan's stuff, but ultimately it was not enough to defeat the mighty power of Juice Robinson. Kojima shows Juice much respect after the match, but unfortunately for poor Juice, all the fans are chanting is "KOJIMA!"
BLOCK B MATCH: Michael Elgin vs. Tama Tonga - 6.5/10
Another upset, eh? Methinks we're maybe trying to build up a theme for tonight going into Okada vs. Yano.
BLOCK B MATCH: Sanada vs. EVIL - 7.75/10
Two guys going out there and throwing each other around in an attempt to win. I just wish we could get through a Suzuki-Gun or LIJ match without someone doing something that should be an obvious DQ but wasn't. At least EVIL was honorable in his weapon use by giving Sanada one to use as well rather than cheating like the Suzuki-Gun junior heavyweights and trying to screw your partner.
BLOCK B MATCH: Toru Yano vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) - 4.25/10
Yano stuff happens. Then Okada makes him tap out to a move that isn't even his finisher, as Yano is not even worthy of a Rainmaker.
BLOCK B MATCH: Kenny Omega vs. Minoru Suzuki - 8.75/10
Lots of great work on the knee, and great selling by Omega. I loved him busting out the one-legged second rope moonsault from the Tanahashi IC Title match last February. They also started off with a good story of Suzuki not showing Omega the due respect early on and Omega fighting to earn it. Suzuki will pretty much have to respect him now that the One-Winged Angel has put him down, though.
I thought the overbooking was well done (especially if that chairshot to the ribs somehow plays into the widely-theorized Chase Owens loss to a young-boy later this tour). So well, in fact, that it makes me wonder why they couldn't do those earlier chairshots during a ref bump. In fact, why even do a ref bump if the referees won't disqualify anyone for anything anyway. I also thought it was kind of odd that there were so many members of Bullet Club and Suzuki-Gun not present, including those booked on tonight's show. That being said, Fale was SOOOOO awesome here. Everyone should watch this match, especially if you've been wondering what babyface Bullet Club might look like.
A pretty good show from New Japan. It's mostly on the strength of the main event, but this show did also have a better undercard than usual for a G1 show.