By Big Red Machine
From July 21, 2017
DAVID FINLAY JR. & JUICE ROBINSON vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Hiromu Takahashi & EVIL) - 5.75/10
Decent little match. EVIL keeps a hold locked on after the match to try to injure Juice going into their match tomorrow.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada & BUSHI) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki & Taichi) (w/El Desperado) - 3/10
They wasted about half of the match with the usual boring Suzuki-Gun "drag you into the crowd and press a chair into you" spot. Then they got back to the ring and Suzuki and Sanada did some good stuff together. Then the Junior Heavyweights got in there and we got WAY too much physical abuse of the official, ending in completely pointless dirty finish in this totally meaningless match between two heel factions.
BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Tama Tonga) vs. BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi) - 0.25/10
The idea here was that they went out here intending to put on a farce and not hurt each other, but then Tama Tonga betrayed Kenny Omega by trying to give me the competitive wrestling match I came to see. Why is this behavior kayfabe tolerated? And when you take Bullet Club's antics when they had to face off in the past two G1s into account (both times there was a Fingerpoke of Doom plan in place that was reneged on at the last moment), even booking them against each other at all here makes New Japan look stupid. Now that I think about it, including Tama Tonga in the G1 at all just sets them up for the risk of a Fingerpoke of Doom tomorrow night, destroying the integrity of the tournament. And no, there was absolutely no reason that this match had to happen. I don't care if your precious little pattern is to book guys who face off in the next show in tag matches against each other on the undercard; the kayfabe integrity of your promotion is more important than that. Is Gabe Sapolsky the only booker left who understands that the basic premise of pro wrestling is that it is a legit combat sport, and thus anything that happens that appears to infringe upon the integrity of that sport needs to have kayfabe repercussions? Because it really feels that way.
Anyway, we had that going on, as well as this supposedly funny story that Chase Owens is everyone's bitch and does whatever they say and lets them scream at him. Good luck getting me to take him seriously again the next time you want me to (you know, like, tomorrow night). Eventually we got something resembling a real wrestling match, but even during this portion of it Tama Tonga was making all manner of high-pitched cartoony noises. The idea that they decided to do THIS the night before doing what they would do tomorrow night shows that no one in this company has anything that even resembles good judgment.
MICHAEL ELGIN, SATOSHI KOJIMA, & HIROYOSHI TENZAN vs. CHAOS (Toru Yano, Gedo, & Kazuchika Okada) - 5.75/10
Over the past two shows Yano has hit both Okada and Gedo in the groin in an attempt to cheat them out of wrestling matches. The fact that he has not been kicked out of CHAOS is completely unbelievable to me. It's not like he actually brings anything to the table! He just cheats, grandstands, and uses everyone else to sell his own DVDs. Why is his presence tolerated by ANYONE?
Anyway, stuff happened in this match. There was a bit of stuff to get me hyped up for tomorrow night's Okada vs. Elgin main event, but not too much.
BLOCK A MATCH: Yuji Nagata vs. Hirooki Goto - 7.75/10
Two men trying really hard to win a wrestling match. And that's all you really need.
BLOCK A MATCH: Bad Luck Fale vs. Tomohiro Ishii - 8.5/10
This is what your usual Ishii match would be like if he didn't do any the sh*t that annoys the hell out of me.
BLOCK A MATCH: Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (w/El Desperado) - 8.75/10
The story here was that Zack would outwrestle Kota and start to work on a body part until Kota cut him off with some sort of big strike. Kota would then have the advantage for a while, but things would always wind up going back to, as Cyrus kept referring to it "Zack Sabre Jr.'s match." Zack Sabre Jr.'s style of match is pretty much always awesome, and Kota Ibushi's selling is pretty much always awesome, so it should come as no surprise that this match was particularly awesome. The only thing that bothers me about it is the booking, as I felt that Zack would have benefited more from a win over Kota here than Kota benefits from beating Zack (even though Zack won his match on the opening night while Kota lost his). I think Zack needs that extra boost to establish him, while Kota is already well-established enough that starting off 0-2 won't hurt his perception.
BLOCK A MATCH: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale - 6/10
That first spot was so great I was kind of hoping Tanahashi would get the win right there. The story of the match was Tanahashi using his brains and his speed and his athleticism to counter Fale's size and strength advantage, and they told that story decently well, aside from that one spot where some Tanahashi, bad arm and all, decided to try to give Fale a bodyslam, which worked out about as well as you would think it would for Tanahashi and make him look kind of stupid.
BLOCK A MATCH: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tetsuya Naito - 8/10
YOSHI-HASHI put up a really great fight, working over basically any body part he could get his hands on, but Naito's work on his neck was too much and he eventually succumbed to Naito countering Karma into a Destino-type move which YOSHI-HASHI kicked out of but then Naito hit the Destino for the victory, a sequence similar to how he beat Ibushi on the opening night of the tournament.
An excellent show from the guys in the G1, but quite the turd from the undercard.