KUSHIDA, TIGER MASK IV, HIRAI KAWATO, & JUSHIN "THUNDER" LIGER vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Yoshinobu Kanemaru. TAKA Michinoku, El Desperado, & Taichi) (w/Miho Abe) - 5/10
KUSHIDA is really going after El Desperado on the outside after yesterday's heinous post-match attack. The stuff between those two was good, and everything else was fine for the time it got.
GUERILLAS OF DESTINY vs. MANABU NAKANISHI & YUJIG NAGATA - 4.25/10
TOGI MAKABE & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) - 4.5/10
SATOSHI KOJIMA, JUICE ROBINSON, & SATOSHI KOJIMA vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, & Chase Owens) - 4.5/10
This was fine for what it was. The babyfaces won, which disappointed me for reasons that I shall discuss later on in this review.
IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Young Bucks(c) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet - 7.5/10
This was a pretty great match, despite Ricochet and Taguchi not feeling like they have gelled together at all. The Bucks worked on Ricochet's back and a bit on his leg, and they were really great struggles with poor Ricochet in the Sharpshooter, for which Ricochet deserves a lot of credit for his facials.
While the wrestling was great, I was pretty unhappy with the booking here. This pair of guys teaming up for pretty much the first time in a regular tag match beat the freakin' Young Bucks, for what is the FIFTH title change this year, which is way too many or August, and especially so when no one has defended the belts more than once. But even if this wasn't the fifth switch this year, having these guys win in their first match means they now already have nothing left to accomplish. There is no more story to be told... so what do you do with these guys now other than stick them in more random, pointless title matches?
There was, actually, one scenario in which I would have been fine with this title change, but we'll get to that soon enough.
SHIBATA COMES OUT - The internet says that he said "I am alive. That is all." He seemed to be moving around pretty well. This came off like a HUGE moment. Very emotional.
IWGP TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
War Machine(c) vs. Bullet Club (Adam Page & Cody Rhodes) - 7/10
If Ray Rowe doesn't stop doing that "I block your punches with my head" spot, he's going to find himself up there with Ishii and Shibata on my list. Other than that, this was a pretty great match, with War Machine trying to have a slugfest while Bullet Club kept trying to make the match pretty much anything else. War Machine picked up the win, which surprised me because I was silly enough to think that we might actually get something new in this division, and the idea of Cody having a belt and all of the other non-Elite Bullet Club members winning on a night where Omega loses the G1 and the Bucks lose their tag belts seems like the sort of thing that could help push forward a story about Cody taking over Bullet Club and the Elite being pushed out. Instead we got the same old sh*t we always get, as evidenced by...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Meh. The Guerillas of Destiny come out and say they want a rematch. War Machine seem fine with it but they get jumped from behind by the returning Killer Elite Squad, who clean house on both teams. It's not that this was bad, but I was kind of hoping that we could get something that feel new in this division, and Cody and Page as champs would not only do that, but could also play into some sort of larger Bullet Club storyline. Also, can someone please explain to me why f*cking Yano was in the G1 instead of Davey Boy Smith Jr.?
HIROSHI TAHANASHI, KOTA IBUSHI, & MICHAEL ELGIN vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, & Zack Sabre Jr.) (w/El Desperado & Taichi) - 6.25/10
One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn't belong...
Suzuki-Gun jump the babyface to start things off. Try not to be too surprised. There was lots of interference and weapon use by Suzuki-Gun. Try not to be too surprised about that, either. Everyone was very good aside from Iizuka, who brought down every part of the match he was involved in. Try not to be too surprised about there, too. Zack made Tanahashi tap about to build up to their inevitable IC Title match, and we got some set-up for an Elgin vs. Suzuki match during the aftermath.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, & Gedo) - 6.75/10
I was expecting a lot more out of this one. Hiromu has a new Darryl, so it's nice to see that that whole story with Fale cruelly destroying the first Darryl went nowhere. Good job, Gedo.
Speaking of Hiromu and the kind of job that Gedo is doing, Gedo did a job by submission for Hiromu here, via triangle choke. After the match EVIL hit Okada with Darkness Falls on a huge stack of chairs and Okada sold it like it was the most painful thing that has ever happened to him. He was quite great here.
G1 CLIMAX FINAL:
Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (w/the Young Bucks)- 9.75/10
This was an absolutely insane match that attempted to answer one, simple question: how many times can you get dumped on your head and still get back up. There were A LOT of scary moments in here, including a piledriver through a table where they mostly missed the table, a DDT INTO THE TOP OF THE RINGPOST, and some rather sick-looking head/neck bumps off of things like poisonranas and Destinos and so forth. The finishing sequence was completely amazing, and Naito even pulled out stuff we haven't seen from him in years like the Stardust press to try to get the win. The only reason that this doesn't get the full ten is because they were on the outside for WAY too long before, during, and after the aforementioned piledriver spot without being counted out. If the referee has doing his job, this would have ended as a double count-out.
POST-MATCH STUFF - Naito's promo seemed good. I was kind of expecting LIJ to jump Chono (who was presenting the flag) to get heat, but instead he celebrated with them.
This was a one-match show. Yes, that one match is the finals of the big tournament and it was absolutely outstanding and from the beginning it was almost guaranteed to be the only match from this show that history will remember, but past years have had final days with more exciting matches and more matches that felt like they meant something, so on that level I can't help but be disappointed. All you really need to see from this show is the main event, and I'd definitely advise watching that. I'm just a little disappointed that on a weekend with three big shows- twenty-nine matches- only about seven of them (less than a quarter) felt like they had actual consequences.