DAVID FINALY JR. & JUICE ROBINSON vs. TOA HENARE & SHOTA UMINO - 4.75/10
THE GUERILLAS OF DESTINY vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Sho) - 6/10
Very good for the time it got, and pretty damn good for a G1 undercard match as well.
CHAOS (Toru Yano & Gedo) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito & Sanada) - 4/10
Apparently Yano is allowed to hit people with the pad, but Naito isn't. Why? Goofiness happened, then Sanada choked out Gedo. The spot with Yano helping Gedo escape from the Paradise lock while Sanada's back was turned was totally wasted in this spot. Save that for, like, a tag title match or something else that actually means something.
BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega & Chase Owens) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Zack Sabre Jr. & TAKA Michinoku) - 4/10
KOTA IBUSHI & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Yoh) - 3.75/10
The match ended thirty seconds ago and I honestly don't remember one single thing Goto and Ibushi did together.
BLOCK A MATCH:
Togi Makabe(4) vs. Bad Luck Fale(4) (w/Tanga Loa) - 4.75/10
Tanga Loa's intro for Fale got dangerously close to being way too cool for a top heel faction. These two had the predictable hoss-fight, but it didn't go too long and then got interrupted for the now-expected Firing Squad bullsh*t. In this case not only was Tanga Loa pretty easily foiled on most of his attempted to interfere, but Fale needed Makabe's chain to win, which actually just makes the Firing Squad look weaker, not stronger.
BLOCK A MATCH:
Adam Page(2) vs. Jay White(6) - 7/10
White was a very vicious heel here and worked over Page's back. I was about to type up a whole big thing about how White is by far the smartest cheater in New Japan, but then, right after doing a spot where he went through a three-step plan to ensure the referee wouldn't catch him hitting Page with a chair, they did a spot where he made zero effort to hide a second attempt to hit Page with a chair, which resulted in the referee engaging in his own wrestling match with White and ending in the referee getting throw down. And to top it all off, this wasn't even a DQ. They just did it to buy Page time to recover so he could make a short comeback and try to use the chair, allowing White to hit him in the nads while the referee was disposing of the chair, then hit Blade Runner for the pin. White's matches have hit the point where I don't believe any of the nearfalls until I've seen the low blow. There is getting something over and there is overdoing it. This has become the latter, which has, unfortunately, been a major theme in this tournament.
BLOCK A MATCH:
EVIL(8) vs. Minoru Suzuki(6) (w/El Desperado) - DUD!
They started off brawling right away. For the purposes of record-keeping, Suzuki did land the first strike and it was right before the bell so he did technically jump his opponent, but it was clear that EVIL was charging at him to start a fight, so for once I can't blame the guy.
The first few minutes of this match looked like the first few minutes of basically every match either one of these men are involved in. Brawl in the crowd forever with no count-out, weapon use in front of the referee with no DQ, someone gets a guardrail dropped on them, count-out tease that no one buys because no one ever actually gets counted out, etc. They were in the ring for a bit, then they went back to the outside for the same old sh*t. In the very last match we saw the referee desperately trying to stop the competitors from hitting each other with chairs, but in this one Suzuki hits EVIL with a chair right in front of the referee and the referee doesn't do sh*t about it? This company needs quality control SOOOO badly.
Oh, wait, here comes a referee. I guess Suzuki has a two chairshot limit. Suzuki shoves him but still no DQ. EVIL throws a chair at Suzuki's head, which was also not a DQ. Then again, maybe the referee didn't think it made contact with Suzuki and Suzuki just fell down anyway. It certainly looked horrendously soft to me. There was no excusing that second one, though. Either excusing the referee not DQing him or excusing how bad it looked. EVIL needs to stop doing that spot where he puts the chair around the opponent's neck then hits it with another chair from the side, making the first chair spin, it never looks good, and if you know your physics, it really shouldn't hurt the opponent much (it at all).
They did a sequence of reversals that was kind of cool except that Suzuki never had the sleeper hold in for anywhere near long enough to make you think there was any chance he had made EVIL groggy enough that EVIL wouldn't be able to revere the Gotch-Style Piledriver... and then he just hit it anyway, even though in most other matches he has the sleeper hold in for much longer and the guy still manages to reverse the Piledriver.
BLOCK A MATCH:
Hiroshi Tanahashi(8) vs. YOSHI-HASHI(2) - 7.5/10
They had a pretty great match, but the outcome never felt like it was in doubt, even in the G1 where anyone can beat anyone... but that's mostly a function of the overprotective booking of Tanahashi this tournament killing that belief more than it is a condemnation of the booking of the tournament as a whole (I have many other grounds on which to condemn the booking of the tournament as a whole. I don't need this one). The finish seemed like poor YOSHI-HASHI managed to both get pinned and tap out at the same instance.
BLOCK A MATCH:
Michael Elgin(4) vs. Kazuchika Okada(6) (w/Gedo) -8.75/10
They had an awesome match. Okada worked over the head and neck like usual, and Elgin showed off his power and worked over Okada's chest, but the thing that really made this match stand out to be is that they went out of their way to do some different stuff from what we've been doing for the rest of tournament. If I could pick two nits with this match, the first was that they were on the outside FOREVER without being counted out, and the second was that Elgin appeared to pop right to his feet after taking that first Rainmaker. He was immediately hit with a second one, but I would much rather he have just taken one and stayed down.
A relatively disappointing G1 show, with only one match worth going out of your way to see. This tournament is wearing on me at this point. I know there will be great matches coming up, but having to slog through some of the others to get to them is getting more and more frustrating, especially with all of the ref bumps and DQs ruining potentially great matches.