KOTA IBUSHI, WILL OSPREAY, & YUYA UEMURA vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada, EVIL, & BUSHI) - 6.75/10
Lots of good stuff with all of the different combinations.
SUZUKI-GUN (Lance Archer & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale) - 4.5/10
This was an undercard tag that went less than six minutes and we STILL apparently had to have a count-out tease. Knock that sh*t off. Other than that spot (and Archer staying on the outside and choking Fale with the barricade just for the sake of doing it) pretty much everything they did here was good and fun action that built up to tomorrow's Lance Archer vs. Bad Luck Fale match very well.
CLARK CONNORS, KARL FREDERICKS, & KENTA vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI, REN NARITA, & SHOTA UMINO - 6/10
Shockingly, the post-match altercation was between the LA NJPW Dojo guys and the Tokyo NJPW Dojo guys.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.) - 6.25/10
It wouldn't be a Suzuki-Gun match without the usual "immediately spill to the outside, Suzuki-Gun use weapons without getting DQed, Count-Out Tease That No One Ever Buys(TM)" tired bullsh*t pattern. Once YOSHI-HASHI made the hot tag to Okada things got a lot better. That's not me burying YOSHI-HASHI, but rather the pattern of these Suzuki-Gun matches is so played out that the matches just aren't interesting until the pattern is broken.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Juice Robinson vs. Shingo Takagi - 7.25/10
Lots of work on the head from both guys. This was pretty great for a while, but as they went on it started to feel more and more overly-pantomimed, making it feel more like a performance than a fight. Juice winning felt like a mistake to me. Shingo just felt like he needed the win more because he's a junior heavyweight in the G1 and Juice isn't visually imposing enough for this to be a good tone-setter for a "Shingo is having trouble competing against the heavyweights" story (plus, Shingo's win over Kojima at Dominion kind of shoots that story in the foot from the get-go).
BLOCK B MATCH:
Jon Moxley vs. Taichi (w/Miho Abe) - 4.25/10
Taichi jumped Moxley in the crowd so they had their big brawl out there. Right before the first big spot of violence happened, they cut form the brawl in the crowd to show us the hard-cam looking at ring. WHY ARE WE CUTTING AWAY FROM THE ACTION?!
They brawled towards ringside, and the bell finally rang... once they entered the ringside area. Aren't you supposed to wait until they're in the actual ring? Right after that we got Taichi shoving the referee down when the referee tried to stop him from using a chair. Why did you ring the bell before they got into the ring if you were immediately going to do a spot that should result in a DQ? If you don't ring the bell then there can't be a DQ because the match hasn't started and everything makes sense. Instead, the referee ordered the bell rung at an odd time, which then made their next planned spot problematic when it otherwise wouldn't have been!
This led to the Count-Out Tease That No One Ever Buys™. Taichi then got a nearfall off of the big head kick, then we got a good exchange or two, ending with Moxley doing the big dive to the outside. They fought on the outside and teased some table bumps, without the referee even trying to count them out. Then Moxley put Taichi through the table right in front of the referee- who we had just seen ordering Taichi not to the same thing- but wasn't DQed. Moxley got a nearfall and some more offense in until we got a ref bump, followed by a double-down. This ref bump was done so that Taichi could try to use a chair on Moxley, but the referee clearly doesn't give a sh*t so why am I supposed to be upset that Taichi is cheating when the referee doesn't care and Moxley has done the same thing?
Moxley got the chair away from Taichi and hit him in the head with it... and then Taichi reversed the first thing Moxley tried after that. Some chair shot (yes some time had passed, but not much when you consider it was a chairshot to the head, and Moxley has been selling his back all match form that first chair shot in the beginning). Kicked out of the Gedo Clutch and then hit Death Rider for the win. There was some decent storytelling here with the work on the heads and Moxley sold well, but all of the stupid crap dragged it down.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Toru Yano vs. Tetsuya Naito - DUD!
Naito pushed down the referee when the referee was trying to get the turnbuckle pad away from him to stop him from hitting Yano with it but this was not a DQ. Also not a DQ, apparently, is pulling the referee's shirt over his/her head in an effort to prevent him/her from seeing. I almost feel bad giving this a dud because they did have something of a story here with Naito trying to out-Yano Yano and failing, but the way the finish was done so infuriated me that I can't not give it a dud.
What happened was that Yano pulled the referee's shirt over his head, then hit Naito in the nuts and pulled Naito's shirt over his head. He then hit Naito with a spear to the spine and rolled him up, at which point the referee had gotten the shirt off of his head and counted the pin. This might seem clever on paper, but the problem was that in order for Yano to be able to do not just the nut shot but also the pointless pulling Naito's head over his shirt and spear to the back, it required Red Shoes to stand there with his shirt over his head for FOURTEEN FULL SECONDS. That might not seem like a lot of time, but for a simple task like this it really is.
When I said in my review of day 12 of this year's BOSJ that Red Shoes is too dumb to dress himself I thought I was just exaggerating for the sake of humor, but apparently I wasn't that far off. The first five of these seconds were spend with Red Shoes just wandering around as if he couldn't figure out why it was suddenly dark (even though he was literally looking right at Yano when Yano pulled his shirt over his head) and the next six were spent with his hand on his head as if he couldn't figure out that the next step to extracting himself from this basic predicament was to use the hand he just raised to grab his shirt and pull it up.
As if this wasn't bad enough, there was also the issue of Naito's selling. Basically, he didn't do much to sell the nut-shot when it first happened, which I assume was because so would have made it very difficult for Yano to get his shirt over his head as planned. Then he wasn't selling it at all while wandering around waiting to get speared in the back... but once Yano got the pinfall and scurried off, Naito was down and selling his nuts a lot more than he had been when they actually got hit.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Jeff Cobb vs. Tomohiro Ishii - 8.25/10
An awesome hoss fight that used the wrestlers' size for more than just running into each other. I loved the way it felt like these guys were actually having trouble throwing each other around because they were so big.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Hirooki Goto vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) - 6.75/10
Lots of stalling by White in the beginning, including him ordering Gedo to sit in a chair behind the barricade. I don't think here has been any sort of build up to this, so my guess is it's just a pointless swerve and Gedo is going to get involved with White's full consent. And yup. Two minutes later I am proven right, making that whole thing in the beginning a waste of time.
There was a spot where Red Shoes randomly jumped onto the second rope and turned AWAY from the match. It's not like there was even anything going on at the time that he wasn't supposed to see. He just took his eye off of the match for no discernable reason.
Soon after wards, Jay White gave Goto a gordbuster onto the apron and rolled back into the ring and told Red Shoes to start counting him Goto out but Red Shoes refused to count via his "referee's prerogative" that Kevin Kelly loves so much. What did Jay White do here that was illegal? And when you compare this to Red Shoes' permissiveness in the other two G1 matches he has refereed tonight, it's completely ridiculous.
And then, after standing there with his hands on his hips and shaking his head "no" when White told him to count, Red Shoes waited a moment or two, then started to count Goto out anyway. WHAT THE F*CK IS HE DOING?!
This match felt like way too much of the same thing happening over and over again, and thus I had a lot of trouble getting into it and it felt like it dragged. I barely remember anything from the heat other than slapping a lariats. Goto's comeback started when White distracted himself by shoving Red Shoes down when Red Shoes was... trying to make sure White's hold was a blood choke and not an air choke, maybe? Goto hit all of his stuff and worked the head. These two used up about three years' worth of "try for the Switchblade but it gets blocked and turned into an attempted GTR" and visa-versa spots. Gedo got in the ring and Goto went over to confront him instead of just thinking "if he hits me I'll win by DQ," resulting in him distracting himself and White being able to take over briefly. Fortunately for Goto he eventually won this one so that he didn't come out of this looking like an idiot.
This was a very disappointing show from New Japan. Yes, the standards for the G1 are very high, but even if it wasn't the G1, a lot of this card just didn't live up the minimum you'd expect from a match in its place on the card. Block B already suffers from looking rather weak and uninteresting when compared to Block A, but this show killed my hopes that some of the match-ups that felt like they could over-deliver will be able to do so.