New Japan Pro Wrestling: G1 Climax 25 Night 10 Review
Location: Miyagi, Sendai, Japan inside the Sendai Sun Plaza Hotel
The A Block continued their streak of at least having a solid outing last time out on night nine. Tetsuya Naito vs. Togi Makabe proved to be the best of that bunch, on a night that was all about great workers punching above their weight and making veterans and big guys come together to have pretty good matches.
With B Block matches featuring a rematch of the 2012 G1 Final between Kazuchika Okada and Karl Anderson and a rematch from Dominion with Hirooki Goto facing off against Shinsuke Nakamura as the headliners. This show certainly has the ability to deliver.
New Japan once again change the production as they are back on Samurai TV and that means no commentary or dubbed music. At least we get one more night of the multiple camera setup, before heading to two straight nights of single camera shows.
Match 1: David Finlay Jr. (Young Lion) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Winner: Ryusuke Taguchi (After making Finlay TAP OUT to the Ankle Lock)
This was actually pretty good and I thought Finlay performed well here. Taguchi did every kind of ass offense you can imagine, but Finlay was able to withstand it and got a good comeback going with elbows, uppercuts, and a nice Running Senton into the corner. Finlay using a Stretch Muffler is different for a Young Lion because they all normally use the Single Crab or at the most a full Boston Crab submission. I thought these two worked really well with each other and it also showed Taguchi can get serious when he’s in a singles match and start using moves that don’t involve his posterior. I wish we could get more singles matches like this on these shows. I get why they do all the tags so that we only get singles matches for the G1, but especially with the Young Lions, it would be interesting. ***
Match 2: Tag Team Match: Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Yohei Komatsu (Young Lion) & Katsuyori Shibata
Winners: Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI (After YOSHI-HASHI Hit Yohei with the Swanton Bomb)
There was nothing special about this, your basic tag match here. Shibata and Yano started things out and as soon as Yano received two kicks from Shibata, he was out of there and tagged in YOSHI-HASHI. We eventually get a long heat segment on Yohei, where Yano takes off one of the turnbuckle pads and most of the offense on Yohei is just slamming his head or whipping him into that exposed turnbuckle. Yohei fights back, but gets knocked down and then Yano makes the mistake of knocking Shibata off the apron. Shibata comes in gives Yano blows and a Basement Dropkick, Yohei gets to make a comeback, but it was short lived because YOSHI-HASHI got a big lariat, a slam, and the Swanton for the win. Some funny interactions for Shibata and Yano. Yohei Komatsu keeps doing his thing. I just wonder how Yano is going to escape getting a beating in his match on Wednesday against Shibata. ** ½ *
Match 3: Tag Team Match: Tetsuya Naito & (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion) KUSHIDA vs. Kota Ibushi & (CMLL World Welterweight Champion) Mascara Dorada
Winners: KUSHIDA & Tetsuya Naito (After KUSHIDA makes Mascara Dorada TAP OUT with Hoverboard Lock)
This match worked on so many levels. It built a ton of tension between Ibushi and Naito, as Naito’s antics did not sit well with Ibushi or KUSHIDA at all. Naito starting the match basically whooping Ibushi and then attacking the referee really set the tone. It also made me want to see a Junior Heavyweight Title feud between KUSHIDA and Dorada really bad. They have teased so much between these two in tag matches for a very long time, but I think this is the longest set of interactions the two men have ever had and it was loads of fun. Naito decided to tag in KUSHIDA after beating up Ibushi. Then he goes all the way to the ramp to stand there. Dorada comes in, sends KUSHIDA to the outside with a Lucha Arm Drag, but Naito pulls out Dorada and SMACKS him into the barricade. Talk about a guy that just turns his emotions on a dime. This is what makes the Naito heel character great because you never know what he’s going to decide to do.
Naito eventually tags back into the match and Ibushi does as well. Ibushi wails on Naito for earlier, we get an elbow exchange, a running kick, and a Moonsault from Ibushi. Naito fires back with a Dropkick to the face, he stands on Ibushi’s face, attacks the referee again too. Then as the home stretch is going on, these two just keep going at it on the outside too. Dorada and KUSHIDA comeback in to finish things, as we see KUSHIDA work on the arm and Dorada do a Springboard Back Elbow and a beautiful counter into a Lucha Roll-up for a near fall. KUSHIDA wins out, but the seeds are planted here for that feud. Then Ibushi and Naito just continue to exchange blows for several minutes after the bell as well. Naito comes in the ring to get his hand raised and pushes KUSHIDA out of the way. Ibushi beats up Naito and whips him into the barricade. Naito has a smirk on his face like he just doesn’t care. This match did well to setup up the match for Wednesday and the intensity for that is going to be off the charts. *** ½ *
Match 4: 8 Man Tag Team Match: Tama Tonga, (IWGP Tag Team Champion) Doc Gallows, AJ Styles, & Bad Luck Fale (All Bullet Club) vs. Captain New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi, (NEVER Openweight Champion) Togi Makabe, & (NWA World Champion) Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Winners: Bullet Club (After Waistlock DDT by Tama Tonga on Captain New Japan)
This was what it was, the only interactions that were really thrilling were those of Makabe and AJ Styles. There was just too much of the match breaking down, the heat segment on Tanahashi felt like it lasted a long time, and Tenzan and Fale really did nothing. At least we got a little bit of Gallows vs. Tanahashi and it has the chance of being interesting. If Tanahashi was able to get a good match out of Fale, he should be able to do the same with Gallows. You had a lot of typical Bullet Club gang up segments and beatdowns on the outside. Considering that Captain New Japan was on the other side, it was kind of obvious who was winning this. Although it doesn’t really matter. Tama Tonga racks up his fourth straight win in many nights of action. I’d honestly just skip this and move on to other matches. ** ¼ *
Before we get to the G1 matches, this would be a good time for a reminder of the participants in each block…
A Block Participants: AJ Styles (2nd consecutive appearance), Bad Luck Fale (2nd consecutive appearance), Doc Gallows (IWGP Tag Team Champion, 2nd consecutive appearance) (All Bullet Club) Kota Ibushi (2015 New Japan Cup Winner, 2nd appearance), Toru Yano (CHAOS, 10th appearance), Togi Makabe (G1 Winner in 2009, NEVER Openweight Champion, GBH, 12th consecutive appearance), Hiroyoshi Tenzan (G1 Winner in 2003, 2004, & 2006, NWA World Champion, 20th appearance), Hiroshi Tanahashi (G1 Winner in 2007, 14th consecutive appearance), Katsuyori Shibata (3rd consecutive appearance), Tetsuya Naito (G1 Winner in 2013, 6th consecutive appearance, Los Ingobernables)
B Block Participants: Kazuchika Okada (Defending G1 Champion, also won in 2012, IWGP Heavyweight Champion, CHAOS, 4th consecutive appearance), Shinsuke Nakamura (G1 Winner in 2011, CHAOS, 12th appearance), Tomohiro Ishii (CHAOS, 3rd consecutive appearance), Karl Anderson (IWGP Tag Team Champion, Bullet Club, 6th consecutive appearance), Yujiro Takahashi (Bullet Club, 6th consecutive appearance), Tomoaki Honma (GBH, 2nd consecutive appearance), Michael Elgin (ROH, first appearance), Satoshi Kojima (G1 Winner in 2010, 14th appearance), Yuji Nagata (G1 Winner in 2001, 17th consecutive appearance), Hirooki Goto (G1 Winner in 2008, IWGP Intercontinental Champion, 8th consecutive appearance)
G1 Climax 25 Matches: All B Block
5. Michael Elgin (4 points) (ROH) vs. Yujiro Takahashi (4 points) (Bullet Club)
Winner: Michael Elgin (After Buckle Bomb into Elgin Bomb)
Well, Michael Elgin was certainly the one doing the heavy lifting in there. I mean Yujiro did all of his usual stuff, outside of his two signature moves, but that was Michael Elgin literally carrying Yujiro to something meaningful. Elgin was getting chants, cheers, he commanded the crowd, and they didn’t give one solitary care in the world for Yujiro. The crowd is enamored with Elgin’s power offense and they react to it like candy. Just devouring it every time Elgin does something. The Apron over the rope Splash got a big reaction, the German Suplex into the corner, and the crowd went nuts for the Deadlift Superplex into Falcon Arrow. Yujiro used Cody Hall, barricades, eye rakes, and other heel things to gain an advantage, but it was really obvious there was no way Elgin was losing after this display. He even did an Apron Senton to Cody Hall on the outside. Elgin would block the Miami Shine and hit two Powerbombs for the win. I seriously wonder if Gedo is going to make a call to ROH and ask for Elgin’s contract after this is over. Elgin has just been phenomenal in this tournament. *** ¼ *
6. (2010 G1 Winner) Satoshi Kojima (2 points) vs. Tomoaki Honma (0 Points)
Winner: Satoshi Kojima (After Western Lariat)
We got a nice call back to their tag match, as we get an elbow exchange to start and not a lock-up. But honestly, there was just something missing here. Honma has delivered in every match up to this point and not that this was bad or anything, but it felt devoid of the same feeling you get in Honma matches. Maybe it is because he really went to the Kokeshi too much in this match and it took away from people wanting to see it, or there was no belief, or just that this match was just kind of there. It also never built up like a lot of the Honma matches do. Kojima did hit a cutter and a Super Cutter and it got a little interesting towards the end. Honma no sold a German, they both blocked Lariats, but Kojima used the other arm to hit a Lariat for a near fall. They had a cool series of counters and Kojima actually Lariats a Rocket Kokeshi and then hits the Western Lariat for the win. The ending beefed up the match a bit, but it dragged in the middle and the crowd wasn’t up for this as they are for a lot of Honma matches. *** ¼ *
7. (2001 G1 Winner) Yuji Nagata (2 points) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (6 points) (CHAOS)
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii (After Brainbuster)
This was intense from the start and just built all the way through until the end. Ishii and Nagata got into an early elbow exchange, which Nagata won. They got into one again and Ishii started punching Nagata’s ribs. This happened about three times, where it seemed like Ishii was just letting Nagata tire himself out and would punch him in the ribs. Nagata fired back with kicks to that injured shoulder too and off we went into the two just pummeling each other. Remember how I said the previous match was missing something, well this match had everything that Kojima vs. Honma didn’t. There was an intensity here and everything they did seemed to just keep building on top of it. Nagata does hit an Exploder to stop the madness early and hits a Super Exploder in this too. Ishii gets his German and Superplex spots in there and Nagata has a nice counter of a Lariat into the White Eyes Armbar too, which Ishii has to really strain and force Nagata into a different Armbar position to get to the ropes.
Nagata had his best stretch with a Rope Assisted Neckbreaker, a Knee Lift in the corner and a Back Suplex for a near fall. Nagata goes for his finish, but an Enziguri from Ishii stops it, he no sells an Exploder and Ishii hits a huge lariat. There were portions here were both guys sold the exhaustion the match was putting on that were key. Then they have this huge slap fest that whips the crowd into a frenzy, Ishii stops it with a Headbutt and we get the Sliding D and Brainbuster for the end. Just really great work from both men and two men that are really putting in some terrific performances. Both of these guys bump it up for the G1 and it shows. ****
Match 8: (IWGP Heavyweight Champion) Kazuchika Okada (6 points) (CHAOS) vs. (IWGP Tag Team Champion) Karl Anderson (6 Points) (Bullet Club)
Winner: Kazuchika Okada (After Rainmaker Lariat)
Okada and Anderson just love using the outside in their matches and for me, it is starting to get to a point where it is wearing very thin, especially the heavy reliance by Anderson on these long count out spots. There are other ways to build heat people. Anderson’s apron Powerbomb is cool, it has just happened so much in this tournament that I’m starting to wonder if I should just keep it out of my notes when I transcribe the matches by hand. The worst part of this is, Okada also does the same thing and there is like a succession of three count out spots very close to each other. We do see Okada hit a nice series with a DDT, an elbow in the corner, and a Flapjack for a near fall. Anderson blocks the top rope elbow with a Jumping Kick and a Package Neckbreaker. Anderson’s Running Powerbomb is always a nice spot and he even does a flying Neckbreaker off the top rope. The ending series is a forte of both men, as this is where they show their history. Anderson goes for the Gun Stun, Okada counters and goes for a German, Anderson blocks and goes for Gun Stun, but Okada does a similar thing to Nagata and holds him up and turns it into a Tombstone. Okada hits the Rainmaker and that’s it. Considering these two were in the 2012 G1 Final and a great match there, this was disappointing. The ending was also very anti-climactic where the finish just sort of happened. From the slow beginning to the weird end, this match just didn’t work for me. ***
Match 9: MAIN EVENT: Shinsuke Nakamura (4 points) (CHAOS) vs. (IWGP Intercontinental Champion) Hirooki Goto (6 points)
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura (After making Goto TAP OUT to the Fujiwara Armbar)
I liked that they understand they’ve worked matches against each other recently and tried to pick up the pace of this a lot faster than they usually have. Goto started out working on the injured arm, which must mean that is healing because he wouldn’t be touching it otherwise. It is all capped off that really makes Nakamura have to use his legs to get to the ropes. Goto blocks the Reverse Powerslam early and turns it into a Back Suplex. Nakamura later uses the Front Suplex and the Reverse Powerslam in tandem, but Goto stops his momentum with a Lariat. Nakamura counters Goto into a Sleeper, but Goto counters into the Jitoku Kuruma (Olympic Slam.) The crowd is kind of simmering until we see Goto block the Boma-Ye, turn it into the Urushi Koroshi out of desperation and then put Nakamura on the top rope to hit the Super Urushi Koroshi for a near fall. Goto hits the Ura-Shouten for 2, and there’s a nice series of counters that ends with Nakamura reversing a Lariat into a Cross Armbreaker and Goto claws and tries to get out of it, but Nakamura holds on for the surprising TAP OUT. I really enjoyed this throughout and the tap out gives Nakamura a clear victory over Goto and he does it in a different way than just with the Boma-Ye. This is why it was important that Goto beat Okada before. Now whenever Nakamura puts in that Cross Armbreaker going forward it will mean something. *** ¾ *
Here are the standings after ten nights of action…
A Block: Katsuyori Shibata (8 points), Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, AJ Styles, Togi Makabe, & Bad Luck Fale (6 points), Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Doc Gallows (2 points)
B Block: Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii (8 points), Hirooki Goto, Karl Anderson and Shinsuke Nakamura (6 points), Michael Elgin, Satoshi Kojima and Yujiro Takahashi (4 points), Yuji Nagata (2 points), Tomoaki Honma (0 points)
Final Rating: 7.0 After the B Block had their first great show of the tour on Night 8, they go back to the status quo with Night 10. The G1 matches were mostly good, with maybe Nagata vs. Ishii being the one stand out. I’d recommend watching that match, the third tag match, and unless you are tired of these two in matches, Nakamura vs. Goto is worth watching too. Michael Elgin continues to prove he belongs, Nakamura begins his ascension, and Ishii might just be the MVP of the B Block. Let’s see what happens tomorrow when they are in Iwate for a single camera A Block show.