Last day of competition for B Block lots to talk about so without further ado:
Yujiro Takahashi defeated Tomoaki Honma in 10:33 via pinfall. Good little match with the suspense based on whether Honma could make it 2 wins in a row. Honma carried Takahashi to some good back and forth action and dished out a lot of offense until Takahashi did a Yano and low blowed him. Miami Shine on Honma for the victory. Despite winning only one match, Honma had a great G1, entering a string of strong performances, culminating in a fantastic winning effort against Ishii. Takahashi was only there to make up the numbers but his opponents generally carried him to some good match and the limited wardrobe of his girlfriend diverted the attention from his shortcomings.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Michael Elgin in 14:30 via pinfall. I was expecting a lot from this match but they went one further by assembling a very strong candidate for Match of the Year. Yes, it was THAT good. Just totally insane action from start to finish, the brutality and stiffness was off the charts here. Another prime example of how good Japanese Strong Style can be. Maybe not for everyone, but if you like brutally intense matches without the usual shortcuts (weapons, ect…) this is most definitely for you. Ishii was at his very best here, against an opponent who finally seems to have found an environment where his style is appreciated by all. Crowd was 200% into this and went totally crazy towards the end, where Ishii went into Stone Pit-bull mode, going for the jugular and refusing to let go, while Elgin kicked out of everything thrown at him. Brainbuster from Ishii to end a truly insane match. Ishii did well during this G1, entering very strong performances. If his body holds up, he should have an important role in the coming months. Elgin can easily be considered this year’s revelation (tied with Naito’s heel character). While he has his detractors in the States, Elgin clearly found his niche here, effortlessly adapting to the Japanese style and entering a string of very good performances. Most importantly he won the Japanese crowds over. Still only 28, Elgin could become a major player in NJPW if he decides to stick around. Awesome performance from both.
Yuji Nagata defeated Hirooki Goto in 13:00 via pinfall. Nagata destroys Goto’s last (small) chance of making it to the finals in a match with a good story. Goto completely dominated, working over Nagata’s injured ribs, while the veteran tried to survive the onslaught and looked for an opening. Nagata first surprised his opponent with a submission move to even things up before catching him with a spinning heel kick and a back drop hold for the win. Goto’s G1 was pretty good, staying a contention until the very last day (more or less) and carrying his IC Champion status with gusto and confidence. His only lost to Nakamura, Anderson and Nagata, the later two being the most likely choices for his next challengers. Nagata proved that, even at 47 years of age, you can never count him out. His days at the top are over, but he remains very important to NJPW, as viable challenger to any title and as veteran who will gladly put younger opponents over.
Satoshi Kojima defeated Karl Anderson in 10:53 via pinfall. Before this match, Anderson was still in position to ruin Nakamura’s and Okada’s party, but that was counting without an impressive Kojima. Fine match between those two, with both going all out, Anderson to retain his chance of going to the finals, Kojima to stop the hated Bullet Club member. In the end Anderson’s Gun Stun was countered into a Kojima Lariat for the win. Anderson has reminded everyone how good a singles wrestler he is. Holding wins over Nakamura and Goto he finds himself in an interesting position. His win over Goto gives him a good reason to challenge the IC Champion. And if Nakamura indeed wins this year’s G1, Anderson can also challenge him for th WK 10 contract. On the other hand, both him and Gallows suffered a number of losses, meaning challenges for their Tag Team belts won’t be long in coming. Interesting times for The Machine Gun.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kazuchika Okada in 23:31 via submission. The big one, the one everybody was waiting for. And they didn’t disappoint. In yet another match of he year contender, the two leaders of CHAOS went all out to prove who was the best. Surprisingly, while most expected Nakamura to go on the heelish side, it was Okada who played subtle heel by mocking the King of Strong Style on several occasions. Nice story on the finishers too. Both men proved they new each-other very well by evading or countering the other’s finisher on several occasion. The difference was that Okada kept trying to land the Tombstone/Rainmaker combo while Nakamura, much like during his match with Goto, was able to go in another direction when he realized his Boma Yé wouldn’t work. This proved to be the deciding factor. In an insanely heated finish Okada went for the Rainmaker one time too many, and Nakamura caught him, shifted into a gogoplata and finished him off with a cross arm-breaker. Fantastic match on all levels. Okada went into this tournament with the confidence of a Champion and only lost to Goto and Nakamura. Nakamura road to the finals was a little more rough, an elbow injury keeping him from entering the performances we expect from him. But he came back strongly in the second half to finally secure his place in te final in amazing fashion. Awesome stuff from both, go watch this and Elgin vs Ishii. No, seriously, stop reading and do it. NOW!
Shinsuke Nakamura – 14
Kazuchika Okada – 14
Karl Anderson – 12
Hirooki Goto – 12
Tomohiro Ishii – 10
Michael Elgin – 8
Yujiro Takahashi – 6
Satoshi Kojima – 6
Yuji Nagata – 6
Tomoaki Honma – 2
Analysis: Great day for B Block with two match of the year contenders and a main event that delivered all that was expected and more. Nakamura goes trough to the final thanks to that all important head-to-head victory, giving us a fantastic Tanahashi vs Nakamura final. this one is gonna be awesome! Anderson and Goto did well to keep the suspense alive until the very last day but everyone knew it HAD to be between Nakamura and Okada on the last day. Great job by all involved! And what a match between Ishii and Elgin, if not for Okada and nakamura they would have easily stolen the show.
In other results:
ReDragon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly defeated Yohei Komatsu and Sho Tanaka. (O’Reilly pinned Tanaka) The Young Bucks assaulted ReDragon after the match, David Finlay and Jay White made the save, which gave us:
The Young Bucks defeated David Finlay Jr and Jay White. (Matt pinned White)
Toru Yano, Kazushi Sakuraba, YOSHI-HASHI, Matt Taven and Michael Bennett defeated AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Cody Hall. (YOSHI HASHI pinned Hall) CHAOS vs Bullet Club in this one, with The Kingdom seemingly close to an official CHAOS membership..
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Katsyori Shibata and KUSHIDA defeated Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Manabu Nakanishi, Captain New Japan and Ricochet. (Tanahashi pinned Captain New japan). Fun tag match with a lot of interesting pairings. KUSHIDA and Ricochet once again stole the show, Ibushi aggressively sought out Makabe (which confirm the upcoming feud between those two, for the NEVER title) and Naito mocked Shibata. Expect a match between those two soon.
Big final tomorrow, I will bring you a full coverage as soon as I have it ready! Until then!
Tags: G1 climax, Hirooki Goto, Karl Anderson, kazuchika okada, Michael Elgin, njpw, Satoshi Kojima, shinsuke nakamura, Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, Yuji Nagata, Yujiro TAkahashi