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New Japan on AXS results 8-7-15: G1 Climax 24 finals and third place bouts

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by Bryan Rose, WrestlingObserver.com

Last week, we saw another great match in Minoru Suzuki taking on Kazuchika Okada. The latter won, and along with Shinsuke Nakamura, will be heading to the finals. Meanwhile, the two people who scored second in their block, Hiroshi Tanahashi and AJ Styles, will square off to determine third place. Today we see both the third place and tournament finals today here in these back to back editions of World Pro Wrestling on AXS!

This show took place August 10, 2014 from the Seibu Prince Dome.

We open with highlights between Tomoaki Honma and Tetsuya Naito. The match itself was good, the crowd was into it but nothing top tier. A lot of the focus was on Honma losing all of his matches. Back then I didn’t get why they couldn’t at least give him one win to establish some sort of credibility. Thing of it is, he never needed that win. He doesn’t even need to win this year, to be honest. As long as people buy those near falls every time he has a super competitive match against someone, he’s good.

Tomohiro Ishii and Karl Anderson followed. Ishii’s body was so wrecked by this point, particularly his separated shoulder. He also managed to bust his nose early in the match. Yujiro interfered, only for Yoshi-Hashi to interfere, setting up their series of matches later in the fall over the NEVER title. Ishii kicks out of the Bernard driver and mounts a comeback. Anderson avoids the brainbuster, however, and instead hits the gun stun for the win. Good, not great.

That follows with Katsuyori Shibata taking on Hirooki Goto. These two feuded for much of 2014, and while this was stiff as any of them, they had better matches than the one they had here. With that said, it was still a pretty good match with lots of violent stuff. At one point Shibata absolutely leveled Goto with a spinning back fist. He ended up pinning him after the GTS and the penalty kick.

Shibata is interviewed after the match. He says he had a good summer, but can’t just make this a good summer. He’ll make it a better summer next year.

Tanahashi says he feels a strange connection with AJ. He recalls matches in 2006 and 2008, and feels good about them. He’s about the same size or even smaller as AJ, but his skill is exceptional. He convinces fans with his capabilities. Tanahashi had a bunch of nagging injuries going into the match, but the thought of facing AJ excited him enough that he forgot all about them.

The full match between Tanahashi and AJ Styles aired. Great match. With these two you have high expectations for their match to be nothing less than excellent. Back when it first aired, I thought the match was really good, but didn’t exceed expectations. I don’t know why I thought that, but it’s possible that much of the finals card was a bit underwhelming and that might had added to my dissapointment.

But watching with fresh eyes helped me change my mind on that. It was a great back and forth match. I thought the finish was well done too - Styles was the champion then so a clean win would probably have been less effective. The surprise roll up win and beat down from the Bullet Club after the match worked since they were going with Tanahashi and Styles again later on in the fall, with Tanahashi winning the title. People hated the finish back then, but it all makes sense today.

They aired the angle with Jeff Jarrett and Scott D’Amore joining the Bullet Club. Geez, for a company with no television they manage to get plugs everywhere.

Tanahashi was upset after the match. He talks about AJ for a bit, but also talks about Shibata - he wants to face him again. He leaves, but not before telling Jeff Jarrett he’ll show him how to use the guitar. In his reflective interview on the match, Tanahashi says if he can face AJ straight up, he thought he was as good as he was, and if he can win he could take the world, which he wants to do.

We jump right into the second episode, as well as the finals, as Okada is interviewed for the big match. He has mixed feelings since he is facing his CHAOS partner. But in the end, he only thought of becoming the G1 champion. He wanted to fight him in a big stage like the Tokyo Dome, but the Seibu Dome for G1 finals works as well. He thought it would be ok if he just did his usual wrestling. He was able to fight the match in the best condition possible since he had a few days rest before the match.

The match aired. This took up a lot of the hour and was excellent all throughout. They had a classic back and forth match that exemplified why they are where they are at in New Japan. From the moves to the expressions on their faces to the pacing and hot crowd, just everything was well done and couldn’t have been done any better. Nakamura’s transition into the armbar after Okada tried the rainmaker was just incredible watching live. He does it more often now, but it’s never not amazing. Nakamura kept escaping the rainmaker and hit two boma es. When he went for a third Okada blocked it and went for the backside but Nakamura kicked out. In dramatic fashion, Okada grabbed Nakamura by the arm and hit the rainmaker, then hit two more and pinned Nakamura to win the G1 Climax 24 tournament. This is a highly reccomended episode of New Japan World to watch as it was one of the best matches of 2014.

Nakamura is interviewed after. This is all for enriching my life. I’d like to think today was one of those days. Okada is extremely pure, and he felt that. Knocking him down was supposed to be part of his job. Well, that’s life, Nakamura says as he makes his exit.

Gedo takes the mic and says give it up for Nakamura. But, who had the upper hand in this once in a century summer? Of course, the toughest man of summer, Okada! Okada says he wants the championship on January 4, 2015. Gedo called out Tetsuya Naito and Karl Anderson, both who got wins over Okada in the tournament.

Okada wants to say three things. One, AJ Styles, you’re next so be prepared. Two, Nakamura. He wants more matches against him. And three...he promises to make next year’s G1 even better. As long as he’s the man in New Japan Pro Wrestling, no, pro wrestling in general, he will make the money rain.

After the celebration, Okada says he is happy he beat Nakamura once. He feels Nakamura’s hear is stronger, though he appreciated what Nakamura said earlier of him being a strong hearted pro wrestler. He and Gedo have beers after the conference.

Reflective interview with Okada. He says he felt normal once the bell rang, but he knew it was on when Nakamura was stretching in the other corner. He felt that beating Nakamura was a bigger win than winning the IWGP title because he’s looked to Nakamura as a mentor, and now that he’s beaten him, he feels that they are equals. About winning the tournament, he felt he satisfied the audience that night. As for his goals in next year’s tournament, it should be held in different parts of Japan and in big venues. He wants to win at the Tokyo Dome again so he can win twice in a row there. He’s also looking to make great memories three days in a row at Sumo Hall.

And that’s it! The first hour was great, second hour was excellent and highly recommended television. World Pro Wrestling continued to deliver with consistently great matches, and even though these matches are over a year old, it’s worth re-watching.