First show is from August 15, 2015 at Sumo Hall. No intro, I guess Ishii didn’t feel like introducing us.
Yuji Nagata vs. Hirooki Goto
This was a good match.Even though Ross and Barnett put over both of their wrestling backgrounds over before the match started ,this was a very stiff back and forth match. Like Jim Ross said, it was nothing fancy- lots of stiff punches, forearms and kicks. Also really interesting to hear Nagata is 47. I know that Nagata is called Mr. Anti-Aging but I’ve never really thought of his actual age. The way he’s moving at 47 should really be commended. He got the win here.
Satoshi Kojima vs. Karl Anderson
This was also a very good match. Anderson worked hard and did his usual heel tactics. Kojima looked really strong. Not much more beyond that, just a good back and forth match. Kojima picked up the win with a lariat.
Tomohiro Ishii was interviewed. It didn’t mean anything to him to hear that this G1 was the longest ever. On Elgin, he likes his moves and any of them can be finishers. Unlike most Americans, he fights with his heart.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Michael Elgin
This was one of my favorite matches from the last year. Elgin showed in this match that he’s one of the best commodities New Japan has picked up in recent years - he’s just tremendous working a stiff style and excelled here against Tomohiro Ishii, who is also one of the best in this style too. They worked themselves into an excellent match with some scary spots, including a death valley driver to the floor by Elgin.
He followed that up with one of the scariest moves in some time with a running powerbomb right into the steel guard railing on the outside. Insane. Ishii turned him inside out with a lariat but Elgin kicked out, only to taste defeat following a brainbuster. Fantastic match, well worth taking the time to watch. Definitely one of the best matches in the G1 tournament.
Ishii says he’s become nothing but a boaster and is disappointed in himself. Elgin vows with every last breath, drop of sweat and blood, he and Ishii will go at it again.
In an interesting note, Ishii mentions he lost consciousness after the first blow of the match, so he doesn’t have much memories of it. He was out of it. He thought although it was a good, he got beat badly. He thought he was doing well in the tournament until he lost to Okada .He says it’s been another disappointing year.
Okada welcomes us to part two of the August 15, 2015 G1 event in Sumo Hall.
Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma
This was fine. Yujiro’s in the bottom rung of workers in the New Japan roster, but Honma is so over this turned into a good match anyway. Yujiro used a ref bump to low blow and the Miami shine to pin Honma.
Okada says that the G1 was probably the best condition he could have been in. He doesn’t fight against Nakamura too often, so this was interesting for him. He wasn’t sure if the math would go ahead due to his injury, but it did. When mentioning that one block was AJ vs. Tanahashi and the other one was him vs. Nakamura, he noted that it was the four best wrestlers in New Japan, so it was hard for him to compete against them.
Kazuchika Okada vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The match that these two had in the previous year’s G1 was absolutely awesome. I forget how this one went, though I remember it being awesome as well, so let’s see how this fares with new eyes.
They started off slow, feeling one another. The match largely went with a back and forth style; well worked, nothing fancy .Once they started to go to the finishers it became great. Nakamura spun into that wonderful armbar, went into the gogoplata position, then sent him chest first to the ground and submitted him. I really liked that finish, but I thought the match they had in the G1 finals in 2014 has a bit more oomph to it. Still, these were two of the best workers in the business having a great match by any standard, so good on them. That makes it Tanahashi vs. Nakamura in the G1 2015 finals.
Nakamura says there’s only one more match to go, and he’s ready to give it his all.
Okada says it was frustrating he got submitted instead of pinned. By far, it’s the most frustrating match for him. If Nakamura wins the whole thing, he’s sure to face him again. The usually chatty Gedo this time says he has nothing to say, Nakamura was incredible. Meanwhile, Nakamura says he gave it his all today. One more match...he’s on fire.
In his reflective interview, Okada says for him, it was one of the most memorable matches of 2015. He remembers it even more than his match in 2014, perhaps because he lost. He also forgot about the armlock. It was his first tap out since returning to America. After taking part in such a big series, he was proud to take on so many matches. On Nakamura leaving, he’s going to miss him. But he’s not worried about New Japan Pro Wrestling. He’s excited for what’s to come. But with that said, he misses him but hopes he does well in America. He wants to fight him again, He’ll make the New Japan ring the best in the meantime.
Two very good episodes of New Japan on AXS this week. This show still remains as one of the best TV shows in North America, featuring both hot matches and fresh insight into them.