Niigata hosted more action from the B Block as the G1 Climax commenced earlier this morning. The show featured a huge rematch from the Long Beach shows earlier this month as Michael Elgin and Kenny Omega squared off in the main event.
Prelim matches --
- Zack Sabre Jr. & El Desperado defeated Shota Umino & Ren Narita when Desperado submitted Narita with the stretch muffler.
- Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Yuji Nagata & Hirai Kawato when Taguchi submitted Kawato with the ankle lock.
- Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens defeated Kota Ibushi, Tomoyuki Oka & Katsuya Kitamura when Owens pinned Oka with the package piledriver.
- Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI defeated Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo when BUSHI countered the Gedo clutch into a jackknife pin.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay when Goto pinned Finlay with the GTR.
B Block matches --
Tama Tonga defeated Juice Robinson
This was pretty good. Robinson’s leg has been a sore spot for him in matches ever since the bout with Minoru Suzuki, and that injury helped tell a great story throughout this one. I think next to Tomohiro Ishii he’s quickly developing into one of the best sellers on the roster.
Robinson came down to the ring with his knee heavily bandaged, so that was destined to come into play early. Sure enough, after some back and forth, Tonga started to go after it. Robinson eventually took him down with a reverse DDT and put him in a submission, but Tonga made it to the ropes.
Tonga clipped Robinson’s knee after a suplex spot. He put Robinson in a tree-of-woe position in the corner and gave a Stinger splash to the knee twice. He went for a Gun Stun, but Robinson kept reversing until Tonga took him out with the waistlock DDT.
After a small package attempt by Robinson, Tonga struck with the Gun Stun and picked up the win.
SANADA defeated Toru Yano by countout
SANADA wasn’t up for the shenanigans, immediately attacking Yano, but Yano found a way to roll him up for a near fall. Yano took the time to undo a turnbuckle until SANADA attacked him with the turnbuckle and poured the contents of Yano’s water bottle on the top of his head.
SANADA had him in the Skull End, but Yano grabbed the ropes and escaped. He brought in the tape and began tying up SANADA’s legs, much like the Kenny Omega bout, but SANADA cut him off and hit a tope. SANADA put him in the paradise lock, used the rope to tie him up, then casually walked into the ring for a countout victory.
For a promotion that hardly ever does countout wins, NJPW has done three in this tournament alone. This was just a match overall.
EVIL defeated Minoru Suzuki
This was fine, but I didn’t think it was anything special. Just nice back and forth until the interference, then the big surprise finish, which I think is the bigger story of the match.
Suzuki made it a brawl right at the bell, taking EVIL out of the ring. EVIL got the better of it, taking him back out and using his favorite steel chair spot. Suzuki took him back down with an armbar, but EVIL made it to the ropes.
Taichi came down to the ring, and along with Desperado (who was cornering Suzuki) tried to take out EVIL. Los Ingobernables de Japon members BUSHI and Hiromu Takahashi, however, came out and evened the score, brawling with the Suzuki-gun pair to the back.
After the referee took away the chair Suzuki had, EVIL went for the STO until Suzuki put him in the sleeper. He lifted him up for the Gotch piledriver, but EVIL escaped, cut him off, then pinned him with the STO in a big upset.
Based off this win, EVIL will probably be in contention for the NEVER title later this fall.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Satoshi Kojima
This was great. There were several times at the end where you’d think Kojima would pull off the upset win, but he just couldn’t get it done. They did a great job of making Kojima look like he had a chance of winning, especially with a crowd that really wanted it.
Okada played the heel early, throwing Kojima into the barricade and even throwing Tenzan into the ring and goading him to do something. Kojima tried to muster a comeback, but Okada no sold it and took him down in one shot.
Kojima fired back with his partner’s Mongolian chops, culminating with a DDT. Kojima did the chops in the corner, but Okada came back, hit the elbow, and went for the Rainmaker, but Kojima pushed him into the corner. Okada went to the top rope and fired some shots, but Kojima snapped back and gave him a lariat, sending him tumbling to the floor.
Going to the top rope, Kojima launched off with a big Koji cutter for a near fall and then followed with a brainbuster. He went for the lariat, but Okada countered with a Rainmaker attempt. Kojima blocked it, then Okada tried for the Rainmaker again, but right as he was about to put his arm up Kojima blasted him with a lariat of his own.
Okada came back with his dropkick but missed the Rainmaker, instead walking into a roaring elbow. Kojima tried for the lariat again, but Okada countered with the tombstone, then followed with the Rainmaker for the victory.
Michael Elgin defeated Kenny Omega
They had an excellent match, one of the better matches in the tournament so far, and that is saying a lot. It was a super impactful match, hard-hitting throughout with a bunch of great spots. Both Elgin and Omega have been having a great tournament, with this match being perhaps the apex moment for both of them, at least up to this point.
It started off hot, with Elgin giving Omega a huge lariat that sent him crashing into the barricade outside. He gave him a boot, sending him into the crowd. Omega blocked him and jumped off the barricade, but Elgin grabbed him instead and hit an overhead suplex.
Elgin went for a sunset flip bomb, but Omega stayed on his shoulders, escaped, then followed with a superkick. After some more back and forth, Elgin hit a German suplex and sent him to the corner, unloading some clotheslines. Omega cut him off and went for a crossbody, but instead Elgin caught him and hit a spinning side slam.
A hurricanrana counter by Omega sent Elgin to the outside. After coming back into the ring, Omega hit the snap dragon suplex and followed with a tope con hilo to the floor, wiping out Elgin.
Back in the ring, it became another back-and-forth affair as both tried to one-up one another. Elgin hit a lariat, then a buckle bomb and tried for the Elgin bomb, but Omega countered with the One Winged Angel. Elgin countered that with a reverse rana and hit the Elgin bomb, but Omega kicked out.
Elgin’s next move was to go for something on the apron. Omega cut him off and tore away the matting outside of the ring. Elgin caught him. Omega tried to counter with a hurricanrana, but Elgin held on and laid him out with a powerbomb on the apron.
Omega came back to life after countering a powerbomb attempt by Elgin off the top rope. He followed with two V-Triggers and an underhook piledriver. Elgin fought back momentarily but was taken out with another reverse rana. Elgin came back yet again, hitting another buckle bomb and Elgin bomb, but again Omega kicked out.
Elgin went for a Burning Hammer attempt. Omega escaped that, but Elgin responded with two back suplexes. He went for the Burning Hammer once more, this time executing it for the win
Elgin cut a promo after the match, saying he’s been wrestling half his life and the G1 was the most important tournament he’s been a part of because anyone can beat anyone at any given time. He promised that Big Mike will win the G1 Climax.
Current standings --
- Tetsuya Naito -- 6
- Zack Sabre Jr. -- 6
- Hiroshi Tanahashi -- 6
- Kota Ibushi -- 4
- Hirooki Goto -- 4
- Bad Luck Fale -- 4
- Tomohiro Ishii -- 4
- Togi Makabe -- 4
- YOSHI-HASHI -- 2
- Yuji Nagata -- 0
- Kazuchika Okada -- 8
- Kenny Omega -- 6
- EVIL -- 6
- Minoru Suzuki -- 4
- Tama Tonga -- 4
- SANADA -- 4
- Michael Elgin -- 4
- Juice Robinson -- 2
- Toru Yano -- 2
- Satoshi Kojima -- 0