NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 9

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 9

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 9

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August 2nd, 16:00 from Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Aichi

If you missed my review of yesterday’s very good Day 8 show it’s here. No commentary today, which considering I don’t speak Japanese is more of an issue than you’d think. The card, unfortunately, is a bit of a dog. Still, one or two of the matches may surprise. 

A Block – Current Standings

  • Tetsuya Naito – 6
  • Katsuyori Shibata – 6
  • Bad Luck Fale – 6
  • Kota Ibushi – 4
  • Togi Makabe – 4
  • A.J. Styles – 4
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi – 4
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan – 2
  • Doc Gallows – 2
  • Toru Yano – 2

A Block – Round Five

Kota Ibushi vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan 

ibushi     tenzan

Ibushi gets Tenzan off his feet and to the outside with a dropkick, goes for his patented triangle asai moonsault, but Tenzan steps out of the way. Back in, Tenzan stays on top with a chinlock then some stomps. A headbutt rocks Ibushi and Tenzan just about makes it off the ground for a spinning heel kick. Ibushi comes back by reversing a suplex and hits a springboard dropkick, then a kick flurry gets two. Ibushi tries a lariat – no way. Tenzan tries a lariat – way. Two-count only. Ibushi goes for a standing moonsault but Tenzan gets the knees up. Elbow battle, then headbutts, then Mongolian chops, then Tenzan dumps Ibushi with a back body drop. Anaconda Vice locked in! Ibushi fights up, then flips out and knocks Tenzan to the mat. Standing corkscrew moonsault for a close two-count. High kick puts Tenzan down. Phoenix Splash! Ibushi gets the the win at 11 minutes. Considering Tenzan’s physical limitations these days that was alright. The story was Tenzan the smart veteran against Ibushi the too-eager youngster and it worked well. **3/4

Bad Luck Fale vs. Katsuyori Shibata 

fale     shibata

Fale gets a big chop and a choke, but Shibata regroups and wrestles him to the ground, smoothly applying a figure four. Rope break. Shibata stomps away in the corner and goes for the running dropkick but Fale knocks him down. Outside, Shibata gets dropped throat-first over the barrier and just makes it in before the count (a nice callback to Shibata getting counted out in this same building last year). Huge elbow battle back in the ring, which Fale wins, but the big splash is missed giving Shibata the opportunity to hit the corner dropkick. Samoan drop is reversed to a sleeper, but Fale backs into the turnbuckle. Shibata locks it in again, and Fale’s starting to wobble, but the hold is broken. A charging Shibata gets laid out, but the Bad Luck Fall is reversed mid-air to another sleeper! Fale’s on his knees, Penalty Kick hits, and Shitbata gets the three-count at 8 minutes. A decent match, with Shibata needing to alter his usual tactics. **3/4

Doc Gallows vs. A.J. Styles

gallows     styles 

A friendly Bullet Club ‘Too Sweet’ to start. Styles tries a drop toehold, which doesn’t work, then rolls to avoid Gallows’ stomps. A dropkick puts Gallows outside, but Styles gets caught trying the elbow strike and is chokeslammed onto the apron. Back in, Styles bounces to the mat after a couple of hard irish whips, then Gallows gets some elbow drops for two. He stays on top with a leg drop and some punches in the corner, until Styles gets a chop block. A flurry from Styles, ending with a jumping clothesline, finally puts Gallows down. Springboard elbow strike gets two. Gallows gets a slam out of the corner when Styles tries going up top, but Styles quickly retaliates with a Calf Killer. Rope break. Jackhammer from Gallows gets two. Enziguri from Styles. A Pelé kick and Bloody Sunday put Gallows down for the three-count. Lots of audible spot calling here, not helped by the lack of commentary, and the heel vs. heel dynamic made for a flat crowd. Otherwise this was fine, and Styles tried hard, but Gallows is just not very good. **1/4

Togi Makabe vs. Tetsuya Naito

makabe     naito

Red Shoes Unno calls for the bell while Naito’s still taking his shirt off, so Makabe goes after him, but Naito pull down the top rope – sending Makabe to the floor – then casually carries on removing his suit. Now he’s ready. Naito runs to go for a dive, then rolls into a reclining position in the ring. He takes control with a snapmare and a low dropkick, then pushes the referee to the mat. Headscissor applied, Makabe makes the ropes. A huge lariat turns Naito inside out. Mounted punches and a northern lights suplex gets two. Naito reverses a charge to a spinning neckbreaker and follows with the diving dropkick and slingshot corner dropkick for two. Powerslam by Makabe. Koppu kick by Naito, followed by a top rope frankensteiner. German suplex gets two. Makabe fights out of a dragon suplex attempt and gets a powerbomb. Death Valley Driver and the King Kong Knee Drop… misses. Elbow battle up from the knees. Naito spits in Makabe’s face. Sloppy victory roll gets two, jackknife pin the same. German suplex from Makabe gets a close two. Makabe puts Naito up top. Spider suplex attempt, Naito tries to fight out and gets his head cracked on the ringpost, drawing hardway blood. Spider suplex hits! The King Kong Knee Drop follows and Makabe gets the win at 16 minutes. Your rating will vary from mine based on how much you enjoy Naito’s troll act. For me, it kills the flow of matches. ***1/4

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Toru Yano

tanahashi     yano

Funny moment early on as Yano tries to skin the cat, but he just can’t. Outside, Tanahashi takes a huge run-up for a Stinger splash, but Yano ducks and Tanahashi posts himself. Back in, Tanahashi is whipped into an exposed turnbuckle and Yano takes control with his usual antics. Yano is eventually hoisted by his own petard. Tanahashi goes for a High Fly Flow to the outside, but Yano rolls under the ring to avoid it! He gleefully pops up on the other side, but Tanahashi hits a slingshot crossbody. Both just make it in before the count. A roll up from Yano gets a close two. Oni Koroshi (kneeling powerbomb) gets two! Low blow and a backslide for another near fall! Tanahashi puts Yano down with a Twelve Six (leg-hook Michinoku Driver), but gets crotched when Yano pushes the ref into the ropes. Antics, then Tanahashi skins the cat! Slingblade hits, High Fly Flow misses. The ref tries to stop Yano using the chair, then gets spun out of the ring when Tanahashi hits a Dragon Screw. After some toing and froing, Tanahashi gets a Slingblade on the chair and follows with a High Fly Flow for the victory at 15 minutes. Poor Yano’s cut opened back up – ouch. These guys have decent chemistry and this was an enjoyable comedy match. ***1/4

The usual Tanahashi antics, and we’re out.

A Block standings after Round Five

  • Katsuyori Shibata – 8
  • Bad Luck Fale – 6
  • Kota Ibushi – 6
  • Togi Makabe – 6
  • Tetsuya Naito – 6
  • A.J. Styles – 6
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi – 6
  • Doc Gallows – 2
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan – 2
  • Toru Yano – 2

Final thoughts: In a cruel twist of fate, every one of A Block’s best workers was paired with the worst, so it’s not a shock that this wasn’t a great show. Matches over- or under-delivered to varying degrees, but really, none are particularly worth seeing unless you think Naito is the second coming (some do), and if I wasn’t reviewing this show I would’ve skipped it. I suggest that you do.

A Block are now over halfway done, with Shibata out in front and six men tied in second place and still in contention. Gallows, Tenzan and Yano have no chance, but they could easily spoil the party for someone else.

Nine down, ten to go. A break tomorrow, then more to come on Tuesday.

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