NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 13

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 13

August 8th, 18:30 from Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama


Shibata vs. Tanahashi tops today’s A Block card. Not much of note on the undercard, but slip up at this stage and some of the tournament favourites could easily find themselves out of the running.

A Block – Current Standings

  • Bad Luck Fale – 8
  • Tetsuya Naito – 8
  • Katsuyori Shibata – 8
  • A.J. Styles – 8
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi – 8
  • Kota Ibushi – 6
  • Togi Makabe – 6
  • Toru Yano – 4
  • Doc Gallows – 2
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan – 2

Here we go…

A Block – Round Seven

 Bad Luck Fale vs. Kota Ibushi 

fale     ibushi

As you’d expect, they worked the monster heel formula here to a tee, with Fale in control for the majority of the match and Ibushi getting the hope spots in every once in a while. Ibushi hit a nice asai moonsault after avoiding a powerbomb of the floor and got a near fall off an angled Lionsault. In the end, after kicking out of the Choke Lariat Slam, Ibushi was pinned with the Bad Luck Fall at 9 minutes. Serviceable stuff. Fale is doing far better than I expected (results, not match quality) and this loss has to mean the end of Ibushi’s chances which is a shame. **1/4

Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano

naito     yano

The match began in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed, with Naito taking an age to undress. Hilarious moment early on as Yano mimicked Naito’s lounging pose. Naito went after Yano forehead throughout, continued his abuse of Referee Unno and won easily with Destino after 8 minutes. Post-match, Naito attacked everyone in his way, including the cameraman. There wasn’t much to this but there was an enjoyable dynamic between the two trolls of New Japan. **1/4

A.J. Styles vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

styles     tenzan

They milked the cocky heel vs. grizzled veteran dynamic here and it worked pretty well. A.J. responded to chants of his name with “oh shut up, I know who I am!”. Styles went after Tenzan’s leg to setup the Calf Killer, and if you want an example of how far gone Tenzan’s legs are: Styles couldn’t properly apply the figure four on him. Tenzan made an extended comeback, but got nothing that could be classed as a near fall. He locked in the Anaconda Vice, but Styles soon made the ropes and rolled-through into the Calf Killer for the tap out. Styles sold like a trooper and tried to lift the match through sheer effort, but Tenzan becomes more immobile by the day. **3/4

Doc Gallows vs. Togi Makabe 

gallows     makabe

Makabe won with the King Kong Knee Drop. Let’s move on. *1/2

 Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi 

shibata     tanahashi

These guys have some bad blood because Tanahashi criticised Shibata in his autobiography and, as such, their matches have an extra frisson of violence. They worked a slow pace, trading holds early on, cinching them in, not “chain wrestling” for the sake of it. Shibata eventually locked in the figure four and Tanahashi took a couple of minutes to work his way out of it. Outside, Tanahashi hit a big seated dropkick against the barrier but didn’t have advantage for long, with Shibata getting his corner dropkick, a hatch suplex, and an Octopus Stretch. An elbow battle followed, sweat dripping off both guys. Shibata tried the Penalty Kick, but it was caught, and Tanahashi went to work on the left knee before locking in the Cloverleaf. Tanahashi was twice cut off from hitting a High Fly Flow, but got the Slingblade off a charge. Towards the end a High Flow Flow hit the knees and Shibata got the sleeper, but the Penalty Kick was ducked. Tahahashi had an O’Connor Roll reversed to a sleeper, but he reversed that to a roll-up for the win at 21 minutes. The ending was messy (if not botched), which is a shame, because the crowd was way into this and both guys worked with great intensity and intent; it felt like a competitive wrestling match and not a collection of spots and sequences. ****1/4

A Block standings after Round Seven

  • Bad Luck Fale – 10
  • Tetsuya Naito – 10
  • A.J. Styles – 10
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi – 10
  • Togi Makabe – 8
  • Katsuyori Shibata – 8
  • Kota Ibushi – 6
  • Toru Yano – 4
  • Doc Gallows – 2
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan – 2

Final thoughts: “Watch the main event, skip the rest” has become the mantra of a lot of this year’s G1 shows, and it applies today. These are solid wrestling shows, but the surfeit of matches similar in length and quality (10 minutes, 2-3 stars) means they become harder to recommend the longer the tournament goes on. Nevertheless, Shibata vs. Tanahashi was a very good bout and well worth seeing, particularly if you like your wrestling to feel like a sport.

Thirteen down, six to go. More tomorrow.

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