NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 16

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 16

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 16

August 12th, 18:30 from Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

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The penultimate B Block show – the last of three in a row at Korakuen – is headlined by Honma vs. Ishii. Honma can’t win the tournament, Ishii won’t win the tournament, and yet – because of the overness of both men – they headline this crucial card. Every other one of the matches has a potential block-winner in it and, especially after yesterday’s results, we know that upsets are possible (if not likely).

B Block – Current Standings

  • Kazuchika Okada – 12
  • Karl Anderson – 10
  • Hirooki Goto – 10
  • Shinsuke Nakamura – 10
  • Michael Elgin – 8
  • Tomohiro Ishii – 8
  • Satoshi Kojima – 4
  • Yujiro Takahashi – 4
  • Yuji Nagata – 4
  • Tomoaki Honma – 0

Here we go…

B Block – Round Eight

Karl Anderson vs. Yujiro Takahasi

anderson     takahashi

Missed most of this because of internet issues. Please send your complaints to Virgin Media. Anderson won with the Gun Stun.

Michael Elgin vs. Hirooki Goto 

elgin     goto

A few minutes in they teased a german suplex from the apron, but Elgin instead hit a Death Valley Driver, Goto just making it in before the count. The big Canadian stayed on top with a delayed vertical suplex and a dropkick for two. An elbow battle and discuss lariat turned the tide for Goto and he ran through his usual comeback offence until Elgin score with a big boot. A couple of deadlift german suplexes got a close two-count and the crowd were crazy for Elgin. After some brief retaliation from Goto, Elgin nailed a lariat for a near fall, then the Cesaroplex Falcon Arrow for another close two-count. In the end, Goto countered a charge into a Goto-shiki Cradle and got the three-count at 12 minutes. Goto raised Elgin’s hand post-match. Crowd heat made this one. I find I’m shrugging my shoulders at Elgin’s feats of strength by this point and his thigh-slapping on strikes is hella obvious. However, the Korakuen crowd were way into him, much moreso than Goto, and this was an enjoyable effort from both men.  ***3/4

Satoshi Kojima vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

kojima     nakamura

Despite some early strikes from Kojima, Nakamura was in charge for much of the early going, running through every variation of his knee-based offense. Kojima came back with a diving elbow and, after a brief elbow exchange, scored with the Koji Cutter. Nakamura then came back with more knee strikes, a gourdbuster, front facelock and the inverted powerslam. First Boma Ye missed, but the second scored from the middle rope. Boma Ye hit for two, then a lariat from Kojima got two. Nakamura sold like he couldn’t stand up and Kojima hit a brainbuster for a close two-count. Another lariat was countered to a rolling juji gatame, which Kojima fought out of, but Nakamura did eventually hit the Boma Ye for the win at 12 minutes. You know the score with Nakamura’s work this tournament: back-and-forth with no flow for the first half then go straight to the “epic” closing stretch. Again, the crowd was hot, which helped a lot. ***1/4

Yuji Nagata vs. Kazuchika Okada

nagata     okada

Early on, Nagata ducked – limbo-style – under a lariat attempt! (Brilliant because he’d been training for just that in some skits pre-tournament.) They went to an elbow battle early and Nagata thoroughly bested his young opponent. Outside, Okada managed to get back on top and spiked Nagata with a draping DDT from the barrier and Nagata just made it back in the ring at 19. Okada continued the theme of working over Nagata’s midriff and once again the ringside doctor had to check on the veteran. The crowd was booing Okada’s lack of respect. Nagata was able to make the comeback with more elbows, a rope-hung neckbreaker and chest kicks for a two-count, but Okada soon had things back in his favour. A diving elbow hit, but the Rainmaker was countered to an exploder suplex. Okada at last got the better of an elbow battle, but Nagata was able to counter to the Shirome armbar. Okada finally made it to the ropes at the third time of asking. Nagata hammered away with kicks and countered another Rainmaker attempt with a rebound german suplex and followed with a backdrop for 2.9! Okada somehow hit a reverse neckbreaker and both men were down. Nagata blocked a first tombstone piledriver, but not a second, and Okada managed – despite his bad arm – to follow up with the Rainmaker for the win at 20 minutes. Great story, great match. ****1/2

Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii

honma     ishii

Ishii was thoroughly comfortable for the opening minutes, treating his opponent like a piece of dirt, but Honma was able to rally and hit a Kokeshi and the seated blockbuster for two. They then proceeded to hit each other really hard over and over and over again. A Main Event Chop Battle went on for about two minutes until Honma finally succumbed! A delayed superplex got two, before Ishii missed the sliding lariat and Honma spiked him with a DDT. Honma followed with a lariat and a Jumping Kokeshi to Ishii’s back, then a Fire Thunder Driver for two. Top rope Kokeshi… missed and Ishii was soon laying in the elbows and turned Honma inside out with a lariat for a one count! Sliding lariat then got a near fall, but Honma reversed the brainbuster to one of his own! Jumping Kokeshi followed by a sliding Kokeshi for 2.9! Middle rope diving Kokeshi!! Top rope Kokeshi… HITS!!! ONE TWO THREE!!! Holy shit, Honma won! By gawwwwd he finally did it! I genuinely threw my hands up in amazement and joy watching this. Has to be said the crowd were curiously muted for the early portion of this match, perhaps worn out by the preceding bout, but they did of course come round and were rabid by the end. Honma chants all round. ****1/2

Honma with the closing promo!!! What a sight. Here’s what he said (courtesy of E. Key Oide on twitter):

“I won! I couldn’t do it alone, it was all of your support that let me win. My winning streak starts today, I won’t let it end here! Next, I’ll beat Yujiro, and be proud to have a record of 2-7 wins & losses. That record might not be much, but to me, It’s the greatest thing in the world. New Japan Pro Wrestling, its fans, this ring, all wonderful! Now I know, for sure, more than ever, that I love wrestling!”

B Block standings after Round Eight

  • Kazuchika Okada – 14
  • Karl Anderson – 12
  • Hirooki Goto – 12
  • Shinsuke Nakamura – 12
  • Michael Elgin – 8
  • Tomohiro Ishii – 8
  • Satoshi Kojima – 4
  • Yujiro Takahashi – 4
  • Yuji Nagata – 4
  • TOMOAKI HONMA – 2

Final thoughts: Yes! Yes! Yes! Feelgood moment of the year right here. Fantastic show, headlined by two excellent matches. Honmania running wild!

Okay, so now I have to try and do some mathematics. There was no change in positions today, which means Okada will win if he beats Nakamura. However, if Anderson and Nakamura both win it’ll be a three-way tie (because KA>SN, KO>KA and SN>KO). What happens then, I have no idea. I don’t think Goto can win; my head hurt trying to work out how he could.

Sixteen down, three to go. Back on Friday for the final A Block show.

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