NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 4

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 4

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July 25th, 18:00 from Takamatsu Gymnasium, Kagawa

Yesterday’s A Block show was headlined by an enjoyable Tenzan vs. Tanahashi match. We’re back with B Block today and a promising card is headlined by Honma vs. Okada. We’re back, too, with the single-camera set up and no commentary. It’s the last one, I’m assured. Poor B Block.

B Block standings after Round One

  • Karl Anderson – 2
  • Hirooki Goto – 2
  • Tomohiro Ishii – 2
  • Yuji Nagata – 2
  • Kazuchika Okada – 2
  • Michael Elgin – 0
  • Tomoaki Honma – 0
  • Satoshi Kojima – 0
  • Shinsuke Nakamura – 0
  • Yujiro Takahashi – 0

Here we go…

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yujiro Takahashi

ishii     takahashi

Takahashi is out first with Cody Hall and his stripper/dancer ladyfriend (he’s a “ladies man”, you see), and it turns out the camera can zoom-in quite rapidly when it wants to. Anyway, Takahashi takes advantage by distracting the referee and allowing Hall to lay into Ishii on the outside. Pretty soon Ishii decides he’s had enough of Yujiro’s feeble elbows and lays in his own superior strikes. Takahashi cuts him off, however, and a fisherman buster dumps Ishii on his head for two. More weak elbows from Takahashi; so weak, in fact, that Ishii takes affront and leans into them purposefully.  Bullet Club shenanigans lead to a lariat from Takahashi for two, but Ishii retaliates with a headbutt and buckle bomb. Double clothesline, then Ishii summons FIGHTING SPIRIT and gets a lariat and a folding powerbomb for a near fall. Takahashi sneaks a low blow for a close two. Tokyo Pimps (a sit-out dominator) from Takahashi for two! The crowd are impressed with that one. Neither connects with their strikes until Ishii gets an enziguri and both men are down. A second low blow attempt is blocked and Takahashi gets headbutted down to the mat. Sliding lariat for a near fall then the brainbuster gets the win for Ishii in just under 13 minutes. Started slow, but it was fun when it got going. Although the crowd really don’t care about him, Takahashi pulled his weight here. They loved Ishii though. ***

Michael Elgin vs. Satoshi Kojima 

elgin     kojima

The crowd are buying Elgin as a strongman, and ‘ooh’ when Kojima wobbles him with elbow strikes. Kojima stays on top with a diamond cutter, but Elgin hits a double stomp soon after. A delayed suplex – complete with squats – is applauded, and a slingshot splash follows. Elgin misses a charge in the corner and Kojima lays in the chops. Diving elbow for two. Back-and-forth in the corner with clotheslines from Elgin and machine gun chops from Kojima. A sunset flip is reversed to a deadlift powerbomb by Elgin which gets a close two. The Cesaroplex is blocked, but Elgin knocks Kojima off the top with a jumping kick. He goes for a powerbomb off the apron, blocked, and Kojima hits a DDT. Kojima chants from the crowd. Brainbuster gets a two-count. He signals the lariat, it’s blocked. Lariat from Elgin only gets two! Elgin tries something off the second rope, but Kojima hits him with a lariat on the way down and gets the three-count at 13 minutes. Some exchanges early on were a little awkward, but it picked up nicely and the crowd were into it. ***1/4

Karl Anderson vs. Hirooki Goto 

anderson      goto

These guys have some A+ chemistry. It’s level pegging until they go to the floor and Anderson powerbombs Goto onto the apron. Goto just makes it in before the count, then Anderson ties him up in the ropes and nails him with a jumping kick. Another near count-out. Anderson wrenches the chinlock and Goto fights out only to get spin-kicked to the mat for a succession of two-counts. Anderson takes the piss out of the ‘Goto!’ chants and slaps him about. Big boot in the corner misses and Goto comes back with a spinning heel kick. Fake-out lariat, reversed to sleeper, reversed to backdrop and a two-count for Goto. Hard to keep up with the sequences these two put together. They fight on the top rope, until Goto hits the Kaiten (sunset flip powerbomb) for a near fall. Suplex reversed to a neckbreaker by Anderson and both men are down. Let the elbow battle commence! Gun stun misses. Two times around with the fakeout lariat, then Goto connects. Ushigoroshi! Goto lifts Anderson for the Shouten Kai, but it’s reversed mid-air into a Gun Stun! Three-count at 12 minutes and another win for Anderson. Dependably good match from these two. ***1/4

Yuji Nagata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

nagata     nakamura

After a couple of minutes where neither man could quite get hold of a short-arm scissors/armbar/triangle choke, a slap from Nakamura heats things up. Nagata lays in the elbows and goes for an exploder, but it’s blocked and Nakamura knees him to the floor. Outside, Nagata gets thrown over the barrier and takes a running knee to the face. Back in at the 19 count. Snapmare and a kneedrop followed by a Nakamura’s signature shaky-foot thing in the corner. Abdominal stretch, then into a pinning combination for two. Nagata nails a high kick and knocks Nakamura down with a knee to the gut. Hard elbow strikes and a yakuza kick followed by an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle from Nagata. Rope-hung spinning neckbreaker, then he locks in the crossface. Nakamura makes the ropes and comes back with knees to a grounded Nagata and a gourdbuster. Boma Ye charge is reversed to a belly-to-belly suplex. Shirome armbar from Nagata and the crowd are hot. He drags Nakamura to the centre of the ring, but the self-proclaimed King of Strong Style somehow squirms to the ropes. Nakamura flips out of a german suplex (just) and hits a jumping front kick. The every-match elbow battle is won by Nakamura who follows with a lungblower. Inverted powerslam. Boma Ye attempted and missed. Backdrop from Nagata! Only gets two. Boma Ye from Nakamura! Only gets two. A second rope Boma Ye hits, then Nagata clips Nakamura with an enziguri, but Nakamura hits a sloppy super kick for the three-count at 17 minutes. The end was a bit of a mess, frankly, and there was some aimlessness early on, but despite that this was a lively match that was fun to watch. ***1/2

Tomoaki Honma vs. Kazuchika Okada

honma     okada

Okada, surprisingly, is the firm crowd favourite here. Honma has control until, you guessed it, he misses a Kokeshi. DDT from Okada and, outside, a big boot puts Honma over the barrier. He then DDTs him (I think) on the floor and Honma rolls back into the ring just before the 20-count is up. A chinlock and a seated dropkick keep Okada in control. Missed charge leads to Honma getting his delayed deadlift suplex, and he follows that with chops, a bulldog, and hits a Kokeshi! Single-leg crab, Okada makes the ropes. A flapjack puts Okada back on top and he locks in the Red Ink (kneeling cross-legged STF). Honma makes the ropes and the crowd applaud. Big lariat from Honma and both men are down. Okada with European uppercuts, then Honma slaps him hard. The Dropkick is avoided and the Kokeshi hits! Two-count only. Brainbuster from Honma get a two. Scoop and a slam and Honma heads up top. Okada blocks with a dropkick and Heavy Rain, then the reverse neckbreaker gets a two-count. The crowd are chanting for Honma now. An attempted tombstone is blocked, but Okada hits The Dropkick! He signal for the Rainmaker, but it’s blocked with a Kokeshi! Fire Thunder Driver for a near fall! So close. Kokeshi from the top… misses! Another tombstone attempt is reversed to a roll-up for two. Jumping Kokeshi to the back. Honma goes for another, but Okada avoids it, hits a big german suplex and rolls-through to nail the Rainmaker for three at 18 minutes. Good match, great heat. ****1/4

Honma is helped to the back and Okada gets the closing promo, with the champ posing after Gedo puts him over.

B Block standings after Round Two

  • Karl Anderson – 4
  • Tomohiro Ishii – 4
  • Kazuchika Okada – 4
  • Hirooki Goto – 2
  • Satoshi Kojima – 2
  • Yuji Nagata – 2
  • Shinsuke Nakamura – 2
  • Michael Elgin – 0
  • Tomoaki Honma – 0
  • Yujiro Takahashi – 0

Final thoughts: Great show today, with every match better than the last, culminating in a top-notch main event. The crowd was hot throughout, and even with the single-camera set up and no commentary this was the best show yet. I recommend you watch the whole thing.

Four down, fifteen to go. More to come tomorrow.