NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 7

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 7

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July 29th, 18:30 from Kokusai Centre, Fukuoka

After today there’s a two day break and I’m almost as relieved as the wrestlers must be. Don’t get me wrong, these shows have all ranged from solid to excellent, but there’s only so many times a man can see Cody Hall waving a Bullet Club flag!

A Block – Current Standings

  • Bad Luck Fale – 4
  • Kota Ibushi – 4
  • Tetsuya Naito – 4
  • Katsuyori Shibata – 4
  • A.J. Styles – 4
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi – 4
  • Togi Makabe – 2
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan – 2
  • Toru Yano – 2
  • Doc Gallows – 0

Here we go…

A Block – Round Four

Doc Gallows vs. Toru Yano 

gallows     yano

Yano, sporting a black eye and stitches, is still merrily shilling that DVD of his. Gallows came out with most of the Bullet Club. This was a whole load of silliness, the only genuine attempt at wrestling coming when Gallows started punching and clawing at Yano’s forehead. A succession of Bullet Club shenanigans led to Gallows and Anderson hitting their tag finisher Magic Killer, and Gallows got his first win of the tournament at 8 minutes. Not a good wrestling match, but entertaining. *1/2

Togi Makabe vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

makabe     tenzan

Tenzan, also with stitching on his forehead, gets some Mongolian Chops early on before Makabe takes control, whipping him into the barrier and the ringpost. He works the leg for a bit, does the mounted punches in the corner and hits a northern lights suplex for two. Tenzan gets the spinning heel kick, then a suplex for two. Back body drop and the Anaconda Vice is locked in. Makabe fights out, Anaconda Buster, two count. Makabe gets a powerslam off a charge. He hits a lariat, then a Death Valley Driver, and finishes Tenzan with the King Kong Knee Drop at 9 minutes. I don’t know if Tenzan is still feeling the effects of his own diving headbutt from Sunday, but he was moving very slowly here. Makabe mostly shouted. No good. *

Kota Ibushi vs. Katsuyori Shibata 

ibushi     shibata

Shibata takes advantage early, kicking Ibushi off the apron then over the barrier. Back in, Ibushi eventually makes the ropes off a figure four. Ibushi shows some fire, fighting off elbows with a big boot and a corner dropkick. Shibata then quells that fire with stomps, a facewash and his own corner dropkick. Hatch suplex gets two. Abdominal stretch is escaped by Ibushi and he dropkicks Shibata to the floor, following up with an asai moonsault off the turnbuckle. Kicks to the chest from Ibushi, Shibata shakes his head and asks for more! Ibushi with a flurry, high kick and standing corkscrew moonsault for two. He goes for Shibata’s own Penalty Kick, so Shibata’s elbows him down in disgust. Ibushi tries a Pelé kick but it’s caught and Shibata locks in the STF! Ibushi just makes the ropes. Sleeper attempt from Shibata, then a sequence of suplexes and strikes far too quick to keep up with, each move only getting a one-count! When both men peel themselves from the mat, Ibushi hits a lariat for two. Shibata gets a desperation Death Valley Driver. Elbow battle as both guys get to their feet. Punches from Ibushi! Shibata stops the attack with a huge slap, puts Ibushi to the mat with a Sleeper and the Penalty Kick wins it at 14 minutes. Almost ridiculously hard-hitting, so if that’s your bag you’re going to love this. ****1/2

Bad Luck Fale vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi 

fale     tanahashi

Fale is accompanied by Cody Hall and Tama Tonga. Tanahashi tries a lot early on, but just can’t connect with anything. Scoop slam attempt reversed to a crossbody by Fale, then Tonga lays into Tanahashi on the outside. Fale whips Tanahashi into an exposed turnbuckle a couple of times, then grabs the dreaded Claw hold. Baldo Bomb hits, but the big splash misses and Tanahashi comes back with elbows and gets the scoop slam this time. Senton gets two. Ref bump off a Stinger splash, but Tanahashi stays on top and hits a High Fly Flow crossbody to the whole Bullet Club on the outside! Back in the ring, Tanahashi skins the the cat then gets knocked down by Fale. Chock Lariat Slam attempt is avoided. Slingblade! High Fly Flow crossbody! High Fly Flow and the… referee gets pulled out of the ring by the Bullet Club. Fale with a Samoan drop for two. Bad Luck Fall is escaped twice and Tanahashi gets a spinning neckbreaker. Fale comes back with a lariat and a splash for two. Choke Lariat Slam only gets two! Fale heads up top(!), stumbles a little, and hits a frogsplash for the win at 13 minutes. Action packed, with both guys working hard, Tanahashi in particular. He was channeling HBK here and it really worked. ***3/4

Tetsuya Naito vs. A.J. Styles

naito     styles

Styles with some prime smack talk and he sarcastically applauds when Naito finally gets his suit off. Naito’s heel act is getting more and more over by the day. Early in the match  the crowd boo when Naito pulls the hair and begin cheering Styles when he comes back with a dropkick and slingshot crossbody to the outside. Back in, Styles snaps a pendulum backbreaker (best since Bret Hart, I say) and takes Naito down with his kip-up hurricanrana. Elbows, then both men end up on the apron and Naito hits a neckbreaker. Seated dropkick from Naito, followed by a Cravate. Styles makes the ropes, but Naito holds on, then chokes him on the bottom rope. ‘Motherfucker!’ says Styles, and tries to elbow his way back into the match. Lariat from Styles and we get an ‘A.J. Styles’ chant! The springboard elbow strike hits and an inverted Death Valley Driver gets two. Naito charges Styles into the corner and gets a rope hung neckbreaker. Diving dropkick follows, then the slingshot corner dropkick gets two. Jawbreaker from Styles and a belly-to-back facebuster for a close two. Naito with a rope-assisted tornado DDT, an STO, and the Pluma Blanca is locked in. Styles gets a rope break. Top rope frankensteiner is blocked, as is the Styles Clash, but a suplex into the turnbuckle hits from Styles. Enziguri from Naito, enziguri from Styles, both men down. Main Event Elbow Battle with chops thrown in for good measure. Naito gets knocked to the mat with a hard lariat. Naito spits at Styles, then a rolling jackknife pin gets two. Bloody Sunday is reversed into Destino – Naito’s new finisher – for the three-count at 18 minutes. Naito’s character work continues to be top-notch, but here it meant Styles was working pseudo-face, despite having the Bullet Club at ringside. Strange. Good work, but it suffered from a lack of flow. ***1/2

Post-match, Naito attacks the referee once again, celebrates, and we’re out.

A Block standings after Round Four

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

Final thoughts: Skip the first two matches and it’s a good show today, Ibushi/Shibata being the obvious highlight. Two losses in a row for both Styles and Tanahashi is surprising and makes for an interesting A Block going forward, especially since they face each other on Day 17.

Seven down, twelve to go. More to come on Saturday.