NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 12

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 12

August 7th, 18:30 from Act City Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

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Today’s B Block show is topped by a huge main event: Ishii vs. Okada. This would be an excellent prospect at any stage, but with both men on eight points at the top of the leaderboard, the stakes are even higher. A few matches with sleeper potential round out the tournament portion of Day 12.

B Block – Current Standings

  • Tomohiro Ishii – 8
  • Kazuchika Okada – 8
  • Karl Anderson – 6
  • Michael Elgin – 6
  • Hirooki Goto – 6
  • Shinsuke Nakamura – 6
  • Satoshi Kojima – 4
  • Yujiro Takahashi – 4
  • Yuji Nagata – 2
  • Tomoaki Honma – 0

Here we go…

B Block – Round Six

Michael Elgin vs. Yuji Nagata 

elgin     nagata

The first half was your typical Elgin G1 match, with added Nagata midriff-selling. Things ramped up when Elgin went for a rolling senton off the top rope, which missed, and Nagata locked on the Shirome armbar.  Late in the match, Elgin kicked out of a backdrop and hit the Cesaroplex Falcon Arrow (with Nagata’s help) for a near fall. He got the win when he reversed Nagata’s running knee in the corner to a buckle bomb and followed with the Revolution Elgin Bomb. They shook hands after the match. I’m surprised by the amount of wins they’ve given Elgin. Personally, I think there are better (and stronger) strongmen around, but it’s a role he’s made his own in New Japan. **3/4

Karl Anderson vs. Tomoaki Honma 

anderson     honma

Early on, Anderson got a Stun Gun Gun Stun and kicked Honma off the apron for a near count-out (which the crowd bought). He stayed in control and mocked the ‘Honma!’ chants before Honma eventually made the comeback with a deadlift suplex. The first attempt at a Kokeshi missed, naturally, but the second hit and a seated blockbuster got two. Anderson tried headbutting Honma, which didn’t turn out well for him, but he managed to hit the Swivel Gun Stun for a close two-count. A sequence of reversals and blocked finishers led to a near-fall sunset flip for Honma that had the crowd losing it. Anderson hit the Gun Stun as Honma was attempting a top rope Kokeshi and got the three-count at 12 minutes. There was no way Honma was winning this, but the crowd were with him all the way. It really is something to behold. ***1/4

Hirooki Goto vs. Satoshi Kojima

goto     kojima

Kojima was over here and played the pissed-off veteran to the hilt. He really laid it into Goto with chops and elbows and was firmly in control for the majority of the match, countering nearly everything his opponent threw at him. Goto finally had some luck with a discuss lariat for a two-count, but the follow-up was countered into a Koji Cutter. A top rope Koji Cutter then got a two-count. Both guys hit their bombs in the closing stretch, with Goto even kicking out of the lariat. Shouten Kai got the win for Goto at 13 minutes.  A refreshing match structure with some good intensity. ***1/4

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yujiro Takahashi

nakamura     takahashi

Takahashi will surely get a nosebleed being this high up the card. The so-called Ladies’ Man attacked Nakamura while he was posing (the cad!) and almost immediately went into his deathly dull offense. Cody Hall helped out and Takahashi worked on Nakamura’s injured elbow for a bit. Nakamura came back with his usual stuff, but Takahashi bit him, nailed a lariat, then nearly sent me to sleep. Nakamura won an elbow battle and followed with a gourdbuster and inverted powerslam, but Takahashi once again took control (sigh). In the end, Nakamura hits a second rope Boma Ye and nearly took Takahashi’s head off with the regular version to score the pinfall. The crowd was pretty dead outside of Nakamura’s comebacks and I’m genuinely having trouble concentrating during Yujiro’s soporific control segments. **1/4

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kazuchika Okada 

ishii     okada

Looks like Okada’s back to his natural hair colour – a sure sign that the face turn is sticking. A shoulder block from Okada amusingly did as much damage to him as Ishii, but he quickly regained control and went outside, booting Ishii over the barrier. Ishii came back by dropping Okada neck-first on the barrier and followed with a barrage of elbow strikes. After spiking Ishii with a DDT, Okada locked in the Red Ink and Ishii just made the ropes. A Finn Balor-like dropkick was followed with Heavy Rain and a beautiful diving elbow. Late on, Ishii got near falls with a lariat and a sliding lariat, but Okada flipped out of a brainbuster attempt and hit The Dropkick – twice! Ishii never recovered and, almost inevitably, Okada nailed the Rainmaker to take the win at 17 minutes. Always a fun dynamic when an opponent has to drag the fight out of Okada and this was a good match, but the combination of no commentary and a quiet crowd prevented it from reaching the next level. ****

Promo from Okada, hype from Gedo, and we’re out.

B Block standings after Round Six

  • Kazuchika Okada – 10
  • Karl Anderson – 8
  • Michael Elgin – 8
  • Hirooki Goto – 8
  • Tomohiro Ishii – 8
  • Shinsuke Nakamura – 8
  • Satoshi Kojima – 4
  • Yujiro Takahashi – 4
  • Yuji Nagata – 2
  • Tomoaki Honma – 0

Final thoughts: These single-camera, no commentary shows have become the default setting for this year’s tournament. It’s a shame, if understandable given the low price of the New Japan World subscription, but you have to wonder if the wrestlers are inclined to go out and have MOTY candidates when they know they’re essentially working a taped house show. Anyhow, the main event is the match to watch, even if it won’t be at the top of anyone’s list come December.

Twelve down, seven to go. More tomorrow.