NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 17

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Day 17

August 14th, 18:30 from Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall), Tokyo

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A Block’s day of reckoning has arrived! Only A.J. Styles or Hiroshi Tanahashi can win the block and, would you believe it, they’re facing each other today! Fale and Naito will be looking to rebound from their losses on  Day 15 as either one of them could get into the third place match on Sunday if the main event goes their way. 

The undercard today featured some multi-man tags to hype Sunday’s Young Bucks vs. reDRagon and KUSHIDA vs. Ricochet title matches, both of which should be very indeed, as well as a taster of tomorrow’s main event: Nakamura vs. Okada.

A Block – Current Standings

  • A.J. Styles – 12
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi – 12
  • Bad Luck Fale – 10
  • Tetsuya Naito – 10
  • Togi Makabe – 8
  • Katsuyori Shibata – 8
  • Kota Ibushi – 6
  • Toru Yano – 6
  • Doc Gallows – 4
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan – 4

Here we go…

A Block – Round Nine

Doc Gallows vs. Katsuyori Shibata 

gallows     shibata

This was a decent little match, the only question being whether Shibata could break his mini losing streak. He dominated for the opening minutes, stomping the makeup off his opponent’s face, but Gallows soon took control after hitting a chokeslam on the apron! Shibata kicked out of the Hangman’s Noose and transitioned to a triangle hold followed by kicks, but a charge was countered to another Hangman’s Noose for the three-count. Colour me surprised. That’s a fourth loss in a row and concludes a disappointing tournament for The Wrestler, especially bearing in mind he led the block at the halfway stage. **1/2

Bad Luck Fale vs. Toru Yano 

fale     yano

Fale battered Yano early on, even hitting him with his own DVD case – what a heel! He continued the assault for a couple of minutes, with Yano not getting much of anything in return. Outside, Fale tried to hit a Bad Luck Fall on the announcer’s table, but Yano slipped from his grasp, delivered a low blow and Fale was counted out! *1/2

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Testuya Naito vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan 

naito     tenzan

Of note: possibly the longest disrobing yet from Naito. More spitting, trolling and referee abuse from Los Ingobernables’ finest, this time with added Mongolian Chops. An insulted Tenzan fired back with headbutts, but Naito was soon in control once more. Tenzan hit a back body drop then Red Shoes Unno stomped Naito much to the crowd’d delight! The Anaconda Vice was escaped and Naito locked in Pluma Blanca which Tenzan broke out of with headbutts. Naito got dumped on his head by a lariat and Tenzan grabbed the Anaconda Max. Naito broke the hold, but Tenzan cracked him with a couple of sickening headbutts and cinched it in once more for the win at 14 minutes. That got good. ***1/4

Kota Ibushi vs. Togi Makabe 

ibushi     makabe

Again, nothing to play for, but Ibushi really needed the win here or you’d have to say he left the tournament at a lower level than he went in. Makabe encouraged Ibushi to lay it in with the strikes and kicks and was duly obliged. In the end, Ibushi flipped out of a spider suplex, kicked Makabe in the nuts, and hit the Phoenix Splash for the win. Decent, and you wouldn’t have thought this was a nothing match, but it never really got going. **3/4

A.J. Styles vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi 

styles     tanahashi

Big time main event. They really worked the holds in the early going, fighting hard over every headlock. As against Makabe, Tanahashi slid under the bottom rope and wrapped Styles’ left leg around the ringpost, but Styles was soon able to get back in control by blocking Tanahashi’s attempt to skin the cat and following up with a Stinger Splash. He hit his beautiful dropkick then went after his opponent’s leg – “How does that feel, huh?”. Tanahashi avoided another Stinger Splash and hit a jumping elbow strike, but missed a senton from the middle rope. Styles tried his springboard elbow strike, but Tanahashi pushed him to the floor and nailed the High Fly Flow crossbody from the top! Styles made it in before the count and managed to get his reverse DDT to even things up. Not long after, there was a ref bump and Styles snuck a low blow. He signalled for the Styles Clash, but Tanahashi got a low blow of his own! The Main Event Elbow Battle was curtailed when both men went after the other’s left leg, then Styles rolled through into a Calf Killer and Tanahashi just made the ropes! Slingblade, then a Styles Clash attempt by Tanahashi(!) was countered to an ankle lock! Tanahashi rolled through and this time hit the Styles Clash for 2.9! High Fly Flow hit the knees. High Fly Flow from Styles for 2.999! Bloody Sunday dumped Tanahashi, but he caught the Pelé kick and dragon screwed Styles’ leg. A couple of High Fly Flows later and Tanahashi got the three-count at 28 minutes! #TANAWINSLOL! But seriously, great match from two of the best in the world, excellent selling throughout, and a few of those near falls really got me. ****1/2

Post-match Tanahashenanigans and we’re out.

A Block – Final Standings

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi – 14 (A Block WINNER)
  • A.J. Styles – 12
  • Bad Luck Fale – 10
  • Tetsuya Naito – 10
  • Kota Ibushi – 8
  • Togi Makabe – 8
  • Katsuyori Shibata – 8
  • Toru Yano – 8
  • Doc Gallows – 6
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan – 6

Final thoughts: A one-match show and that one match delivered. Tanahashi’s in the final, but who will he face?

Seventeen down, two to go. I’m away at a friend’s wedding tomorrow, so the final B Block show review will be delayed until Sunday. I’ll endeavour to remain spoiler-free and post it a couple of hours before watching the Finals. Enjoy the show if you’re watching live, or even in Sumo Hall itself as I know one of our number will be.