NJPW G1 Climax 26: Day 6

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July 27th, 18:30 from Big Hat, Nagano

A strong card today is headlined by Omega vs. Honma and Shibata vs. Elgin. Let’s get to it.

The story so far: PrimerDay 1Day 2Days 3 & 4, Day 5.

Here we go…

B Block – Current Standings

  • Honma – 4
  • Nagata – 4
  • EVIL – 2
  • Naito – 2
  • Nakajima – 2
  • YOSHI-HASHI – 2
  • Omega – 2
  • Shibata – 2
  • Yano – 0
  • Elgin – 0

Here we go…

B Block – Round Three

Yuji Nagata vs. YOSHI-HASHI

Nagata     YOSHI-HASHI

Yoshi-Hashi’s shoulder was taped up, and that’s what Nagata targeted from the off. The veteran controlled the majority of the match, demonstrating his striking superiority and allowing Yoshi-Hashi to show his fire in the comebacks. Yoshi connected with the swanton late on before cinching in the Butterfly Lock which really had the crowd going before Nagata made the ropes. Nagata returned to Yoshi’s shoulder, and after a brief rally,  dumped him with brainbuster and Backdrop Hold for the win. Nagata’s through-tournament selling is one of those easter eggs regular G1 viewers are rewarded with; last year it was the mid-section, and this year, having been worked on by both Naito and Evil, it’s the knee. That’s the story I would’ve preferred to see continued, but instead they went the YH-as-underdog route. Fine, but I felt Yoshi-Hashi was somewhat sold short. ***

Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. EVIL

Nakajima     EVIL

It didn’t take Evil long use his now-standard chair business after Nakajima had bested him in the striking department. Evil did a nice job of wearing Nakajima down before the NOAH representative fought back with a Dragon Screw, kicks and a diving dropkick. Evil cut him off with a hard elbow and fisherman buster for two, but Nakajima used a leaping spin kick to set off a sequence that was topped and tailed with backdrops. Both men were down and the crowd was into it. An elbow battle was won by Evil’s rolling elbow, and he turned Nakajima inside-out with a lariat before hitting Darkness Falls for a near-fall. Headbutt from Evil, dropkick from Nakajima, then a Penalty Kick and spiking brainbuster finished the job and Nakajima got the win. They were well-matched and Nakajima looks comfortable in the New Japan environment. Good stuff. ***1/2

Toru Yano vs. Tetsuya Naito

Yano     Naito

As you can probably imagine, these two took plenty of time to make contact. “Break! Break! Break!”, then amazingly Yano succeeded in testing Naito’s patience and both men raced to undo turnbuckle pads. Yano blocked Naito’s spitwad with the pad before both men hit low blows and got near-falls. Naito hit Destino for the win. Sub-five minute comedy match, but still: **1/2

Tomoaki Honma vs. Kenny Omega

Honma     Omega

This was wrestled with real intensity from the bell. Omega was irritable, Honma was feisty, and the crowd loved it. Three attempts at a Kokeshi missed the mark, before Omega repeated the springboard stomp he’d delivered to Yoshi-Hashi, then took control with plenty of added trash talk. Honma fought back, hitting a Kokeshi and a middle-rope blockbuster, but Omega clipped the leg and landed the leapfrog dropkick. Omega hit the middle-rope moonsault after it looked like he’d tweaked his knee, then the match went up a gear, with lots of big moves connecting but neither man able to hit their finisher. After a deadlift Doctor Bomb from Omega and a brainbuster from Honma, strikes laid both men out. Into a Chop Battle we went, then Omega used the jumping knee to block a Rocket Kokeshi, and hit the V-Trigger knee strike and the One-Winged Angel for the win. Some roughness here and there, but it otherwise good. This felt much more like the Kenny Omega who beat Tanahashi in February. ***3/4

Katsuyori Shibata vs. Michael Elgin

Shibata     Elgin

The opening sequences felt very different to the usual. They played up the respect angle initially, with both men inviting the other’s chops/kicks, before unloading elbows. Elgin smartly went after Shibata’s taped right shoulder, and rammed him into the ring post, continuing the work in the ring. Elgin, not so smartly, asked for some of Shibata’s elbows and got more than he bargained for. Shibata wore Big Mike down with an abdominal stretch and guillotine choke, but the Canadian powered him up into a suplex. Corner clothesline and an Exploder-like suplex for two. A slam set up the slingshot splash, but it missed, and Shibata briefly applied the crossface (aka the Nagata Lock II) before firing kicks. German suplexes from each, then a lariat from Elgin sent Shibata to the floor. Elgin twice lifted Shibata for a powerbomb and charged him into the ring post. Back in, a powerbomb got two, was countered into a triangle hold, then Elgin powered up and threw Shibata into the turnbuckle. Elgin Bomb reversed to the Sleeper, and the Sleeper suplex got a near-fall. Lariat from Elgin for one! More lariats, bucklebomb, Elgin bomb. One, two, three. Not unlike the previous match, there was some awkwardness down the stretch, and it makes me wonder if the heat got to them, because they were breathing hard. Nevertheless, a great effort from these two, but the opening minutes suggested we might be in for something special and it didn’t quite get there. ****

Elgin gets the post-match promo (in English), and we’re out.

B Block standings after Round Three

  • Nagata – 6
  • Honma – 4
  • Naito – 4
  • Nakajima – 4
  • Omega – 4
  • Elgin – 2
  • EVIL – 2
  • YOSHI-HASHI – 2
  • Shibata – 2
  • Yano – 0

Final thoughts:  A couple of good matches topped another decent showing for B Block, whose depth is currently upstaging A Block’s star power. The block is wide open now. You have to believe Naito’s gonna get on a run, but it’s a question of who can keep up with him.

Back tomorrow for the next A Block show, which features Ishii vs. Marufuji and Tanahashi trying to get his first points on the board against Fale. See you then. 

Six down, thirteen to go.