NJPW G1 Climax 26: Day 10

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August 1st, 19:00 from Takamatsu City General Gymnasium, Kagawa

Tonight’s B Block show features Kenny Omega vs. EVIL, Honma vs. Naito and Shibata vs. Yano! Let’s get to it.

The story so far: PrimerDay 1Day 2Days 3 & 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8, Day 9.

B Block – Current Standings

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

Here we go…

B Block – Round Five

Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. YOSHI-HASHI

Nakajima     YOSHI-HASHI

Nakajima spent much of the match methodically working over Yoshi-Hashi’s taped left shoulder and peppering him with kicks whenever possible. Late on, Yoshi survived a backdrop and Dragon suplex to hit shoulderbreaker, then got the better of a strike exchange to land a powerbomb for a near-fall. Then, just as Nakajima looked to wrap things up, Yoshi nailed a lariat, then followed-up with Karma for the win. These two have been top of the pile as far as breakout performances go. Nakajima has proven how well he fits in the world of New Japan over the last two weeks, while Yoshi-Hashi has taken the opportunity of his debut G1 to demonstrate just what he has in the locker. Not the result I expected, but a good demonstration of both man’s strengths and a simple story, well told. ***1/2

Yuji Nagata vs. Michael Elgin

Nagata     Elgin

It seems Nagata and Tenzan went for cupping therapy together. More power to them. Elgin dominated in the opening minutes, using his size and strength to wear down Mr. Anti-Aging, until Nagata struck with a knee to the gut and was able to begin firing away with kicks. An enzuigiri put Elgin back on top, and a Bossman Slam earned two. After a back-and-forth, Elgin hit a lariat and Nagata came right back with a backdrop, then they fought up top before Nagata delivered the super Exploder! He locked in the Shirome armbar, but Elgin made the ropes, then dumped Nagata with a Death Valley Driver on the apron. A deadlift German suplex got two and Elgin headed up for the Big Mike Fly Flow. It missed the mark, but the bucklebomb and Elgin Bomb connected soon after for the win. They pulled out some big moves here, but that could only compensate somewhat for the mostly awkward exchanges that preceded them. A good effort, but they just didn’t click. ***

Katsuyori Shibata vs. Toru Yano

Shibata     Yano

Shibata looked like he was going to ruin Yano, and did for thirty seconds, but Yano countered the Sleeper into a cradle for the three-count! That’s two years in a row Shibata’s been beaten by Yano. Shibata’s next opponent is Kenny Omega. #PrayForKenny. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Kenny Omega vs. EVIL

Omega     EVIL

Kenny sent Evil to the outside, then threatened a dive before mimicking Naito’s pose. Evil looked to bring a chair in, but Omega dropkicked him through the ropes. Outside, Evil failed with his usual chair shenanigans, but got the better of a suplex, then dropped Omega with fisherman buster onto a chair (which opened up a nasty gash below Kenny’s shoulder). They slugged it out in the ring, then Omega connected with the Finlay roll into a middle-rope moonsault. The leapfrog bulldog was countered (sort of) to a backdrop by Evil, but Omega retaliated with a snap Dragon suplex. One-Winged Angel blocked, and Evil delivered a pumphandle backdrop for two. The STO was avoided, then Omega nailed the V-Trigger knee strike and deadlift Doctor Bomb for a near-fall. A huge lariat and Darkness Falls from Evil for another near-fall. A jumping knee allowed Omega to hit the inverted ‘rana, then another running knee and the One-Winged Angel gave Omega the win. A very enjoyable high-intensity match. ***3/4

Tomoaki Honma vs. Tetsuya Naito

Honma     Naito

Big chants for Naito then big chants for Honma – make your mind up Kagawa. Someone needs to have a word with Honma and explain that the first few Kokeshi attempts never land, so he’d be wise to give it five minutes. It’s cost him before and it cost him here. Naito tied Honma’s leg in the barrier and dropkicked it, then continued to work over the knee back in the ring. He applied the figure-four and Honma made the ropes. Honma fought back after a few dismissive swipes and a spitwad from Naito, and blocked the tornado DDT to land the deadlift suplex. Hard chops in the corner, bulldog, Kokeshi! Naito struck a low dropkick to put both men down. The slingshot corner dropkick hit the mark, but a series of counters led to Honma hitting the Rocket Kokeshi, then another from the middle-rope. A brainbuster spiked Naito for a near-fall, but Honma was caught up top and brought down with a super Frankensteiner for two. Gloria from Naito – two-count only. Headbutts from Honma, but Naito rolled-through into the scissored kneebar. Honma stomped his way out, then swatted away Destino to hit another Rocket Kokeshi. Fire Thunder Driver! Then the Kokeshi Kai… missed. They fought up from the knees with elbow strikes, slugging it out until Naito went back to the knee. Slaps and a reverse DDT from Naito for two. Destino! One, two, three. Naito is having a great tournament and has delivered in every main event. The trend continued here. ****

Post-match promo from Naito, and we’re out.

B Block standings after Round Five

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

Final thoughts: You know the score – B Block continues to deliver – and this show had the added benefit of Yano’s victory over Shibata. A hotter crowd and these matches probably gain a quarter-star each, but the wrestlers gave it their all.

B Block is now past the halfway stage, as is the tournament itself, and with no fewer that six wrestlers tied for first place, it really is anyone’s to win. In terms of match quality, we’re on course to surpass last year’s number of matches at **** or better, although at this stage we’ve had slightly fewer matches at the higher end of the scale. Then again, there’s still two weeks left to go, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s been so far, so great.

Back on Wednesday for the next A Block show which features Marufuji vs. SANADA and Tanahashi vs. Ishii. See you then. 

Ten down, nine to go.