All of Matt’s Blogs Can Be Found Here: https://medium.com/@TheSpoilerRole
There have now been 50 matches in this year’s G1, and aside from just a few, I can glance at most of them and tell you exactly what happened. Omega/Suzuki stands out completely from Kojima/Okada, which stands out completely from Ibushi/Naito, which was completely and totally different from Yano/Okada, which bore no resemblance at all to EVIL/SANADA, et cetera. The variety of performance that we get on these NJPW shows is truly spectacular. It far exceeds that of WWE, a point that I will be beating like a dead horse in this review, so stay tuned.
Having said that, this particular show was only OK, by G1 standards. It was hardly better than the best Wrestlemania show (copyright: Dave Meltzer). Definitely the weakest G1 show so far in terms of average star rating. It was comparable to Day 8, in that the first three G1 matches were unique and fun, leading up to two big NJPW-style main event matches.
So yeah, depending on your definition, perhaps the “weakest” G1 show to date, but among the easiest to watch. Aside from one match that slightly dragged, this show held my attention completely and fully. Really had me glued. Which, as someone with a garbage attention span, is a task that can be quite diffi
LETS START THE REVIEW
EVIL vs. Toru Yano
A loss here for Yano, coupled with a Kenny Omega win later in the night, would mean that Toru Yano could only hit a maximum of 8 points, and tie Omega who he has already lost to, and thus, Toru Yano would be mathematically eliminated from the 2017 G1 Climax with a loss.
A Satoshi Kojima loss to Omega later tonight would mean that Kojima is eliminated, and a Juice Robinson loss to Okada would mean ol Juicey Juicey baby is eliminated as well (by eliminated, I of course don’t mean that they are out of the G1, they will still compete in their matches, they just can’t actually win the block, as only the two league winners make the finals. It’s ruthless, like old-school baseball used to be).
This one was short, sweet, and to the point. Our first sub-two minute match. As you may have noticed, Toru Yano’s gimmick is that he is the anti-wrestler, the human version of your friend who spams the running grapple attack in wrestling games. Yano is not trying to win matches as much as trying to exploit the flaw in the game, and that in and of itself changes the game. The Toru Yano match is not wrestling, but a cat-and-mouse game of cutting Yano off from spamming his cheesy-cheese maneuvers.
EVIL’s deal is that he is, as the name might indicate, EVIL. He has no time for Yano’s silly games and parlor tricks.
Toru Yano has interesting matches. Not that he is a great or even competent technical wrestler, but he is unique, and that makes him interesting. I just wish that with all of the talent on their roster, WWE would let their guys wrestle different, defined styles. WWE TV consists of the Brock Lesnar match, 100 guys doing the same match, and that’s it. Anyway.
It’s great that stuff like this is part of the greater G1 package, but yeah, not much to see here. Hard to rate, or call it much of anything one way or another. At 1:43, this was and will probably be the shortest match in the tourney. If 2*-2.5* average match, this is either that or right below to me, because it accomplished exactly what it set out to do. I understand if you personally rate this kind of match much lower.
WINNER: EVIL- 2*
Minoru Suzuki v. Tama Tonga
Weird, different little match here, almost a mix between 80’s Memphis, 90’s ECW, and the Minoru Suzuki match. Fun little opening spot : Suzuki comes out with El Desparado, a masked wrestler holding a Suzuki-Gun flag (Suzuki-gun being Minoru’s stable/ league of followers). As Suzuki comes down to the ramp, Tonga runs down and attacks Suzuki’s lackey Desparado, stealing the flag. Suzuki doesn’t notice, because he doesn’t give a single shit about human beings. Tonga uses the flag to cover his face, follows Suzuki down the ramp, and attacks Suzuki before the bell.
They started with an extended, punchy-kicky crowd brawl. This wasn’t Omega/Okada in the Tokyo Dome-level technical work. It was old school, ugly, fighty, hate. They were swinging chairs at each other, swinging guard rails, using the ring bell’s hammer, and just generally causing ruckus. At one point Tonga hits a superman-ish punch to Suzuki against the guard rail yelling MOTHERFUCKER! and a woman outright screams in terror, as if Tonga was coming to attack her. It was incredible.
It then broke down into a chair swinging battle, after a ref bump. Strange to see a visual pinfall after a ref bump in an NJPW match, like Wrestlemania VII or something, but there ya go. If you do it once in a blue moon, even when one guy does it regularly (but it’s onle one guy), things like ref bumps work and are rewarding for fans, rather than seeming like a cop-out.
So there’s a portion of Minoru Suzuki’s theme where the crowd chants along with the lyrics every time, KAZE NI NARE. Tonga jumped Suzuki today, before the crowd could chant. So Suzuki wins, but after the win, and after screaming in Tonga’s face during the pin no less, Suzuki grabs a Young Boy from ringside, headlocks him, drags him up the ramp, and smashes him in the back with the chair as the song hits the exact right point and the crowd goes KAZE NI NARE!!!!! He points at them like “there you go you idiots now fuck off and leave me to hibernate in my cave” and walks off, the coolest most bad ass fighter who has ever lived. This was significantly better than the pretty solid little match that we saw.
Nothing that set the planet on fire, but another really fun, unique match. Not to beleaguer my point, but how is it possible that every WWE match looks the same (unless it’s Randy Orton fighting in a house or against a house) but the first two matches of Day 10 of the G1 were completely unique and unlike anything I’ve seen in wrestling so far this year?
WINNER: Minoru Suzuki- 3* for the match. Seven Hundred Thousand Million Billion stars for the post-match.
SANADA vs. Michael Elgin
This is the one that dragged, to me. Not a bad match, it felt similar to the Elgin/Tonga match from Day 1, except SANADA is a slightly better wrestler than Tonga at this stage I would say.
Michael Elgin’s comfort zone is the over the top, indy-style, bomb fest match that usually fits best in the main event, or anywhere on the card in PWG. When Elgin is in the main event or an important match, great. That’s probably gonna be pretty good. When Elgin’s on the undercard and he can’t do a thousand powerbombs and some of the grossest spinning back fists of all time, well, what have you got really?
Fine match, nothing I really remember aside from a pretty nasty apron suplex and a really nice Big Mike Falcon Arrow. Michael Elgin does indeed do the deal.
WINNER: Sanada- 3*
Satoshi Kojima vs. Kenny Omega
Really good match, Omega is great, and he and Kojima had a really solid bout. It would be hard for them not to. My only gripe with it is, much like some of the Nagata matches, it didn’t feel quite like Kojima was enough of a threat.
If you look at Kojima vs Okada and Kojima vs Omega, there was a pretty giant difference there in terms of how Kojima looked. In many ways this was an extended squash. At one point, Omega shoves Tenzan (PUNKING HIM OUT, as it were) Omega/Tenzan fart around a bit on the outside until Kojima tries a dive ~!~! but Omega just walks away from him and laughs, saying “was he going to dive?” into the camera. Funny yes, good heelin’ yes, great heeling in fact, almost too good. I personally don’t like wrestlers doing things like laughing at their opponent, if the guy laughing is going to win at in the end. The story here is that the young dude beat the shit out of the old dude and laughed at him the entire time. Cool. What’s the point of watching that? Would you watch the NBA if it were fake and LeBron James just made the finals every year ??(..Uh scratch that, bad example)
Kojima just looked really weak in this match. I get that the idea is that Omega is in his prime and Kojima is near the end, but jeez I just wish this one wasn’t a slaughter house. Counterpoint: this is pro wrestling. One guy has to lose for the other guy to win. Somebody has to take the L’s. There was a definitive winner and loser here, to be sure. That can be rare in 2017.
Still an excellent bout and match of the night, but it felt like an 80–20 Omega squanch. Kenny Omega squanched all over Kojima. I personally think Kojima needed a bit more something, especially after that awesome Okada match. He’s not the focal point here, though. Kenny Omega is.
WINNER: Kenny Omega- 4.25*
Juice Robinson vs. Kazuchika Okada
Potentially the best match of Juicey’s career, though I preferred his match v EVIL from earlier in the tournament. If nothing else, that one at least was in doubt to a degree. It was also one of those “came from out of nowhere” matches, which are always exciting. You knew this one was going to be good, or at least hoped, and it thankfully delivered.
Great finishing stretch, and Okada could do a 4 minute finishing sequence with an inatimate carbon rod and I would probably say it was a 4* match on my blog. Or something. I lost myself with that one. Point is, Kazuchika Okada is at a level where if they just go out there and do his thing, it will be a rewarding and watchable main event.
I liked this much more than Okada vs Cody Rhodes from the NJPW Long Beach shows, which to me was a little too busy for its own self. Whereas that was overbooked, or as overbooked as NJPW gets, this Okada/Juice match was straightforward, bell to bell wrestling, which fans of NJPW have come to know and love and expect.
This is another big step in the career of Juice Robinson, probably the most improved wrestler of 2016–17? Juicey’s first big main event was indeed a success, though it might get a little bit buried under the massive weight of this tournament.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada- 4*
G1 Climax 27 Standings
Block A (after five matches):
Hiroshi Tanahashi (4-1; 8pts)
Bad Luck Fale, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Togi Makabe, Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr. (3-2; 6pts)
Kota Ibushi (2-3; 4pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (1-4; 2pts)
Yuji Nagata (0-5; 0pts)
Block B (after five matches):
Kazuchika Okada (5-0; 10pts)
EVIL, Kenny Omega (4-1; 8pts)
SANADA, Minoru Suzuki (3-2; 6pts)
Michael Elgin, Tama Tonga (2-3; 4pts)
Juice Robinson, Toru Yano (1-4; 2pts)
Satoshi Kojima (0-5; 0pts)
DEFINITELY WATCH RIGHT NOW
Ibushi/Naito — Day 1–4.75*
Kojima/Okada — Day 8–4.75*
Elgin/Okada — Day 4–4.5*
ZSJ/Ibushi — Day 3–4.5*
Elgin/Omega — Day 8–4.5*
PROBABLY WATCH AT SOME POINT IN YOUR LIFE
Ishii/Ibushi — Day 5–4.25*
Ishii/Makabe — Day 3–4.25*
Nagata/Tanahashi — Day 5–4.25*
Omega/Suzuki — Day 2–4.25*
Juice/EVIL — Day 4–4.25*
Naito/Ishii — Day 9–4.25*
SANADA/Okada — Day 6–4.25*
Omega/Kojima — Day 10–4.25*
Tanahashi/ZSJ — Day 1–4*
Tanahashi/Fale — Day 3–4*
Kojima/Elgin — Day 6–4*
EVIL/Sanada — Day 2–4*
Omega/Yano — Day 6–4*
WATCH IT IF YOU LOVE THESE GUYS
Ishii/Goto — Day 1–4*
Goto/Nagata — Day 3–4*
Okada/Juice — Day 10–4*
EVIL/Suzuki — Day 8–4*
Goto/Tanahashi — Day 7–4*
Nagata /Naito — Day 7–4*
Naito/YOSHI-HASHI — Day 3 — 4*
Omega/Tama Tonga — Day 4–4*
Goto/Makabe — Day 5–3.75*
Nagata/Makabe — Day 9–3.5*
Juice/Kojima — Day 2–3.5*
ZSJ/Goto — Day 9–3.5*
YOSHI-HASHI/Nagata — Day 1–3.5*
EVIL/Tonga — Day 6–3.5*
Makabe/Ibushi — Day 7–3.5*
Ishii/YOSHI-HASHI — Day 7–3.5*
Fale/Ibushi — Day 9–3.5*
ZSJ/YOSHI-HASHI — Day 5–3.25*
Suzuki/Tonga — Day 10–3*
Tanahashi/YOSHI-HASHI — Day 9–3*
SANADA/Yano — Day 8–3*
Tonga/Juice — Day 8–3*
Suzuki/Juice — Day 6–3*
SANADA/Elgin — Day 10–3*
Tama Tonga/ Michael Elgin — Day 1–3*
Fale/ZSJ — Day 7–3*
Suzuki/SANADA — Day 4–3*
Naito/Fale — Day 5–3*
Okada/Yano — Day 2–2.5*
EVIL/Yano — Day 10–2*
Day 4 Undercard — The Death of Darryl Takahashi 😦
Makabe/Fale — Day 1–1*
Yano/Kojima — Day 4–1*