G1 Climax 27 A Block Night 1, Hokkai Kitayell – Full Show with English Commentary by Kevin Kelly and Don Callis
It’s that time of year again! The G1 Climax is arguably the most exciting event for fans of New Japan Pro Wrestling. A round robin tournament to determine who gets a shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleKingdom, New Japan’s equivalent of WrestleMania.
For those who do not know the rules, there are two blocks of wrestlers, A Block and B Block. Everybody wreestles everybody else in their own block. Then, once all matches are done, the one with the most wins in his block goes on to face the winner of the other block. The winner of that match is declared the champion of the tournament.
Wrestlers are awarded two points for a victory, regardless of whether it’s pinfall, submission, countout, or disqualification. A Time Limit Draw or No Contest would give each wrestler one point. And of course any losing wrestler gets zero points.
In the event of a tie at the end of the block tournament, the winner would be the wrestler who won the match between the two. Thus if Wrestler 1 and Wrestler 2 were tied for first place, and Wrestler 1 beat Wrestler 2 in their match, Wrestler 1 would be declared the champion.
Here are the respective line ups for each Block.
IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi
Bad Luck Fale
Zack Sabre Jr.
IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada
IWGP Unitec States Champion Kenny Omega
NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki
Now onto the results!
Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, & Jyushin Thunder Liger b. Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson, & David Finlay when Kojima pinned Finlay with a Lariat. A match of Japanese Legends vs. Foreign Talent. Also, all six men are babyfaces. Kojima and Juice started out the match, with neither man gaining a clear advantage. Double tag out to Liger and Finlay. Liger got Finlay in the Surfboard, but it was broken up. Brief hossfight between Elgin and Tenzan. Kojima hit Juice with his rapid fire chops. A multiman brawl broke out, which lead to Kojima nailing Finlay with a Lariat to get the pinfall victory.
Suzuki-Gun (NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & El Desperado) The Bullet Club (IWGP United States Champion Kenny Omega, Tama Tonga, & Chase Owens) when Suzuki pinned Owens with a Gotch Piledriver. This was a battle of heel stables, as both Suzuki-Gun and Bullet Club are dastardly villains. Kenny offered a handshake to Suzuki, and got a kick to the gut. Multi-man brawl broke out early and spilled to the outside with Omega and Suzuki fighting to the walls of the arena. Back in the ring, Taichi hit Tonga with the bell hammer, and he and Taichi worked over Tonga. Double tag out to Omega and Suzuki. Omega went for the One Winged Angel, but Suzuki reversed into a Sleeeper and went for the Gotch Piledriver. Omega powered out and tagged in Owens. Triple team on Suzuki. However, Suzuki hit Owens with the Gotch Piuledriver for the three count.
EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi b. Sanada & Bushi when EVIL submitted BUSHI with a Crossface. All four are part of Los Ingobernables De Japon. Sanada is facing EVIL on the first night of B Block. Sanada extended a handshake, which EVIL accepted, but Sanada turned into a Skull End Dragon Sleepr. Multi-Man Brawl ensued between all the stablemates. Tag out to the Junior Heavyweights, EVIL and Sanada brawled outside the ring while Bushi and Takahashi wrestled in ring. The heavyweights were tagged in. Multi-Man brawl broke out again. Bushi kicked out of an EVIL Lariat. EVIL then locked in a crossface on Bushi, who submitted quickly. The announcers pointed out that EVIL used a new submission hold, and this could be something to be seen in the B Block Matches.
All the heels fistbumped, because they’re a team in the end.
Toru Yano & Jado b. IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada when Yano pinned Gedo with a Low Blow. Like the previous match, all four men are part of the same stable. CHAOS in this case. Gedo and Jado have been a tag team for years, and they’re on opposite sides in this match. Okada and Yano started out (they’re facing off in B Block action on the next show). Yano unsuccessfully attempted a rainmaker on Okada. Double tag out, which forced Gedo and Jado to face off. Gedo offered a handshake, but then poked Jado in the eye. Back and forth between the two tag mates. Funny spot where Jado tried to tag out to Okada, but Okada was not his partner. Gedo and Okada worked over Jado,who eventually got the hot tag to Toru Yano. Yano of course immediately went for undoing the turnbuckle pads. Okada charged, Yano ducked, but Okada put on the brakes before hitting the exposed steel buckle. Okada hit the Two Awesome Dropkick and went for the Rainmaker, but Yano reversed in into a Hair Pull/Rollup combo for a near fall. Gedo tagged in. Yano hit a double low blow on both Okada and Gedo, and rolled up Gedo for the win.
Now we get to the actual tournament matches
YOSHI-HASHI p. Yuji Nagata with Karma. Both wrestlers had the feeling out process in the opening minutes, which turned into a battle of fisticuffs. This of course favored Nagata until Hashi went to the outside and threw Nagata into the railing. Hashi worked over Nagata for the next several minutes, and started slapping him. This fired up Nagata for a comeback. Dueling strikes favored Nagata. Exploder suplex for a two count. Nagata went for a top rope Exploder, but Hashi countered with a powerbomb. Nagata kicked out of a Swanton. Hashi put Nagata in a Butterfly Lock, but Nagata made it to the ropes. Nagata battled back with the Shiromi Armbar for a near submission. Back and forth action with each man scoring near falls. Finally, Hashi nailed Nagata with Karma to get the pinfall victory.
Bad Luck Fale p. Togi Makabe with a Hand Grenade. I’ve said before that if you give me two big mean scary dudes throwing each other around, and I’m happy. I love me a good hossfight, and this was no dissappointment. Fale tossed the ring announcer to the mat before the match because he is a big jerk. Dueling strikes out of the gate that quickly spilled outside of the ring. Fale choked Makabe with his own chain, and threw him into the chairs at ringside. Back in the ring, Fale dominated Makabe for a several minutes. Makabe made a comeback and leveled Fale with a clothesline. Fale scored a two count with a big splash. Makabe hit a top rope knee strike and went for the King Kong Kneedeop. However, Fale was too far away countered by grabbing Makabe’s through as he came down. A Hand Grenade later and it was all over.
Hirooki Goto p. Tomohiro Ishii with a GTR. Like earlier in the night, both men are part of the CHAOS faction. They charged at each other out of the gat, shoulderblocking each other like bulls. Goto no-sold a suplex. The two battled on the top turnbuckle and traded headbutts. Ishii hit a Superplex for a two count. Goto mounted a comeback with clotheslines, and scored a near fall with the Ushigoroshi. Ishii battled back with an enziguiri and a powerbomb. Goto reversed a brainbuster attempt into a sleeper. Colliding clotheslines took both men down, and lead to dueling forearms. Goto hit a huge clothesline, but Ishii kicked out at one. However, Goto hit an inverted GTR, followed by a standard GTR to finally put down Ishii.
Zack Sabre Jr. s. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi with a Rings Of Saturn. El Desperado accompanied Sabre to the ring. Both men started out with a mat based strategy. Sabre started focusing on Tanahashi’s injured arm. Tanahashi battled back, but got caught in an Octopus Hold. A Dragon Screw got Tanahashi out of the hold. Tanahashi made a comeback, but failed to lock in the Cloverleaf. Sabre went back to the arm and shoulder, and got in a mounted armbar. Tanahashi hit a Slingblade at the 15 minute mark. After a High Fly Flow, Desperado got on the apron. Tanahashi knocked him to the floor and went for another High Fly Flow. Sabre got the knees up to counter, and put Tanahashi in a Rings Of Saturn like hold, to which Tanahashi submitted. Shades of last year when Sanada submitted Tanahashi on the first night. Chances are Sabre will get an Intercontinental Title shot out of this. Great match and arguably Match Of The Night so far.
Tetsuya Naito p. Kota Ibushi with Destino. This was Ibushi’s first match back in New Japan under his own name. He had been wrestling earlier this year as Tiger Mask W. Naito got the upper hand early, and hit a neckbreaker on the apron. Naito controlled the match and scored several near falls before Ibushi made a comeback with a dropkick. Ibishi hit a hurricanrana and a moonsault to the outside. Ibushi went for a German suplex to the inside, but Naito counteredwith a slingshot dropkick. Naito hit a German suplex of his own for a two count. Ibushi battled back with another German suplex and several kicks. A lariat scored a two count for Ibushi. Naito landed another German, and a Side Suplex. A Top Rope Reverse Hurricanrana by Naito landed a near fall. Ibushi countered Destino by literally throwing Naito into the turnbuckles. Think Nash throwing Rey Mysterio and you get the idea. Ibushi finally landed his German Suplex from the apron to the inside. Naito countered a powerbomb attempt with a Tornado DDT. Both men battled on the top, which ended with Ibushi hitting a TOP ROPE PILEDRIVER for a two count. Absolutely nuts! Ibushi kicked out of a Destino, so Naito Naito hit a second one to finally get the pin. Insane match that is worth seeking out if you can find it.
After the match, Naito cut a promo, presumably stating that he was going to win.
A great first night of action! Only 18 more to go…
2 Bad Luck Fale
2 Hirooki Goto
2 Tetsuya Naito
2 Zack Sabre Jr.
0 Hiroshi Tanahashi
0 Kota Ibushi
0 Togi Makabe
0 Tomohiro Ishii
0 Yuji Nagata