NJPW G1:Climax Night 11 and 12 Recap and Review
We’re heading into the back half of the NJPW G1 Climax group stages, the biggest annual tournament has delivered night after night with some truly incredible action and some truly epic clashes. Both blocks are still finely balanced, with each night becoming more critical than the last as so many contenders still have a chance of advancing to the finals, however only two from each block can do so. In block A, Kota Ibushii is at the top with 8 points, right behind him on 6 points are Jay White, Will Osprey, Taichi and Kazuchica Okada, sitting on 4 points are Minoru Suzuki, Shingo Tagaki, Jeff Cobb and Tomohiro Ishii. Finally poor Yujiro Takahashi sits at the bottom of the table with 0 points. Block B is currently led by Tetsuya Naito with 8 points, he is closely followed by Juice Robinson, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto and Evil, who are all on 6 points. Zack Sabre Jr, Kenta and Sanada all have 4 points and Yoshi-Hashi is at bottom of the group with 2 points.
Night 11 Block A
Night 11’s main event will be Kota Ibushi vs Shingo Tagaki, Kota wil hope to remain on top of Block A with another win and if Tagaki can win, then he’ll catch up further to the front runners. Jay White and Taichi square off as they both aim to stop their current loosing streak, having lost their last two matches. Jeff Cobb faces of with Okada, Jeff Cobb has a chance to equal Okada’s point total whilst Okada will look to stay on the heels of Ibushii, the same applies to Suzuki and Ospreay in their matches respectively. Yujiro will be hoping he can finally get his first win in the tournament but standing in his patch is the Stone Pitbull, Tomohiro Ishii. The Young Lion powerhouses Gabriel Kidd and Yota Tsuji face each other once more in the opening match, the last time they faced off it ended in a draw.
Gabriel Kidd Vs Yota Tsuji
Yuya Uemura Defeated Gabriel Kidd by Submission
These young lion matches are beginning to get personal, with a lot less technical wrestling displays and much more physical aggression. Neither opponent wanted this match to finish as a time limit draw again as they hit each other with their hardest shots and biggest moves. The match came to an end however when Yota Tsuji tried to snap Gabriel Kidd in half with a Boston Crab forcing a submission. Out of their four matches, Tsuji now holds 2 wins and Kidd has 1 win and 1 time limit draw.
Tomohiro Ishii (2W 3L 0D 4Pts) Vs Yujiro Takahashi (0W 5L 0D 0Pts)
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Yujiro Takahashi via pin fall
Yujiro Takahashi, desperate for his first win, attacks Ishii before the bell taking the Stone Pitball to the outside to deliver a reverse DDT on the hard floor, back in the ring he viciously assaulted Ishii. The Stone Pitbull was able to absorb everything Takahashi could throw at him, then unleashing some punishing slams on Takahashi, but it was clear all the abuse Ishii had taken was starting to effect him. It was tough fought battle but in the end Ishii came out on top, hitting a sliding lariat and following up with a Brainbuster, picking up the win via Pin fall. Ishii now moves on to 6 points after winning his last 3 matches, Takahashi still pointless after loosing yet again.
Jeff Cobb (2W, 3L, 0D 4Pts) Vs Kazuchica Okada (3W, 2L, 0D 6Pts)
Kazuchica Okada Jr defeated Jeff Cobb by pin fall
Okada would learn about the power Jeff Cobb possesses first hand, as Cobb would throw the Rainmaker around the ring at will, with a variety of suplexes and throws. Okada, never one to back down from a challenge, would always get back up, reinforcing that Cobb should respect the power of the Rainmaker. The momentum of the match could swing either way at any moment whilst in the mix of a back forth clash with reversal after reversal. In the end Okada would trap Cobb in predicament for the pin fall victory. Okada moves on to 8 points, catching up with Ibushi for the time being. With this being his 4th loss, Cobb is unlikely to make it to the finals, unless he goes on to win his next 3 matches and as we’ve seen so far, anything could happen.
Minoru Suzuki (2W, 3L, 0D 4Pts) Vs Will Osprey (3W 2L 0D 6Pts)
Will Ospreay defeated Minoru Suzuki by pin fall
Suzuki does not think much of Ospreay’s new power or his new cocky attitude as he violently attacked the young Brit like only he can do, taking the early advantage. Ospreay would not back down even participating in striking exchanges, he found most success when using his speed and athleticism. Suzuki targeted Ospreay’s arm for most of the match, much like he did with Okada, trying to take away Ospreay’s hidden blade striking arm. The work on the arm seemed to work for Suzuki as Ospreay was even incapable of throwing any sort of strike but he could still throw some impactful kicks, which Suzuki felt. In an incredible exchange of reversals, Osprey would catch Suzuki with his Storm breaker picking up the win by pin fall, Ospreay now joins Okada and Ibushii on 8 points, Suzuki is now out of the running to advance to the finals.
Taichi (3W 2L 0D 6Pts) Vs Jay White (3W 2L 0D 6Pts)
Jay White defeated Taichi by Pin fall
The Two heel competitors seemed to play and joke with each other early on as they both tried the same mind games on each other, they both used dirty tactics from the moment the bell rang. Neither of them seemed to care what the referee had to say as they flagrantly ignored the rules, almost in competition to out heel each other. When the referee eventually took a bump, Taichi was able to land low blows on both Gedo and Jay White but White would kick out of the pin attempt. In a fantastic finishing sequence the pair would continuously reverse the other’s finisher, until Jay White caught Taichi with his Blade Runner when Taichi went for a super kick, picking up the win by pinfall. Jay White now catches up with Ospreay, Okada and Ibushi on 8 points, with 6 points already Taichi does still have a chance at advancing.
Kota Ibushi (3W 1L 0D 6Pts) Vs Shingo Tagaki (3W, 1L, 0D 6Pts)
Shingo Tagaki defeats Kota Ibushi via Pin Fall
This match was hard hitting and hard slamming straight from the off as Tagaki and Ibushi clashed with each other at a million miles an hour and did not let up for a moment. The pair of competitors are both freak athletes, both performing and enduring incredible feats most could never imagine in their wildest dreams performing or enduring. Shingo would try to bully Ibushi but Ibushi would not back down, meeting with Shingo as the two would unload with hard strikes, kicks and crushing slams yet neither would yield to the other. Both would get near falls, one after the other. Eventually, in one final exchange Ibushi would hit a flurry of knees as he went for his Kamagoye but Shingo would reverse it into his Made in Japan/Valley Driver to pick up the win by pin fall. Ibushi is unable to capitalise on his lead and get himself some breathing room at the top remaining on 8 points, Shingo who is now up to 6 points is closing in on the leaders.
Final Thoughts Block A Night 10
Another incredible night of action topped off with a truly explosive main event, with the result of the match once again throwing the block in the air, this may come down to wire and head to head clashes. After tonight 4 competitors sit on 8 points, Ibushi, White, Ospreay and Okada, right behind them on 6 points are another 4 competitors Shingo, Suzuki, Ishii and Taichi, on 4 points is Cobb whilst Takashi is still at the bottom of the block, failing to pick any wins so far. The were some really awesome clashes tonight, the heel Vs heel match between White and Taichi is a must see match, the Ospreay vs Suzuki and the Jeff Cobb vs Okada matches were excellent as well, but that Main event was truly something special.
Night 12 Block B
The twelfth night action sees the competitors of B Block in action. The night opens with Young Lions match as always. Gabriel Kidd goes up against Yuya Uemura, Kidd is looking to break his loosing streak having not won a match in his last three outings and Uemura went to a time limit draw in his last match. The main event of block B is Hiroshi Tanahashi against Evil, both competitors have 6points and are just behind the block B leader, Naito. Naito faces of against Juice Robinson, Robinson sits right behind Naito on 6 Points too so this is a critical match for both competitors, as Juice can catch Naito but if Naito wins he widens the point gap. Sanada and Kenta also face off in another critical match, both competitors sit on 4 points, so both competitors need to win to stay in the competition and advance to the finals. Yano and Sabre also clash tonight, Sabre needs a win to ensure he still has a chance of advancing, Yano has lost twice in row since going unbeaten in his first three matches. Hirooki Goto is looking to stay in touching distance with the leaders as he sits on 6 points, facing off with bottom of the block, Yoshi-hashi who is floundering with only 2 points.
Gabriel Kidd Vs Yuya Uemura
Gabriel Kidd Defeated Uemura by pin fall
Uemura has proven himself to be the most technically proficient of the three young Lions but Kidd has the strength advantage and he’s also a solid technical wrestler, however Uemura has found a new aggressive approach as of late. They go back and forth in another excellent outing, Kidd using strength to pick up and slam Uemura, as Uemura fires back with some hard shots, Kidd manages to bring an end to the match after hitting Uemura with his Double Arm Vertical Suplex winning the match by pinfall.
Yoshi-Hashi (1W 4L 0D 2Pts) Vs Hirooki Goto (3W 2L 0D 6Pts)
Hirooki Goto defeated Yoshi-Hashi via pin fall
You can see affects of tournament are taking their toll on the competitors as the battle hardend warriors face off, Goto still sporting an Injury to his shoulder and Yoshi-Hashi is feeling the mental strain of sitting at the bottom of his group with only 1 win to his name. The two clash with hard shots from the moment the bell rings Yoshi-Hashi pulls out everything he has in effort to defeat Goto but even with his injury Goto wont back down. In the end Yoshi-Hashi couldn’t find away to keep Goto down as Goto hit his GTR finisher picking up the win by pin fall, Goto now moves on to 8 points keeping up with the block leader Naito for now.
Toru Yano (3W, 2L, 0D 6Pts) Vs Zack Sabre Jr (2W, 3L, 0D 4Pts)
Zack Sabre Jr defeated Toru Yano by pin fall
Toru Yano is up to his old tricks early as he looks to steal another win over a top name, at one point taping Sabre to chair through the ring barrier, Sabre managed to get the chair through the barrier just beating the count out. It wasn’t all fun games as Yano showed he is actually a very adept wrestler surprising Zack Sabre Jr on more than occasion, managing to get the better of him in a couple of exchanges. In the end the superior wrestling of Sabre Jr won him the victory via pin fall after trapping Yano in a pinning predicament, Yano has now lost his last three matches, with this victory Sabre Jr joins Yano on 6 points.
Kenta (2W, 3L, 0D 4Pts) Vs Sanada (2W 3L 0D 4Pts)
Sanda defeated Kenta by pin fall
Both competitors are only on 4 points, so they both need to win this match to stay in with a shot of advancing and Kenta is willing to do anything including bending the rules. Towards the end of the match Kenta pushes Sanada into the referee and whilst the referee is down, Kenta retrieves his US Title briefcase attempting to hit Sanada but Sanada counters Kenta dropkicking the briefcase into Kentas face, however Kenta does kick out of the subsequent pin attempt. Sanada went for his moonsault but Kenta gets his knees up, they both try for pin roll ups each countering the other, using an O’Conner roll Sanada finally got the pin fall. Sanada moves on to six points, winning his last three matches, Kenta has now lost his last three matches seemingly unable to even cheat his way to a victory.
Tetsuya Naito (4W 1L 0D 8Pts) Vs Juice Robinson (3W 2L 0D 6Pts)
Tetsuya Naito defeated Juice Robinson by Pin fall
It was almost a battle of charisma and who could excite and get the crowd on their sides, as they both encouraged to crowd to clap for them, even going so far as to use the others taunts. Juice would use his bigger frame and strength to wear down Naito but Naito dictated the pace of the match. It became a war of attrition with who could out last the other, who could take the most the damage is they battle passed the 20 minutes. Naito seemed to get stronger as the match wore on but that didn’t mean Juice had no fight left in him, as Juice went for a Jack Hammer Naito reversed into a destino, however Juice kicked out. As Juice went for his Pulp Fiction finisher Naito again reverses it to Destino, after hitting a second he was finally able to pick up the win via pin fall, Naito moves on to 10 points whilst Juice remains on 6 points.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (3W 2L 0D 6Pts) Vs Evil (3W, 2L, 0D 6Pts)
Evil defeats Tanhashi by pin fall
It only took a few minutes for the Spoiler, Dick Togo to get involved. Once Tanahashi started to control of the opening exchange, Evil and Togo would take turns in distracting the referee so they could lay waste to Tanahashi, Evil even suplexes Tanahshi’s young charge Yota Tsuji on some chairs. Tanahashi had an uphill battle ahead of him having to fight off both Evil and Togo at times. After managing to take Togo out with a sliding dropkick, he attaches a Texas cloverleaf to Evil but Evil gets a rope break. Risking disqualification, Dick Togo would continuously get involved and eventually becomes too much for Tanahashi, giving Evil the chance to hit him with a Darkness falls followed by an Every thing is Evil to get the pin. The Ace remains on 6 points and Evil moves on to 8 points just behind Naito.
Final Thoughts Night 10 Block B
Some great in ring action, Naito remains at the top of the group with 10 points, Goto and Evil are right behind him on 8 points, with 6 points are Sabre Jr, Sanda, Yano, Juice, behind them is Kenta on 4 points and still at the bottom of table is Yoshi-Hashi with 2 points. The Sanada and Kenta match was a truly excellent wrestling match from two truly excellent professional wrestlers, a real technical mater piece, some really fantastic exchanges of wrestling and striking. The Zack Sabre Jr and Toru Yano match up is something to be seen, a great exhibition of wrestling entertainment, Yano is excellent in his role. English Commentary now available on New Japan World.
The Great British Otaku