NJPW G1:Climax Night 3 and 4 Recap and Review
We are now onto night 3 and 4 of NJPW’s premiere tournament, the G1 Climax and if we learnt anything from Night 1 and 2 we were in for some quality in ring action. From Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center Hokkai Kitayell,
Night 3 Block A
The night opened with yet another amazing Young Lions clash as Gabriel Kidd faced off against Yuya Uemura. After that it was on to the tournament itself which saw; Kota Ibushi Vs Jay White in the nights main event, Will Ospreay Vs Tomohiro Ishii, Taichi Vs Suzuki, Okada Vs Yujiro Tanahashi and Jeff Cobb Vs Shingo Tagaki
Young Lions Match
Gabriel Kidd Vs Yuya Uemura
Gabriel Kidd Defeated Yuya Uemura by Pin Fall
A short but explosive match between to the two Young Lions who once again showed just how good the training system of the NJPW Dojo is. It was a hard hitting match, with some incredible wrestling holds, transitions and reversals. The match went back and forth with neither competitor getting a sustained advantage. In the end it was the young lad from England, Gabriel Kidd, who managed to pick up his first win of the G1 Climax tour after an incredible drop kick followed up by a beautiful Vertical Double Arm Suplex that put Yuya Uemura down for the pin fall.
Shingo Tagaki Vs Jeff Cobb
Jeff Cobb defeated Shingo Tagaki by pin fall
In a brutal match, in which Jeff Cobb and Shingo Tagaki looked to like two battling rhino out in the African sahara, the two peppered each other with hard hitting shots and high impact moves. Neither seemingly able to gain any sort of prolonged control, running in to each other with collisions resembling two freight trains crashing into each other. Cobb would hit a flurry of suplexe’s but Shingo would get right back up and do the same, the turning point of match came when Cobb was able to kick out of Shingo’s Made in Japan driver. This would lead to Cobb taking advantage of the stunned Shingo, eventually leading to Cobb hitting the Tour of island’s slam, to pick up his first win by pinfall as Shingo slumps to two losses for the tournament.
Kazuchica Okada Vs Yujiro Takahashi
Kazuchica Okada defeated Yujiro Takahasi
Rainmaker and Tokyo Pimp have been locked in battle throughout the Summer Struggle tour, in a of variety of matches. Kazuchica Okada was sporting an injury to his lower back from his hellish battle with Ibushi on Night 1, this gave Yujiro a target to attack allowing him to gain advantage during the match. Yujiro however was unable to capitalise on this as he could not keep Okada down for long, Okada would continuously fight his way back, although Yujiro was able to cut him off on few occasions. In the end it was Okada who would come out on top in typical Okada form, after hitting a spinning rainmaker clothesline, then he would lock in his Cobra Clutch.
Taichi Vs Minoru Suzki
Taichi defeated Minoru Suzuki by pin fall
The two rough and rugged members of the Suzuki Gun had less of a wrestling match and much more of a hardcore scrappy brawl, the scene was set early when within the first minute the referee took a bump becoming incapacitated. This meant they both immediately hit the outside, where it Suzuki who took the advantage punishing Taichi with a variety chairs, once the referee had recovered and got back into the ring, Sukuki would attempt to bring a chair into the ring as the referee tried to stop him. This led to yet another referee bump with Taichi using his mic to hit Suzuki whilst he was distracted by the referee, now it was Taichi’s turn to punish the Suzuki Gun leader. Finally in the back the third of the match an actual wrestling match started as they traded overs back and forth, it was Taichi who would eventually come out on top reversing Suzuki’s Gotch Piledriver into an air raid crash to get the pin fall, bringing Taichi’s point total up to 4.
Tomohiro Ishii Vs Will Osprey
Will Osprey defeated Tomohiro Ishii
This time last year the match would’ve been considered a Jr Vs a Heavyweight just one year later however this is a heavyweight clash, although Will Osprey has added plenty of muscle he is not made out of Granite like the Stone Pitbull and he would find that out early on. Even with all the added mass Will Osprey has added to his frame it has not in any way hampered his speed and athleticism. In the end came down to those factors in the match, although Ishii would be able to floor Osprey with his raw unadulterated power Will’s ability to use his speed and athleticism helped him to stay one step ahead of Ishii. When all that is added to his new size and power he was able to keep Ishii down, after hitting Ishii with his hidden blade manoeuvre, he would go on to actually lift Ishii up for his Storm Breaker finisher, winning the match adding another 2pts to his tally.
Jay White Vs Kota Ibushi
Jay White defeated Kota Ibushi
The main event was a rematch of of last years G1 Climax final, in which Kota Ibushi came out victorious, as usual Jay White had his cohort Gedo at ringside. Switchblade Jay White is currently the best heel in the business, inciting crowds across Japan, he would even go on to taunt the crowd for their inability to chant for their hero. Jay White focussed his attacks upon the leg of Ibushi as a way to counteract the lethal strikers kicks, this would prove to be affective strategy as Ibushi was unable to maintain any offence as White would relentlessly attack the leg at the slightest opening. Even when Ibushi could fight through the pain every time this would happen White’s trusted companion Gedo would interfere. This would pay divdends as when Ibushi went for his Kamigoye to finish the match Gedo interfered and with time taken to take out Gedo, when Ibushi returns to hit his finish on White he had recovered enough to reverse it into the switch blade allowing him to pick up another win taking his points total to 4.
Night 4 Block B
As with the previous nights, the night opened with yet another amazing Young Lions clash as Yota Tsuji faced off against Yuya Uemura in rematch from Night 1. The tournament itself which saw; Tetsuya Naito Vs Zack Sabre Jr in the nights main event, other matches included Evil Vs Yohshi-Hashi, Kenta Vs Juice Robinson, Tanahashi Vs Toru Yano and Sanada Vs Hiroki Goto.
Young Lions Match
Yota Tusji Vs Yuya Uemura
Yota Tusji Defeated Yuya Uemura by submission
In a rematch from Night 1 the two young lions faced off once again, immediately showing how well versed they are in wrestling with some amazing transitions, it was a great display of pure wrestling. Yota Tusji once again tried to use his size and strength to counteract Yuya Uemaura’s superior wrestling who had come out on top of the early transitions, that is until he is floored by Yota with a shoulder tackle. Yota then begins to take control of the match but Uemura shows his fighting spirit mounting a come back as he attempts a Boston Crab, the move he used for the win in their last encounter, but Yota gets a rope break. After some incredible moves from Yota, he goes for the pin but Uemura kicks out at two, Yota then manages to lock in a Boston Crab submission, making Uemura tap out. Yota moves on to two wins in a row on the tour whilst Uemura slumps to two losses in a row, Yota also gains a measure of revenge for his opening night defeat using the exact move he was forced to tap out to.
Sanada Vs Hiroki Goto
Hiroki Goto defeated Sanada by pin fall
Both men were defeated in their opening matches, so both were desperate to get points on the board, obvious by the early scramble for control that ends with both opponents rolling outside. Sanda is back in ring first and establishes control of the middle of the ring, he starts to target Goto’s shoulder previously injured by Kenta. Goto has the heart of a lion and wont go down without a fight but Sanada’s athleticism keeps him one step ahead even taking time to soak in the applauds from the crowd. Goto tries to capatalize on Sanada’s confidence battling back, the two scramble for pins and submissions but the tide turns once Sanada misses a moonsault. Now Goto is back in the fight and he lands a flurry of high impact moves, hits his GTR finisher and is able to pick up the pin, Goto gets his first win and Sanada slips to two defeats in a row.
Hiroshi Tanahashi Vs Toru Yano
Toru Yano defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi by pin fall
Yano managed to steal a victory off of Sanada in their opening match, could he do the same against the Ace Tanahashi who despite his opening defeat to Naito still looked supremely confident entering the ring. Yano spraying the referee with disinfectant as he checked him over was ridiculously funny, as the match kicks off Yano refuses to engage rolling outside the ring, Tanahashi stands firm in the centre of the ring. Yano’s antics continue but it does not faze the Ace, the two fight down to the entrance way, followed by a sprint back to the ring to beat the count out. An actual wrestling match finally starts to take shape, of course with Tanahashi taking control, Yano is old pro though and knows every trick in book eventually finally luring the ace into trap. He lures Tanahashi outside, once again revealing he has wrist tape as he did with Sanada, managing to tie him to a young lion, so he tries the trick once more with Tanahashi, however this time Tanahashi gets the tape and he then uses it to blind fold Yano. Yano does make it back into the ring before he is counted out but still blindfolded Tanahashi thinks he has the upper hand. Yano though uses his ring smarts to position the referee in Tanahashi’s way, whilst the referee is the wrong position he hits Tanahashi with a low blow and manages to pin the Ace. Yano surprisingly moves on to two wins in row whilst the Ace shockingly has now lost both of his matches.
Juice Robinson Vs Kenta
Juice Robinson defeated Kenta by pin fall
Kenta immediately starts playing mind games refusing to come out of his corner at the bell and as the two engage, the moment Kenta finds himself at a disadvantage he heads to the outside, luring Juice out he then takes control. Kenta sets a slow methodical pace as he picks his shots with precision and power, his lethal kicks stinging Juice with every shot, he would grind him down with a series of holds in between each shot. Juice would try to fight back feeding off of the crowds support, Kenta would quickly cut his off each time Juice is unable to attain any momentum. Even when Juice is able to string a couple moves you can him visibly tired, he tries to get the crowd behind him once again to spur him on. But Kenta would silence the crowd again when he peppered Juice with a variety of hard hitting shots, however he can’t seem to keep Juice down, who kicks out of cover after cover frustrating the normally cool Kenta, the crowd picks up again as Juice hits a huge full nelson slam. The tide turns in Juices favour as the two trade shots followed by trading finish move attempts, after a couple reversals it Juice who comes out on top though, hitting the Kill Switch for the win.
Evil Vs Yoshi-hashi
Evil defeated Yoshi-Hashi by pin fall
Another two competitors who lost their opening matches so both are eager to get a win, Evil tries to jump Yoshi-Hashi with a chair he brought to the ring before the match but is thwated by Yoshi-Hashi using the staff he carries to the ring. The referee gets the two under control and the match officially starts, Yoshi-Hashi lays into Evil with a flurry of shots but of course Evil’s Lacky Dick Togo interferes giving Evil control. It’s going to be an uphill battle for Yoshi-Hashi, Evil begins to work over Yoshi-Hashi’s back, much the same the way he did in his match with Zack Sabre Jr, launching Yoshi-Hashi into unprotected corner turnbuckles. Despite the early onslaught Yoshi-Hashi is able fight back even managing to take out Dick Togo. Evil once again uses the exposed turnbuckles whipping Yoshi-Hashi not once but twice, however Yoshi-Hashi manages to kick out of the Darkness Falls slam. Once again Yoshi-Hashi mounts a comeback, again removing Dick Togo from the equation. Now its Yoshi-Hashi who has the upper hand but he cant keep Evil down, in the end Evil is able to hit a low blow behind the referee and gets the pin fall.
Zack Sabre Jr Vs Tetsuya Naito
Tetsuya Naito defeated Zack Sabre Jr by Pin fall
The technical submission master and the master of mind games both won their opening round encounters and were looking to keep that moment going, the opening exchanges were slow and calculated, neither wanting to make the first mistake. Its Zack Sabre who took the advantage in early exchanges of holds and reversals. Naito came back into the match by quickening the pace, Sabre retakes control with his technical wrestling mastery. Zack’s skills allowed him to maintain control, as he would keep Naito grounded, tying him up in a varitey holds but Naito is no stranger to this position, as the wily LIJ leader isn’t kept down for long. Painful hold after painful hold, with reversal after reversal neither man could maintain control for long periods, the match up swings back and forth on a whim. Eventually the match would come to conclusion after series of high impact moves and one final reversal, Naito was able to hit his Destino finisher secureing the win via pinfall.
Yet another amazing 2 nights of wrestling as night 3 and 4 lived up to all expectations. On night 3 Ospreay picked up a massive win fully establishing himself as a fully fledged heavyweight for NJPW by standing toe to toe and defeating the stone pitbull Ishii. Jay White made sure to let everyone know that he is the biggest heel in wrestling currently, as he felled last years hero Ibushi. On night 4 Evil managed to get himself out of the starting block with a win over Yoshi-Hashi, whilst Juice Robinson and Testsuya Naito set themselves up as early front runners for Block B managing to pick up 2 wins in a row. The young Lions once again showed how good they are and Gabriel Kidd picked up his first win of the tour whilst Yota Tsuji gets two wins on bounce avenging his night 1 loss against Yuya Uemura, who has now lost twice in row. NJPW show time after time why they are the top of the pecking order in Japan and no tournament emphasises this more than the G1 climax, I look forward to catching up all the action from upcoming nights. If it continues to be this strong each and every night, this could be greatest G1 Climax in history.
The Great British Otaku