August 13th, 15:00 from Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo
It’s the final, and Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega is the main event to determine the winner of the G1 Climax. This is the 19th show since the tournament started on July 17th and I’m feeling fresh as a daisy (mostly). Let’s get to it!
The story so far…
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
- Day 9
- Day 10
- Day 11
- Day 12
- Day 13
- Day 14
- Day 15
- Day 16
- Day 17
- Day 18
Here we go…
Hirai Kawato, Tiger Mask IV, Jushin Thunder Liger & KUSHIDA vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Suzuki-gun’s initial blitz settled downed as future Jr. title opponents El Desperado and Kushida faced off in a great sequence, culminating in a crazy flipping suicide dive from Desperado. Next came Kawato’s spirited effort against Kanemaru, and he did pretty well until he was smashed with a lariat, then Taichi powerbombed him and Kanemaru followed with the Deep Impact DDT for the win. Desperado once again tried to leave with Kushida’s belt, but this time he was chased down and they brawled in the crowd and out to the back. A very lively opener. **3/4
Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Nagata was imperilled by the Guerrillas in short order, and they cutoff his determined comebacks until the tag was eventually made, then Nakanishi was in the ring for the first time this tournament to double suplex Tama and Tanga. The Guerrillas survived stereo submissions and got on a good run of offence, ending with a neckbreaker and senton for a two-count, then Tanga Loa planted Nakanishi with the Ape Shit reverse piledriver for the win. Post-match, the Guerrillas bowed to Nagata before leaving and Nagata enjoyed the crowd’s adulation once more. **
David Finlay & Togi Makabe vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto)
Finlay got himself on the wrong end of Goto before enlisting the help of dessert enthusiast Makabe, who landed mounted punches in the corner but couldn’t do much in the way of a follow-up. Finlay was back in with Yoshi-Hashi, and soon found himself caught in the Butterfly Lock, but it was broken up by Makabe who then brawled out to the floor with Goto. Finlay almost got the win with the Granby Roll, only to received a lariat from Yoshi followed by Karma for the three-count. Just a match. **
Juice Robinson, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale
Our heroes started well, wisely isolating Owens, until Tenzan was tripped as he hit the ropes and from there the tide turned. Yujiro was in for some offence, but Tenzan hit the Mountain Bomb and Kojima was in to deliver machine gun chops, then Fale did his best to spoil the party. Kojima blocked the Grenade, though, clotheslining the big man to the floor, and Juice got the hot tag and ran wild with cannonballs before hitting Owens with a crossbody for two. A haymaker and Pulp Friction later and Owens was down for the count. A fun little match, with Juice apparently as fresh as he was on July 17th. **1/2
IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson) (c) vs. Taguchi Japan (Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet)
Taguchi got knocked down and demanded Matt “Suck It!” then an ass-based standoff brought in Ricochet and Nick, and the Bucks were soon sent to the floor where Ricochet landed a twisting tope. The springboard elbow connected, but Ricochet had he knee taken out and the Bucks settled into targeting his right leg until the tag was made to Taguchi, who was quickly sent to the floor. Ricochet’s attempted Benadryller led to him kicking the ringpost and Taguchi was powerbombed onto the apron to put the Bucks firmly in control. They focused their offence on Taguchi’s (very lower) back and a step-up knee strike earned two, but the Funky Weapon scored a DDT/neckbreaker combo to bring Ricochet back in. Nick landed a superkick to block the Benadryller, but his sharpshooter was short-lived, so Matt was in to stomp the leg as the referee checked on Ricochet. He dived for the hot tag to Taguchi, who hit a series of ass strikes before nailing a plancha, a tope, and a springboard hip attack to Matt for a near-fall! He was stopped in his tracks by a double atomic drop and superkicks to the ass, then Ricochet caught Nick in mid-air to block the Indytaker, but had his leg taken out again and Matt applied the sharpshooter until Ricochet reached the ropes. The Bucks held on, though, and a springboard swanton set up a double submission only for Taguchi to eventually break it up. The Bucks double-kicked Ricochet in the corner, but their top-rope dive combo hit the knees, and Taguchi blocked the Meltzer Driver with a springboard hip attack. He planted Nick with Dodon’s Throne and Ricochet followed up with the Shooting Star Press. One, two, three! New champions!
Taguchi celebrated with a delightful dance sequence and I was amused. This was good fun, with the Bucks continuing their thread of going for the sharpshooter, but on this occasion Taguchi’s ass-based determination allowed Ricochet to do his thing and add more titles to the Taguchi Japan dynasty. ***1/2
We got an advert for Wrestle Kingdom 12 then Katsuyori Shibata’s music hit! He emerged to a huge ovation and sat cross-legged in the ring, smiling. He got on the mic and said “I’m alive!” then added “That’s all.” before leaving. That was quite a moment (and five years on from his return to the company in 2012, no less).
Post-intermission we got a video teaser to hype the return/debut of an unseen figure. Place your bets.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) (c) vs. Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Cody)
The Bullet Club boys started brightly, but Hanson was in to slam Page on top of Cody, then Rowe slammed Hanson onto them! Rowe then missed a charge, allowing Page and Cody to take control, and the American Nightmare blew a kiss to the ringside photographers. Tag made, and Hanson got rolling with a whole lotta corner clotheslines to both opponents, but was thrown to the apron and Cody planted him back in with a reverse STO. A rope-hung kick to the gut was followed by a senton by legal man Page, then Cody returned for some well-placed punches and stomps and Hanson received a double suplex despite his best efforts to block it. Duelling cartwheels eventually preceded a simultaneous clotheslines, and Page and Rowe were tagged.
Rowe nailed Cody with a headbutt then threw Page down on top of him and hit the majority of his slam combo before being cut off. Cody scored the Cross Rhodes to send him outside, but Hanson hit a handspring elbow to keep War Machine on top! The German suplex double team combo earned two, as did the pop-up powerslam, while Hanson wiped out Cody with a suicide dive. Rowe fired up after being dumped on his head with a German suplex by Page, but a second kept him down. Outside, Page floored Hanson with the apron SSP, then back in, the springboard kick (Cody) and slingshot lariat (Page) combo earned two. Page flattened Hanson with flipping senton from the top-rope to the floor(!), meanwhile Cody’s moonsault press to Rowe set up a diving moonsault from Page for a near-fall. Rowe fired up and hit back with a slam/powerbomb combo, then Hanson was encouraged to go all the way up top and the moonsault landed, but Cody put Page’s foot on the ropes. Another suicide dive, this one from Rowe, took out Cody, then Hanson took out everyone with his own flipping senton to the floor! Back in the ring, War Machine delivered the Fallout to Page! One, two, three!
Great match! Wasn’t expecting a huge amount from this, but they took their time and built – in a refreshingly traditional manner – to some craziness in the extended closing stretch. Easily the best I’ve seen from Cody and Page in Japan, while the affection for War Machine continues to grow. ****
The Guerrillas of Destiny were out to challenge post-match, but before War Machine could agree to a rematch Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr. of Killer Elite Squad/Suzuki-gun ran in to take out everyone! Well, that was unexpected.
Michael Elgin, Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Suzuki-gun (Takashi Iizuka, Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki)
Naturally, Suzuki-gun attacked before the bell, and once that settled down Iizuka targeted Ibushi in the ring, but the Golden Star replied with a flurry of offence, including a standing moonsault for two. Suzuki caught him in the rope-hung armbar, however, and that set off another brawl on the floor. Ibushi and Elgin were smashed with chairs and Tanahashi was whipped into the guardrail, until finally the referee started the count to gain some kind of control. A battered Ibushi was left at the mercy of Iizuka, who choked him with a wire as the referee was distracted until our heroes interjected, but Suzuki-gun retained control as Sabre and Suzuki did their worst. Ibushi fired up, though, and floored Suzuki with a dropkick, finally making the hot tag to Elgin. TAKA, Taichi and Kanemaru got involved, but Elgin soon got rid of them, leaving him alone with the boss man. He acquitted himself well, as he did in their G1 match, but Suzuki slid into a sleeper. Tags made to Tanahashi and Sabre, with the former almost getting caught in an armbar. Iizuka choked out Tanahashi behind the ref’s back and a Penalty Kick from Sabre got two, but Tanahashi countered a guillotine choke to a spinning neckbreaker. An Elgin-assisted splash was countered to a triangle choke by Sabre, then into an armbar, and the Englishman avoided being rolled-up to apply a modified Octopus Hold! He wrenched Tanahashi’s arm and Tanahashi was forced to submit – again!
Sabre Jr. now holds two submission victories over Tanahashi. Very impressive. Elgin and Suzuki, meanwhile, faced off with chairs before getting into a brawl, so it looks like we have two title matches set up for the Destruction shows. This was a very successful set up match, heated and intense, with plenty of warranted Suzuki-gun shenanigans. ***1/4
CHAOS (Gedo, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japón (Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA)
Evil and Okada faced off, but LIJ rushed the ring to claim an advantage only for the champion to get rid of them and land some signature offence. Evil hit the ref-aided side kick after Okada’s neck had failed him, then Hiromu was in and he flattened Okada with a running dropkick. Sanada was then flapjacked, and Yano was tagged, but he was soon tied up in the Paradise Lock as LIJ battered CHAOS out on the floor. Evil whipped Okada into the guardrail, and Sanada finally dropkicked Yano after about a minute of him being stuck in the hold. Bushi let the side down, and Ishii was able to be tagged in, whereupon he ran wild, nailing every member of LIJ with signature offence until Bushi caught him with a neckbreaker. Ishii hit back, but Sanada’s dropkick and Bushi’s backstabber brought in Hiromu. Gedo was in for CHAOS, but he promptly received a Dragon Screw and Falcon Arrow for two, then match broke down into a parade of signature offence culminating in The Dropkick from Okada. Evil and Hiromu teamed to get rid of Okada, then despite almost winning with the Gedo Clutch, Gedo was trapped in Hiromu’s triangle choke and forced to tap!
Post-match, Evil set up a pile of chairs in the ring and slammed Okada onto them with Darkness Falls! Another set up match, reinforcing the victory Evil claimed over Okada during the tournament, with the added bonus establishing a submission finisher for Hiromu. ***1/4
G1 Climax 27 Final
Tetsuya Naito (A Block) vs. Kenny Omega (B Block)
Omega was accompanied by The Young Bucks, Naito was out on his own (not including the significant support of the crowd).
Naito opted against locking up, then Omega did the same and mocked Naito’s pose. Naito launched a spitwad, so Omega chopped him, then Naito threw Omega outside and did his reclining pose. Out on the floor, Omega landed a barrier moonsault press and drove Naito into the guardrail, before returning to the ring to hit a leapfrog bulldog for two. More chops, but Naito used a leg sweep to drop Omega, then he hit a neckbreaker onto the apron and followed with an apron-hung neckbreaker to the floor. He clubbed at Omega’s neck, hitting the over-the-knee drop and seated dropkick to stay in control, then – for once – actually nailed a suicide dive, sending Omega over the guardrail onto the announce table! He then used a piledriver, which only caught the edge of the table and mostly landed on the floor. Ouch! Back in, a German suplex hold earned two, but Omega blocked the slingshot corner dropkick, still clutching his head from the piledriver. Knife edge chops rang out and a running pendulum backbreaker earned two, as did a running chop. A modified camel clutch was applied to wrench Naito’s back, then Omega twice drove him into the turnbuckle with hard Irish whips and hit a back suplex for two. Naito fought back with elbows, then Omega was unable to complete the Finlay Roll combo and Naito nailed him with a leaping neckbreaker from the middle-rope! Very nice. Hip toss, seated dropkick, inverted atomic drop, and this time the slingshot dropkick connected, but a counter ‘rana sent Naito to the floor and Omega flattened him with a huge tope con hilo!
Missile dropkick to the back of the head from Omega for two, and although the Snapdragon suplex was blocked with a slap, Omega scored a deadlift German instead. Cross-legged Ushigoroshi! The V-Trigger was dodged, however, and Naito planted Omega with the tornado DDT to put both men down. Naito lifted Omega up top, but Omega slid underneath and dumped him face-first onto the turnbuckle! Nasty. Snapdragon suplex and a running knee strike! Two-count only! Piledriver blocked and Naito countered the powerbomb to a DDT! Naito hit the rope-hung over-the-knee drop, an enzuigiri and the leaping elbow, then planted Omega with Gloria! One, two, no! Destino countered to a modified tombstone! Good lord. Naito caught Omega up top, and both men stood on the top-rope, but Omega drove Naito’s head into the ringpost with a DDT! Fuck! Omega pulled Naito up and went for the top-rope powerbomb, but Naito countered to a frankensteiner!!! Holy shit! Insanity. He placed Omega back up top and spiked him with a reverse super frankensteiner! One, two, NO! Naito ascended to the top and the Stardust Press… missed the mark. Double underhook piledriver from Omega! 2.9! This is nuts. Two brutal knee lifts floored Naito and he collapsed as Omega went for a third. Another attempt was initially caught, but Omega smashed him then hit a deadlift Doctor Bomb for a near-fall. The V-Trigger connected, but the One-Winged Angel was half-countered to a reverse frankensteiner. Running Destino! 2.9! Destino blocked and countered to Croyt’s Wrath by Omega! 2.9! Rainmaker knee strike from Omega. A final V-Trigger absolutely clocked Naito, but the One-Winged Angel was reversed to a spiked Destino! Both men down, then they struggled to their feet to trade exhausted elbows, chops and slaps. Knee strike from Omega, Koppu kick from Naito and a Dragon suplex for two. Destino blocked, but it connected at the second time of asking! 2.999! A final, definitive Destino dumped Omega square on his head! One, two, three!
Tetsuya Naito wins the G1 Climax!
Wow. This was the first time in a while that I’ve actually been nervous for a match and, genuinely, it was so intense that I was short of breath and my heart rate was raised for almost the entire thing. I swear I got a headrush of relief after the three-count. From the moment the bell rang it felt like a huge occasion and I’ve rarely felt so into a match. Some of the stuff they did was nuts and they took it to the absolute limit, but this was the final after all. For reasons of emotional connection alone, I have no problem giving this: *****
Naito threatened to throw the trophy into the crowd, but thankfully didn’t and he received the flag from Masahiro Chono with respect, with Chono even fisting bumping the LIJ leader. Naito promised to make the most of this G1 victory and signed off in the usual manner. As the confetti fell, he celebrated and bumped fists with the rest of Los Ingobernables (including the resurrected Daryl), and after 19 shows the G1 Climax 2017 is over!
Final thoughts: A good junior tag title match, a great heavyweight tag title match, loads of angle development, and an unbelievable G1 decider made this a very satisfying G1 final indeed. The surprise of seeing Shibata was the cherry on top. Outstanding.
There will be one more G1 Climax post coming tomorrow – a roundup of the whole tournament. See you then.
Nineteen down, none to go.