Monday, December 29, 2014

New Japan Pro Wrestling - G1 Climax 24 - Nights 11 & 12 (Finals) Review

The G1 Climax reaches its epic conclusion!!!

NJPW G1 Climax 24: Night 11
Yokohama, Japan 8/8/14

1.) G1 Climax 24 - Block A - Shelton "X" Benjamin vs. Tomoaki Honma: ***

2.) G1 Climax 24 - Block B - Yujiro Takahashi vs. Toru Yano: *

3.) G1 Climax 24 - Block B - Lance Archer vs. Hirooki Goto: ***3/4

4.) G1 Climax 24 - Block B - Karl Anderson vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***1/2

5.) G1 Climax 24 - Block A – Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yuji Nagata: ****1/2

6.) G1 Climax 24 - Block A - Doc Gallows vs. Katsuyori Shibata: ***

7.) G1 Climax 24 - Block A - Bad Luck Fale vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: ***3/4

8.) G1 Climax 24 - Block B - AJ Styles vs. Togi Makabe: ***1/2

9.) G1 Climax 24 - Block A - Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: ***3/4

10.) G1 Climax 24 - Block B - Minoru Suzuki vs. Kazuchika Okada: ****1/2

Overall: 8.5/10

While this wasn't one of the top shows of the tournament, it was still a great show, and a fitting conclusion to the last night of Block Matches. You had two fantastic matches on this show. The first of those was Ishii/Nagata. Despite the shoulder injury he suffered on Night 8, Ishii toughed it out and had an absolute WAR with Nagata. It was just a stiff, hard hitting, brutal affair that was even more astonishing given, again, Ishii's injury. The other match that stole the show was the Main Event, which featured Okada vs. Suzuki. This was a great Main Event. Suzuki has had his ups & downs in the tournament (in terms of match quality), but I think he definitely ended the tournament on a high note. Another thing of note that occurred on this show was that Honma was unable to get a single win. He was really the unsung hero of this year's G1 Climax. Replacing the injured Kota Ibushi, he put on incredible performances throughout the tournament. Despite losing every match, he seemed to get more over every night. He really did an awesome job. You also had a few other really good matches on here, like Archer/Goto, Fale/Nakamura (one of Fale's best matches), and Davey Boy Smith Jr./Tanahashi, where Smith scored a massive upset win over Tanahashi, eliminating him from the finals. Speaking of which, Nakamura & Okada won their respective Blocks, meaning they would face each other in the Finals, while Tanahashi & Styles would face each other to determine 3rd Place.

Final Standings

Block A

Shinsuke Nakamura (8-2-0) - 16 Points - Block A Winner
Hiroshi Tanahashi (7-3-0) - 14 Points
Bad Luck Fale (6-4-0) - 12 Points
Katsuyori Shibata (6-4-0) - 12 Points
Satoshi Kojima (5-5-0) - 10 Points
Shelton Benjamin (5-5-0) - 10 Points
Tomohiro Ishii (5-5-0) - 10 Points
Davey Boy Smith Jr. (5-5-0) - 10 Points
Doc Gallows (4-6-0) - 8 Points
Yuji Nagata (4-6-0) - 8 Points
Tomoaki Honma (0-10-0) - 0 Points

Block B

Kazuchika Okada (8-2-0) - 16 Points - Block B Winner
AJ Styles (8-2-0) - 16 Points
Karl Anderson (5-5-0) - 10 Points
Minoru Suzuki (5-5-0) - 10 Points
Tetsuya Naito (5-5-0) - 10 Points
Lance Archer (4-6-0) - 8 Points
Yujiro Takahashi (4-6-0) - 8 Points
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4-6-0) - 8 Points
Toru Yano (4-6-0) - 8 Points
Hirooki Goto (4-6-0) - 8 Points
Togi Makabe (4-6-0) - 8 Points

NJPW G1 Climax 24: Finals (Night 12)
Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan 8/10/14

1.) Eight Man Tag - Suzuki-gun (TAKA Michinoku, El Desperado & The Killer Elite Squad) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan: **3/4

2.) Six Man Tag - The Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi, Doc Gallows & Bad Luck Fale) vs. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & BUSHI: **1/2

3.) Six-Man Tag - Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Shelton "X" Benjamin & Takashi Iizuka) vs. CHAOS (Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI) & Kazushi Sakuraba: *1/2

4.)  The Kingdom (Adam Cole & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. Jushin "Thunder" Liger & Captain New Japan: ***1/4

5.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles - The Time Splitters vs. reDRagon: ****1/4

6.) Tomoaki Honma vs. Tetsuya Naito: ***

7.) Karl Anderson vs. Tomohiro Ishii: ***1/2

8.) Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hirooki Goto: ***3/4

9.) G1 Climax - 3rd Place Match - AJ Styles vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: ****1/4

10.) G1 Climax - Finals - Kazuchika Okada vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: ****3/4

Overall: 8.0/10

This show took place in the Seibu Dome, and I believe this was New Japan's first time running it. The Seibu Dome is essentially a massive baseball stadium. As for the show, it was pretty solid, but not many of the matches mattered. The opening few matches, a bunch of multi-man tag team matches, didn't mean much. You did have the seeds of the Suzuki/Sakuraba feud planted, but that's about it. You did have a number of ROH talents on this show, which was awesome to see. Adam Cole & Michael Bennett would defeat Justin "Thunder" Liger & Captain New Japan, while reDRagon lost to The Time Splitters in a great bout for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. We got a segment during intermission where New Japan Officials came out with Jeff Jarrett & Scott D'Amore to make official the New Japan/Global Force Wrestling partnership. The show got better in the 2nd half (Ishii should not have been wrestling on this show at all. He was way too hurt), but only the last two matches really mattered. Styles/Tanahashi was a really great match. Tanahashi got the win, but what people will probably remember most is the end segment, where Jeff Jarrett & Scott D'Amore came out to save Tanahashi from a Bullet Club beatdown, only to turn on Tanahashi and join Bullet Club themselves. Honestly not sure what to make of it. Jarrett being in Bullet Club makes the group seem...less cool. Anyway, the Finals of the G1 Climax was a first time ever match (well...first time ever since Okada became a major star) between Nakamura & Okada. This match without question lived up to the hype. It was an absolutely incredible match, and in the end, it took multiple Rainmakers for Okada to put his CHAOS stablemate away to win his 2nd G1 Climax!! After the match, he then makes his intentions known that he's coming for his IWGP Heavyweight Title at The Tokyo Dome Show on January 4th.

In summary, this tournament was absolutely fantastic. I don't think there has ever been another wrestling tournament this awesome before. The 2013 G1 Climax was great, but this year's edition was even better. It was, without a doubt, one of the greatest tournaments, if not the best tournament, in wrestling history.

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