Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Japan Pro-Wrestling - G1 Climax 25: Nights 5 & 6 Review

One of the favorites to win the 25th G1 Climax suffers an injury!

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Night 5
Hiroshima, Japan 7/26/15

1.) G1 Climax - Block A - IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Doc Gallows vs. Bad Luck Fale: **

2.) G1 Climax - Block A - NWA World Heavyweight Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano: **3/4

3.) G1 Climax - Block A - NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata: ***3/4

4.) G1 Climax - Block A - "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. Kota Ibushi: ****1/2

5.) G1 Climax - Block A - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito: ****1/4

Overall: 8.25/10

From a match-quality perspective, this was definitely a tale of two different shows. The first tournament match of the night was a slow & boring encounter between Bullet Club members Bad Luck Fale & Doc Gallows. I wouldn’t necessarily say this was totally “awful” (it’s far from the worst match I’ve ever seen), but it certainly wasn’t good. Things picked up a little bit with Tenzan vs. Yano. Now you would think that this was going to be a totally uninteresting match, but that changed after both guys got busted open pretty badly after a Tenzan headbutt. That actually added a fair amount of intrigue to the match, and made it a little bit more enjoyable (it certainly made it more memorable). Despite the less-than-stellar first half, the last three matches definitely delivered. Makabe vs. Shibata was a very entertaining slugfest, Styles & Ibushi delivered another classic match, and Tanahashi vs. Naito was a great Main Event. The big story here is that Ibushi & Naito both picked up huge victories against two of the biggest stars in the company who, at different points earlier in the year, had held the IWGP Heavyweight Title. It was awesome to see Ibushi get such a big win, and in Naito’s victory, we once again continued to see the evolution of his “Los Ingobernables” character, which included his new finisher, called Destino. I thought it was really good idea to have Naito win that way. Using his new finisher to beat Tanahashi immediately establishes it as a move that can put away any opponent, if Naito is able to hit it. Despite the earlier matches that weren’t quite as good, this may have been the best night of the tournament up to this point.

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Night 6
Beppu, Japan 7/28/15

1.) G1 Climax - Block B - Yuji Nagata vs. Yujiro Takahashi: **1/2

2.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto vs. Tomoaki Honma: ****

3.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson vs. Tomohiro Ishii: ****

4.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Heavyweight Champion "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada vs. Satoshi Kojima: ****

Overall: 8.0/10

So the big story going into this show was that Shinsuke Nakamura had to forfeit his tournament match against Michael Elgin due to an elbow injury. This was a very big deal at the time, as Nakamura was not only a favorite to win Block B, but also a favorite to win the whole tournament. There were concerns about whether he would have had to pull out of the whole tournament, but thankfully, he was able to continue, and this was the only match he missed. The way things would eventually play out, forfeiting this match pretty much meant that Nakamura had to win the rest of his remaining matches to even have a shot a winning Block B. Now, onto the tournament matches that did take place, it was a pretty solid show, as a whole. I must sound like a broken record at this point but, once again, Yujiro Takahashi had a less-than-stellar match, this time with Yuji Nagata. Other than that, however, the rest of the matches were all really great. I honestly really enjoyed those last three matches. Goto vs. Honma, Anderson vs. Ishii, and Okada vs. Kojima were all fantastic, and I think that this was the first show (for me, at least) that had at least three **** level matches. I guess the only shocker of the night was Yujiro defeating Nagata, but again, that match was just ok. I really enjoyed Kojima’s performance in the Main Event. At his age, he’s still able to go pretty consistently throughout the whole year (unlike his partner, Tenzan), and he stepped it up here in the Main Event against Okada.


Block A

Tetsuya Naito (2-1-0) - 4 Points
Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-1-0) - 4 Points
Kota Ibushi (2-1-0) - 4 Points
"The Phenomenal" AJ Styles (2-1-0) - 4 Points
Katsuyori Shibata (2-1-0) - 4 Points
Bad Luck Fale (2-1-0) - 4 Points
Togi Makabe (1-2-0) - 2 Points
Toru Yano (1-2-0) - 2 Points
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (1-2-0) - 2 Points
Doc Gallows (0-3-0) - 0 Points

Block B

"Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada (3-0-0) - 6 Points
Tomohiro Ishii (3-0-0) - 6 Points
Karl Anderson (2-1-0) - 4 Points
Hirooki Goto (2-1-0) - 4 Points
Satoshi Kojima (1-2-0) - 2 Points
"Unbreakable" Michael Elgin (1-2-0) - 2 Points
Yujiro Takahashi (1-2-0) - 2 Points
Yuji Nagata (1-2-0) - 2 Points
Shinsuke Nakamura (1-2-0) - 2 Points
Tomoaki Honma (0-3-0) - 0 Points

Non-Tournament Matches To Watch

G1 Climax 25: Night 6 (7/28/15) - Six-Man Tag - Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, & "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. The Bullet Club ("The Phenomenal" AJ Styles, Bad Luck Fale, & Tama Tonga): ***1/2

G1 Climax 25: Night 5 (7/26/15) - Satoshi Kojima & "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. CHAOS (IWGP Heavyweight Champion "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada & Gedo): ***1/2    

G1 Climax 25: Night 5 (7/26/15) - The Bullet Club (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga) vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi): **3/4

G1 Climax 25: Night 6 (7/28/15) - Six-Man Tag - Kota Ibushi, Mascara Dorada, & NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Katsuyori Shibata & Yohei Komatsu: **3/4

G1 Climax 25: Night 5 (7/26/15) - Eight-Man Tag - IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto, Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Tiger Mask, & Yohei Komatsu vs. Tomoaki Honma, Mascara Dorada, Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay: **3/4

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