Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Japan Pro-Wrestling - G1 Climax 25: Nights 15 & 16 Review

The 25th G1 Climax continues with two more big nights in Korakuen Hall!!

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Night 15
Tokyo, Japan (Korakuen Hall) 8/11/15

1.) G1 Climax - Block A - IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Doc Gallows vs. Tetsuya Naito: **3/4

2.) G1 Climax - Block A - NWA World Heavyweight Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Katsuyori Shibata: ***

3.) G1 Climax - Block A - Kota Ibushi vs. Toru Yano: N/R (great for what it was, though)

4.) G1 Climax - Block A - "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. Bad Luck Fale: ***

5.) G1 Climax - Block A - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe: ****

Overall: 7.25/10

From a match-quality perspective, the second straight night in Korakuen Hall was one of the calmest nights of the entire tournament. The only match that I would say was really great as the Main Event, which saw Hiroshi Tanahashi defeat Togi Makabe. These guys are two of the bigger names on the babyface side of the roster, and they really put together a great match. While none of the other tournament matches on this show were bad by any means, they were all decently good. Gallows vs. Naito was an ok match, but I don’t think anyone saw Gallows actually defeating Naito, especially with this new heel persona that Naito has (then again, getting upsets at this point in the tournament really shouldn’t be a surprise). Then we had Hiroyoshi Tenzan taking on Katsuyori Shibata. This was a good match, but it didn’t come close to reaching the level of some of the other matches Tenzan was able to have in the tournament against guys like Tanahashi & AJ Styles. Once again, we had another shocking result, as Tenzan actually got Shibata to submit to the Anaconda Vice. The closing stretch of that match was actually very good. 

After that, we got Kota Ibushi vs. Toru Yano. Now, if there was going to be an upset on this show, it was going to be this match. As I’ve said before, you can never count Yano out in the G1, as he can beat anyone. This match definitely delivered an upset, as Yano go the win over Ibushi in just fifty seconds!!! I know people don’t like seeing Yano in the G1, but it has to be said that his inclusion always provides for some unique twists & turns. Then we got AJ Styles vs. Bad Luck Fale in a Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club match. As you might have guessed, we did see shenanigans, with the rest of The Bullet Club being at ringside, but it was still a decent little match. They tried to get Fale to lay down for Styles early, and it looked like he was going to, but it was a trick, and Fale went right after Styles. The clocked in at just under ten minutes, and it features a fair amount of crowd brawling. They were actually able to tell a nice little story, and as the whole, the match was entertaining to watch. I never would have guessed it, but they managed to pull it off. Styles would eventually overcome Fale for the victory.

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Night 16 
Tokyo, Japan (Korakuen Hall) 8/12/15

5.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson vs. Yujiro Takahashi: **1/4

6.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ****1/4

7.) G1 Climax - Block B - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Satoshi Kojima: ***1/2

8.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Heavyweight Champion "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada vs. Yuji Nagata: ****1/4

9.) G1 Climax - Block B - Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma: ****1/4

Overall: 8.5/10

The third straight show at Korakuen Hall featured more matches from Block B. As a whole, I thought this was a great show! While it didn’t quite reach the level of Night 14 (the first night in Korakuen Hall), it was definitely better than Night 15 (the second night in Korakuen Hall). The opening tournament match was another Bullet Club vs. Bulled Club match, as Karl Anderson went up against Yujiro Takahashi. They basically did something similar to the AJ Styles/Bad Luck Fale match the night before, with the other members of The Bullet Club getting involved. Anderson, who has had a crush on Maria Kanellis for several months, was smitten by the lady that Yujiro brought to the ring, which led to Styles trying to get Anderson focused on the task at hand. Anderson would eventually go on to defeat Yujiro in a match that wasn’t very good at all. Thankfully, things only got better from there. We had a match between Hirooki Goto & Michael Elgin, which I thought was fantastic!! There was great action from start to finish, and the crowd was really into it on several occasions. Also, I thought these two worked pretty well together. Once again, we saw another example of #BIGMIKE being awesome, and continuing to prove that he belongs in New Japan. 

We then saw Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Satoshi Kojima. This wasn’t a great match (certainly not as good as some of the other matches on this show), but it was still very good. I really enjoyed it. Nakamura got the win there. After that, we saw Kazuchika Okada going up against Yuji Nagata. There actually was a little bit of build to this match, as Nagata had been doing specific training to counter The Rainmaker. These two ended up having an awesome match!! Okada delivered, as he always does, and Nagata looked great here as well. I think Nagata did counter The Rainmaker at one point, but it wouldn’t be able to counter another one, as Okada would eventually hit The Rainmaker for the win. The Main Event was Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii. These two had an incredible match earlier in the year at The New Beginning in Sendai 2015 over the then vacant NEVER Openweight Title. While this match wasn’t nearly as good as that encounter, it was still a fantastic match. These two were beating the crap out of each other right from the opening bell. There was a ton of action, and the crowd was really into the match. Of course, the big story here is that HONMA FINALLY GOT A WIN!!! The crowd in Korakuen Hall exploded when Honma ended his drought and finally scored his first G1 victory. It was honestly a really great moment, and definitely one of the highlights of the entire tournament.


Block A

"The Phenomenal" AJ Styles (6-2-0) - 12 Points
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6-2-0) - 12 Points
Tetsuya Naito (5-3-0) - 10 Points
Bad Luck Fale (5-3-0) - 10 Points
Katsuyori Shibata (4-4-0) - 8 Points
Togi Makabe (4-4-0) - 8 Points
Kota Ibushi (3-5-0) - 6 Points
Toru Yano (3-5-0) - 6 Points
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-6-0) - 4 Points
Doc Gallows (2-6-0) - 4 Points

Block B

"Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada (7-1-0) - 14 Points
Shinsuke Nakamura (6-2-0) - 12 Points
Hirooki Goto (6-2-0) - 12 Points
Karl Anderson (6-2-0) - 12 Points
Tomohiro Ishii (4-4-0) - 8 Points
"Unbreakable" Michael Elgin (4-4-0) - 8 Points
Satoshi Kojima (2-6-0) - 4 Points
Yuji Nagata (2-6-0) - 4 Points
Yujiro Takahashi (2-6-0) - 4 Points
Tomoaki Honma (1-7-0) - 2 Points

Non-Tournament Matches To Watch

G1 Climax 25: Night 15 (8/11/15) - Eight-Man Tag - Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma, & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. CHAOS (IWGP Heavyweight Champion "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, & Yoshi-Hashi): ***3/4

G1 Climax 25: Night 16 (8/12/15) - Six-Man Tag - NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe, NWA World Heavyweight Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA vs. Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, & Mascara Dorada: ***1/2

G1 Climax 25: Night 15 (8/11/15) - IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto & Yohei Komatsu vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin & David Finlay: ***1/4

G1 Climax 25: Night 16 (8/12/15) - Six-Man Tag - Ryusuke Taguchi, Sho Tanaka, & Yohei Komatsu vs. Jushin "Thunder" Liger, David Finlay, & Jay White: **3/4

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