Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Japan Pro-Wrestling - G1 Climax 25: Nights 13 & 14 Review

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Katsuyori Shibata battle in an instant classic, while the tournament makes its first stop in Korakuen Hall!

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Night 13
Yokohama, Japan 8/8/15

1.) G1 Climax - Block A - Bad Luck Fale vs. Kota Ibushi: ***

2.) G1 Climax - Block A - Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano: ***

3.) G1 Climax - Block A - "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan: ****

4.) G1 Climax - Block A - NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe vs. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Doc Gallows: **3/4

5.) G1 Climax - Block A - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata: ****1/2

Overall: 8.25/10

I thought this was a very good showing from Block A. Bad Luck Fale vs. Kota Ibushi was the first tournament match of the night, and it was actually a little better than I was expecting. Once again, a superior worker (Ibushi, in this case) was able to carry Bad Luck Fale to a respectably good match. They did some nice work with the “big man/little man” dynamic, and in the end, the bigger man (Fale) walked away with the win. We then had a pretty entertaining match between Tetsuya Naito & Toru Yano. Of course, given Naito’s recent heel turn (which has included just outright attacking referees), and Yano’s usual G1 tricks, this match was full of shenanigans. Some might not enjoy this kind of match, but for what it was, I enjoyed it. We then saw AJ Styles defeat Hiroyoshi Tenzan in a surprisingly fantastic match. I mentioned in earlier reviews that during the G1, Tenzan can delivered if he’s put in the right situation against the right opponent, and that was the case here. There was a lot of solid action throughout the match, and they told a really good story. Styles got the win his Calf Crusher/Calf Killer submission (whatever you want to call it). I really enjoy when guys win matches with different. It establishes them as real threats later on in the tournament. We then had Togi Makabe vs. Doc Gallows. Now while this was a decent match, I thought it was going to be a little worse than it ended up being. Thankfully, these two were able to put together a solid match. It’s not memorable, but it was fine. We then had the Main Event, where Hiroshi Tanahashi & Katsuyori Shibata put on an absolutely fantastic match!! These guys had two fantastic matches in 2014 (including in the 2014 G1 Climax), and they delivered another classic here. They just work so well together that anything less than ****1/2 would be considered a disappointment. A pretty good show with and awesome Main Event!!

NJPW G1 Climax 25: Night 14 
Tokyo, Japan (Korakuen Hall) 8/9/15 

1.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ****

2.) G1 Climax - Block B - Satoshi Kojima vs. Yuji Nagata: ***1/2

3.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Heavyweight Champion "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada vs. Yujiro Takahashi: ***1/2

4.) G1 Climax - Block B - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tomoaki Honma: ****

5.) G1 Climax - Block B - IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii: ****3/4

Overall: 8.75/10

We’re now into the final stretch of the 2015 G1 Climax. This show was the first of three straight nights that would take place at the famous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Personally, I thought this show was easily the best of the tournament so far!! We had a few matches which were, at the very least, really good. Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata, two of New Japan’s elder statesmen, had a very good match. As I’ve said before, don’t let the ages of Kojima & Nagata fool you. They can still go, and they showed that in this match. Then there was Kazuchika Okada vs. Yujiro Takahashi. Thankfully, Okada was able to carry Yujiro to one of his best matches in the tournament. It helps that these two have a history, as Yujiro cost Okada the IWGP Heavyweight Title at Wrestling Dontaku 2014, joining The Bullet Club in the process. Then we got into the awesome stuff. 

The opening tournament match on this show saw Karl Anderson going up against Michael Elgin. These two are actually familiar with each other, as they had two encounters in ROH back in 2013. They actually split those matches, meaning this was the rubber match. Not only was this a great match, but I thought it was probably the best of the three matches they’ve had. Anderson always does well in the G1, and Elgin continued his string of impressive performances. Anderson would get the win in this one. Then there was Shinsuke Nakamura against Tomoaki Honma. Another great match on this show!! These two just clicked, and worked very well together. The crowd was really into it as well. I’m sure part of that had to do with both guys being in must-win scenarios (Nakamura, after his elbow injury, basically had to win all of his remaining matches to win the block, while Honma was still searching for that elusive G1 victory). Nakamura would get the win here in this very entertaining match. We then came to the Main Event, which saw Hirooki Goto going up against Tomohiro Ishii. These two actually had a killer match at Power Struggle 2014 over the NEVER Openweight Title. Fortunately, these two were able to put on another killer match!!! This was filled with hard-hitting action, as you would expect, and it was blast to watch from start to finish! Both guys beat the crap out of each other, but in the end, the IWGP Intercontinental Champion would take home the victory.


Block A

Tetsuya Naito (5-2-0) - 10 Points
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-2-0) - 10 Points
"The Phenomenal" AJ Styles (5-2-0) - 10 Points
Bad Luck Fale (5-2-0) - 10 Points
Katsuyori Shibata (4-3-0) - 8 Points
Togi Makabe (4-3-0) - 8 Points
Kota Ibushi (3-4-0) - 6 Points
Toru Yano (2-5-0) - 4 Points
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (1-6-0) - 2 Points
Doc Gallows (1-6-0) - 2 Points

Block B

"Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada (6-1-0) - 12 Points
Shinsuke Nakamura (5-2-0) - 10 Points
Hirooki Goto (5-2-0) - 10 Points
Karl Anderson (5-2-0) - 10 Points
Tomohiro Ishii (4-3-0) - 8 Points
"Unbreakable" Michael Elgin (4-3-0) - 8 Points
Yuji Nagata (2-5-0) - 4 Points
Satoshi Kojima (2-5-0) - 4 Points
Yujiro Takahashi (2-5-0) - 4 Points
Tomoaki Honma (0-7-0) - 0 Points

Non-Tournament Matches To Watch

G1 Climax 25: Night 14 (8/9/15) - Six-Man Tag - Hiroshi Tanahashi, NWA World Heavyweight Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan, & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA vs. NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe, Katsuyori Shibata, & Jushin "Thunder" Liger: ***

G1 Climax 25: Night 13 (8/8/15) - "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin & Jay White vs. The Bullet Club (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson & Cody Hall): ***

G1 Climax 25: Night 13 (8/8/15) - Eight-Man Tag - Satoshi Kojima, Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Yohei Komatsu vs. Yuji Nagata, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA, Mascara Dorada, & David Finlay: ***

G1 Climax 25: Night 13 (8/8/15) - Six-Man Tag - CHAOS (Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, & Yoshi-Hashi) vs. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto, Tomoaki Honma, & Captain New Japan: **3/4

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