NJPW G1 Climax 25: Night 18
Tokyo, Japan (Ryogoku Sumo Hall) 8/15/15
1.) reDRagon vs. Yohei Komatsu & Sho Tanaka: ***1/4
We kick off the second night in Sumo Hall with reDRagon taking on two of New Japan’s young lions. This was actually a very solid opener. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish looked as good as they always do, but Komatsu & Tanaka certainly put up a fight. There was some good action between both teams here. reDRagon would, of course, pick up the win after hitting Chasing The Dragon.
After the match, as Fish & O’Reilly are celebrating, The Young Bucks ran out and attacked them. The other two young lions, David Finlay & Jay White, then ran out to make the save, and out 2nd match of the night was underway!
2.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks vs. David Finlay & Jay White: ***1/4
Much like the opener, this was a solid tag team match, and served as a fine tune-up for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title match the next night. The Young Bucks were their usual awesome selves, while Finlay & White looked good here as well. As you might have guessed, The Young Bucks got the win.
3.) Ten-Man Tag – CHAOS (Toru Yano, Kazushi Sakuraba, YOSHI-HASHI, & The Kingdom of Matt Taven & Michael Bennett with Maria Kanellis) vs. The Bullet Club “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, Bad Luck Fale, IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Doc Gallows, Tama Tonga, & Cody Hall): **3/4
Since the guys in Block A have finished their portion of the tournament, some of these multi-man tags don’t have much of a purpose to them. This particular Ten Man Tag was fine for what it was. A solid undercard match, but nothing that memorable, save for Tama Tonga’s reaction to a dancing Maria Kanellis, and the brief interaction between AJ Styles & Sakuraba. YOSHI-HASHI got the win for his CHAOS team after pinning Cody Hall.
4.) Ten-Man Tag – Hiroshi Tanahashi, NWA World Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA, & NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe vs. Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Ricochet, Manabu Nakanishi, & Captain New Japan: ***
In contrast with the previous match, this Ten-Man Tag actually has a little juice behind it, as we’ve got KUSHIDA & Ricochet on opposite sides (Ricochet is challenging for IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title, being held by KUSHIDA at the time, the next night). This was a relatively good match. I preferred this match to the previous Ten-Man Tag. We saw some good action, along with more important interactions, mainly between Ibushi & Makabe as well as between Shibata & Naito (who was fantastic in this match despite not actually doing a lot). Those would be two matches that would eventually be made as part of Destruction that September. Good build for those matches. As far as this match goes, Tanahashi would win the match for his team after hitting the High Fly Flow on Captain New Japan.
5.) G1 Climax – Block B – Tomoaki Honma vs. Yujiro Takahashi: ***1/4
Homna is coming off an emotional high after winning his first match of the tournament against Tomohiro Ishii. Yujiro, on the other hand, hasn’t been impressive at all in this tournament. He was easily the worst competitor in Block B. As far as this match goes, it was actually pretty solid. The only real complaint I had was with result, as Yujiro won. I really don’t know why Honma lost here. Both guys were eliminated, so it really didn’t matter who won. Having Yujiro beat Honma right after Honma got his first G1 win was so weird.
6.) G1 Climax – Block B – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Tomohiro Ishii: ****3/4
Now THIS was one of my most anticipated matches of the entire tournament. I’ve always found these two to be very similar in terms of their style. I was really excited to see them go at it in a New Japan ring, and boy, they didn’t disappoint. This match was AWESOME!! I loved every second of it. These two went at each other right from the opening bell, and never let up. This was just a FIGHT. These two beat the absolute crap out of each other, and it was so much fun to watch. Ishii would eventually get the win, but lets be honest…..We’re all winners with this one.
7.) G1 Climax – Block B – IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hirooki Goto vs. Yuji Nagata: ***3/4
I think Goto was still alive coming into this match. Basically, if he won, then Okada would have been eliminated from contention to win Block B. Fortunately, we didn’t need to worry about those scenarios here, as Nagata ended his tournament with a big win over the IWGP Intercontinental Champion. It was a really good match that was just bordering on being great. Though I’m not sure if Nagata will actually get a title shot out of this…
8.) G1 Climax – Block B – IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson vs. Satoshi Kojima: ***3/4
Coming into this match, Anderson was also, technically, still alive in the tournament. If he won, he would have needed Nakamura to win against Okada, but much like the previous match, Satoshi Kojima scored a big win here over Karl Anderson. The match quality was actually very similar to the Goto/Nagata match that preceded this one. It was very good, but just fell shy of being great. As Anderson is one-half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, this could lead to Kojima & Tenzan getting a title shot.
9.) G1 Climax – Block B – IWGP Heavyweight Champion “Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: ****3/4
Of course, these two met in the Finals of the 2014 G1 Climax in the Seibu Dome. Okada won that encounter, and this is the rematch. I thought it was fantastic!! One again, these two delivered another stellar singles match. There was great action, but it told a good story as well, with Okada being a little cocky towards his CHAOS stablemate. The latter stages of the match were especially great, and included a great counter into an armbar by Nakamura. Awesome stuff from both guys in this match. Eventually, Okada was forced to tap out, and Nakamura punched his ticket to the G1 Climax Finals!
I thought this was easily the best night of the tournament. Of course, a lot of that had to do with Okada vs. Nakamura & Elgin vs. Ishii, which were both legitimate MOTYC. Those are two matches that are definitely worth seeing. The rest of the tournament matches on this show were good as well. Two of those matches (Goto/Nagata & Anderson/Kojima) were both bordering on being great, while Honma vs. Yujiro was fine as well, despite the wonky result. The real advantage of Block B in this particular tournament was that the talent wasn’t top heavy like Block A. Yujiro was really the only guy in Block B who produced subpar matches. The rest of the undercard was pretty solid, as we got more build for two junior title matches the next night.
Shinsuke Nakamura (7-2-0) - 14 Points - Block B Winner
"Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada (7-2-0) - 14 Points
Karl Anderson (6-3-0) - 12 Points
Hirooki Goto (6-3-0) - 12 Points
Tomohiro Ishii (5-4-0) - 10 Points
"Unbreakable" Michael Elgin (4-5-0) - 8 Points
Satoshi Kojima (3-6-0) - 6 Points
Yuji Nagata (3-6-0) - 6 Points
Yujiro Takahashi (3-6-0) - 6 Points
Tomoaki Honma (1-8-0) - 2 Points