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Official Chairshot Ratings & Review: New Japan Sakura Genesis

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Coming off the AXS TV special one week ago, we have a few story continuations to retain interest. So anyone that got invested in the Bullet Club drama or Marty Scurll’s epic disrespect, might have decided to find a way to watch this show.

Formerly known as Invasion Attack, the now named Sakura Genesis is usually something of note because the New Japan Cup winner gets their title shot. So you have someone who was built up a few weeks ago, riding a wave of momentum, into a very pivotal championship match. This one is no different since Okada is looking to tie Tanahashi’s record for successful defenses in one reign as well as sole possession of the ‘Gaijin Killer’ moniker (currently Okada is tied with Tatsumi Fujinami for most successful defenses against unique foreigners at 6).

Given all of this, Okada has the most at stake, when it comes to historical records. But Sabre of course wants to break up this 600+ day reign and prove that being a Submission Master, is the way to go.

 

The Young Bucks vs Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens

The Bullet Club internal struggles continue as we get more Bullet Club vs Bullet Club matches. We see an odd dynamic here, where the Bucks are coming off their loss to the Golden Lovers against arguably, the two bottom guys in Bullet Club. It’s also due to that fact that the match suffers slightly.

While not a bad match at all, I doubt anyone expected the Tongan B Squad to win. Solid match, good spots, nice selling from Matt Jackson, hell Don Callis even made a Ricky and Robert reference with how Matt and Nick have been wrestling their matches lately. So, a perfectly fine opener and would’ve probably been more believable against, well, any other two people.

Winner: Young Bucks

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Taichi & Iizuka vs Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano

To be honest, this match is just fun considering the combatants.

Taichi and Iizuka attack Ishii and Yano before the bell, as per Suzuki-Gun tradition. The microphone stand, ring bell, draw string and chairs are all used as weapons against the Chaos members. But the way this usually goes is Ishii gets beat up for 90% of the match, Yano gets his shtick in, and then Chaos wins.

That’s what happens, Yano does the Yano stuff, low blows and win via Lariat/Roll Up combo.

Winner: Ishii & Yano

Rating: ** 1/2

 

NEVER Open 6 Man Tag Team Championship: Michael Elgin, Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (c)

The least prestigious title in all of New Japan, but these participants are always entertaining.

During a big outside spot, Fale chokes Elgin with the microphone chord and then makes a Step Brothers reference by saying ” He’s just got one of those faces you want to punch”. Lots of fun moments and hard hits. Taguchi does his coaching moments, gives Elgin and Makabe a baseball signal to imply some kind of move, but before he can execute it, Fale and Loa have replaced them in the ring, much to Taguchi’s chagrin.

The match ends shortly after that, when Taguchi hits a 619 then goes for a springboard Hip Attack, but Tama Tonga moves and hits the Gun Stun. Thank God they’re not in Louisiana.

Winner: Fale & G.O.D.

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs ‘Switchblade’ Jay White, Yoshi-Hashi & Hirooki Goto

Now for the people that give WWE shit for 50/50 booking, New Japan does something similar with tag matches making a difference in momentum for upcoming title matches.

With Finlay getting a US Championship match and Juice in NEVER consideration, it was written all over the bathroom walls that the Chaos team would lose. It’s still a damn good match from an entertainment angle. Some solid action, Finlay landed his Stunner finish on Jay White to add to his credibility, Juice hits Pulp Friction on Goto and Yoshi-Hashi eats the pin…cause well…he sucks.

Also the only noticeable awkwardness was at the very end when it took Hashi a few extra moments to figure out which ropes to bounce off of to go into the finish. It was very obvious that Hashi was indecisive, and just kinda beats home more reasons on why he’s never had a championship in New Japan.

Winner: Tanahashi, Juice & Finlay

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & SANADA vs Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.

All of the Suzuki-Gun members have reasons to go after the LIJ members. Archer & Smith want a rematch for the tag titles and Suzuki feels disrespected by Naito’s indifference towards him and the IC belt.

This match was fantastic with all of those threads coming out at different points in the match. Suzuki did his best to focus on torturing Naito, even going as far to purposely avoid the other person in the ring with him, just to hit Naito. But stories aside, this match was very well wrestled. SANADA had a bunch of perfectly timed saves, and was honestly the workhorse when it came to flashy moments.

One fun aspect was LIJ got the upper hand at one point and EVIL called for everyone to come in for a group combination attack (which is common place in Japan). But when Naito tried to come in from the outside, Suzuki grabbed his foot and interrupted the flow of the combination move. This lead to giving Davey enough time to get back in, stop a Magic Killer attempts and the two Killer Elite Squad members hit a Killer Bomb on both EVIL and SANADA.

Post match promo was a lot of Naito pissing off Suzuki and basically saying he does what he wants and wouldn’t commit to Suzuki’s challenge.

Winner: Suzuki-Gun

Rating: *** 1/2

 

Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Triple Threat: Roppongi 3k vs Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado (c)

This match started off fast with Roppongi 3k knocking down Bushi and Hiromu, then doing a stereo dive during Desperado and Kanemaru’s entrance.

Lots of action, also nicely building up a story between Hiromu and Rocky Romero. First Takahashi chases him into the crowd, then, when he gets his hands on him, Sho drapes himself over Rocky’s prone body to shield him. After that babyface moment, we get a “who can cheat harder” between the LIJ and Suzuki-Gun members.

Hiromu and Bushi get the advantage early, even resulting in Hiromu hitting a Time Bomb, but Kanemaru pulls the ref out. Desperado slides in after that, the ref assumes he tagged in and hits Pinche Loco, for the champs to retain.

Winner: Kanemaru & Desperado

Rating: ***

 

Junior Heavyweight Championship: Marty Scurll vs Will Ospreay (c)

Scurll interrupted the feel good moment at Strong Style Evolved, to get this short notice match.

Part of the story here is that Ospreay never beat Scurll in a one on one match, so he’s in the process of exorcising his demons. But about this match, it was fantastic. Scurll worked over the neck, and Ospreay was trying to mount offense from beneath most of the match. We saw multiple counters, many false finishes and just a great overall match.

The pacing was erratic like you’d expect, but pretty much full speed kind of erratic, not bad. Ospreay nearly kills himself with a Spanish Fly from the apron to the floor that bent his neck and cut his forehead. So half of Ospreay’s face was blood soaked for the last 7 or so minutes, and it just added to the drama. The fans looked on in horror and desperation when Ospreay was on the losing end of things, but once Ospreay hits his second Oscutter, the match is over.

Fans pop huge, the doctor wants to see Will immediately, but he first has to challenge Kushida. So it’s Ospreay’s goal to go through the other 3 members of the Wrestle Kingdom 4-way one on one, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

Winner: Will Ospreay

Rating: *****

 

Hangman Page & Cody vs The Golden Lovers

I think everyone with a pulse and interest in New Japan knows how much hatred there is between Cody and Kenny, so the story here is obvious.

We saw a lot of back and forth, the Lovers looked a lot better than at Strong Style Evolved, and the rivalries were in full effect. Cody and Kenny started things off, and every time the Lovers could zero in on Cody, they did. Page bailed out Cody numerous times and it was really nice to see his loyalty in full effect. Kota and Kenny had a vendetta, Cody just wanted to send a message to Kenny and Page was proving himself to everyone.

Even though the Golden Lovers looked much better, a well timed boot off the apron by Page, sent Kenny flying through a table. So Kota put up a good fight, but eventually fell to the numbers game when Cody rolled him up with a handful of tights for the pinfall victory. Notable points are that The Young Bucks showed up momentarily, Nick said “Look what it’s come to”, refused to shake hands with Cody and walked away. As well as, Cody got a cut above his left eye. So Kenny and Cody go into Supercard of Honor next week, with mirrored eye injuries.

Damn good match, and it’s nice to see Kenny and Kota finally start to regain their chemistry.

Winner: Page & Cody

Rating: **** 1/4

 

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr.

Can Sabre become only the second person to submit Okada (the first being Shinsuke Nakamura) or does Okada get his record tying 11th defense?

Early on, Okada wrestled a technical match. It’s always amusing how Okada changes his offense and style depending on his opponent. After a few minutes, Sabre gets the advantage and keeps it for a good portion of the match. Zack had a counter for the drop kick, neck breaker, cobra clutch, basically Okada’s entire arsenal.

What makes this match easy for most fans, is that it starts off an old school, technical, mat based match with counter submissions and roll ups. Even a nice call back to the Rainmaker counter, flying cross armbreaker, that Shinsuke beat Okada with. This match was just such a pleasure to watch, from the story, to the strikes, to the submissions…ring work and psychology doesn’t get much better than this.

Okada retains thanks to his jumping tombstone and a third and final Rainmaker.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada

Rating: ***** 1/4

 

After the match, Gedo says no one is stronger than Okada and Tanahashi chants ring throughout the arena. Before Okada can start his “3 Things” promo, Tanahashi walks out. So it’s obvious that now since Okada has tied Tanahashi’s record, Tanahashi wants a chance to defend it. No official acceptance was made at this point. Okada kind makes fun of the fact that Tanahashi hasn’t had exactly a successful run between injuries, losing the Intercontinental Title and losing the finals of the New Japan Cup, so he doesn’t see what right Hiroshi really has to challenge.

If people watch this, after Strong Style Evolved, they will see the difference between a New Japan large event and a ‘special’ event. Overall match quality was better, and you see a mixture of match styles and defenses. Surprisingly no title changes, but they did announce the dates and venues for the G1 this year.

So Happy Easter, April Fool’s Day, and pay your rent!


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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Dynamite Results & Report! (8/17/22)

American Dragon VS Dragonslayer!

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AEW House of the Dragon

Dynamite becomes the House of the Dragon!

AEW has an epic rematch between Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia, in a Best Two Out of Three Falls match! Will Red Death truly slay the American Dragon?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Bryan Danielson VS Daniel Garcia; wins.
  • Gunn Club VS The Varsity Blonds; win(s).
  • Toni Storm VS KiLynn King; wins.
  • AEW World Trios Championship Tournament, Opening Round: La Faccion Ingobernable VS The Young Bucks & ???; win(s) and advances.

PLAY BY PLAY

[Due to scheduling conflicts, coverage of AEW Dynamite will begin later tonight]


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Mitchell’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Results & Report! (8/17/22)

And then there were four!

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NJPW G1 Climax 32

The G1 Climax’s Final Four face off!

A VS B and C VS D, the biggest G1 Climax in NJPW history reaches its semifinals! Will Tetsuya Naito make Will Ospreay trainquilo? Will Kazuchika Okada make it rain on the Good Bad Guy?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS Suzuki-Gun; Chaos wins.
  • Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor VS Dangerous Tekkers; Dangerous Tekkers win.
  • Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe VS Bad Dude Tito & JONAH; Tito & Jonah win.
  • Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, David Finlay & KUSHIDA VS Bullet Club; Tanahashi, Yano, Finlay & Kushida win.
  • G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga; Okada wins and advances to the finals.
  • G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Tetsuya Naito VS Will Ospreay; Ospreay wins and advances to the finals.

PLAY BY PLAY

G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!

It’s A Block VS B Block, Rainmaker VS Good Bad Guy! And in G1 Climax 31, Okada lost to Tama! Will history repeat itself? Or will Tama have to fall back to the golden ticket he got from beating Jay White?

The bell rings and fans rally up already as the two circle. Tama and Okada shake hands to show there’s respect here and fans cheer more. Okada and Tama tie up, are in a deadlock, but Okada uses his height as leverage. Okada puts Tama on the ropes and the ref calls for the break. Okada lets off, pats Tama on the shoulders, but Tama rushes in. Okada kicks low, headlocks, but Tama powers up and out. Okada runs Tama over and fans fire up. Okada runs, Tama gets up to arm-drag Okada around! Then Tama dropkicks Okada down! Fans fire up more as Tama brings Okada up. Tama CLUBS Okada and follows him to a corner.

Tama throws body shots, but Okada throws forearms! Tama knees low, Okada throws body shots but Tama CLUBS Okada down. Fans rally as Tama whips corner to corner, but Okada reverses. Okada runs in but into a back elbow. Tama runs at Okada but into the FLAPJACK! Fans applaud while Okada catches his breath. Jado coaches Tama while fans rally up. Okada drags Tama up, ROCKS him with a forearm, and Tama goes to ropes. Okada brings Tama around to CLUB him on the neck. Okada puts Tama in a corner and throws a back elbow. And then another! And then another! The ref counts and Okada lets off.

Fans rally, Jado coaches Tama, but Okada brings Tama up. Tama throws body shots but Okada knees low. Okada turns Tama for a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and Okada sits Tama up for a chinlock. Tama endures while Okada squeezes tight. The fans rally up more as Okada turns and twists Tama. Tama fights up to his feet, throws elbows, but Okada knees low. Okada throws Tama out of the ring then follows after. Tama staggers up into a kick and DDT to the floor! Okada leaves Tama behind while fans rally up. Jado coaches Tama while the ring count climbs. We’re at 5 of 20 but Tama is still down.

Tama pushes up off the floor at 10 of 20 and crawls his way over, and he drags himself up at 16, only to fall! Tama springs up and in at 19! Okada walks over and kicks Tama around while the fans rally up. “O-KA-DA!” eggs Tama on, so Tama fires off forearm after forearm! Okada eggs Tama on, Tama keeps throwing hands, but Okada DECKS Tama with one! Okada whips Tama to a corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Okada! Fans fire up and rally again as Tama drags himself up the ropes. Tama rushes Okada to LARIAT, and ELBOW, and scoop SLAM! OFF COMES THE VEST! Fans fire up with Tama as he claps, “TA-MA! TA-MA!”

Okada is in the corner, Tama runs in to STINGER SPLASH! And then a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans continue to rally as Tama paces around. Tama brings Okada up to CLUB him down, then he throws body shots. Tama dragon sleepers but Okada fights free! Tama throws a body shot, an uppercut, and then whips. Okada ducks ‘n’ dodges to CLOBBER Tama with an elbow! Fans rally and Okada whips Tama into a corner. Okada runs in to back elbow, then kicks and DDTs! Cover, TWO! Fans clap for “O-KA-DA!” “GOOD BAD GUY!” as Okada watches Tama stand. Tama staggers into the Alabama Lift! But Tama fights it off with body shots!

Okada ROCKS Tama, but Tama ROCKS Okada. Okada EuroUppers but Tama EuroUppers back! Okada swings but into the TONGAN TWIST! Fans rally up again as Okada bails out of the ring. Tama goes out after Okada and brings him up, but Okada throws body shots! Okada whips Tama into railing, and Tama bounces off into a scoop! But Tama fights that to a TONGAN TWIST to the floor! A bit of payback from earlier! Fans rally up while the ref checks both men. Both men are able to continue and Tama stands first. The ring count starts and Tama drags Okada up at 5 of 20 to put him in at 6. Fans cheer as this match continues.

Tama stalks Okada while the fans clap. Okada stands, Tama rushes in, VENENO! Cover, TWO! Tama paces around then brings Okada back up. Tama fireman’s carries, but Okada fights free and spins Tama. ROLLING- NO, Tama ducks the lariat to fireman’s carry! S R C! Tama heads for the corner and fans fire up! SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and Tama grows frustrated, but Jado calls the shot! Tama and Jado pound the mat, and fans clap along. Tama watches Okada rise, then he rushes in, GUN- NO, Okada turns that into the BACK2BACKBREAKER! And then the MONEY CLIP!!

Tama endures and fans rally up! Tama reaches out and gets the ROPEBREAK! Okada lets go in frustration but fans fire up more. The fans continue to rally, “O-KA-DA!” “GOOD BAD GUY!” Okada drags Tama up, scoops him and SLAMS him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs up and fans rally for the MACHO ELBOW! And of course, the Rainmaker Pose! Okada drags Tama up, wristlocks, but Tama throws back elbows. Okada CLUBS Tama, EuroUppers and runs, but into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up as Tama takes Okada down! Tama drags Okada up, but Okada fights off the suplex to shove and DROPKICK Tama in return!

Okada drags Tama back up, ripcords, but Tama ducks to slips around, BLOODY SUNDAY!! Shoutout to the Prince! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Tama just reloads and brings him back up! Double underhooks, but Okada fights free to LARIAT! Not quite the Rainmaker but Okada holds onto the wrist! Fans rally as Okada slowly rises back up. Okada drags Tama up, for a short arm LARIAT! Okada fires up and the fans follow suit! He drags Tama back up, ripcords, but Tama ducks and runs, into a DROPKICK! But he gets back up! Tama is roaring, fans are fire dup, but Okada scoops for the LANDSLIDE!!

Okada then ripcords Tama, GUN STUN!!! But Tama can’t make the cover! Jado shouts to Tama, he crawls over to Okada, pushes Okada over for the cover, TWO!!! Okada survives because of the delay! Fans are thunderous while both men are still down! Tama rises and he drags Okada back up. Tama reels Okada in, underhooks the arms, but Okada fights the lift! Tama CLUBS Okada, CLUBS him again, and fans rally as Tama CLUBS Okada one more time. Tama brings Okada up, reels him in again, but Okada back drops and sits on the cover! TWO!! Tama swings, but into a waistlock! Tama fights the suplex, throws elbows, and then whips.

Okada reverses but Tama dodges the dropkick! And he hurries to underhook, but Okada slips out! GUN- NO, Okada holds it off this time, to then get the wristlock! Ripcord, GUN- NO!! Okada turns it into a MONEY CLIP!!! Fans rally as hard as ever, and Tama turns clip into cradle! TWO!!! Okada escapes, BOOTS, but Tama PELES! Tama reloads fast and waits on Okada to stand! Okada is up, Tama runs in, GUN- NO!!! Okada fights it again, to ENZIGURI! And then pump handle scoop, POWERSLAM!! Ripcord, RAINMAKER!!! Cover, Okada wins!

Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)

Tama put up one hell of a fight, truly worthy of the biggest G1 Climax ever, but it just wasn’t enough to stop the Rainmaker! Will Okada not stop until he has that Right to Challenge briefcase once more?

 

G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Tetsuya Naito VS Will Ospreay w/ Great-O-Khan!

It’s C Block VS D Block, Uncontrollable Charisma VS Commonwealth Kingpin! We know Okada awaits in the finals, will he be facing one of his great rivals in Naito? Or will it be one of his great enemies in Ospreay?

Naito takes off his elaborate entrance attire while Ospreay takes his time with his coat and two title belts. Fans rally, “NA-I-TO!” “O-SU-PREAY!” and the bell rings. Ospreay encourages the fans to get louder so they do, and Naito says that’s nice. The two then circle, Naito goes back and forth to toy with Ospreay, but then they tie up. They’re in a deadlock, but Ospreay finds a point of leverage. He puts Naito on the ropes and Red Shoes counts. Ospreay pats Naito but Naito turns things around. Naito has Ospreay on the ropes, but then pats Ospreay on the shoulders. To then kick low and CLUB him on the neck! And again!

Red Shoes reprimands but Naito whips Ospreay. Ospreay reverses, Naito holds ropes and BOOTS Back, to then RANA! But Ospreay handsprings through! Naito ducks the Penalty Kick, avoids the Standing Moonsault, then arm-drags Ospreay! Naito ducks a roundhouse and tranquilos! Ospreay smirks while Naito bails out. Fans rally up while Naito stares Khan down. Khan keeps his distance and Naito takes a walk around the ring. Khan tells Naito to get back in so Naito does. Naito and Ospreay circle, feel out a knuckle lock, then circle some more. Ospreay blocks Naito’s kick! Naito tries to reach Ospreay but he can’t!

Ospreay ROCKS Naito with a forearm, then another! Ospreay whips, atomic drops and CHOPS Naito down, for the STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up and Khan cheers Ospreay on. Ospreay drags Naito up, ROCKS him again, then bumps him off buckles. Ospreay CHOPS Naito in the corner, then stalks him to another corner. Ospreay CHOPS again and Naito staggers. Ospreay whips him but Naito reverses, only for Ospreay to go up and over. Naito dodges, blocks a kick and puts Ospreay in the ropes for a DRAPING BACKBREAKER! Naito then whips Ospreay to ropes for a hip toss! And basement dropkick! Naito keeps going, NECKBREAKER!

Fans fire up while Ospreay clutches his neck. Fans rally up and Naito brings Ospreay into a chinlock. Naito grinds Ospreay down with an almost bulldog choke but Ospreay endures. Fans rally up more, Ospreay pulls hair but Red Shoes reprimands. Naito lets off to snapmare Ospreay into a headscissor hold! Naito pushes up to put pressure on the neck but Ospreay endures. Ospreay rolls around and gets the ROPEBREAK! Red Shoes counts and Khan protests, and Naito lets off. Fans rally up as Naito brings Ospreay around. Naito ROCKS Ospreay but Ospreay ROCKS Naito, repeat! Naito then CLUBS Ospreay on the neck!

Naito CLUBS away on Ospreay in the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Naito runs in to JUMP KICK! Leg sweep, SWINGING DROPKICK! Combinacion Cabron! Fans fire up as Naito poses, then covers, TWO! Fans rally up and Naito stomps Ospreay around. Naito brings Ospreay up to cravat and neck wrench! Ospreay endures, drops to a knee, and fans rally again. Ospreay fights back up, throws body shots, but Naito ROCKS him again. Naito whips, Ospreay reverses but Naito reverses again. Naito swings into a full nelson, but he arm-drags free! Naito dodges and whips but Ospreay handsprings to NEURALIZER!

Fans fire up while both men are down. Ospreay sits up and grits his teeth. Ospreay waits on Naito to get up, but Naito is slow. Ospreay fireman’s carries to then SNAKE EYES and BOOT! Ospreay goes to the apron and fans fire up with him. Ospreay aims at Naito, springboards and PIP PIP CHEERIO! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is annoyed but fans continue to rally. Ospreay drags Naito back up, reels him in, but Naito resists the lift. Ospreay keeps trying but Naito flails. Ospreay CLUBS Naito, throws a quick Kowada Kick, then CHOPS Naito off his feet! Naito gets up but Ospreay reels him in, only for Naito to fight the bomb!

Naito ducks the lariat to BACKBREAKER into the LEG HOOK NELSON! Naito slaps Ospreay around but Ospreay still endures. Ospreay moves around, but Naito drags him from ropes! Fans rally, Naito puts on more pressure, but Ospreay kicks his way around! ROPEBREAK! Fans fire up as Red Shoes counts, and Naito lets Ospreay go. Fans rally as Naito stands and Ospreay drags himself up the ropes. Naito hammerlocks and half nelsons but Ospreay fights off the lift! Naito ripcords but Ospreay ducks the elbow. Naito CLUBS Ospreay, dodges a haymaker, then ROCKS Ospreay! Naito runs, into the Tiger Wall Kick and ENZIGURI! But Naito rebounds, into a SPANISH FLY!!

Fans are thunderous as both men are down again! Ospreay and Naito sit up, talk some trash, and then get forehead to forehead. Naito throws a forearm but Ospreay gives it back. Naito grins and forearms Ospreay again! Ospreay ROCKS Naito back! Ospreay eggs Naito on so Naito ROCKS Ospreay! Ospreay roars and fans fire up, and Ospreay throws another forearm! Naito gives another, and they go back and forth! Fans rally up as the speed picks up! Ospreay fires off a flurry, then CHOPS!! Naito staggers and Ospreay waits on him. Naito comes back to SLAP Ospreay! Ospreay grins and fans fire up!

Ospreay blocks a kick, ducks the enziguri but Naito dodges Hidden Blade to TORNADO- NO! Ospreay blocks to suplex and BRAINBUSTER! But Ospreay holds on, brings Naito back up, suplexes but Naito RANAS! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay escapes in time but Naito gets him for the TORNADO DDT! Fans are thunderous again while both men are down. Naito and Ospreay stir and Naito sits up first. Naito crawls his way over, drags Ospreay up, and throws heavy back elbows! Ospreay drops to a knee, but Naito brings him up for more heavy elbows! Ospreay drops again but he grabs at Naito. Naito brings Ospreay up for even more heavy elbows!

Ospreay falls over backwards, and the tape on his shoulders is coming off! Naito hammerlocks, half nelsons, and hits GLORIA! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is still in this but Naito is still smiling. Naito brings Ospreay up again, wrenches the arm, but Ospreay RAMS him into the corner! Ospreay runs in but Naito alley-oops him into the corner! Naito then sits Ospreay up on the top rope backwards, and climbs up behind him! Naito goes up to SUPER POISON-RANA!!! Cover, TWO!!! Ospreay survives and fans are thunderous! Naito aims from the corner as Ospreay rises, then he runs in to CORRIENDO SHIKI- NO, Ospreay blocks Destino!

But Ospreay also holds Naito up! Ospreay ties up the legs, MAGIC CROSS DRIVER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous again as Ospreay aims from the corner! Naito sits up, Ospreay rushes in, HIDDEN BLADE!!! But Ospreay isn’t satisfied with that, he drags Naito up! Underhook and lift, STORM- DESTINO!!! Naito turns things around but both men are down! The fans are electric as both men stir on the mat! Naito crawls over to Ospreay, drags him up, but Ospreay BOOTS! Naito ENZIGURIS! Naito scoops but Ospreay slips out to HOOK KICK! Ospreay calls his shot, springboards, but Naito ducks the OsCutter! SPINEBUSTER!!

Naito hauls Ospreay up to wrench and- NO, Ospreay turns it, CHELSEA GRIN!! Fans fire up as Ospreay aims again! Ospreay runs in, but Naito ducks the blade! CORRIENDO SHIKI DESTINO!!!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Ospreay survives and no one can believe it!! Naito roars, drags Ospreay up, and tilt-o-whirls, DESTI- NO!! Ospreay slips out to HIDDEN BLADE!!! Cover, TWO?!?!?!? Maybe 2.999!! The fans can’t believe it, Khan can’t believe, commentary can’t believe it! But Ospreay drags Naito back up, reels him in and underhooks, for STORMBREAKER!!!! Cover, OSPREAY WINS!!!

Winner: Will Ospreay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)

After fighting back from an 0-2 start, after fighting his heart out here, Naito falls before the Climax! If this is truly Naito’s last G1 Climax, if this is truly his last year with NJPW, has it all ended here and now? Or can Naito find another path to Wrestle Kingdom?

As for Ospreay, he holds up his IWGP US Heavyweight Championship and Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Championship high as he stands over Naito, and then again as he stands on the corner. Khan waves the banner of the United Empire, then brings the mic to Ospreay. The fans applaud, but Ospreay says, “Louder, Budokan! Louder!! Motto! Gentlemen, I said MORE! I want more!” Fans applaud louder, and Ospreay is happy. “Naito, good showing. One more, onegaishimasu. This doesn’t get spoken about enough. In May, I nearly died! I had a kidney infection that nearly killed me! And in three months, three months! After saying I could’ve died, I’m in the G1 Final!”

Fans applaud that heart, and Ospreay says his opponent “is a man who seemingly, I can’t beat on my own. In the seven matches Ospreay and Okada have had, Okada has one SIX of them. SIX. Everyone is now doubting me, because they think I can’t beat Okada. I’ve seen it done with my own eyes! I have seen AJ Styles beat Okada. I have seen Tanahashi beat Okada. I’ve seen NAITO beat Okada! Hell, I’ve even see Jay White dethrone Okada. Know what makes me different? I know in my heart, I know I’m better than all those guys! I know I’m the best wrestler in the world today!!” Fans applaud that, he has a case for it.

Ospreay lists off his accomplishments: Best of the Super Juniors; the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship; the New Japan Cup; the British Heavyweight Championship; the NEVER Openweight Championship; the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship; and the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship!! There’s just one more to go! “And believe me. Believe me when I say this. Believe me, I’m not gonna lose. I will beat Okada! I will lead NJPW out of the Dark Ages, and I will bring it back tot he light! Okada, matta ashita <I’ll be waiting tomorrow.> See you at the top!” The Kingpin vows to go from Grand Slam to ULTIMATE Champion in NJPW, will he succeed?


My Thoughts:

A great event as the penultimate night of the G1 this year. Yes, I skipped a lot of matches, and I wish I had time to see that 8 Man with Tanahashi, Yano, Finlay & Kushida, because it saw the return of the Good Brothers to Japan. But Tanahashi’s team won thanks to some sneaky moves from Yano. I wonder if anyone from Tanahashi’s team will go after Karl Anderson’s NEVER Openweight Championship. Any one of them would be a great opponent for Anderson, but especially Tanahashi.

But we got awesome G1 matches, as to be expected. Tama has been running strong, but it sure seems like everyone knows how to counter the Gun Stun… It makes sense that Okada wins, he could potentially go back-to-back as the G1 Climax winner. But given that, I don’t think he will. Ospreay VS Naito was a great choice to be the main event between the two semifinal matches, and honestly I didn’t think Naito was going to lose. This is supposed to be his last year, so I thought he’d get to the finals before losing and having to worry about what’s next.

Ospreay has a great promo and he does make a great argument for winning the finals. Ospreay’s checked off almost everything to do in NJPW as a singles wrestler, even more than what Okada has done. Ospreay getting the honor of being the first to check everything off the list would be huge.

My Score: 9/10


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