AXS TV begins coverage of the 28th NJPW G1 Climax! Tonight will be all about Block A’s opening round, to see who gains the first points in this round robin!
Gifs can be found on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Minoru Suzuki VS Hiroshi Tanahashi; Tanahashi wins.
- Kazuchika Okada VS Jay White; White wins.
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NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!
Every Summer, 20 of the best wrestlers in the world compete in the most prestigious tournament. The winner becomes a part of history while earning a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship!
We begin with Block A. In this group, Chaos’ Jay White and Kazuchika Okada go against each other for the first time ever. The Switchblade has always wanted to challenge the Rainmaker for the reins of the stable, can the young New Zealander take advantage of his now title-less leader? Then, The Ace and the Meanest Man in the World have a rematch from their IWGP Intercontinental Championship feud. Can Hiroshi Tanahashi get revenge? Or will Minoru Suzuki show no mercy and finish this once and for all?
AXS TV quickly recaps other matches from Block A.
Togi Makabe defeats Yoshi-Hashi while the Unbreakable Mike Elgin brings down EVIL, but the real fun was in an early Bullet Club Civil War match. The Problem Solver, Hangman Page, battled the Underboss, Bad Luck Fale, but things would not be settled as Tama Tonga interfered. The leader of the #FiringSquad would assault Hangman, then assault Red Shoes as brother Tonga Loa would join in. The Tongan trio would continue to beat down Hangman, but that only gave him the win via disqualification. The beating wouldn’t stop, so it was up to Kenny Omega to lead Kota Ibushi & Chase Owens in to run the Tongans off. The civil war won’t stop just because it’s the G1, how much more will it derail the tournament’s intentions?
Minoru Suzuki VS Hiroshi Tanahashi!
The cruel King of Pancrase and the Once in a Century Talent waged a brutal war over the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. In the end, Suzuki won the title while putting Tanahashi out of action. Now these two collide again in the Climax! Who will win the match and earn themselves two points in the round robin bracket?
The bell rings and fans are strongly behind Tanahashi. He and Suzuki circle then approach. They feel it out, but then Suzuki just fires off fast and furious strikes. Tanahashi turns it around to give one big haymaker. He whips but Suzuki boots, only for Tanahashi to catch it. Tanahashi elbows the leg, then runs, but Suzuki avoids the low dropkick. Suzuki runs while Tanahashi hits the mat, but Tanahashi dodges the Penalty Kick. Tanahashi runs but Suzuki side steps to get the sleeper. Suzuki wrangles Tanahashi down, but Tanahashi stands back up. Tanahashi snapmares Suzuki off, then throws a palm strike. Tanahashi runs, but Suzuki dropkicks the legs out. Suzuki slithers over for the heel hook! Tanahashi rolls around but Suzuki holds on.
Suzuki rolls it back the other way, but Tanahashi drags himself towards ropes. Suzuki drags him away from ropes then reapplies the hook. Tanahashi fights with his free foot, but can’t get free. He drags himself to ropes, but Suzuki rolls him away. Suzuki laces his legs on Tanahashi’s other foot, then wrenches back hard. Tanahashi endures but Suzuki just laughs at him. Tanahashi drags himself around more, but Suzuki keeps wrenching. Suzuki drags him away, and reapplies the heel hook with an extra twist! Tanahashi writhes in pain while fans rally up for him. Tanahashi sits up and powers his way towards ropes, but Suzuki still wrenches harder. Suzuki drags Tanahashi backwards into a kneebar and toehold! He drags Tanahashi up for an ankle lock!
Tanahashi rolls but Suzuki sits down on the toehold again. Tanahashi tries to fight with his hands but Suzuki grabs an arm for a double wristlock! Suzuki makes Tanahashi into a pretzel! Tanahashi manages to roll through but Suzuki returns to just the kneebar and heel hook. Fans keep rallying so Tanahashi continues to endure. Suzuki makes it an STF! But Tanahashi refuses to quit, so Suzuki changes to a Half Crab, that he literally lets fall backward into an Achilles lock! Suzuki even keeps Tanahashi’s free leg preoccupied with a toehold. Tanahashi rolls, and finally gets a ropebreak! We go to break while Suzuki lets Tanahashi go.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Suzuki drags Tanahashi up by his hair. Suzuki forearms Tanahashi in the face, then does it again. Tanahashi staggers on one leg but Suzuki keeps hitting him. Suzuki toys with Tanahashi, but Tanahashi fires back. Tanahashi’s forearms only feed Suzuki, and Suzuki hits back with kicks to the bad leg. Suzuki kicks away from all sides, but then gets caught in a dragon screw! Tanahashi evens things with that one. Fans rally up for Tanahashi as he works on his own leg. Suzuki stands but Tanahashi follows. Tanahashi runs and manages a dropkick! He whips Suzuki, but Suzuki reverses. Tanahashi manages to stay up on that leg, and comes back with flying forearms! The Ace fires up, as do the fans. He drags Suzuki up and over to a corner. Tanahashi scoop slams Suzuki, then hops up top. Suzuki rolls so the senton flops!
Suzuki runs and gets the Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO, Suzuki goes after the leg! Suzuki puts the Achilles lock on, then goes to a Figure Four Leglock! Tanahashi’s legs again endure powerful pressure, but he refuses to quit. Suzuki wrenches as he can, but Tanahashi has the fans behind him. Tanahashi works to roll this over, and succeeds! The pressure goes on Suzuki, but he manages to roll it bakc. Tanahashi uses this to get a ropebreak. Suzuki lets Tanahashi go, but comes back to stomp and kick Tanahashi. Suzuki drags Tanahashi up and gives him a forearm. Tanahashi gives it back, so Suzuki gives another. Tanahashi hits Suzuki again, so Suzuki fires off with palm strikes! Suzuki doesn’t stop, even when Tanahashi hits him back. Suzuki keeps slapping and striking, then puts on a sleeper!
Tanahashi is already turning purple, but he isn’t going down. Suzuki lets him go, turns him around, and prepares a driver. He goes for the Gotch hold, but Tanahashi blocks. They struggle against each other, and Suzuki gets Tanahashi up. Tanahashi gets back down, so Suzuki knees him in the stomach. Suzuki goes after the leg, but Tanahashi manages a small package counter! TWO, and Suzuki throws a boot! Tanahashi manages to catch it, then spin Suzuki around for a roll-up cradle, TWO! They stand up, and Tanahashi smacks Suzuki with a palm strike! Suzuki staggers, Tanahashi runs, but Suzuki follows to grab Tanahashi in a sleeper! Tanahashi slips out, grabs Suzuki’s leg, for a STIFF dragon screw!
Suzuki screams in pain as he clutches his thigh. Tanahashi stands while Suzuki gets to ropes. Tanahashi is fired up and runs, to Slingblade Suzuki down! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps going, as he gets to a corner and the top rope. Suzuki stands, Tanahashi leaps with the crossbody! Tanahashi goes back up, HIGH FLY FLOW! Cover, Tanahashi wins!!
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall; Tanahashi earns 2 points, Suzuki earns 0
The Ace is victorious in this revenge match! He joins Makabe, Elgin and Hangman Page as the first men with points on the board. Can Tanahashi continue on to reach the top of A Block?
Kazuchika Okada VS Jay White!
It’s Chaos VS Chaos as both the former IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion and former IWGP Heavyweight Champion go head to head for the first time ever. The Switchblade wants to prove he’s more worthy of leading the stable, but is he too inexperienced to defeat even a rather relaxed Rainmaker?
The bell rings, and fans chant for Okada. White doesn’t let that bother him as he circles with “Red Okada”. White offers a handshake, but no one is sure if he can be trusted. Okada considers the option, and takes it. But of course White uses it as a trap! He reels Okada in, but Okada slips around to get the wristlock. Okada swings White out, but White gets away from the lariat. Okada and White grin at each other, knowing they were both close to hitting their finisher. White and Okada circle again, then tie up. They push each other around, but White grabs hair. Okada turns things around at the ropes, then fakes a chop at the ropebreak, to instead pat White on the head. White chops Okada! Then chops again. White chops Okada more, and Okada falls to his knees.
White wraps on a headlock, but Okada fights and powers out. Okada dodges White to then headlock takeover. White pulls hair again but Red Shoes reprimands him. White powers up to his feet then fights the hold. He powers out, but Okada puts him on the apron. White hits back then climbs up, but Okada rocks him. Okada drags him out in a headlock, for a draping drop at Red Shoes’ count of 4. Okada runs, to basement dropkick White out of the ring. The Rainmaker fetches Switchblade, and whips him at the barriers! Then he runs in to boot White over! Fans rally up with Okada as he gets space. Okada runs back over, but White gets away. The flight is canceled, but the chase is on.
They go around behind commentary, and Okada boots White down. Okada clubs White, then drags him back to ringside. He bounces White off a post, then toys with him. Okada pushes White around, then brings him up again. White counters with a saido suplex! Both men are down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and White brings Okada up to put him into barriers. He then throws Okada into the apron, and back into barriers, then all over again. White puts Okada into the apron again, but Red Shoes reprimands him now. Fans rally for Okada while White drags him up for a chop. Okada staggers but White keeps on him, running Okada all the way over to ram him into railing! White leaves Okada to the mercy of the 20 count while catching his breath. But then he goes back out to fetch Okada, to put him back in the ring. Fans applaud that he at least wants to win more directly. White toys with Okada now as he brings him up. Okada hits White with forearms, but White chops back. White runs in for a European Uppercut, then he suplexes Okada into the buckles! Cover, TWO!
White drags Okada to the ropes to choke him with a knee. White scrapes his shoe into Okada, too, then brings him to the apron. He rams Okada’s face right on the edge! White clubs Okada, then peels the apron skirt to use it as a gag! Red Shoes counts and White lets go. White puts the skirt back, showing he’s not all bad. He then sits Okada up for another chop. They both return in the ring, White covers, TWO. White drags Okada up for a modified stretch. Okada endures the bending and stretching while Gedo rallies the fans. White shifts to a chinlock, but Okada stands up. Okada fights back with elbows, then whips White. White reverses to mule kick and throw Okada down. White drags Okada up, for a pumphandle backbreaker. Cover, TWO! Fans rally up but White keeps his cool.
White goes after the legs, figure four becomes a Deathlock, that he then makes into a Muda Lock! Okada endures as White bends him back. He drags himself to ropes, but White hooks his nose! Okada still gets the ropebreak! White lets go, but he stalks Okada with a smirk. White stands on Okada as fans start to turn towards his side. He drags Okada up and taunts Gedo. Okada swats White away but White comes back. White snapmares and kicks Okada, but Okada doesn’t seem bothered at all. Okada stansd up to take White by the throat. He throws forearm after forearm, then whips corner to corner. White dodges but Okada slips out of the back suplex, and he drops White with a DDT! Both men are down from exhaustion, but stirring as Gedo and the fans rally up again.
Okada kips up! He aims at White and rallies with forearms and elbows. He whips but White reverses, only for Okada to run White over with a back elbow. Okada whips White corner to corner agani, but runs into a back elbow. White runs out, but into a flapjack! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his cool, he has more ideas to use. Okada climbs up, but White stands, BIG crossbody! Cover, TWO, but Okada wants White to get back up. White stands, and Okada lifts, but White fights his way out. White gets around to a waistlock, Okada tries to fight out, but White gives him a saido suplex! Both men are down but White is stirring while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as White and Okada stand. White grabs Okada first for the half hatch. He rolls over and does it again, that’s two amigos. White goes again, but Okada fights out of the third. Okada swings but White blocks, and then suplexes Okada up for the twisting slam! Cover, TWO! That was really close, but still not enough. White calls for the finish with a slash of his throat. He has it set up, but Okada turns the Blade Runner into a cobra clutch! White reaches for ropes but Okada keeps him back. White starts to fade and Okada puts more wrench on it. Red Shoes checks on White as he falls to the mat. Okada puts his weight on White, but White slips out! White puts on a grounded cobra clutch! Okada endures the same hold while he drags himself towards ropes.
Red Shoes checks on Okada, but Gedo and fans rally up. Okada is slowly fading, but he gets a second wind for the ropebreak! White holds on until 4, and is growing frustrated. He gets back up while fans rally. Okada slowly stirs, but White drags him up. Okada fights out of the cobra clutch with elbows, then lifts White into Air Raid! Both men are down again, but fans rally up for Okada once more. He and White both stand, and Okada blasts White into a corner! Okada drags White back up, scoop slams him, then goes to the top rope. Okada leaps for the Macho Elbow! But he’s not done there, he wants his namesake! Okada drags White up, wristlocks, but White counters to a complete shot, then deadlift German! Bridging cover, TWO! Another close call but Okada still lives.
White grows further frustrated as he stands with Okada. White chops, then chops again. Okada manages to stay standing, so White chops him again. Okada grinds forehead to forehead before giving EuroUpper after EuroUpper. White grabs the hair, for a big lariat! Cover, TWO! Okada barely got out of that one. White drags Okada up again, but Okada pushes him away. White comes back but Okada still feebly fights him off. Okada swings but gets body shots and a forearm fore it. White saido suplexes Okada up and out!!
Okada’s down after hitting the apron then the floor, but White is merciless as he comes out to fetch him. White drags Okada up, and has others move out of the way. He brings Okada over, to snap suplex Okada into railing! White brags while Okada is dazed on the ground. White drags Okada up and into the ring, then fetches something from underneath. He has a chair! White threatens Gedo to get back, then takes that chair into the ring. Red Shoes double checks the rules, chairs are NOT legal. But White just shoves Red Shoes down!
White aims at Okada, but his swing misses! Okada dropkicks the chair into White’s head! Okada drags White up, whips him, and dropkicks White again. But Okada keeps going, as he lifts White up for the Tombstone! Okada doesn’t cover, but instead drags White up for the wristlock. He swings White out, but Red Shoes gets hit by White before the RAINMAKER! Cover, but Red Shoes can’t count! Gedo is furious but Okada keeps his cool. Okada drags White back up, but White slips out of the Tombstone to LOW BLOW Okada! Both men are down, as is Red Shoes. Okada and White stir, and White has the chair again! White chucks it into Okada’s face! White wants to finish this, so he brings Okada up, BLADE RUNNER! Red Shoes revives in time for the cover, White WINS!
Winner: Jay White, by pinfall; White earns 2 points, Okada earns 0
It was dirty as could be, but the Switchblade still defeats the Rainmaker! He’s so disrespectful to the leader of Chaos, he doesn’t even let Okada have an ice pack. More importantly, Okada’s on a losing streak. Can The Rainmaker bounce back during the Climax? Or will he continue to fall from grace now that he’s not the top champion in NJPW?
While Okada makes his exit, White picks up a mic.
“Boo all you want, I couldn’t give two sh*ts about any of you.” The Switchblade doesn’t care about the Japanese audience nor the foreign audience, or how they feel. Fans boo more as White addresses Okada. “You have been dying and embarrassing” since his fall at Dominion. “I had to pull the plug.” The fans can boo, but White vowed to make this his year. Okada is now White’s Rainmaker, because the stable is now White’s Chaos! This is White’s G1, and all the fans have no choice but to “breathe with the Switchblade.” White speaks boldly, but will Chaos fall in line behind him? And will White truly conquer the Climax? Or will it all come back to bite him in the end?
Jay White reviews how back on January 6th, he signed up with Chaos, sat down with Okada, and even told him to his face that he wouldn’t just sit in the background, that he would go after the captain’s chair “when the time was right.” What did Okada say back? That when they faced off, White would realize Okada was on another level. White just showed Okada up. Okada has been falling, “what a poor start to the G1 for the face of NJPW. Well, the former face of NJPW”, because White is the new face. White vows this is his company, his kingdom, and his Chaos. “It’s all the Switchblade’s.”
AXS TV reviews the Block A standings.
The Ace, the Runaway King Kong, Unbreakable Mike, the Problem Solver and now the Switchblade all take the lead with their wins while the Head Hunter, Underboss, King of Darkness, Man with the Worst Personality and THE Rainmaker are all behind. The round robin will continue, who will keep their momentum going? Who will get on the board? And who will end up still shut out?
AXS TV getting to the newest G1 Climax is good, but obviously they can’t take the time to show everything, nor would they be allowed to. NJPW itself needs to make money getting fans to watch the tournament when it happens, so AXS showing all the matches “for free” would be unfair. However, AXS showing the highlight matches is just fine, it helps out those fans who missed out or just can’t watch things when they happen *cough* like me *cough*. It was good of AXS to give a quick summary for the three opening round matches they couldn’t show, so that way the fans who want to really get into it don’t feel lost.
These two matches tonight were great choices. Suzuki, Tanahashi and Okada are the big names that will get attention from even beginner NJPW fans, and Suzuki VS Tanahashi is definitely great gritty action with storytelling from their past matches. I loved that it came down to both men beating up the other’s legs, and then for Tanahashi to win as payback for the Intercontinental Championship loss. The shock of Okada losing to White alone makes that a must-see match for this opening round. White is rocketing up in the Heel ranks as well as the ranks overall. I don’t know how well White declaring himself the new leader will go, that’ll play itself out in the rest of the matches and interactions with Chaos members.
My Score: 8.3/10