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Sendai Girls BIG SHOW in Niigata Results & Review (6/16/2018)

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We are back at Sendai Girls and the last show I did, we had a MOTY contender between Io Shirai and Meiko Satomura that ended in a draw and we also crowned a new champion when Hamada defeated Chihiro Hashimoto.

But I do have some bad news, Hamada had to vacate the championship when she got arrested for drug possession, meaning that her match with DASH had to be cancelled and we currently have no new Sendai Girls World Champion. However, they still have a show to do until they figure it out and this will be Io Shirai’s final appearance with the company before she has one more match to do at Stardom the day after, so I’m sure Meiko is gonna book a special show for such an occasion.

So let us…dive right in.

 

Singles Match
Manami vs. Mio Momono

Review: We got Manami taking on Mio Momono, who is from the promotion Marvelous That’s Women Pro Wrestling and yes that is a real promotion that is apart of the DDT Universe streaming service and that have a lot of promotions on their website for a low price too, I wanna get it but I have too many as it is, but definitely check it out since it’s more than DDT as you get BASARA, Marvelous, Tokyo Joshi Pro, and DNA for the same price as NJPW World. Anyway, Manami started off strong with some arm drags, takedowns, and some quick pins, but Mio countered it with a submission or two and would pin her down with Manami kicking out and Mio holding her down every time she kicked out to try and tire her out. The match is pretty basic with Mio having a bit more experience than Manami by two years and just working with Manami in the ring and Manami would get a few close calls with a roll-up, but Mio would turn it around and hits a Crossbody off the ropes to get the pinfall.

Recommended: Decent and short, so really up to you.

 

Singles Match
KAORU vs. Mai Mizuochi

Review: We got KAORU in action here as she takes on a newcomer to the wrestling scene, Mai Mizuochi and I wish her welcome and let’s see what she brings to the table here. I am disappointed by the lack of giant lollipops by KAORU here, I was expecting her to offer a giant lollipop to distract her like the last time I covered this show, I am sad now.

KAORU would beat Mai down and bring her to the outside right away to start beating her up until she brings her back into the ring and just kept beating her down to give Mai no offense in this match whatsoever. KAORU would taunt her Oedo Tai style and would go to the ropes where she’s handed a frame to drop on her, but Mai would roll out of the way in time. KAORU was about to put the frame away but Mai would finally get some offense in and Dropkicks her down while she was distracted and would top it off with three Running Crossbody’s in a row and only got a two count out of it. Mai would hit one more Crossbody but off the second rope to get another two count and would even hit a nice Suplex with a good bridge, but still another kick out with also another Crossbody and KAORU keeps kicking out. KAORU would have Mai up for a Suplex and holds her up in the air for about ten seconds and turns it into a Brainbuster for a two count and it looked like Mai was gonna get some momentum but gets kicked in the midsection a few times before getting hit with another Brainbuster and Mai kicks out of it. KAORU would stop playing around as she would hit the Excalibur for the victory over Mai. Mai so far has been rather impressive, she’s got a good look, good energy, and seems to have some potential. I’ll be keeping an eye on her.

Recommended: Solid match for what it was. Worth at least a viewing.

 

Singles Match
Aiger vs. Sakura Hirota

Review: Our next match is with our vets Aiger taking on Sakura Hirota. The two start to lock up and do their little shoulder tackle spot but Sakura would point to the rope where she was gonna run and Aiger just points the other way for her to go, which she says yes and does it just to get tackles down anyway.

Sakura would attempt an Old School only to get pushed between the ropes and would still find a way to clap to get the fans behind her which also makes Aiger pick her back up so she would stand on the ropes again and once she does, she starts talking to the crowd until she fell down again and Aiger tries to tackle her this time and slips causing her to slide outside. Sakura would attempt to do a Suicide Dive and would have half her body go through as the bottom half hit the middle ropes and fell down and I thought Aiger would attack her, but no since they just…run around the ring until they got back in to beat the count and even the referee tells them to not do it again and guess what? They do it anyway. They go back in again and Sakura would put something in the referee’s back pocket before going back out again and tries to distract Aiger with a child as she walked up to the child to touch his face…pause. The referee would go outside and found out that there was candy that was placed in his back pocket and gave it back to Sakura and Aiger would try to Clothesline the both of them as they ducked and then Aiger chased Sakura around again until they decided to chase the referee into the ring. I don’t mind comedy here and there when it’s not over the top, but is there even a match going on or is this intermission? Aiger went for a Clothesline and accidentally hits the referee to knock him out and would hit another one on Sakura to try and pin her, but there’s no ref. Aiger picked him up and looked annoyed but Sakura would hit the Thousand Years of Death on both of them (I can’t believe I just wrote this) and would try to hit Aiger and gets kicked by the referee instead and Aiger would try to go for the Powerbomb, but gets reversed into a Frankensteiner for a two count when Aiger spat white mist into her to roll her up and Sakura now kicked out. Aiger would have her up in a Razors Edge position and lands a Sitout Powerbomb for the win. I’m gonna be honest, I really didn’t like this match as not only it was sloppy, but also way too gimmicky for my taste. The Aiger gimmick is also way too gimmicky and I normally don’t mind stuff like this, but it just dragged and was way over the top.

Recommended: No.

 

Six Man Tag Team Match
Aja Kong, Nyla Rose & Rydeen Hagane vs. Ami Sato, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Manami Katsu

Recommended: We now get a six-man tag with some people from OZ Academy like Aja Kong and Hiroyo Matsumoto, Sendai Girls own Ami Sato, Manami Katsu and Rydeen from Pure-J, and Nyla Rose who is a Freelancer.

It looked like part of the match got cut out, but it starts on here with Aja being tagged in with Ami in the ring with her trying to knock her down with shoulder tackles and had no luck of doing so and would even get knocked down but would try to roll her up and failed due to Aja being too heavy for her and would try to sit on Ami, but she rolled out of the way and lead to Hiroyo and Katsu to all beat her down and held her arms out as Ami jumped on to of Aja to do the JAN taunt until they got pushed off. Nyla would get a quick tag in to show off her strength and hits a Stalling Suplex for a two count and would tag Rydeen in now as she hits a Scoop Slam for a two count, Ami would try her best to fight her off but it wasn’t enough and Rydeen went to run to the ropes and got stopped by Hiroyo to give Ami some time to tag Manami in. Manami and Rydeen would start wailing each other with some pretty stiff forearms and would last for a bit until Manami hits a Back Suplex on her to get the both of them down as they both tag in Nyla and Hiroyo into the match now as they two would try to Clothesline each other down with none of them falling, but Nyla would hit a Drop Toehold and then Dropkick her right after that. Nyla ran to the ropes but Ami would hold her down for Hiroyo to hit a Clothesline onto Nyla and picked her up for a Torture Rack before dropping her down and she would get beat down with Rydeen hitting a Splash off the second rope and Nyla hitting a rather sloppy Swanton Bomb for a two count when Manami broke the count. Aja gets tagged in now and would hit a Backdrop onto Hiroyo for a two count and would start striking her until Hiroyo would knock her down with a back elbow and once Hiroyo would try to go for the tag, Ami for some reason would push Manami off the apron so she could get tagged in…I guess she wanted to prove herself. Ami would keep tackling Aja onto the turnbuckle to try and daze Aja as she would try to pick her up for a Scoop Slam and no way she was gonna get far with that, Manami would try to help Ami out despite being pushed a couple minutes ago to try and go for a Double Suplex, but failed with Aja hitting a Brainbuster on both of them. Aja and Rydeen would try to squash Ami between them but she moved out of the way for them to collide and Ami rolled Aja up for another two count and she was gonna strike again until Aja would hit a Lariat for a two count and would then pick Ami up for the Brainbuster to win the match.

Recommended: This was a decent match and Ami impressed me the most out of the six despite Hiroyo being great. I would say give it a watch if you want to.

 

Sendai Girls Tag Team Title Match
Cassandra Miyagi & Heidi Katrina (c) vs. Alex Lee & Mika Iwata

Review: We got our only title match set up for the evening with Casandra Miyagi and Heidi Katrina with their second championship defense against Strong Style Rush, Alex Lee and Mika Iwata. The last time they fought for the tag team titles was on the April 22nd show and the champions were able to retain them, but now it looks like they’re gonna go at it one more time here and maybe they’ll get the chance to get the titles or will lightning strike twice and have the champions retain? Well, we’re gonna find out. While Alex and Mika were deciding who should go in first, the champs would attack them from behind and have them outside the ring for a little brawl before having them go back in to try and do more damage to them. They went for an Irish Whip and SSR would reverse it to hit a Dropkick on the both of them and it looked like Heidi was still standing as they kicked her down to size and ran after her to hit a double knee strike. It looks like Mika would be the legal person for the other team and Heidi knocks her down right away with a forearm before tagging in Cassandra and would for some reason bang her head around like she’s listening to a heavy metal song for some reason before grabbing Mika’s hair and kept pulling her back and forth until she decides to let go of her. Cassandra went to go for a kick and Mika catches her leg and would kick her back and grab her arm as she goes to the top rope for an arm drag to take her down and gives her a Dropkick before tagging in her partner, Alex and she gives Cassandra a German Suplex and looked like she was on her knees before they Superkick her and kicks out at two.

The champs would start to get the heat in the match with Cassandra and Heidi beating down Alex a few times before tagging each other back in and would stop once Alex kicked Cassandra down and she went to go for the tag, but Mika was knocked down and Cassandra would throw Alex to the outside and went to go for a Suicide Dive, but she faked it by pulling an Andrade with how she held onto the rope as Heidi attacked Alex from behind and the two would attack her outside the ring. They get back in the ring as Cassandra tagged in Heidi to beat her down some more and would apply a Boston Crab on her while Cassandra came in to knock Mika down before she could attempt to break the hold and would attack Alex’s head until the referee would tell Cassandra to get off and Alex would roll out of the Boston Crab to attempt another tag as Mika got pulled down before she had the chance which gave Heidi an opening to apply the Crossface for a bit before tagging Cassandra back in. Cassandra would go for a kick and Alex blocks it to kick her back and hits an Enziguri before she finally makes the hot tag for Mika to go in and she would have Cassandra to the corner as she hits a Shining Wizard and it looked like she was going for a Suplex, but Cassandra would reverse it and Mika would flip out of it to kick her and would hit a few Dropkicks for a two count and hits a Superkick before another two count, but Mika would turn it into an Armbar right away. Mika would fight the both of them off for a moment until Cassandra would attack her from behind and went to throw her, but Mika catches her with her Thrust Kick and she went down fast before Mika hits another one and tags in Alex to try and finish it as she hits a Double Underhook Facebuster for a two count. Cassandra would find a way to tag in Heidi and she would hit a Brainbuster and a Leg Drop for a two count, then Heidi would throw Alex towards the turnbuckle as she would jump back to hit a Crossbody and drags Heidi close so she can hit a Double Stomp off the top rope and when she pinned her, Cassandra would break the hold and Alex quickly tags back in Mika who kicks Heidi a few times on the corner and would throw her down for a pin and she kicks out. Mika would throw Heidi and Heidi would hit a Dropkick before Cassandra goes into the ring now so they could throw her towards the turnbuckle and they run at her with some strikes to put her down for good measure and Heidi now spins Mika around like how Cesaro does his spinning move until she decides to let go and would hit her with a Scoop Slam. Heidi would go to the top rope, but Alex would fight her off while Mika does the same to Cassandra on the other side and throws Cassandra down so Alex and hit a Superplex to Heidi while landing on top of Casandra. Now Mika would jump onto Alex’s shoulder so she could Powerbomb her on top of Heidi to pin her, but Cassandra would break it up before the three count and now Alex would fight Cassandra on the outside while Mika does a Crossbody onto Heidi for another two count. Mika was doing her best to win with rolling Heidi up and even attempting the La Magistral, but Heidi would still kick out and while Mika ran to the rope, Cassandra came in to hit a Dropkick and even pick her up for an Electric Chair Dorp before Heidi picked her back up to hit a Running Powerslam and this could be it, but Alex saves the match by breaking it up. Heidi looked like she was gonna end it with her Diving Leg Drop, but Mika rolled out of the way and hits another Thrust Kick and it looked like she was gonna finish it as she climbed the rope, but Cassandra down push her off to give Heidi time to drag her over and hits the Diving Leg Drop to retain the titles.

Recommended: I really enjoyed the match between the two, I think it’s definitely worth a watch.

 

Tag Team Match
Chihiro Hashimoto & Meiko Satomura vs. DASH Chisako & Io Shirai

Review: This will be Io Shirai’s final appearance outside of Stardom before she does her final show the next day and then departs for the WWE as her last match will be a tag match with her partnering up with DASH Chisako as they take on Meiko Satomura and former Sendai Girls World Champion, Chihiro Hashimoto. With no champion, DASH and Chihiro are actually set to fight for the vacant title at Jinsei Shinzaki’s 25th Anniversary show on June 24th which I will be covering soon actually, so definitely keep an eye on it. Will Io win her final match with the company or will her team fail? DASH and Chihiro would start the match off to give us a little preview before their upcoming title match as the two would start with some chain wrestling and it looked like Chihiro would get the upper hand for a moment and DASH would attempt an arm drag, but Chihiro was too strong and hits one on DASH instead before jumping over her and DASH catches her with a Dropkick as Chihiro was still standing and would hit two more on her before she kicked out at one and quickly tagged in Io. Io would deliver stiff forearms to Chihiro and would go for a Crossbody but was caught and slammed down before she picked Io back up for an Abdominal Stretch until DASH tried to break it up, but Meiko came in to kick her down and apply a submission of her own until they both broke it up. Meiko gets tagged in now as she and Io would chain wrestle as well but ends with Meiko knocking her down with a shoulder tackle and Io kips up right away and catches her with the Crossface and as Chihiro tries to break it up, DASH came in to stop her and also apply a submission showing a bit of payback from a few minutes ago until the referee told them to break it off and Io kept the hold till Meiko had her foot on the rope.

Meiko would take Io down by her arm and would land her knees on top of Io before she made the tag to Chihiro and would start to dominate the match with her strength, but Io would find a way to counter and attempts a Double Underhook and Chihiro would flip her over despite Io landing on her feet to taunt her and as Chihiro would run to the ropes, Io followed and dragged her down before jumping over to hit a Dropkick and tags in DASH. DASH would first attempt a Double Stomp off the top rope and misses before having her thrown into the turnbuckle for her jumping knees and Chihiro would kick out and tag in Meiko who would just destroy DASH with her kicks and other strikes, but DASH found a way to throw her into the turnbuckle and tag in Io who does her famous running knees to the turnbuckle and Chihiro breaks the hold before they both throw her into the ropes as Io cartwheels and backflips away from them to hit them with a Double Dropkick and then a Suicide Dive once they rolled outside the ring. Once Meiko got onto the ring apron, Io would run towards her to hit a 619 and then a Springboard Dropkick for a two count and Io would pick her up to attempt a German Suplex, but Meiko would hit her a couple of times before hitting an Overhead Kick and ran in to hit a vicious DDT and her Cartwheel landing on her knees on top of Io for a two count. Meiko would attempt her Death Valley Bomb but Io got off of her and would hit a forearm in which Meiko counteracts with a stiff kick to make Io go down and once Meiko picked her up, Io would hit a couple of uppercuts and went running the ropes but gets caught into a Superkick as they’re now both down. Both DASH and Chihiro would get tagged in now as the two would hit each other back and forth with forearms and Chihiro caught her and tackles her into the turnbuckle before throwing her to the other one from across the ring, but DASH would move out of the way and hits a Missle Dropkick and hits another Dropkick for a two count. Chihiro would have DASH down and attempted to flip her over, but she was able to hit the Gutwrench Suplex, a Spear, and topped it off with a Senton Bomb off the second rope for a two count. Chihiro would attempt a German Suplex and it looked like DASH was holding onto the ropes, but Chihiro would pull her away from the ropes before Io came in to make the save and then gets caught into the German until Io flipped her over and tops it off with a Double Stomp and then Meiko would attempt to kick Io and gets caught with a Dragon Screw as both Io and DASH Dropkick them to the outside to give Io time to hit her famous Moonsault on both of them to the outside.

Io would get Chihiro back into the ring to hit her Underhook Facebuster and DASH topped it off with a Double Stomp off the top rope and it looked like she was going to get the win here, but Meiko would break the count before DASH had a chance as both Meiko and Io are now rolled out the ring to fight it out. DASH went to the top rope again but Meiko came back in to hit DASH with a forearm and would go to the top rope now only for DASH to hit Meiko with a Dragonrana to take Meiko down. DASH and Chihiro would hit each other back and forth again and once DASH ran to the ropes, Chihiro would finally catch her for just a regular German Suplex to take them both down. The two got up again and started to fight each other again until Chihiro would hit her with a Lariat and followed with two Short Armed Lariats after that, and now Meiko would help Chihiro out to hit a Frogsplash on top of her while Chihiro followed to hit her Rolling Senton off the second rope, but Io was able to get into the ring in time to break the count. Meiko would throw Io out of the ring once again for Chihiro to hit another Lariat for a two count and would call for the end which she picked DASH up for a Powerbomb and Io hits Chihiro with a Springboard Dropkick to make Dash roll Chihiro up for a pin and kicks out at two. DASH would attempt to roll her up again and Chihiro powers out of it and picks her up to flip her over twice for a two count of her own and would finally hit her German Suplex hold on DASH for the victory. Chihiro now has the momentum leading to their Sendai Girls World Championship match coming up in a week, but will DASH find a way to defeat this monster of a woman? After the match, Meiko would call Io to the center of the ring as she talks about how amazing Io is in the ring, enjoyed their matches together, and she wishes her for the best in the next stage of her career. Io would thank everyone after the two shook hands for respect and she hopes people would continue to support her as she opens up a new chapter in her career. Io was given a bouquet of flowers and all four of them posed into the ring together before leaving it to close the show.

Recommended: This was a solid match and even though it could’ve been a little bit better, it was also a good way to end her time in Sendai Girls as she gave us some great battles there. Still, it’s worth a watch either way.

Overall: While not as good as the previous show I covered, it was still solid all around and gave us two great matches at the end of the show along with a farewell to one of the greats. The show is worth watching for that alone.

Favorite Match: Chihiro Hashimoto & Meiko Satomura vs. DASH Chisako & Io Shirai

Least Favorite Match: Aiger vs. Sakura Hirota

Score: 7.5/10

 

Till next time!


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Andrew’s G1 Climax 28 A Block Ratings & Review: Day 3

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So a few surprising results from the first day of the G1. Shattered Okada lost his first match,  Minoru Suzuki is down early and Bad Luck Fale cares about statements more than points.

It will be interesting to see how the second day shakes out. Break point is usually around 3 losses. So if anyone starts 0-2, that doesn’t give a lot of room for error.

Let’s find out who takes the early lead this year.

 

Michael Elgin vs Hangman Page

Starting off nicely with two men who already have a victory, so the winner here will take an early lead in the tournament. Since it’s Page’s first G1, they don’t have any previous matches to pull from beyond stuff in ROH. But let’s be honest, Page has really come into his own the last year or so. Thusly, their previous matches are a little moot.

This match really helped Page get over more with the Japanese crowd. Elgin’s power was on full display in this match, while Page tried to use his agility and even show heart by striking back and forth with him.

As the match went on, the crowd was more and more behind Hangman, which was nice to see them come around. Elgin ends up countering the Buckshot Lariat with a Lariat of his own, followed by a Tiger Suplex and Splash Mountain, but Hangman kicks out.

Alas, the kick out only delayed the inevitable where Elgin hits Buck Bomb, into Tiger Driver into Elgin Bomb to get the pinfall, and be the first competitor to 4 points.

As a match this was fine. A few higher risk spots looked a little clunky and they didn’t always seem to be on the same page, but it wasn’t a bad match at all.

Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb

Rating: *** 1/4

 

EVIL vs Yoshi-Hashi

This is an odd pairing. Both men lost their opening match, but aren’t perceived as equals. EVIL is up and coming, upper mid card, while Yoshi-Hashi is the bottom of the barrel. However, Yoshi-Hashi holds the victory in their only ever run in the 2016 G1. So can Yoshi-Hashi run it back, or will EVIL get his win back?

Well now, this was a somewhat unsurprising match, and even the crowd seemed to just be waiting for the end. Yoshi-Hashi showed some early aggression, but he came off as over anxious. So much so, he nearly killed EVIL when he put too much torque in a Powerbomb attempt, and also too damn close to the ropes, so they both spilled out to the outside.

Thankfully, no one seemed badly injured, but still, Hashi repeated the Powerbomb attempt when they went back in the ring, which proves it was a botch.

Yoshi went for Karma a couple times, but EVIL fights it off and lands a hard hitting lariat to set up nicely for Everything is Evil. Which ties up their G1 records at 1 a piece, but more importantly, it puts EVIL on the scoreboard.

Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Togi Makabe vs Minoru Suzuki

So there’s a lot of history behind both of these men. Most recently we had Suzuki beating Makabe at the Anniversary show this year. The bad blood runs deep with these guys, so let’s just see how it plays out.

Umm…okay, my first reaction is that this match is the wrestling equivalent of watching a hate fuck. Words don’t exactly do it justice, nor can I find a better reaction.

This match is a fight, nothing pretty, nothing flashy, just a masterfully savage brawl. Both men goad the other for more strikes, they have a chair duel, numerous strong style moments and just a plethora of sadistic desire.

Suzuki looks like he might win with the Sleeper Hold, but of course, he goes for the Gotch Piledriver and Makabe continuously blocks the move. Makabe hits a few lariats, his ten count head punches with signature Makabe laugh and Spider German Suplex.

Minoru stands up after the spider so Makabe hits him with a Flying Knee, and then his signature finish, King Kong Knee Drop. Makabe goes to 4 points while Suzuki sits at zero.

This match was leaps and bounds better than their Anniversary show, and will be hard to top for this day.

Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop

Rating: **** 1/4

Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada

From Rainmaker to Rainman, Okada remains shattered with his red hair, balloons and awful remix theme. Not really sure how hard Fale is trying since he gave the 2 points to Hangman Page last A Block Day, just to send a message.

Well okay, so the Tongans are back in old school Bullet Club form. Tanga Loa came out with Fale, but Okada handled both of them relatively easily. Okada was able to slam Fale, slip out of the Bad Luck Fall twice and hit two Rainmakers.

But Tama Tonga slides in out of nowhere, to land a devastating Gun Stun while Fale had the referee distracted, and that was all that was necessary. Fale picks up the pieces, hits a Bad Luck Fall and gets himself 2 points.

Rainman Okada needs to figure this out, definitely, definitely, needs to figure this out.

Winner: Fale via Bad Luck Fall

Rating: ***

 

Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

Well Tanahashi put Jay in his place at Wrestle Kingdom 12, but this is a new Switchblade. White has a new confidence about him since beating Okada and Tanahashi has a chip on his shoulder since some people think he’s reaching the end. Will the Ace of a Century get his second win, or will Jay get his win back as well as join the 4 pointers at the top?

Jay continues to turn up the intensity in his matches. Going after Tanahashi’s banged up knee early and coming back to it to make a few points. However, Jay also lands a bevy of snap suplexes, which gives him the idea to focus on the neck also.

Watching White systematically carve up the ace was different, since this growth in his character has come fairly quickly. Tanahashi got in plenty of offense in this match though, so at least it wasn’t a one sided ordeal like his last one.

Jay introduces a steel chair directly in front of Red Shoes, and the referee lets him know that he’ll get disqualified. Jay swings any, but misses and then we get some shenanigans with the referee not paying attention.

Red Shoes cowers in the corner the same as he did during the G1 Special in San Francisco, and Jay hits Hiroshi with a low blow. As Jay goes for the chairshot, Tanahashi hits Jay with a straight right, below the belt.

The finish saw Tanahashi have a lot of momentum, but Jay managed to use Red Shoes as a shield to protect him from High Fly Flow and crotch Tanahashi on the top turnbuckle. We then see Jay throw the chair in the face of the ace, much like he did to Okada, land Blade Runner and pick up his second win.

Winner: White via Blade Runner

Rating: *** 3/4

 

A Block Standings:

Togi Makabe: 2-0 (4 Points)
Jay White: 2-0 (4 Points)
Michael Elgin: 2-0 (4 Points)
Hangman Page: 1-1 (2 Points)
Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-1 (2 Points)
EVIL: 1-1 (2 Points)
Bad Luck Fale: 1-1 (2 Points)
Kazuchika Okada: 0-2 ( 0 Points)
Yoshi-Hashi: 0-2 (0 Points)
Minoru Suzuki: 0-2 (0 Points)

 

Thoughts:

Much like I said after Day 1, the match quality is still solid so far, but the stories are really pushing the A Block forward. Makabe and Suzuki continue their blood feud, Yoshi-Hashi can’t seem to catch a break, Rainman Okada is too shattered to really compete, Firing Squad bringing the old school Bullet Club antics and Jay White…is just on a different level.

That’s not to mean like Okada was as an in ring performer, it’s just Jay is doing anything necessary to win. Plus this persona of he will claim everything, including the air, is his while imploring people to “open their lungs, and breathe with him”, is just…well…different.

Even if this isn’t 4+ star classics on every match, the storylines are still quite compelling and the ring work isn’t awful. Damn good night.


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Mathew’s G1 Climax 28 B Block Results & Review: Day 2

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If you have followed me and Andrew’s collaborations before, we both covered the AJPW Champion Carnival and Dragon Gate’s King of Gate a few months ago into doing separate blocks to make it easier since one person covering the whole thing. That would be a lot of time and work, plus I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this. So with this going on, Stardom, Dragon Gate, AJPW, and other stuff I cover will have to either be put on hold or limited for the time being until G1 is over with unless a really big show happens and I’ll try to squeeze it in.

Anyway, it is time for New Japan’s biggest tournament of the year, the G1 Climax where ten wrestlers with each block will fight each other in a round robin style tournament and the winner of those blocks will face off in the final and the winner of that will challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom in January. Last year, Tetsuya Naito won the G1 Climax by defeating Kenny Omega and this year has both blocks surely stacked as I cover B Block and got a solid opening. For predictions, I want Naito to win the G1 again to finally reclaim that title, but I somehow can see Tanahashi vs. Ibushi in there. Let’s not waste any more time and just…dive right in.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano

Review: Our first match in B Block contains both members of CHAOS as we have the companies gatekeeper, Tomohiro Ishii taking on Toru Yano who is someone that isn’t somebody that you would expect to win the whole thing but can be known to be a thorn on peoples sides by costing people a chance to win if he surprisingly defeats them. Can Yano get the victory in the first night and ruin Ishii’s chances or will the Stone Pitbull stomp on those thorns?

I think I’m missing something here because this is clearly not Toru Yano, did him and Ryo Saito share the same sake and became completely different people since this Toru seems to be a bit more serious than I’ve seen him in years, keep it up. The match was surprisingly very solid with this new side of Toru getting into the mix with even going toe to toe with Ishii a few times during the match. Another thing about Toru in this is that he wasn’t over the top with his little antics since it wasn’t one after another, he would do them in different sequences far in between to throw his opponent off a little bit more since they’ll be expecting them frequently from him and the fact that he’s not can throw them off more than he usually does. Ishii also does very well as usual by working with a bunch of people to give us quality matches and I feel like that’s what the remainder of his career is going to be in New Japan with just being the gatekeeper of the company and give us memorable matches outside of winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship since I don’t think he really needs it this stage in the game and you can even have a great career without the need of winning the big gold and he’s a great example. Toru near the end would try to do more of his antics with attempting to low blow him or use the referee and Ishii would just counter all of that and even pull a page out of Yano’s book with a low blow when the referee wasn’t looking and rolls him up with the La Magistral for the win and Ishii gets two points.

Recommended: Surprisingly entertaining, give it a watch.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Juice Robinson vs. Tama Tonga

Review: At the last show they had at the United States, a lot has happened with first being that Juice Robinson would defeat Jay White to become the new IWGP United States Champion in a solid bout with Juice finally winning his first big title and he has definitely earned it and has come a long way since his NXT days and now looks to have a more impressive record for this G1. Tama Tonga would pull the trigger with Bad Luck Fale and his family to assault Kenny Omega and the rest of the Bullet Club as he looks to bring the Club back to where it was originally supposed to be. With both having newfound chapters in their career, a win here would help solidify them a bit more as they both need it.

Tama normally doesn’t care about being in the G1 Climax, but with the Bullet Club Civil War going on and the fact that Kenny Omega is actually in the same block as time, it seems to have given him some motivation to give a damn about it just so he could defeat Kenny in the tournament a try to win the whole thing so he could defeat him again on the big stage. Juice’s hand still seems to be a bit injured since you can see him selling it more and not normally using it for when he does his little punch combo. The two seemed to hit it off pretty well with Tama being the cool type of heel with his brother helping him once or twice in the match and Juice, of course, being the underdog that is he despite being a champion now. Juice would seem to get the upper hand as he went for his Pulp Friction until Loa would distract him and get thrown in for Juice to hit him with his combo of punches to take him out and before he could try to hit the move again on Tama, he turned it around for a Gun Stun and gets the win. With Tama getting the win here against Juice, he could potentially have a future title match with him if he does indeed fail to win the G1, could be a fun match,

Recommended: Solid bout, worth watching.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Hirooki Goto vs. SANADA

Review: SANADA will always be my dark horse in any type of tournament he’s in since he has the potential to be one of the biggest stars in the company and he has shown a lot of that this year with his matches against Okada, Toru, Zack, and various others and maybe this tournament could be his break, never count him out because he could surprise you. The NEVER Openweight Champion, Hirooki Goto is his opponent and normally seems to do well in these types of tournaments and represents Shibata every time he comes out with the Openweight title since Shibata made that belt feel important and Goto hopes to do it for his good friend. Excited to see how this one goes since I think this is the first time they fight one on one.

After seeing this match, SANADA moved up the ladder a bit for me for favorites in the promotion for me since matches like these show you how excellent he is in the ring and how his character is also intelligent since he can calculate what to do in the match to better his chances of winning a match and knowing how to dodge or reverse his opponents moves without really having to reverse it into submission holds, almost as if he has a counter for everything if it plays out in his favor. Goto deserves as much credit as SANADA since while Goto is someone that really screams a main eventer or IWGP Heavyweight Champion material, he’s exactly where he needs to be with this title and representing his own vision of strong style and bring out the best of his opponents whenever he’s in the ring with them. I love the GTR reversals into the Dragon Sleeper between the two and most of these little sequences made me believe that he could’ve had Goto tap out and unfortunately couldn’t but it was still great storytelling with the both of them. Goto would attempt a GTR and SANADA would counter with a roll-up and would almost get the win by a millisecond as Goto kicked out just in time. Goto would have SANDA’s feet on the ropes and looked like he was going for that DDT Randy Orton does, but he hits a GTR instead before picking him up to double tap with one more GTR as Goto picks up the win. I need to see a rematch with these two as soon as possible.

Recommended: Great match, definitely worth watching.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Review: These two are no strangers to each other as they fought each other at last years G1 Climax on A Block with Ibushi getting the win over Zack and the two would fight again this year at the New Japan Cup Quarter Final Round with Zack making Ibushi tap out. The two would fight again to get the rubber match to see who would come out on top since a win here is important to get the early advantage. Will Zack be able to make him JUST TAP OUT for the second time in a row or will the Golden Star shine bright?

TAKA needs to be Zack’s manager permanently going forward just by how he hypes him up like how Gedo hypes Okada. With Zack Sabre Jr, I love his technical ability and I will never deny his talent as a wrestler, but my big problem with him normally that he hardly ever shows character or even sell outside of Japan like he would just be a generic guy that just knows a lot of technical moves, but whenever I see him in Japan with Suzuki Gun, he shows all of the things to show he can be a better overall wrestler instead of just moves and I wish I saw this side of him everywhere else since it’s great of him. This match was incredibly stiff from beginning to end with all of the strikes they do to each other whether it’s chops, kicks, or just slapping each other in the face enough to see the sweat leaving their body. Zack is just incredible with his submissions since he just knows body manipulation and can just make you tap out with just about any combination of his holds since he’s just so creative with them. Ibushi is a great talent with a glass ceiling hanging over his head and he could break that anytime he wants to move up to the next level and be a top player along with winning more gold, but the fact that he is a Freelancers with no decision to sign a full-time contract with the company is what holds him back to go to the next level to be the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. The last seven minutes of the match elevated their high intensity with Zack kept locking his arms and legs in to try and make Ibushi tap out while Ibushi would do his best to knee his face in to knock him out with both of them not giving each other the edge to make it happen, but Zack would give in as Ibushi finally hits the Kamigoye to pick up the win over Zack.

Recommended: Fantastic match, worth watching.

 

G1 Climax 2018 Block B Match
Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito

Review: We’re not at our main event of the night with our IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega taking on NJPW’s most charismatic superstar and leader of Los Ignorables de Japon, Tetsuya Naito and these two are no strangers to each other since this is the third year in a row where they fought each other in the G1 Climax and actually the only time these two ever fought each other in singles competition also.

Two years ago, Kenny Omega would defeat Tetsuya Naito in the B Block final show to determine who would move on where Kenny has one the G1 Climax, also making him the first Gaijin to win the tournament and also be the first Gaijin to main event a Wrestle Kingdom show despite losing the match. Last year, Tetsuya would defeat Kenny Omega in the G1 Climax final to win his second G1 and finally got what he wanted and that was to main event Wrestle Kingdom and the Tokyo Dome and he would also fail to win the belt from Okada at the show and he stated that he mostly cared about main eventing the show to show that he could get to that level and now that he has that goal crossed off his list, he can now set his sights on a new goal and that’s to win the championship once again but as a main eventer. A win here could be huge for both of them at the start of this tournament since they’re also both considered to be the favorites to win the tournament and them fighting first could possibly change the course of how things will play out.

This might be a bit of an unpopular opinion, but I like the Naito/Omega matches slightly a bit more than Okada/Omega and it’s mostly due to that while Okada/Omega has the better story and rivalry, Naito/Omega also have unique elements to their stories and also really good match quality since I’ve enjoyed all of their matches together and just feels more organic compared to the other feud, but the only thing holding me back for saying that it’s fully better is that they haven’t had a match outside of G1 together yet and these are just tournament matches instead of having a regular match without the constraints of being in G1 and I hope they get that soon if they win G1 or maybe at a different big event since I feel like we’re long overdue for one and doing it for the title would be a great way to do it. Despite that little nitpick, the match was fantastic and probably their best match together in these series of G1 matches as they are again more organic and natural with their wrestling and story with each other and loved the little taunts to each other in the beginning of the match with Omega mocking Naito and Naito doing it back to him a little bit after, it’s just great mind games to each other. Naito would hit a Destino twice on Omega and it was still not enough and when he went to go for it again, Omega caught him with a Fire Thunder and an Underhook Piledriver to do more damage onto Naito’s neck and he would eventually hit the One-Winged Angel to get the win. I was hoping for Naito to win this match to set up a future title match at Kings of Pro Wrestling or something, but I think it would be more beneficial for Omega to get a big win under his name while being the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Despite the loss, Naito was still super over with the crowd and they were even chanting for Naito over their own champion once that bell would ring, so I don’t know what that tells you.

Recommended: Best match of the night in my opinion, definitely check it out.

 

Overall: This is only the second day of the G1 Climax and they already raised the bar to hopefully have the following days step up their game until the very end of the tournament. I like to think B Block won the first day compared to A Block, but it was still really good and should definitely check out Andrew’s coverage also and follow us on this journey together.

Favorite Match: Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito

Least Favorite Match: Juice Robinson vs. Tama Tonga (If I really had to pick)

Score: 9/10

 

B Block Standings:

Kenny Omega 1-0 (2 Points)
Kota Ibushi: 1-0 (2 Points)
Tama Tonga 1-0 (2 Points)
Hirooki Goto: 1-0 (2 Points)
Tomohiro Ishii: 1-0 (2 Points)
Tetsuya Naito: 0-1 (0 Points)
Zack Sabre Jr: 0-1 (0 Points)
SANADA: 0-1 (0 Points)
Juice Robinson: 0-1 (0 Points)
Toru Yano: 0-1 (0 Points)


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International Coverage

Andrew’s G1 Climax 28 A Block Ratings & Review: Day 1

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So, much like you may have noticed, Mathew Sarpraicone and I like to split up tournaments so it’s not such an arduous undertaking. So for B Block days, make sure to keep an eye out for his articles.

Now, as with all tournaments, part of the fun is picking winners. Right? So if all of my fantasy booking works out, the Finals will be Hiroshi Tanahashi from A Block and Kota Ibushi from B Block. Now, yes I’m aware of the fact that the winner usually comes from the block opposite of the current IWGP Champion, but that trend has to break at some point.  So I’m picking Kota Ibushi to win the whole thing, so we can have the Golden Lover showdown at Wrestle Kingdom.

So with the pick out of the way, let’s get to today’s matches.

 

Togi Makabe vs Yoshi-Hashi

Yoshi has been mostly unimpressive and even disappointing the last few years. Managing only 2 wins last year, another bad run could mean he gets removed from next year’s tournament. As for Makabe, most people think he’s hitting that “old veteran” wall, and last year saw him struggle early before rattling off 3 wins in a row, ending with a respectable 4 wins. So with Makabe not having many G1s left because of age, and Yoshi looking at the chopping block because of failure…this match means quite a bit to both competitors.

The match starts off with both men just throwing forearm shots, as Makabe ducks a lariat and drives Yoshi to the ground with a Shoulder Tackle. From there we see a lot of back and forth from both men. Makabe with some big strikes and Yoshi-Hashi continuing to try and find his spot. Makabe goes to the top turnbuckle for his Spider German Suplex, but Yoshi-Hashi counters it and hits a running Sitout Powerbomb to turn the tide.

From there we see a few attempts at the Butterfly Lock and even a top rope Blockbuster from Yoshi-Hashi, still can’t put away Makabe. After popping up right after a German Suplex, Yoshi charges at Makabe only to get lariated into next week. Makabe then places him on the top rope again, hits the Spider German Suplex, into the King Kong Knee Drop, for the 1-2-3.

So another loss for Yoshi-Hashi, but he did show a few glimpses of resilience, so there might be hope for him yet.

Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop

Rating: ** 3/4

 

Bad Luck Fale vs Hangman Page

So this has weight thanks to the Tongans attacking the rest of the Bullet Club members and continuing the Civil War. Hangman is in his first G1, so there’s no past history to work off of and Fale has had 10 or more point the last 4 tournaments. So Fale usually having good luck in tournaments, coupled with the on going Bullet Club drama…makes you wonder how this one will play out.

Fale with an early cheap shot before Hangman gets in the ring, sends him careening into the barricade. After that we see a good bit of time outside, with Fale tossing Page into the barricade and multiple rows of seats. Eventually they get back into the ring, where Page shows some life.

What starts off as Fale dominating, gets turned around into a lot of impressive moments from Hangman. Tonga Loa comes out to distract, but Hangman fights him off and even lands his beautiful Moonsault onto both Fale and Loa. Following that up with his Buckshot Lariat, things begin looking like Page is on his way to a victory. But before he can really attempt the Rite of Passage, Tama Tanga hits the ring, throws the ref and all 3 beat down Hangman.

This causes the referee to have to DQ Fale, and give Page his first G1 victory…coupled with an ass kicking.

Winner: Hangman via DQ

Rating: ** 1/4

 

EVIL vs Michael Elgin

EVIL coming off the year that elevated his status thanks to his win over Okada last year. Elgin is an odd case where he puts up respectable numbers in his previous three G1s, but after having the shortest NEVER Openweight Title Reign this year and all his other personal drama, it’s really not easy to pinpoint his role in this years tournament. Both tend to do fairly well in the G1, the are 1-1 against each other, so the early momentum would be useful, and  a tie breaker.

This was a heavy striking affair. Elgin took an early advantage until he missed a lariat outside, which saw his lariat the ring post. After that, EVIL wrapped a chair around his arm and drove that into the post. Later in the match we see EVIL continue to work on the arm by driving the Elgin’s arm from the apron, across the barricade.

Elgin fought from underneath with the one arm for the better portion of the match, but that didn’t hurt any kind of suspense. He’d use the injured arm, regardless of pain, and they would trade lariats and power moves for a while.

As we got to the end, EVIL kept trying to go for Everything is Evil, but Mike counters repeatedly, even attempting his own finishers like the Burning Hammer, we see Elgin hit a big Gutwrench Splash Mountain into Elgin Bomb for the victory.

Winner: Elgin via Elgin Bomb

Rating: ****

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki

Neither of these men need an introduction honestly. Be it referencing their 2012 Match of the Year at King of Pro Wrestling, or even Suzuki torturing the Intercontinental Title off of Tanahashi earlier this year at New Beginning at Sapporo. We know what these two are about, and are always possible winners of any tournament they’re in. Should be fun to see who gets the early 2 points.

Well now, umm, this was a Suzuki clinic. Suzuki dominates this match with tons of strikes, Knee Bars, Achilles Lock, Heel Hooks, Figure Four Leg Locks, but Tanahashi lands an Inverted Dragonscrew Leg Whip, and that changes everything. Suzuki screams like his knee got dislocated or something, so a Sling Blade and two High Fly Flows give Tanahashi a win, when he spent most of the match screaming on his back.

Suzuki’s strategy made sense, and is exactly his type of thing. Torture before a quick victory. But I can’t help but feel it ended too abruptly and it was just odd to watch Tanahashi win out of nowhere.

Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada

So Jay White gets his first shot at Okada since returning from excursion and joining Chaos. Jay did say he wanted more inner stable matches, but given that neither have titles currently, this is just awkward. Okada sporting red hair and new awful music, and Jay White asking people where his belt is…I don’t even know what to think here. One will bounce back after big losses, but neither seems to be mentally complete at the moment.

Okada comes out with his balloons and looking relaxed to the point of goofiness, but does manage to take an early advantage. After some time on the outside, Jay White turns it around and starts banging Okada’s back off the barricade and apron. Plenty of entertaining spots in this match. Jay rips off the banner from the apron and tries to asphyxiate Okada, wait til 4, and then reattaches it as the crowd applauds that. Jay beats down Okada on the outside, Red Shoes starts counting, but Jay goes out there and throws Okada in the ring as the crowd applauds that also. So even though he’s doing obviously heelish things, they’re applauding when he does nice stuff as a show of respect, even if Jay is being disingenuous.

Even though this shell of Okada isn’t the same man that defended the IWGP title for 720, he gets a small fire under him when Jay starts toying with him. The Okada Dropkick, Macho Man Style Elbow Drop, Scooby Dooby Doo Crossbody and even a Rainmaker pose, but Jay manages to counter the Rainmaker the first few times.

We see Jay going to any lengths necessary to try and win the match, while verbally harassing Okada and messing with the crowd. Speaking of the crowd, they were oddly quiet through a lot of it. I’m not sure if they’re still trying to figure out new Okada or if they’re just not ready to openly support him after a year of cheering ever challenger he faced. Either way, the tense atmosphere, coupled with Jay’s insistence upon cheating to make it “his Chaos”, gave the match an odd feel.

Towards the end, Jay brings in a chair, pushes down Red Shoes and goes to hit Okada, but the Rainmaker Dropkicks the chair into Jay’s face and looks to be on track to winning the match. Red Shoes gets up, Okada winds up Jay for the Rainmaker, but Jay backfists Red Shoes before eating the Rainmaker. So even though the ref could’ve counted to 12, White’s tactics paid off. Kazuchika goes to pick him for another move, Jay hits a low blow, followed by throwing the chair into Okada’s face and finally, Blade Runner ends the match as the referee comes to.

So it told a good story of Okada still not being himself, and Jay White finding a character that will go to any lengths to win all while claiming everything is his.

Winner: Jay White via Blade Runner

Rating: **** 1/2

 

A Block Standings:

Togi Makabe: 1-0 (2 Points)

Jay White: 1-0 (2 Points)

Hangman Page: 1-0 (2 Points)

Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-0 (2 Points)

Michael Elgin: 1-0 (2 Points)

Kazuchika Okada: 0-1 ( 0 Points)

EVIL: 0-1 (0 Points)

Yoshi-Hashi: 0-1 (0 Points)

Minoru Suzuki: 0-1 (0 Points)

Bad Luck Fale: 0-1 (0 Points)

 

Thoughts:

Good first night, solid matches, a lot of storyline movement and even the big upset from Jay White. What’s going to become of Chaos after this tournament? Is Broken Okada gonna snap out of it? Do the Tongans care about winning, or just beating the hell out of the rest of the Bullet Club?

Only one way to find out. Story seems to be driving this G1 besides the prospect of high quality matches, and I’m not mad at all.


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