By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 1”
July 14, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan at Ota City General Gymnasium
Broadcast live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly, Don Callis, and Rocky Romero were the English commentary team.
1. Jado and Hirooki Goto beat Toa Henare and Ren Narita. Narita got a nice near fall on Goto, but Goto came back moments later and hit his finisher for the win.
2. Tomohiro Ishii and Sho beat Yoh and Toru Yano. An unique match with two tag teams being split to work opposite their usual partners. Ishii performed a vertical drop brainbuster on Yoh and got the pin while Sho blocked Yano from returning to the ring to break it up.
3. Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa over Juice Robinson and David Finlay. Tonga hit the Gun Stun on Finlay and pinned him. You had to assume that the Guerrillas of Destiny would go over given the big angle at the end of the
4. Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku beat Kota Ibushi and Yujiro Takahashi. Sabre performed a Michinoku Driver on Takahashi and pinned him. Kelly said it looked like Michinoku has been doing some instructing and called the move a new weapon for Sabre. Michinoku went over to the English broadcast team and called it a Zack Driver. Sabre took the mic and said he’s bored with being the best technical wrestler in the world and will now do everything.
5. Tetsuya Naito and Sanada beat Kenny Omega and Chase Owens. Naito took out Omega with a tornado DDT, and then Sanada forced Owens to tap to the Skull End.
6. Togi Makabe beat Yoshi-Hashi in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Hashi had his right shoulder heavily taped. Makabe performed a German suplex, but Hashi stood up and no-sold it. A short time later, Makabe rammed Hashi’s head into the ring post twice before performing a German suplex from the ropes. He followed up with a knee drop and scored the clean pin.
7. Hangman Page beat Bad Luck Fale by DQ in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Page set up for his Rite of Passage finisher when Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa hit the ring and attacked him for the DQ. Callis said he didn’t think Fale cared about the loss because this was about something bigger. The trio set up to choke out Page with his own rope, but Omega, Ibushi, and Owens ran out and chased them off. Kelly said it was a rare DQ finish in the G1. It made perfect sense in terms of protecting Fale and continuing the feud between the Tongans and their former Bullet Club buddies.
8. Michael Elgin beat Evil in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Evil targeted the right arm of Elgin and placed it inside a chair before stomping on it at one point. Elgin performed a crucifix powerbomb and then an Elgin Bomb for the win. Elgin held his right arm at his side while slapping fans with fans. Kelly and Callis questioned how injured the right arm is and how it would affect him going forward in the tournament.
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Minoru Suzuki in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Suzuki was dominant for a good stretch. Late in the match, Tanahashi performed an inverted dragonscrew leg whip. Suzuki sold it big time by crying out in pain. The broadcast team agreed that they’d never heard Suzuki cry out in pain before. Tanahashi performed sling blade for a two count. Tanahashi followed up with a cross body block off the top rope and then hit a traditional High Fly Flow for the win. Suzuki continued to play up the injury afterward. Desperado was going to help him to the back, but Suzuki shoved him aside and limped to the back on his own. On the other hand, Tanahashi took some help getting up the ramp.
10. “Switchblade” Jay White beat Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Okada had his hair dyed red. Kelly noted that there was a different look and a different sound, as he also came out to “a frantic remix” of his usual theme song. Late in the match, White performed a Saito suplex that dumped Okada to the ring (in a fairly safe manner). White suplexed Okada into the guardrail, which was actually linked. Romero said it was the “same shit he did in San Francisco.” White jawed at everyone at ringside. Okada came back with a dropkick and hit a Tombstone piledriver. Okada hit the Rainmaker, but White back fisted the referee before taking the clothesline. REF BUMP!!! Callis said it looked inadvertent, but Kelly and Romero both said “come on” after watching the replay. White low blowed Okada while the ref was still down. White threw a chair at Okada’s face. White followed up with a Blade Runner and referee Red Shoes woke up to count the pin. Kelly pointed out that White dissed Gedo afterward.
After Okada left, White stood up and held up his middle finger and twirled around. White took the mic and said he doesn’t care what anybody thinks. White said he had to pull the plug on Okada. White mocked the crowd and said, “F— all of you.” White said it is now his Rainmaker, his Chaos, and his G1. He also boasted to the broadcast team and then continued to boast in a brief backstage press conference.
Powell’s POV: White has gone from being a guy who looked out of place in the Switchblade role to emerging as a top notch heel in just a matter of months. Granted, it’s more about growth of White than the Switchblade persona, but he has really elevated his game. We knew White was a talented wrestler, but it’s a blast to watch him break out of his shell charismatically and as a talker.
The scoring for the round robin tournament is two points for a victory, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. Thus, Makabe, Page, Elgin, Tanahashi, and White all have two points, while Yoshi-Hashi, Fale, Evil, Suzuki, and Okada have none.
The tournament will continue on Sunday morning at the same venue with the following B Block matches: Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Hirooki Goto vs. Sanada, Juice Robinson vs. Tama Tonga, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano.