By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 5”
July 20, 2018 in Tokyo at Korakuen Hall
Broadcast live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero were the English commentary team. The show opened with the announcement that Gedo would replace Jado in a tag team match…
1. Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku defeated Toa Henare and Shota Umino. Umino picked up a couple of near falls on Sabre, who came back with a submission hold for the tap out win.
2. Kota Ibushi and Yujiro Takahashi defeated Toru Yano and Gedo. Before the match, Romero plugged his merchandise and comically pleaded with fans to support him because he needs drinking money. Funny. A brief match with Takahashi hitting a DDT on Gedo and pinning him. Kelly predicted Yano over Ibushi as an “upset special” for Saturday. He said he would have a stat on Saturday for Yano’s strong record in G1 matches that went less than five minutes. He said Yano doesn’t do so well when the matches go over five minutes.
3. Tetsuya Naito and Sanada defeated Juice Robinson and David Finlay. Late in the match, Sanada caught Robinson with a dropkick to the knee, then Naito followed up with a dropkick while Robinson was still down. Naito worked over Robinson at ringside while Sanada applied applied Skull End on Finlay. Sanada spun Finlay while he had the hold locked in and won via submission. Naito worked over the injured left hand of Robinson, which should be a story heading into their tournament match on Saturday. Romero said Robinson looked defeated already. “Look at him, he’s already lost,” Romero said of Robinson’s demeanor.
4. Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa beat Kenny Omega and Chase Owens. Kelly spoke about how Owens considered himself and honorary Tongan and how it broke his heart when Tonga and Loa turned on him. Kelly spoke about the Omega vs. Tonga match for Saturday by saying that he would be willing to be that Tonga would be willing to injure Omega just to keep him from winning the tournament. Romero said there has been a lot of complaining about the Tongans using interference in the G1, but that’s the way they roll. Kelly said it goes back to the early days of Bullet Club with Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) and later AJ Styles. Late in the match, Tonga hit Gun Stuns on Omega and Chase. Loa followed up with the inverted piledriver on Owens and pinned him. After the match, Tonga hit the Gun Stun on Omega and left him lying. Omega and Tonga will meet in an interesting tournament match on Saturday.
5. Tomohiro Ishii and Sho beat Hirooki Goto and Yoh. Sho performed a nice German suplex on Yoh, who came back with a rollup on Ishii. Sho performed a nice lung blower (Backstabber). Moments later, Ishii put Yoh away with a brainbuster for the win. Oddly, the in-ring exchange between Roppongi 3K tag partners Sho and Yoh didn’t feel important. This was a showcase for Ishii and Goto’s tournament meeting on Saturday. It looks like a good slug fest on paper, but the match didn’t do much to whet my appetite for their meeting.
6. Jay White defeated Michael Elgin in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Early in the match, Elgin stood on chairs in the front row and tried to suplex White, who blocked it. White followed with a snap Saito suplex at ringside. White rammed Elgin’s lower back into the edge of the ring. Later, Elgin performed a superplex from the top rope for a near fall. Elgin performed a top rope splash for another near fall. There was a scary moment when White set up for a move on the ring apron. It appeared White couldn’t hold Elgin up and they both fell to ringside. Elgin returned to the ring as the ref’s count reached 19. Elgin avoided the Bladerunner and then hit an elbow to the back of White’s head. Elgin performed a series of moves including a lariat and a sit-out powerbomb for a good near fall. Elgin performed a buckle bomb. White grabbed the ref as he was taking the move. REF BUMP!!! White low blowed Elgin and hit a Bladerunner. The referee recovered and made the three count. White’s strong G1 continues with wins over Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and now Elgin. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a post match White promo.
7. Minoru Suzuki defeated Yoshi-Hashi in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Late in the match, Yoshi threw a superkick and got a two count. Suzuki came back with forearms and followed up with the Gotch piledriver for the win. Suzuki hit one of the young lions with a forearm shot afterward. Romero excused himself from the broadcast table for a bit. Suzuki stopped by Kelly’s table and teased roughing him up with a forearm. It’s just not the same without Don Callis freaking out in fear whenever Suzuki approaches the table.
8. Evil defeated Togi Makabe in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Evil and Makabe exchanged late lariats. Evil hit his finisher and scored the clean pin for his second win of the tournament, which also gave Makabe his first loss.
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Bad Luck Fale (w/Tanga Loa) by DQ in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Fale went for a Bad Luck Fall, but Tanahashi countered into a huracanrana for a two count. Tanahashi followed up with a neckbreaker and a sling blade clothesline. Tanahashi went up top and went for a High Fly Flow, but Fale rolled out of the way. Fale performed a splash in the corner and got a near fall off a chokeslam. Fale went for the Bad Luck Slam again, but Tanahashi performed a sling blade from the elevated position. Tanahashi hit the high fly flow and had Fale pinned. Loa pulled the referee from the ring and attacked Tanahashi. Fale accidentally took out Loa with a clothesline. Tama Tonga hit the ring and performed the Gun Stun on Tanahashi. Fale crawled over and covered Tanahashi. Referee Red Shoes gave a double middle finger, refused to count and instead awarded the match to Tanahashi by DQ. The Tongans roughed up Tanahashi afterward.
10. Kazuchika Okada defeated Hangman Page in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Okada walked out with balloons and tossed them into the crowd. Kelly noted that it had been five years since Okada lost his first two matches in a G1 Tournament. Romero noted that it had been over 40 days since Okada won a singles match. Page countered a Tombstone piledriver and countered into a package version, which the broadcast team noted is a Kenny Omega move. A short time later, Page performed a neckbreaker from the ropes. Okada rolled to ringside. Page went up top and performed a moonsault onto Okada on the floor. Page rolled Okada back inside the ring and performed the buckshot lariat for a two count. Okada avoided the Rite of Passage finisher. Okada countered a Page move with a Tombstone. Later, Okada connected with a dropkick. Page ducked the Rainmaker and superkicked Okada. Page went for a buckshot lariat. Okada ducked the move, but Page ended up powerbomb. Page set up for his finisher, but Okada ducked it and hit a big lariat and then followed up with a Rainmaker clothesline and scored the clean pin.
Kelly praised the performance of Page and said he believes he will be a fixture in the tournament going forward. Okada delivered a post match promo that Jango translated on the English broadcast. Okada acted emotional and then with a straight face said the G1 just started and he’s looking forward to winning the tournament. Okada went backstage for the post match press conference and was apologetic for losing his first two matches.
Powell’s POV: A solid show that felt the most predictable as far as the tournament matches are concerned. It also lacked the big star power main events that the previous shows had, but I enjoy Page’s work and he and Okada had a good main event.
The scoring for the round robin tournament is two points for a victory, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss.
The current standing in the A-Block: Jay White (6), Michael Elgin (4), Togi Makabe (4), Evil (4), Hiroshi Tanahashi (4), Bad Luck Fale (2), Hangman Page (2), Minoru Suzuki (2), Kazuchika Okada (2), and Yoshi-Hashi (0).
The updated standings in the B-Block: Kenny Omega (4), Kota Ibushi (4), Tama Tonga (2), Hirooki Goto (2), Tomohiro Ishii (2), Tetsuya Naito (2), Zack Sabre Jr. (2), Sanada (2), Toru Yano (0), Juice Robinson (0).
Saturday’s show in Tokyo will feature the following B-Block matches: Kenny Omega vs. Tama Tonga, Hirooko Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Juice Robinson vs. Tetsuya Naito, Sanada vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Toru Yano vs. Kota Ibushi.
Sunday’s event in Tokyo will feature the following A-Block matches: Kazuchika Okada vs. Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hangman Page, Jay White vs. Minoru Suzuki, Evil vs. Bad Luck Fale, and Michael Elgin vs. Yoshi-Hashi. The tournament will continue on Thursday, July 26.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Brian Pillman Jr., who discusses his training, following his father's footsteps, his own career aspirations, being part of the Hart Foundation faction, his big match at the MLW Saturday Night SuperFight pay-per-view, working with Jushin Liger, touring the WWE Performance Center, and much more...