By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Powell’s Non-Spoiler Recommendations: With so much pro wrestling content available these days it can be difficult to find time to watch everything. This is especially true during the G1 Climax Tournament. Thus, I will be sharing spoiler-free recommendations at the beginning of some of our event reviews for the benefit of those who want to pick and choose what they watch. In this case, all five tournament matches were really fun in their own unique way. Watch each tournament match if you have time, though Hirooko Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii, and Tetsuya Naito vs. Juice Robinson are the standouts if you only have time for a couple of matches. That’s it for the non-spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk.
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 6”
July 21, 2018 in Tokyo at Korakuen Hall
Broadcast live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero were the English commentary team.
1. Yoshi-Hashi and Sho beat Michael Elgin and Ren Narita. With Elgin and Yoshi brawling at ringside, Sho kicked out of a couple of rollups by Narita. Sho came back with a lariat clothesline. “I taught him that clothesline,” Romero said. Sho performed a powerslam for a two count, then followed up a bridging German suplex for the win.
2. Bad Luck Fale and Tanga Loa over Evil and Bushi. All four men ended up in the crowd. Fale ran Evil’s face in to the back wall. They eventually returned to ringside. Back in the ring, Loa hit his finisher on Bushi and pinned him. After the match, Loa stopped by the broadcast table and said they shouldn’t put a junior heavyweight in the ring with them. He added that they’ll make your ass grass (ugh).
3. Minoru Suzuki and El Desperado beat Jay White and Yoh. Yoh had a nice run of offense on Suzuki, who put him in a rear naked choke. White caused a distraction. A short time later, White could have made the save, but he watched as Suzuki performed the Gotch piledriver on Yoh and pinned him. Romero noted that it’s the second time that White has thrown Yoh to the wolves. White jawed at Suzki about facing him in a tournament match on Sunday, but then he ran away when Suzuki moved toward him. Suzuki worked over a couple of young lions before walking to the back. The broadcast team was spared this time.
4. Hangman Page and Chase Owens defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and David Finlay. Tanahashi broke up a Page attempt for his finisher on Finlay. A short time later, Finlay performed a uranage backbreaker on Owens. Page returned with a buckshot lariat and then hit the Rite of Passage on Finlay and pinned him. The broadcast team noted that Page was unable to hit the Rite of Passage during his match with Okada or the outcome may have been the same. Page and Tanahashi jawed at one another afterward to set up their tournament match for Sunday.
5. Togi Makabe and Toa Henare over Kazuchika Okada and Gedo. Makabe hit performed the King Kong knee drop on Gedo and pinned him while Okada and Henare were at ringside. Afterward, Okada took Makabe’s chain and wrapped it around his fist. Okada dropped the chain in the ring before heading to the back.
6. Toru Yano beat Kota Ibushi in a G1 Tournament B-Block match. Yano pulled out a roll of tape while the referee was distracted and tied Ibushi’s wrists together. Ibushi dropkicked Yano with his wrists taped. Ibushi threw more kicks and then performed a standing moonsault with his wrists still taped for a two count. Yano put the referee between the arms of Ibushi and then rolled them both up. REF BUMP!!! Yano chop blocked Ibushi and rolled him up for the pin. Yep, that really happened. The crowd was really into this and it was good, silly fun.
7. Sanada defeated Zack Sabre Jr. in a G1 Tournament B-Block match. After a series of holds and counters, they both took a brief break in the corner. The broadcast team said the five-minute mark had just passed and compared it to a rounds break in World of Sport. Later, Sabre scored a good near fall off a bridge pin, but Sanada came right back with Skull End. Sabre rolled him into a pin, but Sanada rolled through into a bridge and scored the pin. “He just out-wrestled the wrestling master,” Romero said of Sanada. Kelly noted that Sanada’s next tournament opponents are Ibushi and Kenny Omega.
8. Tetsuya Naito beat Juice Robinson in a G1 Tournament B-Block match. Robinson continued to sell his left hand injury, which Naito targeted. Robinson threw chops with his good hand. Naito spat in the face of Robinson. Kelly noted that Naito was trying to bait Robinson into throwing a punch with his other hand because it would be a disqualification due to the extra protection on the hand. Naito targeted the hand. Later, Naito performed a top rope huracanrana, but Robinson rolled through for a great near fall. Robinson went on an offensive run until he set up for a superplex.
Naito grabbed the bad hand of Robinson to break it up. Robinson was able to come back with a fallaway slam from the middle rope. Robinson followed up with a cannonball and a powerbomb for another top notch near fall. Robinson set up for a Juice Box. After a slip, Naito performed a reverse huracanrana. Robinson set up for Pulp Friction. Naito countered into a German suplex. Robinson stuffed a Destino attempt and hit a lariat. Robinson went for Pulp Friction. Naito stuffed it and went for a Destino. Robinson blocked that and went for the Juice Box. Naito countered into Destino for another great near fall. Naito followed up with another Destino for the win. A very good match that is worth going out of your way to watch.
9. Kenny Omega beat Tama Tonga by DQ in a G1 Tournament B-Block match. Before the match, Omega pointed at Tonga, but Tanga Loa attacked him from behind. Bad Luck Fale joined in on the beatdown. Tama picked up the IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt and slammed it down, then kicked it when referee Red Shoes tried to take it. The Tongans took turns hitting running clotheslines on Omega in the corner. Chase Owens and Hangman Page ran out and went after the Tongans.
The referee called for the bell to start the match. Omega did the Terminator kneel and then performed a big flip dive onto the pile at ringside. Tonga speared Omega back inside the ring. Tama jawed at Omega. He asked him if he thought he’d make it easy on him. He said they had something special and Omega had to ruin it. Red Shoes ejected Fale, Loa, Page, and Owens from ringside. Tama continued to tell at Omega for dividing the Bullet Club. Later, Omega connected with a V-Trigger. Loa returned to ringside and hit Omega’s knee while the ref was tied up with Tama. Omega performed a clunky apron bomb and then rolled Tama back inside the ring.
Omega set up for a V-Trigger, but Loa grabbed his leg. There was a good near fall off Loa throwing a chair at the head of Omega and a Tama rollup. Tama went for Gun Stun on a chair, but Omega stuffed it. They jockeyed for position and Tonga set up for a Styles Clash onto the chair, but referee Red Shoes kicked it out of the way. After some pushing and shoving with Tama and Red Shoes, Tama performed a Gun Stun on Red Shoes. The bell rang for the DQ. Fale returned and the trio worked over Omega. They put a chair around his neck and Tama set up for a Gun Stun, but Ibushi, Page, and Owens ran out and chased them off. Tama called them a dying breed from ringside and said he would end them all. Good storytelling and a smart DQ finish. At some point they need to give Tama a meaningful win over a credible opponent.
10. Hirooko Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii in a G1 Tournament B-Block match. Goto and Ishii traded running lariat clotheslines with neither man leaving his feet. The crowd ate it up. Ishii connected with a clothesline that put Goto on his knees, but then Goto came right back with a lariat that knocked Goto to the mat. Goto got right up and connected with another lariat. This continued until both men hit simultaneous lariats and fell to the mat.
Later, Ishii connected with a series of forearms and Goto collapsed in the corner. Ishii set Goto on the top rope and performed a brainbuster for a near fall. Goto came back with a neckbreaker on his knee. Goto dropped Ishii with a forearm and a lariat and then hit the reverse GTR. Goto set up for his finisher but Ishii avoided it and performed a Saito suplex. Goto and Ishii took turns blocking moves. Ishii turned Goto inside out with a lariat for a good near fall. Goto came back with a near fall of his own. In the end, Ishii performed a vertical drop brainbuster and scored the clean pin.
Powell’s POV: I wrote yesterday that Friday’s show felt like it had the most predictable tournament match outcomes. That wasn’t the case today as I didn’t expect to see Yano or Sanada win their matches. The main event was the expected strong style war that puts Ishii in line for a NEVER Openweight Title match after the tournament concludes. This is the best I’ve seen Ishii used in Japan during my limited history with NJPW. He has come off like a star in the United States, but it seems like I see him teaming with Toru Yano in undercard matches when I catch the NJPW shows held in Japan. By the way, the B-Block continues to shine, though I am definitely enjoying the rise of Jay White on the A-Block side and I’m curious to see if it continues when he faces Minoru Suzuki tomorrow.
The scoring for the round robin tournament is two points for a victory, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss.
A-Block Standings: 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).
B-Block Standings: Kenny Omega (6), Kota Ibushi (4), Tetsuya Naito (4), Sanada (4), Tomohiro Ishii (4), Tama Tonga (2), Hirooki Goto (2), Zack Sabre Jr. (2), Toru Yano (2), Juice Robinson (0).
Sunday morning’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 in Niigata with the following B-Block matches: Kota Ibushi vs. Sanada, Kenny Omega vs. Juice Robinson, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Tetsuya Naito vs. Tama Tonga, Hirooki Goto vs. Toru Yano.