By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Non-Spoiler Powell’s Recommendations: With so much 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, do you need a day off from the tournament? Make it this one. It wasn’t a bad show, but even on paper it lacked the attractive matchups that the past events had. You can certainly skip the non-tournament undercard matches. If you are short on time and simply want to watch a couple of tournament matches, go with Michael Elgin vs. Yoshi-Hashi, and then decide for yourself whether Kazuchika Okada vs. Togi Makabe or Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hangman Page is more appealing to you on paper. That’s it for non-spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk.
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 7”
July 22, 2018 in Tokyo at Esforta Arena Hachioji
Broadcast live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero were the English commentary team. The ring announcer informed the crowd that Jedo was being replaced in his advertised match.
1. Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa vs. Toa Henare and Shota Umino. Henare had a run where he hit clotheslines on both opponents in opposite corners. Umino hit both opponents with a missile dropkick and then performed a German suplex. Loa came back with a Lariat and hit his finisher on Umino and pinned him.
Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa defeated Toa Henare and Shota Umino.
2. Hirooki Goto and Yoh beat Toru Yano and Gedo. Yano took the turnbuckle pad off. Kelly said fair play went out the window the night before and it looked like it would stay that way. Later, Yoh bridged while pinning Gedo to give his team the win.
Hirooki Goto and Yoh beat Toru Yano and Gedo.
3. Tomohiri Ishii and Sho vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku. This was the preview for the Ishii vs. Sabre match that will be held on Thursday. Sho applied an armbar on Michinoku. Sabre broke it up. Ishii performed a German suplex on Sabre. Sho reapplied the hold on Michinoku and got the submission win. Kelly and Romero spoke about tag partners Yoh and Sho getting back to back wins. After the match, Sabre put Ishii in an armbar briefly. Ishii didn’t sell it beyond shaking his arm once, so it appears to be more about Sabre playing mind games than setting up an injury heading into their match.
Tomohiri Ishii and Sho beat Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku.
4. Kenny Omega and Chase Owens vs. Juice Robinson and David Finlay. Omega and Finlay fought at ringside. Meanwhile, Robinson blocked a package piledriver attempt by Owens. A short time later, Robinson tripped up Owens on the ropes and performed the Juice Box gutbuster for a three count. After the match, Robinson and Omega put their belts over their shoulders and jawed at one another in mid-ring. The broadcast team questioned whether lighting would strike twice for Robinson.
Juice Robinson and David Finlay beat Kenny Omega and Chase Owens.
5. Tetsuya Naito and Sanada vs. Kota Ibushi and Yujiro Takahashi. Late in the match, Ibushi broke up Sanada’s Skull End on Takahashi with a missile dropkick. In the ring, Naito pinned Takahashi with a victory roll. Romero said he worked out earlier and the gym was not as filled as usual due to the wrestlers working four straight nights. Kelly noted that their placement in the building made for an easier night, as they were not by the rule breaker entrances unlike the previous three nights.
Tetsuya Naito and Sanada defeated Kota Ibushi and Yujiro Takahashi.
6. Michael Elgin vs. Yoshi-Hashi in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Late in the match, Elgin performed a superplex for a near fall. Elgin followed up with a buckle bomb, but Hashi took him down for a two count out of nowhere. Romero noted that a board was sticking up in the middle of the ring. Elgin blasted Yoshi with a forearm. Elgin ran the ropes and Hashi caught him with a lariat. Elgin came right back with a wicked suplex and then turned him inside out with a lariat for a two count.
Elgin followed up with a sit-out powerbomb for another near fall. Romero said no other wrestler has the heart to kick out of moves like that. The fans popped big. Yoshi connected with a superkick and a fisherman’s buster for a two count of his own. Yoshi performed a back stabber and then followed up with Karma and scored the pin. Kelly noted that Yoshi has to follow this match with tournament matches against Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Yoshi-Hashi defeated Michael Elgin in a G1 Tournament A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: Yoshi had the crowd with him after kicking out of Elgin’s big moves so the finish came off well. In fact, it’s one of the first times in my limited viewing that I’ve seen a NJPW crowd rally behind Yoshi.
7. Evil vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Tanga Loa) in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Loa called for Evil to fight him at ringside early on. The referee got between them. Fale came to ringside only to be run into the guardrail. Loa kicked Evil while the ref was distracted by getting a chair away from Fale. Evil was thrown into some chairs by Fale in the crowd. Back inside the ring, Fale targeted the right arm of Evil, who eventually battled back and took the fight back to ringside. Evil tossed a chair to Loa so that the ref would focus on Loa. Evil wrapped a chair around the neck of Fale and ran him into the ring post.
They returned to the ring where Fale picked up a two count off a running splash. Evil had a run of offense that Fale cut off with a lariat for a good near fall. Evil escaped the Bad Luck Fall and got a near fall of his own off a lariat. Fale flung Evil into the referee. REF BUMP!!! Loa ran in and attacked Evil. Bushi ran out to help Evil by blowing mist into the face of Loa. Tama Tonga hit the ring and performed a Tongan Twist on Bushi. Evil stuffed a Gun Stun attempt by Tama. Tetsuya Naito ran out and caught Tama with an enzuigiri. Fale turned Naito inside out with a clothesline. Evil scored a visual pinfall on Fale, but the referee was still down. The referee ordered everyone out of the ring. Tama hit a Gun Stun on Evil for the DQ. Afterward, Tama put Naito down with a Gun Stun.
Evil defeated Bad Luck Fale by DQ in a G1 Tournament A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: More of the same with the Tongans interfering and not caring about losing matches by DQ.
8. Jay White vs. Minoru Suzuki in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. White was leery of Suzuki early and ducked through the ropes to avoid him. Suzuki followed and was run into the barricade and guardrail repeatedly. Suzuki caught White with an armbar over the top rope and then hit him with several chops to the chest. White put his hands behind his back only to kick the knee of Suzuki.
Later, White threw a chop to the chest of a kneeling Suzuki, who called for more. White obliged. Rinse and repeat until Suzuki blocked one and grabbed the arm of White. Suzuki hit him with several shots to the face. White pulled the referee in front of him as a distraction to regain offensive control. White set up for his finisher, but Suzuki avoided it and ended up applying a rear naked choke. Suzuki blocked a low blow attempt by White and then punched him in the head and followed up with a Gotch piledriver for the win.
Minoru Suzuki defeated Jay White in a G1 Tournament A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: I was hoping for a better outing for White. He was made to look so strong in the first few matches that I was surprised to see him lose clean in this fashion. Granted, his wins have come by the way of cheating, but I still didn’t expect to see him take a clean loss in this match. By the way, I’m surprised NJPW doesn’t have post match graphics with updated tournament standings.
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hangman Page in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. They did an early bit with the invisible air guitar. Tanahashi gave it to Page, who broke it over his knee. Page targeted the knee of Tanahashi. Page performed a fallaway slam into a bridge. Cool move. Page used the stretch muffler to continue the attack on Tanahashi’s knee. They also did a comedy bit where they both held the other wrestler’s leg while standing up. They teased releasing at the same time, but Tanahashi fooled Page and performed a dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi performed senton off the ropes for a two count.
Page came back with a kick to the bad knee and sent Tanahashi to ringside. Page followed up with a shooting star press off the apron. Page performed a neckbreaker off the top rope for a near fall. Page applied a figure four and continued to target the knee. Tanahashi returned the favor by dropkicking the knee of Page and then performing another dragon screw. Tanahashi ran the ropes and ended up running into Page’s buckshot lariat. Page went for his finisher. Tanahashi blocked it and performed another dragon screw. A short time later, Tanahashi performed a sling blade for a two count. He hit a High Fly Flow cross body block and then followed up with a High Fly Flow frogsplash for the win. Tanahashi said something to Page from the corner. Page nodded in response before rolling out of the ring.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Hangman Page in a G1 Tournament A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: A good match with both men targeting the knee of their opponent. The crowd had fun with the early comedy and was behind Tanahashi throughout. The match was solid, but it wasn’t designed to be epic at roughly 12 minutes in length. It’s understandable that they didn’t go crazy on the final night of a four-day run. That said, I would love to see Tanahashi and Page have a longer match under different circumstances at some point.
10. Kazuchika Okada vs. Togi Makabe in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Okada controlled the majority of the early offense. Makabe no-sold his forearms at one point. They traded forearms. Makabe hit him with back to back running lariats. Okada ducked a third and performed a Tombstone piledriver. Okada picked him up with away and went for a Rainmaker clothesline, but Makabe ducked it and hit a Death Valley Driver that left both men down.
Makabe connected with some forearms and played to a receptive crowd before powerbombing Okada for a two count. Makabe clotheslined Okada from behind in the corner. Makabe placed Okada on the ropes and went for a German suplex, but Okada blocked it with elbows. Makabe recovered and ended up flinging Okada off the ropes to the mat. Makabe leapt off the top rope and into an Okada dropkick. Okada performed a dropkick and set up for a dropkick, but Makabe stuffed it and delivered a clothesline of his own. Okada came right back with a lariat. Okada connected with a Rainmaker and scored the pin.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Togi Makabe in a G1 Tournament A-Block match.
Kelly noted that Okada’s next tournament matches will be against Yoshi-Hashi and Michael Elgin. Okada took the mic and yelled that it was his second victory. He said he had nothing to say, but he thanked the crowd and then rolled out of the ring. The translator added that Okada also said he would make it rain from this point on.
Powell’s POV: And just like that Okada is just two points out of first place after losing his first two tournament matches. It was a decent main event that lacked the sizzle of the previous tournament show main events. Really, a similar statement can be made about the entire night of tournament matches. They can’t all be classic shows, folks. Thursday’s show looks good on paper, while Friday looks rather missable, but perhaps the A-Block crew will surprise me since the entire crew has a few days off.
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), Evil (6), Hiroshi Tanahashi (6), Kazuchika Okada (4), Michael Elgin (4), Togi Makabe (4), Minoru Suzuki (4), Bad Luck Fale (2), Hangman Page (2), Yoshi-Hashi (2).
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).
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.
Friday’s show in Shizuoka features the following A-Block matches: Kazuchika Okada vs. Yoshi-Hashi, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Togi Makabe, Jay White vs. Bad Luck Fale, Evil vs. Hangman Page, and Michael Elgin vs. Minoru Suzuki.