By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Powell’s Non-Spoiler 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. For this show, it’s very simple. Check out the last two matches with Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Evil. Suzuki and Evil must win those matches in order to remain in contention in the A-Block.
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 13”
August 2, 2018 in Fukuoka, Japan at Fukuoka Citizen Gym
Broadcast live on New Japan World
The broadcast team was Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero. Kelly noted that the building was the hottest that they’d been in on the tour…
1. Toru Yano and Gedo defeated Toa Henare and Ren Narita. Narita ran into a turnbuckle that was exposed by Yano, who pinned him shortly thereafter.
2. Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa beat Hirooki Goto and Yoh. Yoh scored a couple of late near falls, but Loa hit him with his finisher and pinned him.
3. Juice Robinson and David Finlay over Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku. Michinoku had Finlay in a submission hold that Robinson broke up. Finlay hit Michinoku with a cutter moments later and scored the pin. After the match, Sabre teased going after the bad hand of Robinson, but Finlay was able to chase him off.
4. Tomohiro Ishii and Sho beat Kenny Omega and Chase Owens. Ishii and Sho performed stereo German suplexes on both opponents, which cleared Omega from the ring. Sho performed a backstabber on Owens, then Ishii followed up with a brainbuster and pinned him.
5. Tetsuya Naito and Sanada defeated Kota Ibushi and Yujiro Takahashi. Takahashi went on a late offensive run on Sanada. Romero noted that Takahashi had something to prove because he didn’t want to lose to his former tag parnter. Naito locked up Ibushi in a leg lock while Sanada put Takahashi in Skull End for the win. Naito held the leg lock on Ibushi after the bell for a bit before releasing it. Ibushi sold knee pain while the broadcast team questioned whether the injury would give Naito an advantage when they meet on Saturday.
6. Michael Elgin vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Tanga Loa) in a G1 Tournament B-Block match. Elgin had his right shoulder and bicep heavily taped. Romero questioned whether it would have been wise of Elgin to forfeit the match to give himself more time to recover for the rest of the tournament. Elgin tried to power up Fale for a move, but his arm didn’t allow it. Fale performed a splash for a two count. Elgin worked with one arm and threw multiple lariats with it. Elgin set up for a buckle bomb and couldn’t do it because of his bad arm. He teased performing a clothesline with the bad arm, but Fale scooped him up for a Samoan drop for a two count. Fale set up for his finisher, but Elgin slipped out of it and performed a German suplex. Elgin threw a discus forearm with a his bad arm for a two count. Fale threw Elgin aside and the ref went down in the process. REF BUMP!!! Loa interfered, but Elgin fought him off and bodyslammed Fale. Elgin went up top, but Tama Tonga ran out and hit him with a chair. Tonga hit Elgin with more chairs in front of the referee for the disqualification.
Michael Elgin defeated Bad Luck Fale by DQ in a G1 Tournament B-Block match.
Powell’s POV: Elgin’s bad arm made this match more compelling. He came off as sympathetic and his power moves on the big man felt all the more impressive. This won’t crack my match recommendations list, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
7. Hangman Page vs. Togi Makabe in a G1 Tournament B-Block match. They fought to ringside early in the match. Page ran Makabe into the guardrail before throwing Makabe back inside the ring where he put the boots to him and flipped him off. Late in the match, Makabe connected with a lariat with his left arm. Makabe went for his German suplex from the ropes, but Page broke free with elbows only to have Makabe fling him off the top rope. Makabe went for the King Kong kneedrop, but Page rolled out of the way. Both men traded several simultaneous lariats. Page finally fell to his knees. Makage suplexed Page, who landed on his feet and connected with a superkick. Page ran into another lariat. Page came back with the buckshot lariat and hit the Rite of Passage before scoring the clean pin.
Hangman Page beat Togi Makabe in a G1 Tournament B-Block match.
Powell’s POV: A good match and a nice win for Page. One of the broadcast team members noted on a previous show that Page should be a fixture in the tournament for years to come. If he remains with the company, that should definitely be the case as he has quality matches with everybody and this was no exception.
8. Jay White vs. Yoshi-Hashi in a G1 Tournament B-Block match. White performed an early Saito suplex that dumped Yoshi on the apron before he tumbled to the floor. White worked over Yoshi at ringside and ran him into the guardrail and the apron in front of Kelly and Romero. The broadcast team acted outraged. Yoshi came back and performed a backstabber and a fisherman’s buster slam for a two count. White came back with the Slingblade for the win. After the match, White spoke to Romero at the broadcast table. Romero yelled that he’s tired of it.
Jay White defeated Yoshi-Hashi in a G1 Tournament B-Block match.
Powell’s POV: I must note that the Yoshi-Hashi entrance is painful. He comes out with a disinterested look on his face, sometimes slaps a few hands, but is otherwise greeted a crowd that seems as uninterested as he appears. White heeled it up quite a bit and there were a few scattered boos and cheers, but for the most part it was disinterest. In fairness, he showed decent fire during his offensive flurry, but the crowd is so apathetic toward him that it made it difficult for White to get heat, which hasn’t been a problem when he’s been in there with other babyfaces.
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Evil in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Kelly noted that Evil had the toughest schedule remaining with matches against Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, and Minoru Suzuki. Evil targeted the bicep of Tanahashi early on. He caught Tanahashi on the ropes and clotheslined him to the floor. Evil worked him over. Romero spoke about the heat in the building combined with the wrestlers being under the bright lights as Tanahashi struggled to get back to the ring to beat the 20-count. Later, Tanahashi performed a High Fly Flow cross body block and then went for the splash, but Evil rolled out of the way. Romero pointed out that Tanahashi was clutching at his right elbow. Evil picked up a near fall moments later. Evil threw a running lariat for a good near fall. Tanahashi avoided Evil’s finisher twice and then performed the move on him before hitting the top rope High Fly Flow for the win. Kelly noted that Tanahashi was eliminated from winning the A-Block now that he trails Tanahashi by four points and Tanahashi now holds the tiebreaker. Kelly spoke after the match about Tanahashi holding his elbow after the High Fly Flow gave him flashbacks to Eddie Guerrero blowing out his elbow while performing a frogsplash. Kelly put over Tanahashi huge for putting the company on his back and getting them to the point where they are today.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Evil in a G1 Tournament A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. There was nothing particularly memorable about it, but the last couple of minutes were suspenseful and entertaining, and they had the crowd with them. If you’re wondering why I included it in my recommendations it’s because it was a good match and because it was a make a break match for Evil as far as the standings were concerned. By the way, I like the way Kelly and Romero heap praise on Tanahashi. It’s good for folks like me who were late to the NJPW party and may not realize just how important his run has been for the company.
10. Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki in a G1 Tournament A-Block match. Okada brought his balloons to the ring while Romero spoke about how no one enjoys wrestling Suzuki because they know it will be a long and painful night. Suzuki blindsided Okada to start and then worked him over at ringside. Suzuki threatened referee Red Shoes with a chair on the floor. Red Shoes picked up his own as a shield. Suzuki took offense. Okada recovered and hit Suzuki, who ended up throwing him into a row of chairs. Okada barely beat the referee’s 20-count. Suzuki sent him back to ringside and smiled. Once Okada was back in the ring, Suzuki removed Okada’s shirt and choked him with it.
Kelly did some of the math on the fly and noted that this match was make or break for Suzuki because Tanahashi held the tiebreaker over him. Suzuki worked over Okada in the ring and targeted his right arm (Rainmaker arm). Okada also threw a series of elbows to the head of Okada in the corner. Okada responded with a dropkick. Okada smiled and patted the side of his face to invite Suzuki to throw more. Suzuki smiled and then they traded elbows. Suzuki no-sold Okada’s elbows while Okada sold his elbows. Suzuki struck the Rainmaker pose. Okada threw a few more that Suzuki sold, but then Suzuki blasted him with another that dazed Suzuki. They threw more elbows and Suzuki laughed. Suzuki dropped Okada to his knees with a palm strike.
Okada threw a dropkick. They traded palm strikes. Suzuki followed Okada toward the ropes and dropkicked him. A short time later, Okada broke free from a submission hold and put Suzuki down with a tombstone piledriver. Okada went for Suzuki’s usual finishing sequence, but Suzuki reversed the Gotch piledriver attempt into a Tombstone attempt, but Okada countered into actually performing the Tombstone for a two count. Okada threw two Rainmaker clotheslines and scored the pin…
Kazuchika Okada defeated Minoru Suzuki in a G1 Tournament A-Block match.
Suzuki blew off help as he went to the back. Kelly noted that Okada had run off five wins in a row. He added that Okada will finish the block with matches against Evil and Tanahashi. Okada did a big buildup before yelling into a dead mic. He did a second take and the mic was on the second time around. Unfortunately, there was not an English translator this time around. Kelly ran through the updated standings (see below).
Powell’s POV: A strong main event and the best match of the night. I breezed through the non-tournament matches to save a little time. Overall, though, this was a decent show with a good main event. The B-Block has provided the superior shows thus far. The A-Block got off to an intriguing start when Okada was losing matches and they were focussing heavily on White, but it’s been pretty predictable since then. It doesn’t mean it will be a predictable outcome with three wrestlers still in contention. My prediction remains Okada wins the A-Block.
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: Hiroshi Tanahashi (12), Kazuchika Okada (10), Jay White (10), Minoru Suzuki (8), Evil (8), Bad Luck Fale (6), Michael Elgin (6), Togi Makabe (4), Hangman Page (4), Yoshi-Hashi (2).
B-Block Standings: Kenny Omega (12), Tetsuya Naito (10), Kota Ibushi (8), Sanada (6), Zack Sabre Jr. (6), Tomohiro Ishii (4), Hirooki Goto (4), Tama Tonga (4), Juice Robinson (4), Toru Yano (2).
Saturday’s show in Osaka features the following B-Block matches: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Hirooki Goto vs. Tama Tonga, Toru Yano vs. Sanada.
Sunday’s show in Osaka features the following A-Block matches: Kazuchika Okada vs. Evil, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Michael Elgin, Togi Makabe vs. Jay White, Hangman Page vs. Minoru Suzuki, and Yoshi-Hashi vs. Bad Luck Fale.