By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 2”
July 13, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan at Ota City General Gymnasium
Streamed live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero served as the English broadcast team with Chris Charlton also chiming in occasionally…
Powell’s POV: Just a reminder that the G1 tournament matches from this show will air tonight on AXS-TV, so keep that in mind if you’d prefer to watch them without spoilers.
1. Sanada, Evil, and Bushi defeated Kota Ibushi, Will Ospreay, and Yuya Uemura. Ibushi performed a standing moonsault in the opening minute of the match, yet also played up the ankle injury once Evil stomped his foot. Bushi pinned Uemura after a Codebreaker.
2. Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens beat Lance Archer and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Owens pinned Kanemaru after a package piledriver.
3. Kenta, Clark Connors, and Karl Fredericks beat Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shota Umino, and Ren Narita. Romero spoke briefly about facing Kenta in ROH and working against him in Pro Wresting NOAH tag matches. Fredericks forced Narita to tap to a single-leg Boston crab. “Score one for the LA Dojo there,” Kelly said. Romero said Fredericks is a guy that fans will be hearing a lot more about in the next year or so.
4. Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi. Kelly said Suzuki wants to destroy and ruin the tournament since he was not included in it. Meanwhile, Sabre was focused on beating Okada on Sunday because beating a current champion in a G1 match guarantees a future title shot. He said Sabre doesn’t want to wait until January for a title shot, he wants it on August 31. Yoshi-Hashi tapped to Sabre’s armbar.
Powell’s POV: I skimmed through the first four matches to save some time since there’s so much wrestling to cover this weekend. I’ll be watching the tournament matches from bell to bell.
5. Juice Robinson vs. Shingo Takagi in a B-Block match. Takagi was in offensive control early, but Robinson caught him with a spear through the ropes and performed a top rope cross body block for a two count. Robinson threw some punches, but Takagi responded with one of his own and then dropped him with a lariat. Robinson came right back with a cannonball attempt that Takagi avoided. Takagi performed a suplex for a near fall.
The wresters fought for position and Robinson hit a Juice Box and then a running cannonball in the corner. Robinson superplexed Takagi, then stood him up and put him back down again with a Jackhammer for a near fall. Robinson set up for Pulp Friction, but Takagi remained standing, then ran the ropes and clotheslined a seated Robinson. Both men went for lariats simultaneously twice with neither man knocking the the other down. There was a cool sequence that resulted in Robinson catching Takagi with a lariat.
Robinson went for his finisher again, but Takagi countered by hooking Robinson behind him and slamming him down face first. Takagi followed up with a lariat for another good near fall. Takagi hit Robinson with a pair of lariats that didn’t knock him off his feet. Takagi set up for a pump-handle move, but Robinson caught Takagi with a rollup for another two count. Romero said it was the same way that Robinson defeated Jay White last year. Robinson punched Takagi a couple times and then hit Pulp Friction and scored the pin.
Juice Robinson defeated Shingo Takagi in a B-Block match
Powell’s POV: A very good match to start the B-Block tournament matches. The near falls were very well executed and I bought in a few times. Kelly framed it as not being a case of Takagi not being able to hang with a heavyweight as much as it was Robinson simply being that much better.
6. Jon Moxley vs. Taichi (w/Miho). Taichi performed his singing entrance. Moxley entered through the crowd in the bleacher area. Kelly noted that it was the G1 debut for both men. Once Moxley made it to the main floor, Taichi attacked him from behind. Kelly noted that the referee couldn’t disqualify Taichi since the match had not officially started. Moxley fought back with chops and put the boots to Taichi. The bell rang while both men were still behind the barrier. Kelly said the bell was rang in hopes that it would lead to both men taking the fight to the ring. Taichi worked over Moxley with a chair with a jab to the gut and one over his back, then clotheslined him. Taichi entered the ring. The referee started counting out Moxley, who entered the ring at 19 to break the count, but ate a kick from Taichi, who covered him for a two count.
Taichi threw a kick at Moxley, who responded with a headbutt. Taichi performed an enzuigiri that knocked Moxley down. Moxley performed a sunset flip for a two count, then worked over Taichi with punches and kicks before turning him inside out with a clothesline. Moxley sent Taichi to ringside and performed a suicide dive. Moxley set up a table at ringside while selling back pain. Taichi caught Moxley with a kick and tried to powerbomb him through the table. Moxley fought back and performed a uranage that drove Taichi through the table. Miho looked concerned at ringside. Moxley pointed to the table and then blew her a kiss.
Back inside the ring, Taichi performed a running knee that led to a two count. Moxley set up for his finisher, but Taichi avoided it and shoved him into the referee. REF BUMP!!! Taichi followed up with an enzuigiri. Taichi had Miho slide a chair into the ring. Moxley kicked Taichi and took the chair from him. Taichi charged and Moxley threw the chair at his face. Moxley tossed the chair to ringside as the referee returned to the ring. Taichi avoided Moxley’s finisher and hooked him into a pinning position for a two count. Moxley stuffed Taichi’s kick attempt and hit him with the Death Rider (Dirty Deeds) and scored the pin. Afterward, Moxley looked into the camera and pointed to Taichi as an example of why it’s not a good idea to piss him off…
Jon Moxley defeated Taichi in a B-Block match.
Powell’s POV: A decent brawl. It was hard to believe Moxley would lose his G1 debut, so there wasn’t much in the way of drama regarding the finish. That said, Taichi was a good first opponent for Moxley, as it allowed this to be a showcase tournament debut for Moxley while saving his more intriguing matches for later.
7. Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano in a B-Block match. Kelly spoke of how Yano has ended up playing spoiler so many times in past tournaments and ran through the list of impressive upset tournament wins he’s had over the years. The list of Yano’s tournament victims included Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, Minoru Suzuki, Kota Ibushi, and Kenny Omega. Naito stalled and the broadcast team noted that it was usually Yano who played the mind games during his matches. Yano got frustrated and went to remove the turnbuckle pad, allowing Naito to attack him from behind. They did a little comedy with Yano grabbing the ropes and holding on, then Naito doing the same thing moments later.
Naito spat in the face of Yano, who tried to use his t-shirt to clean up the mess. Naito rolled up Yano, whose head was covered by his t-shirt, for a near fall. Naito toyed with Yano and dropkicked him in the corner. Naito grabbed a turnbuckle pad. Referee Red Shoes tried to grab the pad, but Naito shoved him to the mat. Red Shoes recovered and took the pad, which led to Yano rolling up Naito for a two count. Yano picked up a near fall off a rollup. Yano pulled the referee’s t-shirt over his eyes, then low blowed Naito. Yano pulled Naito’s shirt over his face and speared him from behind before rolling him up for the win…
Toru Yano defeated Tetsuya Naito in a B-Block match.
Powell’s POV: Whether they knew the finish was coming or not, the broadcast team did a great job of setting it up by talking about Yano’s history of G1 upsets. I’m sure this outcome will elicit a mixed reaction, but I’m fine with it, as it establishes that anything can happen in the tournament matches and sends the message that fans should not underestimate the possibility of future Yano upsets. It was silly and yet done in a way where it won’t do any significant damage to Naito. Look at that list of Yano victims that Kelly mentioned. I think they’ve all managed to do okay for themselves.
8. Jeff Cobb vs. Tomohiro Ishii in a B-Block match. Kelly noted that it was the third time Cobb and Ishii have met in singles matches and the first in an NJPW ring. Cobb was the early aggressor. Ishii stopped selling his strikes, then fired away with a series of forearms and chops in the corner. Cobb came back with a great belly to belly suplex. Cobb performed a running clothesline in the corner, then stumbled a bit before performing a leaping uppercut in the corner. Cobb performed a twisting back suplex that led to a two count. Both men traded forearms in the middle of the ring. It looked like Ishii was going to get the better of it, but Cobb threw a punch that caused Ishii to stagger into the corner.
Cobb shot Ishii into a corner of the ring. Ishii charged out of the corner and knocked Cobb down with a big shoulder block. Ishii followed up with a vertical suplex. Cobb powered up Ishii from the mat, but Ishii slipped away. Cobb went for a dropkick, but Ishii held onto the ropes. Cobb executed his own vertical suplex and followed it with a standing moonsault for a two count. Ishii got the better of another strike exchange and then placed Cobb on the top rope and then superplexed him. Cobb came right back with a lariat and then placed Ishii on the top rope. Cobb returned the favor with a superplex of his own for a near fall.
Cobb and Ishii exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Cobb blasted Ishii with a headbutt that knocked Ishii to the mat. Cobb powered up Ishii and piledrove him for a good near fall. Cobb set up for his finisher, but Ishii held the ropes. Ishii came back with a suplex. Ishii charged at Cobb in the corner. Cobb caught him and put him down with a uranage. Ishii got right up and came right back with a powerslam. Cobb stood right up, but Ishii slipped behind him and performed a German suplex. Cobb got right up and performed a uranage suplex. Ishii stood right up. Cobb dropkicked Ishii, who knocked Cobb down with a lariat.
Ishii went for a lariat on the seated Cobb, who caught his arm. Ishii countered into a German suplex and then turned Cobb inside out with a lariat. Ishii went for a cover and Cobb kicked out at one. Cobb superkicked Ishii and performed a German suplex that led to a two count. Cobb lowered the straps on his singlet. Ishii avoided Cobb’s finisher and caught him with an enzuigiri. Ishii performed a seated lariat for a near fall. Ishii set up for a brainbuster, but Cobb escaped. The wrestlers exchanged strikes. Ishii ended up hitting the vertical drop brainbuster and scored the clean pin…
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Jeff Cobb in a B-Block match.
Powell’s POV: The battle of the bulls looked appealing on paper and they did such a good job of setting the table for it last Saturday in Dallas that it felt like the true main event of this show. It lived up to my very high expectations. This was a blast. Ishii did a great job of selling the toll that the war took on him. He was helped to the back while the broadcast team questioned what affect it would have on him later in the tournament. I just love that sports-like call and booking. It seems so obvious and yet we just don’t get enough of it in pro wrestling today. You have to wonder if they will use both wrestlers being weary from this battle to explain losses in their next matches or even deeper in the tournament.
9. Hirooki Goto vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) in a B-Block match. Kelly said Goto endured a grueling training camp (he said earlier that Moxley did the same) and was much leaner than usual. The broadcast team told the story of White having Goto’s number, and Goto needed to do something different and thus getting Katsuyori Shibata to train him for the tournament. White dumped Goto ribs first onto edge of the ring apron early on. Later, Goto ducked a clothesline and performed a spinning clothesline on White. Goto followed up with a kick and a suplex. Kelly said you could see a difference in Goto’s movement due to the quickness brought on by his training. White came back by suplexing Goto into the corner.
Goto battled back, but White caught him with a suplex. The broadcast team told the story that White had the answer for everything Goto threw at him. White clotheslined Goto and then boasted that it was too easy. Kelly said that’s the attitude that makes White the most hated man in NJPW. White slapped Goto a few times. Goto fired up and went for a clothesline. White ducked it and slammed him down with a uranage. White put his foot on Goto to taunt him. White picked up Goto’s arm and showed that it was limp, then grabbed his face and contorted it with his hands. White picked up Goto and the referee wanted to check on him. White shoved the referee and told him to “get the f— off of me.” Goto clotheslined White. Goto performed a neckbreaker and played to the crowd.
The broadcast team noted that White was smiling at them and knew exactly what he was doing. Goto threw some kicks to the back of White, who got up and set up for his finisher. Goto avoided it and dropped White with a headbutt. Romero said White didn’t have the answer for that one. Goto hit a reverse GTR for a near fall. Goto set up for the GTR, but White punched his way free. White and Goto took turns setting up for their finishers and repeatedly countered. Goto grabbed the hair of White and headbutted White a few times and then knocked him down with a clubbing shot. Gedo entered the ring with brass knuckles, but backed down when Goto spotted him. White went for his finisher, but Goto countered into another move and got a near fall at the 20:00 mark. Goto picked up another near fall, then blasted White with a kick and hit the GTR for the 1-2-3…
Hirooki Goto defeated Jay White in a B-Block match.
After the match, Romero established that this was the Goto that won a G1 Tournament and took Kenny Omega to the limit. Goto took the mic and spoke to the crowd in Japanese, which was translated for the English broadcast. He said it had been a while, but he was very happy he was able to win. Goto said the G1 had just started and there was a long way to go. He said the G in G1 stands for Goto…
Powell’s POV: With all the focus on Goto’s improved physique and his character being hellbent on getting a win over White, it was hard to believe that he was going to lose. Even so, they created some doubt within the match and told a good story that ultimately led to Goto getting a big win over White. And while the Ishii vs. Cobb match felt like the big attraction of the night me, this match belonged in the main event slot due to the story they were telling. Overall, a strong first night for the B-Block. Much like the A-Block, each tournament match offered something different and this was a very enjoyable night of tournament matches.
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 point leaders are Kazuchika Okada, Lance Archer, Kenta, Bad Luck Fale, Sanada, Juice Robinson, Jon Moxley, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hirooki Goto have two points, while the other entrants have zero points.
The tournament will continue on Sunday morning in Tokyo with the following A-Block matches: Lance Archer vs. Bad Luck Fale, Will Ospreay vs. Sanada, Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi vs. Evil, and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenta.
The B-Block continues on Monday in Hokkaido with Tetsuya Naito vs. Taichi, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jay White, Jeff Cobb vs. Jon Moxley, Juice Robinson vs. Hirooki Goto, and Toru Yano vs. Shingo Takagi.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast With Jason Powell featuring guest Jim Ross discussing his role in AEW, Tony Khan as a leader, whether Ross knew Shawn Spears was going to hit Cody with a chair shot to the head, working with Excalibur and Alex Marvez, his new book and speaking engagement deal, and much more.