By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 3”
July 14, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan at Ota City General Gymnasium
Streamed live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero were the English broadcast team with Chris Charlton joining in occasionally…
1. Juice Robinson, Toa Henare, and Yota Tsuji defeated Hirooki Goto, Tomoaki Honma, and Yuya Uemura. Henare threw a series of strikes at Uemura, headbutted him, and performed a urnage before scoring the pin.
2. Jeff Cobb and Ren Narita defeated Jon Moxley and Shota Umino. Umino performed a vertical suplex on Cobb and got a two count, but Cobb came right back with a kidney punch and an Olympic Slam. Cobb followed up with the Tour of the Islands and scored the pin on Umino while Narita held Moxley at ringside. Moxley entered the ring and then he and Cobb jawed at one another to push their tournament match for Monday.
3. Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and Yoshi-Hashi defeated Jay White, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens. Ishii performed a late powerslam on White. Owens swung a turnbuckle pad at Yano, who moved, then Owens stopped short of hitting the referee. With the referee turning the other way, Yano low blowed Owens and pinned him. Owens held an ice pack on his balls as he walked to the back. Funny.
4. Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru beat Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi. Bushi performed a late missile dropkick on Suzuki and then all three LIJ members worked over Suzuki briefly until his teammates saved him. Suzuki came back with a Gotch style piledriver and pinned Bushi.
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. Bad Luck Fale (w/Jado) vs. Lance Archer in an A-Block match. Archer tackled Fale near the ropes and they both tumbled to ringside. “Everybody dies,” Archer yelled. Jado hit Archer from behind with a kendo stick at ringside. Kelly wondered how long of a leash the referee would have for Fale and Jado. The broadcast team tried to explain that Fale was in the tournament based on past performance prior to last year when he took intentional disqualification losses and was nearly fired (well, at least they tried).
Fale capitalized on Jado’s interference by working over Archer for a stretch. Archer came back and struggled to knock Fale off his feet, though he did perform a lariat that made him stumble into a corner of the ring. Fale whipped Archer into the opposite corner. Arch ran up the ropes and performed a cross body block that led to a near fall. Archer did the Old School rope walk. Fale grabbed the referee and held him while Jado hit Archer with the kendo stick again. Fale performed a superplex for a near fall.
Fale teased his own Old School rope walk, but Archer caught him on the ropes. Fale fought right back with a grenade punch that led to a two count. Fale ran into a big boot. Archer set for a chokeslam, but Archer caught him and cleared him from the ring. Archer performed a shoulder block, the worked up the crowd before he chokeslammed Fale for a near fall. Archer applied a claw and the referee counted Fale down…
Lance Archer defeated Bad Luck Fale in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: The referee allowing all the Jado interference was silly, but this was a better match than I expected. They worked hard and showed impressive athleticism for super heavyweight types. I like a lot of what Archer has done to shake things up, but the claw finisher feels flat and that’s coming from someone who grew up on various wrestlers using it as finishing holds. Archer is an early leader with four points in the tournament so far. He will face Kenta on the next A-Block show.
6. Will Ospreay vs. Sanada in an A-Block match. Sanada offered a handshake. Ospreay reluctantly accepted. Sanada went for a kick, but Ospreay caught his leg. Ospreay teased a version of his own Paradise Lock. Sanada applied the Paradise Lock, but Ospreay slipped right out of the cornball lock. Romero said he wants the hold banned. Amen.
Ospreay performed a great handspring dive onto Sanada at ringside. Sanada came back with a dive from the ring onto Ospreay on the floor, then used a fan’s towel to wipe his brow. Back inside the ring, there was a good series of counters that resulted in Ospreay performing a cool hook kick. Sanada responded with a TKO, which he’d been going for during the series of counters. A shot time later, Ospreay performed a sit-out powerbomb that resulted in a two count.
Ospreay went up top and performed a long distance shooting star press for another near fall. Ospreay set up for a Storm Breaker, but Sanada countered into Skull End at the 15:00 mark. Sanada swung Ospreay around by the head and then released the hold. Sanada went for a moonsault. Ospreay avoided it and Sanada landed on his feet only to have Ospreay perform a Spanish Fly for a near fall. Ospreay went for an OsCutter, but Sanada caught him in Skull End briefly. Ospreay ended up hitting the OsCutter, held on, and followed up with a Storm Breaker for the win…
Will Ospreay defeated Sanada in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: A hell of a match. Ospreay continues to deliver great performances. I continue to enjoy his matches more now that he’s toned down some of the insanity and isn’t putting himself at risk as often as he was in some of the insane junior heavyweight matches. They were sensational and all, but this style really works for Ospreay and will prolong his career.
7. Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in an A-Block match. Kelly told the story that Sabre said he’d beat Okada to earn in this match to earn an IWGP Heavyweight Championship on the August 31 show. Sabre stuffed a dropkick and bridged into a pin for a good near fall. Kelly recalled Sabre using a similar move to beat Okada in a past match. Sabre picked up another near fall and then applied a banana split that Okada broke by reaching the ropes. Sabre twisted the ankle of Okada and stomped on his leg. Sabre toyed with Okada by throwing light kicks to his face.
Okada came back with some forearms and a DDT that led to a two count. Sabre came back with a guillotine, which Okada was able to break with a neckbreaker. Okada performed a top rope elbow drop and then struck the Rainmaker pose. Okada went for the clothesline twice, but Sabre kicked his arm both times. Okada came right back with a dropkick and a tombstone piledriver. Sabre avoided a Rainmaker and applied an octopus hold and then wrenched Okada’s right Rainmaker arm. Okada teased tapping before eventually reaching the ropes to break it. Good drama.
Sabre fired off some forearms. Okada went nose to nose with him and fired back with forearms of his own, then Sabre slapped him across the face. Okada caught Sabre going for a kick. Sabre slapped him a few times. Okada responded with a pair of dropkicks. Sabre ducked another Rainmaker and rolled him into a pin for a near fall. A short time later, Sabre applied another variation of an octopus hold. Okada escaped and connected with a Rainmaker and followed up with a second Rainmaker before scoring the pin…
Kazuchika Okada pinned Zack Sabre Jr. in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: Another strong match. They did a good job of making Sabre feel like a legit threat to beat Okada by having him call his shot. Sabre also did a great job of showing the agony of defeat by lying down on the ramp afterward.
8. Kota Ibushi vs. Evil in an A-Block match. Ibushi walked slowly up the ring steps to play up his ankle injury, then threw a series of early kicks. Evil came back and targeted the bad left ankle. Evil controlled the next few minutes of offense. Ibushi had a big burst of offense and performed a moonsault using just one leg, which resulted in a two count.
Later, Ibushi teased the Kamigoye, but Evil rolled him into a Sharpshooter. Ibushi reached the ropes to break it. Evil went for a top rope senton, but Ibushi rolled out of the way. Ibushi blasted Evil with a knee to the back of the head and followed up with another running knee to the face of Evil for a near fall. Evil stuffed a Kamigoye attempt. Evil threw some strikes and a lariat. Evil hoisted up Ibushi for a sit-out powerbomb for a great near fall. Evil performed his finisher and scored the clean pin…
Evil defeated Kota Ibushi in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: Another gem of a match. Kelly played up Ibushi being in a tough place after dropping the Intercontinental Championship and now being 0-2 to start the G1. Evil faces tag team partner Sanada in the next round of A-Block matches, which should be interesting. This has been a terrific night of tournament matches. Tanahashi and Kenta have their work cut out for them in the main event slot.
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenta in an A-Block match. It looked like Tanahashi punched Kenta below the belt while they were trading punches early on. Tanahashi got the better of the exchange and played air guitar. Kenta kicked him while he was playing air guitar, which the broadcast team put over as a sign of disrespect. Romero said that was the old Kenta. With Kenta on the offensive, the broadcast team had an interesting conversation about Kenta being viewed as an outsider because he was the star of a rival promotion and then went to the United States and didn’t find success.
Tanahashi came back, but Kenta cut him off and performed a springboard dropkick. Kenta delivered a big boot and followed up with a floating dropkick in the corner. Kenta performed a top rope double stomp and covered Tanahashi for a near fall. Kenta went for his GTS finisher, but Tanahashi held onto his leg and performed a dragon screw leg whip and then followed up with an inverted version of the move. Tanahashi applied a cloverleaf. Kenta countered into an inside cradle for a near fall.
Kenta caught Tanahashi with a hanging DDT. Kenta ran the ropes and Tanahashi caught him with a sling blade clothesline. The wrestlers traded forearms at the 15:00 mark. Kenta dazed Tanahasi with a punch and set up for his GTS finisher, but Tanahashi countered into the first of three twist and shout neckbreakers. Tanahashi used another sling blade to get a two count. Tanahashi went for the High Fly Flows, but Kenta put his knees up. Kenta applied a sleeper. He released it and went for a running knee, but Tanahashi grabbed his leg. Kenta hit him with his other knee and then threw a running kick. Kenta hoisted up Tanahashi and hit the GTS before scoring the clean pin.
Kenta defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in an A-Block match.
After the match, Kenta offered Tanahashi a handshake at ringside. Tanahashi teased it and then pulled his hand back before being helped to the back. Charlton noted that Tanahashi isn’t one to shake hands in defeat and added that it took him a decade to shake the hand of Shinsuke Nakamura.
Kenta returned to the ring and addressed the crowd over the house mic while Charlton translated in English. Kenta was playful about some fans seeing him for the first time, others being longtime fans, and others leaving. He said he didn’t come to NJPW to play around. He said he came to win the G1 Tournament. Kenta said he doesn’t care if fans know him or not, he’s going to win the tournament on his first try. He told the fans to remember his face and name. “Tonight I was Kenta,” he said before dropping the mic and leaving the ring to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A good match that gave Kenta a huge win to follow last weekend’s big win over Kota Ibushi. I enjoyed other matches on the show more, but it was a logical choice for the main event given that Kenta was given the big win. It’s just as interesting that Tanahashi and Ibushi are both winless thus far. Overall, this was a really good night of tournament matches.
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.
The A-Block resumes Thursday in Tokyo with the following matches: Lance Archer vs. Kenta, Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale, Evil vs. Sanada, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr., and Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi.
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.