By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 5”
July 18, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton served as the English broadcast team…
1. John Moxley and Shota Umino defeated Tomohiro Ishii and Yuya Uemura. Unino scored the win for his team after a fisherman’s suplex on Uemura.
2. Jeff Cobb, Hirooki Goto, and Yoshi-Hashi beat Juice Robinson, Toa Henare, and Yota Tsuji. Yoshi-Hashi beat Tsuji by submission with a Butterfly Lock.
3. Jay White, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi beat Tomaki Honma, Toru Yano, and Ren Narita. Owens defeated Narita with a package piledriver.
4. Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, and Yoshinabu Kanemaru beat Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi. Suzuki used a Gotch-style piledriver to defeat Bushi.
Powell’s POV: I didn’t have time to watch the undercard today, so the results are straight from the New Japan website. I’m watching the tournament matches listed below from bell to bell.
5. Kenta vs. Lance Archer in an A-Block tournament match. Charlton played up Archer’s full foot height advantage and noted that it’s the biggest height difference of any tournament match. Archer wanted to chokeslam Kenta to the floor, but the young lions stood in his way. Archer ordered them to move, but they held their ground. Archer chokeslammed Kenta onto the young lions, who caught him, then Archer performed a senton off the apron and took out Archer and the young lions. Archer shoved the referee a couple times and took the mic to tell the crowd to shut up.
Kenta came back with a weak boot the the head, then powerslammed Archer. Kenta performed a running dropkick on a seated Archer in the corner, then followed up with a top rope double stomp that led to a two count. Kenta went to the ropes a short time later and dove at Archer, who caught him and then slammed him face first onto the mat, which led to a two count. Archer went for the claw, but Kenta blocked it. Archer knocked him down with a clothesline and covered him for two.
Kenta applied a sleeper and the broadcast team noted that it was similar to Katsuyori Shibata. Kenta released the hold and delivered a kick, then powered up Archer for the GTS, but Archer landed on his feet and applied the claw. Kenta reached the ropes to break it. Archer performed a Muscle Buster for a two count. Archer performed a powerbomb for a near fall. Archer went for a chokeslam, but Kenta countered into a triangle, then countered into his Game Over submission hold for the win…
Kenta defeated Lance Archer in an A-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: A decent opening match of the tournament. I got a kick out of Archer doing the claw in Texas where the Von Erichs made it famous, but I’ve already shifted to feeling that it looks corny. Still, Archer is having a good tournament. I went into the tournament viewing him as one of those bottom level guys who would have matches that I wouldn’t really care about, but he changed his look, got a couple of early wins, and has worked hard thus far. Good for him. Meanwhile, the broadcast team continues to tell the story that Kenta is still trying to win over the fans and locker room with the idea being that his early success in the tournament may be helping in that regard.
6. Evil vs. Sanada in an A-Block tournament match. Evil slid a chair inside the ring. Sanada picked it up and the referee took it, allowing Sanada to run in and shoulder block his tag team partner. Sanada went for a Paradise Lock, but Evil avoided it. Kelly said the athletic commission ruled that the Paradise Lock would not be banned (perhaps we could launch a Kickstarter to persuade them to change their minds). Evil put Sanada in his own Paradise Lock and then dropkicked him.
Shortly before the 15:00 mark, the wrestlers took turns applying Sanada’s Skull End. Sanada performed Evil’s lariat for a near fall. Sanada went for a moonsault, but Evil put his knees up and covered him for a two count. They gto to their feet and exchanged forearms and chops. Sanada ducked a clothesline and performed a tiger suplex for a good near fall. Sanada applied the Skull End and turned it into the airplane version, but Evil countered into a small package for a two count. Evil performed a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Evil connected with a running lariat for a strong near fall. Evil followed up with his finisher and scored the clean pin.
Evil beat Sanada in an A-Block tournament match.
After the match, Evil approached Sanada and stuck out his fist. While on his knees, Sanada responded with a fist bump…
Powell’s POV: A really fun battle of the tag team partners. I like the basic story of the duo knowing each other so well that they were performing their own moves on one another. The match built nicely and had some suspenseful moments, and I love that they had a clean finish when a lot of companies would have taken an easy way out with a count-out finish or even a draw. It will be interesting to see if this match plays into a bigger story moving forward or if they will coexist as tag partners going forward.
7. Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Chase Owens, Jado) in an A-Block tournament match. Fale attacked Okada while he was making his ring entrance. Kelly noted that Fale beat Okada in the same building last year. In the ring, Fale performed a running splash for an early near fall. Okada threw his first strikes of the match once they were back on their feet. Okada ran the ropes and was tripped by Owens and pulled to ringside while Fale distracted referee Red Shoes. Jado hit Okada with a kendo stick to the abdomen. Okada sold lower back pain before going for a slam, which led to him collapsing under Fale’s weight and being covered for another two count. Okada came back with a bodyslam, but he collapsed to the mat while Fale rolled to ringside.
Okada got to his feet and performed a running flip dive onto all Fale, Owens, and Jado while the broadcast team played up his chances of becoming the rare IWGP Heavyweight Champion to win the G1. Back inside the ring, Okada DDT’d Fale for a two count. Okada avoided a Bad Luck Fall and then dropkicked Fale into the corner. Okada powered up Fale and performed a neckbreaker on his knee for a two count. Okada drilled a top rope elbow drop. Okada did the Rainmaker pose and went for the move, but Fale pulled the referee into Okada. REF BUMP!!! Owens entered the ring and put the boots to Okada. Owens threw Okada at Fale, who hit him with the grenade and then went for his finisher, but Okada escaped it and dropkicked Fale and then Owens. Okada set up for a Tombstone, but Fale countered and Okada slipped away. Okada ran the ropes and took a kendo stick to the back from Jado, who then tried to hold him. Fale charged and Okada slipped away. Okada went for a move and Fale went over the top of him, then Okada sat down on him and scored the pin.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Bad Luck Fale in an A-Block tournament match.
Fale attacked Okada afterward, but Okada quickly recovered and dropkicked him out of the ring. Kelly hyped the Okada vs. Will Ospreay match for Saturday…
Powell’s POV: It was a smart move to put Okada on the defensive from the start due to the pre-match attack by Fale. Okada was the heavy favorite
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in an A-Block tournament match. The broadcast team played up the idea that both men were fighting for their tournament lives since they were entering the match winless. Tanahashi went for a cloverleaf, but Sabre countered into an arm hold. The crowd reacted in a big way and cheered when Tanahashi reached the ropes to break the hold.
Tanahashi came back with an inverted dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi performed a sling blade clothesline for a two count. Tanahashi performed the cross body block version of the High Fly Flow, then tried to followup with the frogsplash version, but Sabre put his knees up and then tried to lock Tanahashi in a hold, but Tanahashi slipped away and rolled into a pin for the win. Romero said it was the best Tanahashi has looked in months. Sabre threw a fit afterward…
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Zack Sabre Jr. in an A-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: The good match you’d expect from these two. I love watching Sabre throw tantrums after losing. It plays into his character, gets him heat, and even puts over how important winning is to him. Kelly said Sabre could still run off six in a row to win the tournament, but no one has ever done it in the history of the tournament. I hope they at least make things interesting for Sabre going forward, but at least I’ll have more tantrums to enjoy if they continue to book him to lose.
9. Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay in an A-Block tournament match. Ospreay had a bunch of tape on his neck and right shoulder after sitting out of Monday’s non-tournament match with a neck injury. Ibushi has been playing up a left ankle injury. Ibushi targeted the bad leg early and slammed it into the post. Kelly questioned whether Ospreay ever even considered missing this match due to his injury. Romero played into the strategy talk by noting that Ospreay may have felt some level of confidence because Ibushi is also nursing an injury. Ospreay wrapped Ibushi’s bad leg around the middle rope and wrenched on it until the referee called for the break.
Ospreay charged a seated Ibushi in the corner. Ibushi moved and Ospreay held onto the corner pad. Ibushi blasted him with a kick to the upper back, then went to work on Ospreay’s injured neck with various strikes and a leg lock. Ospreay powered up Ibushi onto his shoulders and then performed a handspring into the ropes and then into a flip kick for his first real offensive burst of the match. Ospreay performed a top rope version of the 619. Ibushi avoided a move and then powerslammed Opreay, who then avoided Ibushi’s moonsault. Osprey sent Ibushi to ringside with a move, then performed a handspring into a flip over the top rope onto Ibushi, then came up and clutched his neck, which he’d done repeatedly during the match.
Later, Ibushi came back with a wicked high angle German suplex. Kelly called it the absolute worst case scenario for Ospreay. Ibushi set up for a piledriver or the Last Ride, but Ospreay desperately grabbed Ibushi’s leg to block it. Ospreay got to his feet for a strike exchange. A short time later, Ospready stomped the bad ankle of Ibushi and then delivered a head kick. Ibushi performed a snap dragon suplex, but Ospreay came back with some kicks and then set up for a Storm Breaker, but Ibushi performed a Last Rites style move. “Oh, Jesus,” Kelly said. No kidding. Ibushi performed a Last Ride powerbomb for a near fall.
Ibushi went to the ropes and Ospreay followed and delivered some kicks, then set up for a Storm Breaker. Ibushi countered into the set up for a tombstone piledriver, but Ospreay rolled him up for a good near fall. Ospreay countered a lariat attempt into a twisting powerbomb for a great near fall. Ospreay delivered some kicks to a kneeling Ibushi and then set up for a super OsCutter, but Ibushi stood up and shoved him on the top rope, causing Ospreay to be hung in the tree of woe. Kelly said it was a reversal of the situation at Wrestle Kingdom when Ibushi was in that position. Ibushi toyed with him and slapped him, then threw kicks to the chest of Ospreay.
Ibushi set up for a move from the ropes, but Ospreay fought him off. Ibushi caught him with a kick. Ibushi performed a German suplex from the middle rope that carried Ospreay over the top rope. Ospreay flipped over and got back to his feet, then delivered a wicked elbow to the head of Ibushi and covered him, but Ibushi grabbed the bottom rope at the last moment. Ospreay did his spinning kick and went for his finisher, but Ibushi blocked it. Ospreay caught Ibushi with a kick and then performed an OsCutter for a near fall at 25:00. Kelly noted that there were less than five minutes remaining in the time limit.
Ibushi avoided a Storm Breaker and blasted Ospreay with a knee. Ibushi went for another, but Ospreay avoided it, only for Ibushi to perform a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. Ospreay rallied with a standing Spanish Fly for a two count. Ospreay removed his elbow pad and went to the corner and then ran into an elbow from Ibushi, who gave him a wicked lariat. Ibushi lowered his knee pad and caught Ospreay with a Bomaye knee for another great near fall. Ibushi followed up with the kamigoye knee and scored the pin…
Kota Ibushi pinned Will Ospreay in an A-Block tournament match.
Ibushi delivered a brief promo after the match to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A spectacular match. All you can do is hope that Ospreay is okay. It seemed like they were going to work a safe match early, but then they picked up the pace and some of the moves he took and performed were insane. Say what you will, but the neck injury made every move matter whether he was taking punishment or even performing moves. Ibushi’s ankle seems fine even though he sold it afterward. Overall, this looked like a good round of tournament matches on paper and the matches that looked the best all delivered, particularly the sensational main event.
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 A-Block Standings: Kazuchika Okada and Kenta have six points, Lance Archer and Evil have 4 points, Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Will Ospreay, Sanada, and Bad Luck Fale have 2 points, and Zack Sabre Jr. has 0 points.
The B-Block Standings: Jon Moxley, Juice Robinson, and Tomohiro Ishii have 4 points, Shingo Takagi, Hirooki Goto, Taichi, and Toru Yano have 2 points, and Tetsuya Naito, Jeff Cobb, and Jay White have 0 points.
The B-Block resumes Friday in Tokyo at Korakuen Hall with the following matches: Shingo Takagi vs. Taichi, Juice Robinson vs. Jeff Cobb, Toru Yano vs. Jay White, Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito, and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jon Moxley.
The A-Block resumes Saturday in Tokyo at Korakuen Hall with the following matches: Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay, Kota Ibushi vs. Sanada, Kenta vs. Evil, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Lance Archer, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Bad Luck Fale.