By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 7”
July 20, 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. Jon Moxley and Shota Umino beat Juice Robinson and Yota Tsuji. Umino beat Tsuji with a Boston crab.
2. Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru beat Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, and Yuya Uemura. Kanemaru beat Uemura with Deep Impact (contrary to my initial suspicions, it’s a move and not a case of Kanemaru forcing Uemura to watch Okato in TNA).
3. Jay White, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi beat Jeff Cobb, Toa Henare, and Tomoaki Honma. Owens used a package piledriver to pin Henare.
4. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi beat Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi, and Ren Narita. Bushi hit MX on Narita and pinned him to win the match for his team.
Powell’s POV: I didn’t have time to watch the full undercard, so the results of the first four matches are straight from the New Japan website. I’m watching the tournament matches listed below from bell to bell.
5. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Jado, Chase Owens) in an A-Block match. Romero labeled it a must win match for both men. The bell rang and Sabre ran across the ring and applied a facelock. Fale tried to power out, but Sabre countered into a sleeper. Fale flung him off. Sabre went for a kneebar, but Fale remained on his feet and dragged Sabre to the ropes to break the hold. Fale used his power briefly, but Sabre went for an armbar, which Fale blocked. Fale lifted Sabre to his feet and clotheslined him.
Fale went for his finisher, but Sabre applied a flying octopus. Fale backed toward the ropes where Jado hit Sabre with a kendo stick unbeknownst to the referee. Owens pulled Sabre to the floor and put the boots to Sabre. Kelly noted that Sabre was missing his hype man Taka Michinoku, who is recovering from a leg injury. Fale took Sabre into the crowd’s first level and then up the steps. Fale went for his finisher, but Sabre slipped away. Fale went for a Grenade, but Sabre countered into a triangle while the referee counted. Sabre released the hold and raced back to the ring at 17. Fale got back to ringside just in time for the referee to count him out…
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Bad Luck Fale in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: A fun opener with a creative count-out. The live crowd was into this and got behind Sabre. They seemed legitimately concerned about Fale powerbombing Sabre onto the chairs and they cheered when Sabre won. My only disappointment in Sabre winning is being deprived of one of the great post match meltdowns that follow his losses.
6. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Lance Archer in an A-Block match. Archer attacked young lions at ringside during his entrance. Tanahashi dropkicked the knees of Archer to start the match. Tanahashi also performed an early pescado. Archer came back with an apron bomb. Archer tried to return to the ring, but Tanahashi grabbed his foot. Archer kicked him away, then performed a summersault dive off the apron and onto Tanahashi on the floor.
Back inside the ring, Archer put Tanahashi down with a Blackhole Slam. Kelly noted that Archer competed in four G1 tournaments and finished with eight points in his previous appearances. The broadcast team also noted that there were a number of people cheering for Archer in the building. Archer set up for a cloverleaf, but Tanahashi kicked him away. Tanahashi stuffed a kick and went for a German suplex, but Archer elbowed him to avoid it. Archer performed three running elbows in the corner and called for one more. Tanahashi caught Archer charging with a sling blade clotheslines.
Tanahashi went to work with a couple of inverted dragon screw leg whips. Archer grabbed Tanahashi’s throat, but Tanahashi swatted him away. Tanahashi ran the ropes and Archer did the same and connected with a shoulder block. Archer set Tanahashi on the top rope. Tanahashi teased Old School, but Archer tossed him to the mat. Archer performed an Old School rope walk instead, but when he leapt off Tanahashi caught him with a Twist and Shout neckbreaker. Tanahashi followed up with a sling blade for a two count. Tanahashi went up top and went for a cross body block, but Archer chokeslammed him for a good near fall.
Archer performed a twisting splash from the middle rope for another two count. Archer teased the EBD Claw. Tanahashi blocked it initially, but Archer applied it. Tanahashi backed into the ropes to break the claw. Archer sat Tanahashi on the top rope and set up for the Blackout, but Tanahashi responded with a victory roll for the 1-2-3.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Lance Archer in an A-Block match.
Afterward, Archer took a mic at the English commentary and said they know it was “bullcrap” and he had Tanahashi beat. He said he might attack Romero just for fun. Tanahashi slapped hands, wiped his brow with fan towels, and hugged an excited woman on his way to the back…
Powell’s POV: A solid match. It’s nice to see Archer has won over some in the live crowd enough to get some chants of support during a match against Tanahashi. Archer has had a strong tournament and deserves the recognition. His post match comments to the broadcast team were weak. You don’t have to swear, but saying “bullcrap” sounds so PG corny.
7. Kenta vs. Evil in an A-Block match. Evil walked Kenta into the ropes, where Kenta slowly spun around. Kenta teased a clean rope break, then wiped some of his eye makeup off with his hands. Charlton recalled Evil being vocal at a press conference in telling Kenta that he doesn’t belong in the tournament. Evil took the fight to ringside where he placed a chair around the neck of Kenta and then hit it with another chair.
Evil took the fight into the aisle and slammed him face first into the back wall of a concourse area. Evil dragged Kenta through the concourse and into the entrance of another section of seating. Evil cleared a bunch of chairs away on a stage area where they fought to suplex one another. Kenta won the battle and Evil landed on a chair. Kenta held his arms out while playing to the fans, who responded with boos. Romero said the fans have not accepted Kenta in NJPW. The referee finally started his count and then Kenta brought Evil back to the ring where he performed a clothesline from the ropes for a throwaway near fall.
Kenta fired away at Evil with kicks in the corner, then used his foot to face wash Evil. Kenta played to the crowd to more boos. Evil got up and clotheslined him in the other corner. Kenta came back with a running kick. Evil responded with a pair of clotheslines and a fisherman’s buster for a two count. Kenta caught Evil running the ropes with a powerslam. Kenta connected with a running dropkick in the corner and then a top rope double stomp for a near fall.
Evil rallied with a German suplex. The wrestlers exchanged strikes. It looked like Kenta got the better of it, but Evil headbutted him. Evil performed a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. Kenta avoided Evil’s finisher and caught him with a backslide and then a small package for a pair of two counts. Evil fired back with a lariat for a two count of his own. Kenta ducked a running lariat and then connected with a running knee for a good near fall. Kenta performed the move again for a two count. Kenta went for a PK kick, but Evil caught it. Evil went for a headbutt and ate a knee instead. Kenta connected with a PK kick and followed up with a GTS for the clean pin…
Kenta defeated Evil in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: I’m enjoying the story of Kenta being rejected by several wrestlers and a lot of the fans. I thought the idea was for him to eventually win everyone over, but the way he posed and soaked up the jeers left me thinking he may simply be more heelish. It was a very good match and I love that Kenta is unbeaten going into his match with Okada next weekend.
8. Kota Ibushi vs. Sanada in an A-Block match. Charlton told the story of Sanada listing Ibushi as one of the four wrestlers he respects while not mentioning Tetsuya Naito. Kelly was quick to point out that the comments preceded a match between Naito and Sanada, so it might be a different story today. Kelly also noted that Ibushi led the A-Block in tournament match time in his three previous matches with a combined 57 minutes and 36 seconds, while Sanada had put in 56 minutes and 29 seconds.
After an early exchange, the wrestlers received dueling chants. They went to the ropes and played into the cheers, and referee Red Shoes signified that it was more or less even. Sanada teased an early dive onto Ibushi at ringside, but stopped on the ringside and flipped his way back into the ring. Sanada played to the crowd only for Ibushi to tag him with a springboard dropkick. Ibushi sold his bad ankle for a moment. A short time later, Ibushi absorbed Sanada’s chops, then blasted him with a kick and followed up with a standing moonsault, but Sanada put his knees up.
Later, Sanada dropkicked the knee of Ibushi, which Romero said is shades of his mentor Great Muta. Sanada followed up with a repeat of the move, but Ibushi leapt in the air and came down with a double stomp instead. Both men traded forearms in the middle of the ring. Ibushi was dazed, but he fired back with a kick to the chest. Sanada blasted him with an uppercut. Rinse and repeat with both men performing the same strikes several times. Ibushi knocked Sanada down with a lariat and performed a sit-out powerbomb for a two count.
Sanada connected with a komigoye knee. Sanada went for a moonsault that Ibushi avoided. Ibushi got up and performed a bomaye (Kinshasa) knee. Ibushi sold ankle pain. Romero said Ibushi may have tweaked it on his first step before the bomaye. Sanada applied Skull End. Ibushi countered into the same move. They jockeyed for position and Ibushi ended up lawn darting Sanada into the turnbuckle pad in the corner. Ibushi went for a German suplex, but Sanada landed on his feet. They traded kicks. Sanada reapplied Skull End and then swung Ibushi around while maintaining the hold. Ibushi escaped it and they jockeyed for position. Ibushi tagged Sanada with a kick to the head. Ibushi performed a bomaye for a near fall. Ibushi lowered his knee pad and hit the komigoye knee and scored the pin.
Kota Ibushi defeated Sanada in an A-Block match.
Afterward, Ibushi laid down next to Sanada to check on him. Sanada rolled out of the ring and headed to the back…
Powell’s POV: A strong match. It came off like a real battle, but if there was a weakness it’s that they never sold me on Ibushi being at risk of losing. And maybe that wasn’t the goal of the match, but it kept this in the “good match” rather than “great match” territory for this viewer. Still, it was very well worked and worth watching if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet.
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay in an A-Block match. Kelly reminded viewers that it’s been 19 years since a sitting IWGP Heavyweight Champion won the G1 tournament. They also played up Ospreay still searching for his first win over Okada. Ospreay wore neck and shoulder tape just as he did on Thursday due to the neck injury that caused him to miss a non-tournament match earlier in the week. Early in the match, Okada dropkicked Ospreay to ringside. Okada held the ropes open. Ospreay rolled under the bottom rope. Okada blasted Ospreay with elbows to his bad neck. Kelly and Romero said the Chaos teammates won’t take it easy on one another in the G1 tournament.
Later, Ospreay blasted Okada with a chop. Okada sold it by crumbling to the mat and clutching his chest. Romero spoke about how much Ospreay has grown and put over the training he’s done. Okada came back with a neckbreaker onto his knee. Okada dropkicked Ospreay into the corner, then followed up with a top rope elbow drop. Okada struck the Rainmaker pose. Ospreay backed Okada back into the corner. Okada ran out and delivered a boot to the head. Ospreay used Okada’s body to flip over, then Okada ducked an enzuigiri. Okada went for a German suplex, but Ospreay landed on his feet and caught Okada with a kick to the head. Ospreay avoided a dropkick and went for a standing shooting star press, but Okada put his knees up. Okada dropkicked Ospreay to cap off a lightning quick exchange.
Okada performed a Tombstone piledriver, which Kelly said was the worst case scenario for Ospreay due to the neck injury. Ospreay rolled up Okada for a two count, then performed a Robinson special kick. Ospreay went for the OsCutter, but Okada dropkicked his back (weakly) and Ospreay tumbled from the middle rope to the floor. Both men traded forearms while standing on the ring apron while the ring announcer noted that they were 15:00 into the match, then Kelly noted there were 15 minutes remaining in the 30-minute time limit. Ospreay fired away with three elbows that knocked Okada onto the apron. Ospreay followed up with a high kick that knocked Okada to ringside. Ospreay went to the ropes, but Okada pulled him down into Tombstone position, Ospreay slipped away and shoved Okada into the barricade, then tagged him with a kick to the head before performing an OsCutter off the barricade.
Ospreay returned to the ring, then Okada returned at the referee’s 19 count. Ospreay was waiting and performed a long distance missile dropkick, then performed an OsCutter for a great near fall. Ospreay went for a Super OsCutter, but Okada caught him on the way down and dropped him into a German suplex. Ospreay ducked a Rainmaker lariat, but came right back with a dropkick. Okada let out a war cry. Ospreay performed a standing Spanish Fly off the clothesline for a terrific near fall. Ospreay went up top and hit a shooting star press for another terrific near fall.
Ospeay showed anguish over not getting the pin. Romero said Ospreay had to hit the Storm Breaker. Kelly said Ospreay had never been so close to beating Okada. Ospreay went for Storm Breaker at 20:00, but Okada countered into Tombstone position. Ospreay reversed into Tombstone position, threw knees at the head of Okada, and then hit a Tombstone piledriver. Ospreay threw a high kick to the head of Okada. Ospreay went for a Storm Breaker, but Okada flipped onto his feet and blasted Ospreay with a lariat. Okada performed a short-arm clothesline and let out a primal scream. Okada went for the Rainmaker, but Ospreay flipped into position for a Storm Breaker. Okada avoided it and ended up hitting two Rainmaker lariats before scoring the pin.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Will Ospreay in an A-Block match.
After Ospreay was backstage, Okada took the mic and spoke to the crowd. Okada said he will secure his place in the G1 finals before he returns to Tokyo. And once he returns, he will make it rain. Kelly closed out the live broadcast by saying they would see everyone at the next G1 event on Wednesday. Charlton said it was one of the best single nights of wrestling he’s ever seen…
Powell’s POV: Excellence. This was right there with Ibushi vs. Ospreay from night five, meaning it was a wonderful match with tremendous drama. From a storytelling standpoint, it showed that Ospreay has taken a step forward and is closer than ever to beating Okada, but he just couldn’t pull it off. I’d absolutely love to see Ospreay come back and win this tournament and challenge Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in January. I don’t believe that’s where this is going, but perhaps they could still get there somehow if Okada wins the G1. It’s probably wishful thinking on my part, but we’ll eventually get another match between these two and I can’t wait to see it.
Overall, a great night of G1 matches capped off with another match of the year contender. This is not a show to miss.
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 eight points, Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Lance Archer, and Evil have 4 points, Will Ospreay, Sanada, Zack Sabre Jr., and Bad Luck Fale have 2 points.
The B-Block Standings: Jon Moxley has six points, Juice Robinson, Tomohiro Ishii, Shingo Takagi, and Toru Yano have 4 points, Hirooki Goto, Taichi, Tetsuya Naito, and Jeff Cobb have 2 points, and Jay White has 0 points.
The B-Block resumes Wednesday in Hiroshima at Sun Plaza Hall with the following matches: Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Jon Moxley vs. Shingo Takagi, Jeff Cobb vs. Jay White, Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi, and Juice Robinson vs. Toru Yano.
The A-Block resumes next Saturday in Aichi at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium with the following matches: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenta, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Sanada, Evil vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay vs. Bad Luck Fale, Kota Ibushi vs. Lance Archer.