By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 9”
July 27, 2019 in in Aichi at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
Streamed live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero served as the English broadcast team…
1. Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemura, and Taichi beat Jeff Cobb, Ren Narita, and Yota Tsuji. Kanemura beat Tsuji with Deep Impact.
2. Jay White, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi beat Juice Robinson, Tomoaki Honma, and Toa Henare. Owens used a package piledriver to beat Henare.
3. Tomohiro Ishii beat Toru Yano beat Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi. Yano pinned Yoshi-Hashi with a schoolboy rollup.
4. Tetsuya Naito and Shingo Takagi beat Jon Moxley and Shota Umino. Takagi beat Umino with a Pumping Bomber.
Powell’s POV: The results of the first four matches are straight from the New Japan website. I am watching the tournament matches listed below from bell to bell.
5. Kota Ibushi vs. Lance Archer in an A-Block tournament match. Archer caught Ibushi going for an early huracanrana and set him up for a powerbomb, but Ibushi pulled off the huracanrana after after all, causing Archer to crash and burn to ringside. Archer recovered at ringside and worked over Ibushi. Archer brought Ibushi back to the ring and clubbed him with forearms to the chest. Archer teased the EBD Claw. Ibushi blocked the claw only to have Archer kick his bad ankle. Archer turned Ibushi inside out with a short-arm clothesline and then covered him with one foot for a two count.
Ibushi rallied by leaping into the air and then dropping both knees onto the back of Archer’s head. Ibushi powerslammed Archer and then hit a moonsault from the middle rope for a two count. Archer caught Ibushi on the ropes with a big knee. Archer went for a superplex. Ibushi slipped underneath Archer and then performed a powerbomb for a two count. Archer caught a charing Ibushi with a big boot from the apron, then followed up with a flipping senton splash for a two count.
Archer chokeslammed Ibushi for a good near fall with Ibushi kicking out at the last moment. Archer applied the EBD Claw, but Ibushi was on the ropes and the ref broke it up. Archer went for a Full Nelson Bomb, but Ibushi rolled him up for a two count. Ibushi stood up and blasted Archer with a running knee. Ibushi set for for a bomaye kick, but Archer beat him to the punch with a great knee to the head for a fantastic near fall at 10:00.
Archer went for a top rope moonsault, but Ibushi rolled out of the way. Ibushi charged at Archer, who caught him and set up for a move, but Ibushi slipped away and caught him with another kick. Ibushi lowered his knee pad and connected with a bomaye knee for a near fall. Ibushi performed a Kamigoye knee to the head. Archer shook it off and the broadcast team noted that Archer didn’t go down and no one had ever done it. Ibushi blasted him with a second Kamigoye knee and scored the clean pin…
Kota Ibushi defeated Lance Archer in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: An terrific opener of today’s tournament matches. Archer continues to deliver big time in this tournament. Sure, some of it is the guys he’s working with, but he’s clearly working harder than ever. I like the way the finish made Archer look strong in that it took a second knee to the head for Ibushi to finish him. Ibushi was very good and did a great job of creating suspense with his last moment kickouts. Before the tournament, I would have looked at this as a throwaway match on paper, but it was suspenseful and some of Archer’s near falls made me question assumption that Ospreay was going over. Well done.
6. Will Ospreay vs. Bad Luck Fale (wJado, Chase Owens) in an A-Block match. Ospreay, who had tape on his neck and right arm made, it to the ring during his entrance. Ospreay and was standing on the apron when Owens grabbed his right leg. Fale hit Ospreay from behind and knocked him off the apron. Owens and Jado worked over Ospreay at ringside as the bell rang to start the match (why do they reward cheating in NJPW of all places?). Ospreay came fought off both men and ringside and hit Fale with a springboard forearm for an early two count. Jado hit Ospreay with a kendo stick from the floor. Fale went on the offensive and removed the tape from Ospreay’s neck and arm. Fale wrenched on Ospreay’s arm, then Ospreay bit Fale’s hand to break the hold.
Ospreay came back with a spinning kick and then followed up with a standing shooting star press for a near fall. Ospreay set up for an OsCutter, but Fale threw the referee into Ospreay. REF BUMP!!! Ospreay fell to ringside. Owens went for a package piledriver, but Ospreay slipped away and caught him with a kick. Ospreay dodged a Jado kendo stick swing, then returned to the ring where Fale clothesined him into the corner. Fale performed a Grenade. Owens woke up the referee, and Ospreay kicked out at two. Fale set up for the Back Luck Fall, but Ospreay slipped away and caught him with a kick. Ospreay went for a Storm Breaker, but he couldn’t hoist the big man up. Ospreay sold lower back pain, but threw an elbow to the back of Fale’s head and got a two count.
Ospreay followed up with an OsCutter and had the pin, but Owens pulled the referee from the ring. Jado entered the ring with a kendo stick and tried to hit Ospreay, who caught it, slapped Jado, then took the kendo stick. Owens hit Ospreay from behind an went for a package piledriver, which Ospreay reversed into a backdrop. Ospreay went for his finisher on Owens, who hit him with a kendo stick. Owens performed a package piledriver and motioned for Fale, who covered Ospreay. Red Shoes ran out as the second referee and started to count the Fale pin, but he stopped at two and gave him double middle fingers and a “f— you” before calling for the DQ…
Will Ospreay defeated Bad Luck Fale by DQ in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: The ref bump and blatant outside interference felt cheap and lazy for a promotion that is known for keeping it to a minimum. There’s just been too much of it in the G1 this year. The right guy went over, but why couldn’t Ospreay have simply hit his OsCutter finisher and pinned Fale clean?
7. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Evil in an A-Block tournament match. Evil went for a Scorpion leg lock, but Sabre countered into a triangle. Evil powered Sabre up and slammed him to the mat. Evil went for a the Scorpion again, but Sabre pushed him off and applied a modified version of the Scorpion leg lock. Evil used his hands to crab walk to the ropes to break the hold. Sabre went for a kick from the apron, but Evil ducked it and pulled Sabre down face first onto the apron. Evil performed a hanging neckbreaker at ringside.
A short time later, there was a good sequence that led to Sabre applying a heel hook. Evil rolled over Sabre and the move became a modified Scorpion. Sabre managed to reach the ropes to break the hold. Sabre caught Evil with a kick to the head and then hit him with a second that swept his legs out from under him. Sabre went for a kick, but Evil caught it. The wrestlers exchanged a few strikes, then Evil knocked Sabre down with a lariat. Sabre avoided Evil’s finisher, then they went back and forth with pin attempts that ended with Sabre getting a near fall.
Evil went for a fisherman’s buster, but Sabre avoided it and kicked the arm of Evil, then threw another to the body. Sabre threw another PK (kick) and got a two count. A short time later, Sabre went into octopus mode on Evil, who powered him up and slammed him down again. Evil went for his finisher, but Sabre countered into a pin for a good near fall. They jockeyed for position and Evil hit his finisher and scored the clean pin…
Evil defeated Zack Sabre Jr. in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: A good match. It was a tough match to predict given how close they are in the standings. I wasn’t sure if they would want to keep Evil in the thick of things or tell a story with Sabre rallying from his bad start. Sabre losing meant we got another post match meltdown from Sabre. It wasn’t one of his classic tantrums, but it was still fun. And so was the match, though it wasn’t particularly memorable.
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Sanada in an A-Block tournament match. The bell rang and Kelly noted that the fans were favoring Sanada. Tanahashi motioned for his fans to cheer more. The wrestlers had a lengthy feeling out process with neither man gaining an advantage. There was a spot where they both stood on one leg while holding the opponent’s other leg. They agreed to a friendly release, but Sanada held on. Tanahashi kicked himself free of Sanada, who locked him in the ridiculous Paradise Lock briefly. Later, both men hit dragon screw leg whips. Tanahashi whipped Sanada into the corner. Sanada flipped over the ropes and then hit a springboard dropkick that sent Tanahashi to ringside. Sanada dove onto Tanahashi, then played to the cheering crowd.
A short time later, Sanada applied Skull End. Tanahashi broke free, then performed a twist and shout neckbreaker. Tanahashi held on and then performed the move a second time. Tanahashi held on and wanted to perform it a third time, but Sanada turned it into a draping neckbreaker of his own. Sanada battled back with a sling blade clothesline and then performed a high fly flow frogsplash, but Sanada rolled out of the way. Sanada performed a moonsault, but Tanahashi moved. A short time later, Sanada applied Skull End and then swung Tanahashi in that position briefly. Tanahashi countered into a pin for a two count. Tanahashi rolled into a pin for another two count, then Sanada applied Skull End again.
Tanahashi escaped and applied Skull End, then Sanada flipped over Tanahashi and reapplied Skull End. Tanahashi flipped over to break the hold and brought Sanada down to the mat with him. Both men got to their feet and exchanged forearms to the head. Sanada appeared to get the better it and went for a clothesline. Tanahashi ducked the clothesline and performed a dragon suplex for a good near fall. Tanahashi performed a high fly flow cross body block and followed up with the frogsplash version for the clean pin…
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Sanada in an A-Block match.
Powell’s POV: A good match that lacked a suspenseful finish. I enjoyed the reversals and all, but Tanahashi hitting his finishing sequence when he did felt more routine than something designed to be memorable. It was a good match, but I had my hopes up for more down the stretch. The best tournament match heading into the main event was actually the opener between Ibushi and Archer.
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenta in an A-Block tournament match. Okada pushed Kenta toward the ropes. Kenta spun him around and teased sleeping him, then stopped and politely patted him on the chest, then slapped him across the face. Both men exchanged forearm blows in the middle of the ring. Later, Kenta caught Okada with a powerslam. Kenta grabbed Okada from behind, and Okada elbowed free. Okada charged in the corner and Kenta caught him with a boot. Kenta twisted his way over the top rope and then clotheslined Okada by using the top rope, then performed a standard clothesline from the ropes for a two count.
Okada and Kenta exchanged heated strikes in the middle of the ring, then Kenta caught Okada with a kick. Okada came right back and sat Kenta on the top rope, then dropkicked him to the floor. Okada followed to ringside while Romero noted that Okada was moving slowly due to the strikes he took. Okada tried to drape Kenta over the barricade, but Kenta fought free and ended up leaving Okada draping over the barricade. Kenta performed a nice double stomp from the apron.
Back inside the ring, Kenta performed running dropkicks on Okada in the corner, then went up top for a double stop. Okada avoided the double stomp and dropkicked Kenta into the corner. Okada performed his own leaping dropkick on Kenta. Moments later, the wrestlers were on the middle rope fighting for position. Okada threw punches, and Kenta connected with a hard slap. Kenta set up for a top rope superplex, but Okada punched him off. Okada went for a top rope elbow drop, but Kenta caught him on the way down and went for a triangle. Okada avoided the triangle, so Kenta rolled him into a Game Over submission hold. Okada reached the bottom rope with his foot to break the hold.
Kenta got back to his feet and hit Okada with a knee to the back and then followed up with a running knee to the head that resulted in in a two count. Kenta performed another running knee for a near fall. Kenta went up top and drilled Okada with a double stomp for a near fall. Kenta went for a GTS, but Okada blocked it and put him in position for a tombstone piledriver, which Kenta reversed and powered Okada back into position for a GTS. Okada blocked it on the way down and then dropkicked the back of Kenta. Okada threw another dropkick. Okada performed a tombstone piledriver and let out a war cry. Okada went for a Rainmaker, but Kenta ducked it and then connected with a discus lariat.
Both wrestlers got to their knees and traded forearms at the 25:00 mark. They got to their feet and continued to throw forearms at one another. Okada got the better of it and threw several forearms when Kenta suddenly blasted him with a palm strike. Kenta followed up with five more palm strikes. Okada ducked a big kick, but Kenta put him in a sleeper. Kenta released the hold and ran the ropes only to run into a dropkick. They fought for position and Okada ended up performing a spinning tombstone. Okada connected with a Rainmaker clothesline and scored the pin.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Kenta in an A-Block match.
Afterward, Kenta was on the ground. Okada offered his hand. Kenta got to his feet and shook Okada’s hand.
Powell’s POV: A good main event with real mystery down the stretch in terms of who would go over or if they would go with a time limit draw to set up a big rematch down the road. I’m surprised they didn’t at least go to a draw and I’m beginning to wonder just who will be groomed to challenge Okada since he’s plowed through some strong contenders already. My hope remains that Okada wins the tournament and somehow they work to Ospreay facing him at the Tokyo Dome in January, but seeing his believing. It was a solid night of tournament action, yet not as strong as it looked paper. The main event was enjoyable and yet not outstanding, the Ibushi vs. Archer match was fun for what it was, and the other three matches left something to be desired in one way or another.
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 has 10 points, Kenta and Kota Ibushi have 8 points, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Evil have 6 points, Lance Archer and Will Ospreay have 4 points, Sanada, Zack Sabre Jr., and Bad Luck Fale have 2 points.
The B-Block Standings: Jon Moxley has 8 points, Juice Robinson has 6 points, Tetsuya Naito, Tomohiro Ishii, Shingo Takagi, Toru Yano, and Taichi have 4 points, Hirooki Goto, Jay White, and Jeff Cobb have 2 points.
The B-Block resumes Sunday in Aichi, Japan at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium with the following matches: Tetsuya Naito vs. John Moxley, Shingo Takagi vs. Jay White, Jeff Cobb vs. Taichi, Juice Robinson vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto vs. Toru Yano.
The A-Block resumes Tuesday in Kagawa, Japan at Tkamatsu City General Gymnasium with the following matches: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Evil, Kenta vs. Sanada, Kazuchika Okada vs. Lance Archer, Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi vs. Bad Luck Fale.