By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
The five G1 tournament matches from this show will be broadcast tonight on AXS TV at 8CT/9ET, so keep that in mind before you read the results below.
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 13”
August 3, 2019 in Osaka, Japan at Edion Arena
Streamed live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton served as the English broadcast team…
1. Juice Robinson and Toa Henare beat Ren Narita and Yota Tsuji. Henare performed a uranage slam on Tsuji and pinned him.
2. Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, and Yoshi-Hashi beat Jeff Cobb, Toru Yano, and Tomoaki Honma. Yoshi-Hashi applied the Butterfly Lock on Honma and got the submission win. Kelly had some fun wondering what it would be like if Yano won the G1 and challenged for the title in January. He assumed they wouldn’t be there very long (due to the brief length of Yano’s matches).
3. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Bush over Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Takagi used Made in Japan to defeat Kanemaru. Afterward, Takagi threw up his first, then Naito and Bushi joined him. Takagi and Naito had a moment in the ring and to set up their match for Sunday.
4. Jay White and Chase Owens beat Jon Moxley and Shota Umino. As Moxley and White brawled at ringside, Owens caught Moxley with a dropkick through the ropes. Owens caught Umino with a knee to the head, then tagged in White. White hit the Blade Runner on Umino and pinned him.
Powell’s POV: The results of the first four matches are not straight from the New Japan website for once. The results weren’t available on the website when I started this report, so I sped through through the early matches to get the results. I am watching the tournament matches listed below from bell to bell.
5. Kenta vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Jado) in an A-Block tournament match. Fale’s Bullet Club stablemate Chase Owens sat in on commentary for the match. Romero noted that Kenta needed a win to close the distance between him and block leader Okada. Kenta ran the ropes early in the match and Jado hit him with his kendo stick from ringside while the referee was facing the other way. Fale stood on the back of Kenta while leaning on the ropes. Romero mocked the Bullet Club for always having help for Fale, yet still not being able to get him more than two points in the tournament thus far. Kenta fired back with two slaps, but Fale knocked him down with a slap of his own.
Kenta clotheslined Fale over the top rope, then followed up with a clothesline from the ropes. Kenta dropkicked the knee of Fale. Jado climbed onto the apron and was quickly knocked down by Kenta, who followed up with a DDT on Fale and then covered him for a two count. Kenta performed a springboard dropkick that looked like it came up short, but Fale still sold it. Kenta performed some running boots that knocked Fale down in the corner, then Kenta performed a running dropkick. Kenta went up top and performed a double stomp on Fale for a two count. Kenta made the throat slash gesture and tried unsuccessfully to power him up for the GTS. Kenta ran the ropes and Fale knocked him down with a clothesline and then covered him for a two count.
Fale set up for the grenade, but Kenta caught him in a submission hold on the way down. Owens said he forgot something in the back and left the broadcast table. Owens stood on the apron and distracted the referee. Jado tried to hit Kenta with the kendo stick, but Kenta caught the stick. Fale rolled up Kenta and pinned him. “Oh, I found it,” Owens said as he returned to commentary. Owens boasted that Fale won with a wrestling move…
Bad Luck Fale defeated Kenta in an A-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: A skippable match if you are watching on delay. The Bullet Club interference either works for Fale’s matches or it doesn’t. In this case, the interference gave Fale a disappointing win that puts Kenta on the verge of elimination. I didn’t expect Kenta to win the block, but I enjoyed his strong start and now it’s disappointing to see him slide nearly out of contention with such a weak loss.
6. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Lance Archer in an A-Block tournament match. Charlton returned to commentary with Owens returning to the back after the previous match. The first few minutes of the match were dedicated to establishing Archer’s size and power advantage. Archer went for a twisting body press in the corner, but Sabre avoided it and applied a heel hook. Archer reached the ropes to break the hold. Sabre applied a sleeper type hold, but Archer flung him off. Kelly noted that Archer refers to his new hairstyle as a “murderhawk” rather than a mohawk. Sabre tried up Archer in a couple of submission holds in the ropes and had to break them.
Archer went for the Derailer, but Sabre caught him in a guillotine, which Archer broke using his power. Archer did the Old School rope walk. Archer shoved the leg of Archer, who was crotched on the top rope. Sabre applied a guillotine on the top turnbuckle. Archer started to power out, so Sabre released the hold. Archer dove at Sabre with a cross body block and got a two count. Archer went for a chokeslam, but Sabre countered into a triangle. Archer tried to power out of it, but Sabre applied a different hold instead. Archer tried to reach the ropes with his foot, but Sabre tied it up. Archer eventually reached the ropes with his foot.
Archer slammed Sabre with a powerbomb, then went for his EBD Claw. Sabre avoided it and applied an octopus hold. Sabre slid under Archer, who went for the claw, but Sabre tied him up in another hold. Sabre released the hold and ate a Blackhole Slam. Sabre avoided the claw again, but Archer knocked him down with a punch. Archer chokeslammed Sabre and had the pin, but he pulled up Sabre rather than take the three count. Archer went for Blackout, but Sabre countered into a rear naked choke, then into a rollup and scored the pin…
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Lance Archer in an A-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: A decent match for its type with Archer using raw power, while Sabre countered with quickness and submissions. I have mixed feelings on Archer pulling up Sabre rather than taking the pin. I get that it was done to protect Archer, but it actually works against him in that he comes off like a dopey brute for losing a match he could have won.
7. Will Ospreay vs. Evil in an A-Block tournament match. Ospreay had the now usual heavy tape on his neck and right shoulder. Evil pulled a chair out from underneath the ring. Kelly said they keep chairs under the ring just in case the broadcast team has issues with their chairs breaking or being utilized (well, at least he tried to explain it). Evil had issues sliding the chair into the ring when it opened and caught the apron, then didn’t go under the ropes. The fans had a laugh over it before Evil threw the chair over the top rope. Ospreay picked up the chair and opened it and closed it comically to taunt Evil. Funny. Ospreay teased throwing it at Evil, then handed it to referee Red Shoes.
Evil returned to the ring and Ospreay got the better of him briefly. Evil came back and went for a senton, but Ospreay avoided it. Ospreay went for a standing shooting star press, but Evil put his knees up. Evil used a shoulder block to knock Ospreay down. Evil clotheslined Ospreay to ringside and then followed him to the floor. Evil wrapped a chair around the neck of Ospreay, shoved the referee, then used a second chair to hit the first chair. Evil acted like he was watching a baseball fly after a home run hit. Evil rolled Osprey back inside the ring and went to work on his neck. Evil performed a neckbreaker for a two count.
Evil went for a suplex, but Ospreay countered in the air into a Stunner. Cool spot. Ospreay followed up with a springboard flying forearm and covered Evil for a two count. Evil avoided a Robinson special. Evil caught Ospreay going for a kick and then swung his leg at the referee, who caught it, and then Evil superkicked Ospreay in the abdomen and then suplexed him into the corner. A short time later, Evil placed Ospreay on the top rope, but Ospreay punched him off. Ospreay leapt over Evil and then charged him, but Evil placed the referee in front of him. Evil tried to use the referee as a base for his Magic Killer, but Ospreay avoided it and performed a handspring into the ropes and then came off with a big kick. Evil ended up at ringside. Ospreay performed an Ospreay special dive over the top rope onto Evil on the floor.
Ospreay rolled Evil back inside the ring and went to the top rope. Ospreay faked out Evil by teasing a top rope move. When Evil moved, Ospreay switched to a Coast to Coast style kick. Evil came back with a big lariat a short time later. The wrestlers got to their knees and traded forearms, then got to their feet and continued with the strikes. Evil got the better of it, as Ospreay fell to his knees. Evil went for Darkness Falls, Ospreay tried to counter into a move of his own, but Evil hit Darkness Falls for a near fall. Evil made the throat slash feature. Ospreay flipped out of an Everything is Evil attempt and performed a sit-out powerbomb for a really good near fall.
Ospreay threw a nice kick to Evil’s head. Evil ducked a running strike from Ospreay, who came back with another head kick. Ospreay and Evil threw simultaneous clotheslines. Evil headbutted Ospreay. Evil went for a running lariat, but Ospreay countered into a Spanish Fly for a great near fall. Ospreay followed up with an OsCutter for another tremendous near fall. Ospreay went bug-eyed to express shock over Evil kicking out of his finisher. Ospreay made the throat slash gesture and powered up Evil for a Storm Breaker. Evil slipped away and went for a German suplex, but Ospreay landed on his feet and threw a Robinson special kick. Ospreay went for a Super OsCutter, but Evil caught him on the way down and then performed two wicked suplexes and a running lariat for a strong near fall of his own. Evil followed up with Everything is Evil and scored the clean pin…
Evil defeated Will Ospreay in an A-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: A very good match. It felt fairly ordinary early on, but they built up to a sensational final few minutes. It’s crazy that Ospreay has been in the most memorable matches of the tournament and yet he has the same number of points as Bad Luck Fale. Ospreay has the obvious out with the neck injury and Kelly is also bringing up his crazy schedule. I’d still love to see Kazuchika Okada win the G1 and have Ospreay somehow earn the right to face him at the Tokyo Dome, but that’s likely a pipe dream. If so, here’s hoping next year is Ospreay’s breakthrough year in the G1. As for this match, everything pointed to Evil winning to give his upcoming match with Okada more importance.
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi in an A-Block tournament match. Kelly noted that there was only a two second difference in the total length of tournament matches worked by both men. He also noted that Tanahashi’s troublesome knee injury flared up in the previous match. Ibushi’s bad ankle didn’t seem to be an issue, as he performed a nice series of kicks and followed with an early standing moonsault. Rather, Tanahashi targeted Ibushi’s right knee with strikes and dragon screw leg whips. Tanahashi applied a cloverleaf. Ibushi crawled toward the ropes, but Tanahashi walked him back toward the middle of the ring. Ibushi made another play and reached the ropes to break the hold. Tanahashi caught Ibushi with a dragon screw leg whip through the ropes.
Tanahashi went to the top rope. Ibushi raced up the ropes from the floor and performed a huracanrana into the ring for a two count. A short time later, Tanahashi went for a dropkick at the knee of Ibushi, who leapt into the air simultaneously and came down with a double stomp. Great spot. Ibushi picked up Tanahashi and placed him over his shoulder before lawn darting him into the turnbuckle pad. Tanahashi ended up on the apron. Ibushi caught him with a deadlift German suplex into the ring and got a near fall.
Ibushi went for a powerbomb, but Okada landed on his feet and slapped him. Ibushi glared at Tanahashi and then fired back with a couple of palm strikes and a kick. Tanahashi fired back with three slaps. Ibushi fired off several. Both men threw a series of simultaneous slaps. Tanahashi got the better of it, but Ibushi knocked him down with a lariat. Cool sequence. Ibushi performed a Last Ride sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Ibushi sold disappointment over not getting the pin and there was blood in his mouth. Ibushi set up for a kamigoye knee, but Tanhashi countered into two twist and shout neckbreakers. Ibushi went for a suplex, but Tanahashi caught him with another neckbreaker and then a sling blade clothesline for a near fall.
Tanahashi went to the top rope. Ibushi was already back on his feet. Tanahashi performed a cross body block. Tanahashi raced to the other corner and performed the frogsplash version of high fly flow, but Ibushi moved. Tanahashi came up selling his bad knee. Ibushi got to his feet and hit Tanahashi with a bomaye knee (Kinshasa) for a near fall. Ibushi went for the kamigoye, but Tanahashi countered into a rollup pin for a good near fall. Ibushi threw a kick to the head. Tanahashi didn’t go down. Ibushi dropped him with a second kick, hit a kamigoye knee and scored the clean pin.
Kota Ibushi defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in an A-Block tournament match.
After the match, Ibushi remained lying on top of Tanahashi for a bit before rolling off. Ibushi grabbed Tanahashi’s hand in a show of respect. Tanahashi spoke to Ibushi in Japanese while both men were lying on the mat. Tanahashi was helped to the back while Ibushi remained in the ring and bowed to the fans.
Powell’s POV: A terrific match. Ibushi scores a huge win over Tanahashi to emerge as the last realistic threat to Okada winning the block. Tanahashi came away looking strong for having such a strong battle and being so classy in defeat. This was entertaining from a match quality standpoint and they conveyed great emotion afterward. With Okada and Ibushi meeting on the last A-Block show, one has to assume the block will come down to that match. Ibushi beating Okada in that match and then going on to win the tournament by beating the B-Block winner would set up a great Okada vs. Ibushi main event for Wrestle Kingdom in January. In order for that scenario to play out, Ibushi must win out, and Okada must lose to either Sanada on this show or Evil in the next match to set up the showdown with Ibushi.
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Sanada in an A-Block tournament match. Kelly said IWGP Heavyweight Champion’s dreams of winning the G1 tournament die in Osaka. Kelly said Okada was 6-0 going into Osaka in 2017 and went 0-2-1 the rest of the way. Kelly said Kenny Omega was 6-0 going into Osaka and ended up finishing the tournament with three straight losses. Okada had the early advantage and even put his foot on Sanada and posed for the crowd at one point. Sanada rallied and dropkicked the knee of Okada. Sanada dropkicked Okada, then followed up with a pescado onto Okada on the floor. Kelly and Romero agreed that the live crowd seemed to be behind Sanada pulling off an upset. Sanada applied the ridiculous Paradise Lock, then dropkicked Okada and covered him for a two count that no one bought.
Okada came back and struck the Rainmaker pose. Okada went for the Rainmaker lariat, but Sanada countered into Skull End. Okada broke free and performed a Tombstone piledriver. Okada went for the Rainmaker again, but Sanada avoided it and performed a draping neckbreaker. Both wrestlers got to their knees and traded forearms, then got to their feet and continued. Okada threw a dropkick to the back of Sanada’s head, then threw him into the ropes and performed a standard dropkick. Sanada avoided a Rainmaker, but Okada caught him in Tombstone position, yet Sanada slid down and applied Skull End. Sanada released the hold and performed a tiger suplex into a bridge for a good near fall.
Sanada hoisted up Okada for a TKO for another near fall. Sanada went up top and went for a Muta moonsault. Okada moved, but Sanada landed on his feet. Sanada caught Okada in Skull End, but Okada rolled up and dropped Sanada with a short-arm Rainmaker lariat. Okada performed the move again and then let out a war cry before going for the big Rainmaker, but Sanada beat him to the punch with a clothesline. Sanada applied Skull End and performed the spinning version, then hooked him in the hold on the mat. Okada looked like he was out.
Sanada released the hold with two minutes remaining in the match. Sanada went to the top rope and went for a Muta moonsault, but Okada put his knees up. Kelly said armchair quarterbacks everywhere will wonder why Sanada released Skull End if he comes up short. Both men got to their feet. Sanada went for Skull End, but Okada slipped out and dropkicked him. Okada went for the Rainmaker, but Sanada performed a popup TKO, then performed a Muta moonsault onto the back of Sanada. Sanada went up top again and performed a second Muta moonsault onto Okada and pinned him clean…
Sanada defeated Kazuchika Okada in an A-Block tournament match.
Okada left the ring and fell to his knees before using the guardrail to keep himself up as he walked to the back. Sanada was named the winner and fell back to the mat. Kelly spoke about Osaka continuing to be a place
Sanada took the mic and said, “Finally, I beat my rival” (Charlton translated). Sanada it’s the first time in a long time that he got a chance to talk and “do this.” The lights went down and there was a spotlight on Sanada while the fans held up cellphones. Sanada said he lost to Okada in the same building previously and didn’t really like Osaka much then, but for this moment he thinks it’s pretty damn awesome. Sanada wrapped up his promo and the lights turned on again, then he dropped down again and rolled out of the ring and headed to the back to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A strong main event. They did a great job of using the 30-minute time limit to create drama with the finish occurring with roughly ten seconds remaining in the match. I also love that Osaka is basically a cursed city for the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champions in the tournament. That’s a really cool touch and something they can continue to play on in future tournaments. Sanada hasn’t had a strong tournament as far as his point total is concerned, but this win makes up for a lot of that. Plus, beating the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion in a tournament match means he’s earned a future title shot.
Okada’s loss puts Ibushi in play for the tournament win, as it will come down to their A-Block closing match if Ibushi wins his match or both men lose (or go to draws) their matches on Wednesday. Ibushi could then tie Okada in points by beating him in the final match and would hold the tiebreaker with that win. Evil is still in play since he trails Okada by four points and will face him on Wednesday. I’m not sure what the tiebreaker scenarios are once they go beyond a two-way tie, but I assume that Tanahashi and Kenta are basically eliminated since they could only tie Okada in the standings and would lose to him on a tiebreaker due to having lost their tournament matches to him. Everyone with fewer points than Kenta and Tanahashi (see below) are officially eliminated from A-Block contention.
Overall, this was a very good show thanks to the final three matches. The opening match was missable, the second match was fun for what it was with contrasting size and styles, and those last three matches were terrific and are definitely worth watching either on New Japan World or tonight on AXS TV. Sunday’s show will be interesting, as a number of wrestlers will be eliminated from B-Block contention based on the results of their 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 A-Block Standings: Kazuchika Okada has 12 points, Kota Ibushi has 10 points, Evil, Kenta, and Hiroshi Tanahashi have 8 points, Zack Sabre Jr. and Sanada have 6 points, Lance Archer, Will Ospreay, and Bad Luck Fale have 4 points.
The B-Block Standings: Jon Moxley has 10 points, Tomohiro Ishii, Tetsuya Naito, Juice Robinson, Jay White, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, and Jeff Cobb have 6 points, and Shingo Takagi and Taichi have 4 points.
The B-Block resumes Sunday in Osaka, Japan at Edion Arena with the following matches: Tetsuya Naito vs. Shingo Takagi, Jon Moxley vs. Jay White, Hirooki Goto vs. Jeff Cobb, Juice Robinson vs. Taichi, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano.
The A-Block resumes Wednesday in Shizuoka, Japan at Hamamatsu Arena with the following matches: Kazuchika Okada vs. Evil, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kota Ibushi, Will Ospreay vs. Kenta, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale, Sanada vs. Lance Archer.