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. In fact, here’s a spoiler-free preview of the Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi match that AXS TV passed along.
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 17”
August 10, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero served as the English broadcast team…
1. Jon Moxley and Shota Umino defeated Juice Robinson and Ren Narita. Umino went over on Narita fish a fisherman’s suplex.
2. Jeff Cobb and Toa Henare beat Toru Yano and Tomoaki Honma. Cobb hit Honma with a Tour of the Islands and pinned him.
3. Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru beat Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, and Yoshi-Hashi. Suzuki used a Gotch style piledriver to defeat Yoshi-Hashi.
4. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi beat Jay White, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi. Takagi hit Made in Japan on Takahashi and pinned him.
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. Evil vs. Lance Archer in an A-Block tournament match. Kelly recalled that Evil suffered a broken orbital bone caused by Archer at a past Wrestle Kingdom event during an IWGP Heavyweight Tag Title match. Archer had his mohawk braided. The wrestlers traded forearms to start. Archer knocked Evil down, then ran the ropes only for Evil to follow and hit him with a leaping punch. Evil ran the ropes and Archer put him down with a Blackhole Slam. Evil went to ringside. Archer followed and beat up some of the young lions. Archer went to the apron and leapt over Evil’s attempts to sweep his legs, then performed a moonsault onto him and some of the young lions. Nice.
Archer removed a turnbuckle pad and took it to ringside, then hit the apron with it. Referee Marty Asami dropped to the mat, then got up and took it from Archer, who brought Evil back inside the ring and ran him into the exposed corner. Archer followed up with a suplex into the corner. Evil didn’t appear to touch any of the exposed turnbuckles, but he sold it like he’d been shot. Archer stood on the second rope and went for a senton, but Evil rolled out of the way. A short time later, Evil cut off Archer on the ropes and superplexed him for a two count.
Evil caught Archer going for a kick and swung his leg at the referee, who was knocked down in the process. REF BUMP!!! Archer cut him off with a Derailer. Archer went to ringside and grabbed a chair and wedged it into the exposed corner. Archer sent Evil toward the corner, but Evil reversed it and Archer crashed into the chair. Evil used the top rope to performer a Magic Killer and the referee recovered and made the two count. Evil set up for his finisher, but Archer avoided it and chokeslammed him for a good near fall. Archer followed up with an F5. Archer went for the EBD Claw, but Evil ducked it and headbutted him. Evil set up for a move only to have Archer apply the EBD Claw and pin him…
Lance Archer defeated Evil in an A-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: Another good Archer outing. Congratulations to him on these tournament matches being the best stretch of in-ring performances of his career. He didn’t finish high in the standings, but he impressed a lot of people with his hard work. I was surprised to see Evil lose the match, but it’s nice to see Archer’s hard work rewarded with a tournament closing upset win.
6. Sanada vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Jado, Chase Owens) in an A-Block tournament match. Kelly noted that Sanada had logged was among the leaders in total match time with 2:30:15, while Fale has the least with an 1:14:37. Jado landed an early kendo stick shot while Sanada was running the ropes. Fale choked Sanada with a microphone cord at ringside. Back inside the ring, Fale stood on Sanada’s chest, then distracted the referee while Owens took a cheap shot at Sanada. Fale continued to be dominant coming off the interference and dropped an elbow on Sanada before covering him for a two count.
Sanada eventually rallied and clotheslined Fale to ringside. Sanada performed pescados on Fale and Jado, then hit Owens with a dropkick that knocked him to ringside and took him out with a pescado. Fun sequence. Sanada hoisted up Fale on his shoulders for a move and then collapsed under his weight. Fale ran the ropes and splashed Sanada for a near fall. Fale executed the Grenade for another near fall. Fale set up for the Bad Luck Fall, but Sanada slipped out and then avoided a charging Fale in the corner and bodyslammed him. Sanada hoisted up Fale and dropped him with a TKO for a two count.
Sanada applied Skull End. Owens pulled the referee to the floor and then Fale tapped. Jado entered the ring and tried to hit Sanada with the kendo stick, but Sanada ducked it. Sanada ended up with the kendo stick and threw it down, then applied the awful Paradise Lock on Gado and Owens. Sanada performed a springboard dropkick on Fale, woke up the referee, and went for a Muta moonsault that Fale avoided. Sanada reapplied Skull End, but Fale rolled him into an inside cradle and scored the pin…
Bad Luck Fale defeated Sanada in an A-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: So Fale closes the tournament with wins over Hiroshi Tanahashi and Sanada. Why? If there are any big money G1 prediction pools and someone predicted Fale to beat Tanahashi and Sanada then the organizers may want to see if the entrant goes by the name of Gedo and has a Japanese address. Sanada could have closed the tournament with a strong ten points to go along with his showcase win over Kazuchika Okada. Instead, he took a loss to Fale two tournament matches later. The match felt longer than it needed to be and then concluded with a head scratching finish. Are there plans for Fale or was this done to justify his spot in next year’s tournament?
7. Kenta vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in an A-Block tournament match. Romero said this is a bad matchup for Kenta due to the injuries he’s suffered over the years and because Sabre’s technical mastery. Sabre threw a couple of forearms at Kenta, who returned fire and knocked him down. Kenta got the better of Sabre and teased stomping him, then taunted him with a light kick to the face. Sabre quickly returned the favor and applied a wrist hold, then placed his wrist on the mat and stomped it. Kelly and Romero continued to play up the surgeries that Kenta went through and Romero said it took the bulk of the power away in his left arm. Sabre applied a double wrist lock, but Kenta broke free with knees to the head and then fired away with some kicks and covered Sabre for just a one count.
A short time later, Sabre toyed with Kenta by throwing some light kicks. Kenta stood up and blasted him. Kenta backed Sabre into the ropes and said, “Come on.” Sabre took him down and used his feet to wrench his neck. Kenta came back and caught Sabre with a running kick in the corner. Sabre avoided a double stomp. Kenta rolled through and Sabre ended up performing a northern lights suplex and then applied a submission hold, which he turned into an armbar. Romero pointed out that the hold was applied on Kenta’s weaker arm. Kenta reached the ropes to break it.
Sabre got up and kicked the bad left shoulder twice and then twisted it around a few times. Kenta dropped Sabre with a spinning back fist and then both men fell to the mat. The wrestlers got to their knees and traded forearms strikes and continued once they got to their feet. Sabre came back with a few nice kicks and then covered Kenta for just a one count. The wrestlers traded slaps. Kenta got the better of it with some vicious palm strikes, but Sabre rolled him into a pin for a good near fall. A short time later, Kenta hoisted up Sabre for the GTS, but Sabre countered into a guillotine and then a triangle and rolled through into a omaplata. Sabre wrenched back both of Kenta’s arms and then kicked him in the head until Kenta called for the submission…
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Kenta in an A-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: A good match with a really nice call from the broadcast team in terms of telling the story of Sabre targeting the surgically repaired left arm of Kenta. Both men had respectable tournaments with Sabre starting 0-3 and coming back to get eight points, while Kenta started strong and then faded at the end. The only unfortunate thing about Sabre’s tournament is that we got his post lost tantrums out of the way early. I enjoy watching Sabre a lot and I have no problem with him winning, yet I love watching him flip out after losses.
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Will Ospreay in an A-Block tournament match. Ospreay had the now familiar tape on his neck and shoulder due to the injury he suffered early in the tournament. The broadcast team played up Ospreay’s dream of beating Tanahashi, then spoke about Tanahashi coming up short this year despite being the equivalent of a baseball dynasty. “The question I have is if this dynasty is coming to an end,” Kelly pondered prior to the match. Romero defended Tanahashi by saying that he “is The Ace and next year is another season so to speak.” The bell rang and the fans had mixed chants for the two wrestlers.
Ospreay mocked Tanahashi after an early move by playing air guitar for a second. Tanahashi got upset, but Ospreay sent him to ringside and then did his dive tease into his pose. Tanahashi fired right back with a dragon screw leg whip through the ropes. Tanahashi went to work on the knee while Kelly expressed surprise that he wasn’t targeting Ospreay’s bad neck. Romero also played up Tanahashi’s bad knee. Tanahashi applied a leg lock on Ospreay, then stood up and arched back into a bridge while still applying the hold. Ospreay reached the ropes to break the hold. The wrestlers traded forearms in the middle of the ring. Tanahashi kicked the knee he’d been targeting. Tanahashi shot Ospreay into the ropes only to have him handspring into the ropes and come off with a kick.
Ospreay charged at Tanahashi in the corner. Tanahashi backdropped Ospreay over the top rope and into a standing position on the apron. Ospreay sold the knee when he landed on the apron for a moment. Ospreay went for a springboard move, but Tanahashi caught him on the ropes and forearmed him. Ospreay came right back and sent Tanahashi to the floor, then performed the Ospreay Special dive onto him. Ospreay patted the knee he was selling while sitting on the floor, then limped back and picked up Tanahashi and threw him back inside the ring. Ospreay performed a standing shooting star press for a two count (he performs it so effortlessly that it didn’t even feel like a big move).
Ospreay connected with a top rope 619 then went for a move from the ropes that Tanahashi avoided. Ospreay came up limping and Tahahashi responded with a dropkick to the knee. Ospreay threw some kicks form his back. Tanahashi kicked his knee. Ospreay came right back with an enzuguiri, but Tanahashi held onto the bad knee. “Ospreay knows he’s been had,” Kelly said before Tanahashi performed the dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi applied a cloverleaf.
A short time later, Ospreay hit the Robinson special and then motioned for the OsCutter, but Tanahashi stepped aside and essentially clotheslined him in mid-air while driving him to the mat, which led to a two count. Tanahashi followed up with as suplex into a bridge for a near fall. Tanahashi ran the ropes and Ospreay hit him with a standing Spanish Fly for a good near fall. Ospreay hopped on one leg to the ropes and then hit a shooting star press for another good near fall. Ospreay hit the OsCutter for another good near fall (Red Shoes is a great referee, but he could have sped up that count a bit to make it feel like it may have been the finish).
Ospreay went for the Storm Breaker, but Tanahashi spun around while pressed in the air and came down in cross body block position. Romero said Tanahashi nearly performed a sling blade from that position. Tanahashi got up and performed a sling blade clothesline for a two count. Tanahashi went up top and performed a cross body block, which Ospreay rolled through into a pin for a good near fall. Tanahashi hit Ospreay with a palm strike, then played to the crowd only to have Ospreay blast him with a great hook kick. Ospreay hit the running elbow to the back of Tanahashi’s head, then performed a Storm Breaker and scored the clean pin.
Will Ospreay defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in an A-Block tournament match.
After the match, Tanahashi was being held up by young lions when Ospreay rushed to the floor and spoke to him. The broadcast team said it was a great sign of respect from Ospreay…
Powell’s POV: An excellent match. As much as it would have been fun to have had this play an important part in the points race, it still felt like a meaningful match. The bigger issue is that Ospreay’s big win over Tanahashi came right after Bad Luck Fale beat Tanahashi. Not only did Fale’s win cheapen Ospreay’s big moment to some extent for me, it also made Ospreay winning feel slightly more predictable since it became obvious that there is a story being told with Tanahashi’s losses. It’s a shame that it played out in the order that it did or that they couldn’t have told the same story minus the loss to Fale. Again, though, this really was a terrific match. There’s no one in all of pro wrestling who I enjoy watching more than Ospreay right now.
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi in an A-Block tournament match. There were dueling chants for the wrestlers once the bell rang. Early in the match, Okada dropkicked Ibushi from the top rope to the floor. Okada followed to ringside and DDT’d Ibushi on the ringside mat. Okada returned to the ring and referee Red Shoes Unno started to count out Ibushi until Okada stopped him at the eleven count. Ibushi returned to the ring at that point. Okada roughed up Ibushi in the corner with some elbows to the head. Okada performed a snap mare and then blasted Ibushi with a dropkick to the side of the head. Damn. Okada covered Ibushi for a two count.
Ibushi fired back with a series of strikes and then hit a standing moonsault for a two count. Kelly pointed out the burn on Ibushi’s shoulder (which looks like someone put out a fat cigar on him) and said it’s a mat burn that was ripped open when he wrestled Zack Sabre Jr. With Okada at ringside, Ibushi performed a pescado. Ibushi sold ankle pain. They replayed the move and Ibushi’s ankle didn’t hit on the landing, so Kelly did a nice job of logically explaining that even a slight misstep can be an issue with an ankle injury. Back inside the ring, Okada came back with a DDT for a two count. Okada slammed Ibushi and then went to the top rope and leapt over a charging Ibushi, who caught Okada with a flying kick moments later. Okada sold his right arm while Kelly said the kick hit his right biceps.
The wrestlers traded forearms and Ibushi stumbled, but came back with a powerslam. Ibushi went to the ropes and performed a moonsault. Okada put his knees up. Romero said Okada was dictating the pace. He also played up that the pressure was on Ibushi to win within the time limit (Okada would win the block if the match with a draw). Ibushi caught Okada on the ropes. They fought for position. Okada got the better of it and Ibushi fell to the mat. Ibushi got up and then performed a springboard huracanrana that led to a two count. Ibushi performed a sit-out powerbomb and then Okada grabbed the rope to break the pin.
Okada hit a German suplex and held onto Ibushi, who then ducked a lariat. Okada drilled him with dropkick. Okada went for a tombstone piledriver, but Ibushi transitioned into the same position and hit a package style tombstone piledriver. Ibushi was unable to cover Okada. Both wrestlers eventually got their knees and eventually to their feet while trading elbows to the head at the 20:00 mark. Kelly once again noted that Ibushi had to win within the time limit in order to win the block. Ibushi dropped Okada with an elbow, then Okada charged out of the corner with a dropkick. Ibushi no-sold the dropkick and turned Okada inside out with a lariat.
The wrestlers jockeyed for position and eventually Okada performed a backslide and nailed Ibushi with a lariat once they stood up. Okada held onto Ibushi’s arm and turned him inside out with another lariat. Okada let out a primal stream and removed the sleeve from his right arm. Okada went for the Rainmaker, but Ibushi countered into a straight jacket suplex. Ibushi set up for a kamigoye, but Okada held onto him and ended up dropkicking the back of his head. Okada shot Ibushi into the ropes and leapt into the air, but Ibushi caught him with a sit-out powerbomb for a good near fall.
Ibushi signaled for the bomaye knee (Kinshasa). Ibushi charged at Okada, who hit him with a big dropkick. Okada went for a Rainmaker, but Ibushi ducked it and caught him with a high kick. Ibushi went for kamigoye, which Okada avoided and eventually backdropped Ibushi and sat down on him for a two count while Romero recalled that it was the same way that Ibushi defeated Chris Jericho at Dominion. Ibushi tagged Okada with a kick, the Okada ducked another and went for a lariat, but Ibushi leapt up and hit him with a knee to the head. Ibushi connected with kamigoye for a two count, then hit him with the kamigoye knee to the head a second time and pinned him clean (Charlton said the match time was 25:05).
Kota Ibushi pinned Kazuchika Okada to win the G1 Tournament’s A-Block.
The broadcast team spoke of Ibushi winning a block and going to the finals of the G1 tournament for the second year in a row. Ibushi lost in the finals of the tournament in the longest match in G1 history when he was beaten by Hiroshi Tanahashi last year. Ibushi took the mic and delivered a post match promo. Ibushi thanked the fans in attendance and everyone who fought with him in the A-Block. Ibushi bowed toward the entrance.
Ibushi said he will represent the A-Block in the finals and absolutely will not lose. He said he won’t go down the same path as last year and will fight until the very bitter end. Kelly pointed out that Ibushi will benefit from winning the A-Block this year because he’ll have an extra day of rest, as opposed to winning the B-Block last year and having to work the tournament final a day after winning the block (Ibushi will be in a six-man tag rather than a grueling singles match on Sunday). Kelly wrapped up the English broadcast with a plug for Sunday’s final day of the B-Block…
Powell’s POV: A very good main event. I’m surprised they didn’t end up going closer to the time limit to play up the suspense of the match ending in a draw and thus giving the block to Okada, but it was still a terrific match. My fantasy booking scenario was that it would go to a draw with Ibushi being on the verge of winning, then Okada would go on to win the G1, and Ibushi would somehow circle back to earn the right to face him and then beat him at Wrestle Kingdom. They kept it simple, which is probably for the best.
Overall, it was a strong night of tournament action with two top notch matches to close and a good Sabre vs. Kenta match. As good as the main event was, I enjoyed Ospreay vs. Tanahashi slightly more. The B-Block finals are going to be really fun with Jon Moxley, Tetsuya Naito, Jay White, and Hirooki Goto still in the mix to potentially win the block and earn the right to face Ibushi on Monday morning. I will have my review of the B-Block available on Sunday morning or early afternoon. There’s a chance I’ll cover Monday morning’s final show live, but we’ll see how I’m feeling coming out of the SummerSlam marathon on Sunday night. Either way, it’s going to be a an entertaining two days of what’s been an excellent tournament.
The Final A-Block Standings: Kota Ibushi and Kazuchika Okada finished with 14 points (Ibushi won via the head-to-head match tiebreaker), Will Ospreay, Evil, Kenta, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Bad Luck Fale, Zack Sabre Jr., and Sanada finished with 8 points, and Lance Archer finished with 6 points.
The B-Block Standings: Jon Moxley, Tetsuya Naito, Jay White, and Hirooki Goto have 10 points, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano have eight points, Juice Robinson, Shingo Takagi, Taichi, and Jeff Cobb have 6 points.
The B-Block concludes on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall with the following matches: Jon Moxley vs. Juice Robinson, Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White, Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi, Jeff Cobb vs. Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Taichi.
The NJPW G1 Climax 29 Finals will be held on Monday, August 12 in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall with A-Block winner Kota Ibushi vs. the B-Block winner.