By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 18”
August 11, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World and FITE.TV
Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton were the English broadcast team…
1. Ren Narita and Shota Umino beat Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura. Narita beat Uemura with a Boston Crab.
2. Evil, Sanada, and Bush beat Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi. Takahashi beat Bushi with Pimp Juice.
3. Kota Ibush, Tomoaki Honma, and Toa Henare beat Kenta, Clark Connors, and Karl Fredericks. Henare defeated Fredericks with Toa Bottom.
4. Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Yoshi-Hashi beat Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Lance Archer, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Tanahashi countered out of a Sabre submission by rolling on top of him, which led to the pin.
Powell’s POV: The results of the first four matches are straight from the New Japan website (I did watch Sabre’s brief post loss tantrum). I am watching the tournament matches listed below from bell to bell.
5. Jeff Cobb vs. Toru Yano in a B-Block tournament match. Yano removed his t-shirt and the referee noticed the big lump at the top of his tights (no, not that). The referee pulled out rolls of tape from Yano’s tights. Funny. Yano insisted that the referee check Cobb. The ref checked and found nothing, then Yano had Cobb turn around for inspection and then rolled him up for a two count. Yano tied up Cobb in his own singlet for another near fall. Yano was apologetic and offered a handshake. When Cobb accepted, Yano squeezed hard. Cobb didn’t flinch, then squeezed Yano’s hand, which led to Yano crying out in pain. Funny.
Yano removed a turnbuckle pad. Yano ended up crashing into the exposed corner, then ate a suplex. Cobb threw some forearms at Yano, who then performed a belly to belly suplex. Romero noted that Yano was a fantastic amateur wrestler in his younger days. Yano ducked a clothesline from behind, but then ran the ropes and took a lariat. Cobb performed a standing moonsault on Yano for a two count. Cobb blocked a low blow attempt and then caught Yano going for another. Yano hid behind the referee. Moments later, Cobb avoided another low blow and caught Yano with a superkick and a Tour of the Islands before pinning him…
Jeff Cobb defeated Toru Yano in a B-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: I became a big fan of Yano’s upset king role in the tournament and I dig the way he brings something different comedically to each match. The broadcast team noted that both men finished with eight points and Romero said that’s not bad for Cobb given that this is his first G1. The booking of the tournament wasn’t designed to make Cobb in any way, but he had some good matches along the way and wasn’t buried either.
6. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Taichi (w/Miho Abe) in a B-Block tournament match. The FITE TV feed for this event was kind enough to mute Taichi singing his way to the ring. Taichi clotheslined and suplexed Ishii for a near fall just seconds into the match. Ishii stuffed a powerbomb, but Taichi booted him in the face twice. Taichi remained on the early offensive until Ishii powerslammed him. Romero said Ishii is hurting and it’s been a long, grueling tournament for him. Ishii drilled Taichi with a forearm and followed with a German suplex. The wrestlers stood up. Ishii fired chops while Taichi fired back with leg kicks. Taichi seemed to get the better of it, but Ishii knocked him down with a lariat in the corner at the 5:00 mark.
Ishii performed a superplex for a two count. Ishii performed a backdrop suplex. Taichi shook it right off and got up, but Ishii knocked him right back down with a short clothesline. Taichi came back and dropped Ishii with a lariat and got a two count. Ishii backdropped Taichi, then ran into a kick. Taichi caught Ishii with an enzuguiri and then performed a Last Ride powerbomb for a near fall. Taichi removed his tearaway pants. Ishii avoided a kick and Taichi’s finisher. They traded big clotheslines and Ishii put Taichi down with a headbutt. Ishii performed a running lariat for a near fall just after the 10:00 mark.
Taichi avoided the vertical drop brainbuster twice and fired back with a series of kicks and a wicked suplex. Taichi connected with a kick, but Ishii no-sold it and charged him. Taichi ducked a clothesline and performed another suplex for a good near fall. Ishii blocked a kick and then fired back with one at Taichi, who no sold it. Taichi drilled Ishii with a superkick and hit Black Mephisto for the win…
Taichi defeated Tomohiro Ishii in a B-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: Why don’t we get more of this Taichi? No iron fingers or Yoshinobu Kanemaru interference. I assumed the highlight of this match would be watching Ishii destroy Taichi, but this turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The broadcast team set up the match by talking about how Taichi would attempt to use it to put himself in line for a shot at Ishii’s Never Openweight Championship, so I assume that’s the reason behind his win.
7. Jon Moxley vs. Juice Robinson in a B-Block tournament match. The broadcast team laid out the history between the two with Moxley defeated Robinson in a violent match to win the IWGP U.S. Championship on June 5. Moxley put his hands behind his back and let Robinson take the first shot. They fired away with back and forth elbows. Moxley targeted the left knee of Robinson early on and applied a figure four. Robinson rolled it over and Moxley had to grab the bottom rope to break the hold roughly 5:00 into the match.
Robinson went for a Juice Box, but Moxley landed on his feet and applied a cloverleaf. Robinson nearly reached the ropes, but Moxley dragged him back to the middle of the ring. Robinson bit the ear of Moxley to break the hold. Robinson showed off an earring he bit out of Moxley’s ear while the broadcast team recalled Moxley biting off a piece of Robinson’s eyebrow during their June 5 match. Robinson threw the earring into the crowd. Robinson went on the offensive for a stretch. Robinson went for a cross body block off the top rope, but Moxley rolled through and tried to reapply the figure four. Robinson kicked Moxley to ringside. Moxley took a jab at Robinson’s bad knee from the floor.
Moxley pulled a table out from underneath the ring. Robinson performed a pescado onto Moxley on the floor. Robinson shoved the table back underneath the ring and then gave referee Red Shoes Unno the thumbs up sign. Funny. Moxley tripped Robinson into the barricade. Moxley wrapped the bad knee of Robinson around the ring post a few times. Moxley pulled a chair out from underneath the ring and tried to hit Robinson’s knee with it, but Robinson moved his leg out of the way. Robinson used his leg to pull Moxley into the post, then performed a cannonball off the apron. Robinson grabbed the chair that Moxley used and placed it over the barricade.
Back inside the ring, Robinson performed a cross body block onto Moxley. Robinson came up selling his knee and then pulled up his tights to show that it was wrapped going into the match. The wrestlers traded punches and strikes. Robinson set up for the Left Hand of God, Moxley kicked his bad knee. Robinson clotheslined Moxley, who threw a discus forearm. Robinson wound up for a punch, but Moxley put him down with a clothesline. Moxley set up for his Death Rider (Dirty Deeds) finisher, but Robinson avoided it. Robinson went for Pulp Friction, but Moxley avoided that and applied an ankle lock on Robinson’s bad leg. Robinson reached the ropes.
Moxley pulled him from the ropes and threw strikes at the back of his head and applied a choke hold while Robinson was lying face down on the mat. Kelly wondered of the referee would stop it. “He’s frickin’ out,” Moxley barked. The referee checked Robinson’s arm, which dropped twice and then Robinson grabbed the referee rather than letting it drop a third time. Moxley thought he’d won and released the hold. Moxley and the referee argued. Moxley lowered his kneepad and drilled Robinson with a Regal Knee, then turned him inside out with a suplex. Moxley flipped off the referee around 15:00.
Robinson threw two chairs and a camera into the ring, then pulled out a table and set that inside the ring. The referee got rid of everything other than the table. Robinson rolled up Moxley for a two count. Moxley ducked a big right from Robinson, who tagged him with a right. Moxley bit the eyebrow of Moxley again. Robinson hit Moxley with the Left Hand of God twice, then hit Pulp Friction and pinned him…
Juice Robinson defeated Jon Moxley in a B-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: A good match and a nice followup to their previous encounter. It became obvious that this rematch would be a key match in the B-Block race for Moxley once he got on a roll early in the tournament. This win gives Robinson some revenge and sets him up for a rematch for the IWGP U.S. Championship. It was hard not to assume that Moxley wasn’t winning the block based on where this match was positioned don the card. Still, it was a really fun tournament for Moxley, who had some big wins and highly entertaining matches, most notably the big brawl with Tomohiro Ishii. Moxley really did look like a guy who had been unleashed and appeared to have had a lot of fun while crossing the G1 off his bucket list. At this point, one can only assume that the tournament will come down to the Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White match, meaning Hirooki Goto needs to lose or go to a draw with Shingo Takagi.
8. Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi in a B-Block tournament match. Charlton pointed out that Goto beat Jay White and lost to Tetsuya Naito in the tournament, which is key given that Goto is tied with both men in the block standings. Goto knocked Takagi down with an early clothesline. Takagi rolled to ringside. Back inside the ring, Goto caught Takagi with a draping neckbreaker and covered him for an early two count. A short time later, Takagi fired away with a nice series of strikes that gave him a two count. Romero said he views the six points that Takagi has as a cutoff and said he might as well say goodbye to next year’s tournament if he stays at that mark (this came after Kelly stated on Day 14 that “everybody has lost their damn mind” if there’s not an invitation extended to Takagi to wrestle in next year’s G1 tournament).
Later, the wrestlers jockeyed fought for big move attempts. Takagi got the better of it with Made in Japan and got a near fall. The crowd came to life. Takagi threw a lariat and followed up with a Pumping Bomber for a near fall. Takagi went for Rise of the Dragon, but Goto slipped out. They fought for position. Takagi threw a right to the head and fired away with elbows. Goto dropped Takagi with a headbutt and performed the reverse GTR. Goto set up for a move, but Takagi drilled him with a lariat. The wrestlers ran the ropes and Takagi blasted Goto with a pumping bomber. Takagi hit Last of the Dragon and scored the clean pin…
Shingo Takagi defeated Hirooki Goto in a B-Block tournament match.
Powell’s POV: A strong match and another big win for Takagi. Goto had a good enough showing to justify his story of recommitting himself and training aggressively for the tournament. But I love the story told with Takagi taking Tetsuya Naito to the limit and then beating Tomohiro Ishii and Goto to close the tournament. I like the way Romero framed it as a must win for Takagi, as he likely saw the obvious that I did, as there was no reason to think Goto was going to win that match because it would have eliminated White from block contention. Yes, Kelly said something contradictory on that previous show as I mentioned, but it’s okay for broadcast team members to have conflicting views. Takagi was eliminated from block contention a while back and had just four points going into Day 16, but he exits the tournament as even more of a rising star than he was going in. While the match order helped make Naito vs. White in a winner take all match feel even more predictable than it was going into the show, it sets up a main event that could go either way.
After the previous match, Charlton explained that the main event was winner take all. If the match ended in a draw, they would be tied for first in the standings so the match would have to continue until they have a winner.
9. Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) in a B-Block tournament match. Kelly once again noted the possibility of sudden death overtime. The bell rang and then White rolled to ringside to stall. Romero said any other opponent would be frustrated, but for Naito it’s all tranquillo. Naito ran the ropes and White flinched, but Naito just struck his pose in the ring. White returned to the ring and Naito went to ringside to return the favor by stalling. White came after him. Naito backed away and ducked a punch from Gedo, then shoved Gedo into White. Naito ran White into the barricade, kicked him, and slammed his face into the apron. Kelly said there was virtually no chance of referee Red Shoes Unno calling for a disqualification given the circumstances.
Back inside the ring, Naito performed an inverted atomic drop, but White came right back by stuffing a move in the corner and slamming the back of Naito’s head onto the apron. Naito fell to ringside. White followed and ran Naito into the barricade. Back inside the ring, White hit Naito with a running forearm and then dropped him with a DDT for a two count. White pulled Naito to the floor and ran him back first into the barricade and the edge of the ring twice each. A short time later, Naito rallied back inside the ring and performed his leap over the top rope into a dropkick on White in the corner.
White came back with a flatliner and a German suplex. White set up for a move that Naito avoided with elbows. White hit Naito with a forearm, then Naito hit him with an enzuguiri. White caught Naito with a uranage. White went for the Kiwi Crusher, but Naito countered into a DDT that left both men lying on the mat. Naito went for Gloria, but White fought and avoided it once, then grabbed Naito’s hair when he tried it a second time. White pulled the referee and Naito together. REF BUMP!!! Gedo entered the ring and tried to hit Naito with the brass knuckles and a kick, but Naito avoided both and kicked him in the balls. Naito caught White’s arm as he went for a low blow. Naito followed up with Gloria and the referee recovered to count the two count at the 15:00 mark.
Naito hit White with a wheel kick and a tornado DDT while using the top rope to spin. Naito went for Destino, but White pushed him away. Naito charged at White for his finisher. White dropped to the mat and Romero said he did so like the coward that he is. Kelly called it great strategy. Naito kicked White a couple times, then White got up and suplexed Naito, then followed up with another. White performed the Kiwi Crusher for a two count. White did the throat slash gesture and went for his finisher, but Naito avoided and performed a lousy looking Poison Rana. Naito followed up with Destino for a near fall. White avoided another Destino attempt and dropped Naito with another suplex.
White picked up Naito and went for the Blade Runner. Naito slipped into a Destino attempt. They fought for position and eventually White performed a wicked sleeper suplex. White hit a brainbuster and then called for his finisher. White hit a nasty looking Blade Runner and scored the clean pin.
Jay White defeated Tetsuya Naito to win the B-Block.
After the match, Kelly said there were a lot of people who were throwing down their programs and heading for the exits. White took the mic and got Naito’s attention and then mocked him by saying “Tranquillo.” White told the young lions to “get that piece of shit out of here.” White told the fans that he told them it was his G1 going in and even after he started the tournament 0-2. White said he told the fans to believe him and trust him. “And now I am in the G1 Final,” White said. White spoke to Gedo off mic. Gedo left the ring.
White called for A-block winner Kota Ibushi, who headed to the ring dressed in a t-shirt and shorts. Fans chanted for Ibushi. White told Ibushi that he just wanted to talk to him. White said they will meet one on one in the G1 Final without Gedo. Romero said he didn’t believe it. White emphasized again that he would face Ibushi one-on-one. White offered a handshake, which Ibushi accepted. White went for a low blow, but Ibushi avoided it and threw a kick, which White ducked and rolled into a corner of the ring. White smirked at Ibushi.
Gedo grabbed Ibushi from the floor, then White chop blocked Ibushi’s bad ankle and worked it over in the ring. White threw forearms at the head of Ibushi. White wrapped Ibushi’s ankle in a chair, then picked up another and slammed it down on the chair repeatedly. White laughed while Ibushi sold pain and fans booed. White hit the bad ankle one more time and then jawed at Ibushi over the mic. White knelt down over Ibushi and jawed at him and then laughed before leaving the ring. The fans booed as White made his exit. White stopped at the entrance area and made the too sweet sign, then said “one more” and headed backstage. The young lions iced Ibushi’s bad ankle.
The cameras cut backstage where White boasted on the press conference set about beating Naito and being the best. White said Ibushi is his destiny. He said Ibushi may be even more popular than Naito, which will make it even more enjoyable to beat him. White said he would destroy Ibushi on the final night and make a statement by making Ibushi the biggest embarrassment ever in a G1 Final…
Powell’s POV: The post match angle was great and put mega heat on White while making Ibushi look like a sympathetic underdog going into the finals. The actual match was solid yet underwhelming given its importance. It was a suspenseful match, as I honestly didn’t know which direction they would go in. As much as a Naito vs. Ibushi finals would have led to a great match (and a scary as hell match given the complete disregard they’ve shown for for their own safety in past outings), a strong story was told in that post main event angle and it was cool to see White get so much heat in Japan.
Overall, an enjoyable final day for the B-Block even if it became obvious quickly that it was all coming down to Naito vs. White in the final match (and many folks probably figured that out beforehand). The big question going into the final match is whether White left Ibushi lying to give Ibushi an excuse for losing or if Ibushi will overcome the injury and win in storybook fashion. I suspect that even Jay White’s family and friends are secretly hoping for an Ibushi win.
There remains a chance that I will cover the early Monday morning final show live since it starts at 1CT/2ET, but we’ll see how I feel coming out of the marathon that will be SummerSlam. Keep an eye on @prowrestlingnet late Sunday or early Monday morning for an update if you’re interested or just check in at showtime to see if I’m up and covering the show. If not, I’ll have my review available on Monday morning or early afternoon.
The scoring for the round robin tournament is two points for a victory, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss.
Final A-Block Standings: Kota Ibushi and Kazuchika Okada finished with 14 points (Ibushi won via the head-to-head 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.
Final B-Block Standings: Jay White finished with 12 points, Jon Moxley, Tetsuya Naito, and Hirooki Goto finished with 10 points, Tomohiro Ishii, Jeff Cobb, Taichi, Juice Robinson, Shingo Takagi, and Toru Yano finished with eight points.
The NJPW G1 Climax 29 Finals will be held on Monday morning at 1CT/2ET U.S. Time in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall with A-Block winner Kota Ibushi vs. B-Block winner Jay White.