The first day of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual G1 Climax was a roaring success, including a phenomenal main event between Kota Ibushi and Tetsuya Naito. The G1 Climax 27 continues, with the first round of matches from the B Block taking place, including the leaders of the Bullet Club and Suzuki-gun going one on one, when Kenny Omega does battle with Minoru Suzuki. The IWGP Heavyweight Champion will also be in action as Kazuchika Okada goes up against his CHOS stablemate Toru Yano, and the Los Ingobernables de Japon members EVIL and SANADA will go face to face.
+ EVIL vs SANADA (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): this was the most intriguing of the day’s G1 matches, and it really was very good. The two team mates knew each other’s moves and mannerisms which made for some good subversions, and the crowd was red hot for the final stretch. Maybe a bit too long, but only by a few minutes, and in the end a very good match
+ Kenny Omega vs Minoru Suzuki (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): this battle between the heads of two huge stables was interesting, since Omega had to play the good guy by default, against the perennial bad guy Suzuki. There was lots of stiff strikes and tight submissions, which was great, but the interference from both sides didin’t add much, if anything, to what was already a 50-50 contest. This was another that felt like it went that little bit too long, but it never lulled, and ended up being a pretty solid match
+ Kazuchika Okada vs Toru Yano (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): this was mostly Okada playing the straight man against Yano’s classic comedy stylings, but when push came to shove both guys were willing to slug it out. Jado and Gedo ran interference for Yano and Okada, respectively, and this ended up being pretty good. Admittedly, there was not the result I wanted
+ Satoshi Kojima vs Juice Robinson (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): I wasn’t sure what to make of this until the really good ending stretch solidified it as a good match for me. Juice looked particularly huge, and Kojima was a badass as always. I didin’t know what to think before I saw this, but I really liked it
+ CHAOS (Jado & YOSHI-HASHI) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito): some fun moments between Jado and BUSHI, and then some real slugs thrown between YOSHI-HASHI and Naito made this a fun match. I am looking forward to the YOSHI-HASHI/Naito match. BUSHI should have won the BOSJ, dammit
+ Hirai Kawato & Kota Ibushi vs Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Zack Sabre Jr.): I really liked the sequences between Sabre/Kawato, but Ibushi was far and away the star here, and this helped build upt Ibushi/Sabre tomorrow. I always love the way New Japan builds up the young lions (such as Kawato) to go from rookies to stars. The crowd was so behind Kawato in his underdog moments, which was a lot of fun
+ Taguchi Japan (David Finlay & Hiroshi Tanahashi) vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens): another tag match that was essentially a preview of Fale/Tanahashi, this was pretty good. Finlay is still not a favourite of mine, but damn if he isn’t like Stone Cold himself compared to Chase “who am I again, why am I here, am I related to Kevin” Owens
– Tama Tonga vs Michael Elgin (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): I’m a big Tonga fan, and BIG BOI Mike is always fun, but this just did nothing for me. The early ‘feeling out’ was the highlight, and it just never reached that ‘big match’ feel I wanted it to. The ending was pretty cool, but the camera caught a really obvious thigh slap, which was amusing
– Tiger Mask, Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata vs CHAOS (Gedo, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii): some good Ishii/Makabe and Goto/Nagata strikes were the highlight of an otherwise forgettable match
Should you watch this event: Nothing here managed to reach Naito/Ibushi or Ishii/Goto from Day 1, but all of the G1 matches were pretty good, which was better than the average for Day 1. Omega/Suzuki and Okada/Yano are both worth watching, and EVIL/SANDA was great for the story alone. Like last night, only one of the G1 matches were listed as a negative, and this show will entertain you from start to finish, but nothing will reach the highs of Day 1.