It’s day 3 and I am already falling behind! New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual big-man tournament continues as the G1 Climax 27 completes its third day, and we get the second round of matches for the A Block competitors. The main event will see YOSHI-HASHI take on Tetsuya Naito; will YOSHI-HASHI be able to outdo Kota Ibushi, and put on a better match with Naito? The IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi is also in action as he faces off against the biggest of big-men from the Bullet Club, Bad Luck Fale, while Kota Ibushi will do battle with the man who submitted Tanahashi just a few days ago, Zack Sabre Jr. Tomohiro Ishii and Hirooki Goto round out the A Block matches against Togi Makabe and Yuji Nagata, respectively.
+ YOSHI-HASHI vs Tetsuya Natio (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): I never noticed how similar in body types (and hair) these two are. This was an athletic, back and forth contest with a lot of close finishes, and a few really stiff strikes (including a kick that nearly busted one of their noses up). It will never not amaze me how much the crowd loves Naito, considering that his character is such an asshole
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): after his shocking submission loss in round one, Tanahashi’s arm was once again the focus of the match. Fale layed in some brutal crossface punches, and Tanahashi still went all out. An interesting ending will be divisive, but I liked it, and in the end this was a good match
+ Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr. (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): Sabre has a love-it-or-hate-it style, and for the most part I don’t mind it, but this match really exposed just how damn good Ibushi is compared to Sabre. There was some really smooth counter-to-counter offense, and a few solid looking strikes which helped to average this out to be an above average match
+ Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi) vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Tama Tonga): this started off as a comedy match, but damn if it didn’t end up as a real fight for both teams, and build some nice hype for the Tama/Omega matchup still to come in the tournament. And Yujiro had him a new “special friend”
+ Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Taichi) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & SANADA): oh man SANADA/Suzuki is going to be an interestng match, and this tag match was mostly to built up to that. THere was also some really good Taichi/BUSHI interactions, seemingly building to a match between them, maybe even mask vs hair. This was another really good match
+ Taguchi Japan (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi): this was a really good match to start the show. The crowd loves all four guys, and it set up the upcoming Juice/EVIL G1 match nicely, while still letting Takahashi and Finlay shine in their own way
– Togi Makabe vs Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): after Ishii’s incredible first round match with Goto, this seemed so slow and plodding. Both guys threw wild lariats, and Ishii’s selling is absolutely superb, but I never felt this reached the heights of what these big bois should be doing
– Yuji Nagata vs Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): as a fan of both Nagata and especially Goto, this was unfortunately not a good match. Something about it never clicked for me, especially since it seemed Goto was on extreme offense for 90% of the match; Goto couldn’t put Nagata away (yay Nagata) but Nagata barely got anny offense in (yay Goto) – it just put them right back where they started, even after there was a clear winner
– Michael Elgin and Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) vs CHAOS (Gedo, Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano): I was surprised that Okada and Yano worked so well together, considering they had a match so recently. This was the least-good of all the tag matches, and didn’t really get me hyped for any upcoming matches. It is just strange having THE champion in the tournament, for a shot at his championship
> now that I think about it, and because the commentator’s mentioned it, how funny that two competitors of WWE’s Cruiserweight Tournament – Kota Ibushi and Zack Sabre Jr. – are now facing off in NJPW’s heavyweight tournament.
Should you watch this event: From what I’ve seen so far, the A Block matches are better than the B Block matches, but the B Block tag matches are much better than the alternative. This was the case for this show, as Naito, Ibushi and Tanahashi once again did great things in their matches (which is not to dicount their opponents at all).