It’s time for day 9 of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual heavyweight tournament, the G1 Climax 27. Five more matches for the A Block of the tournament will take place, including a double main event of the hard hitting “Stone Pitbull”, Tomohiro Ishii facing off with the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon, Tetsuya Naito and YOSHI-HASHI versus the Ace of New Japan, Hiroshi Tanahashi. The Golden Star, Kota Ibushi, will face off against the monstrous Bad Luck Fale and two veterans will do battle when Togi Makabe gets in the ring with the currently winless Yuji Nagata, with Hirooki Goto facing Zack Sabre Jr. to round out the block. And as always, the show will feature tag team amtches between all upcoming tournament opponents.
+ Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): the look Ishii gives you when he is sick of your shit and is about to chop your chest in might well be one of the scariest things in pro wrestling. Both these men went absolutely flat out from the first moments, and by the end Ishii had a busted mouth and Naito had some wild bruises on his chest. This was incredible, and one of the best matches of the tournament
+ Hirooki Goto vs Zack Sabre Jr. (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): like EVIL in the B Block, Goto might be having some of the most underrated matches in the tournament. This was fantastic, as Sabre originally tried to out strike Goto, before Goto attempted to out-technique Sabre, until the two decided to just slug the hell out of each other instead. This was great
+ Bad Luck Fale vs Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): after how much I didn’t like Fale/Sabre, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this match. The story was basically Ibushi’s crazy athleticism versus Fale’s size and strength, but that just meant Ibushi’s strength and Fale’s speed were so surprising to see. This was quite good
+ Tomoyuki Oka & Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs CHAOS (Gedo, Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano): to build hype for Juice/Okada, this was pretty average. But as a showcase for Oka, this went far better than expected. The crowd is bonkers for Juice, especially as he copied some of Taguchi’s spots. This was below average overall, although I did appreciate certain parts of it. It gets a pass
+ Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Kenny Omega): the match itself was only above average, but this gets a pass becaue of the way the Bullet Club jerks were able to get the crowd so mad at them, Owens in particular. Omega/Kojima should be a damn good match
+ Hirai Kawato & Katsuya Kitamura vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & EVIL): Kitamura/EVIL is an interesting match up, as is Kawato/Takahashi, each in, say, five years from now. Both of the young lions were impressive, and are very steadily growing their support with the live crowd. This was a lot of fun, for what it was
– Hiroshi Tanahashi vs YOSHI-HASHI (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): the crowd was into this, but for some reason it never clicked with me. Tanahashi has been lacking this whole tournament, despite some good-to-great matches, and YOSHI-HASHI does far better against the bad guys of the tournament. Though the more I saw, the more than Tanahashi was playing a bit of a jerk. Maybe I am a bit burned out on Tanahashi in general, but the more I want to write, the less I liked him in this match
– Togi Makabe vs Yuji Nagata (G1 Climax 27 A Block Match): Nagata had those cup massage bruise things on his back, so he looked like some kind of Kaiju, and up against the Unchained Gorilla it made sense: it’s Kong vs Godzilla! It is clear that both guys (particularly Nagata) are wrecked by this point, so unfortunately this was not a great match
– Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Taichi) vs Bullet Club (Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi): the “oooh” from the crowd as Yujiro made his entrance could only mean one thing: PIETER IS BACK. This was another Suzuki-gun brawl which would have been a DQ anywhere else in the world, but the actual Suzuki/Tama segments were pretty average at best. Lots of awkward pauses, perhaps from a language barrier and/or Tama’s constant f-bombs. A Taichi/Takahashi moment right near the end was the highlight for me, and overall this was not as good as it should have been
– Taguchi Japan (David Finlay & Michael Elgin) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & SANADA): Big Mike is fresh of his huge upset win over Kenny Omega, and I am looking forward to Elgin/SANADA. This was very quick, and didn’t feature much of my boy BUSHI, so it wasn’t much of anything really
> Naito is such a nice guy to some fans, but his character is such a jerk.
Should you watch this event: Both EVIL/Suzuki and Omega/Elgin from Day 8 were going to be hard to beat, but damn if Ishii/Naito didn’t get it super close. Ishii/Naito, Ibushi/Fale and a handful of the tag matches are worth your time, but I can admit that this middle portion of the tournament is getting a bit slower than the rest.