New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual tournament is into double digit days, as we hit day 10 of the G1 Climax 27. Five more matches in the B Block are on the cards, including a main event of current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada, going up against fan-favourite Juice Robinson. Satoshi Kojima will attempt to prove his worth against the dismissive Kenny Omega, and Michael Elgin, fresh off a huge upset win against Omega, will face off against Los Ingobernables de Japon’s SANADA. Dangerous veteran Minoru Suzuki will go to war with Tama Tonga, of the Bullet Club, whilst rounding out the five tournament matches is EVIL dealing with the comedic antics of Toru Yano. And of course, there are tag matches with competitors from across the other side of the tournament before their matches tomorrow.
+ Juice Robinson vs Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): I guess this would be the biggest match of Juice’s career so far? Sure he had the IC title match with Naito, but this is against THE champion of NJPW. The crowd loved Juice, and much like Tanahashi on Day 8, Okada played the bad guy for much of this, with arrogant showboating punctuating his key offensive moments. This was a lot of fun, and hopefully will mean big things for Juice going forward
+ Satoshi Kojima vs Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): Kenny was super disrespectful towards Kojima in his pre-match to-the-camera promo, but thankfully it wasn’t as one sided as Omega had predicted it to be. Omega played the super-dick the whole match, actually, which worked well with the crowds love for Kojima. Lots of knee strikes from Kenny were a bit frustrating, but the end result was a very good, back and forth, not at all “house show” match for both men
+ Michael Elgin vs SANADA (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): Elgin is just so strong, I can overlook that he looks like such a nice guy. I say it every time but SANADA is so athletic, these two worked really well together. The only downside was that it felt like this went a bit long, or at least that it turned into a big move > kickout > repeat towards the end, though the final ending sequence was certainly interesting
+ Minoru Suzuki vs Tama Tonga (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): some fantastic pre-match shenanigans started it off at a frantic pace, and essentially destroyed half of the arena before the bell had even rung. Once the two finally got into the ring, the action became more methodical, and Suzuki showed some real horror-movie villain stylings, but the shenanigans never stopped. I enjoyed this, but like the EVIL/Yano match before it, your tastes will vary depending on what you like from a tournament like this
+ Toru Yano vs EVIL (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): very short but very entertaining, there was not much to discuss here. You’ll either love it or hate it, and I loved it
+ CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Jado) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi): I really liked this match, from an early surprising show of sportsmanship to the finish I was not expecting. And my boy Ishii got a win over Naito yesterday, so here’s hoping Goto can do the same tomorrow. Either way, it should be a damn good match
+ Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Kota Ibushi & Hirai Kawato: this was better than the previous three tag matches, but it was entirey unecessary to have a tag match to hype up Tanahashi/Ibushi; that match would be a main event anywhere in the world at any time. Still, this was enjoyable, thanks in part to Taguchi’s moments with Kawato
– Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI): gosh darn, Oka versus Ishii gets me going. Two stocky, angry looking dudes just wailing on each other is so muich fun, to me. Nagata has a real presence about him, but YOSHI-HASHI always feels lacking in these tag matches. Nonetheless, Oka will be something special, one day
– Togi Makabe & Shota Umino vs Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & El Desperado): another relatively nothing match, the interactions between Sabre and Makabe don’t bode well for their match. Desperado was my favourite part, as well as one of the competitors busting out a favourite submission of mine (the stretch muffler/Brock lock). Mostly forgettable
– David Finlay, Katsuya Kitamura & Tetsuhiro Yagi vs Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale): I’m not sure if I’ve seen Tetsuhiro before, as his name is not familiar. Kitamura got the early spotlight (I’ve enjoyed his bits with Takahashi over the last few matches), and Tetsuhiro was impressive as all young lions are. This went exactly as expected, and I’m not sure if Fale even got tagged in
> Kenny Omega needs to tone down the number of knee strikes he does, especially as bicycle variants, aka as his finishing move the V-Trigger. It is a bit overkill, and just makes his eventual win seem somewhat tainted.
> Smilarly, and perhaps more intentionally, it doesn’t seem that Okada’s Rainmaker is all that powerful anymore. It is not surprising these days for his opponents to kick out of one, if Okada even makes the cover in the first place.
Should you watch this event: The first few matches were teh worst of the show, which meant that each G1 match was better than the one before it. This was a good show, and one of the better days so far.