(By the time you read this, the tournament will be over and there will be a winner. If, like me, you are still behind and have not seen any spoilers, this is a review for the last day of the B Block.)
It is the final day of the tournament blocks, as New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) G1 Climax 27 finds it’s B Block winner. The winner of the A Block has been decided, and now we need an opponent for Tetsuya Naito, but will it be Kenny Omega, or current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada? The two, Omega and Okada, will get in the ring for just the third time, after already having two of the greatest matches of all time; with only a 30 minute time limit, will the two go the distance once again? The other four of the B Block side of the tournament will also be decided, as Satoshi Kojima faces EVIL, Toru Yano tries to outwit the vicous Minoru Suzuki, Tama Tonga and SANADA go face to face, and Michael Elgin faces Juice Robinson. Several more faces return to the New Japan tour, including TAKA Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and KUSHIDA.
+ Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): these two… jeez. Wrestle Kingdom was a wild sprint. Dominion was a marathon. This had a 30 minute time limit, and these two used that to their advantage (and a draw would result in an B Block win for Okada). The ‘Rainmaker Tango’ (attempting and avoiding the Rainmaker multiple times) was not nearly as obnoxious as their other matches, and often resulted in a monster move from someone. It was clear that each was trying to put the other away as early as they could, which made for a frantic match, start to finish
+ Satoshi Kojima vs EVIL (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): once his run as “EVIL” is finished (and honestly, I hope it is sooner rather than later), I hope EVIL can just be a heavyweight hoss in the vein of Ishii, and just fight everyone. He has the power game, no doubt. Kojima hit like a god damn truck in this fight, and asa potential last-gaspf rom Kojima, it was all you’ll need
+ Katsuya Kitamura, Taguchi Japan (Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi) and War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Cody, Hangman Page, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson): damn Kitamura looks good next to War Machine. Ray Rowe is a bloody monster, and a spot in the middle, leading to a staredown with Bad Luck Fale, brought the crowd to their feet. This felt a lot like a US Indies match, with lots of pre-planned spots, but it was still incredibly entertaining
+ Hirai Kawato, Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA & Tiger Mask vs Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru): I had almost forgotten how much I hate how well TAKA and Taichi work together. By boy Desperado and KUSHIDA had a few really good minutes together, and hopefully there may be a title shot for Despy in the future. This was a lot of fun
– Toru Yano vs Minoru Suzuki (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): oh man, this could have gone either way: Yano wins with a quick sneak attack, Suzuki pounds Yano into paste, endless interference… and it was something like that. This was not particularly fun or technical, and in the end it was more for the live crowd than anyone watching on NJPW World
– Tama Tonga vs SANADA (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): I’ve said it every match for both of these two, but the athleticism from both men is simply unbelievable at times. There was a surprising amount of comedy, or at least less-than-serious-wrestling, as they each tried to put-off their opponents, or just blatantly cheat. Frankly, I felt this really ouststayed its welcome, and should have been over in half the time
– Michael Elgin vs Juice Robinson (G1 Climax 27 B Block Match): it is a shame that the tournament was over for both these guys already, because this could have been better than it was if it had some real stakes. Both guys had better-than-expected tournament runs, including big wins of their own, and this was a good match that I wanted to be great. In that regard, it was a disappointment
– Kota Ibushi and Taguchi Japan (David Finlay & Hiroshi Tanahashi) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito): not for the first time this past few weeks, David Finlay was far and away the odd one out. This was a strange match, and while it was technically sound, it just didn’t seem to mean much at all. It was also a little bit that Naito was not involved in the finish, win or loss, considering he is in the tournament final tomorrow
– Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata vs Suzuki-gun (Takashi Iizuka & Zack Sabre Jr.): damn, I haven’t seen Iizuka for a long time. I’m not sure where he’s been. None of Makabe, Nagata or Iikuza were very agile at all in this match, and I’m not a fan of Sabre being the only faster moving guy. This was more a spectacle and return for Iizuka, than anything, and it was not a very good match
– CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Tanga Roa & Yujiro Takahashi): this was very short, and I think mostly just a chance for the CHAOS team to get one more spotlight for the tournament, and the Bullet Club team to show they are still all jerks. Overall, nothing important
> Juice cemented himself the quote of the show: “It’s time to drink some Sapporo and go balls-deep in some beautiful Japanese women!”
Should you watch this event: A very mixed bag of wrestling, both in the tag teams and G1 matches – but Omega/Okada 3 more than made up for it. The main negative for the show in general was that as we already knew Naito was the A Block winner, the only match that mattered was Omega/Okada. Some good moves, shenanigans or sequences in other matches are still worth seeing, but not nearly as important as the main event.