New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual G1 Climax 27 tournament concludes tonight, and we have our main event: Tetsuya Naito will face Kenny Omega, and the winner will earn a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Two more huge tag team contests will also be on the card, as War Machine (Raymond Rowe & Hanson) defend the IWGP Tag Team Championships against two members of the Bullet Club in Hangman Page and the current ROH World Champion, Cody, and The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) put their IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships up against two members of Taguchi Japan, Ryusuke Taguchi and the high-flying Ricochet. More faction warfare is set to explode, too, as different members of Los Ingobernables de Japon, Bullet Club, Taguchi Japan and Suzuki-gun do battle throughout the show.
+ Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 27 Final): I really need to stop drinking coffee when I watch these big NJPW matches; I don’t think my heart can take it. These two nearly killed each other a few times (from one terrifying botch in particular, or just trying to go too hard at each other), but damn if it was not incredibly entertaining. I don’t know if it has topped the other big NJPW matches for match of the year, but god damn it must be close
+ CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Gedo) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, BUSHI, SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi): following on from the two tag team championship matches, this did feel somewhat lacking. The story of Okada’s last few matches has been his injured neck, and I am interested as to how that will play out (I assume it will be the weakness against Naito or Omega). This was fine for what it was, despite an extended Yano comedy spot, and the post match made up for anything the match itself was lacking
+ War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) (c) vs Bullet Club (Cody & Hangman Page) (IWGP Tag Team Championships): War Machine are just so god damn cool. Their power spots make all the other big bois look like children, which might not be hard when you’re in the ring with Cody and Hangman “literally only better than Chase Owens” Page. Cody does not fit in New Japan, and he really needs to stick to ROH. This was a solid tag team match, and I won’t say otherwise just because I can’t stand one of the teams. The aftermath was incredibly interesting, too
+ The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) vs Taguchi Japan (Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships): Ricochet is so good, even if he does sort of look like a more ripped Karl Anderson these days. The Young Bucks were severely toned down in terms of their more flamoyant moves, and worked a really good tag team match. Taguchi had a wild few minutes in the middle, which franky was a pleasant surprise considering the people he was with (I’d have thought they’d give Ricochet the various dives). This was a lot of fun, and the crowd loved every second
+ Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) & Juice Robinson vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale): a fantastic Juice/Kojima/Tenzan beatdown set the pace early, before all of the former team got all of their classic spots in. I have to hand it to Tencozy, the crowd adores them, and chants/hisses/goes bonkers for all of their classic offense. Dat boi Juice is going to be a huge star sometime soon
– Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin) & Kota Ibushi vs Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Takashi Iizuka): following on from two big tag team championship matches, I can’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed by this one. Elgin was strong, Ibushi was great, Tana is still injured, and all of Suzuki-gun had their cheating moments. There is not much else to say, really, except that I am hyped for any more Suzuki/Elgin matchups
– Togi Makabe & David Finlay vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto): once again, I only really care for Goto in this match, and Finlay is the odd one out – if Finlay is a heavyweight, he needs to bulk up before I’ll take him seriously against Makabe/HASHI/Goto, or even Ishii, who is shorter, or Juice. I still think a Juice/Finlay team is best for Finlay, but Juice is on a singles roll right now. This match was fine, but hardly anything special. I hope Goto gets a proper story in the near future
– Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa): hell yeah, Nakanishi is back, but unfortunately still quite slow. The GoD made all the offense of the veteran team looks great, but it was clear the GoD were the catalyst for most of the excitement. This was fun for seeing the two grandpas kick some ass, but it was not a great match overall
– Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi, El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku) vs KUSHIDA, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Hirai Kawato: my thoughts of a Despy/KUSHIDA title feud were given mor fuel as the two battled over the physical title early. Both Liger and Tiger Mask were mostly left on the sidelines as each of Suzuki-gun had their way with the young lion Kawato. It ended about how you’d expect
> Shibata made a (non wrestling) return, and it brought a tear to my eye, as well as few members of the audience. His promo was short, but said everything it needed to: “I am alive. That’s all.”
> I still don’t quite understand the appeal of cutting an English promo in Japan. I mean, I guess some of the wrestlers might not speak Japanese, but still it seems a bit silly
Should you watch this event: The three big matches – Omega/Naito, War Machine/Bullet Club and Taguchi Japan/Young Bucks all delivered in spades, and the aftermatch of at least three matches has planted the seeds for some very big things going forward. I would have LOVED to watch this live, especially due to the return of Shibata, but thankfully just a few days late is good enough. Definitely watch this show.