Welcome to my watch-through of G1 Climax 27’s second day of competition. This is the first night of B Block action. If you’re looking for a fuller intro, check the day one post. That will also explain the broad scoring system I’m using in the write-up.
G1 CLIMAX 27
DAY 2 – B BLOCK
JUICE ROBINSON vs SATOSHI KOJIMA
The match began with a lockup and Kojima taking control. They grappled for position but when Juice was shot to the ropes he floored Kojima with a shoulder block on the rebound. Juice had the early show but Kojima kept after him, ducking Juice’s side kick and spiking him with a DDT. He followed that with his tag partner Tenzan’s signature Mongolion chops, and a lariat to send Juice over the ropes and to the floor. Satoshi Kojima DDT’d Juice on the apron and left him laying on the ground below. After a recovery, Robinson managed to whip Kojima into the hard rail. Soon they were back in the ring where Juice scored a backdrop to keep control. A senton splash got him a two count. Juice made a mistake with his trademark showman’s jab series, wasting enough time that Kojima could cut him off with a forearm. Kojima laid in his machine gun chops, sent Juice corner to corner, came in with his lariat and the signature “Icchuzao Bakayaro!” which immediately got stuffed by Juice’s lariat. Juice went for a cannonball but missed, leading to Kojima hitting his diving elbow for 2. Juice upped the ante from there, throwing his body around with cannonballs and crossbodies. Kojima broke out his Koji Cutter, even using an avalanche version, but not getting the job done. Juice’s Pulp Friction was blocked first, leading to Kojima’s determined lariats and brainbuster which Juice survived. Out of nowhere, Juice Robinson popped Kojima with the big southpaw punch he’d been looking for all match, then hit Pulp Friction for the 3 count.
Rope Breaks Used: none
Warnings Received: Robinson 1, Kojima 1
Pin Attempts: Robinson 3 (7), Kojima 3 (6)
Score: Robinson 6 | Kojima 5
Both Robinson and Kojima had something to prove, Robinson that he was good enough to be in the G1 and Kojima that he was still strong enough to hang. Both proved their point with this contest. Juice was definitely the younger guy here, all artillery, trusting youth and vigor to help him succeed. The score above says it was close but in reality Kojima had a firm hand on the tiller most of the match, even if he wasn’t able to grind Juice down. An interesting wrinkle is that Juice was prepared for Kojima’s offense, like his lariats, but not enough to really frustrate Kojima. It could very well be a sign of his inexperience. A pretty solid match from two guys who worked hard.
High Points: Bakayaro exchange; Kojima lariats to brainbuster
Finish: Robinson slams Kojima with Pulp Friction > single leg cradle > pinfall
Winner: Juice Robinson
MICHAEL ELGIN vs TAMA TONGA
At first, we all had to endure Tama Tonga’s running around gimmick and Michael Elgin seemed as bored with it as I was. He ultimately stopped Tama with a shoulder block and then a powerslam, and then a hanging suplex which got him a 1 count. Elgin tried for his slingshot splash early but it was dodged. Tama didn’t get to follow up much since Elgin sent him to the floor, but Tama turned it around there and hurled the Canadian into the railing. Back in the ring, Tama Tonga’s defense kept him a step ahead of Elgin for just a moment before he, rebounding off the ropes, got smacked with Elgin’s full weight in a crossbody attack. Elgin defiantly hit his slingshot splash and continued to let his power shine in battering Tama with strikes and slams. A nice fireman’s carry to powerslam got him two. Elgin soon looked for a charging lariat but Tama turned it into an inverted spinning neckbreaker. We got more runny gimmick but this time Tama came up with a DDT for 2. Tama retorted to Elgin with counter after counter, culminating in Tama’s climb to the top being intercepted by Mike who was going for a top rope power move, only for it to be countered into an avalanche gun stun from Tama who quickly pinned for the victory.
Rope Breaks Used: none
Warnings Received: Elgin 1
Pin Attempts: Elgin 3 (5), Tama 4 (9)
Score: Elgin 4 | Tama 9
Sometimes I question Kevin Kelly’s constant touting of Tama Tonga as “the best defensive wrestler on the roster” because a lot of what he does is that running & sliding gimmick which has gotten on my nerves recently. In this match though he really showed that defensive persona as most of his heaviest offense, including the finish, came as counters to what Elgin was doing. An issue with this that I see is that Tama doesn’t have enough forward momentum and doesn’t do the kind of charismatic baiting that Naito does (who, it must be said, also is capable of displaying great assaults). It’s important to be able to really control a match and dish out punishment in an entertaining way. That’s the main hole that was in Tama Tonga’s performance. It can be said that Tama Tonga is trying to be defensive so he “naturally” wouldn’t display great offense, but my point is that if he continues to wrestle without that in his game, he’s always going to feel like a background guy. A decent match with a bit of a wonky finish; it’s one of those things where it looks like either guy could have been the victim and you can only sort it out by how they react.
High Points: Elgin’s fireman carry to powerslam; Elgin’s lariat being countered by Tama’s dropkick; Elgin’s crossbody
Finish: Tama on top rope, Elgin attacks > Elgin climbs up, puts Tama on shoulders, jumps > Tama counters into Gun Stun > leg-hook press > pinfall
Winner: Tama Tonga
EVIL vs SANADA
The two faction-mates stared at each other, then EVIL offered a handshake. SANADA accepted, then EVIL kicked him in the stomach. EVIL charged but SANADA low-bridged him over the top rope to the floor, then went for a dive but feinted with a neat flip instead. EVIL threw a chair into the ring which SANADA grabbed. Referee Red Shoes tried to take it but SANADA pushed him away, allowing EVIL to slide in and smash the chair into SANADA’s face. EVIL sends SANADA to the floor and the brawl continues, including his patented EVIL Conchairto. He eventually got SANADA back inside and used a side slam to get a 2 count, then a senton got him another 2. They scrambled and SANADA managed to take over with a dropkick. He then locked EVIL in the dreaded paradise lock and dropkicked him in the butt, getting a 2 count. EVIL soon took control back, hitting a fisherman’s buster for 2, then sending SANADA out to the floor. EVIL went to the top rope and pulled SANADA up into a hanging dragon sleeper before letting him drop again. Suddenly, SANADA leapt up and dragged EVIL down with an avalanche cutter to the floor! Both barely manage to get in by 18, then their war continues with both going for broke. EVIL came out on top with a fisherman’s buster into the corner, then a neat fireman’s carry to spinebuster bomb for a hard-fought 2. Soon SANADA was able to show off his usual rope flip to dropkick maneuver. He tried for his landing press but EVIL dodged it, then capitalized with his Banshee Muzzle hold, taking the starch out of SANADA before drilling him with a murderous lariat for 2.9. EVIL then went for Evil, but SANADA countered into a tiger suplex. SANADA went for Skull End but it was blocked and the two furiously battled for control, ending when SANADA pulled EVIL into a frankly sloppy but obviously effective Skull End. EVIL fought to the ropes, so SANADA went straight to the top rope and hit his landing press to get 3.
Rope Breaks Used: EVIL 1, SANADA 1
Warnings Received: EVIL 2, SANADA 2
Pin Attempts: EVIL 6 (12), SANADA 3 (7)
Score: EVIL 9 | SANADA 4
This was a hard fought match which seemed to have something underneath the surface on the line here. Perhaps group pecking order? Los Ingobernables de Japon doesn’t seem like it has a functional hierarchy, which means all these tests of pride have double & triple the importance than someone like a CHAOS soldier who knows very well where they slot in the grand scheme of things. As most of these matches have been, this was a steady climb of intensity, and that’s with things starting off with the EVIL Orchestra. They had some neat counters but there wasn’t too much to this one. Nevertheless, fun and easy to watch. Furthermore, SANADA needs to get a ring jacket if he is going to wear those horns.
High Points: SANADA’s rope flip to dropkick; avalanche cutter exchange; EVIL’s fireman’s carry to spinebuster bomb
Finish: SANADA attacks EVIL with the landing press > chest press > pinfall
TORU YANO vs KAZUCHIKA OKADA
Yano and Okada locked up, Okada pushed Yano to the ropes. Okada threw a lariat that Yano ducked, then Yano tried to roll out only to be stopped by Okada’s manager Gedo. Yano offered Okada a handshake. Okada took it, Yano slapped him, then rushed to the ropes and shouted “Break!” Classic. Okada then went to walk out but he was stopped by Yano’s second Jado long enough for Yano to attack Okada from behind and throw him to the ground. Outside, Okada got control back and began to punish Yano using the guardrail. He went back in, followed by Yano who he quickly pulled into a neckbreaker. Okada put his foot on Yano’s chest and got boos from the crowd. The champion continued to be in control until Yano could push the ref into Okada, untie a turnbuckle pad, hit Okada with it, then throw it to Gedo to frame him. More antics followed, then Yano finally was able to bait Okada into hitting the exposed turnbuckle metal. Okada, smarting from that harsh impact, managed to get his upside down neckbreaker on Yano, only for Yano to roll to the floor. Yano caused mischief with Gedo which was quickly stopped by Okada’s running kick. Okada tried to charge at Yano again but Jado stopped him, then Yano low blowed the both of them. He sent Okada back in and feverishly tried to get a flash pin, but to no avail. Okada finally laid a trap of his own and hooked Yano into the Red Ink hold which he pulled on until Yano tapped.
Rope Breaks Used: Yano 1
Warnings Received: Yano 2, Okada 1
Pin Attempts: Yano 3 (6), Okada 2 (5)
Score: Yano 3 | Okada 4
A pretty lackadaisical match. Okada didn’t take Yano very seriously which cost him, but not in the way you might think. Usually that phrase points to underestimation and that’s part of it but not the whole thing. Okada himself was too serious when the match started. He tried very hard to stop Yano’s antics and figured that if he could keep Yano to wrestling a straight match, it’d be pretty easy. The point about Yano though is that he creates his own set of rules no matter what you do. A regular match isn’t “off his game”, that’s where he creates his mayhem. What finally got Okada a solid advantage was that simple bait maneuver he used, something that an imagined Yano student might think up. And that was all he really needed. Once he locked in his Red Ink hold, Yano was out of his depth. Yano doesn’t do gutting through holds. Yet for as interesting as that whole line is, it can only make the match so good since you just don’t get that sense of danger with a guy like Yano. He might win but it’s always a fluke, one’s never afraid that Yano may actually prove that he’s better than anyone else.
High Points: Yano’s pin rush
Finish: Okada lifts legs as bait which Yano takes > victory roll > Okada locks Yano in Red Ink hold > submission
Winner: Kazuchika Okada
KENNY OMEGA vs MINORU SUZUKI
Omega seemed intensely intimidated by Minoru Suzuki even before the bell, but Suzuki shoving him got Omega’s blood up and he threw a volley of strikes, only for Suzuki to implant him in the corner with a barrage of his own. They entered a lopsided strike battle with Omega’s end of the seesaw always in the air until Suzuki hit the ropes, when Omega scored a flash rana which sent Suzuki to the outside. Omega looked for the Terminator dive but Suzuki charged in and cut him off. They battled each other across the ropes, but it was bait as Suzuki pulled Omega into a hanging armbar that looked ready to rip Omega’s arm off. Suzuki continued his assault on the floor, blocking a rail-assisted moonsault by kicking that rail out, then using the rail as an instrument of torture on Omega’s knee. He smashed a chair on that knee next. Somewhere within, Omega summoned up his strength and he rose to smash the hell out of Suzuki with the chair as well. Back in the ring, Omega continues his tentative control of the match. Even when Suzuki pulls the ref into a shocking V-Trigger, Omega doesn’t lose composure and he follows up with another to the intended target. Just then, El Desperado hit the ring and attacked Kenny, soon joined by TAKA Michinoku and Taichi who were able to overpower him. The Suzuki-gun contingent beat up on Omega until interrupted first by Chase Owens, who they took out, and next by Bad Luck Fale, who cleared the interlopers from the ring. While still at ringside, Omega springboarded off the top rope and dove out onto the Suzuki-gun geeks for the fans’ enjoyment. He headed back to the ring and tried to dive onto a prone Suzuki but was expertly baited into a kneebar which changed into a heel hold, then a double heel hold, then a double achilles hold, Suzuki always torturing the already-injured knee, until finally Omega could grab the ropes. Omega tried fighting back but his strikes were useless against the indomitable Minoru Suzuki who floored him. Slowly Omega rallied up until he could hit a V-Trigger, then a bridging snapdragon suplex for 2. Omega wanted One Winged Angel but Suzuki reversed it into an ankle lock, then got the sleeper with Omega desperately escaped with a backpack fall. Omega thought he had a breather but Suzuki sat up out of nowhere and grabbed the sleeper again. Kenny fades and Suzuki looks for the Gotch piledriver but Omega fights it off. Suzuki hits the ropes and runs back into a V-Trigger. Suzuki tries to slow the storm but eventually eats two more V-Triggers for a 2 count. Suzuki continues to struggle but after a V-Trigger and a One Winged Angel, he secures the 3 count.
Rope Breaks Used: Omega 1
Warnings Received: Suzuki 1
Pin Attempts: Omega 4 (9)
Score: Omega 8 | Suzuki -1
The story was set up from the very beginning with Kenny Omega not able to meet the eyes of Minoru Suzuki. Legitimately one of the scariest people in wrestling, I am not sure how Suzuki pulls it off. Regardless, this was all heart and guts from Omega. He was not in a wrestling match here, he was in a monster movie against an unstoppable killing machine with a glacial stare, a window into a pitiless soul. From Omega’s inability to stand toe-to-toe with Suzuki, Suzuki’s habit of popping up suddenly when thought to be out for a moment, the desperation escapes from Omega throughout. That can all port right onto the beats of your typical horror flick. Omega’s triumph is the same as well, a triumph of survival not conquest. It might be said that you could only do this match story with someone monstrous like a Suzuki or like a traditional giant, but in all honesty, the feel of this match came down to the selling. Suzuki projected pure menace, Omega was vulnerable yet without yielding, a weakness was exposed and exploited, and the finale was duly satisfying. Omega rode off into the sunset leaving Suzuki to descend slowly below the surface of the swamp.
High Points: Suzuki’s sleeper from the dead; Omega’s fear at the start
Finish: Omega slams Suzuki with the One Winged Angel > pinfall
Winner: Kenny Omega
Elgin’s loss to Tonga was an upset to me as I was sure he’d have a big scoring year, but that was probably wishful thinking on my part. SANADA was another minor upset. I’m probably in the minority as always having seen EVIL as higher on the LIJ totem pole than SANADA. This match seemed to show SANADA on his way up the ranks. The Omega/Suzuki match had a great vibe, best thing on the first two nights from a purely emotive standpoint. Juice got a solid win to start him off but he’s just getting into very deep waters so we’ll see how he does.
|A Block||B Block|
|Tetsuya Naito||2||Kazuchika Okada||2|
|Zack Sabre Jr||2||Tama Tonga||2|
|Bad Luck Fale||2||SANADA||2|
|Hirooki Goto||2||Kenny Omega||2|
|Hiroshi Tanahashi||0||Satoshi Kojima||0|
|Togi Makabe||0||Toru Yano||0|
|Tomohiro Ishii||0||Minoru Suzuki||0|
|Yuji Nagata||0||Michael Elgin||0|