It’s night two of the G1 USA Special and here we finally see who will be the first US Champion and also get Gunn/Tanahashi for the IC Belt. So lets see how this goes.
Match 1 – Liger/KUSHIDA/Finlay vs. Tempura Boyz/Yoshi Tatsu
Decent little opener. Tempura boyz seem to be coming along quite well in their excursion and did a couple impressive things, everyone else did fine here too and it was enjoyable back and forth affair. At the end Liger, Kushida & Finlay all lock in submissions on the other team at the same time with Tatsu submitting whilst locked in a stretch muffler.
Winner: Ligers team(via stretch Muffler) **3/4
Match 2 – US Title Semi-final: Kenny Omega vs. Jay Lethal
Very good semi-final match. Lethals injured ribs again became a focal point like the previous tournament match with Omega working on them, Lethal tries working on Omegas leg early on which Omega does continue to sell a little throughout. In the end though Omega advances to the final after a lovely little reversal sequence into the One Winged Angel. Good stuff.
Winner: Omega(via One Winged Angel) ***3/4
Match 3 – US Title tournament semi-final: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
This was great. At first Sabre tries to match strikes with Ishii which of course completely fails, so then he spends the rest of the match focusing on Ishii’s left arm where as Ishii just relies on his brute strength to stop Zack and put him down There are a couple of occasions that Zack almost has it, but Ishii ends up giving him a brainbuster to advance to the final. Loved the dynamic between these two and it makes me more excited to see Zack in the G1.
Winner: Ishii(via Brainbuster) ****
Match 4 – Titan/Dragon Lee/Juice Robinson/Jay White/Volador vs. LIJ
Good 10 man tag match, had a fair amount of fun action and some lovely little sequences including one between Dragon Lee and Hiromu. White wins the match with a flatliner on BUSHI which means he’s won both the tag matches he’s been in on these shows, so it looks as though he’s starting to rise up in the ranks.
Winners: Jay White’s team(via flatliner) ***1/4
Match 5 – GoD/Hangman Page vs. War Machine/Michael Elgin
Another good tag match, well paced with enjoyable back and forth action and good work from all involved. Hangman Page gets the victory with an Axe Guillotine driver, which helps keep the Bullet Club in the tag title pictures, in fact Page on the ramp after the match proclaims that War Machine’s titles are his so I guess he’s gonna get a crack at them with someone, which is fair since he’s the one that beat them.
Winners: Bullet Club(via Axe Guillotine Driver) ***1/4
Match 6 – IWGP jr Tag title match: Roppongi Vice vs. Young Bucks (c)
This was awesome and the best match these teams have had together this year. It had some nice call backs to their previous match with them working on Barretta’s back as as well as Romero’s this time and ultising the Sharpshooter which helps them get the win as Romero taps once again whilst him and Baretta are locked in one. They also had some cool spots and great action throughout and it was just super enjoyable overall.
Winners: Young Bucks(via Sharpshooter) ****1/4
-Post-match Ricochet takes out the Young Bucks with a springboard dropkick and tope con Giro, then challenges them to match for their Jr Tag titles with his partner and Taguchi Japan Leader Ryusuke Taguchi.
-Once the Bucks and Ricochet leave, Romero gets on the mic and talks to Barretta about their 5 year plan which was to win the Jr Tag Titles and BOSJ, which they did and now the final thing is for Barretta to move up to the heavyweight division without him. So I guess that’s the end of RPG. Excited to see Barretta in the heavyweight division though, shame it wasn’t in time for him to be in the G1.
Match 7 – Bullet Club(Fale/Scurll/Yujiro/Cody) vs. Briscoes/Okada/Ospreay
Decent match. Bullet Club spend some time faffing about like purely tagging each other in and out for a few minutes which I didn’t care much for at all. It has a fun finishing stretch though with Cody getting the win, so he can disappear again for a while.
Winner: Bullet Club ***
Match 8 – IWGP Intercontinental Title match: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Billy Gunn
Whoever thought in 2017 that we’d see Billy Gunn take on Tanahashi for a title belt, anyway the match itself was fine, there really wasn’t much to it. Gunn controls the match for a bit working on Tana’s arm and they exchange a few moves, Tana kicks out of Gunns finishers and then hits a sling blade and high fly flow to retain the belt. Pace was pretty slow and crowd reacted when needed but didn’t seem all that bothered. Match was just kind of there but wasn’t bad I guess.
Winner: Tanahashi(via high fly flow) **3/4
Main Event – US Title tournament Final: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega
Brilliant main event from these two. very physical back and forth affair full of great action, the snap dragon suplex off the apron through the table was nuts and I loved Ishii’s fire at the end trying to shake off Omega’s offense, but Omega wouldn’t let up and got him with the one winged angel to become the first US Champion. There were a few things I weren’t too fussed on in the beginning like the brawling in the crowd and stuff but it certainly picked up and delivered a tense second half. Great effort from them both as per usual and I’m sure Kenny will do a good job in trying to make the title seem important.
Winner: Omega(via One Winged Angel) ****1/4
Another really good show overall, the Tournament and Jr Tag title matches delivered big time and the Gunn/Tanahashi match was really the only weak point but even that wasn’t too bad. All in all these G1 specials were really enjoyable as New Japan continues to succeed in delivering some awesome stuff.