Today is my birthday and what better way to kick it off then watching day 1 of the G1 Climax. Today features all Block A Matches with Ibushi/Naito headlining!
Match 1 – Kojima/Tenzan/Liger vs. Elgin/Robinson/Finlay
Fun little opening tag to get things going, they kept the action constant and everyone got a chance to do their part. Kojima looked fired up and picked up the pinfall with a lariat on Finlay, he’s definitely looking energized and ready for this tournament.
Winner: Kojima/Tenzan/Liger(via Lariat) ***
Match 2 – Suzuki-Gun(Suzuki/Taichi/Desperado) vs. Bullet Club(Omega/Tonga/Owens)
Decent little match-up. They start out brawling on the outside, before getting back in the ring. Suzuki-Gun try a couple of shenanigans but they keep it very minimal and we get a nice little taster of the match that Omega and Suzuki are gonna be having. Suzuki gets the win by pinning Owens, so he gets the momentum, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see how Suzuki/Omega goes down.
Winner: Suzuki-Gun(via Gotch Style Piledriver) ***
Match 3 – SANADA/BUSHI vs. EVIL/Hiromu Takahashi
LIJ members face off against each other, since SANADA and EVIL are in the same block. It’s another enjoyable little tag match that provides another little taster of things to come. It’s fun seeing these guys go head to head, shame it was over so quickly though. EVIL ends up getting the win by making BUSHI tap out so he gets the momentum in his block match against SANADA which I look forward to seeing.
Winner: EVIL/Hiromu(via submission) **3/4
Match 4 – Kazuchika Okada/Gedo vs. Toru Yano/Jado
More team members going up against each other, this time people from CHAOS. Match was fine, Yano/Okada stuff was pretty fun, but the Gedo/Jado interactions were kind of just there. Yano gets the win giving Gedo & Okada a low blow and rolling up Gedo to get the win. Say what you will about Yano’s tactics but they do sometimes bring him success and could well get him a win against the champ.
Winners: Yano/Jado **1/2
Match 5 – Block A Match: Yuji Nagata vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Great start to the Block matches, with a really enjoyable back and forth contest that escalated really well and had some very close falls. Yoshi-Hashi gets the win, so not a great start Nagata final G1 but happy to see Yoshi-Hashi get it. Really good stuff.
Winner: YOSHI-HASHI(via Karma) ****
Match 6 – Block A Match: Togi Makabe vs. Bad Luck Fale
Wasn’t all that enthusiastic about this match but they delivered quite a good match. Fale gets control after they brawl around the arena and Makabe tries hard to make a come back throwing hard with lariats. In the end Makabe gets Fale down and goes for the King Kong kneedrop but Fale catches him by the throat and hits the Grenade to get the pinfall. Pretty enjoyable match overall.
Winner: Fale(via Grenade) ***1/4
Match 7 – Block A Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto
Great match between these two, they go straight at it from the get go and don’t let up with lots of strike exchanges making for a very physical match. Just two guys relentlessly beating each other, whats not to like?, Ishii usually delivers big time and these guys have always gelled well together. I’m sure Goto is looking to redeem himself after losing in the final last year, so this is a good start for him.
Winner: Goto(via GTR) ****1/4
Match 8 – Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Another great little match up. Sabre of course focused on Tanahashi’s injured right arm throughout, whilst Tana retaliated by going after Sabre’s legs. It was a really well worked match with some good selling from both. At the end a small distraction from Desperado allowed Sabre to get the knees up for Tana’s high fly flow and capture him in a submission where he completely punished Tana’s arm including ripping of the elbow pad and tape. It looked excruciating and made Tana submit giving Sabre the upset victory. Loved the finish, Sabre’s already made a big impression at the G1 and I look forward to seeing more of his matches as he’s sure to add a nice dynamic to them.
Winner: Sabre Jr.(via submission) ****
Main event – Block A match: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi
Awesome match as you’d expect. Both guys went out and tried killing each other, Naito worked on Ibushi’s neck throughout and definitely gave it some punishment, but Ibushi certainly dished it out too including a top rope piledriver and swan dive german suplex. The crowd went nuts and were definitely the loudest for the match(they’ve been good all night though). Two Destino’s finally put Ibushi down for the 3 count but what a tremendous effort from both, what a way to end night 1.
Winner: Naito(via Destino) ****3/4
Very strong first day for the G1 Climax every match was enjoyable and 4 were really good or better. Naito/Ibushi was definitely MOTN and even one of the best matches of this year. Everyone was clearly energised and hyped up and it’s gonna be difficult to keep that up throughout the whole tournament. but a great start to the tournament for sure.