• All Aboard the S.S. Strong Style: G1 Climax 25 – Day 5 Recap

    Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro. In this series, she’s talking about the G1 25.

    Okay so I skipped Day 4. I didn’t think Day 4 was any good. BUT HOLY CRAP, DAY FIVE. DAY FIVE, PEOPLE. It’ll be up on NJPWWorld shortly.

    I’m not going to recap every match on every show, but I will pull out bits of shows to say some words about as necessary so you can be caught up on my opinions!

    G1 Climax 25 Day 5: Non-tournament matches

    Satoshi Kojima & Michael Elgin vs. Gedo & Kazuchika Okada

    It hurts to even type this, but news broke this morning that Shinsuke Nakamura’s elbow is injured and he missed the show today. Hopefully he’ll be back in time for Tuesday. He’s not out of the tournament yet. Rest well, Shinsuke, and please recover soon!

    Even without Shinsuke in this match, the match was pretty good. A competitive tag match, worth seeing if you enjoy the continued evolution of Michael Elgin in NJPW. He’s seeming more comfortable than ever.

    G1 Climax 25 Day 5 – Block A: Results & Review

    I’ll give some quick tips here about whether or not you should take time to watch these if you haven’t, based on my own knowledge and taste in professional wrestling.

    Doc Gallows vs. Bad Luck Fale

    No.

    Should you watch this? No.

    Winner: FALE

    Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano

    Unremarkable but not bad, until the end, when a top-rope headbutt from Tenzan busted both men open. They poured blood everywhere and the match finished soon after.

    Should you watch this? Only if you want to see that hardway-double-busted mess at the end. Which you probably do, I mean, you’re a wrestling fan.

    Winner: YANO

    Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata

    This begins a series of three matches to end this show that were absolutely perfect in unique ways. I loved Makabe vs. Shibata. Most wrestlers get in the ring with Shibata without all that much decorum to maintain, but Makabe is the NEVER Champion. Being NEVER Champion right now basically means he has to prove that he’s going to hit you as hard as he can and take more punishment than you can. He can’t have Shibata’s violent offense showing him up. The result is two fired up beasts pounding on each other like it’s the only thing that matters in the world.

    The typical “I’m gonna hit you and then you hit me okay and we’ll see who’s tougher yeah!” spot in this match is refreshing — not chops or elbows, but boots to the face and lariats. Very graceful, very impactful. Great wrestling. Heart eyes.

    Should you watch this? YES.

    Winner: SHIBATA

    Kota Ibushi vs. AJ Styles

    After their not-stellar meeting for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship earlier this year, some of us were wondering whether these two, who look great on paper, just didn’t have chemistry together. We needn’t have worried. This is one of the best matches of the year, and far outshined their previous encounter.

    The match was great start to finish, but what’s really interesting to me is the way AJ Styles is working in this tournament as a legitimate badass. Nevermind his athleticism, which he has in abundance, he’s just going to try to hurt you, and he doesn’t even need the rest of the Bullet Club to help him do it.

    Should you watch this? Yeah, you have to, people are going to be talking about it for the rest of the year!

    Winner: IBUSHI

    Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito

    Fantastic. A perfect match to follow the athleticism and fire of Ibushi/Styles: well paced, methodical, vicious — Naito really getting to show what he’s capable of now that he doesn’t adhere to the rules, and getting the better of NJPW’s 1/100 Century Ace of the Universe Talent Hiroshi Tanahashi in the process.

    It exceeded my expectations, which were already high. It’s amazing to watch great wrestlers get into a ring and execute a match perfectly. That’s what we’re all here to see.

    Should you watch this? YES.

    Winner: NAITO

    Updated G1 Climax 25 Scorecard

    You can see my updated Google Docs scorecard here. The points standings so far are (point leaders bolded):

    Block A:

    Hiroshi Tanahashi 4
    Togi Makabe 2
    Katsuyori Shibata 4
    Tetsuya Naito 4
    Hiroyoshi Tenzan 2
    Kota Ibushi 4
    Toru Yano 2
    AJ Styles 4
    Doc Gallows 0
    Bad Luck Fale 4

    Block B:

    Satoshi Kojima 2
    Yuji Nagata 2
    Hirooki Goto 2
    Tomoaki Honma 0
    Shinsuke Nakamura 2
    Kazuchika Okada 4
    Tomohiro Ishii 4
    Michael Elgin 0
    Karl Anderson 4
    Yujiro Takahashi 0

    Next time in the G1 Climax!

    The next show is Tuesday, July 28 featuring B Block tournament matches. I’ve bolded the matches I’m particularly looking forward to, and praying to the Strong Style Gods that Shinsuke Nakamura is healed and ready to compete for this show.

    Yuji Nagata vs. Yujiro Takahashi
    Hirooki Goto vs. Tomoaki Honma
    Tomohiro Ishii vs. Karl Anderson
    Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Michael Elgin
    Satoshi Kojima vs. Kazuchika Okada