Tonight’s episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax 27 is a big one. Right in the middle of the tournament, there are three matches that could easily affect the end results of the tournament. The show starts with Yuji Nagata trying to find success for the first time in his last G1 Climax tournament. Then, Tetsuya Naito (leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon) faces a man he is statistically poor against in Hirooki Goto. Lastly, the main event features Kota Ibushi taking on his hero, Hiroshi Tanahashi, in Ibushi’s hometown.
Just as a reminder, the tournament is set up with a point system as opposed to a typical single-elimination format. One win of any kind (pinfall, submission, disqualification, or count-out) grants the victor two points. A 30-minute draw grants both competitors one point and all matches will have a 30-minute time limit. If you lose, of course, you get no points. There are two blocks of competitors, the A Block and the B Block. The G1 Climax is set up in a Round Robin style, meaning that each wrestler will face every other competitor in their respective block before the tournament is over.
Yoshi-Hashi counters a suplex into a small package to defeat Bad Luck Fale. Zack Sabre Jr. combines a victory roll and a kneebar, scoring the win over Togi Makabe.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yuji Nagata
At 49 years old, this is Yuji Nagata 20th and final G1 Climax tournament. So far, Nagata remains winless at 0-5, so he really needs a win here against Ishii to start climbing the ladder. Nagata is familiar with success in the tournament, however, winning the tournament in 2001. Last year, Ishii finished near the bottom of the A Block with just 8 points and he already looks to be in better position that his last go around at the G1 Climax.
Nagata puts up a good fight, but Ishii is too physical to handle. Ishii goes up for a suplex but just drops Nagata straight down into an emphatic brainbuster, scoring the win. Winner: Tomohiro Ishii, +2 points
Tetsuya Naito vs. Hirooki Goto
The last time Tetsuya Naito and Hirooki Goto battled in a G1 Climax tournament was in 2014, the same year where Goto would go on to win the whole thing. Three years later, Naito is now the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon and commentator Josh Barnett claims that this is a brand new Naito, completely different from when the squared off in 2014. Going into this match, Goto is suffering from a neck that is not 100%, making it an easy target for a ring general like Naito. Both men have a 3-2 record going into this G1 bout, fighting to get out of a six-way tie for second place.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi
Going into this match, Hiroshi Tanahashi has never lost to Kota Ibushi. His only loss so far in the G1 Climax was in the tournament opener when he lost to Zack Sabre, Jr. Tanahashi, the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion, has since won every match in the G1 thus far while Ibushi is still looking to get to the top of the block.
Somehow, Tanahashi manages to kick out of the Last Ride sit-out powerbomb, but Ibushi immediately raises Tanahashi to his knees, then strikes him square in the face with a brutal knee. Tanahashi remains motionless and Ibushi defeats the man that he considers to be his hero. Winner: Kota Ibushi, +2 points
After tonight’s matches, here is how the A Block stacks up so far in the 27th edition of the G1 Climax:
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Tomohiro Ishii, Zack Sabre Jr. – 8 points
- Bad Luck Fale, Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe – 6 points
- Yoshi-Hashi – 4 points
- Yuji Nagata – 0 points
A little over halfway through the tournament, anyone can end up on top of the A Block, except for perhaps Yuji Nagata. Based on their previous patterns, expect next week’s episode to be all about the B Block.
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