New Japan Pro Wrestling’s run of the G1 Climax on AXS TV is in the thick of it and there is no sign of slowing down. This week’s episode features Kenny Omega taking on fellow Bullet Club member Tama Tonga, Minoru Suzuki going head-to-head with Sanada of Los Ingobernables de Japon, and the main event of Michael Elgin battling current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada.
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.
Of course, since the airing of G1 Climax 27 on AXS TV is an abridged version, Jim Ross and Josh Barnett take us through some matches that won’t be featured. First, Toru Yano of Chaos defeats Satoshi Kojima by rolling him up after hitting him with a low blow. Then, EVIL manages to come back from sure defeat to defeat Juice Robinson with an STO.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Sanada – B Block
This is a pretty high-profile match between two big factions in NJPW. Minoru Suzuki, of course, is the leader of Suzuki-gun as well as the current NEVER Openweight Champion. His opponent, Sanada, is an up and comer who is part of Los Ingobernables de Japon.
Both men battle back and forth, each trying to lock in their own version of a sleeper hold. Suzuki counters Sanada’s final attempt to land the Gotch Piledriver and pick up the clean victory while gaining two more points in the G1 Climax B Block bracket. Winner: Minoru Suzuki, +2 Points
Kenny Omega vs. Tama Tonga – B Block
Since the G1 Climax is a Round Robin tournament, every competitor faces his entire block. This also means that teammates could fight each other, and that is exactly the case here. Tama Tonga of the Bullet Club takes on the Club’s leader, Kenny Omega. Omega is also part of The Elite with The Young Bucks while also being the only wrestler to ever hold the IWGP United States Championship. During the match, Tama Tonga makes it known that he is not competing
During the match, Tama Tonga makes it known that he is not competing in this bout for the G1, but for the Bullet Club. he states his displeasure regarding the idea of the Elite, saying that Kenny Omega should represent the entire Club and not just three guys (Tonga drops a lot of F-bombs during all of this).
Even though they are in the same faction, Omega and Tonga hit each other as hard as ever in one of the most physical matches in the G1 Climax so far. After a few sliding knees that fail to put Tonga away, Omega finally finishes him off with the One-Winged Angel. After the match, Omega kicks Tonga while he’s down to seemingly put him in his place when it comes to leadership. Finally, they reluctantly “too sweet” along with some other Bullet Club members. Winner: Kenny Omega, +2 points
Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada – B Block
Kazuchika Okada is arguably the best wrestler in 2017. He has put on a trilogy of matches with Kenny Omega that have received nothing but phenomenal widespread critical acclaim (one of which takes place in the G1 Climax) and he currently holds the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He faces a unique challenge in Michael Elgin, who Jim Ross calls the “strongest guy in New Japan Pro Wrestling,” with a bench press weight of 500 pounds. Even with the strength advantage, Elgin actually gives up a few inches in height to Okada.
Okada and Elgin put on the best match of the G1 by far and Elgin is almost able to escape the Rainmaker lariat. Okada counters Elgin with a Tombstone Piledriver (How many people do that?), setting up for a Rainmaker that turns Elgin inside out for the win. Winner: Kazuchika Okada
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