Sunday, July 17, 2016

G1 Climax 2016 Night 1

The show begins with a highlight reel of past G1 events - including Tenzan's amazing run a couple of years ago. Usual nothing billion person tag starts things off as Shibata, Nakanishi, Liger, and Tiger Mask IV face Honma, KUSHIDA, Taguchi, and Captain New Japan. Taguchi saves KUSHIDA from a Liger surfboard using his as. KUSHIDA creates tons of movement for Liger flipping and running all over the place so Liger can take dropkicks. Honma lands some headbutts to Liger and Taguchi gets a flying chop. Liger palm strikes and tilt a whirls KUSHIDA. Captain runs wild against Shibata before Shibata has exactly enough of his shit and just clocks him. Nakanishi attacks iwth slow moves and beats Captain with a torture rack neckbreaker.

Kojima and Juice Robinson face Yano and Nakajima next. Nakajima is THE GENIUS OF THE KICK and from NOAH, so I haven't seen him much. Yano's tron including faces and schoolboy cradles rules. Kojima's theme sounds like it should be in F-Zero GX.Billion forearms from Kojima to Nakajima to start. Yano and Juice come in for an out of ring brawl. Lots of buffering. Juice runs wild on Yano, but THE GENIUS OF THE KICK kicks him in the back. Kojima beats up Nakajima on the floor, but he comes in and brainbusters Juice for the win. Omega and Takahashi beat Gedo and Yoshi-Hashi in a nothing match. Comedy Omega doesn't work as well as main event Omega. Omega's t-shirt and wacky shorts getup didn't work either. Elgin and Nakata and Finlay face Naito, Evil, and Bushi
 Elgin's double double and giant weight vest rules. Lots of fast action in here from EVIL, whose black and purple gear rules. Set of codebreakers on Finlay ends it, and Naito and Nagata had tremendous chemistry throughout this. Naito mocking him after the match was hilarious.
Tenzan's out to face Ishii in slick red and black gear with gold trim. Tieups lead to a Mongolian chop missing from Tenzan and Ishii hitting chops. They ram together and we get a forearm exchange. Tenzan Mongolian chops him down. Ishii gets a hard liftup suplex, but Tenzan stomps a mudhole in him for a while and hits one of his own. Kojima cheering Tenzan on gives this a nice sense of importance. Ishii goes for a superplex, but Tenzan avoids it, so Ishii forearms him some more. Tenzan gets a super-scary inverted calf branding. A diving headbutt gets 2 and we get some sick headbutt exchanges and a TTD. Tenzan hits a big lariat and a moonsault wins it! This ruled! Tenzan hugs Kojima for giving him his spot and one last chance to shine. It's a simple, easy story to tell and it works perfectly without a single word being spoken.
Tama Tonga faces Makabe, and I love his new gear and draping spinning neckbreaker. Lots of hard elbows on the ground by Tama and then some big headbutts and more forearm smashes. Great Stinger splash by Tonga. Flying knee hits for Makabe and gets the win. Good-ish match, but nothing too amazing.
Goto is up against Fale. Poor Goto.  Fale is slow even tossing Goto in the barricade. The Hand Grenade gets 2 and Goto avoids the Razor's Edge, hits a headbutt and locks on a long sleeper leading to the modified Final Cut for the win. Goto did his best, and it was thankfully kept short.
Tanahasih's return match is against Sanada - and it's Sanada's biggest match in his career by far. As I stated in the Observer preview, Sanada absolutely needs to be booked strongly here to be an effective long-term guy. Sanada's Punisher tanktop and black leather pants work for the heel act, but aren't a good look for a main eventer. Tana's new red and white with blue and black trim gear rules.
Lots of side headlock exchanges with Sanada rushing around creating a lot of movement. Great heel antics by Sanada where he kicks the rope into Tana's balls to get an edge. They brawl on the floor and Sanada drop toeholds him on the barricade. He works over the arm giving them reasons for Tana being slower than he would be normally. Sanada's leapfrogs are absolutely gorgeous and they lead to a dropkick ala AJ. Tana gets a dragon screw on the ropes. Tana's high angle cloverleaf is fantastic. Sanada gets a springboard dropkick, but he can't follow up due to the knee damage.

Sanada lands the forearm combo, but Tana just kicks his knee to get the edge. Forearm exchange leads to a European uppercut exchange too. Sanada gets a dragon sleeper with a grapevine that gets a 2 on the arm drop and Tana BARELY GETS THE ROPES! Sanada blocks the miss on a moonsault Sanada gets a rolling reverse cradle into a dragon sleeper, but it's countered by Tana into a swinging neckbreaker. SLINGBLADE gets 2. Sanada avoids a dragon suplex, but eats an arm-trap German suplex for 2.

This match is absolutely amazing - they're making Sanada a top guy in one night. Tana goes up top, stands perched and goes for a High Fly Flow BUT SANADA GETS AN RKO IN MID-AIR FOR 2! Sanada slams him, hits a moonsault and gets 2.9. A second one hits and Sanada lifts him for another Dragon Sleeper and TANA TAPS! They made Sanada a top-level guy here - hopefully they keep up with the momentum.
Marafuji is out for his main event with Okada. Okada gets 2 off a neckbreaker. They fight on the floor for a bit and go back in for arm work on Okada - smart way to avoid the Rainmaker. A Fujiwara armbar further aids Marafuji, who lands some super-stiff chops against the ropes too. A backflip into a dropkick sends Okada to the floor while a HUGE over the top plancha hits. Marafuji goes for the sliced bread, but can't get it and Okada gets the over the knee Schwein for 2. Flying elbow and the Rainmaker pose, BUT THE RAINMAKER IS AVOIDED!

Superkick and a sliced bread, but it's avoided and Okada dropkicks him up top. Marafuji avoids a corner tombstone and hits a series of kicks, but Okada recovers and goes for another Rainmaker. It's a avoided, but he still lands a German. Marafuji recovers and hits a pump knee strike before hitting a fisherman's buster into an Emerald Flowsion for the win! This was another outstanding match and they have effectively made two long-term main eventers in one night.

Screenshot Gallery -


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