After a day off (during which I was silly enough to watch Battlegrounds) the G1 is back with one of the more exciting cards being served up by B Block. Kojima vs. Elgin, Juice vs. Suzuki, Evil vs. Tonga, Okada vs. SANADA and let’s face it, Yano vs. Omega, what’s not to like?
Michael Elgin defeated Satoshi Kojima
After two great performances where Large Michael failed to pick up any points, this felt like the moment he added a bit of spice to his offence. In other words, he stiffed the old bastard. It was a subtle change – Elgin is hardly known for his light work – but it made all the difference. There was an attitude to Big Mike (particularly when he was nicking Kojima’s moves) that we don’t often see and it helped him pick up the win. It also made for a fun match. Kojima would be this year’s golden oldie if Nagata weren’t bringing is so hard in Block A but it doesn’t change the fact he’s putting in some fantastic performances, and this is another match that both these guys can be proud of.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Evil defeated Tama Tonga
There was something delightfully honest about this match starting outside the ring. We all knew it was going to go there, so why not get it out the way? I honestly wasn’t high on either of these guys coming into this tournament, and they’ve both slowly been winning me around. Despite that, something was missing here. It felt like it was just ramping up a gear and then it was over. I enjoyed it while it lasted, but it lacked the spark that would have turned it into a great match.
Verdict: Three Stars
Minoru Suzuki defeated Juice Robinson
Can we somehow set up a match where Suzuki can’t leave the ring? We get it Minoru, you’re an unhinged badass, now stop pissing about. Despite all that shite, this was another step in producing Juice The Ultimate Babyface. He might not be the coolest superhero on the planet, but he sure is a nice one. Juice went out with there with Suzuki and took all his crap. All the chops, all the antics and all the interference and he kept coming back. It doesn’t even matter that he lost, he stood up to it, and that’s a big thing for a character like his. The devil beat him down but when he stared him in the eye Juice didn’t flinch.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Kenny Omega defeated Toru Yano
It took all of five seconds for this to descend into farce. But, I laughed. Love it or hate it you can’t deny that these two are good at comedy wrestling and unless you’ve got a Cornette sized stick up your arse, you should just sit back and enjoy the fun. It’s not for everyone, but you’d have to be a right miserable bastard to not laugh at least once at this silliness.
Verdict: Two Star Action, Four Star Silliness
Kazuchika Okada defeated SANADA
Watching these two wrestle is a goddamn pleasure. They make it look effortless as they glide around the ring smoothly transitioning from move to move. This tournament has convinced me that Sanada is a star. I’d like to see him add a little bit more energy to his presentation (particularly if he goes babyface) as he occasionally looks like he can’t be arsed, but considering Naito is one of the stars on top at the moment, that might not be the problem I think it is. Meanwhile, we all know what Okada is at this point. The best wrestler in the world. Once again he had me believing that he might take the fall but he was able to slip out and hit that Rainmaker. I want to see these two do this again on a bigger stage and with more minutes to play with.
Verdict: Four Stars
Perhaps not the tournament stealer we were hoping for but still a very solid day of pro wrestling. Elgin and Kojima pulled off a stormer while Juice continues to look like a star. Sadly, it’s getting to the point where I might have to accept I’m not getting what I want from Suzuki and Evil and Tonga failed to sparkle. Despite that, a fantastic main event left us on a high, and the G1 continues to sparkle.