Day 10 and we are over half-way through G1 Climax 27. Considering I was out of things to say in introductions a few days to go, it’s perhaps unsurprising to hear that not much has changed. On with the stars!
Evil defeated Toru Yano
This one could be briefer than the intro. It was a squash match with Evil putting Yano down in a couple of minutes. With the way Evil has been booked this tournament it made perfect sense, he shouldn’t be struggling against the likes of Yano.
Minoru Suzuki defeated Tama Tonga
This match was aiming to make Tama Tonga look smart as he tried to take Suzuki on at his own game. Replacing El Desperado on the way down the ramp was a nice touch, and it had the desired effect. The problem was that the rest of the match saw the two men brawl through the crowd and crowd brawls need to end. Ignoring the fact that they aren’t fun for 90% of the people in attendance because they can’t see and that one day some poor kid is going to be clocked by a barrier thrown by Suzuki, they are fucking dull. We’ve seen it all a million times, and they limit wrestlers in such a way that unless Suzuki is going to pull off an Ibushi style moonsault, he needs to let them go. It ruined what was an intriguing match-up on paper, and that was a damn shame.
Verdict: One Star
Sanada defeated Michael Elgin
A good match but perhaps not quite as good as Elgin vs. Sanada could be. However, with the work rate both men have been putting up this tournament, I think we can forgive them, and there was still plenty to enjoy. For one thing, you won’t find many wrestlers as smooth as these two. There is an elegance to what they do but in very different ways. Sanada floats around the ring, flipping over turnbuckles and springboarding back in. Elgin’s pure power, meanwhile, is hypnotic and I could watch him catch wrestlers out of the air all day. Sanada getting the win was perhaps a surprise so soon after Elgin put down Omega but it’s a nice new wrinkle in his story. Against the guys just below the top-tier, he can do it; now he needs to figure out how to beat the very best.
Verdict: Three Stars
Kenny Omega defeated Satoshi Kojima
I loved the storytelling in this one. Omega coming down in his house show tights and wearing his t-shirt was a lovely wink to those who complain about him doing it on less important shows. It was also an excellent way of subtly disrespecting the legend. To suggest that this was a day off for The Cleaner. Of course, Kojima didn’t agree, and much as he did with Okada, he gave Omega a shock or two, at one point chopping the t-shirt off his chest. Once again, however, it wasn’t enough as the younger and fitter man found an extra gear and put the legend down. Kojima’s run is being overshadowed by Nagata but he has also had an exceptional G1, and it’s interesting that they seem to be getting booked the same way. Whether that holds up for the rest of the tournament remains to be seen.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Kazuchika Okada defeated Juice Robinson
Oh, Juicy, Juicy, Juicy. How I love thee. Another fantastic chapter in the story of Juice Robinson, the man who went from NXT jobber to G1 main-eventer. Here, he stepped into the ring with the man widely regarded as the best wrestler in the world, and he ran him close but ultimately fell victim to a Rainmaker. It’s the kind of subtle storytelling that in five years (presuming Juice sticks around in New Japan and reaches the level he should) will pay off when Juice finally does pin an Okada or a Tanahashi. For now, the message is clear, he’s not quite ready yet. However, with yet another fantastic performance under his belt, that day is getting closer and closer. As for Okada, what is there left to say? The guy is the best.
Verdict: Four Stars
This card had my lowest rated match so far and yet I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Skip the first two and you might even call it great. I’m running out of ways to tell you that this G1 is incredible but trust me, it is. If you aren’t watching it, you’re only hurting yourself.