New Japan Pro Wrestlings G1 Climax 27 – Conclusion

Its finally over. 19 shows in 27 days. G1 Climax 27 is over. Its my third time watching the whole thing, fourth time following. It was pretty damn amazing. Not going to try comparing the ones I’ve seen all the way through.

So I’m going to run down the blocks and wrestlers, do my Top 10 matches, then final star ratings for the four shows. Also, nice surprise seeing Katsuyroi Shibata show up at the finals and bow to the fans after his life threatening injury. Women cried. I’m sure some men did too.

A BLOCK

Individual wrestling average was higher in Block A. Just saying…

The IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-The Ace came through with a strong tournament despite the injury to his arm. Should be no surprise as it seems the Ace works every G1 of the last few years while injured. Tanahashi was top echelon of A block, with his floor generally being **** matches. How many wrestlers can say that. One of the reasons Tanahashi is so good is his adaptability. Playing underdog one match, playing a dick heel in another, and in others trying to hang with his opponents in their specialty whether its mat work or striking game. I actually was pulling for Tanahashi to win the block against Naito to be honest.
Best Matches: vs Tetsuya Naito 8.11.17, vs Tomohiro Ishii 8.6.17, vs Kota Ibushi 8.1.17
Match Average: 4.16 out of 5
Tournament Placing: Block A Runner Up, 12 points

Togi Makabe-Not really a Makabe fan but I liked him through this tournament more than the last two. I don’t know if I just have come around on him or he was working extra hard. He does not really switch up his style, he wrestles pretty much the same through out but that’s not a bad thing. Overall, I’ll give Makabe the thumbs up for keeping me entertained.
Best Matches: vs Zack Sabre Jr on 8.1.17, vs Hiroshi Tanahashi on 8.14.17, Hirooki Goto 7.23.17
Match Average: 3.80 out of 5
Tournament Placing: 8 points

Yuji Nataga-The final G1 for Blue Justice, Nagata was great through out. It seemed like there was more pep in his step. His first two matches and last two matches were so good and the ones in the middle were all strong. I’ve only seen three tournaments all the way through and this was my favorite of his. (There was a match with Shinsuke Nakamura from 2014 that also stands out). Thank you Nakamura for kicking ass. Also thank you for training he next generation of NJPW wrestlers.
Best Matches: vs Tomohiro Ishii 8.1.17, vs YOSHI-HASHI 7.17.17, vs Zack Sabre Jr. 8.6.17
Match Average: 4.05 out of 5
Tournament Placing: 2 points

Kota Ibushi-The Golden Star returned to New Japan and while he didn’t win, he still shined. Ibushi strikes hard and flies high. While not an MVP he was top echelon talent. Usually delivering at least **** matches every night. It is always a delight watching this man work and I can’t wait to see him back.
Best Matches: vs Tetsuya Naito on 7.17.17, vs Hiroshi Tanahashi 8.1.17, vs Zack Sabre Jr 7.21.17
Match Average: 4.16
Tournament Placing: 10 points

Hirooki Goto (Stable: CHAOS)-On one hand, Goto who was last years finalist under delivered. Very few matches I would say stood out. On the other hand, he hovered between ***3/4 and **** pretty consistently. When I think about it more, that’s really how Goto is. He has one or two stand out matches and then flies under for most. He delievered two great matches in his first two nights and another strong one his last night. He ranged from good to great. Hoping NJPW hooks him back up with Ishii for the tag league tournament and they win that.
Best Matches: vs Tomohiro Ishii 7.17.17, vs Yuji Nagata 7.21.17, vs Tetsuya Naito 8.1.17
Match Average: 4.05 out of 5
Tournament Placing: 10 points

Tomohiro Ishii (Stable: CHAOS)-The MVP of A block based on match quality. Ishii is always in the conversation for both Best of the Year and Underrated of the Year. He generally delivers at least **** but never gets the big win or the top spot. He lost in the semis of New Japan Cup, lost in the finals of the US title tournament, and is middle of the pack again for G1. Sometimes you just have to have those guys. Ishii and Goto are gatekeepers. Upper midcard guys tasked with delivering in top spots but never going to get the keys to the kingdom. Ishii was great through out this tournament and delivered several great and memorable matches.
Best Matches: vs Hiroshi Tanahashi 8.6.17, vs Hirooki Goto 7.17.17, vs Yuji Nagata 8.1.17
Match Average: 4.27
Tournament Placing: 8 points

YOSHI-HASHI (Stable: CHAOS)-When it comes to match quality, YOSHIHASHI was close to the bottom. He hovered between ***1/2 and **** generally, sometimes breaking a little higher. To be honest, he was the biggest disappointment of A block. He also got one less victory in his second tournament. YOSHIHASHI has some cool moves and occasionally underdog babyface fire but he’s just not a guy you can really count on.
Best Matches: vs Yuji Nagata 7.17.17, vs Kota Ibushi 8.6.17, vs Tomohiro Ishii 7.26.17
Match Average: 3.80 out of 5
Tournament Placing: 4 points

Bad Luck Fale (Stable: Bullet Club)-On match average, Fale is ***1/2 but you don’t watch a Fale match expecting the best. He’s a monster. Throws forearms, runs into opponent, and slams them down hard. The point of a Fale match is to question how his opponent is going to beat him. So while YOSHI-HASHI rates a bit higher, Fale plays an important part and has the aura of a serious threat. This actually might have been my favorite Fale run through G1.
Best Matches: vs Yuji Nagata 8.11.17, vs Kota Ibushi 7.29.17, vs Tomohiro Ishii 8.4.17
Match Average: 3.61 out of 5
Tournament Placing: 10 points

Zack Sabre Jr. (Stable: Suzuki-Gun)-What a debut. He beats the Ace on his first night, tapped out a former champion in Makabe, had the ref stopped his Ishii match because Ishii passed out, and won half his matches overall. ZSJ brought a uniqueness to the tournament. His technical acumen and counter wrestling technique have no equal I know of. ZSJ is being groomed to be a threat in New Japan. Too bad he’s with Suzuki-Gun.
Best Matches: vs Yuji Nagata 8.6.17, vs Tomohiro Ishii 8.11.17, vs Togi Makabe 8.1.17
Match Average: 4.05 out of 5
Tournament Placing: 10 points

Tetsuya Naito (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-Naito won it all which was not a big surprise. In fact, it was more of a surprise that he lost last year. Naito delivered mostly **** matches and in big spots brought the goods. Naito is known as a “genius” for how he lays out matches and while I don’t actually agree as I think Okada is better overall, I can’t knock Naito at all. His first match with Ibushi set the bar for the tournament on night one. His main event with Tanahashi for Block A winner will probably be overshadowed by Omega/Okada 3 but personally I liked it better. His main event with Omega may have fallen slightly in comparison to their match last year but definitely top 5 of the tournament overall. Naito is one of the best in the world and even on an off night, he’s better than most.
Best Matches: vs Kenny Omega Finals 8.13.17, vs Hiroshi Tanahashi 8.11.17, vs Kota Ibushi 7.17.17
Match Average: 4.175 out of 5 with Finals
Tournament Placing: G1 Winner, Block A Winner, 14 points

B BLOCK

Due to Toru Yano bringing match averages down, I listed an average without a Yano match since many times his was the worst of each wrestlers tournament. Despite mroe quality matches in Block A, Block B had more of my fave matches.

Satoshi Kojima (Stable: Taguchi Japan, TenKoji)-Kojima delivered matches ranging between good to great. Sadly, he came in at the bottom of his block. It felt like this was his last G1 but no official word. I don’t have much to say about his run through the tournament except that I like Kojima and enjoyed his matches.
Best Matches: vs Kazuchika Okada 7,27.17, vs Juice Robinson 7.20.17, vs Kenny Omega 7.30.17
Match Average: 3.5 out of 5 / 3.68 without Yano match
Tournament Placing: 2 points

Michael Elgin (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-Elgins booking was absolutely frustrating. In fact, he’s one of the reasons I decided to show match averages without including Yano. That loss was the worst of the tournament and when you remove it his average shoots up more than a quarter making him a top echelon of block B. Which he should be having two of my absolute favorite matches of the tournament. Elgin ended up in the middle of the pack and I hope New Japan figures out what to do with him since he generally delivers around **** matches most times out.
Best Matches: vs Kazuchika Okada 7.22.17, vs Kenny Omega 7.27.17, vs SANADA 7.30.17
Match Average: 3.75 out of 5 / 4.09 without Yano match
Tournament Placing: 8 points

Juice Robinson (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-One of the breakout stars of the tournament. Definitely the breakout babyface. Juice’s first G1 gave a glimpse of the future. He has great emotion and brings great drama. While not delivering the best match of any night, you can count on Juice to perform at his best.
Best Matches: vs Kenny Omega 8.5.17, vs EVIL 7.22.17, vs Satoshi Kojima 7.20.17
Match Average: 3.72 out of 5 / 3.93 without Yano match
Tournament Placing: 8 points

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada (Stable: CHAOS)-The MVP of the block B. I think I only rated two of his matches under **** and one was a Yano match. In fact, that Yano match was one of Yano’s best! Okada is having the best damn year of any wrestlers I’ve seen since Daniel Bryan in Ring of Honor when he was champion. He’s been absolutely amazing. His tournament has been amazing, better than the the last two I’ve seen and he was incredible in both of those. I seriously would not have had a problem with him winning the whole thing. Okada is a lock for best wrestler of 2017 as far as I’m concerned.
Best Matches: vs Michael Elgin 7.22.17, vs EVIL 8.5.17, vs Kenny Omega 8.12.17
Match Average: 4.25 out of 5 / 4.40 without Yano match
Tournament Placing: Block B Runner Up, 13 points

Toru Yano (Stable: CHAOS)-Whatever… I don’t hate comedy wrestling, I like Ryusuke Taguchi quite a bit. But not Yano. He had the worst match of the tournament, and most were forgettable.
Best Matches: vs Kenny Omega 7.25.17 (That’s all I’m listing)
Match Average: 2.33 out of 5
Tournament Placing: 8 points

IWGP United States Champion Kenny Omega (Stable: Bullet Club, The Elite)-Last years winner fell in the finals. Not too much of a surprise, at least he beat Okada in their third match. Bringing the record to 1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw. Omega was great but I have to be honest, I like Okada better this year. Comparing these two I put Okada half a * ahead in most of their matches through out the G1. But enough about Okada, Omega was great. One of the best in the world and was amazing through out.
Best Matches: vs Kazuchika Okada, vs Michael Elgin 7.27.17, vs EVIL 8.2.17
Match Average: 4.2 out of 5 with Finals / 4.3 with Finals and without Yano match
Tournament Placing: Block B Winner, 14 points

Tama Tonga (Stable: Bullet Club, Guerillas of Destiny)-Tama has the look, the attitude, the mannerisms. Yet, he can rarely go above a ***3/4 with me and thats disappointing. Tonga has all the tools but he needs to work on his control spots. He’s been called a defensive wrestler which is a great tag to describe how he works but as a heel, being defensive is not the best offense because most times heels control the match. I like Tonga but I think he’s better as a tag wrestler. Until maybe a babyface turn.
Best Matches: vs Juice Robinson 7.27.17, vs Kenny Omega 7.22.17, vs Michael Elgin 7.20.17
Match Average: 3.41 out of 5 / 3.53 without Yano match
Tournament Placing: 8 points

IWGP NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki (Stable: Suzuki-Gun)-Suzuki was another disappointment. Yano’s a comedy wrestler, Tonga’s in ring is lack luster, but Suzuki… He should be doing so much better. He is a legit guy. Great technique, look, persona, everything. Yet his matches were filled with so much shenanigans. Removing the Yano match only raised his average by .03. It might be because he’s knocking on 50 years of age so he could not handle this type of grueling schedule. Despite this, that match with Okada was better than their February match. As good as that was (and a couple others), might be time for him to step aside from G1 as well.
Best Matches: vs Kazuchika Okada 8.8.17, vs Kenny Omega 7.20.17, EVIL 7.27.17
Match Average: 3.47 out of 5 / 3.5 without Yano match
Tournament Placing: 9 points

IWGP NEVER 6 Man Champion SANADA (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-I bought into the hype. I like SANADA. He has the look and the talent. People thought he’d go far in his second G1. Instead, once again with 8 points. His match quality ranged from good to great. The thing is, SANADA did not deliver on the level myself and others expected. He’s got all the tools but until he switches gimmicks from the cold attitude he won’t go very far. Maybe its just a matter of time, but its hard to say.
Best Matches: vs EVIL 7.20.17, vs Kazuchika Okada 7.25.17, vs Kenny Omega 8.8.17
Match Average: 3.77 out of 5 / 3.93 without Yano match
Tournament Placing: 8 points

IWGP NEVER 6 Man Champion EVIL (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-On the first night of B block action, when SANADA put LIJ stablemate EVIL down people thought it was a sign of the groups pecking order within the heavyweights. By the end of the tournament, it was clear EVIL was the second man after leader Naito. EVIL defeated two champions, including delivering Okada his first singles loss in almost a year. He earned six wins, up from last year where he won four. Juice was the breakout face, Zack Sabre Jr was the breakout heel, then EVIL is the breakout tweener.
Best Matches: vs Kazuchika Okada 8.5.17, vs Kenny Omega 8.2.17, vs SANADA 7.20.17
Match Average: 3.91 out of 5 / 4.1 without Yano match
Tournament Placing: Third Place, 12 points

TOP 15 MATCHES
1. Kazuchika Okada vs Michael Elgin Day 4 7.22.17
3. Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito Finals 8.13.17
3. Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL Day 14 8.5.17
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito Day 17 8.11.17
5. Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega Day 18 8.12.17
6. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tomohiro Ishii Day 15 8.6.17
7. Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi Day 1 7.17.17
8. Kenny Omega vs Michael Elgin Day 8 7.27.17
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi Day 11 8.1.17
10. SANADA vs EVIL Day 2 7.20.17
11. Tomohiro Ishii vs Hirooki Goto Day 1 7.17.17
12. EVIL vs Kenny Omega Day 12 8.5.17
13. Tomohiro Ishii vs Yuji Nagata Day 11 8.1.17
14. Juice Robinson vs Kenny Omega Day 14 8.5.17
15. Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki Day 16 8.8.17

Final Star Ratings

Day 16 8.8.17
Tama Tonga vs Satoshi Kojima ***1/2
Toru Yano vs Juice Robinson **
EVIL vs Michael Elgin ****1/4
SANADA vs Kenny Omega ****1/4
Minoru Suzuki vs Kazuchika Okada ****1/2

Day 17 8.11.17
Yuji Nagata vs Bad Luck Fale ****
YOSHI-HASHI vs Togi Makabe ***
Tomohiro Ishii vs Zack Sabre Jr ****1/2
Hirooki Goto vs Kota Ibushi ****1/2
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito ****3/4

Day 18 8.12.17
Michael Elgin vs Juice Robinson ***3/4
Tama Tonga vs SANADA ***1/2
Minoru Suzuki vs Toru Yano ***
Satoshi Kojima vs EVIL ***3/4
Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega ****3/4

Day 19 8.13.17
KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask IV, Jushin Liger, Hirai Kawato vs Suzuki-Gun **3/4 – All Suzuki-Gun juniors showed up for this. Build to KUSHIDA/El Desperado match.
Guerrillas of Destiny vs Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi **3/4 – GOD bow to Nagata after match, showing respect. Nagata (I believe) helped train Nagate.
Togi Makabe & David Finley vs CHAOS **1/2
Juice Robinso & TenCozy vs Bullet Club **3/4
Funky Future (Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet) vs Young Bucks JR. Tag Titles ****
War Machine vs Bullet Club (Cody & Hangman Page) **** – GOD challenge after match is over, K.E.S. return and attack everyone.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Michael Elgin vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, Takashi IIzuka) ***3/4
Los Ingobernables vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Gedo) ***1/2
Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito G1 Finals ****3/4

Links To Previous Star Ratings
Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

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G1 Climax Week 3

Third week done, after the fourth week I’ll actually do a full overview of the tournament. Breaking down the blocks and wrestlers. I’ll give my top matches as well as star ratings for the last three tournament nights and the finals card. Until then… here we go.

Day 11 8.1.17
Bad Luck Fale vs YOSHIHASHI ***3/4
Togi Makabe vs Zack Sabre Jr. ****1/4
Tomohiro Ishii vs Yuji Nagata ****1/2
Tetsuya Naito vs Hirooki Goto ****1/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi ****1/2

Day 12 8.2.17
SANADA vs Juice Robinson ***1/2
Michael Elgin vs Toru Yano *
Minoru Suzuki vs Satoshi Kojima **1/2
Tama Tonga vs Kazuchika Okada ***3/4
EVIL vs Kenny Omega ****1/2

Day 13 8.4.17
Yuji Nagata vs Kota Ibushi ***3/4
Bad Luck Fale vs Tomohiro Ishii ***3/4
Hirooki Goto vs YOSHIHASHI ***3/4
Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito ****
Togi Makabe vs Hiroshi Tanahashi ****1/4

Day 14 8.5.17
CHAOS (Goto, Ishii, YOSHIHASHI) vs Tanahashi, Ibusi, David Finley-*** One of the few undercard matches I watched cause of how many G1 competitors were in. Was fun.
Toru Yano vs Tama Tonga **1/2
SANADA vs Satoshi Kojima ***1/2
Michael Elgin vs Minoru Suzuki ***3/4
Juice Robinson vs Kenny Omega ****1/2
EVIL vs Kazuchika Okada ****3/4

Day 15 8.6.17
Yuji Nagata vs Zack Sabre Jr. ****1/4
Kota Ibushi vs YOSHIHASHI ****
Bad Luck Fale vs Hirooki Goto ***1/2
Tetsuya Naito vs Togi Makabe ***3/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tomohiro Ishii ****3/4

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G1 Climax Week 2

Not going to write a bunch, my deep analysis will come with the final week.

Day 6 7.25.17
Michael Elgin vs Satoshi Kojima ****, Elgin is on the board while Kojima remains on the bottom on the block.
Tama Tonga vs EVIL ***1/2
Juice Robinson vs Minoru Suzuki ***1/2
Kenny Omega vs Toru Yano ***-This is a comedy match and 3 stars for a comedy match is good.
Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA ****1/2

Day 7 7.26.17
Tomohiro Ishii vs YOSHI-HASHI ****
Zack Sabre Jr vs Bad Luck Fale ***1/2
Kota Ibushi vs Togi Makabe ****
Tetsuya Naito vs Yuji Nagata ***3/4
Hirooki Goto vs Hioshi Tanahashi ****

Day 8 7.27.17
Juice Robinson vs Tama Tonga ****
Toru Yano vs SANADA **1/2
EVIL vs Minoru Suzuki ***3/4
Satoshi Kojima vs Kazuchika OKada ****1/4
Michael Elgin vs Kenny Omega ****1/2

Day 9 7.29.17
Togi Makabe vs Yuji Nagata ***3/4
Bad Luck Fale vs Kota Ibushi ***3/4
Hirooki Goto vs Zack Sabre Jr ****
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs YOSHI-HASHI ***3/4
Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito ****1/4

Day 10 7.30.17
EVIL vs Toru Yano **
Tama Tonga vs Minoru Suzuki **1/2
Michael Elgin vs SANADA ****
Satoshi Kojima vs Kenny Omega ****
Juice Robinson vs Kazuchika Okada ****

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G1 Climax Week 1

DAY 1 7.17.17
The first day was great. I checked out a couple under card tag matches which I normally don’t do but these sounded like a treat. A rare Bullet Club vs Suzuki-Gun match that teased Minoru Suzuki vs Kenny Omega on day 2. It was just okay. Then Los Ingobernables de Japon et each other as tournament heavies SANADA and EVIL meet on day 2. SANADA with BUSHI and EVIL with Horimu Takahashi. It was a strong tag match. This is the kind of tag match we rarely see. All guys came together in the end. Then came Block A.

YOSHI-HASHI vs Yuji Nagata-****1/4
Togi Makabe vs Bad Luck Fale-***1/4
Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii-Brutal, hard hitting match. ****1/2
Hiroshi Tanahahsi vs Zack Sabre Jr-****
Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi-****1/2

Day 2 7.20.17
Was strong. I think I liked it better than some of the people online. I actually skipped all the udnercard matches this time around.

Juice Robinson vs Satoshi Kojima-****
Michael Elgin vs Tama Tonga-***3/4
SANADA vs EVIL-****1/2
Toru Yano vs Kazuchika Okada-***
Minoru Suzuki vs Kenny Omega-****

Day 3 7.21.17
Another great day of action. Checked out the Bullet Club vs Bullet Club tag match which was cool. the trios match with Elgin teaming with TenCozy vs CHAOS was okay.

Yuji Nagata vs Hirooki Goto-****1/4
Tomohiro Ishii vs Togi Makabe-****
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kota Ibushi-****1/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale-***1/2
Tetsuya Naito vs YOSHI-HASHI-****

Day 4 7.22.17
Good night. Don’t remember the undercard other than Fale ripping apart Hiromu Takahashi’s stuffed cat. Which was trending on twitter. My fave match so far the main event.

Satoshi Kojima vs Toru Yano-**
EVIL vs Juice Robinson-****1/4
SANADA vs Minoru Suzuki-***3/4
Kenny Omega vs Tama Tonga-***3/4
Michael Elgin vs Kazuchika OKada-****3/4

Day 5 7.23.17
Don’t remember undercard, maybe I didn’t watch it. Good night of matches.

Zack Sabre Jr vs YOSHI-HAHSI-***3/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Yuji Nagata-****
Bad Luck Fale vs Tetsuya Naito-***1/2
Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii-****1/4
Hirooki Goto vs Togi Makabe-****

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April-May Wrestling Top 25

April-June

1)Katsuyori Shibata vs Kazuchika Okada-NJPW Sakura Genesis IWGP Heavyweight Title-Sakura Genesis IWGP Heavyweight Title Match *****
2)Dunne vs Bates-NXT Takeover Chicago UK Title *****
3)Authors of Pain vs #DIY vs The Revival-NXT Takeover Orlando NXT Tag Title *****
4)Ryusuke Taguchi vs KUSHIDA-NJPW BOSJ Day 11 5.29.17 *****
5)Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii-NJPW Dontaku ****3/4
6)Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Meiko Satomura-Sendai Girls April 6th ****3/4
7)Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito-NJPW Dominion Intercontinental Championship ****3/4
9)KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay-BOSJ Finals 6.3.17 ****3/4
10)Ricochet vs Hiromu Takahashi-NJPW Wrestling Toyo Kuni Jr. Heavyweight Title ****3/4
11)KUSHIDA vs Hiromu Takahahsi-NJPW Dominion Jr. Heavyweight Title ****3/4
12)Marty Scurll vs Ricochet-BOSJ Day 12 5.31.17 ****1/2
13)Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman-WWE Payback ****1/2
14)Fatal 5 Way-WWE Extreme Rules ****1/2
15)Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada-NJW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Title ****1/2
16)AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon-WWE Wrestlemania ****
17)Ricochet vs Will Ospreay-BOSJ Day 2 ****
18)Hiromu Takahashi vs Dragon Lee-NJPW BOSJ Day 1 ****
19)Marty Scurll vs Will Osreay-NJPW BOSJ Day 1 ****
20)ACH vs Volador Jr.-NJPW BOSJ Day 11 ****
21)Best Friends vs Leaders of the New School-PWG Good Boys (Don’t Play Rock n Roll) 3-18-17 (DVD released in May) ****
22)Dragon Lee vs Will Ospreay-NJPW VOSJ Day 8 ****
23)GOD vs TenCozy vs War Machine-NJPW Wrestling Dontaku IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles Dontaku ****
24)Corbin vs Nakmaura vs Styles vs Ziggler vs Owens vs Zayn-MitB 2017 Ladder Match ****
25)Asuka vs Ember Moon-Takeover Orlando NXT Womens Title ***3/4

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling Presents G1 Climax 27

It’s that time of year again. The summer of wrestling tournaments. In the US WWE is launching the womens tournament Mae Young Classic. Filming starts today, sadly episodes won’t be up until late August and finals in Fall. Super indy PWG launches their popular Battle of Los Angeles where almost half the talent is coming from the UK at the same time as CHIKARA heads to the country to launch their annual King of Trios. Mexico’s CMLL has a Grand Prix in several weeks and Pro-Wrestling Noah launching their Jr. Tag League.

The big one, however, is NJPW’s G1 Climax 27. The fourth of a total six, maybe seven and possibly only five, NJPW tournaments this year. This has been an incredible year for their tournaments so far. New Japan Cup featured a fantastic run by Katsuyori Shibata that lead to his beautiful, yet tragic, match at Sakura Genesis. Delivering a MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH with Okada retaining and Shibata’s health problems catching up with him, effectively making that his final wrestling match. The premiere Best of the Super Juniors happened next featuring fantastic action and the final BOSJ of legendary Jushin Thunder Liger. In the finals it was Will Ospreay and KUSHIDA delivering another MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH. Then, in the companies successful solo US debut, a single elimination US Title Tournament where Kenny Omega and Tomohiro Ishii delivered match after match and over delivered in the finals. Not a MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH but hey! Naito and Elgin got one while Omega and Okada gave only the second MELTZER RATED 6 STAR MATCH and then later the only MELTZER RATED 6 1/4 STAR MATCH. Later this year we get Heavyweight Tag League at and maybe a single elimination Jr. Tag League before that. Possibly a Young Lions Cup for the young lions from the New Japan dojo. But before those two, we got this one, the G1.

So lets break it down. Twenty en split into two blocks, round robin style. 2 points to winner, 1 point a piece for a draw, 0 for he loser. Winners of matches get tiebreaker if their opponent ends at the same points. Block A and Block B winners face off in the finals and the winner claims the right for the main event title match at the next Wrestle Kingdom. Lets look at who we got.

The IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-The Ace! The current Intercontinental Champion! Tanahashi walks into the tournament he’s won twice before to further prove he is still the top guy int he company. One of the most decorated champions of NJPW history and a living legend in wrestling already Tanahashi’s biggest opponent is his age. At 40 he’s seeing the wrestlers older than him fade out of the big picture and younger stars trying to, and in come cases succeeding, in eclipsing him. Expect Tanahashi to deliver quality matches night after night, play a bunch of air guitar to cheering crowds, and most likely winning at least 5. I don’t see him winning, nor going to the finals. Then again, no one saw him winning 2015’s tournament. Pay attention to his losses, because anyone who beats him might be in like for an IC title shot.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Bad Luck Fale

Togi Makabe-Makabe is interesting. He is in his mid 40s, a former G1 winner and IWGP Heavyweight champion, and a bit of a TV star. He has a small segment on some show where talks about and tries sweets. Makabe is a brawler and is capable of delivering good matches but he’s a solid mid carder right now so he has little chance of making it to the finals. Thinking four wins, tops.
THE BIG MATCHES: Tomohiro Ishii, Yuji Nagata, Tetsuya Naito

Yuji Nataga-Blue Justice Yuji Nagata is an elder statesman. At 49 he has declared this to be his final G1. He won in 2001 and like Makabe and Tanahashi he is a decorated champion. Nagata is not only losing, but will be lucky to get out with three victories. Last year NJPW vet and wrestling legend Hiroyoshi Tenzan’s final G1 did not include too many wins and Liger’s final BOSJ ending in one victory on the final Block A night. Still, Nagata usually delivers at least three star matches and there are some matches here I’m very interested in.
THE BIG MATCHES: Togi Makabe, Zack Sabre Jr, Hiroshi Tanahashi

Kota Ibushi-If you are a hardcore WWE fan you may be familiar with Kota from their Crusierweight Classic. Ibushi makes his official return to NJPW (he has been playing Tiger Mask X on several shows) and is the big guest for the tournament this year. Last G1 Climax tournaments he did he was under contract but this time he’s a free agent, traveling the world and doing his thing. There is much hype with his return as people want him to face off against his former partner and rival Kenny Omega who is red hot. Will NJPW blow a marque match on a sold out show? Probably not. Kota will be in the running, might make it to the finals, unless Goto spoils it on Block A’s final night.
THE BIG MATCHES: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Zack Sabre Jr, Hirooki Goto

Hirooki Goto (Stable: CHAOS)-Goto wins tournaments and chokes at the big match. Multiple time winner of the New Japan Cup and Tag League as well as winning his first G1 and making it to the finals last year. He does well in these. Goto has been positioned as a gatekeeper. this means he’s an upper midcard guy who can deliver in important spots but will not be one of faces of the company. I like Goto a lot, so I look forward to all his matches.
THE BIG MATCHES: Tomohiro Ishii, Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi

Tomohiro Ishii (Stable: CHAOS)-Ishii is the fucking man. The guy never takes a night off and at age 41 and working such a stiff style, it does kind of worry you. Ishii has had a strange year. A weird tag team with Yano which came and went in a few months. He went to the semi’s in New Japan Cup and the finals of the US Title tournament. So still not winning the big one and he won’t here. That does not mean he won’t bring the goods. Last year him and Okada had a MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH that was amazing. People call him the best wrestler working today or the most underrated wrestler today. Either way you land, Ishii is amazing.
THE BIG MATCHES: Hirooki Goto, Zack Sabre Jr, Tetsuya Naito

YOSHI-HASHI (Stable: CHAOS)-Second G1 Climax, YOSHI-HASHI probably is looking to improve from last years where he got three victories. I don’t see him getting more than that because someone has to eat losses unless its Nagata who will be losing a lot. YOSHI is pretty good but he’s not the guy who knocks it out of the park night after night. It will be interesting to see how he does.
THE BIG MATCHES: Tetsuya Naito, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii

Bad Luck Fale (Stable: Bullet Club)-The Underboss and founding member of the Bullet Club is back. Some Western fans were saying BC had run their course but the recent US Specials and Hot Topic deal has show that to be untrue. BC is hotter than ever. That doesn’t mean much for Fale. Fale is another gatekeeper wrestler and since he’s a monster he will be booked strong. Might even make it to the finals like he did with the New Japan Cup this year. I don’t think he will, being spoiled on the last Block A night but expect four to five wins.
THE BIG MATCHES: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushii, Tomohiro Ishii

Zack Sabre Jr. (Stable: Suzuki-Gun)-The technical wizard, indy darling, and another Cruiserweight Classic competitor. In afct many thought it would be him and Kota Ibushi in the finals but neither signed contracts so that match did not happen. It will happen here. One of many first time meetings which makes ZSJ G1 debut a big deal with Western and European fans. His standing with the Japanese fans is hard to read, despite years working for Pro-Wrestling Noah, this is a different crowd. I am thinking at least three wins, maybe four.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii

Tetsuya Naito (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-BC may be the hottest stable outside Japan, but in the country NJPW calls home its all about LIJ and their leader Tetsuya Naito. The former tournament winner was the odds on favorite last year until Kenny Omega ruined his shot at the finals in a MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH and then won the whole damn thing. That did not deter Naito’s success. He won and lost the IC title and is considered by some to be Japan’s biggest star today. Will Naito win his second G1? Will he go on and win his second Heavyweight title? But more importantly, will he get the Wrestle Kingdom main event that was ripped from him after his first G1 win by a fan vote? The vote that turned him from future superstar babyface Naito to midcard and falling Naito which lead to the Naito we have today. I think its his year but I thought last year was his year so what do I know? Still, no less than five wins.
THE BIG MATCHES: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto

Satoshi Kojima (Stable: Taguchi Japan, TenKoji)-Kojima returns after giving his spot last year to friend and tag partner Tenzen. Kojima is a legend in Japanese wrestling, a former G1 winner and decorated champion. That said, at 46, he’s probably not likely to go far. Maybe four victories? Despite this Kojima is still very good and can go with the best of them.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kazuchika Okada, Minoru Suzuki, Tama Tonga

Michael Elgin (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-Elgin made his NJPW debut at 2015 G1, the next year he was IC champion and finished close to the top of his block. This year has been a mixed bag. He lost his rematch against Naito, MELTZER RATED 5 STAR MATCH, and dropped out in first rounds in both the New Japan Cup and US title tournament. Woth his contract up at the end of the year, who knows what is going on. I still see four to five victories in his future and a contract renewal. NJPW know they got a talented wrestler so I expect bigger thanks after a renewal.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada

Juice Robinson (Stable: Taguchi Japan)-Proof that you can succeed without WWE right here. Juice was jobber in their NXT developmental and left. In 2015 he joined NJPW and was working similar to a NJPW young lion, watching these matches at ring side. In 2016 they gave him more to do including being Tanahashi’s tag partner in the Tag League after Elgins injury. 2017 saw him get to the second round of the New Japan Cup and also be included in the US tournament. The fans in Japan and here love Juice. That does not mean he’s going far. Soemone has to eat pinfalls so I’d say maybe two wins, possible three? All the matches will be worth watching though.
THE BIG MATCHES: EVIL, SANADA, Minoru Suzuki

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada (Stable: CHAOS)-Okada is on a tear. At 29 Okada is the company’s ACE. Two time G1 winner, multiple time champion. In fact, his current run, is legendary status. He has had a string of amazing matches since winning the title for his fourth time last year. His combined runs are close to eclipsing Keiji Mutoh (aka Great Muta) and shy of his rival Tanahashi. This is a big tournament for Okada because he’s not been beaten in a singles match since last years G1 as well as the fact anyone who beats him here might get a shot before G1. King of Pro-Wrestling is around the corner this tournament will give us a clue to who that will be. So why is the champ in a tournament like this? Its an honor to win, and if he does, he books his own main event of Wrestle Kingdom. Okada is winning at least five matches but the question is, can he beat Omega again? And in less than 30 minutes?
THE BIG MATCHES: Michael Elgin, Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzukia

Toru Yano (Stable: CHAOS)-The spoiler. A comedy wrestler who gives his opponents a night off. Look, I don’t like Yano but the native fans do. Western fans don’t see him winning many matches but he always gets at least four.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki

IWGP United States Champion Kenny Omega (Stable: Bullet Club, The Elite)-The hottest talent in the world right now? Omega solidified himself last year. He went from top talent to Japanese superstar winning G1 Climax 26 then one of the overall best with his two matches against Okada. Losing one, time limit draw the other. His match with Omega at Block B finals is the big one and probably proof neither will go to the finals. This tournament may also give us a future US title contender. Keep an eye on SANADA as Omega recently called their upcoming match an easy win.
THE BIG MATCHES: SANADA, Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada

Tama Tonga (Stable: Bullet Club, Guerillas of Detsiny)-Entering his second G1, Tonga is looking to improve. His first run was a mixed bag but his tag team with brother Tonga Roa has become a great team. Tonga is a founding member of BC but only in recent memory been a premiere guy and with WWE rumored to be interested in him and his brother its possible NJPW gives him even mroe here. I don’t know, I still only see four wins.
THE BIG MATCHES: EVIL, SANADA, Michael Elgin

IWGP NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki (Stable: Suzuki-Gun)-Making his G1 return after 2 years in Noah, Suzuki is a mean SOB. One of Japans MMA stars and a legit badass. He was on Omega’s list of guys to face so thats a first time match as is several other encounters. Suzuki is some peoples odds on favorite to go to the finals. Naito vs Suzuki is the general prediction and I can see it though its not mine. I think Suzuki will do great.
THE BIG MATCHES: Kenny Omega, Michael Elgin, EVIL

IWGP NEVER 6 Man Champion SANADA (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-Second year for the LIJ member that Western fans think will one day be groomed to be a top guy. He’s athletic, talented, and good looking. In fact, I agree and I got SANADA going to the finals as a surprise and a test run. He has quite the competition ahead of him including his trios partner EVIL on night one. Honestly I see SANADA losing early and then tying in points but holding the tie breaker. I’m probably wrong though.
THE BIG MATCHES: EVIL, Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada

IWGP NEVER 6 Man Champion EVIL (Stable: Los Ingobernables de Japon)-EVIL enters his second year. While the odds are on SANADA being the break out star EVIL will look good. He has risen to midcard guy and edging to upper midcard. I like him for his style which is similar to Goto and Ishii. He’s a bruiser with some incredible moves. Last year he went four and I don’t see less than that.
THE BIG MATCHES: SANADA, Kazuchika Okada, Juice Robinson

G1 Climax starts on the 17th with Block A and cotinues on the 20th with Block B then its rapid fire from there. It ends in August with three nights at Sumo Hall. The finals night will feature Heavyweight Tag and Jr. Tag title matches. There is a press conference on the 16th. Watch it all on NJPWWorld.com. Its around $9 a month and worth it.

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Podcasts I’m Listening To

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been busy (writing, reading, watching things, procrastinating, work). As such this, and my attempt at a Youtube Comic Vlog, have not been regularly updated. So I decided to do a quick review/run down on the podcasts I listen to.

ART OF WRESTLING: Pro-wrestler, comedian and actor was on the ground floor of podcasts, specifically in the world of professional wrestling. Started after being released from WWE Cabana’s podcast interviews wrestlers and personalities in the sport. They talk about training, getting into the industry, their journeys, and share stories. One of my favorite stories is about how Lance Storm and Hiroyoshi Tenzan were doing an excursion in Germany, neither spoke the language or each others language and were rooming together. Or listening to how Daffney Unger went from aspiring actress to the Scream Queen of WCW. This podcast is a great one if you are a wrestling fan. I jump in and out depending on the guest, which means I might miss some great stories. I also avoid the live recordings with multiple guests, sometimes they’re good sometimes shrug worthy. If you are not a wrestling fan, this podcast could give you an impression of the journey and sometimes struggles of wrestlers.

BIZARRE STATES: Only a few episodes into this and so far its okay. I started from the beginning and the format has been changing but the jist is they talk SPOOKY stuff. The first readers story episode was the last one I listened to and the best. A writer shared a haunting story which had a cameo from the famed Warrens from the Conjuring. I like the the two hosts but so far I can’t actually recommend this one.

CRIMETOWN: I’m four episodes into this true crime podcast about Providence, Rhode Island. The story follows several individuals including a mob boss, a lawyer turned mayor and a lot of other people. Including interviews and news clips form the people themselves. This is a deeply engaging podcast if you’re into organized crime. I still think about the one interview with a wiseguy who talks about being a D&D fan. Wow. The whole thing I believe is finished with them right now releasing bonus episodes.

HARRY POTTER AND THE SACRED TEXT: What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? Both hosts have worked for Harvard Divinity School and bring a very fascinating read to the series. I’ve listened to the first two episodes, Book 1 Chapters 1-2, and I dig them. Especially the second chapter. If you like, or love, harry Potter you might want to give this one a listen. They are currently in the third book so I need to catch up.

HOLLYWOOD & CRIME: True crime fans have heard about the Black Dahlia murder but do they know that there was other other women murdered around the same time? This addictive podcast looks at the lesser known murders. Kicks off with a two parter about Georgette Bauerdorf whose murder is still unsolved. The first part was so good I went right into the second part. I’m up to episode 5, and episode 6 actually looks at the Black Dahlia. I slowed down realizing it was only 17 episodes so far. This one is good for fans of unsolved true crime stories.

HOW DID THIS GET MADE?: I’m not much for reviews. It has to be reviews that bring something different to the table. This one brings the comedy as Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas with friends as they talk “bad” films. Some they love, some the hate, but all get ripped apart. Sadly this, and several other podcasts, are behind paywalls so you can’t just scour all the choice selections. Thats the podcast business I guess. I really dug Con Air, Face/Off, Super Mario Brothers, Bloodsport, Surf Ninjas, Street Fighter, The Shadow, Birdemic, and so many more. The live stuff is overall the best. the crowds into it and its cool when the interact with them. Plus the Amazon 5 Star reviews have to be heard. One of my faves. I got into it super late so I’ve only scratched the surface.

JAY & MILES X-PLAIN THE X-MEN: The only comic book podcast I listen. Formerly known as Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, the pair do exactly that. They essentially summarize the important and noteworthy X-Men stories. I’m currently up into X-Men when Rachel Grey was with the team and them explaining New Mutants post Bill Sienkiewicz. Which means I’m a hundred episodes behind… Its a cool podcast if you are an X-Men fan and have not been in a position to have read a lot of classic X-Men and related works. it also introduces you to stories you may have missed, like a couple X-Men first class type series and runs. Sometimes guests appear and talk their contributions like Kurt Busiek explaining how the resurrection of Jean Grey developed. The group skip around sometimes but mostly it starts with the silver age, which they do skip through quickly to get to the All New, All Different era. If you like X-Men, try it out.

LORE: True life scary stories. Lore looks at real life crime, urban legends, scary stories, and hauntings. This is one that needs to be heard. I’m about half way through and loved the episodes on real vampires, Elizabeth B├íthory, a creepy doll, an accused witch who refused to die, and more. This one by writer Aaron Mahnke is being made into a series on Amazon prime so expect to hear more sometime soon. Also, patreon users get extra mini episodes. I don’t donate (I’m broke! Most the time) so I can’t check them out.

MONSTER TALK: This one goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back to 2009 and I descided to start from the beginning so I’m barely into it. Its a critical analysis of cryptozoology. Basically they talk monsters and why they don’t exist. I’ve listened to episodes on bigfoot, Loch Ness monster and werewolves. Its a fascinating podcast that delves into the science and mythology as well as talks about the hoaxes and creationists work in the field. I like it but not sure I’d recommend it unless skepticism of monsters is your thing.

MY FAVORITE MURDER: The popular comedy-true crime podcast. This one is divisive. The ladies do not do the research that other true crime podcasts do. They also can spend upwards to the first forty minutes going on about anything but true crime. I like it. The stories are diverse set. Not just serial killers but all sorts of interesting crimes and criminals. I found much interest in the story of Mary bell or the Zankou Chicken Murders. They are up there with Rameriz and Bundy. The thing that really pops are the hometown murders like one from a woman who was at a sleepover when the girl throwing the parties older brother murdered their dad. After several episodes they started mini episodes dedicated to them.

THE BLACK TAPES: This one is a scripted faux-documentary podcast. The first season of which came off as almost very real to the point where I was even google searching to find out if the people involved were real. The second season feel into a couple of predictable outcomes. Anyway, a journalist named Alex Reagan is looking into paranormal investigators which leads her to skeptic Dr. Stroud and his Black tapes, which have not been fully debunked. I listened to all of it in two days and despite the failings of season 2, its still really good. Season 3, the final season, should be happening later this year.

THE DOLLOP: Comedian Dave Anthony explains a piece of American history, or a story, to his friend. That’s the set up. I’ve only started and will be picking the podcasts based on topics but I’ve listened to one about Christian Purity Balls and Competitive Endurance Tickling. Its pretty amusing. Not high on the list of favorite podcasts.

FACULTY OF HORROR: Two academics analytical and research study of horror films. Its an impressive film podcast as the two female hosts dig deep into the works with lots of research and great commentary. I’ve listened to most the episodes, skipping a few with movies I either haven’t seen or have no interest in, and its made me give a second look to some films and discover Candyman. I also need to rewatch Black Christmas. Sadly its a once a month podcast so episodes don’t come as often as one would like. I’m sitting on the last two and waiting for the next before I even listen. Urban legends episode (about Candy Man and Urban Legend), the two parter looking at the four Alien films, the first episode with Halloween and Black Christmas, definitely Battle Royale and Gremlins are among some great episodes.

UP AND VANISHED: Almost caught up with this true crime podcast (not counting the mini episodes). This one follows documentary film maker Payne Lindsey who looks into the disappearance of Tara Grinstead. Its great because as he investigates, with the help a former investigator on the case, there was an actual break. truthfully, the stuff before the break was the best and most addictive. The stuff after has been good, just different as Payne digs into the new details. Really digging this one.

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: The popular scripted supernatural comedy podcast takes the form of community radio. Cecil lets you know whats going on in Night Vale from dinosaur attacks, the dog park no one is allowed to go into, the angels that live with Josie and more. This podcast one to listen to all in order. I’m only 40 episodes in and its very cool. Though I don’t have the desire to binge, I enjoy most the episodes. Some of which are incredibly creepy. Some more silly.

WOLF 359: Another scripted podcast. This one takes place on a space station. The cast is really only four people and the lead is kind of annoying. I listen to one a week, its pretty good. Yeah…

YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS: You like stories about celebrities of Hollywood? Classic Hollywood? Here you go. I’ve only listened to select episodes but I’ve been digging it. From the truth about Francis farmer to so-called box office poison Kay Francis to the cinephile love and love life of Madonna and Bogart before Bacall and Bacall after Bogart. This one is incredibly engaging. I have a ton saved to my computer including a series called Star Wars which I’m assuming details the battles certain stars fought. After that a whole lot tracking the notorious Manson Family. I might not be listening to them all but everyone so far has been gold.

Posted in movies, podcast, podcasts, true crime, wrestling, x-men | Tagged | Leave a comment