It’s that time of the year again folks, it’s G1 season!!! In what is usually the best time of the year for pro wrestling in NJPW, this year look to be no different. With two absolutely STACKED blocks, we are set for some great matches. I’ll be covering the A-Block matches while Mean Matt will be taking you through the B-Block. We will just be recapping the tournament matches but will mention any outside shenanigans. With that all said, let’s get to it!
Togi Makabe v. YOSHI-HASHI:
This match was your a-typical beginning of the tournament early match. It’s here to set a tone and get the crowd excited but isn’t necessarily a barn burner. I really enjoyed the match as it didn’t disappoint and really made me lock in for the first day of the tournament.
The two men kick the match off with a rapid pace of strikes to one another and eventually spill to the outside. They continue to brawl around the ringside area before finally making it back before the ref’s count hits 20. Makabe goes for his trademark SPider Suplex but it gets blocked by Hashi. Hashi failed himself at hitting his signature moves on Makabe. The end came when Makabe was able to hit the Spider Suplex and the King Kong Knee Drop for the early win and the 2 points.
Winner: Togi Makabe
Hangman Page v. Bad Luck Fale:
This is a match with major storyline repercussions. Following the actions of the G.O.D. at the Cow Palace event, it was unclear where Fale’s allegiances lie. At the press conference leading into the G1 Fale was very quick to answer those questions with a very straight to the point “F*ck Em!” Page would then follow that up with an emotional interrogation of Fale. That leads us to this match where the Bullet Club is fully in a civil war and heavily divided.
Hangman and Fale brawl all over the crowd and are beating the hell out of each other. We’re seeing Fale, who is in some of the best shape of his career, just dominate Hangman. But Page is able to use his strength to close the gap between him and Fale. Both men are getting in their shots but Page is able to counter a Grenade and knock Fale to the floor.
As Hangman has the victory in sight and within his grasp, Tanga Loa would try and interfere on behalf of Fale. Page gets rid of Loa and goes for the Rite of but he is attacked by Tama Tonga, giving Page the DQ victory. The Tongas proceed to beat down Page until they’re run off by Chase Owen, Kota Ibushi, and Kenny Omega.
Winner: Hangman Page
EVIL v. Michael Elgin:
This right here is the dictionary definition of a “hoss fight.” Just two big, mean bastards beating the hell out of each other. EVIL had a clear gameplan and that was to isolate and damage the arm of Elgin to try and eliminate his strength. The gameplan paid off as Elgin was really hindered from using his power offense throughout the match.
At one point EVIL actually flying off of the apron and just smashing the hell out of Elgin’s arm into the ringside barricade. These two have done their homework as they’re both pulling out counters left and right. EVIL stops an Elgin Bomb and Elgin fights off an STO attempt, and both men are just trying to dig deep.
The end of the match comes when Elgin, even with the bum arm, is able to power EVIL up for a Buckle Bomb and a quick Elgin Bomb to follow for the victory.
Winner: Michael Elgin
Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Minoru Suzuki:
This is one of the matches from the A-Block that I most anticipated. This is their first singles match since Suzuki absolutely dissected Tana for his Intercontinental Title earlier this year. After their first match, I honestly didn’t think that Minoru Suzuki could get more sadistic, he wasted no time in proving me wrong.
Suzuki spent the majority of this match just torturing Tanahashi’s leg and trying to cripple The Ace. The way Suzuki was torquing on the legs of Tanahashi was damn near sickening. Tana is the legend that he is because of his heart and desire and he shows zero quit in this match.
Tanahashi is able to find that fire deep within and attacks Suzuki’s leg with a gnarly Inverted Dragon Screw that gets him back into the match. The crowd is behind Tanahashi and he is mounting some offense. Tana would complete the improbable comeback after crushing Suzuki with a pair of High Fly Flows to secure the major victory.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Kazuchika Okada v. Jay White:
This is the main event of night one and it lived up to that billing 10 fold. These two went out and absolutely tore the house down in what is a quick leader of “Match of the Tournament.” The stories being told in this match are layered so heavily that it was impressive to see Okada and White pay them off. We have two members of CHAOS: the leader, and former IWGP Heavyweight Champ Okada and the former IWGP US Champ and a man who’s said he wants CHAOS, Jay White. Okada has been a tad lost since he has dropped the title to Omega whereas White has gotten even more unhinged.
To start the match White baited in Okada with a handshake but as Okada went to meet the show of respect, White tried to nail him with the Blade Runner. Okada fought it off into a Rainmaker attempt and the tone for this match was instantly set. White would beat the hell out of Okada for a majority of this match. White went to the well numerous times with a nasty Saito Suplex that Okada just couldn’t find an answer for.
Another major story in this match was the confidence of Jay White. When he debuted at Wrestle Kingdom earlier this year it felt like he didn’t quite understand his character. It’s taken a few months but between his match with Juice Robinson at the Cow Palace and this kickoff match, it’s clear White is going full speed. He dominated Okada to the point that if Okada got any offense in, it didn’t mean much for momentum.
Even with the dominance of White, Okada was able to hit his patented Rainmaker, but to no avail. White had hit the ref just before the move and Okada wasn’t able to capitalize. White introduces a chair into the match but can’t get the opening he needs to use it. The ref goes down once again, and White is able to counter Okada’s Tombstone with a shot below the belt and a Blade Runner for the massive victory and the points.
Winner: Jay White
After the match White proclaims that he has put Okada out of his misery and that CHAOS now belongs to him.
|Michael Elgin||2||Hirooki Goto||0|
|Jay White||2||Kenny Omega||0|
|Hangman Page||2||Tama Tonga||0|
|Togi Makabe||2||Tetsuya Naito||0|
|Minoru Suzuki||0||Zack Sabre Jr.||0|
|Bad Luck Fale||0||Sanada||0|
Night 1 was a hell of a way to kick off the tournament. If this is how Gedo is going to book the first night, none of us are surviving this tournament. The Bullet Club rift grows even further and CHAOS is now also in shambles. The A-Block is off to a fiery start! Keep an eye out for Mean Matt and his breakdown of Night 2!