The first two nights of the G1 have been absolutely bonkers. Between story evolution and the match quality, this year’s G1 is shaping up to be one of the best ever! The A-Block was on display once again on this night and they didn’t slow down a single bit. Now let’s get to the action!
Michael Elgin vs. Hangman Page:
This is a simple story of two strongman tough guys just trying to out power the other. Elgin of the two is known more famously as a hoss with unbelievable strength. But Page has been showing some incredible feats of strength over the last few months that gets his name into that conversation. Elgin is still showing some signs of wear and tear on the arm from his match with EVIL, and it’s playing a factor in his power game.
As far as Page is concerned, this was a star-making match for him. With every move he made he won the crowd over more and more. With every Buckshot Lariat or attempt at a Rites of Passage, the crowd fell in love with the powerful Virginian even more. He and Elgin went out and had themselves a textbook big man match, hard-hitting strikes, lariats that could behead someone, and spine racking power moves.
With his arm in shambles, Elgin had to get creatives and actually dipped into a more of a Juniors style. He used his speed and athleticism to counter the power of Page and keep himself in the match. The ending finally came when Big Mike was able to muster the power in his arm to hit Page with a Tiger Bomb and follow it right away with an Elgin Bomb.
Winner: Michael Elgin
Yoshi-Hashi vs. EVIL:
I can be fully open and honest here and admit that I just do not care for Yoshi-Hashi. But this match was a blast and I really enjoyed it. He and EVIL went out there and did some serious work. Much like in his match with Elgin, EVIL targeted the arm of Yoshi-Hashi and didn’t want to let it go. Now even though this match was enjoyable, it’s nothing overly special.
The two did tell the size advantage story well though, with EVIl using his power and Yoshi constantly fighting him off. There was one point in the match where I did a spit take with my coffee as I thought Yoshi-Hashi had damn near killed EVIL. Hashi picks EVIL up for a powerbomb but is unable to get his footing and loses his control and dumps EVIL over the ropes.
The match continues on after the spill over the ropes and both are now desperate for the win and to get out of here with the points. Yoshi is trying to hit the Karma on EVIL over and over but he just can’t connect with it on the big man. Even with a flurry of offense from Hashi, EVIL bounces back and is able to nail the STO and secure the two points. With how long the G! is and how heavy some of the matches will get towards the end, this is a fun match to cleanse the palette and give you a break.
Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki:
If you have followed any of my coverage here or on Twitter, you know of my absolute love of Minoru Suzuki. Not only his actual in-ring ability, which is fantastic, but the guy is just menacing. This is also one of the matches when I saw the draws that I circled on my calendar. When you see that these two are going to meet up you just know that they’re going to beat the living hell out of each other. And they absolutely did not disappoint.
Nothing in this arena was safe from these two. Didn’t matter if you were a fan, NJPW employee, Young Lion, a chair, NOTHING. Makabe and Suzuki brawled all over the arena and the insurance rates for NJOW rose through the roof. Suzuki and Makabe were hitting each other with such stiff strikes that a normal person would be out cold. And At times, it looked as if Makabe was out on his feet, but he fought on.
Makabe exemplified everything that New Japan and the fighting spirit represent in this match, as even with the referee wanting to end things, he wouldn’t allow it. As the bout was coming to its climax, Suzuki was unable to lock in his trademark Gotch Piledriver. Makabe used some slick counters to get his offense roaring as he nailed Suzuki with the Spider Suplex and a pair of King Kong Knee Drops for a huge victory and the points.
Winner: Togi Makabe
Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale:
The newly rejuvenated Bad Luck Fale finds himself across the ring from the former record-breaking IWGP CHamp, Okada. Fale is much slimmer as he’s been working constantly to get himself into much better shape and it really shows. Okada, since losing his title to Omega has become a tad broken. With his red hair, balloons and just off-kilter behavior, he is clearly going through something.
Coming off of the war he had with Jay White, where he not only lost but was seemingly ousted as the leader of CHAOS, Okada needs a big win. Fale has joined his Tongan Brothers in the Bullet Club OG faction and is warring with the Bullet Club Elite. Both men are at a crossroads in their careers and are looking to make the G1 the start of the next chapter.
During the entire match, Okada was going 100mph. He was going for broke from the opening bell until the bitter end. Fale made sure to have Tonga Loa by his side to constantly interfere and distract Okada. Throughout the match, Okada would continuously attempt and fail at hitting the Tombstone on Fale. Even with Okada giving everything he had and not making it an easy night for Fale, he didn’t have much chance with the numbers against him.
As has been the theme and will more than likely continue during this entire tournament, Tama Tonga would make a run into the match while the ref was distracted and hit Okada with the Gun Stun. Fale then put Okada away with the Bad Luck Fall and get on the board with two points. Okada is now 0-2 to start the tournament and will have a hell of a mountain to climb.
Winner: Bad Luck Fale
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White:
This is another one of the matches I felt I had to circle on the calendar when the cards were announced. It’s been 6 months since Jay White fully debuted the Slingblade character at Wrestle Kingdom 12. On that night he wrestled Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Intercontinental Championship in a match that didn’t quite click. On this night, they would get a chance to right that wrong. In the months since that day and I more recent weeks, White has fully emersed himself into the character and is running at full speed.
White definitely put the wrestling world on notice with his major win over Okada on Night 1, and he was looking to make a similar statement here. Slingblade was absolutely merciless towards Tana and he didn’t give the Ace a single moment to breathe. White beat Tana from pillar to post and even took the fight to the outside. He showed no remorse in the way he broke down Tanahashi’s body using the guard rails on the outside. Slingblade is really showing a level of confidence that I think we were all hoping he would eventually find.
Tanahashi doesn’t have an ounce of quit in him though and he made sure it wouldn’t be an easy night for Jay White. Tana would connect with his patented Slingblade and keep himself in the match. The match would eventually begin to break down with both realizing they would need to dig deep to get the win. This saw both Tana and White go for chairs to try and end the other competitor’s night. At one point we would even see both men go for the low blow to get the final shot.
The end would come as Tanahashi went for a High Fly Flow but White shoved the referee into turnbuckle sending Tana to the floor. Slingblade would follow that with a Blade Runner and gain another huge victory.
Winner: Jay White
|MIchael Elgin||4||Hirooki Goto||2|
|Jay White||4||Kota Ibushi||2|
|Togi Makabe||4||Kenny Omega||2|
|Hangman Page||2||Tama Tonga||2|
|Bad Luck Fale||2||Juice Robinson||0|
|EVIL||2||Zack Sabre Jr.||0|
Night 3 was another can’t miss evening of tournament matches. There’s plenty of time left in the tournament for some guys to make serious moves, but not much. Stay tuned right here for Mean Matt and his coverage of Night 4!