New Japan Pro Wrestling returns to a sold out Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan for the final night of a month long journey to crown the best wrestler in the world for the 26th time.
Friday morning saw a Match of the Year between IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, ending in a 30-minute time limit draw that immediately advanced veteran Hirooki Goto from the A-Block to the finals. On Saturday morning, Kenny Omega defeated Tetsuya Naito in yet another Match of the Year candidate, becoming only the third Western star after Karl Anderson and Rick Rude to advance to the finals. Now the two will collide in tonight’s main event to determine the 26th G1 Climax winner, a title that comes with an opportunity to headline Wrestle Kingdom 11.
Tonight’s show begins at 2:00 a.m. EST (11PM PST) and will also feature a Ring of Honor Championship match, and IWGP Tag Team Championship match, and more, with commentary provided by ROH’s Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino. Follow along here and discuss tonight’s show in the comments section below, and watch live on New Japan World.
DAVID FINLAY & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI vs. TIGER MASK & JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER
A short opener with a few fun spots, but nothing really notable. Taguchi got a considerable amount of heat, especially when breaking up Liger’s surfboard stretch. He and Finlay were doing the butt bump spots on Tiger Mask together until they took each other out, which is a weird sentence. Tiger Superplex on Finlay for the finish, as Liger had Taguchi in the surfboard. Winners: Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask.
GEDO & JADO vs. CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN & YOSHITATSU
This was exactly what every Captain match has been for the last 18 shows. Tatsu did all the effective offense, Captain blew his spots, and Jado ended up submitting him with a crossface. Tatsu left on his own and Captain was left laying in the ring alone. Winners: Gedo & Jado.
TOMOAKI HONMA & TOGI MAKABE vs. YOSHI-HASHI & TOMOHIRO ISHII
Ishii continues his string of really good matches on this tour. He and Honma went at it for so long at the start it was almost like they were alone out there. Lots of hard-hitting offense from everyone, including Hashi who was kind of the odd man out in terms of style, and they played that up against Makabe. Everyone put in good work here and the crowd was behind basically everyone for their work in the tournament, and even Honma hit the majority of his headbutts. Hashi pinned Makabe with his new Karma finisher. Winners: Yoshi-Hashi & Tomohiro Ishii.
MANABU NAKANISHI, YUJI NAGATA, HIROYOSHI TENZAN & KATSUYORI SHIBATA vs. MASA KITAMIYA, MAYBACH TANIGUCHI, GO SHIOZAKI & KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA
This was seriously good, made even better by an insane post-match brawl. Shibata was an absolute star, just taking out all his G1 frustrations on the NOAH guys who got big heat from the crowd. Nakajima and Go Shiozaki were the standouts and the other two were kind of just there, but they did a lot of beatdowns on the NJPW guys to work up the crowd. Shibata did a sick headbutt that split his head open and his own guys had to check to make sure he was okay. Nakajima pinned Nakanishi with a brainbuster, and immediately a massive brawl broke out. Shibata went crazy on the NOAH guys and personnel from both sides hit the ring and the did a pull-apart twice. It looks like a program between Shibata and Nakajima/Shiozaki, or perhaps a full-on NOAH program is coming soon. If this segment was an indication of things to come, that’s a very good thing. Winners: Team Noah.
IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
MARK BRISCOE (c) & JAY BRISCOE (c) vs. HANGMAN PAGE & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI
This match was so physical with a ton of big spots, but because of the heat from the last match, or perhaps because it was a heel team against a team of foreigners holding NJPW titles, the crowd never got fully behind it. A brawl broke out before the match even started, and Mark Briscoe did a moonsault to the floor to take everyone out. That was just the first spot in a match full of big spots on the floor, on the apron, into the barricade, etc. Mark in particular put his body through hell, with a Blockbuster on the apron, a Cactus Elbow into the barricade, and took the majority of the bumps. Jay was split open from a title belt shot. Takahashi also had some big spots, and came out with his Ho Train of attractive women, which he hasn’t done for some time. The finish saw the Briscoes with the Doomsday Device on Takahashi to retain. Winners and Still Champions: The Briscoes.
ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
JAY LETHAL (c) vs. SATOSHI KOJIMA
This was a good match that probably could have been truly great given another ten minutes. Both guys hit their big spots. Lethal did the Lethal Combination into Hail to the King. Kojima did the Tenzan style Mongolian chops and the Anaconda Vice, which popped the crowd (and Tenzan) big. Kojima countered the Lethal Injection twice, once with the Koji Cutter. The finish saw Lethal grab hold of the referee and low blow Kojima, which Tenzan saw and got up on the apron, followed by the Lethal Injection for the pin. Winner and Still Champion: Jay Lethal.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (NAITO, EVIL, BUSHI & SANADA) vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI, MICHAEL ELGIN, JUICE ROBINSON & KUSHIDA
This was a lot of fun for a throwaway 8-man tag, and had a ton of heat behind it just because of who was involved. This was also the first time all of LIJ was together in about a month, as Sanada ended up in the A-Block while Naito and Evil were in the B-Block for the last four weeks. Naito and Tanahashi had a staredown at the start of the match and the crowd was actually about 90-10 behind Naito. Michael Elgin wrestled a huge chunk of the match for his team, and it seemed like the entire reason this existed was to set up Elgin and Naito for a future Intercontinental Championship match. After the match LIJ attacked and laid out Elgin, and Naito did the Tranquilo pose as he kicked him and kicked the title to the ground. Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon.
BULLET CLUB (TAMA TONGA, TANGA ROA & BAD LUCK FALE) vs. CHAOS (KAZUCHIKA OKADA, TORU YANO & NAOMICHI MARUFUJI)
There wasn’t anything flashy about this, but it basically existed to make Okaka look strong to close out four weeks of G1. One of the threads running through the match was Okada and Fale, which looks to be one of the title programs coming up. A lot of comedy stuff from Yano throughout, being scared of all the Bullet Club guys. Okada pinned Tanga with the Rainmaker. Winners: Chaos.
– Okada got on the mic and laid down a challenge for Bad Luck Fale. He also challenged Marufuji to a match for the title. Marufuji asked if the crowd wanted to see that and they roared. He offered his hand, but Okada walked past him and posed as they hit his theme music.
– The most winning star in G1 history, Masahiro Chono, was introduced to do commentary for the main event. He got a huge reaction.
G1 CLIMAX 26 FINALS
HIROOKI GOTO vs. KENNY OMEGA
This was a crazy hard-hitting match. Maybe not quite at the level of the last two nights main events, but pretty darn close. The crowd started 100% behind Kenny and actively booed Goto, a man they cheered heavily when it was announced he had won the A-Block just 48 hours ago in the exact same building, in front of many of the exact same people. The style dichotomy was interesting. Kenny is extremely flashing in the ring, and busted out every big spot and signature move you could think of – no springboard senton over the barricade tonight though. He did a moonsault from the barricade, a powerbomb into the apron, flying senton to the outside clearing the ropes, and all his signatures. Goto on the other hand isn’t flashy at all, and just came at him with the strong-style offense, tons of kicks and chops and suplexes. He did a fireman’s carry neckbreaker, and then did the same move again but from the top rope in a high rent move you don’t normally see out of him. Kenny hit a ton of knees, Goto hit a ton of lariats, and they really just killed each other keeping a consistently fast, heavy pace throughout the entire match. Kenny had said on Twitter before the night began that he would be calling on the power of all his good brothers, both past and present, and that he did. Going into the finish he did the Last Ride powerbomb into the Phoenix Splash, made famous by his former friend Kota Ibushi. Goto hit him with a huge lariat and the Shouten Kai, which he used to win the G1 in 2008. Omega countered the GTR and hit him with all the finishers of the various Bullet Club leaders, from Finn Balor’s Bloody Sunday to the Styles Clash, and ending with his own One-Winged Angel for the pin in a great, great match. Winner: Kenny Omega
– All the members of the Bullet Club that were in Japan rushed the ring and lifted up Kenny in victory. They gave him the trophy and the customary G1 flag, but instead of mounting the flag in the center of the ring, as is tradition, he threw it on the ground and hoisted the Bullet Club flag instead. He put himself over as the best wrestler in the world, and said he knew the boys in Orlando were watching, and for the boys backstage, he just gave them all an entire tournament’s worth of study material so they can get to work on creating the next “Kenny Omega Light”. He cut a promo on the fans saying they turned on him and the Bullet Club and it wasn’t until he won that they cared again. He said everyone is on the Los Ingobernables de Japon and the Naito bandwagon, but it’s the “same old shit”. He then said he knew the fans couldn’t understand him, so he cut a promo in perfect Japanese. And not just a few words like most Westerners do to pop the crowd, but a full on minute-long promo.