NJPW G1 Climax 25 Special Part 2
AJ Styles vs Tetsuya Naito Block A
Los Ingobernables de Japon vs Bullet Club. AJ talks SO much shit during Naito's 9 hour undressing deal. I'm sure it wasn't for the benefit of the crowd. " What is he, a stripper or something? You a stripper all the sudden? I don't see a pole. He wouldn't be good at anyway, he's slow." Fans are chanting for AJ before the match starts. This is a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom, but Naito is not the same dude from January. He was still white meat babyface that fans were getting sick of. Now he's been to Mexico and turned into an utter cunt. And it is wonderful. God damn do I love AJ's back breaker. Naito opens up with neck work, and he's more of a dick than cunt in this. Crowd is still trying to figure out how to react to his new attitude, but they definitely love AJ. "Mother fucker!" AJ, that's not very Christian. Something pissed him off, though, because he unloaded with a stiff as fuck forearm shortly after yelling that. His strike combo also had a bit more sting to it than normal. AJ is a strong little dude. The velocity on his weird fireman carry side slam was something else. Playing off their WK match, Naito goes for a super rana, which AJ attempts to counter into the Styles Clash, but this time Naito is able to avoid the move. This is a much different match than the WK one. Maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. Hard to say. They're very different. One was an dream match junior spot fest. This is heel vs heel, beating the shit out of each other. Naito scores another big win with the Destino.
Hirooki Goto vs Kazuchika Okada Block B
Coming into this match, Goto was the reigning IC Champion, while Okada was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Goto seems on the cusp of finally getting back to where he was before Okada/Nakamura leapfrogged him. A lot to prove for each guy. Goto's power advantage comes into play early on, and he begins softening up Okada's neck. Gedo is so happy when Okada gets on offense. He's also working the head/neck. I enjoy Goto's corner trapped koppo kick. I'm just a super fan of koppo kicks in general. Probably my favorite wrestling strike behind a good lariat. Okada has better uppercuts than Cesaro. And dropkicks. And everything, basically. Fuck Cesaro. Goto gets ANGRY during the finisher counter sequence, then wins with the Shouten.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Hirooki Goto B Block
Goto defeated Nakamura for the IC title at Dontaku in May, then followed it by defending the title against Nakamura at Dominion in July. Nak is looking to avenge those losses. Huge wrap on Nak's left elbow. A shoulder block tweaks the elbow, and Nak slides to the floor in pain. Goto goes after it. Nak has a neat kick to get Goto off his ass, but it seems to piss Goto off. Luckily for Nak, most of his offense is centered around kicks and knees. And god damn did he kick the shit out of Goto while Goto was on the ropes. Looked like it hit him in the fucking mouth. Goto blocks the Boma Ye and follows up with an avalanche Ushigoroshi, which looked very painful. Nakamura counters a lariat with a rolling cross arm breaker for the win.
Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito A Block
Can't believe this is one of single cam shoots with no commentary. Still, I wonder how much of a piece of shit Naito will be in this. He shoves the ref out of the ring about a minute in, so it seems like he's in a particularly cunty mood tonight. Lots of neck work from Naito. And spitting. Ibushi gets in some flippy shit when he can, but this is mostly Naito's match. Holy shit, I think Natio broke Ibushi's fucking neck with a reverse super rana. Jesus Christ that was disgusting. It didn't seem to have much effect on Ibushi. Somehow. But fuck. Naito wins with the Destino, and then attacks Red Shoes after the match.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Katsuyori Shibata Block A
Always a lot of "Man, FUCK YOU" spots in their interactions, so this should be rad. Both dudes are pretty cautious to open the match. Lots of headlocks and holds with both guys preferring the holds instead of trying something riskier that might get them caught. Tanahashi doesn't give a clean rope break, and if I'm a betting man, he's going to get the shit slapped out of him for that later in the match. Both end up focusing on the legs of the other. Tanahashi looks like he's pretty banged up. He runs like a dude with a lower back injury. He's selling the leg, but anyone who has had an injured back knows that gait. Shibata is NOT amused with Tanahashi's elbows. Of course not. Shibata finally learned that people were going to get up while he runs to the other corner to do his dropkick, so he stops mid way to hit an uppercut to put Tanahashi back down. That was neat. Strike battles continue, but this is the kind of match where that makes sense due to their well known relationship and animosity. It's not just randomly taking turns to lay into each other. Tanahashi returns to the leg work after getting tired of being hit very hard. Shit just breaks down with Shibata doing everything he can to KO Tanahashi, then locking in a rear naked choke...only for Tanahashi to do a modified version of the Bret/Piper finish to win.
AJ Styles vs Hiroshi Tanahashi Block A
Prepared for greatness. Fans are very hot for this. There were even dueling chants before they locked up, which is still not common in Japan. Much disrespect from both guys. Tanahashi starts the leg work early, and the crowd is still split. AJ does some kind of weird stunner to Tanahashi's knee. Very weird. AJ's cockiness is his downfall, at least for a bit. Tanahashi hits the High Fly Flow to the floor, which always looks so crazy. No idea how you can do that safely. AJ barely makes it back into the ring, which is kind of weird that Tanahashi was happy to win by count out. I guess you'll take a win over AJ any way you can. Tanahashi finds multiple ways to prevent the phenomenal forearm and nearly wins with an arm trapped German suplex. Ref bump! Savage low blow from AJ. Very, very rude. Tanahashi hits a low blow of his own. Lol. This breaks into a strike battle, not the test of wills kind, but the kind where they're trying anything they can to hurt the other dude. AJ finally hits the forearm to a molten near fall. Crowd is losing their shit now. Tanahashi hits the Styles Clash for a 2.9999. Frog splash from AJ. Two High Fly Flows later, Tanahashi wins. Greatness achieved. These dudes mesh so well. Had the crowd in the palm of their hands from before the match even started, and kept ratcheting up the intensity until the crowd was shaking the building. Wonderful.
Kazuchika Okada vs Shinsuke Nakamura Block B
Nakamura has won most if not all of his matches with a cross arm breaker. Okada's big move is a clothesline. It's almost like this is predetermined or something. Okada has definitely been putting in time in the gym. Put on a good amount of muscle and is more cut than I've ever seen him. Nak is also looking like he's leaned out a bit. But fuck his collar bones are so weird looking. Despite being friends and stablemates, these two are supremely competitive and will not take it easy on each other. Okada hits the hanging DDT on the floor early on, which sets up the rest of the match for him. It will be interesting to see if Nak goes after the arm or head/neck to set up the Boma Ye. Looks like he's going with "knee and kick the fuck out of Okada". Okada gets a lot of boos for doing Nak's boot in the corner thing. Okada goes back to the neck, including doing a tombstone on the floor. Okada kicks out of the Boma Ye and Landslide. Nak prays to the cocaine gods only to be repaid with a dropkick to the fucking mouth. Okada doesn't go for the pin after a Rainmaker, instead wanting to try another one. Nak counters with a rolling cross arm breaker. He transitions it to a triangle. Okada then tries to roll him over, but ends up on the mat face first, tapping out to an inverted armbar. Very good, but not great. Not exactly sure why. I guess it felt a little too "Okada-y", if that makes any sense.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura G1 FINALS
Chono and Mutoh join for commentary for this. This feels like a huge deal, and you can't help but think of the classic Chono/Mutoh G1 match from 1991 with them at ringside. These two, along with Okada, have been the new Three Musketeers in the post Inoki era, so it is all very fitting. Tanahashi gets mixed reactions taunting Nak. Okada got them, too. You aren't getting a full crowd to cheer you over Nak. Ever. Anywhere. Some nice mat grappling. You can see Nak's MMA experience, easily getting side control and into full mount while Tanahashi looked helpless. Nak getting cocky with his kicks opened him up for Tanahashi attacks on the knee. Tana thinks about doing Nak's corner foot thing, but changed his mind when fans started to boo. He should have done it, because going up to the middle rope for a senton got him kicked in the face. He fell all the way to the floor. Tempers start to flare after Nak completely disrespects Tanahashi. HFF to the floor absolutely splatters Nak. Don't worry about your boy Shinzooky Nak America. He got Tanahashi back with the Boma Ye to the back of the head. The one off the ropes also hit pretty fucking hard. Shinsuke kicks out of the High Fly Flow, then damn near KOs Tanahashi with a punch. Landslide! Tanahashi is able to get out of the armbar with a boot to the eyes, only to immediately be hit with the Boma Ye. And he kicked out. Nak is distraught. Tanahashi appears to be knocked out. He recovers to hit a HFF while both guys are standing on the ropes. He then hits a dragon suplex and two more HFF to put Nakamura down. Hiroshi Tanahashi has won the 2015 G1 Climax. He's presented a banner from Chono, and a check from Mutoh. The banner snapped in half when the celebration got too intense. Lol.
Another strong year, although I don't think it reached the heights of 2014. A lot of good matches, a couple very good matches, and one or two great matches. It seemed like the whole field was really worn down before the G1 even started, and having so many extra shows surely didn't help. The stars of the tournament were definitely AJ and Tanahashi, and their match was the one truly great match of the whole event. Over all, lots of good wrestling to dig into. I liked the various through lines like Shibata's toughness battling injuries, Naito's cockiness to come up with a move to counter the Rainmaker because he was convinced he and Okada would meet in the finals, and Nakamura winning matches with the armbar to build it up for the match with Okada.