NJPW G1 Climax 26 FINALS
With AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and I guess Gallows/Anderson being gone, NJ was forced to push new stars to the top of the card. The main one being Kenny Omega, who went from goofy comedy character with the Young Bucks to being taken seriously as a main event star. An over all story for the G1 has been big upsets, with Tanahashi and Okada suffering multiple big time loses during the tournament. This has led to Omega and Hirooki "He can't lose AGAIN, can he?" Goto battling in the finals.
Jushin Liger/Tiger Mask IV vs Ryusuke Taguchi/David Finlay
Taguchi is the worst. At least everyone is now in agreement that he sucks. Keep him out of the ring. I like Finlay Jr., but he has a top tier worst look. Long, stringy hair. Patchy neck beard. Bad tattoos. White as snow skin. There are like 5 or 6 guys that have that look at this time. It's so bad.Really nothing of note here. TM pins Finlay after a butterfly superplex.
Yoshitatsu/Captain New Japan vs Gedo/Jado
Man. Fuck this match. Who asked for this shit? Gedo's mom wouldn't want to see this shit. Jado makes the Captain tap out.
Togi Makabe/Tomoaki Honma vs Tomohiro Ishii/YOSHI-HASHI
A step up from the previous match, but still shows how stretched thin NJ's roster is. There have probably been 100 matches in variations of these 4 in the last 2 years. How many times a year do you need to see Honma and Ishii beating each other up? Honma comes in with his ribs taped up, and that seems to be the point of attack for Yoshi/Ishii. I can't get interested in this at all. Come on. I've seen it too many times to give a shit about Ishii and Makabe chopping each other. Or Ishii and Honma chopping each other. Yoshi drops Honma on his dome with his pump handle driver thing to win.
Katsuyori Shibata/Hiroysho Tenzan/Yuji Nagata/Manabu Nakanishi vs Katsuhiko Nakajima/Go Shiozaki/Maybach Taniguchi/Masa Kitamiya
NOAH INVADES! Why is Shibata tagging with these old heads, though? This little Masa dude looks like he's a strong spark plug. Shout out to his Masa Saito/Mr. Fuji/Tanaka gear. You know, I've been wondering for YEARS why why Tenzan and Nakanishi are still wrestling, and this match just makes it all the more clear that they shouldn't be wrestling. Tenzan in particular barely looks human when he moves. It's almost near-death Andre levels. These fans really don't like Go for some reason. They do like Shibata kicking the shit out of him, though. And boy do tempers flare between those two. I don't really recall the BOO/YAY type strike battles in Japan, but this crowd hates Go. A Go/Shibata singles match will probably be dope as fuck. Fuck it, push Go as a top invader heel. Get rid of Kenny Omega and replace him with Go. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THAT HEADBUTT. WHAT THE FUCK. That's utterly, utterly disgusting. The sound was horrifying. Shibata stands around being all bad ass and shit after it, but as soon as he tags out, he falls down and looks like he's about to throw up. Probably because he just gave himself a concussion for no reason. Nakajima pins Nakanishi with a twisting brainbuster. A huge pull apart brawl breaks out after the match, with Shibata trying to throw more headbutts at Nakajima. He gets a hold of Go and throws some headbutts. Go is trying to rip out eyes and low blow. So much HATRED. Drop that headbutt shit, Shibata. What the fuck.
Briscoe Brothers vs Bullet Club IWGP Tag Team Championships
Get the fuck outta here, Gedo. Briscoes win. Titles retained.
Satoshi Kojima vs Jay Lethal ROH Championship
Lethal got ZERO reaction. Incredible. Kojima's titty flexing got a bigger pop than Jay's existence. Jay works over the neck to a continued complete lack of heat. The ROH/NJPW relationship is awful. The only ROH guy worth a shit was Cedric Alexander, and ROH fucked up big and now he's on Raw. This match is very boring. The highlight being Kojima doing Tenzan spots. Kind of hard to have a match where the crowd goes silent whenever one of them is on offense. Lethal wins after a low blow and Lethal Injection. The crowd that was hot to have Kojima win again went back to no reaction when Jay won.
Michael Elgin/Hiroshi Tanahashi/Juice Robinson/KUSHIDA vs Los Ingobernables de Japon
Well, it has Tanahashi and Naito, so how bad can it be? Holy shit, Naito is so fucking over. As soon as LIJ music hit, the crowd erupted and started chanting for him. Naito and Tanahashi start. Tanahashi tries to get the crowd to chant for him, and they cheer for Naito instead. Naito da gawd. Lol at the tag out to take a nap on the apron. Instead, the match starts with Sanada and Tanahashi. Sanada scored a big win over Tana during the G1. Why does the Bullet Club still exist when NJ has LIJ? This is not particularly great, but due to the format of an 8 man tag, there's no down time and multiple stories are able to be progressed for later shows. Elgin's power game gets a lot of focus. I have to give it to him, he is quite over in Japan. Why, I don't know, but he is. Evil pins CJ Parker with a STO. Quite an enjoyable little match.
Kauchika Okada/Toru Yano/Naomichi Marufuji vs Bullet club
Yano. Bullet Club. Fuck off, Gedo. Okada pins Camacho with the Rainmaker in a short match that had stupid Yano spots and stupid Marufuji spots. Post match sees Okada, IWGP Champion, challenge Marufuji, GHC Champion, to a match.
Hirooki Goto vs Kenny Omega G1 Climax 26 FINALS
Goto kind of has to win this. There are only so many big time matches that you drop the ball in before you're labeled a loser for life. Much like Naito, Kenny Omega is over as fuck here. I can't help but feel that Naito should be in this match. He and Kenny had a match at the last G1 show that was a pretty crazy spot fest, but it probably should have been the finals match if they were in different blocks. Goto starts doing leg work, and gets booed out of the building for it. This place really loves their Canadians, I guess. Kenny works the neck/back. Nice that there is some focus, as nothing on the rest of the card has done much in the way of story or psychology. Kenny bouncing back and forth between playing up to the crowd and working heel is weird. As much as I've shit on him in the past, there's obviously something there with him, but his cartoonish excesses kill big moments. They gave up on the limb work in favor of chucking bombs. Probably for the best, because they weren't doing a particularly good job at the focused work. Remember that spot where Bam Bam fell backwards through the ring with Taz on his back? Imagine that off the top rope. Crazy. Things really hit a next gear when Omega uses Ibushi's Last Ride powerbomb. He then goes for the Phoenix splash, but misses. BLOODY SUNDAY! Lol at the commentators freaking out at the same time. STYLES A CLASHAAAAAA. One Winged Angel. Kenny Omega has won the G1 Climax! Not exactly my cup of tea, but I can't pretend that this wasn't an entertaining match. The crowd loved it. Kenny cuts a super weird, rambling promo with his bizarre inflection where he said the Bullet Club isn't over, The Elite isn't over, takes a shot at NXT, then challenges Okada. The second part of his promo is in Japanese.
Beyond the main event, the whole show felt like it was just half assed hype for later shows. Even more than usual. Absolutely minimum effort put in before the main event, although I did enjoy the hatred in the NOAH match and the LIJ tag was fun enough. Crowds love Kenny (and Naito), and I think he could become a true top guy for a bit, but then he ruins shit by acting like he's in an anime. I don't understand it at all. His complete lack of care for his well being is something. Poor Goto.