People, I’m going to be up front with you here, but I’m over the G1. On top of that, I’ve been dealing with rolling brownouts where I live, and I’ve had to watch Night 14 in snippets between my power being on and suddenly fading off. So I’m going with a different tack this week; instead of telling you about the minutiae of each match I’m going to tell you how I felt watching it.
Warning: I’m not big on happy feelings.
Toru Yano vs. Michael Elgin
Winner: Toru Yano
Here’s the part where I tell you about the dominating performance Elgin had in this match. How it’s telling what New Japan sees in him that he’s keeping to his vow of no longer losing in this tournament. That is then supposed to dovetail into a discussion about Gedo and New Japan’s booking looking to the future and building more stars and blah…blah…blah. FUCKING YANO WON AGAIN GODDAMNIT AND NOTHING IN THIS MISERABLE WORLD MAKES ANY DAMN SENSE!
I hate Yano. His vomit colored tights, his stationary “moves”, his everything; I hate it. His shtick was cute in the first half of the tournament but now, going into the second half, Yano winning does nothing but forestall the inevitable. And now that Yano has won more matches than he’s lost, I’m sincerely concerned Gedo might backdoor him into winning BLOCK B because hey, everybody likes a good joke don’t they?
Not me, Gedo. I hate jokes; almost as much as I hate Yano.
YOSHI-HASHI vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Winner: Katsuyori Shibata
Have you noticed how HASHI seems to look towards the crowd every time he lands a strike, seemingly asking, “This is good right? I am good?” Maybe he thinks Nakamura’s showing back up to make every like him. Let me be the first to tell you this HASHI: No one is coming and telling people to like you. That’s your job. And you fail miserably at it. You have “Loose Explosion” written across your ass for god’s sake. Don’t give me any of that “lost in translation” bullshit either. Anybody with Google Translate and five seconds of free time can tell you what a dumb idea it is to have “Loose Explosion” as your motto.
YOSHI-HASHI is an idiot, and Shibata did to him what most of us would like to do to the idiots in our lives: beat him mercilessly. Shibata held the advantage for most of the going minus a handful of moments in which HASHI hit all of the same dumb moves he hits every match that never do anything but increase the amount of time until he loses.
Like an act of a benevolent, far away God who finally hears your prayers, Shibata at last locked on the sleeper, hit the PK and got the win.
Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Tomoaki Honma
Winner: Katsuhiko Nakajima
When did Nakajima start looking like a lower-level bad guy from a second rate Van Damme movie? Is that his thing now, because I feel like that’s his thing. I’m not against it. Just curious as to when it developed. He came into the tournament as an invite from NOAH and had a “happy to be here, just want to compete” sort of good guy vibe about him. And now when he walks out he looks like he just took a dump in his opponent’s duffel bag before the match and can barely contain his sadistic excitement. I see things strangely. Don’t judge me.
Nakajima faced Honma (an over 40, jacked to the gills, bronzed to the bone, serial sufferer of cranial damage who totally doesn’t fit a profile for a domestic abuser) and this match was about what you would expect from either at this point in the tournament. Nakajima did his Marufuji Jr. impression with an impressive if a predictable, array of kicks and Honma followed his “Just one more headbutt” strategy to its usual disastrous conclusion. Nakajima won with the PK and brainbuster.
The two shared a tender moment after the match, shaking and hands and congratulating one another on not winning this year’s G1.
Kenny Omega vs. Yuji Nagata
Winner: Kenny Omega
Before the G1, Omega was making the rounds in the press, most notably with Sports Illustrated, promising big things as the new leader of the Bullet Club in the wake of AJ Styles and Nakamura’s departure from New Japan. Many were looking towards this G1 to be his break-out performance and catapult him into the Wrestle Kingdom main event. But with half of his performances this tournament being up to this usual par and the other half being slow, dull affairs (not to mention losses) it would seem that maybe Omega has gone as far as he can go in New Japan. Walking out, he appeared to be a man resigned to a decision that only he knows and is not revealing, but he went through the paces well enough with Nagata eventually winning with the One-Winged Angel.
EVIL vs. Tetsuya Naito
Winner: Tetsuya Naito
Naito is going to win this whole damn thing. I hoped Omega would be the one coming out as the B BLOCK winner, and maybe, maybe we would get a play-in or triple threat with him, Shibata and Naito. But at this point, it looks like the G1 has just been setting the table for a conclusion to the war between Los Ingobernables de Japon and CHAOS. And I’m fine with that; it’s not what I would have chosen had the choice been mine but Naito’s magnetism and appeal is undeniable. He owns every arena he walks into and in many ways already feels like the fans’ champion even if technically Okada still has the belt. It was also telling that instead of EVIL laying down for Naito the two had a hard-hitting, competitive match.
I think that between now and Wrestle Kingdom, Okada gets positioned as the arrogant, entitled champion and Naito the rebellious people’s champion. Which is a fine story, it makes sense and calls back to LIJ’s ascendance earlier in the year and wraps up one chapter of that story while starting another. I’m fine with it. Just as long as fucking Yano doesn’t win any more damn matches.