NJPW G1 Climax 26 Night 18 B Block Finals – Results and Review
August 13, 2016
We Write Wrestling – @WeWriteWrestlin
Wow…is…wow spelled backward. That’s a dumb intro but “wow” y’all, I am dumbfounded as to the shocking results of the 26th G1 B BLOCK finals. I’m shocked not only at who won, but how and the possible implications it has for New Japan going forward (all of which about I will likely be proven wrong, I know). Just when you think Gedo & co. are content to give you what you expect—of what you’re almost certain—they change lanes on you and flip script faster than a clumsy Hollywood intern. And that is why, as far as I’m concerned, New Japan Pro Wrestling remains the premiere artistic and athletic precipice in professional wrestling today. With nicety out of the way, let’s get to the matches.
Yuji Nagata vs. Tomoaki Honma
Winner: Tomoaki Honma
Commentary made mention of Nagata’s weakened state here at the end of the tournament as well as Honma’s taped (allegedly) broken rib. Despite that the veterans engaged in a deliberate, hard-hitting fight of a match marked by big strikes and suplexes. Honma eventually landed Kokeshi Oteshi and the top rope headbutt for the win.
Toru Yano vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Winner: Toru FREAKING Yano
Poor HASHI. He’s got a loose explosion in his pants, his offense is repetitive and predictable, his butterfly lock can’t submit anyone and after all his valiant showing during this G1 he has to go out losing to a creepy hustler like Yano. Typical match for Yano here: mugging, screaming, exposed turnbuckle, low blow, Yano wins.
Katsuyori Shibata vs. EVIL
In the first of three mathematically relevant matches of the night, EVIL stole Shibata’s contender thunder and showed to all of New Japan just how evil EVIL could get. It was a mercilessly beat down that included several violent chair attack spots I thought left Shibata legitimately injured and unable to continue at one point. EVIL focused his unrelenting viciousness on Shibata’s injured shoulder attacking it in every conceivable manner from strategic tactician to merciless psychopath. Despite EVIL’s efforts, though, Shibata refused to quit, and while he traded moves at times with the Los Ingobernables member, he never seemed to be able to put together a coherent response to EVIL’s ruthlessness. In the end, EVIL got the pinfall victory with a powerbomb followed by his STO.
Michael Elgin vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima
Winner: Katsuhiko Nakajima
Easily match of the night if not for the following main event and definitely one of the best matches (I’d say top five) of the entire tournament. NOAH showed well again in the B BLOCK finals as it had via Marufuji’s performance in the previous night’s A BLOCK. Nakajima however, was able to score a win whereas Marufuji lost in surprising fashion. This contest was a contrast of Nakajima’s quickness, karate-based strikes, and Big Mike’s brute force and indomitable will. For every huge powerbomb or deadlift-Falcon Arrow Elgin successfully landed, Nakajima responded in kind with multiple double-digit striking attacks. The two traded attacks and momentum back and forth until it seemed sure they would both collapse under the exhaustive and demanding pace. Somehow, though, the smaller man from NOAH was able to sustain Elgin’s powerbomb finisher combination and after staggering New Japan’s Intercontinental Champion with a blistering series of kicks and strikes landed his brainbuster finisher for the pinfall victory.
Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito
Winner: Kenny Omega
I really, really, want to be able to say, “I told you so,” here. And for the record, I technically did. I picked Omega in our G1 Climax preview to win it all, but early round losses followed by less than spectacular victories convinced me it would simply not come to pass. Add to that rumors the New Japan front office had been unhappy with Omega as of late—feelings he reportedly reciprocated—along with triumphant showing after triumphant showing from Naito it made this match was Naito’s to lose and that it was a near-certainty he wouldn’t. This whole situation proves once and for all why I am not nor will I ever be the head booker for the number two professional wrestling promotion in the world. But damn, was its fun getting here.
Past-Andrew is laughing hardily at present-Andrew for ever having doubted the leader of The Elite who had the match of ten lifetimes against Naito (and my personal best match of this year’s tournament provided he and Goto don’t set each other on fire and wrap the building in barbed wire). They started off grounded firmly in their characters, the insistent and petulant Omega perched atop the mantle of Bullet Club, and the ever Tranquilo Naito supreme in his Los Ingobernables swagger lying on the mat taunting the “round-eye” Omega. The ridiculousness of what transpired next is eclipsed only by the passion for which it was enacted, as the two engaged in a spitting war (yes, a spitting war) that rivaled any forearm and elbow smash exchange from any other part of the tournament.
The two then proceeded to create a professional wrestling masterpiece with Naito attacking Omega’s knee and calculatingly returning to it time and time again throughout the match while Omega sold it for the psychology surrounding this feature of the match’s story was utterly captivating.
Omega was able to establish control on the outside, however, landing a slam and two Dragon Suplexes onto the apron as well as a massive powerbomb over the railing and through a ringside announce table. Never one to be satisfied, however, Omega took to the air, landing a springboard senton from inside the ring, over the guard rail and onto a supine Naito somewhere around aisle 3. I could write for the next 100 years and never come close to imparting to you the physical quality of this match and epic nature of these ringside spots.
When the two returned to the ring, their relentless pace of exchange continued, trading giant strike and large move for giant attack and giant move. Omega would again land two more Dragon Suplexes only for Naito to respond with an Impaler DDT that looked to pop Omega’s head clean off. Omega’s knee again came into play as it gave out on one of his suplex counters and was quickly wrapped up in a knee bar by Naito. Omega writhed and shook in absolute agony and just as it appeared the referee would call the match, Omega stretched out to grab the bottom rope.
From there, the finishing sequence began: Omega hitting a powerbomb for two and a half followed by a stiff V Trigger knee strike and One-Winged Angel attempt that Naito countered into Destino. With five minutes remaining Naito delivered a gorgeous reverse top rope hurricanrana and went for another final Destino, but Omega countered, this time, hitting Aou Shoudou for an “I can’t believe that wasn’t three how in the hell was not a three?” count. Omega set up for the knee strike but again the knee betrayed him, and the two laid into each other with abhorrently violent attacks. Omega finally gets the upper hand, with two thudding knee strikes–of all things–his One-Winged Angel was countered, but Omega reversed the counter into a German Suplex, landed another knee strike and finally the One Winged Angel for a three-count. Kenny “The Cleaner” Omega is your 2016 G1 B BLOCK winner.