Day 7 has arrived. On paper, this card looks alright, but most of the undercard looks uninteresting. But hey, don’t judge a match by it’s…cover? I think that’s a smooth way of putting it. Hey, I thought Yano and Tenzan were going to have terrible matches all throughout this tournament but they’ve actually been pretty decent, even great at some points, especially Tenzan. Add to the fact that the top two matches sound completely awesome, this should be a sleeper card that could be better than the rest.

Shelton X Benjamin vs. Satoshi Kojima: They start off with the usual fare, but once we get to the outside Benjamin takes Kojima and gives him a back suplex into the barricade, which doesn’t seem all that fun to take. The stream seems to have died completely during Benjamin’s heat, which is a first Came back after a couple of minutes. Kojima makes his comeback and motions for the lariat but Benjamin turns it into the ankle lock. Kojima escapes and takes down Benjamin, motioning for the lariat, but Shelton responds with the superkick for a nearfall. Shelton misses the paydirt, but Kojima sinks in the lariat and that’s all she wrote. This was perfectly fine, but nothing more. ***

Lance Archer vs. Toru Yano: Yano runs away from Archer who gets himself caught in the barricade by accident. Yano undoes the turnbuckle, but Archer whips him into it. Archer takes down Yano and does Yano’s pose, but then Yano takes him down and does his. Archer goes for his finish, but Yano escapes and pushes Lance into the ref. He avoids contact with the ref, but Yano throws the chair at Lance, the ref admonishes him as Yano low blows him and rolls him up for a nearfall. Archer cuts him off and hits the blackout powerbomb for the pinfall. Not a whole lot here, but it was entertaining while it lasted. **

Karl Anderson vs. Yujiro Takahashi: Yujiro starts off aggressive, but wants to make peace with Anderson so they do the Wolfpac hand gesture, but Anderson pokes him in the eye. Takahashi responds by biting Anderson’s hand. Anderson makes a comeback, but misses a boot to the corner and Yujiro responds with one of his own. They keep exchanging finishing attempts until finally Anderson nails the stun gun and scores the pinfall. It was fine. Anderson looked great. Yujiro was there. ***

Doc Gallows vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.: They’re both big guys, so they did big guy spots early. There were a bunch of suplex attempts by both guys, but DBS gets the better of it and does his dad’s old delayed suplex, complete with pose. Gallows takes him out on the outside and uses a chair. Goes back into the ring and works him over, putting him in a sleeper. Gallows misses a splash in the corner and Smith is on offense for a bit, but Gallows cuts him off with a splash and a lariat, and follows with the Gallows pole, but only gets a nearfall. DBS hits an exploder suplex and locks in the sharpshooter after a valiant struggle, and eventually Gallows taps. Pretty good. ***1/4

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Hirooki Goto: Tenzan unleashes the mongolian chops early. Well, sorry to say but this was where my computer completely freaked out and I had to reboot everything. By the time I came back, Tenzan had Goto in the anaconda vice and he was tapping. Sounded like the most heated thing on the show up to this point, at least. Bad Luck Fale vs. Tomoaki Honma: Crowd is immediately behind Honma. Fale misses an elbow, but rolls out of the way when Honma goes for the headbutt. Fale dominates early, but Honma pushes Fale out of the ropes and onto the barricade. Honma then gets to the top rope and does his headbutt on a standing Fale, sending him to the floor. Back in the ring, he continues to gain momentum, hitting the headbutt again. Tries for a suplex, but Fale reverses it into a bodyslam. Big splash follows but Honma kicks out. Honma ecapes the Bad Luck Fall and Honma gets a nearfall with a rollup. Huge lariat by Honma after several attempts. Honma goes for the headbutt again, but misses. Fale hits a huge lariat and follows with the grenade…for the kickout! But a Bad Luck Fall later secures the win for Fale. Honma landed pretty badly on that spot. This was unbelievably heated, and Honma was great here. He has to get at least one win here, right? ***1/4

Togi Makabe vs. Tetsuya Naito: Wow, Naito is NOT LIKED here. People are completely booing him while being totally for Makabe. People got into him throughout the match, but even then there were still some boos. Makabe throws him into the barricade and starts a count out, but rolls in and Makabe works on him from there. Naito mounts a comeback and moves at a frenetic pace, still getting booed. Makabe grabs him as he does his dropkick in the corner and starts wailing him with lariats and punches.Naito cuts him off and hits a top rope hurricanrana then a German suplex for a nearfall. Makabe fights out of Gloria and clocks him with a lariat. Naito tries to fight his way out, but gets nailed with another lariat followed by the kneeling powerbomb for a nearfall. Naito eventually gets put in the spider German position, but fights hard not to fall or it, only to eventually fall after getting posted twice. Makabe nails him with the king kong knee drop and that’s it. A fantastic match with insane, and very interesting, heat. ****1/4

AJ Styles vs. Minoru Suzuki: They end up on the outside early. Suzuki throws him into the barricade but AJ hops over, then uses the barricade to springboard into a superman punch. That was pretty cool. Back in the ring, AJ lands a brainbuster but gets caught in the ropes by a Suzuki armbar. A running kick on the apron sends AJ down to the floor on the outside. Suzuki throws AJ shoulder first into the barricade and works it over, including using a chair in the crowd. He eventually brings him back into the ring and works on it there. AJ gets back into it with a suplex into the turnbuckle. Ref bump. TAKA immediately runs in and jumps AJ, but Bullet Club runs in and makes the save. The rest of Suzuki-Gun run in and they all brawl to the back. They exchange slaps, with both being sent to the floor. AJ does the bullet club gesture to Suzuki, but Suzuki grabs his finger and tries to break it. Suzuki eventually get the sleeper in, but AJ squirms out of the Gotch piledriver attempt. AJ tries the Styles Clash, but Suzuki reverses it into the ankle lock, only for AJ to reverse it into one of his, only for Suzuki to reverse it again! Suzuki with an armbar and wrenches AJ’s fingers, trying to make him tap, but AJ reverses it and manages to land the Styles Clash. An exchange follows, and Styles hits the Styles Clash for a second time for the pinfall. The best match of the tournament yet and simply amazing, from AJ’s selling to the execution of it all to Suzuki’s submissions. Match of the year candidate. *****

Yuji Nagata vs. Katsuyori Shibata: Clean break to start, but as usual we’re on the outside and Nagata hits a running big boot to Shibata. But Shibata recovers and immediately does the same. They start slugging each other while the referee counts and they roll in at 19. Shibata pummels Nagata in the corner and goes to do his running dropkick but Nagata greets him and lays him out. Shibata fights back with a series of forearms that leaves Nagata laying then does the running dropkick to the corner. Sleeper attempt, but Nagata grabs the ropes, only for Shibata to kick him but Nagata counters with a exploder only for Shibata to get up and take him out after. Nagata lays out Shibata and gets the armbar in, but Shibata gets his leg on the rope. Shibata fires with a back suplex. They exchange huge German suplexes, leaving both lying on the floor. They get up and do a slap battle with Shibata winning, or not as Nagata gets up and lays another in and hits the back suplex for a nearfall. A second secures it. Great match, about as stiff and violent as one would expect from these two. ****1/4

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tomohiro Ishii: They trade clean breaks early. Nakamura offers his hand, but Ishii opts to slap Nakamura instead. Nakamura tries the shak leg in the corner, but Ishii charges out. The kick to the corner misses as well, but he’s able to take Ishii out and nail him with a draping DDT. Ishii fights back with some chops, then goes to the top rope and jumps off with a brainbuster for a nearfall. Nakamura slows him down with a sleeper, but Ishii reverses, only for Nakamura to reverse and hits a reverse exploding suplex. Nakamura poses for the boma ye, but Ishii nails him with a running dropkick. Nakamura tries to go for the boma ye, but get nailed with a GIGANTIC lariat by Ishii. Another lariat to the back of the head and follows with a reverse exploder suplex. Another sleeper attempt causes Ishii to reverse into another lariat, but Nakamura rolls through and applies an armbar. What an innovative transition that was. Ishii grabs the ropes. Ishii gets up and hits another lairat, then a second, but Nakamura kicks out. Nakamura attempts another boma ye, but Ishii nails him with another lariat but no dice. Nakamura breaks free and hits a boma ye to the back of the head.   He hits two more, but Ishii refuses, even kicking out at one. He goes for another, but Ishii grabs his leg, but Nakamura manages to strike him with one more boma ye and that does it. Another phenomenal match. ****1/2

FINAL THOUGHTS:

As with the story of other cards, the first half was good, but nothing that stood out. Once intermission ended, everything was great, even downright incredible in some regards. There have been better overall cards, but Minoru Suzuki and AJ Styles had a match that blew away everything in the G1 thus far, and that is a match you need to go out and watch right now.

VOW G1 Pick’Em Contest Standings (Updated August 1, 2014):

Name Total Points
Jesse Ewiak 47
Andrew Bates 46
CRVX 46
Guilherme Jaeger 45
Will Young 45
Dylan Hales 45
Paul Cooke 45
Jordan Benterman 44
Dan 44
Bry Musslewhite 44
Richard 44
Matt McEwen 44
Adam Hastings 43
Jordan Walp 43
Matt Kennedy 43
Iftar Puja Utama 43
Dylan Harris 43
Brandon 43
Matt Gerardi 43
Chris Harrington 43
Larry 42
Derek Drago 42
Dennis 42
Shelly 42
Jonathan Boyle 41
Alan Counihan 41
TJ Hawke 41
Darrell 41
Jody Plante 41
Aaron Bentley 41
David Dunn 41
Jamie O’Doherty 41
Zach 41
Mitchel Cowan 41
Matt Pecolatto 41
Case Lowe 41
Joe Gagne 41
Gin Malkavar 41
Andrew Rich 41
Eric Barraza 41
Jason Felix 41
Bryan Rose 41
Parker 41
Chris Linay 40
Jake Glowacki 40
Chris Griger 40
Jon Solomon 40
Filip Pejic 40
Peter Biancardi 40
Rob Viper 39
Lee west 39
Greg Johnson 39
Tim Kelly 39
sarah kenneally 39
Rich Kraetsch 39
Kristian Nielsen 39
Kyle Blevins 39
Dusty Anderson 39
Joe Bailey 39
Garrett Kidney 39
Sean N 38
Dan Masters 38
Ryan Kabacinski 38
Rob Reid 38
Oliver Court 38
Gavin Fitzpatrick 38
Mario L. Morrison 38
Jason Woito 38
Rodrigo 37
Dan Svensson 37
Ed Burns 37
Travis Kriens 37
David Penton 37
Theo Wilson 37
Pip 37
Wayne Maw 37
Lasse 36
Blacktus Jack 36
Guy 36
Christmas Benoit 36
Steven Ingrassia 36
Daniel Mason 35
Jake 35
Tarek Lababidi 35
Joe Roche 35
John Mulligan 35
Jack Edwards 35
Brendan Quinn 35
George Charalambopoulos 35
William Fairchild 35
Bill Thompson 35
Ryan Clingman 34
Will Housell 34
Nick Probola 34
Michael McDonald 34
Matt Rolder 34
Kevin hare 34
Ben 33
Sunflower 33
minorusan01 33
Neil Parthun 33
Kenn Haspel 32
Jeff Parker 32
Michael Smart 31
Tenese Sarwieh 31
Julio 31