The second to last card of the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax 24 is here. None of the shows have disappointed, and with some of the matches due here tonight I’m pretty confident that this card won’t be a letdown either. So, who will make it to the finals: Okada or AJ Styles? Shinsuke Nakamura or Hiroshi Tanahashi? Maybe Bad Luck Fale will somehow make it to the finals. If he does, well, let’s just say Raw will be looking very good. There’s a lot of variables here in the finals, and nothing is set in stone. Plus, people still wanna rank high and score some points to finish off the tournament strong. Who will prevail and who will be just plain ‘ol dunzo? Let’s check it out!

Tomoaki Honma vs. Shelton X Benjamin: Honma tried to roll him up twice in the beginning to no avail. Benjamin misses the stinger splash and Honma tries for the headbutt, but Shelton gets up and applies the leglock. Shelton goes to the outside, which allows Honma to go to the top rope and hit his flying headbutt off there. Shelton gains advantage and they go back to the barricades where Shelton throws him back first into the guardrail. That doesn’t sound fun, at all. Shelton tries to take him down with some shots, but Honma fights back unphased and hits his headbutt tackle. He follows that with a lariat and another headbutt for a nearfall. He goes to the top rope…but misses. Still never hit it once in this tournament, I don’t think. Shelton hits two stinger splashes but Honma rolls him up for a nearfall. Shelton hits a superkick, then follows with paydirt and…gets the win. Honma won zero matches in the tournament. What a bummer. ***

The crowd chants Honma’s name as he’s escorted to the back. He’s the most over jobber in the business.

Yujiro Takahashi vs. Toru Yano: Yujiro jumps him at the bell. They do comedy distractions so Yano can remove the turnbuckle and both wind up taking bumps into it. Yano gets a low blow in but Yujiro pushes him into the ref and low blows him for a pinfall. It was short, at least. DUD

As it turns out, Yujiro WORE A CUP and therefore thwarted Yano’s tactics, causing him to prevail. That almost makes me want to add a star for cleverness, but I’m not. Lance Archer vs. Hirooki Goto: Archer gets sent to the outside where Goto hits a huge springboard crossbody. Archer responds by giving a big boot to the outside. Lots of barricade shots later Archer takes him to the ring and works him over, including a big lariat to the back of the head. Goto finds some life with a lariat, but is immediately taken down by Archer again. Goto rallies a bit, but when Lance grabs him by the throat he powers out and hits his fireman’s carry neckbreaker. Goto tries for the souten kail, but Archer blocks it. Archer takes him to the top rope, but Goto tries to do the sunset flip bomb, only for Goto to take a huge back body drop. Archer chokeslams him, but gets the two count. One blackout later, its over. Thought this match was great, really fun story to it with some great spots. ***3/4

Karl Anderson vs. Tetsuya Naito: Anderson jumps him as he’s doing his pose, causing him to tumble to the ground. Anderson follows that with a powerbomb into the apron, never something fun to take, I’m sure. Naito gets back to the ring, but Anderson grabs him and throws him into the barricades. Anderson works on him until he misses a splash. Naito works him over but Anderson grabs him and hits a TKO for a nearfall. Naito comes back and hits a hurricanrana off the top rope and follows with a German suplex. Anderson dodges the stardust press, cuts him off and hits a sitout piledriver for a nearfall. Naito dodges a stun gun and rolls him up. Niato hits the ropes but he flies into a stun gun and Anderson scores the victory. Pretty good stuff. ***1/2

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yuji Nagata: Nagata goes for a clean break, but Ishii responds by slapping him right across the face. Nagata didn’t like that. They exchange a huge slap battle that Nagata emerges as victorious. That was amazing. Ishii sells the effects Nagata’s offense and ends up eating a side suplex. Ishii fights back and gets to the top rope where he hits a superplex (think of all he’s doing with his SEPARATED SHOULDER) for a nearfall. Nagata hits some HUGE forearm shots and yanks his shoulder on the ropes, causing great pain. Nagata takes him to the top rope where Ishii counters with a sunset flip into a running powerbomb. Ishii goes for the sliding D, but Nagata rolls into the armbar and on the bad shoulder. Ouch. Ishii tries valiantly to get to the ropes and manages to accomplish that. Another slap battle ends up with Nagata taking him down with a side suplex followed by a brainbuster but Ishii kicks out. Back and forth epic battle from here. Lariat gets a nearfall, then a sliding lariat by Ishii. Ishii takes him and lands a brainbuster for the win. Just a frigging PHENOMENAL match, a match of the year contender for sure. ****3/4

Doc Gallows vs. Katsyuori Shibata: Shibata takes him down with some stiff shots, but Gallows gets up and starts wailing himself, but Gallows gets taken out by a huge big boot that sends him to the outside. Shibata gets cut off and is introduced to the barricade on the outside. Slams him back first onto the apron. Doc works on him in the ring but Shibata locks in a submission on the ground and starts pummeling him with punches, followed by the running dropkick. Doc fires back with some shots and hits the Gallows pole for a nearfall. A second one…gets it. Huh. It wasn’t bad, but not great. **3/4

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bad Luck Fale: Nakamura starts off a bit hot early, but that’s quickly subsided when Fale takes him to the outside and into the barricade, then follows that with shots from his belt. Fale works on him a good while until Nakamura takes him down with a flying knee. Fale cuts him off and goes for the grenade, but Nakamura counters, only to get struck for a nearfall. Fale goes for a move off the top, but Nakamura grabs him and hits a huge superplex. Fale comes back with a huge spear and goes for the bad luck fall but Nakamura slides from behind and locks in a sleeper. Fale pushes him from behind into the corner, but Nakamura gets on the second rope and hits a flying knee to the back of Fale’s head. He hits the boma ye twice for the pinfall. This was great. ***3/4

AJ Styles vs. Togi Makabe: They do a test to see who can take down who first. AJ tries to leap over Makabe but Makabe grabs him and takes him to the corner, where AJ slides under and takes him out onto the floor. From there, Makabra grabs him and throws him into the barricade, but AJ Styles goes to the top of the barricade and lands a superman punch. AJ goes to work on him from here in the ring. Makabe cuts him off after no selling some punches then does some of his own in the corner. Makabe hits a northern lights suplex for a nearfall. AJ tries fighting him off, but eats a lariat for another nearfall. AJ tries for the Styles Clash but Makabe cuts him off and sends him down with a powerbomb for a nearfall. Makabe tries the spider suplex, but AJ…lands on his feet! Makabe went for the king kong knee drop, but AJ rolls out of the way. Makabe notices this and bodyslams him, then tries again but it doesn’t connect. AJ hits the pele kick. AJ takes him to the top rope, but Makabe fights him off…only for AJ to grab him and transition into the styles clash for the pinfall. Very good match with some fun spots. ***1/2

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.: Back and forth to start. Tanahashi misses a crossbody and DBS goes to work on him. He cuts him off with a dragon screw. DBS tries to eliminate him from the ring, but he skins the cat and takes him down to the floor with his legs. Baseball slide sends DBS down then Tanahashi hits a high fly flow to the outside. DBS immediately takes him out with a barricade shot, however, and goes back to working on him. Tanahashi tries to rally, but DBS hits a running knee. Finally Tanahashi gains some momentum with a sling blade, but gets caught when doing a high fly flow and DBS follows with a superplex for another nearfall. Exploder suplex by DBS doesn’t do it. Bridging tiger suplex doesn’t do it, either. DBS goes for a bulldog bomb, but Tanahashi counters with a rollup but doesn’t get it. He goes to a top turnbuckle for another pin attempt but doesn’t get it. DBS manages to catch Tanahashi and hits the bulldog bomb for the win. Fun match with some great heightened drama . ***3/4

Nakamura, therefore, advances to the finals. Tanahashi is runner up for his block. Minoru Suzuki vs. Kazuchika Okada: Suzuki immediately takes Okada to the outside and hits a huge kick to the chest, followed by some work on his arm. They wind up back to the outside where Okada fights back and throws Suzuki into the barricade, then follows with the draping DDT to the floor. Okada hits the elbow, but holds his arm in pain as he does the rainmaker pose..only for Suzuki to get up and jump him, then works on the arm some more. Suzuki wrenches the arm and sinks it in deep as Okada writhes in pain, eventually managing to get a foot on the ropes. Okada takes down Suzuki and tries the red ink submission, and it works as it’s locked in. Okada hits what can only be described as John Cena’s AA for a nearfall. Okada tries for his dropkick, but Suzuki falls into the ropes. Okada hits the ropes and Suzuki immediately follows with a dropkick! That was a great spot. Suzuki locks in the sleeper then follows with the Gotch piledriver, but Okada refuses to go for it. Suzuki responds with a huge knee strike and tries again but Okada counters and hits his neckbreaker. Minoru tries to fight back, but Okada hits his dropkick and tries the tombstone. Suzuki tries to escape, but Okada hits hit and goes for the rainmaker, but Suzuki blocks it and punches Okada straight up in the face with a closed fist. People BOOED this. Okada, pissed off, hits a huge dropkick and immediately hits a rainmaker for the pinfall. That was a awesome finish to a very well built match with tons of great spots. ****1/2

With that, it will be Okada/Nakamura in the finals with Tanahashi/Styles facing off in the runner up position. Hell of a card the finals are shaping up to be.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Very good show with two stellar bouts in Ishii/Nagata and Okada/Suzuki. A lot of matches were very close to the **** star range, so most of this card is worth a look. All that’s left now is the G1 finals, and it’s anyone’s game. My official pick is that Okada takes it, but you never know!

PLUG: I believe that wraps it up for me here as far as Voices of Wrestling coverage for G1 as Joe Lanza will be covering the finals Sunday morning. Of course he’ll have a great review, but if you’re looking for a second opinion (and those are always good) be sure to check out my blog here as I’ll have a report shortly after the finals conclude. Thanks to everyone who read these reports, it was a blast doing them and see you on Monday for Raw (…yay?).

Voices of Wrestling G1 Climax Pick’Em Contest Standings (Updated: August 8)
The VOW G1 Climax Pick’Em is sponsored by IVPVideos, visit them online at www.ivpvideos.com and use promo code “VOICE” to take 25% off all DVD orders

NameTotal Points
Andrew Bates84
Guilherme Jaeger82
Derek Drago82
Richard80
Matt McEwen79
Bryan Rose79
Parker79
Gin Malkavar78
Mitchel Cowan77
Joe Bailey77
Jesse Ewiak76
Brandon76
Jody Plante76
CRVX75
Eric Barraza75
Matt Pecolatto75
Theo Wilson74
Sean N74
Christmas Benoit74
Andrew Rich74
Paul Cooke73
Jordan Benterman73
Matt Gerardi73
Peter Biancardi73
Jason Felix73
TJ Hawke73
Will Young72
Dylan Hales72
Larry72
Chris Griger72
Matt Rolder72
Jon Solomon71
Travis Kriens71
Tim Kelly71
Matt Kennedy71
David Dunn71
Chris Harrington70
Dan70
Zach70
Dylan Harris70
Adam Hastings70
Shelly70
sarah kenneally70
Jamie O’Doherty70
Garrett Kidney70
Kevin hare70
Joe Gagne69
Darrell69
Greg Johnson69
Ryan Kabacinski69
Rob Reid69
Alan Counihan69
Jason Woito69
Filip Pejic69
Jordan Walp69
Rich Kraetsch69
Oliver Court69
Dan Svensson69
Tarek Lababidi69
Guy69
minorusan0169
Bry Musslewhite68
Lee west68
Brendan Quinn68
Dennis68
Case Lowe68
Jack Edwards68
Jake67
Pip67
Jake Glowacki67
Gavin Fitzpatrick67
George Charalambopoulos67
Ben67
Kyle Blevins66
Kristian Nielsen65
Jonathan Boyle65
Steven Ingrassia65
Joe Roche65
Chris Linay64
Lasse64
Nick Probola64
John Mulligan64
Ed Burns63
Dusty Anderson63
Dan Masters63
Aaron Bentley63
Rodrigo63
Wayne Maw63
Iftar Puja Utama62
Will Housell62
Rob Viper61
Michael McDonald61
Ryan Clingman59
David Penton58
Mario L. Morrison58
Neil Parthun58
Blacktus Jack57
William Fairchild57
Bill Thompson57
Daniel Mason57
Kenn Haspel56
Sunflower55
Jeff Parker55
Julio54
Michael Smart53
Tenese Sarwieh50