Naito vs. Ibushi, Naito vs. Ibushi, Naito vs. Ibushi. Yes, I’m a little excited about tomorrow morning’s main event match between, you guessed it, Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi.
Ibushi has been my G1 Climax 25 MVP thus far and Naito may be the most entertaining member of the New Japan roster right now. Everyone is onboard with his new heel persona and can’t wait to see what he does next. This main event has the makings of something truly special and I’ll be tremendously disappointed if it’s anything less than great. Elsewhere on the Night 11 card, Togi Makabe takes on A.J. Styles in a clash of styles that could end up working well. We also have what will most likely be the worst G1 match this year: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Bad Luck Fale. But, hey, we’re getting Naito vs. Ibushi, so keep your chin up.
New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 25 – Night 11
August 5, 2015
Iwate Industrial Bunka Center Apio
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2) vs. Bad Luck Fale (6)
- All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): N/A
- Last Singles Match: N/A
- Favorite: Bad Luck Fale (69%)
- What to Watch For: We’ve been dreading this day from the moment blocks were announced. Some had hope given Tenzan’s ability to step it up big time during G1 Climax season and while the big man has given it his all, there’s not much left. Bad Luck Fale continues to grow and not for the better, his enormous (and at this point sloppy) weight has killed any and all mobility he once had. It will be a miracle if this is even a passable match.
Katsuyori Shibata (8) vs. Toru Yano (2)
- All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): 3-0 Katsuyori Shibata
- Last Singles Match: NJPW Tsuyoku-Are 2004 (September 20, 2004) Katsuyori Shibata def. Toru Yano
- Favorite: Katsuyori Shibata (84%)
- What to Watch For: As far as a pure in-ring, star-rating, etc. type match, this may be the low point for Shibata this year. That doesn’t mean this won’t be one of the most entertaining matches on this show or any other. Just imagine Yano being, well, Yano and Shibata being Shibata (aka rolling his eyes at Yano’s annoying antics and kicking the shit out of him). Just imagine how incredible the final Penalty Kick is going to be. It’s also cool that these two had three matches back in 2004 but haven’t met since.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6) vs. Doc Gallows (2)
- All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): 1-0 Hiroshi Tanahashi
- Last Singles Match: NJPW G1 Climax 24 – Night 2 (July 23, 2014) Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Doc Gallows
- Favorite: Hiroshi Tanahashi (93%)
- What to Watch For: Tanahashi has had a stellar tournament thus far and while he hasn’t been blowing people away with incredible MOTY level matches, he’s been consistently great, regardless of opponent. This will be a tough task, even for Tanahashi as he has to drag a usable match out of perhaps the worst competitors in the G1 this year. Gallows has no redeeming value and is a black hole of charisma. I have no doubt Tanahashi will make this work, so if you’ve been skipped Gallows matches out of principle, put your guard down for a night.
Togi Makabe (6) vs. A.J. Styles (6)
- All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): 1-0 A.J. Styles
- Last Singles Match: NJPW G1 Climax 24 – Night 11 (August 8, 2014) A.J. Styles def. Togi Makabe
- Favorite: A.J. Styles (87%)
- What to Watch For: Styles has been an MVP candidate throughout this tournament and while I haven’t been a fan of Makabe in 2015, I think these two should be able to put together something great. The main event (which I’ll talk about in a moment) should be the best match on the card but look for this one to have sleeper potential. Makabe can find a groove with the right guy
Tetsuya Naito (6) vs. Kota Ibushi (6)
- All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): 2-0 Kota Ibushi
- Last Singles Match: NJPW New Japan Cup 2015 – Night 7 (March 15, 2015) Kota Ibushi def. Tetsuya Naito
- Favorite: Kota Ibushi (61%)
- What to Watch For: Can you say hyped? Their last match (New Japan Cup 2015 semifinals) got 4.5* from Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer and **** from our very own Bryan Rose. It was a fantastic match and both men have improved since then, notably Naito, whose character evolution has turned him back into a major player in New Japan. 61% of our pick’em participants had Ibushi winning this battle of the former Golden Stardust team. I’d imagine if we took a poll today, that number would be much lower, in fact, Naito may have the higher percentage. I honestly don’t know who’s going to win this one and that makes it all the more fun. This is going to be spectacular.
Rest of the Card:
- Yohei Komatsu, Tiger Mask, Yuji Nagata & Satoshi Kojima vs. David Finlay Jr, Mascara Dorada, Michael Elgin & Hirooki Goto
- Jay White & Tomoaki Honma vs. Cody Hall & Karl Anderson
- Tomohiro Ishii & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi
- Captain New Japan, Ryusuke Taguchi & KUSHIDA vs. Gedo, YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada