New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 27 – Night 5
July 23, 2017
Tokyo, Japan
Machida Gymnasium

Watch: NJPW World

Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan def. Michael Elgin & Katsuya Kitamura

TenCozy vs Team Holy Shit That’s a Lot of Muscles. Not hard to see who’s winning here. This is previewing Kojima vs Elgin, where both guys will be looking for their first points. Big Mike looked strong here. I’m not sure he took a single bump until the very end, and with his war with Okada still fresh, I don’t blame him. Kitamura fell to the Cozy Cutter and a Lariat. **1/2

Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & El Desperado def. Juice Robinson, David Finlay, & Hirai Kawato

Juice vs Suzuki is on the next show, which seems like an easy win for Suzuki. This is almost over early when Suzuki locks in a heel hook on Juice and just destroys the leg for the next five minutes. Kawato proves to be either the bravest or stupidest person in the ring, as he goes after Suzuki no less than three times. Kawato takes some mean slaps from Suzuki and the Angel Wings from Despy, and Suzuki-gun gets the win while Juice limps out of the gym. **3/4

EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi def. Tama Tonga & Chase Owens

Hiromu looks so lost and sad without his stuffed kitty. He walks like it’s still in his arms. Very sad. Tama Tonga and EVIL fight at the next show. The highlight is Chase nearly tripping over Tama has the Bad Boy rolls out of the ring, then getting a knee to the head in what looked like some miscommunication. Chase taps shortly after to EVIL and the Banshee Muzzle. Tama tries to sneak attack EVIL after the match with a Gun Stun, but the larger man tosses him aside. **

Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi def. Toru Yano & Jado

This is a preview of Yano and Omega on the next show, which should be an instant classic. As expected, it’s just comedy. Yujiro pinned Jado with a DDT after the matched earned six chuckles and a guffaw. **

SANADA & BUSHI def. Kazuchika Okada & Gedo

Okada vs SANADA is main eventing the next show, and a lot of people are looking forward to it. What I don’t look forward to is looking at SANADA’s stupid mask. Why would BUSHI let someone walk out with him with a mask that ugly, when his own are always impeccably awesome? BUSHI pins Gedo with the MX in another short, inoffensive but also not super interesting, match. **3/4

Zack Sabre Jr (4) def. YOSHI-HASHI (2) 

Both Sabre and YOSHI have two points going into this match. I find ZSJ impossible to recap. It would go something like “He locks the arm, no wait, the ankle, no wait, now the knee and the shoulder, no wait now he’s stomping the elbow.” He’s just so smooth transitioning from one thing to the next. He does focus mostly on the arm here, at one point wrapping up both of YOSHI’s arms and a leg to prevent him from reaching the ropes. YOSHI finally gets some of his signature offense going, but LOOSE EXPLOSIONS straight into Sabre’s knees. YOSHI tries to powerbomb Sabre out of an armbar like Ibushi did, but can’t get him up. YOSHI outgrapples Sabre momentarily, countering an armbar into Karma, but Sabre slides out into the Octopus, grabs the second arm when YOSHI reaches for the ropes, and YOSHI taps to the *sigh* Hurrah! Another Year, This One Will Surely Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All To Happiness.

This was a dominant performance from ZSJ, and exactly what he needed after the loss to Ibushi. Too one sided to be really good, but Sabre is so much fun to watch. ***1/2

Hiroshi Tanahashi (4) def. Yuji Nagata (0)

Tanahashi got his first two points via count out against Fale on night 3, while Nagata has yet to get on the board. If Nagata loses here, it feels like he’ll go winless until he can play spoiler on the last night. Nagata outwrestles Tana early, but Tana works a Figure Four. In a beautiful moment, Tanahashi hesitates on delivering a European Uppercut with his injured arm, instead kicking Nagata in the knee. We’re getting heel Tanahashi here, as the crowd is firmly behind Nagata. Like his last match, a slap sets Nagata off, and he responds with a flurry of strikes. Nagata eventually locks in the armbar on Tana’s injured arm and really cranks it in, but Tana gets a foot on the rope. A big Exploder suplex off the top rope gets a two count for Nagata. Brainbuster! Another near fall. Tana slips out of the Backdrop Driver, and dropkicks the weakened knee. Now it’s a slap fight, and holy crap Tanahashi slaps Nagata so hard he cuts him under the eye. Nagata is reeling. A Slingblade, a battle on the top turnbuckle, and two High Fly Flows finish it.

Great fight. These guys really know how and when to up the intensity. Every move and strike they did mattered.  This is the kind of match that we will be overlooked by the time the tournament is over, because the G1 is a harsh mistress.  ****1/4

Bad Luck Fale (4) def. Tetsuya Naito (4)

Naito has 4 points and has yet to lose, while Fale lost his last match and has 2 points. Fale is also a heartless, stone cold murderer, and I hope Naito is able to get some vengeance for poor Daryl. Naito might actually be upset, as he attacks Fale before the bell. Fale is too big for Naito though, and there’s a lot of stomping and sitting from the Underboss. Fale counters Destino twice, and hits the Grenade, but Naito kicks out! But the Bad Luck Fall kills Naito like he was a stuffed cat, and Fale wins.

This wasn’t great. Most of the match was Fale being too big for Naito to use any of his signature moves. Daryl remains unavenged. **1/2

Kota Ibushi (4) def. Tomohiro Ishii (2) 

This is one of the more highly anticipated matches of the tournament. Both men have two points. Fun opening sequence as they dodge each other’s signature offense like their Jr Heavyweights killing the business. Ibushi is completely outmatched in strikes early on. Ibushi is finally able to start laying some kicks in, but Ishii literally brushes them off and chops Ibushi in the goddamn throat. They’re just knocking the shit out of each other now, it’s great. Ibushi goes for what looks like Boma Ye after a German suplex, but is countered with an enziguri. Ibushi flips out of a German and nearly knocks Ishii’s head off with a kick. Clotheslines, kicks, suplexes, kick outs at one, headbutts, who’s doing what to who almost doesn’t matter. Ibushi finally stuns the Stone Pitbull with a Rainmaker-like clothesline and a brutal knee before finishing him with the Last Ride Powerbomb.

Great hard-hitting match. Ishii is great. Ibushi is great. Wrestling is great. You are great. ****1/2

Togi Makabe (2) def. Hirooki Goto (4)

Goto is undefeated so far, and Makabe has yet to win. They start out by running into each other. Goto knocks Makabe off the top turnbuckle to the floor, and does his best to throw Makabe into every guardrail at ringside. Makabe endures the flurry of strikes, beckoning Goto on, and Goto is more than happy to oblige. Makabe finally gets going, they exchange clotheslines and Makabe flips Goto with a clothesline. He misses the King Kong Knee Drop though and Goto takes advantage with… another clothesline. They battle on the top turnbuckle, and Makabe nails a kneeling Goto in the face with the knee drop. A Spider Suplex followed by another knee drop scores the win and two points for Makabe.

Another hard-hitting match, though lacking the creativity of the bout before it. The ending five minutes or so saved it from being a complete monotonous. ***1/4

Final Thoughts

Two great matches on this show and not much else. The undercard was the first show which felt completely skippable. No story progression and not a lot of effort. It’s understandable that guys take these tag matches off, so I don’t mind, but it doesn’t leave a lot of reason to watch them. But check out Tanahashi/Nagata, Ibushi/Ishii, and ZSJ/Yoshi if you like ZSJ.

G1 Climax 27 Standings (After Night 5):

Current standings
Block A Block B
Bad Luck Fale 4 Kazuchika Okada 4
Hirooki Goto 4 Kenny Omega 4
Kota Ibushi 4 Evil 2
Tetsuya Naito 4 Juice Robinson 2
Zack Sabre Jr. 4 Sanada 2
Hiroshi Tanahashi 4 Minoru Suzuki 2
Tomohiro Ishii 2 Tama Tonga 2
Togi Makabe 2 Toru Yano 2
Yoshi-Hashi 2 Michael Elgin 0
Yuji Nagata 0 Satoshi Kojima 0

VOW G1 Climax 27 Pick’Em Standings:

You can view updated VOW G1 Climax 27 Pick’Em standings at http://www.voicesofwrestling.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&p=56140&sid=387fd44830a62efdc1b36dcdea591b64#p56131