New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 27 Night 10
July 30, 2017
Gifu Industrial Hall
Gifu, Japan

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G1 Climax 27 – B Block
EVIL (8) Def. Toru Yano (2)

Yano was mathematically eliminated from the tournament following a failed low-blow/roll-up two minutes into this match, so if you picked him to win the block, 2017 was not your year. Try again in 2018. **

G1 Climax 27 – B Block
Minoru Suzuki (6) Def. Tama Tonga (4)

Tama ambushed Desperado on the ramp, took his mask and hid his body in a laundry crate in attempt to disguise himself from Suzuki who quickly recognized him, leading to a long brawl on the outside. Once they got in the ring they only went a few more minutes before Suzuki won with a Gotch piledriver. Decent little match, though unnotable ***

G1 Climax 27 – B Block
SANADA (6) Def. Michael Elgin (4)

SANADA needs to ditch the entrance mask as soon as possible. I love the guy and want him to be a star in this company, but the mask is already beginning to hold him back. It looks utterly ridiculous. Regardless, both guys worked hard despite clearly being exhausted from the insane G1 schedule, especially Elgin who’s been killing himself every night and having some of the most move-heavy matches of the tournament. On top of being tired there were also some clear chemistry issues between the two as they never really clicked until the end. It was a slow, methodical match in which I understand the reasoning behind, but as a result I do have to consider it a bit disappointing, at least relative to what I thought an Elgin vs. SANADA match would and should be, fairly or unfairly. ***1/2

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G1 Climax 27 – B Block
Kenny Omega (8) Def. Satoshi Kojima (0)

I could be wrong, but I get the sense that this is Kojima’s last tournament. As seen with Tenzan, Liger and now Nagata, whenever old wrestlers are announced to be on their way out, New Japan tends to have them job to the younger guys, and though Kojima has not announced that he’s on his way out, the booking would indicate such. I hope and pray this is not the case but it sure does look like it may be. With the loss here, he was mathematically eliminated as he heads into his sixth match with a goose egg.

Omega wore his house show pants here as a way of disrespecting Kojima by saying he’s easy work, which could be more evidence of my previous point. While slow in the beginning, while it took a while to really get going, once they kicked it into high gear, they delivered. Kojima fought Omega to the death, trying his hardest to show that he’s the same wrestler he’s always been and that his age has not stopped him from being a great wrestler. He got back up every time Omega knocked him down, he gave Omega more than Omega was expecting him to, he damn near took him to the limit, but unfortunately his age and a One-Winged Angel did him in. No matter how hard he tries, he’s an old man, and the younger guys on the roster are better than he is. It’s sad, but it’s reality. It’s cruel, harsh reality. And I appreciate it from that perspective. Very good match. ****

G1 Climax 27 – B Block
Kazuchika Okada (10) Def. Juice Robinson (2)

From WWE developmental jobber to goofy New Japan under-carder to borderline main eventer; I cannot recall a wrestler having as incredible a story as Juice Robinson. Who in their right mind would have guessed when he walked out of WWE in 2015 that within two years he would be headlining New Japan shows. Who in their right mind would have guessed that he would be one of the 25 best wrestlers in the world. No one would have guessed. No one saw it coming. Stories like his remind me how amazing wrestling can be sometimes. He bet on himself, he rolled the dice on his career, he wanted to do his own thing and make a name for himself without being held down by a silly developmental gimmick…and goddammit, he did it.

2017 in a lot of ways has been his year. He worked his way up the card from the mid-card multi-man tag scene to NEVER scene when he wrestled Goto and then from there worked his way up to the Intercontinental scene when he wrestled Naito, and here, on a random tour-stop show in the middle of the G1, he reached the top. He met Okada, the man standing at the peak of the mountain looking down upon everyone, waiting for Juice to reach him just so he could knock him back down. Granted it was a league match, this was what Juice has been pushing himself towards all year. He lost to Goto and he lost to Naito, but he proved himself in those matches. He showed that he can hang with those close to the top; now was his chance to show that he can hang with the king.


 


Juice worked the match like he wanted nothing more than to prove himself to Okada and to the fans. Okada threw everything he had at him and Juice absorbed all of it. He was unwilling to quit, unwilling to die, he had too much pride, he kept clawing up the side of that mountain until he no longer could. He knocked Okada around a bit, but he was unable to knock him down. He did well, he lasted longer than anyone thought he would, but at the end of the day he was simply not good enough. Will he ever be good enough? Who knows. Tonight was not his night, however he did prove that he could hang in there with the best in the world, and in the eyes of many viewers, perhaps that was all they needed.

A memorable point in the match from Okada’s perspective was him angrily yelling at Juice for what appeared to be no reason while Juice was on the ground. It was unexpected and unlike the Okada we know. Okada is going through a change in mood, and it could be what costs him down the line. He loses his temper at the drop of a dime now, and while he’s been able to get by on it, he’s going to need to learn how to control it, because if not, someone is going to take advantage. Whether it be Omega, whether it be Naito, whether it be SANADA, or whether it be Juice Robinson, his opponents are going to discover how to make him lose control, and it very well may be his demise. A unique performance by him here, unlike anything we ever see from him, so even though there’s been a handful of better matches in the tournament, this was one of the most memorable. Must-watch. ****1/4

Final Thoughts:

One of the lesser G1 shows up to this point with only the top two matches being must-see. Everyone clearly needs a break, everyone is exhausted, so some of the matches just are what they are. Either way, it was a decent night of wrestling.