New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 27 Night 11
August 1, 2017
Kagoshima Arena

Watch: NJPW WorldView updated VOW G1 Climax 27 Pick’Em standings on our forums at voicesofwrestling.com/forums

Undercard:

  • Michael Elgin & Jushin Thunder Liger def. Katsuya Kitamura & Shota Umino
  • Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & El Desperado def. Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Hirai Kawato
  • SANADA & BUSHI def. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
  • EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi def. Kenny Omega & Chase Owens
  • Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano def. Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi

G1 Climax 27 – A Block
YOSHI-HASHI def. Bad Luck Fale

Arguably the biggest upset so far this G1, YOSHI-HASHI pinned Bad Luck Fale after transitioning a failed Butterfly Lock attempt into a victory roll. Both the crowd and NJPW World commentators exploded at the three count.

Upset aside, this match was fairly bland but told a good story with YOSHI-HASHI knowing he had no chance of actually beating Fale one-on-one and instead attempted to get a countout win. When that didn’t work he went to his high-flying offense trying to chop the giant tree down. The upset was a cool moment but there have been better matches by both throughout this tournament. **1/2

G1 Climax 27 – A Block
Zack Sabre Jr (8) def. Togi Makabe (6)

Two of the biggest surprises of the 27th G1 Climax faced off in this match as former junior Zack Sabre Jr and the Unchained Gorilla Togi Makabe battled in a, you guessed it, surprisingly great match.

Sabre’s dominance—he’s currently tied for the A Block lead at 8 points—and Makabe’s competence—he’s had a handful of super fun, well worked matches—have become two of the biggest storylines in this year’s tournament. This match, as one would expect with Makabe, was not “pretty” and Sabre struggled often to get Makabe into the submission holds and counters he’s become so well known for. Makabe’s strategy was as it always is: beat the fuck out of the opponent and it worked to perfection. Sabre was rattled throughout and even abandoned his gameplan at one point to get into a striking match was Makabe. Spoiler: it didn’t end well for ZSJ.

A failed King Kong Knee Drop from Makabe set the stage for the finish as Sabre quickly took advantage locking Makabe in an Octopus Lock only to quickly transition into an ankle lock generating the rare Togi Makabe tap out. ***½

Keep up with our G1 Climax 27 Coverage at http://www.voicesofwrestling.com/category/vow-latest/reviews/njpw/njpw-g1/ 

G1 Climax 27 – A Block
Tomohiro Ishii (8) def. Yuji Nagata (0)

Dammit! He was so close. He almost had it. Nagata’s continued journey to avoid goose eggs in his final G1 Climax reached a fever pitch on Night 11 as Nagata went to the absolute limit with Ishii. These two killed each other and threw out literally everything in their arsenal. Exploder suplexes, brainbusters, spin kicks, chops, elbows, knees, you name it, these two probably did it. Nagata is 49 years old but you wouldn’t know it from this match. Sure, his comebacks don’t have the speed they once did, or, hell, what they had two weeks ago but they are still remarkable. I’m not sure if this was Nagata’s best performance in the G1 yet, but it was certainly up there.

Watching unspoiled, my heart stopped at a Nagata Drive Screw and an amazing 2.99999 count where Ishii just barely got his shoulder up. Sadly, that was the closest Nagata would get on this night as Ishii quickly took back control of the match and hit a brainbuster of his own for the three. Don’t skip this one. ****¼

G1 Climax 27 – A Block
Tetsuya Naito (8) def. Hirooki Goto (6)

This was just okay. A match that seemed befitting of Night 11 of the G1 Climax, when bodies are starting to break down and guys are running on fumes. Both men are capable of more and have done more throughout this tournament so I chalk this one up to a number of factors. The story of the match itself was good it just didn’t seem to work in practicality and the crowd was certainly not invested in it.

Naito and Goto each focused on the others neck—given their respective finishers it made a lot of sense. After what seemed like an eternity of plodding around, both men started attempting to put the other away with their finisher. Goto went for the Ushigoroshi but Naito countered it into a DDT. This gave Naito the opening he was looking for as he attempted a series of Destinos that Goto countered into the Ushigoroshi. The work was fluid and at times pretty brutal but the near falls just didn’t matter and the lack of crowd buzz certainly hurt the match.

Naito was eventually able to hit his Destino and another for good measure finally putting Goto away and securing a tie atop the A Block at 8 points. **3/4

G1 Climax 27 – A Block
Kota Ibushi (6) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (8)

Kagoshima is Ibushi’s hometown so it was obvious from the moment his music hit that everyone was going to be behind the Golden Star. This gave Tanahashi the opening to play his patented asshole veteran heel role. It’s a role I argued on last week’s VOW Flagship Podcast that should become his standard fare. Tanahashi is just so good at it and him being such an icon for so many years helps fuel it that much more. You’ll still have your diehard Tanahashi fans—and there were a few here hoping and praying he’d wipe sweat onto their towels or grab their Tanahashi bears—but the younger, newer fans don’t have the same connection to him. Play that up. Let Tanahashi truly be the out-of-touch, former ace that has turned into an absolute glory hog that can’t comprehend or understand his current lot in life. With established stars like Kazuchika Okada and budding babyface in waiting megastars in Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito, NJPW less so than at any point during Tanahashi’s tenure needs to rely on him.

This match in a lot of ways showed just how powerful a hated Tanahashi can be, particularly in Japan where most everyone toes the line between heel and face depending on the situation. On this night, Tanahashi was a total dickhead almost from the beginning. What started as a respectable exchange of strikes and holds quickly turned on its side when Tanahashi took a cheapshot during the rope break. It was on. From that moment until the very last moments of the match Tanahashi worked heel, ignoring future rope breaks, trying to cut out Ibushi’s knees, spending any free moment jaw-jacking at the fans or playing air guitar. The crowd’s hatred only intensified with each subsequent heel tactic. This only enhanced Ibushi’s comebacks which had the crowd going nuts.

While I don’t think this is Ibushi’s best performance of the G1, it does give us a glimpse into how Ibushi would work if he became a New Japan main eventer. It was more methodical, more consciously-paced than your standard Ibushi sprint. With that said, he also busted out the Golden Triangle Moonsault, deadlift German and most of the insane moves we’ve come to know and love from Ibushi.

The closing stretch did a great job of tying the story of the match together as Tanahashi went for a High Fly Flow but Ibushi got his knees up. On any other night, this may have given Ibushi a distinct advantage but after Tanahashi worked his knees time and time again through the bulk of the match, Ibushi could do nothing but scream in pain. Eventually both men got to their feet with Kota getting a leg up—literally—hitting Tanahashi with a brutal kick. Ibushi then hit his Sit-Out Powerbomb but to the surprise of every single person in the arena, Tanahashi kicked out at 2. Ibushi couldn’t believe it and pleaded with Red Shoes that he had to have made a mistake.

Realizing he didn’t have the time nor the luxury of fucking around with the former Ace, Ibushi rose to his feet and drove a knee right into Tanahashi’s jaw. This looked sick and I’m positive Tanahashi is going to feel that in the morning. This strike caused Tanahashi to fall like a sack of potatoes giving Ibushi the chance to pin him for three.

Both men have had better matches so far this G1 and likely will top it on later nights. Still, this is one to go out of your way to check out. ****1/4

Final Thoughts:

Both Ishii/Nagata and Ibushi/Tanahashi as must-sees from Night 11 of the G1 Climax 27.

Current G1 Climax 27 Standings:

Current standings
Block A Block B
Zack Sabre Jr. 8 Kazuchika Okada 10
Hiroshi Tanahashi 8 EVIL 8
Tomohiro Ishii 8 Kenny Omega 8
Tetsuya Naito 8 Minoru Suzuki 6
Togi Makabe 6 SANADA 6
Hirooki Goto 6 Tama Tonga 4
Bad Luck Fale 6 Michael Elgin 4
Kota Ibushi 6 Juice Robinson 2
YOSHI-HASHI 4 Toru Yano 2
Yuji Nagata 0 Satoshi Kojima 0