New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 27 – A Block Finals
August 11, 2017
Sumo Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World/ VOW G1 Climax 27 Pick’Em Standings:

Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & El Desperado def. Hirai Kawato, Tomoyuki Oka, & Katsuya Kitamura

Suzuki faces Yano on the last night of B Block. He’s been beating up Young Lions all tournament though, so now the Lions try to get some revenge. Suzuki had an instant classic with Okada, but otherwise has had a quiet tournament. Suzuki is in the match the entire time until the end. The Lions get in some hopeful offense on Suzuki, but he slaps the face off of Kawato before Despy finishes it with the Angel Wings. **1/2

Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa def. SANADA & BUSHI

Tonga and SANADA fight tomorrow for bragging rights. SANADA has been overshadowed by his stablemate EVIL, while Tama has gone under the radar this tournament. I doubt anything changes on the final night. Tama pins BUSHI with a Gun Stun. **

Satoshi Kojima & Juice Robison deafeat EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi

Kojima faces EVIL on the last night, while Juice fights Michael Elgin. Nothing in on the line in these matches, though EVIL can secure a very successful tournament with a win. He’s had a great tournament and is on the verge of a breakout year. Juice’s tournament has not been as successful, but he’s been a highlight. His match with Suzuki set the stage for a injured leg that would plague him the rest of the tournament, and his desire to fight through it in every match made him one of the most likable guys in New Japan. Here, Juice flips Hiromu with a Western Lariat and gets the win with Pulp Friction. **1/2

Raymond Rowe, Hanson, Michael Elgin, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Ricochet defeat Cody, Hangman Page, Chase Owens, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson

Elgin faces Juice tomorrow. Elgin had two of the best matches in the G1 this year, but it’s been a disappointing tournament point wise. In this match, the Bullet Club, War Machine, and Ricochet all return to New Japan for the Sumo Hall shows. Cody and Page challenge War Machine for the Tag Titles on Sunday, while the Bucks defend the Jr Tag Titles against Taguchi and Ricochet. Elgin pins Chase with an Elgin bomb. ***

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Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano defeat Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi

Yano looks to beat his old rival Suzuki tomorrow night, while Okada and Omega decide who wins the B block with their third match in eight months. Okada is the boring but easy choice for tournament MVP. Everyone’s best match comes against Okada. Meanwhile, everyone’s worst match, rating wise, comes against Yano. Okada has tape on his neck after his last few grueling matches, and you just know that’s going to come into play tomorrow. Yano pins Yujiro with a low blow and a roll up. **3/4

Bad Luck Fale (12) def. Yuji Nagata (2)

Nagata’s final match in his final tournament. Unfortunately it’s against Fale, who loves destroying dreams and everything beautiful. With a win, Fale could finish as high as second place in A block. Nagata has been one of the emotional centers of this tournament, and every close countout and nearfall here has added weight. On commentary, Rocky Romero tells us that Nagata was Fale’s mentor in the dojo. Nagata works the leg of Fale, and eventually counters the Grenade into the armbar, and transitions to several other submissions. He gets the Backdrop Driver, but Fale kicks out! Fale is too big, overpowering Nagata’s suplex attempts. Fale gets Nagata up for the Bad Luck Fall, and the crowd is screaming for him to squirm out, but it is not to be. The Bad Luck Fall kills Nagata dead, ending any chance at a happy ending for Blue Justice.

The in-ring work here was standard, but everything was elevated by this being Nagata’s last G1 match. After the match, the two salute each other in respect and Fale bows and leaves the ring. A rare sign of emotion from the Underboss. ***1/4

Togi Makabe (8) def. YOSHI-HASHI (4)

These might be the two wrestlers I care about the least in this G1. On the last night of A block, with nothing at stake, after three weeks of consuming so much wrestling that I wake up in a cold sweat thinking about star ratings and potential Tokyo Dome matches, I can’t think of a match I would want to watch least. YOSHI’s version of the Butterfly Lock looks terrible. He goes toe to toe with Makabe, but Makabe secures his standard eight points with the Spider Suplex and King Kong Knee Drop. ***

Zack Sabre Jr (10) def. Tomohiro Ishii (8)

Both these guys have been great in this tournament. ZSJ has put himself on the New Japan map with his performance in the G1. Ishii defeated Zack in the United States title tournament in a fantastic match, so Zack is looking to get his win back. These guys are two of my favorites, so I’m really looking forward to this one. I love the way Zack includes his style of wrestling into everything in the ring. He doesn’t do “Strong Style” like so many others in New Japan. He doesn’t stand there and exchange forearms and slaps. When a guy like Ishii gives him a forearm, Zack goes down. It’s refreshing after watching every jobber try to go toe to toe with guys like Ishii or Makabe, to just watch a guy take a hard hit and collapse.

Zack is so great at transitioning from move to move, and Ishii makes a great base to play with. The ending is pretty incredible, as Ishii goes for the sliding clothesline but Zack counters into an armbar. He wraps up every limb of Ishii, I don’t even know what to call the hold he has him in. Zack has Ishii in an armbar, a legbar, a half crab, and is kicking the back of Ishii’s skull all at the same time. Ishii is trapped, he can’t move, and the ref stops the match! Zack Sabre Jr wins by ref stoppage! ****1/4

Hirooki Goto (10) def. Kota Ibushi (10)

For a guy who made the finals last year, Goto has had a really unremarkable tournament. Meanwhile Ibushi has been a breath of fresh air in the G1, having great matches and racking up points. This is a good, hard-hitting match, but is hurt by neither of these guys having anything to fight for. Ibushi goes for his new knee strike finisher, but Goto counters with a headbutt, a reverse GTR, and the GTR for the win. There’s not too much to say about the match. It was really good, but is going to disappear into the annex of this G1 without much fanfare. ****

Tetsuya Naito (14) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi (12)

The match between these two at Wrestle Kingdom is my second favorite match of the year. These two pulled ahead of the rest of the block before the show, leaving everything in A block down to this match. Naito is the heavy favorite to win the whole tournament. Naito is also a heavy favorite with the crowd. Naito focuses on Tanahashi’s injured arm with a series of arm wringers and dropkicks. Tanahashi eventually hits High Fly Flow to the outside after a couple of Dragon Screws. It’s arm attacks vs knee attacks so far. The crowd keeps changing their chants from “Go Ace!” to “Naito!” and back. Tanahashi nails a standing Naito with High Fly Flow, but misses the second one. Tanahashi Dragon Screw’s Naito off the top rope, and traps him in the Cloverleaf. Naito tapped to this at Dominion, but Naito crawls to the ropes!

That was a brilliant spot. Between Naito tapping to that move before, and an earlier ref stoppage in the show, there was a real threat of Tanahashi winning there. Naito gets Tanahashi into the corner and lands Super Destino, but Tanahashi kicks out! Tana counters a second Destino in a series of neckbreakers, but Naito finally hits it. He picks Tanahashi up and finishes him off with another Destino. Naito is the winner of A block, and advances to the G1 finals.

Great match. The focus on the limbs was a constant throughout the match, and the last 10 minutes was nail biting. The crowd was insane. This was one of the best matches of the tournament. ****3/4

Final Thoughts:

A Match of the Year candidate, two other matches at 4 stars or better, and an emotional final G1 match for Nagata. This show is a must watch.