Togi Makabe wins G1 Climax Tournament
Togi Makabe defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at the Sumo Hall in Tokyo this past Sunday, to become the first G1 Climax Tournament Champion to ever win the tournament after losing his first three matches.
The buzz around the internet was very positive for this tournament, not so much for the quality of the matches this year’s tournament produced, but rather the very compelling booking, especially heading into the final. Nakamura and Makabe were perhaps the two highest ranking heavyweights in New Japan to have never won the competition and both were given very different paths to the final.
Makabe, as mentioned earlier, dropped his first three matches of the tournament, dropping decisions to Takao Omori, Giant Bernard and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Essentially, not only did Makabe need to win out in order to have any hopes of advancing, but he’d need some assistance as well. Even when Makabe won his final match of the first round, his future was very much in doubt. He needed Tanahashi to defeat Zero-1 Champion Masato Tanaka, in order to advance. He got the help he needed, and advanced to the Semi-Finals where he met Pro Wrestling NOAH up and comer Takashi Sugiura, who himself was digging out of a hole from day 1. Makabe defeated the outsider, and advanced to the finals.
Nakamura on the other hand, came oh-so-close to becoming the first man to ever complete a perfect run in the G1. Heading into the tournament, Block-B looked like it would be brutally difficult to emerge from, with Nakamura, Nagata, Nakanishi and Tenzan all being in the blocks as former G1 winners and former IWGP Champions. Nakamura however, surprised many with the ease in which he cut through the division, posting a perfect 6-0 record after the first round of compeition. Nakamura then defeated the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi with ease in the Semi-Finals, in way that almost made the final feel like a formality.
On top of their paths to the final, there was the obvious recent history between the two. Makabe had been the head of the heel-GBH faction for a year or two and had enjoyed a lengthy run with the tag team belts with Toru Yano. In April, Yano turned on Makabe and as it turns out, Nakamura was behind the whole thing. Nakamura turned heel and quickly swooped in and filled the vacancy left at the top of GBH and re-named the group ?CHAOS?. Makabe was left with just the lowly Tomaki Honma as his loyal partner, and the two feuded with CHAOS throughout the summer. Although we had seen numerous Makabe-Yano match ups, we never saw Makabe-Nakamura.
All three elements combined to make a very exciting main event, as either one of them were a very viable candidates to win the tournament either way you cut it. The big dramatic scene at the end resulted in Makabe scoring the win, and he and Honma embracing in the ring, having not only overcome CHAOS but also breaking the glass celling.
When Makabe came into New Japan in 1999, he was primarily used as a junior. He received some praise as being a firery fun extra wheel in tag matches, but to many, seemed too limited to be a bona fide main event star. He milled around the mid-card, essentially going nowhere until the company came under new management. The decision was made to push him hard largely because the company said it needed new stars. He turned on then GBH leader Hiroyoshi Tenzan and enjoyed a protracted feud with him before moving on to other things. In 2007, he turned heads with strong matches with Yuji Nagata among others. He has come very close to winning the G1 the last few years, reaching the semi-finals in 2007 as well as the finals last year.
Attendance for the tournament was all over the place. The first night at the Sun Plaza in Hiroshima, the first night at the Sumo Hall and the Yokohama show, were said to be pretty big disappointments, while the Osaka, Aichi and Sumo Hall shows exceeded expectations. So a mixed bag overall, but on the whole, it was a decent tournament at the gate. Given the economic climate, that’s probably good news for the company.
NJPW, 8/7/09 (SXW)
Hiroshima Sun Plaza
3,000 Fans?- No Vacancy
1. Togi Makabe beat Karl Anderson?(5:18)?with a top rope King Kong knee drop.
2.?G1 Climax – Block A: TAJIRI?? beat Giant Bernard ?(10:33)?with a Buzzsaw kick.
3.?G1 Climax – Block B: Manabu Nakanishi  beat Takashi Iizuka ?(11:58)?by DQ.
4.?G1 Climax – Block A: Masato Tanaka?? beat Toru Yano ?(10:44)?with the Sliding D.
5. Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger beat Yuji Nagata & Kazuchika Okada?(10:20)?when Tiger used a chickenwing facelock on Okada.
6.?G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan  beat Takashi Sugiura???(12:42)?with the Anaconda Vice.
7.?G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Hirooki Goto ?(16:42)?with a knee kick.
8.?G1 Climax – Block A: Takao Omori  beat Hiroshi Tanahashi ?(18:20)?with an Axe Bomber.
NJPW, 8/8/09 (Samurai! TV)
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
1. Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt beat Milano Collection AT & Taichi?(12:33)?when Devitt used a high-angle front cradle on Taichi.
2.?G1 Climax – Block A: Toru Yano  beat TAJIRI???(11:34)?by DQ.
3.?G1 Climax – Block A: Takao Omori  beat Togi Makabe ?(14:40)?with an Axe Bomber.
4. Tomohiro Ishii, Karl Anderson & YAMATO??beat Manabu Nakanishi, Tiger Mask & Kazuchika Okada(10:27)?when Anderson used the Gun Stun on Okada.
5.?G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata  beat Hirooki Goto ?(17:48)?with a backdrop hold.
6.?G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan  beat Takashi Iizuka ?(10:59)?by DQ.
7.?G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Takashi Sugiura???(13:51)?with a knee kick.
8.?G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  beat Giant Bernard ?(19:57)?with a front cradle.
NJPW, 8/9/09 (Samurai! TV)
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
1. TAJIRI??beat Mitsuhide Hirasawa?(7:37)?with a Buzzsaw kick.
2.?G1 Climax – Block A: Masato Tanaka?? beat Takao Omori ?(13:08)?with the Sliding D.
3.?G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan ?(8:41)?with the Boma Ye.
4.?G1 Climax – Block A: Giant Bernard  beat Togi Makabe ?(12:15)?with the Bernard Driver.
5. Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt beat Jado & YAMATO??(13:02)?when Taguchi used the Dodon on Jado.
6.?G1 Climax – Block B: Hirooki Goto  beat Manabu Nakanishi ?(14:55)?with the Shouten.
7.?G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata  vs. Takashi Sugiura?? went to a draw?(30:00)?when the time limit expired.
8.?G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  beat Toru Yano ?(18:39)?with the High Fly Flow.
NJPW, 8/10/09 (Samurai! TV)
Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium
1. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii beat Tiger Mask & Kazuchika Okada?(9:59)?when Yano used the Oni Koroshi on Okada.
2.?G1 Climax – Block A: Giant Bernard  beat Takao Omori ?(10:11)?with the Bernard Driver.
3.?G1 Climax – Block A: Masato Tanaka?? beat TAJIRI???(11:24)?by DQ.
4.?G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata  beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan ?(11:01)?with a backdrop hold.
5. Hirooki Goto, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt beat Wataru Inoue, Milano Collection AT & Taichi(10:05)?when Goto used the Sho-Ryu Kekkai on Taichi.
6.?G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Takashi Iizuka ?(5:11)?with the Boma Ye.
7.?G1 Climax – Block B: Takashi Sugiura?? beat Manabu Nakanishi ?(14:22)?with an Olympic slam.
8.?G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  vs. Togi Makabe  went to a draw?(30:00)?when the time limit expired.
NJPW, 8/11/09 (Samurai! TV)
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
1,900 Fans?- Super No Vacancy
1.?G1 Climax – Block A: Toru Yano  beat Takao Omori ?(9:11)?with the Uragasumi.
2.?G1 Climax – Block B: Hirooki Goto  beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan ?(6:57)?with the Shouten.
3.?G1 Climax – Block B: Takashi Sugiura?? beat Takashi Iizuka ?(9:05)?by DQ.
4. Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & Karl Anderson beat Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt?(12:57)?when Nakamura used the Boma Ye on Devitt.
5.?G1 Climax – Block A: Giant Bernard  vs. Masato Tanaka?? went to a double countout(13:07).
6.?G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe  beat TAJIRI???(12:17)?by DQ.
7.?G1 Climax – Block B: Manabu Nakanishi  beat Yuji Nagata ?(21:58)?with a German suplex.
NJPW, 8/13/09 (WPW)
Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
8,400 Fans?- Super No Vacancy
1. Tiger Mask & Mistico beat Tomohiro Ishii & OKUMURA?(10:09)?when Mistico used the La Mistica on OKUMURA.
2.?G1 Climax – Block B: Hirooki Goto  beat Takashi Iizuka ?(12:24)?by DQ.
3.?G1 Climax – Block B: Manabu Nakanishi  beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan ?(10:30)?with the Hercules Cutter.
4.?G1 Climax – Block A: Toru Yano  beat Giant Bernard ?(9:50)?with a horizontal cradle.
5. Takashi Sugiura??& Atsushi Aoki??beat Super Strong Machine & Kazuchika Okada?(11:24)?when Sugiura used an Olympic slam on Okada.
6.?G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe  beat Masato Tanaka???(12:29)?with a top rope King Kong kneedrop.
7.?G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Yuji Nagata ?(17:41)?with the Boma Ye.
8.?G1 Climax – Block A: TAJIRI?? beat Hiroshi Tanahashi ?(18:03)?with a Buzzsaw kick.
NJPW, 8/15/09 (SXW)
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
1. Wataru Inoue, Prince Devitt & Kazuchika Okada beat Giant Bernard, Karl Anderson & OKUMURA(8:49)?when Inoue used a double-arm facebuster on OKUMURA.
2.?G1 Climax – Block B: Takashi Iizuka  beat Yuji Nagata ?(7:53)?by DQ.
3.?G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Manabu Nakanishi ?(7:10)?with the Boma Ye.
4.?G1 Climax – Block B: Takashi Sugiura?? beat Hirooki Goto ?(13:32)?with an avalanche-style Olympic slam.
5.?IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Mistico beat Tiger Mask (c)?(12:36)?with the La Mistica to become the 57th champion.
6.?G1 Climax – Block A: Takao Omori  beat TAJIRI???(1:05)?by DQ.
7.?G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe  beat Toru Yano ?(13:18)?with a top rope King Kong kneedrop.
8.?G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  beat Masato Tanaka???(22:28)?with the High Fly Flow.
NJPW, 8/16/09 (WPW/PPV)
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
11,000 Fans?- Super No Vacancy
1. TAJIRI??beat Kazuchika Okada?(6:15)?with a Buzzsaw kick.
2. Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt beat Jushin Thunder Liger, Milano Collection AT & Taichi(14:46)?when Devitt used the Blackhole Vacation on Taichi.
3.?G1 Climax – Semi Final: Togi Makabe beat Takashi Sugiura??(11:57)?with a top rope King Kong kneedrop.
4.?G1 Climax – Semi Final: Shinsuke Nakamura beat Hiroshi Tanahashi?(13:31)?with the Boma Ye.
5. Masato Tanaka??& Jado beat Hirooki Goto & Wataru Inoue?(12:40)?when Tanaka used the Sliding D on Inoue.
6. Toru Yano, Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson beat Manabu Nakanishi, Takao Omori & Koji Kanemoto(12:04)?when Yano used the Oni Koroshi on Kanemoto.
7. Masahiro Chono & Yuji Nagata beat Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii?(12:52)?when Nagata used a backdrop hold on Ishii.
8.?G1 Climax – Final: Togi Makabe beat Shinsuke Nakamura?(18:29)?with a top rope King Kong kneedrop.
Hiroshi Tanahashi Injured, Vacates IWGP Heavyweight Championship
At a Press Conference in Tokyo the other day, Hiroshi Tanahashi vacated his IWGP Heavyweight Championship due to an eye injury suffered in his G1 Semi-Final match with Nakamura. Apparently during the stretch-run, Nakamura connected with a running knee that cracked Tanahashi’s eye socket. The injury isn’t hugely-serious, but it needs time to heal, and as a result, Tanahashi is going to take 3-4 months off to rest. New Japan officials have set a Title Decision match for the Kobe World Hall show on September 27th between G1 finalists Shinsuke Nakamura and Togi Makabe.
Mistico wins IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
CMLL star Mistico defeated Tiger Mask IV to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship this past Saturday during the first evening of the G1 Sumo Hall double shot. There is no word on who Mistico’s first defense will be against. The match itself was received rather poorly. There was said to be a lot of communication issues between the two, which resulted in some very awkward spots. Tiger Mask in particular was said to look pretty lethargic in the ring.
Kobe Huge Title Match Set For Kobe World Hall Show, Motor City Machine Guns to Get the
The Tanahashi injury fallout has had a big effect on the Kobe World hall show. The original main event was supposed to be between Tanahashi and Tajiri. With Tanahashi getting injured, the match obviously can’t take place. The original agreement with local Kobe Promoters was for New Japan to offer a big title match, and with no champion, it left them in a pinch. As a result, a title decision match has been set pitting G1 Climax Tournament winner Togi Makabe against CHAOS leader Shinsuke Nakamura to determine the new champion. Management is said to be VERY torn at the moment as to who they’re going to go with. On one hand, they don’t want to stunt the momentum of Makabe, while at the same time, Nakamura as a heel has been going well thus far, and they’re looking to push him as strong as possible. Either way, they are said to be confident, but aren’t sure of who it is they’re heading forward with.
The show also received a recent shot in the arm with the addition of Dragon Gate stars CIMA and Don Fuji to the show. The full card is scheduled to be announced at the end of the month.
Also scheduled for the Korakuen Hall on September 13th, are the Motor City Machine Guns, who will get their rematch against the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions ?Apollo 55? (Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi).
Lastly, New Japan has announced their final Sumo Hall show of the year which is scheduled to take place on November 18th called ?Destruction 09?.
Summer Impact 2009 Tour Begins
All Japan’s Summer Impact Tour 2009 kicked off the other day in Tokyo at the Korakuen. The tour will build to the big Keiji Mutoh 25th Anniversary Show at the Sumo Hall on the 30th, and as of right now, its a pretty meaty card.
The main event will feature Keiji Mutoh teaming up Masakatsu Funaki to take on the team of Minoru Suzuki and New Japan star & Mutoh’s arch nemesis, Masahiro Chono. There’s also heat between Funaki and Suzuki (kayfabed of course), stemming from a Pancrase match about 15 years ago where the two worked the first 10 minutes of a 15 minute match before shooting the last five. Funaki won the match, choking Suzuki out. Suzuki has vowed revenge in their first encounter since then.
The Triple Crown belts will also be on the line as Yoshihiro Takayama gets set to defend against Suwama. Suwama lost the belts in September of last year, falling to the Great Muta. Suwama has largely been put over as the top star of the new generation of All Japan stars, and is widely believed to be taking the title this weekend. Takayama is already scheduled for matches outside of All Japan after the show, so its thought that he’s on his way out.
For the first time since the All Japan-Pro Wrestling NOAH split, Kenta Kobashi will be making his first appearance in an AJPW ring. The two companies have reached an agreement that brings Kobashi over for the show, alongside Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and Akihiko Ito. They’ll be teaming up to take on Satoshi Kojima, Hiroshi Yamato & Kai.
Also scheduled for action, we’ll see Osamu Nishimura & Manabu Soya to take on the team of Riki Choshu & Shiro Koshinaka. Many of the fans are well aware of the issues that Choshu and Nishimura had in real life in the past. The All Japan Jr. Heavyweight Title will also be on the line, as Kaz Hayashi will take on Junior Tournament winner Shuji Kondo.
Noboribetsu City Gymnasium
1. KAI vs. NOSAWA Rongai vs. Toshizo
2. Joe Doering vs. Seiya Sanada
3. Osamu Nishimura & Manabu Soya vs. TARU & Hate
4. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Ryota Hama & Tomoya
5. Suwama & Shuji Kondo vs. Minoru & ZODIAC
6. Keiji Muto, Kaz Hayashi & Masayuki Kono vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA
Asahikawa Local Industry Promotion Center
1. KAI vs. Seiya Sanada
2. Ryota Hama vs. Hate
3. Masayuki Kono & Shuji Kondo vs. Minoru & ZODIAC
4. Osamu Nishimura & Manabu Soya vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & MAZADA
5. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Minoru Suzuki & NOSAWA Rongai
6. Keiji Muto, Suwama & Kaz Hayashi vs. TARU, Joe Doering & Toshizo
AJPW, 8/22/09 (Samurai! TV)
Sapporo Teisen Hall
1. Minoru vs. Tomoya
2. Kaz Hayashi & KAI vs. Shuji Kondo & Seiya Sanada
3. Suwama & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & MAZADA
4. Satoshi Kojima vs. ZODIAC
5. Keiji Muto, Masayuki Kono & Ryota Hama vs. TARU, Joe Doering & Hate
6.?All Asia Tag Team Title: Minoru Suzuki & NOSAWA Rongai (c) vs. Osamu Nishimura & Manabu Soya
Hamanaka Town Gymnasium
1. ZODIAC vs. Manabu Soya
2. Osamu Nishimura vs. Hate
3. Suwama & Masayuki Kono vs. TARU & Toshizo
4. Shuji Kondo & Ryota Hama vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & NOSAWA Rongai
5. Minoru Suzuki & MAZADA vs. Minoru & Joe Doering
6. Keiji Muto, Kaz Hayashi & Seiya Sanada vs. Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato
Hakodate Citizen Gymnasium
1. Masayuki Kono vs. Ryota Hama
2. Osamu Nishimura & Manabu Soya vs. Minoru & ZODIAC
3. Minoru Suzuki vs. Hiroshi Yamato
4. Satoshi Kojima & KAI vs. TARU & Hate
5. Suwama, Shuji Kondo & Seiya Sanada vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA
6. Keiji Muto & Kaz Hayashi vs. Joe Doering & Toshizo
Odate Citizen Gymnasium
1. MAZADA vs. Hiroshi Yamato
2. Masayuki Kono vs. Seiya Sanada
3. Shuji Kondo & Ryota Hama vs. Minoru & Hate
4. Osamu Nishimura & Manabu Soy vs. Joe Doering & Toshizo
5. Satoshi Kojima & KAI vs. TARU & ZODIAC
6. Keiji Muto, Suwama & Kaz Hayahsi vs. Yoshihiro Takayama, Minoru Suzuki & NOSAWA Rongai
AJPW ?PRO-WREST LOVE in RYOGOKU vol. 8″, 8/30/09 (PPV)
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
1. Seiya Sanada vs. Hate
2. NOSAWA Rongai & MAZADA vs. Minoru & Toshizo
3. Akebono, Masayuki Kono & Ryota Hama vs. TARU, ZODIAC & Joe Doering
4. Osamu Nishimura & Manabu Soya vs. Riki Choshu & Shiro Koshinaka
5.?AJPW World Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kaz Hayashi (c) vs. Shuji Kondo
6. Satoshi Kojima, KAI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Kenta Kobashi?, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi??& Akihiko Ito?
7.?Triple Crown: Yoshihiro Takayama (c) vs. Suwama
8.?Keiji Muto 25th Anniversary Special: Keiji Muto & Masakatsu Funaki vs. Masahiro Chono??& Minoru Suzuki
NOAH “WEEKEND NAVIGATION 2009”, 22.08.2009?(Samurai! TV)?
Kobe Sambo Hall
1. Akira Taue vs. Kishin Kawabata?
2. Takeshi Rikio vs. Junji Izumida?
3. Akitoshi Saito vs. Takuma Sano?
4.?9 Man Battle Royal: KENTA, Yoshinobu Kanamaru, Kotaro Suzuki, Yoshinari Ogawa, Taiji Ishimori, Ricky Marvin, Atsushi Aoki, Akihiko Ito, Genba Hirayanagi?
5. Mohammed Yone vs. Takashi Sugiura?
6. Go Shiozaki, Takeshi Morishima & Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Kenta Kobashi, Jun Akiyama & Tamon Honda?
NOAH “WEEKEND NAVIGATION 2009”, 23.08.2009?(G+)?
Kyoto KBS Hall?
1. Taiji Ishimori vs. Ricky Marvin?
2. Kishin Kawabata vs. Genba Hirayanagi?
3. Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Akitoshi Saito & Takuma Sano?
4. Takeshi Morishima & Tamon Honda vs. KENTA & Akihiko Ito?
5. Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone vs. Yoshinobu Kanamaru & Kotaro Suzuki?
6. Go Shiozaki vs. Atsushi Aoki?
7. Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs. Takashi Sugiura & Shuhei Taniguchi?
NOAH “GENESIS”, 29.08.2009?(Samurai! TV)?
Tokyo Differ Ariake?
1. Jun Akiyama, Akira Taue & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Takashi Okita & Kento Miyahara?
2. Takeshi Rikio & Mohammed Yone vs. Akitoshi Saito & Takuma Sano?
3. Kensuke Sasaki vs. Tamon Honda?
4. Go Shiozaki & Taiji Ishimori vs. Shuhei Taniguchi & Atsushi Aoki?
5. KENTA, Ricky Marvin & Akihiko Ito vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kotaro Suzuki & Genba Hirayanagi?
6.?Global Hardcore Crown Openweight Title: Kenta Kobashi (c) vs. Kishin Kawabata?
7. Takeshi Morishima vs. Takashi Sugiura?
NOAH “TAUE FESTIVAL IN TSUKUBA”, 06.09.2009?
1. Kentaro Shiga vs. Atsushi Aoki?
2. Yoshinari Ogawa & Akihiko Ito vs. Mohammed Yone & Kotaro Suzuki?
3. Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Kishin Kawabata?
4. Takeshi Rikio & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Takuma Sano & KENTA?
5. Go Shiozaki & Taiji Ishimori vs. Akitoshi Saito & Ricky Marvin?
6. Kenta Kobashi, Jun Akiyama & Akira Taue vs. Takeshi Morishima, Takashi Sugiura & Genba Hirayanagi
The Original Tiger Mask, aka Satoru Sayama, said recently that if his September 11th match at the Korakuen Hall isn’t any good, he would retire. He’s slated to face Triple Crown Champion Yoshihiro Takayama.
The Inoki Genome Federation held a show at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo and drew a crowd of 4,500. The main event pitted Naoya Ogawa & Josh Barnett against Bob Sapp & Yoshihiro Takayam. Inoki pushed Sapp pretty hard heading into the show. The match ended with Barnett choking Saap out. Apparently it was important to keep Barnett strong as he’s still rumored to be facing Fedor at some point down the line. Ogawa doesn’t ever lose and Takayama is the Triple Crown Champion in All Japan, so really the only logical guy left to take the fall was Sapp. The finish was kind of funny because afterwards, Sapp insisted he didn’t tap and went bonkers. Inoki, himself, climbed into the ring and Sapp went to body slam him before being pulled away by others.
Katsumasa Inoue announced his retirement last week, citing issues with his vision and an accumulation of knee injuries.
Hunter’s Mindless, Ongoing, Who-Cares-what-he-thinks!? Best Puro Matches of 2009
I’m hoping by that at the end of this nonsense, I’ll have a nice 10-15 match list for you guys to check out at the end of the year. Heck, maybe even a top 20~. Just so you guys know, I hate star ratings. I just do. I used to love them, had great affection and maybe even got caught by my wife with them i n the past, but hey, I just don’t think ******** is a replacement for actually knowing what you’re talking about and wish to communicate. Take them with a grain of salt, but anything that pops up on THIS list, you should probably check out.
1.) Hiroshi Tanahashi v. Shinsuke Nakamura, IWGP Heavyweight Championship, New Japan 2/15 ****
2.)Shinsuke Nakamura & Hirooki Gotoh v. Mitsuharu Misawa & Takeshi Suguira, New Japan 1/4 ***3/4
3.) Alexander Otsuka vs. Yujiro Yamamoto, BattlARTS 2/15 ***3/4
4.) Minoru Suzuki & Taiyo Kea v. SUWAMA & Shuji Kondo, World Tag Team Championship, All Japan 3/15 ***1/2
5.) Takashi Suguira & Go Shiozaki v. Shinsuke Nakamura & Milano Collection A.T., NOAH 3/1 ***1/2
6.) Jun Akiyama v. KENTA, NOAH 5/17 ***1/2
7.) Go Shiozaki & Kenta vs Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiku Nakajima, NOAH 6/22 ***1/2
8.) Katsumi Usuda vs. Yuta Yoshikawa ? BattlARTS 2/15 ***1/2
9.)Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada vs. Takashi Sugiura & Atsushi Aoki, New Japan 5/5 ***1/4
10.) Hirooki Gotoh v. Giant Bernard, New Japan Cup Semi Finals, New Japan 3/22 ***1/4
11.) KENTA v. Ricky Marvin, NOAH 6/5 ***1/4
12.) Mammoth Sasaki & Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Shinya Ishikawa & Yoshihito Sasaki, Big Japan ? ***1/4
13.) Ricky Marvin v. Taiji Ishimori, SEM 5/18 ***
14.) Alexander Otsuka v. Daisuke Sekimoto, IGF 3/15 ***
15.) Giant Bernard v. Yutaka Yoshie, New Japan Cup Semi Finals, New Japan 3/22 ***
16.) Yuki Ishikawa vs. Alexander Otsuka, B-Rules, BattlARTS 1/10 ***
17.) Milano Collection A.T. vs. Prince Devitt, New Japan 5/30 ***
18.) Takashi Iizuka v. Yuji Nagata, Chain Match, New Japan 4/5 ***
Tajiri vs. The Giant Bernard, G1 Climax Block-A, New Japan 8/7
OK match here. Bernard’s offense is really pretty fantastic stuff and Tajiri’s comeback was pretty good, too. I have primarily two issues with this match though. For one, Tajiri really oversells a lot of the stuff. Especially when he gets kicked off looking for a crab or figure four and propells himself out of the ring and HARD~ into the ringside barricades. Just little stuff like that that peaks its head up at times that I felt hurt things. Second problem here is that this is just too slow. Shave three-four minutes off this and it works fine, but Bernard’s control segment as a bit TOO long. Its that or that they could’ve worked another Tajiri comeback in there as well and maybe that’d had made time move along better. The dynamic is weird here as well… two heels getting face reactions one minute and then heel reactions right after. The crowd definitely didn’t know how to react and that made this whole thing a little strange. Sure, I’m sounding a little more negative than I really am on this match, its perfectly fun and a decent first round match, but its got some pretty glaring flaws. **1/2
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hirooki Gotoh, G1 Climax Block-B, New Japan 8/7
This match got a good deal of hype coming out of the first day and to be honest, I’m really kind of surprised that it did as I didn’t see much of anything in this that was all that interesting. For one, the opening stanzas of this are really, really dull, with the usual ‘token’ mat work segments that lead to absolutely nothing. They pick the pace up towards the end of the match, but the finishing stretch is retarded and leaves me wondering how anyone things someone could conceivably roll through Gotoh’s arm submission like that and counter it. It just looked really, really contrived. I’m honestly pretty blown away that this was even pimped by ANYONE, much less a lot of folks. I wouldn’t say this was a stinker, but it isn’t anything worth getting excited about. *3/4
Takao Omori vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, G1 Climax Block-A, New Japan 8/7
This was a fun little surprise. Its not gonna blow you out of the water, but its perfectly acceptable and watching Omori not just hang with, but BEAT New Japan’s ace is quite the site. Lots of clobbering and clubbering from Omori here, as he basically steals a page out of Nakanishi’s book. Let Tana get what he’s going to get, then waste him with the big clubbing blows. Hopefully it wears him down before you gas, and you’ve got a CHANCE. And that’s all underdogs need, right? A chance? There are certainly some selling issues with both guys, but the story is fun enough to keep you tuned in. Fun poor man’s version of Nakanisihi-Tanahashi. **1/4
The Giant Bernard vs. Masato Tanaka, G1 Climax Block-A, New Japan 8/11
This is basically a better version of the Tajiri-Bernard match from earlier in the tournament, but with a really goofy finish. Tanaka is a guy I generally hate, but in New Japan he’s been a lot of fun. He’s great here bringing the fire and urgency, something Tajiri wasn’t as good at projecting in his go-round with Bernard. Bernard is… well… Bernard. He lays out a freaking ridiculous shoulder block and hit baldo-bomb is awesome. He has a fun counter to Tanaka’s Sliding-D and as per the usual, brings the goods on offense. This has a better ebb and flow to it than the Tajiri match as there’s more Tanaka comeback spots to better space out the Bernard control spots. The end bump with Bernard jumping off the second rope to the outside is fun and well built to, but the two things its sandwiched around (the Anderson interference and the Honma run-in) are really odd. I just don’t like the finish here. Take this match and give it the Tajiri-Bernard finish and you’ve got a great match, but both are lacking. **1/2
Be sure to check in next week, everyone. I’ll have a break down of a lot of the good to great G1 stuff!