G-1 CLIMAX 27 – Day 4 (Results)
Date: July 22, 2017
Arena: Tokyo Korakuen Hall
RIP, DARYL TAKAHASHI: Bad Luck Fale, you’re a monster. That’s all that needs to be said. This blog was almost canceled, but Daryl wouldn’t have wanted that. He would have preferred this review comes through.
FAVORITE MATCH: Kazuchika Okada vs. Michael Elgin
The final three matches all could stake claim to being the favorite match of the night, but the energy from this match was the real difference maker. While American fans were probably more enthralled by the Bullet Club dissension (more on this below), this match was a bit more entertaining in a sense that it capped off a highly exhausting stretch for Korakuen Hall fans. Three shows in three nights is grueling. Let alone one filled with the high quality that has been present the past three nights. The final 10 minutes of this match were a real gem with Elgin proving that while he isn’t having the best in terms of win-loss record, he is still a threat to beat Okada. The nearfalls were perfect and had fans biting on the false finishes. The reality, however, when compared to the first three days of main events, this one finishes a clear fourth place.
SLOWING THE PACE DOWN: The reality is you cannot have 19 excellent shows in 28 days. That’s asking too much of the NJPW guys. Overall, this show was a little on the low energy side. Maybe it’s the three shows in a row in the same building. Maybe Daryl’s demise really took the air out of the building like the Undertaker losing at Wrestlemania 30. Who knows, but after three great shows to start the tournament, the tournament is now entering the dog days of the tournament. This will be the true testament to how good these guys are, and it will be interesting to see how these middle shows go.
The undercard was lackluster; Satoshi Kojima vs. Toru Yano dragged on. Thankfully the backend of the card provided some entertainment, but the first set of matches were a real chore to get through.
BULLET CLUB DRAMA: If Elgin and Okada didn’t finish as strong as they did, this would have been my favorite match of the night. The boiling jealousy over The Elite vs. Bullet Club seemingly came to a head here. Tama Tonga, the man who has been with Bullet Club since the beginning, frustrated and tired that Omega was more in it for himself and the Young Bucks than Bullet Club took out his frustrations in this match. The match felt like a pair of brothers airing out grievances. Tonga taking the mic midway through the match was baffling, since it was literally telling what story was being told to the crowd. The midmatch promo was jarring, since it easily could have been presented without him taking the mic. Minor gripe to a fine match that featured Tonga’s erratic speed style against the complete Omega package. Omega won and reconciled with his Bullet Club brother, but anyone who watches pro wrestling knows this is only the beginning. There will be more moments when Bullet Club gets jealous of The Elite and ultimately breaks away.
SANADA’S COMING OUT PARTY: It was clear the moment SANADA came out in new ring gear and mask that he was positioned to break out in this G-1. His match with Minoru Suzuki was a fantastic bout that gave us a glimpse of what SANADA full potential. The talent is there, but it seems to finally be clicking with him. He worked a great match with Suzuki and did so without really stepping away from who he is in terms of a worker and character. SANADA earned sympathy from the Korakuen crowd and didn’t back down from the 49-year old sadist, displaying toughness to go with his incredible athletic ability. Could this be the time that SANADA fulfills that immense potential that Keiji Mutoh saw in him? Here’s to hoping. NJPW is in need of more upper midcard guys with the potential – and likely – loss of Katsuyori Shibata. SANADA can fill that role and once his forbidden matchup with Naito happens, it will be one of the highlights of the Los Ingobernables de Japon stable.
JUICE CONTINUES TO IMPRESS: SANADA isn’t the only one having a fine G-1 thus far. Juice Robinson is having a good one as well. It’s not going to crack the top 10 matches of the G-1, but Robinson vs. EVIL was a fine bout that continues to leave people impressed with Robinson. It’s clear that the work Robinson put in over the past year is helping a lot create matches that are solid showings in the most grueling event in pro wrestling. While Juice displayed a pair of good showings, can he maintain this pace? The bet should be yes. Outside of Yano, Juice has opportunities against some of the best workers in NJPW still remaining. Those matches will tell us more about Juice’s ability and his real potential.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Rest in Peace, Daryl. We will miss you on NJPW shows.
MY ENJOYMENT RATING: C+