Analysis · njpw · Pro Wrestling

G-1 Climax 27 Day 7 Notebook: Burn All My Energy

G-1 CLIMAX 27 – Day 7 (Results
Date: July 26, 2017
Arena: Sendai Sunplaza Hall
FAVORITE MATCH: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto
This show felt flat like the final night at Korakuen Hall. That’s not saying it wasn’t good by any means, but it lacked energy from the prior A Block shows. Similar that night in Tokyo, however, the main event left the fans home cheering with an excellent match. Unlike the Kazuchika Okada-Michael Elgin match, where you can pinpoint where the crowd picked up, Tanahashi and Goto built a match that ramped up intensity as it got closer to the finish.

There’s a lot of homages to take note, which is becoming a trend in Tanahashi matches it seems. He used a half-hatch suplex in a dramatic spot, which at one point was his finish. Goto teased the Shoten, his old finisher that rarely comes out. Goto also used the sleeper-penalty kick combo from his good friend Katsuyori Shibata. The match packed a lot of moments and spots, but without sacrificing story. Tanahashi won the match, sending home the fans – who were clearly behind him – with positive feelings.

Could they do better? Probably, but with 12 more shows to go, it’s time for the guys to start slowing down a tad from the torrid pace to start the tournament.

PACE YOURSELF, IBUSHI: Kota Ibushi’s match with Togi Makabe didn’t feature anything great or noteworthy. It featured the most out-of-the-ring brawling out of Ibushi’s four matches, but other than that, it wasn’t anything too special. It’s technically sound, but lacked fire. Maybe it’s just the pairing. Maybe it’s Ibushi pacing himself, knowing that bigger shows are going to take place down the line. Either way, it’s worth a watch, but don’t expect anything mindblowing.

For Makabe, it was a feel-good win with his tag team partner, Tomoaki Honma, who is recovering from a serious neck injury, to see him win a match. So what does this mean for Makabe? Given his age and slowing down due to the brutal style and pace he worked, odds are this win is merely balancing the block and keeping Makabe as a threat.

YOU TOO, NAITO: It seems disappointing to say this, but Tetsuya Naito and Yuji Nagata’s match didn’t seem to click. The two can put on excellent matches, but this one, like most of the show, lacked energy. It continued to show Naito’s dominance, while adding to the Nagata “When will he win” storyline.

The issue with this match is simple: Did anyone every doubt Naito was going to win? It never felt that way. Nagata got his spots in, but Naito never felt threatened by the former IWGP Champion. It’s like watching a basketball game where a team gets out to a 20-point lead, but periodically surrenders 8-0 runs to still win by 15. That’s where this match was. Naito would periodically get hurt, but the result was never questioned when Naito hit Destino. This is contrary to the Jushin Liger booking in the Best of the Super Junior where nearfalls for Liger seemed to be plentiful. Nagata needs those false finishes and near falls to really keep his story going.

Is Naito really on that upper tier that he makes Bad Luck Fale look like an ineffective giant for most of their match and Nagata look like an incapable, angry old man? Hope not. If so, it really does limit the number of guys who should even be in the ring with him. Naito is one of the best guys in the world (and one of my personal favorites), but this match just didn’t do it. Chalk it up to another guy pacing himself for the bigger shows down the road.

DYNAMIC DUO: Remember that thing about Zack Sabre Jr. matches potentially being emotionally void? That wasn’t the case against Fale. These two worked well together in a well-crafted match. The juxtaposition of Fale’s size with Sabre created a dynamic that made for the second best match of the night. (It almost beat out the main event if that ending didn’t pick up.)

Sabre knew how to tell a story around Fale’s size advantage. He climbed all over Fale setting up numerous submissions with Fale doing big man stuff and Sabre selling like a champion. This match, however, isn’t just a Sabre carry job. Fale played his role as a giant well. He was able to overpower Sabre in spots and acted as the perfect foil to the Sabre’s unique offensive set. That’s why the finish was perfect with Sabre rolling up Fale for a three count – despite Fale’s shoulder clearly being off the mat.

Probably the most fun moment came after the match, however, when Sabre dedicated the win to Daryl. The feels, man. The feels.

FIGURING OUT YOSHI-HASHI: YOSHI-HASHI continues to baffle neophyte New Japan fans. He doesn’t do anything special. It was difficult to figure out at first, but Tomohiro Ishii may have displayed what is wrong with YOSHI-HASHI.

If it weren’t for the exposition of tag matches, would people naturally know that YOSHI-HASHI is in CHAOS? He doesn’t stand out in a group full of established, strong characters. He also doesn’t look like he’s giving 100 percent.

Are those strikes supposed to hurt or annoy Ishii? Nobody knows. The match was fine, but it served more as a way to figure out YOSHI-HASHI and how he can elevate himself beyond his current role. Guys like EVIL and Juice Robinson are roughly on the same power tier, but are trending in the right direction, while YOSHI-HASHI is stagnant. YOSHI-HASHI has potential to be a solid midcard hand, but, for now, he’s trending toward Yujiro’s career trajectory – a nothing character whose role is simply to give guys a tag partner.

FINAL THOUGHTS: At some point, this was bound to happen. The undercard featured little pizzaz; the league matches were good, but nothing will standout when the tournament is recapped. Big picture wise, this was a show that helped advanced the tournament’s storylines and set up for the last show before a day off.

ENJOYMENT RATING: C

G-1 27 DAY BY DAY RECAPS AND GRADES:
Day 1 (Grade: A)
Day 2 (Grade: B)
Day 3 (Grade: A-)
Day 4 (Grade: C+)
Day 5 (Grade: B+)
Day 6 (Grade B+)

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