G-1 CLIMAX 27 – Day 8 (Results)
Date: July 27, 2017
Arena: Ao-re Nagaoka
FAVORITE MATCH: Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega
Picking the best match of the night was difficult, but the ending of this match ultimately gave Elgin and Omega the nod for the favorite match of the night. Omega’s resilience forced to Elgin to dust off his super finisher to win. TElgin delivered his variation of the burning hammer to win the match, following some early-90s All-Japan Pro Wrestling style backdrops. The bout was perfectly scripted and executed with Omega kicking out of every powerbomb variation Elgin delivered.
Omega and Elgin’s chemistry is just the latest pairing in this G-1 to really shine with high stakes. Elgin and Omega sell each other’s offense so well, and Elgin, despite his size, bumps extraordinarily well for Omega.
Storywise, it further builds Elgin. He needed this win. He needed to beat Omega in a one-on-one match sans a ladder. He was scuffling a little bit in 2017, but he avenged an earlier loss to Omega this year and picked up a massive win. More importantly, Elgin establishes a super-finisher. Prior to beating Omega with his burning hammer, Elgin used it on Naito to set up his IWGP Intercontinental title shot. So when the powerbomb isn’t working, expect Elgin to break out his super finish. This adds a layer to Elgin matches that benefits his opponents. When Elgin needs to use the burning hammer, you know the guy he’s in the ring with is one of NJPW’s strongest.
As for Omega, add another fantastic bout to his growing 2017 collection. He received criticisms for his comedy match with Toru Yano before, but his bout with Elgin should remind everyone how good he really is and that matches like this are capable. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s booked for the rest of the tournament. Everyone knows that the bout with Kazuchika Okada is on the final day, so everyone will be wondering how that match will affect the standings since it will be the final match of the league setting.
SERIOUSLY SELLING: Okada and Satoshi Kojima served as an excellent lead-in to the eventual barnburner of a match between Elgin and Omega. It’s easy to see that Okada is fantastic and some podcasters have compared him to a young Ric Flair in terms of how he makes his opponents look fantastic. If anyone needs evidence on this, take a look at how Okada worked his match with Kojima. Okada played it as the arrogant, pompous heel champion against the aging veteran. He sold Kojima’s offense as deadly, especially during one of Kojima’s key spots.
Look at how Okada’s facials make that spot. They take it to another level here. More importantly, near the end of the match you feel like Kojima can win the match. Then he, like SANADA, the night before, made one mistake that ultimately leds to Okada capitalizing and winning. Okada is being pushed to his limit in these matches and his opponents are making mistakes allowing him to escape. What will happen when he faces someone who doesn’t make a mistake? That will be answered in this tournament.
As for Kojima, it’s been noted here numerous times, but he seems to be destined for losing more matches. Sad times.
SERIOUSLY EVIL: Minoru Suzuki is a marvel to watch, but at times, his matches fall into a holding pattern. Could fans handle yet another match where he takes his opponent into the crowd, beats on him with a chair, and teases a countout finish? Combine that sequence with the crazy run-in sequences and interferences that take place in his matches, then it takes a lot out of it. Yet, even with this predictable outline, this match with EVIL wasn’t bad. EVIL held his own in this spot, never backing down from this challenge and even got into the sadistic slugfest by hitting his famous chair spot. The ending saw EVIL counter Suzuki’s transition from the sleeper hold to a Gotch-style piledriver by hitting EVIL (don’t ask) to get a win. EVIL is an underrated hand and he picked up a massive win in the tournament over one of the tournament’s favorites. This could result in a match between EVIL and Suzuki for his NEVER Openweight title, which would be another fun match.
SERIOUSLY COMEDIC: Yano is having a fine tournament. Outside of his match with Kojima, all of his matches have been wildly entertaining. SANADA played the foil to Yano in this bout, who went to his crazy antics again. He teased the tape spot, but SANADA clearly watches the show and avoided suffering the same fate as others who had fallen them. Instead, SANADA found it as a way to pick up an easy win for himself. He locked Yano into the Paradise Lock with the assistance of tape, giving him a countout win.
Some may not be a fan of comedy wrestling to the extent that Omega and Yano did it. It’s easy to wonder, however, about how they feel when it’s Yano doing the comedy act to a straight faced worker. If anything, this is what should happen in the eyes of those old timers.
SERIOUSLY GETTING OVER: Juice Robinson and Tama Tonga produced a fine match that served its purpose as the league match opener. Tonga picked up the win, but the story here, was Robinson again. Robinson received a standing ovation from the crowd, following this match further cementing himself as an accept member of the NJPW roster. It’s incredible to see him grow over the past year and to get to this moment is truly deserved.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Easily the best show with B Block in full focus. The undercards have been getting weaker, but that is no doesn’t affect the overall enjoyment level.
ENJOYMENT RATING: A