G-1 CLIMAX 27 – Day 10 (Results)
Date: July 29, 2017
Arena: Gifu Industrial Hall
FAVORITE MATCH: Kazuchika Okada vs. Juice Robinson
Okada rounded into the “I’m the best in the world” gimmick, entering his match with Robinson as the arrogant champion of the best promotion in the world. It started with entrances. Robinson came out, acting like the ultimate babyface. He’s interacting with fans and had the crowd behind him. Okada, meanwhile, was in fine “Heel Rainmaker” form.
The match told a simple story of Robinson trying to display that he’s on the same plane as Okada, and Okada simply shoving him back down. Both men sold this story well with everything Okada doing to Robinson seemed deadly while Robinson was shocking Okada with his ability. It came to a head when Robinson was down and Okada yelled at him, asking him if he can do this. Robinson answered; giving Okada a brief scare, but ultimately fell to the Rainmaker just like everyone else in the tournament.
Robinson officially cannot advance even if he wins out, but truthfully this tournament has been a real coming out party. It has been noted that he’s made impressive strides. He will still have a few more matches to really upset a few guys, but he’s accomplished what he set out to do already. Meanwhile, Okada is unbeaten, further establishing himself as the ace of New Japan. When he loses in this tournament, it will be a big moment for a lot of people.
WONDERFULLY TOLD: NJPW has a thing where a few wrestlers will have different outfits in relation to the level of match they are in. Most “heels” – a term used loosely here – will wear a T-shirt during their bout. Kenny Omega takes this to another level with his multi-colored pants.
Omega wore his “house show” gear instead of his big-match black tights. It immediately set the tone for what story was going to be told in the match. It maybe one of the first instances of this trend being used in a story. Omega viewed Satoshi Kojima as an easy opponent, even telling the camera his intentions.
Throughout the match, Omega, like Okada two nights before, disrespected the third generation superstar, openly taunting and disrespecting him. It created moments when Kojima would give Omega his comeuppance and added more tension whenever Kojima, playing the underdog role for another night, would get a nearfall.
Omega won, of course, but he did so after surviving a spirited effort from Kojima. Not necessarily, the easiest two points he earned. Kojima, like Yuji Nagata, is eliminated from contention, but Kojima and Nagata continue to produce high-level matches in this tournament despite it being their final go in the tournament.
NOTHING MEMORABLE: SANADA vs. Michael Elgin was the third best match, but it was by default. It established SANADA’s Skull End into the Moonsault press finish, but even those two have another gear and it’s important to note. Even at the match’s worst, it was going to eclipse Toru Yano vs. EVIL – a mere B Block point balancing effort or Minoru Suzuki vs. Tama Tonga – a chaotic brawl that offered nothing new from either man.
STANDINGS UPDATE: Kojima, Robinson and Yano are all eliminated from contention. Tonga and Elgin are on the bubble with for points apiece; Suzuki and SANADA each have six; EVIL and Omega have eight, and Okada is still unbeaten with 10 points.
FINAL THOUGHTS: While the final three matches were on the great scale, it wasn’t a great show. The undercard was uneventful and the G-1 League matches failed to live up to the bar that was set in the previous nights. SANADA vs. Elgin could have been better, but the ending felt a big rushed; EVIL vs. Yano didn’t really do anything other than advance the story, and Tonga vs. Suzuki failed to capture longterm attention with its reliance on out of the ring brawling. Not every show will be excellent, but this one is relatively forgettable.
ENJOYMENT RATING: C-