NJPW G1 Glimax 26 Day 1 Review

Air Date: 18/7/16

As of writing I am horribly behind on NJPW, however as this is the start of G1 season I am going to hand wave everything I have missed so far in favour of reviewing every show of the G1 as they happen and then watching what I have skipped afterwards. Its day one and we have two pretty big tournament matches to start and others which could be fun.

Captain New Japan, Ryuskue Taguchi, KUSHIDA, and Tomoaki Honma vs. Manabu Nakanishi, Katsuyori Shibata, Jushin Thunder Liger, and Tiger Mask (IV)

The early parts of this match served as a teaser for Honma/Shibata which is the main event of day 2, and the interactions between the two got me pumped for a match I was already pretty excited for. Other than that we got some fun interactions between the juniors, some decent comedy with Captain New Japan, and Nakanishi not being awful. Good opener that people shouldn’t sleep on. Nakanishi pins Captain with the Hercules Cutter ** ¾

Toru Yano and Katushiko Nakajima vs. Satoshi Kojima and Juice Robinson

This was Nakajima’s big return to NJPW after being away for like a decade, so this match was largely about re-establishing him to an audience that is probably no longer super familiar with him and it did exactly that. Nakajima looked great going into his B-block match with Yano. Juice has improved dramatically since I saw him last, he showed a lot of fire in this match and has a real confidence to himself now. I am very excited for his future. Nakajima pins Robinson with a Brainbuster ** ½

Bullet Club (Kenny Omega and Yujiro Takahashi) vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI and Gedo)

There was a hell of a lot of schtick in this match which made me completely tune out when the actual wrestling started properly. Solid match otherwise. Yujiro pins Gedo with Tokyo Pimps **

Yuji Nagata, Michael Elgin, and David Finlay vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, and BUSHI)

Coming out of this our B-block matches are Elgin/EVIL and Naito/Nagata so we got a lot of fun interactions between those two pairs. This was a solid trios match with a hot closing stretch. After the match Naito went after Nagata’s leg and Yuji looked pissed. That is going to be a damn good match. BUSHI pins David Finlay with MX ** ¾

Tomohiro Ishii [0] vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Satoshi Kojima) [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

There’s several guys coming into this tournament with a lot to prove, Tenzan is one of them. Tenzan got his place in the tournament by taking the place of his tag partner Kojima, he needs to have a very good tournament to show that was the right decision. And this was a damn good start, these two men just went out and beat the living hell out of each other. The crowd was completely on the side of Tenzan which added so much to the match. Great match and a great way to start the tournament. Tenzan pins Ishii with a moonsault ****

Tama Tonga [0] vs. Togi Makabe [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

Tama Tonga is another guy who has a lot to prove here. A lot of people thought he had the potential to be a big star and was being wasted in six man tag matches, however after a frankly appalling tag team run with his brother that has come into question. Under those circumstances this was the wrong match to have. We got a lot of slow, meticulous, and pretty boring control periods by Tama. This was the wrong way to start your first, and probably most important, G1. Makabe pinned Tama with the King Kong Knee Drop ** ¼

Bad Luck Fale [0] vs. Hirooki Goto [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

Goto was seemingly getting a big push at the start of this year feuding with Okada over the heavyweight title, however his two title matches kind of stunk and he’s done nothing of value since. I am not at all a fan of Goto, and Fale needs to be against someone really good to have a great match so I didn’t have high hopes for this. With all of that said, Goto did well here and got a good match out of Fale. They didn’t try anything flashy here and kept everything basically which worked super well. Goto pins Fale ***

SANADA [0] vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

Since his debut, SANADA has been treated as a guy that is only like a year or two away from being a top level player. And what a way to start your first G1 than against the returning Tanahashi. This was another really great match, I especially loved SANADA continually going back to the choke which ultimately gave him the victory. There was a lot of limb work in the early parts of the match, which made sense as Tanahashi has just come back from shoulder injury. Good job by both guys in escalation of the match as well. Giving SANADA the win here shows just how big a deal he is planned to be. SANADA makes Tanahashi submit to a rear naked choke ****

Naomichi Marufuji [0] vs. Kazuchika Okada [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

Marufuji being in this tournament has been surprisingly controversial. A major criticism of his is that his matches are overly long and boring, I think he’ll fit in very well in the G1 because the matches are generally shorter and often worked as sprints. I loved Maru viciously working over Okada’s arm to incapacitate the Rainmaker, as well as Okada getting fired up after taking a load of chops from Naomichi. The last few minutes of this match were worked so well and the crowd was completely unglued throughout the whole thing, and seemed legitimately shocked when Marufuji got the win. Marufuji pins Okada **** ½

Overall: 7.0

Great show here, three great G1 matches and one or two tag matches that over delivered. This is close to a show of the year contender. Having both Okada and Tanahashi lose in their first match is surprising but it immediately adds intrigue as SANADA and Marufuji become big deals. I am pumped as hell for the month ahead.


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