NJPW G1 Climax 26 Day 3 Review

Air Date: 23/7/16

The G1 continues with the second A-Block show featuring Okada vs. SANADA and Tanahashi vs. Makabe being the big two matches on the card.

Captain New Japan, Juice Robinson, David Finlay, and KUSHIDA vs. Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Tiger Mask (IV), and Jushin Thunder Liger

One of the better undercard tags here, we got some fun interactions between KUSHIDA and Tiger Mask and Juice Robinson and Nakanishi. Kojima pins David Finlay with a lariot ** ¾

YOSHI-HASHI and Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Tomoaki Honma and Katsuyori Shibata

This match was interesting in that all four men are in the tournament which is unusual for one of these tag matches. There was some tension between Shibata and Honma so this is very much a feud that will continue post-G1. Standard tag otherwise with tomorrow’s opponents pairing up and giving a preview of the tournament matches. YOSHI-HASHI pins Honma with a roll up ***

Bullet Club (Kenny Omega and Yujiro Takahashi) vs. CHAOS (Toru Yano and Gedo)

Total comedy match, which would be fine if it didn’t feature one of the favourites to win the tournament and top heel gaijin acting like a complete goof ball. It is lucky most Yano tournament matches are short because his match with Kenny is probably my least anticipated match in the whole tournament. Yujiro pins Gedo ** ½

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

Pretty solid trios match here, but again very much what you would expect from an undercard tag like this. Naito goes after Elgin in the same way he did Nagata before their G1 match after the match. EVIL pins Taguchi with the EVIL STO ** ½

Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/Satoshi Kojima) [2] vs. Tama Tonga [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

The idea of Tama Tonga as anything more than an undercard guy was killed by this match. Stinking up the place in his first G1 match was somewhat excusable but doing it twice in a row just proves that he isn’t ready to be a singles guy in this company. His pacing is way too slow and plodding to be interesting and none of his offence seems interesting or dynamic. Tenzan was clearly working hard to get something passable out of the match but it just stunk, like Tonga’s career will going forward. Tenzan pins Tama Tonga with a moonsault **

Hirooki Goto [2] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

This match was all about Goto trying to prove he is as tough as Ishii, from the forearm exchanges to start the match to the bombs being traded at the end. Goto looked vicious as all hell here and was great helped by Ishii’s incredible selling of his offence. I’ve said previously I am not a fan of Goto but this tournament is slowly changing my opinion of him. Hirooki Goto pins Ishii with a GTR *** ¾

Bad Luck Fale [0] vs. Naomichi Marufuji [2] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

Simple match here with Marufuji playing the valiant hero trying to conquer the monster of the Bullet Club. Unfortunately Marufuji wasn’t able to get the win here but he kicked out of a lot of Fale’s signature moves, and dished out some awesome looking strikes. Fine match but pretty skippable. Fale pins Naomichi Marufuju *** ¼

SANADA [2] vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

This was a much more subdued, “smaller” match than SANADA’s match against Tanahashi. Instead of a lot of big times moves and sequences we got a lot of solid back and forth wrestling. SANADA never looked like he was out of Okada’s league while Okada came out of it looking like the true ace of the division and a man to be reckoned with. This won’t be a match that is remembered at the end of the tournament but was still a lot of fun. Okada pins SANADA with the rainmaker *** ¾

Togi Makabe [2] vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [0] (G1 Climax 26 A-Block)

Another perfectly fine but not breakthrough match here. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this match going in but Makabe had his working boots on and put on a solid performance with Tanahashi. Again, this match was a little more subdued and finished just was it seemed to break out into something great. Makabe pins Tanahashi with the King Kong Knee Drop *** ½

Overall: 5.5

On paper there was nothing on this card that looked like it was going to be match of the year level, but we got three pretty damn solid matches which, while not exactly memorable, were a lot of fun.


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