Day 3 of G1 Climax action comes from Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture Sports Center as Jay White headlines against Tanahashi in the building he won the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship in.
Toa Henare & Shota Umino vs G.O.D (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Henare and Umino put together a good series of moves but G.O.D put a stop to it and dominated Umino. Despite their heart and spirit, Tanga Loa got the victory over Umino with a pinfall following the Tongan Driver. Tama Tonga faces SANADA next in G1 action on the 19th.
Suzuki-gun (ZSJ & TAKA) vs CHAOS (Toru Yano & Jado)
Yano teams with the recently returned Jado as he takes on his next competitor Zack Sabre Jnr, who teams with TAKA Michinoku, who has become his mouthpiece and given him the Michinoku Driver renamed as the Zack Driver. Both men started with opening day defeats. Yano held his own with Sabre, showing he is more than just a goofball. Yano picks the leg of TAKA and takes him down for a pinfall victory as ZSJ is dealing with Jado and gets caught as he tries to break the pinfall.
Kota Ibushi & Yujiro Takahashi vs Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Ibushi won on day two as Juice lost to Tama Tonga. Despite some kinks, Kota and Yujiro work well together as a team but individual brilliance from Juice got the win for his team as he does a Double Knee Gutbuster thats followed by the Pulp Friction on Takahashi for the win.
L.I.J (Naito & SANADA) vs CHAOS (Ishii & SHO)
Hoping this pairing of Tomohiro Ishii and SHO continues for this tour as they do look like they have some chemistry together. Both L.I.J men started with a loss in B Block as Ishii defeated Yano to start with a win. Again, good tandem by the CHAOS men but L.I.J are just that bit sharper and crisper with their tandems. SANADA wins after the referee stops it as SHO fails to be responsive while in the Skull End.
Bullet Club Elite (Omega & Owens) vs CHAOS (Goto & YOH)
Omega and Goto are familiar foes, with Kenny beating Goto in the 2016 final to win his sole G1 to date, set to do battle again on the 19th. This Goto seems different, always was the running storyline that he hasn’t won the big one due to focus issues but for me, Goto if anything, seems more focused and determined now more than ever. Omega and Owens work well again as a unit, foreshadowing some heel aspects which is curious considering my thoughts was they are face BC while the Tongans are heel BC, but I digress, Goto gets the GTR and the win over Chase Owens.
Owens is only 28, but I do feel he is under utilised by NJ. Definitely deserving of a shot in G1 as well as the likes of Finlay and Henare.
A Block: 2nd Round of Matches
Hangman Page vs Michael Elgin
Both men got opening day wins albeit due to differing circumstances. The early story of the match suggests that power and pace will play a big part of the match as both utilise strength and explosiveness to their advantage. Elgin especially so since he dropped weight. Big Lariats into a cornered Page, Elgin slingshots Page in from the outside for a Cutter, nearfall after a move similar to Ospreay’s finish. Page fights out of a Powerbomb attempt and performs a Tombestone variant on Elgin that results in a nearfall. A fantastic series of moves by Page is followed by a barrage of kicks from Elgin. Splash Mountain Bomb, 2. Buckle Bomb, Tiger Bomb and finally an Elgin Bomb for the win.
Elgin’s reliance on ‘bomb’ moves could be his downfall as by the end, while a good match, all these bombs got a bit boring and repetitive much like the Superkick.
EVIL vs YOSHI-HASHI
Both men suffered opening day defeats to Elgin and Makabe, both will be looking to rectify this with a victory here. YOSHI-HASHI brings the fire that he showed against Makabe here but EVIL targets that taped shoulder and arm of YOSHI-HASHI. EVIL challenges YOSHI-HASHI to bring more, but can this spirit we’re seeing from him lead to a good G1? EVIL hits a Darkness Falls for a two count but misses wildly with a Lariat after as YOSHI-HASHI does a Backcracker. A Powerbomb from YOSHI-HASHI that results in a nearfall is followed with a Butterfly Lock, EVIL gets to the ropes, YOSHI-HASHI lands a Swanton Bomb but EVIL once again kicks out. Half Nelson Suplex followed by a Lariat and two count for EVIL, follows it up with an Everything is Evil for the win.
Minoru Suzuki vs Togi Makabe
The Sadist meets the Unchained Gorilla as Suzuki looks to get points on the board after dominating Tanahashi in a loss on the opening day. These men last met in March as Suzuki successfully defended his IWGP Intercontinental title. This was an utter slugfest from the get go, with Makabe rocking Suzuki in the corner early on. Outside the ring though, Suzuki excelled and was in firm control, laughing and punishing Makabe as he did to Tanahashi. Despite the onslaught from Suzuki, Makabe continues to come back. Makabe blocks Gotch Piledriver attempts only to get a knee and forearm for his troubles. Suzuki goes for another but Makabe counters into a Death Valley Driver, Western Lariat and follows up with one more Lariat. Makabe sets up Suzuki for the Spider German and hits it but Suzuki gets up, flying King Kong Knee to a standing Suzuki followed by another to a downed Suzuki for the win. Another loss for Suzuki in a match he dominated.
Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada
Two men who lost their opening matches again but Fale made a statement with his knowing he’ll pick up points later, Okada on the other hand has suffered singles losses since losing at Dominion, with ZSJ pinning him in the UK and White beating him on Saturday, a win is needed more to stop the rot than anything else. Fale holds two tournament wins over Okada, beating him in the New Japan Cup and G1 in 2016. Tanga Loa accompanies Fale to ringside, he played a pivotal role in Tama Tonga’s win on Sunday, he powerslams Okada on the floor as Fale distracts the referee. Okada finally hits the Scoop Slam that he tried to do yesterday in the tag and earlier in the match, starts building some momentum. Big Senton to the outside as he takes out both BCOG’s. Two Rainmakers but no pins, Loa up on the apron but Okada knocks him off. Red Shoes is distracted as Tama Tonga runs in with a drive by Gun Stun. Bad Luck Fall and Fale picks up the win.
Afterwards, BCOG too sweet over the carcass of the former champion.
Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Tanahashi is the overwhelming favourite as the former, and probably to some, still Ace of New Japan, meets Jay White once again in what is a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom where Tanahashi defeated White to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. This is a different Jay White though. A White that is unafraid to twist the rules and damage his opponents by any means necessary which is surprising since the match starts off with some chain, would have expected White to go straight for that knee and leg that Suzuki weakened. White waited for the moment and when he saw the opening he took it. White’s attacks now overwhelmingly focused on the knee and leg of Tanahashi, but Tanahashi was in a similar position against Suzuki, and won.
White wraps the leg into the hard edge of the ring and then the ring post. His knee may be weakened from Suzuki, from years of carrying NJPW but his spirit fights on and Tanahashi mounts some offence. Dragon Screw and a Cloverleaf but White is close to the ropes and breaks. High Angle deadlift German Suplex to Tanahashi as he lands awkwardly on his neck, White is back in control, Sleeper Suplex and a Bladerunner attempt but Tanahashi escapes. White’s attack now focuses in on the neck of Tanahashi after those suplexes.
The match ends, rather disappointingly, after a series of chair shot attempts, low blows from both men and ref bumps, one Bladerunner after White threw the chair at Tanahashi, gets the win.
I find the story of Jay White and CHAOS so much more interesting than whats going on in Bullet Club, and in my mind Jay White is a talent, he’s had solid heel work since San Fran. His range of suplex variants is impressive and I find him to be okay, sometimes good, on the microphone, what will lose people to him is the reliance on multiple chair spots and ref bumps. Cheat, be chaotic, have zero remorse, it’s just so much more interesting than chairs and ref bumps.
Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, Jay White all on 4,
EVIL, Hangman Page, Bad Luck Fale, Hiroshi Tanahashi tied on 2,
Minoru Suzuki, YOSHI-HASHI and former champion Okada all yet to register a win.
Day 3 is over, Day 4 is around the corner at the 19th at the Korakuen Hall.