New Japan returned after a four day break from G1 action, with day 8 of this prestigious tournament taking place in Aore Nagaoka in Niigata, 3,108 were live in the arena as the show was broadcasted on NJPW World. The show was one of the better ones after a fairly shaking day 7, in my opinion anyway with particular highlights being ZSJ going up against Tomohiro Ishii, Juice going up against Omega in a rematch of last year and first time singles encounter between SANADA and Kota Ibushi headlining the show.
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki) defeat Michael Elgin & Ren Narita
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & EVIL) defeat BULLET CLUB ELITE (Chase Owens & Hangman Page)
BULLET CLUB OG (Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa) defeat CHAOS (Rocky Romero & YOH)
David Finlay & Hiroshi Tanahashi defeat Toa Henare & Togi Makabe
CHAOS (SHO & YOSHI-HASHI) defeat CHAOS (Gedo & Kazuchika Okada)
I can’t really comment on the tag matches as I’ve gotten to the stage where I’m no longer interested in watching them. We all know the score, they set up tomorrow’s matches.
Hirooki Goto vs Toru Yano
Match was too short to really have anything to say about the in ring action, we did see Yano appear to use both his wrestling and sublime thievery to try and get a quick victory over CHAOS stablemate, Goto. Goto was wise this year after suffering a loss after just over a minute last year to Yano. Yano came quick out the gate, Goto shut him down with a series of headbutts, Ushigoroshi and a GTR in quick succession for the win.
Tetsuya Naito vs Tama Tonga
We, as fans, as soon as we hear the music we know this is probably going to have a dirty finish in line with previous BCOG matches in this years G1, hopefully it leads somewhere down the line but for now, it’s a bit disappointing. Naito tries to get Loa removed, Loa moves away after words from Tama, as he’s leaving up the entrance way, Naito turns his back on Tama who pounces. Loa returns shortly after. Few more spots of interference from Loa. Naito sets up for the Destino, Tama counters by throwing Naito towards Asami, knocking him down. Loa, EVIL, Fale, Bushi, all coming down for their stablemates to even the odds. A low blow from Tama as Asami is still down, Naito responds with his own, this low blow I didn’t mind feeling it was justice. Destino set up and hit as Asami comes back into the ring, and counts the 3.
ZSJ vs Tomohiro Ishii
Ishii currently leading 2:1 over ZSJ in one and one contest but ZSJ holds victories over Ishii recently from the Strong Style Evolved UK tour. This was an excellent contest between one of the best technical wrestlers today, ZSJ and one of the toughest men in wrestling today, the perennial underdog, Tomohiro Ishii. Ishii held his own in the technical game as ZSJ targeted the arms of Ishii, trying to take away his striking potential to limit the effectiveness of the Stone Pitbull. The match went back and forth, no one really dominating, ZSJ had Ishii in a Triangle Choke but Ishii powerbombed ZSJ to try and break the hold, ZSJ transitioned as he held on and applies an Armbar and submits Ishii.
Juice Robinson vs Kenny Omega
For a champion, Juice is having a bad run which makes me wonder about a few things, can he pull off another upset here after he beat Kenny in last years G1, it would certainly stop the rot, but I can’t see Omega losing this one either. Early on, Omega was conflicted about targeting that injured arm of Juice’s but as the match progressed his worry faded away, as he kicked it and V-Triggered it multiple times. They called back on their previous G1 when Kenny took Juice up for a One Winged Angel but Juice countered into a roll up which gave him the win last year, but it wasn’t to be this year as Omega kicked out. Commence more V-Triggers and Snap Dragons, an Aoi Shoudou and one more V-Trigger for good measure, and Omega sets up Juice for another One Winged Angel and hits it, claiming another two points in this years G1 and remaining undefeated.
Kota Ibushi vs SANADA
A first time singles match between two of the best Japanese wrestlers around today, having no base to judge, the contest had no perimeters to be measured upon and allowed Ibushi and SANADA to go out there and deliver, which they did in spades. They went hold for hold, through chain and locks before speeding up and dropping off, allowing the drama to build and the crowd to come into it. We saw some of that wrist control that Ibushi has been working with in recent matches that he uses to set up the Kamigoye but SANADA being one of the best defensive wrestlers in the game was aware of it so his attempts were repelled, SANADA himself never really locked in that Skull End either which builds to how either are going to get the win. SANADA kicked out of Ibushi’s Last Ride at two, and despite failing to land the Moonsault earlier on in the match, SANADA went for it one more time and hit it on a downed Ibushi, which lead to SANADA winning the match. These two had a great match, definitely one to watch.
The blocks are now starting to shape up, with those on top looking to solidify their position and those chasing trying to make up ground.
As it stands, only Kenny is undefeated despite one win coming as a result of a DQ, could Harold be that keen on Omega to have him win the G1 or will Ibushi/SANADA or Naito overtake him? Or is the winner coming from the currently much tighter A Block?