by Bryan Rose, WrestlingObserver.com
Today is day 5 of the G1 Climax 25 tournament, being held at the Hiroshima Green Arena. For the first time in what seems like days we finally have both multiple cameras and commentary.
Nakamura, scheduled for a tag team match today, was removed from this card due to an injury to his left elbow, according to the ring announcer.
Tomoaki Honma, David Finlay, Ryusuke Taguchi and Mascara Dorada vs. Hirooki Goto, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask and Yohei Komatsu
Not much to this match. Nothing wrong with it, but it was the atypical New Japan tag match. Liger gave Finlay the palm strike and Tiger Mask followed with a butterfly suplex off the top rope. Goto and Honma had a staredown after the match.
Yuji Nagata and Captain New Japan vs. Yujiro Takahashi and Cody Hall
The funny thing about this match is that the producer’s audio became audible during the match and could be heard for a lt of the match. Apparently there have been audio troubles all night as audio dubbing during non-licensed NJPW music has been pretty bad. The match itself was just there, nothing special, with Nagata submitting Hall with the white eyes armbar.
Karl Anderson and Tama Tonga vs. Yoshi Hashi and Tomohiro Ishii
Another simple tag match. Yoshi Hashi missed the senton, Tonga came back with a sliding elbow and took out Ishii then Anderson pinned him with the gun stun. A lot of the focus on the match was between Ishii and Anderson, who are facing off on the next show. They had fun exchanges when they were in the match.
Satoshi Kojima and Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada and Gedo
This was originally supposed to be a six man, but with Nakamura out this was changed to a tag. Gedo was worked on for a lot of the match. Elgin did a somersault leg drop off the middle rope that the camera totally didn’t get. Kojima and Okada had a nice exchange which ended when Kojima laid him out with a lariat. He followed with another one on Gedo and pinned him. Just another tag, though probably one of the better ones tonight as everything looked pretty good.
Bad Luck Fale vs. Doc Gallows
This wasn’t very good. It felt plodding, and a lot of it was on the outside where they threw each other into the barricades. Back in the ring it was mostly just tests of power and not anything particularly interesting. Gallows got out of a Bad Luck Fall, but Gallows escaped and superkicked him. He hit the ropes to do something else but Fale caught him with a grenade and pinned him.
Toru Yano vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Nothing that memorable until the finish, though not for good reasons. Yano did his normal tricks and spent most of the match working over Tenzan, including using wrist tape to keep him out of the ring and stuck to the guardrail. Tenzan made a comeback and stiffed Yano with a headbutt so bad not only did he completely open up Yano, he busted himself open. Yano was bleeding buckets and it was a nasty scene. They went to the finish quickly after with Yano doing the distracting ref/low blow roll up finish, giving him the surprise win.
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Togi Makabe
This was good, but felt pretty short. Would have been a better match if a bit longer. Not as intense as other battles either of the two have had in the past. A lot of back and forth offense between these two, and they worked stiff, with lots of lariats and forearm battles. Makabe got a good nearfall after hitting the kneeling powerbomb. Shibata caught him with a sleeper, put him in a seated position then hit the penalty kick to pick up the win.
AJ Styles vs. Kota Ibushi
Amazing match, easily the best this tournament has seen so far. A lot of real good back and forth action here. Crowd really got into it in the end, primarily because some of the back and forth counters were really amazing. These guys have great chemistry. Ibushi went to do his deadlift German suplex at one point but AJ countered like he was going to piledrive him on the apron but Ibushi countered with a hurricanrana to the outside. At one point there was a bunch of amazing back and forth counters I can’t even describe which ended with AJ taking out Ibushi with a tombstone for a nearfall. Ibushi also kicked out of the Bloody Sunday DDT. Styles was going for something on the top rope but Ibushi countered with a hurricanrana off the top rope and followed that with the phoenix splash for the win.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito
Naito stalled a lot early and was a total heel throughout the match, disrespecting Tanahashi many times throughout, including spitting at him. He’s really adapting well as a heel. He got the advantage eventually and took out Tanahashi on the outside on top of a table that didn’t break. Naito got the heat on him in a slow, methodical madder. Tanahashi made a comeback and went back and forth with Naito. Tanahashi went for two high fly flows but Naito got the knees up after the second. Tanahashi blocked a tornado DDT attempt and hit a spinning neckbreaker. Tanahashi looked to do something but Naito caught him and hit him with what looked like a standing sliced bread #2 for the win. Finish came suddenly and out of nowhere, but this was a really well worked match in terms of telling a story, which was Naito going full fledged heel throughout the match. Second best match of the night under the co-main.