New Japan “G1 Climax 2014” Day 4

Date:  July 26th, 2014
Location:  Akita Prefectural Gymnasium 
Announced Attendance:  2,800 (No Vacancy)

You know, I have never reviewed an entire G1 Climax before. I am not sure if such a massive one was the best place to start, but I guess since I already said I'd review all the events from 2014 anyway it was as good a time as any to dive in. As Day 4 of the G1 Climax begins, here are the standings:

Block A: Block B:
Hiroshi Tanahashi  [6]
Shelton Benjamin  [6]
Bad Luck Fale  [4]
Davey Boy Smith Jr.  [2]
Doc Gallows  [2]
Katsuyori Shibata  [2]
Satoshi Kojima  [2]
Shinsuke Nakamura  [2]
Tomohiro Ishii  [2]
Yuji Nagata  [2]
Tomoaki Honma  [0]
Hirooki Goto  [6]
Kazuchika Okada  [6]
Hiroyoshi Tenzan  [4]
Tetsuya Naito  [4]
AJ Styles  [2]
Lance Archer  [2]
Togi Makabe  [2]
Toru Yano  [2]
Yujiro Takahashi  [2]
Karl Anderson  [0]
Minoru Suzuki  [0]

Today's matches:

- Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs. Satoshi Kojima
- Block A: Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Shelton Benjamin
- Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Minoru Suzuki
- Block B: Hirooki Goto vs. Toru Yano
- Block A: Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii
- Block B: Lance Archer vs. Togi Makabe
- Block A: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yuji Nagata
- Block B: AJ Styles vs. Tetsuya Naito
- Block B: Karl Anderson vs. Kazuchika Okada
- Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata

I see we are starting off with my favorite wrestler, let's go ahead and get started.

Bad Luck Fale vs. Satoshi Kojima
Kojima and Fale circle each other, tie-up, and Fale throws Kojima down to the mat. Tie-up, side headlock by Fale, Kojima Irish whips out of it but Fale shoulderblocks him down. Kojima chops and elbows Fale, side headlock by Kojima, Fale Irish whips out of it and hits another shoulderblock. Fale stands on Kojima near the ropes, Kojima goes outside the ring and Fale follows him. Fale throws Kojima into the guardrail and then into the ring post. Fale slides Kojima back into the ring, cover, but it gets a two count. Fale applies a neck grip but Kojima gets a foot on the ropes. Fale picks up Kojima and Fale punches Kojima back into the corner. Fale chokes Kojima with his boot in the corner, Irish whip, but Kojima moves when Fale charges in. Chops by Kojima in the corner, Irish whip, and he hits the jumping elbow strike. Fale hits a body avalanche however before Kojima can do anything else, and Fale clubs on Kojima in the corner. Irish whip by Fale and he hits a body avalanche in the corner. Body press by Fale, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Fale but Kojima blocks the lariat, and Kojima lariats Fale out of the ring down to the floor. Kojima picks up Fale and slides him back into the ring, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the diving elbow drop. Kojima picks up Fale, elbows by Kojima and he hits a roaring elbow. Kojima goes for a suplex but Fale blocks it, punches by Fale and he hits a scoop slam. Fale picks up Kojima, he puts Kojima up on his shoulders but Kojima slides out of it, elbows by Kojima and he goes off the ropes, but Fale hits a spear. Fale picks up Kojima, he puts Kojima on his shoulders and hits a Samoan Drop. Fale picks up Kojima and goes for the Bad Luck Fall, but Kojima wiggles out of it. Kick to the leg by Kojima and he hits a DDT. Cover by Kojima, but it gets a two count. Kojima goes off the ropes and hit a lariat to the back of Fale's head, Kojima then takes off the elbow pad and goes off the ropes, but Fale grabs him by the throat. Kojima fights him off and hit a short range lariat, Fale stumbles out of the corner and Kojima delivers another lariat. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Satoshi Kojima

Match Thoughts: Fale is the first wrestler in this tournament to break up Kojima's jumping elbow/diving elbow combination so I will give him a brownie point for that. Beyond that, the match wasn't bad even though it was a bit plodding at times. Fale looked a little better here, he didn't drag down the match too much and Kojima on offense looked solid. Not a lot to it but watchable. Score: 5.0

Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Shelton Benjamin
Benjamin starts the match with a side slam, quick cover but it only gets a two count. Swinging kick by Benjamin, cover, but it gets a two as well. Benjamin goes for the Paydirt but Smith hits a belly to belly suplex. Smith stomps Benjamin in the chest and Benjamin falls out of the ring, Smith goes out after him and tries to throw Benjamin into the rail but Benjamin reverses it. Benjamin gets a chair, TAKA takes it from him and Smith ends up hitting Benjamin with the steel chair. Smith picks the chair back up and he chokes Benjamin with the chair. Smith picks up Benjamin and he slams Benjamin onto a table at ringside. Smith picks up Benjamin and slides him back into the ring, cover by Smith but it gets a two count. Smith applies a neck grip, then he applies a sleeper hold before hitting a leg drop. Cover, but it only gets two. Smith applies a camel clutch to Benjamin back into the sleeper, Benjamin punches Smith but Smith knees him in the chest. Smith goes for a suplex but Benjamin lands on his feet and hits a neckbreaker. Benjamin and Smith traded punches and elbows, elbows by Benjamin in the corner, he charges Smith and hits a splash. He goes for a superkick by Smith catches it and hits a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Smith knees Benjamin and he hits a double armed suplex. Cover, but it gets another two count. Smith picks up Benjamin, Irish whip, kick by Benjamin, Irish whip, kick by Smith and he knees Benjamin in the stomach. Smith picks up Benjamin and goes for the powerbomb but Benjamin blocks it and applies an ankle hold. Smith gets up while still in the hold and reverses it into a Sharpshooter but Benjamin makes it to the ropes. Smith picks up Benjamin, Irish whip by Smith but Benjamin kicks Smith in the chest. Jumping knee by Smith, he picks up Benjamin and goes for the powerbomb but Benjamin blocks it and hits a back bodydrop. Superkick by Benjamin and he goes for the Paydirt but Smith side steps it. Smith goes for a kick but Benjamin avoids it and hits the Paydirt. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Shelton Benjamin

Match Thoughts: More downs than ups on this one, but not absolutely horrible. The submission holds were odd, like Smith putting Benjamin in submission holds a few times and then releasing them for no reason. At least Benjamin made Smith fight out of the ankle hold in a pretty nifty spot. But when they weren't doing silly stuff on the mat the power spots were fine, it just slowed down in the middle, and matches this short shouldn't really slow down. Score: 3.5

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Minoru Suzuki
Suzuki corners Tenzan against the ropes but lets him go, kick by Suzuki and he pushes Tenzan into the ropes. Suzuki gives a mostly clean break and they trade slaps to the chest. Mongolian Chops by Tenzan, kick by Suzuki and he goes off the ropes but Tenzan catches his foot. Shoulderblock by Tenzan and he stomps Suzuki out to the apron. Headbutt by Tenzan while Suzuki is still on the apron but Suzuki grabs his arm and applies an armbar over the top rope. Suzuki pulls Tenzan out of the ring and throws him into the guard rail. Suzuki takes Tenzan around the ring and he throws Tenzan into the guardrail. Suzuki gets the ring bell and bonks Tenzan in the head with it. Suzuki picks up Tenzan, snapmare on the ramp and Suzuki hits the PK to Tenzan. Suzuki looks under the ring while Tenzan recovers, Suzuki gets back into the ring with a steel chair and Tenzan slowly crawls back in as well. Suzuki stomps Tenzan as he comes in the ring and chokes him against the mat. Suzuki picks up Tenzan and clubs her in the back, knee by Suzuki and he kicks Tenzan in the chest. Cover by Suzuki, but it gets a two count. Suzuki goes for Tenzan's arm and applies a keylock, but Tenzan gets into the ropes. Suzuki picks up Tenzan, Tenzan elbows Suzuki back but Suzuki elbows Tenzan in the face. Side headlock by Tenzan and he headbutts Suzuki. Mongolian Chops by Tenzan, Irish whip to the corner, and Tenzan hits a lariat. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle and he hit a calf branding. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tenzan picks up Suzuki and Tenzan hits a vertical suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Stomps by Tenzan and he headbutts Suzuki but Suzuki punches him in the stomach. Slaps by Suzuki and he throws Tenzan into the corner. Elbows by Suzuki, Irish whip, and Suzuki hits a big boot in the corner. Elbows by Tenzan but Suzuki hits him back and they trade blows. Suzuki and Tenzan trade punches, and Suzuki applies a sleeper hold. Suzuki goes for a Gotch-style piledriver but Tenzan blocks it. Suzuki goes off the ropes but Tenzan hits a Mountain Bomb. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Tenzan goes for the Anaconda Vice but Suzuki quickly gets into the ropes. Tenzan goes off the ropes but Suzuki does as well and Suzuki gets the sleeper hold re-applied. Gotch-style piledriver attempt by Suzuki but Tenzan back bodydrops out of it. Irish whip by Suzuki, reversed, and Tenzan hits a heel kick. Cover by Tenzan, but it only gets a two count. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle but Suzuki avoids the diving headbutt. Suzuki charges Tenzan and delivers a running boot, Suzuki puts Tenzan in the sleeper hold on the mat and Tenzan taps out. Your winner: Minoru Suzuki

Match Thoughts: This one started slow, really slow, but did pick up a bit by the end. Maybe the tournament setting is starting to catch up with Tenzan, as it looked like he had slowed down a step here. Suzuki isn't generally overly exciting either so it just led to the first part of the match dragging. Tenzan never really seemed like he had a chance to win here, he didn't hit any of his big moves and Suzuki generally stayed in control. The sleeper came somewhat suddenly, Tenzan kept avoiding the piledriver spot so I was surprised Suzuki won with never hitting it. Not a great match here. Score: 4.0

Hirooki Goto vs. Toru Yano
Goto charges Yano to start the match and hits a lariat, Goto picks up Yano and trips him to the mat. Elbows by Goto, Irish whip, reversed, and Yano pulls down Goto by his hair. Yano goes off the ropes but Goto hits a lariat. Yano unties the turnbuckle, elbows by Goto, Irish whip, and Goto hits a heel kick in the corner. Backdrop suplex by Goto, cover, but it gets a two count. Goto picks up Yano and puts him on his shoulders, hitting the fireman's carry onto his knee. Goto picks up Yano but Yano hits a low blow, Akakiri by Yano and he picks up the three count! Your winner: Toru Yano

Match Thoughts: At least it was a sprint. This is really the only way Yano can win but it does fit in with his character so it doesn't bother me. Its not really a match of course you can plan to sit and watch, it would take longer to pop the popcorn, but it served its purpose. Score: 5.5

Tomoaki Honma vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Tie-up to start, Ishii applies a side headlock, Honma Irish whips out of it but they collide with no result. Honma goes off the ropes but Ishii hits a shoulderblock. Back up they trade elbows, Ishii goes off the ropes but Honma hits an elbow. Shoulderblock by Honma but Ishii rolls out of the way of the falling headbutt. Ishii picks up Honma and hits a hard elbow. Ishii picks up Honma, chops by Ishii and he kicks Honma in the head. Honma slaps Ishii in the chest but Ishii chops him back. Ishii picks up Honma and hits a headbutt, Ishii goes for a suplex but Honma blocks it. Honma hits a vertical suplex of his own, Honma chops Ishii into the corner, Irish whip, and Honma hits a jumping elbow. Face crusher by Honma, he goes off the ropes but again he misses the headbutt. Ishii chops Honma but Honma chops him back and the two trade blows. After a long chop battle, Honma finally wins it and he hits the falling headbutt much to the crowd's delight. Honma picks up Ishii and elbows him in the head. More elbows by Honma but Ishii absorbs them and elbows Honma hard in the face. Ishii picks up Honma and hits a backdrop suplex, cover, but it gets a two count. Ishii picks up Honma, Irish whip to the corner and Ishii hits a lariat. Irish whip again but this time Honma fires out of the corner with a lariat. Honma picks up Ishii and nails a piledriver, cover, but it gets a two count. Honma picks up Ishii and throws him into the corner but Ishii kicks Honma when he charges in. Another kick by Ishii and he goes off the ropes, Honma hits an elbow and goes off the ropes but Ishii hits a lariat. Ishii goes off the ropes but Honma catches him with a DDT. Back up they trade lariat attempts with Honma getting the better of it. Honma picks up Ishii and Honma hits a scoop slam. Honma goes up to the top turnbuckle but Ishii avoids the falling headbutt. Ishii picks up Honma and elbows her into the corner, Ishii puts Honma on the top turnbuckle and Ishii hits a superplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ishii picks up Honma and hits a headbutt, he then hits a powerbomb. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ishii picks up Honma and goes for the brainbuster but Honma gets out of it, Honma Clutch by Honma but it only gets a two count. German suplex by Honma and he hits a lariat, Honma picks up Ishii and drops him with a brainbuster. Cover, but Ishii barely gets a shoulder up. Honma picks up Ishii, but Ishii gets away and elbows Honma. They trade slaps and elbows, enzigieri by Ishii, Honma goes off the ropes but Ishii catches him with a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ishii picks up Honma and nails the brainbuster, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Tomoaki Honma

Match Thoughts: The first really good match on the card, even though it wasn't quite up to the level of their last match a few months ago. I thought it started a little slow but it picked up a lot faster than Tenzan/Suzuki and once they got rolling they never stopped. Ishii continues to spike himself on his head, which is great for TV but can't be good for his neck. Honma had some quality near falls here and really seemed to be on the brink of winning, and the action was just hard and fast for the last few minutes of the match. Definitely worth watching. Score: 7.5

Lance Archer vs. Togi Makabe
They circle each other to start, tie-up, Archer pushes Makabe into the corner and he gives a mostly clean break. Tie-up, side headlock by Archer, Makabe Irish whips out of it and they collide with neither man going down. Makabe goes off the ropes and Archer hits the shoulderblock. Makabe is back up, he goes off the ropes again, he ducks Archer's lariat and lariats Archer out of the ring. Makabe goes out after him and throws Archer into the guardrail. Makabe throws Archer into the ring post and then into the apron before sliding Archer back into the ring. Makabe gets on the apron and punches Archer back, but Archer rams Makabe's head into the ring post. Makabe falls back to the floor, Archer goes out as well and Archer throws Makabe into the railing. Kick to the ribs by Archer and he punches Makabe in the back of the head. Archer goes over to the crowd to taunt them before returning to Makabe, and he slams Makabe's head into the apron before throwing him into the railing again. Archer tosses Makabe back in the ring before turning as well, he waits for Makabe to get up and hits a shoulderblock. Cover by Archer but it gets a two count. Archer picks up Makabe and hits a short-range lariat. Mounted punches by Archer, cover, but it gets a two count. Archer twists on Makabe's neck but releases him after a moment, stomps by Archer but Makabe elbows him back. F'n Slam by Archer, cover, but it gets a two count. Archer stomps on Makabe and elbows him back to the mat. Scoop slam by Archer, he goes off the ropes and hits a splash. Cover, but it only gets two. Makabe gets back to his feet and punches on Archer, and he hits a lariat in the corner. A second lariat by Makabe and he hits mounted punches in the corner. Archer goes off the ropes, lariat by Makabe but Archer doesn't go down. The next lariat does the trick, cover, but Archer kicks out. Makabe goes off the ropes, kick to the stomach by Archer and he goes off the ropes, hitting a lariat of his own. Cover, but it gets a two count. Archer charges Makabe in the corner but Makabe moves out of the way and hits a lariat. Northern Lights Suplex by Makabe, but it gets a two count. Makabe goes up to the top turnbuckle but Archer rolls out of the way of the King Kong Kneedrop. Archer waits for Makabe to get up and goes for a chokeslam but Makabe pushes him off, Archer hits the Texas Tornado but it only gets a two count. Archer picks up Makabe and punches him into the corner, he puts Makabe up on top and goes for the Blackout, but Makabe gets away. Boot by Archer and he hits the Dark Days. Archer goes up to the top turnbuckle but Makabe joins him and hits the spider German suplex. Makabe turns around and delivers the King Kong Kneedrop, cover, and he gets the three count. Your winner: Togi Makabe

Match Thoughts: Not amused by this match. Let me count the ways. First of all, Makabe just popping up after Archer had worked him over for five minutes and went right on offense was a horrendous transition and negated everything that Archer had done. Archer going up for I guess a moonsault just to set up the spider suplex was also terrible, as that isn't really one of Archer's moves and it so blatantly was just done to set up the end of the match. I also didn't like that Archer had so much offense compared to Makabe, but went down pretty easily at the end. Plus the offense at times was rather plodding. So yea, I didn't like this match. Score: 2.5

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yuji Nagata
Nakamura and Nagata jockey for position to start the match, wristlock by Nakamura but Nagata reverses it. Takedown by Nakamura but Nagata goes for Nakamura's arm, Nakamura gets out of it and both men return to their feet. Nagata and Nakamura get into the ropes, knee by Nakamura and he throws Nagata to the mat. Nagata gets back up and they lock knuckles and they trade elbows, and kick to the chest by Nagata sends Nakamura to the mat. Elbow to the back of the head by Nagata but Nakamura knocks Nagata out of the ring. Nakamura then puts Nagata on the apron with his head hanging over the edge, and he hits a running kneelift. Nakamura returns to the ring, he picks up Nagata and hits a snapmare. Reverse chinlock by Nakamura and he hits a kneedrop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nakamura picks up Nagata and knees him in the corner, Nakamura gets a running start but Nagata is up and he knees Nakamura in the stomach. Kicks to the chest by Nagata as he knocks Nakamura into the corner, Irish whip, and Nagata hits a big boot. Nagata goes for an exploder but Nakamura elbows him off, Irish whip by Nagata, reversed, and Nagata dropkicks Nakamura in the knee. Nagata picks up Nakamura and hits the exploder, cover, but it gets a two count. Nagata picks up Nakamura, knee by Nagata, Irish whip, knee by Nakamura and he delivers a heel kick. Nakamura slaps at Nagata's head as Nagata gets back up, kick to the stomach by Nakamura and he playfully kicks Nagata in the head. Nagata gets back up and slaps Nakamura back into the corner, knees by Nagata and he stomps down Nakamura in the corner until the referee gets him off. This gives Nakamura time to connect with a running kick to the head and he kicks Nagata in the chest. Knees by Nakamura, Nagata gets up but Nakamura kicks him in the chest. Heel kick by Nakamura, he sets up Nagata across the ropes in the corner and hits a running knee to Nagata's stomach. Inverted powerslam by Nakamura and he goes for a kick but Nagata moves out of the way and applies the Nagata Lock II. Nakamura gets out of it and goes for the cross armbreaker and then the triangle choke, but Nagata gets out of it and applies the seated armbar. Nakamura gets a foot on the ropes to break the hold and Nagata kicks Nakamura in the chest before booting him into the corner and connecting with the jumping knee. Nagata puts Nakamura up on the top turnbuckle and joins him, but Nakamura headbutts him off. Nagata gets back up but Nakamura kicks Nagata in the head, Nakamura goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving knee strike to Nagata's chest. Both wrestlers slowly get up and they trade elbows, Nagata ducks Nakamura's spin kick and then delivers a heel kick of his own. Nagata picks up Nakamura and hits a snap German suplex, boot by Nagata and he goes for the backdrop suplex, but Nakamura gets away. Knee to the back of the head by Nagata and he delivers the backdrop suplex. Cover, but Nakamura gets a shoulder up. Nagata picks up Nakamura and goes for another one but Nakamura blocks it, Nagata goes for the wrist-clutch exploder but Nakamura gets out of it with a knee to the face. Boma Ye by Nakamura, cover, but Nagata manages to kick out. Nakamura gets a running start and hits a second Boma Ye, and this time he gets the three count cover. Your winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

Match Thoughts: This was a good match between the veterans. The strikes were all on point.... I feel bad for the wrestlers, the A/C or something in the building isn't working and everyone is just sweating bullets. It was clear that both were exhausted before the end of the match. It felt like Nagata was put away a bit easy since Nagata was dominating the last few minutes, but it was such a hard hitting match up to that point it wasn't really an issue. It felt like it should have went longer, but most of the matches in the G1 have been pretty short and with the heat issue I don't blame them. So definitely a good match as both are quality wrestlers, but nothing that will blow you away. Score: 6.0

AJ Styles vs. Tetsuya Naito
Tie-up to start, Naito pushes Styles into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Styles goes for a single leg but Naito blocks it, armbar by Naito but Styles picks up Naito and drops him onto the apron. Naito rolls out to the floor before returning, wristlock by Styles into an armbar, but Naito reverses it. Styles reverses it back and applies a side headlock on the mat, Naito gets back to his feet but can't Irish whip out of the hold. Elbows by Naito and he hits a backdrop suplex, but Styles keeps the side headlock applied. Naito struggles back up again, elbows by Naito and he goes for a backdrop suplex, but Styles lands on his feet. Styles goes off the ropes but Naito delivers a dropkick. Side headlock takedown by Naito, Styles gets back up and tries to Irish whip out of it but Naito keeps the hold locked on. Irish whip by Styles, and Styles hits a dropkick. Styles picks up Naito and elbows him in the head, and Styles elbows him again which busts Naito back open from the previous night. Styles hits a scoop slam, he goes off the ropes and Styles hits a kneedrop. More elbows to the head by Styles, he picks up Naito but Naito punches him back. Kicks by Naito but Styles pokes him in the eyes. Naito charges Styles but Styles kicks him back and hits a swandive superman punch. Naito picks up Styles, and Styles hits a backbreaker. Cover, but it gets a two count. Styles applies a reverse chinlock, and Styles elbows Naito in the head. Styles elbows Naito in the side of the head again and he applies a reverse chinlock. Naito gets a foot on the ropes, Styles picks him up but Naito blocks the suplex. Elbow by Naito and Styles elbows him back, Irish whip by Styles but Naito kicks Styles in the chest. Naito goes off the ropes but Styles hits him with a back elbow. Styles charges Naito but Naito back bodydrops him from the ring down to the floor. Naito goes out to the apron but Styles trips him up, sending Naito crashing outside of the ring. Both wrestlers slowly get up and they lariat each other at the same time. They roll back into the ring, Irish whip by Naito and he hits a hiptoss followed by a dropkick. Naito goes off the ropes and hits a senton, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Naito puts Styles up on the top turnbuckle and joins him but Styles slides away and tripped Naito down to the mat. Styles picks up Naito and hits a vertical suplex into the turnbuckles. Styles picks up Naito and goes for the Styles Clash but Naito blocks it. Naito goes for a lariat but Styles ducks it and hits a Pele Kick. Bloody Sunday by Styles, he picks up Naito and goes for the Styles Clash, but again Naito blocks it. Naito drives Styles back into the corner and hits a dropkick from the apron. Naito puts Styles up on the top turnbuckle and joins him, Naito goes for the Frankensteiner but Styles catches him. Naito kicks his way free, Styles jumps off the top turnbuckle but Naito catches him with a dropkick. German suplex hold by Naito, but it only gets a two count. Naito picks up Styles and he slaps Naito, but Naito hits an enzigieri. Irish whip by Naito, reversed, and Naito hits a jumping elbow smash. Naito picks up Styles and hits a sidewalk slam, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the Stardust Press. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Tetsuya Naito

Match Thoughts: This was fun, in a tournament full of strike battles (not that there is a problem with that), this was more of a fast paced full of energy match which was a nice change of pace. Naito bled again, maybe he will bleed in all of his matches, I dunno. Styles looked really good here and could have won if Naito didn't constantly block the Styles Clash. There weren't really any 'wow' moments you may expect from these two but it was solid from start to finish. Score: 7.0

Karl Anderson vs. Kazuchika Okada
Anderson attacks Okada from behind before the match starts and stomps on him while Okada is on the mat. Anderson kicks Okada and punches him in the head, Irish whip by Anderson but Okada reverses it and hits a big boot. Okada picks up Anderson, snapmare, Okada goes off the ropes and hits a dropkick. Anderson rolls out of the ring, Okada goes out after him and twists Anderson's neck in the guardrail. Okada picks up Anderson and slams him into the apron. Okada gets back into the ring and Anderson gets back on the apron, Anderson grabs Okada and puts him onto the apron with him, and Anderson nails a jumping kick to the head which sends Okada crashing to the floor. Anderson goes out after Okada and drops him chest-first onto the guardrail. Anderson picks up Okada and does it a second time. Anderson stomps Okada, Anderson picks up Okada and Anderson hits a backbreaker. Reverse chinlock by Anderson and he rakes Okada in the eyes. Anderson picks up Okada, Irish whip, and Anderson hits a back elbow. Cover, but it gets a two count. Another cover, but again he gets a two. Anderson rakes Okada's face with his boot and Anderson applies a reverse chinlock. Okada gets back to his feet and elbows out of it, uppercut by Anderson, Irish whip, reversed, but Anderson avoids the dropkick. Anderson goes off the ropes but Okada rolls out of the way of the senton attempt. Kick by Okada and he hits a snap DDT. Back elbow by Okada, Irish whip, and Okada hits a flapjack. Okada picks up Anderson, Irish whip, reversed, and Okada hits a back elbow. Okada puts Anderson up on the top turnbuckle and hits a dropkick, sending Anderson crashing out of the ring. Okada goes outside to get Anderson, he picks him up and throws Anderson into the guardrail. Big boot by Okada, he picks up Anderson, Okada pulls Anderson on the rail and he hits a DDT down to the floor. Okada picks up Anderson and throws Anderson back into the ring. Okada picks up Anderson and he hits a scoop slam, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and he hits a diving elbow drop. Okada picks up Anderson and goes for the Rainmaker but Anderson blocks it. Anderson charges Okada, Okada goes for the Schwein but Anderson gets out of it and hits a running powerbomb for a two count. Anderson goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving Gun Stun, cover, but Okada gets a shoulder up. Anderson picks up Okada, he puts him on his shoulders but Okada gets away. Anderson gets Okada up again and hits the Bernard Driver, cover, but Okada kicks out. Anderson waits for Okada to get up but Okada hits a dropkick. Both wrestlers slowly get up as they elbow each other, Okada goes off the ropes but Anderson does as well, he goes for the Gun Stun but Okada blocks it. Okada picks up Anderson and drops Anderson with the tombstone piledriver. Okada picks up Anderson and goes for the Rainmaker but Anderson blocks it. They trade attempts at their finishing moves, but Anderson spins Okada around and delivers the Gun Stun. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Karl Anderson

Match Thoughts: The thing that impressed me the most is that they had good chemistry, even though to the best of my knowledge they have not had a lot of matches against each other since they run in different circles on the card. But this was another really good match, the second half of this event has really brought some goodness. They kept the action up from start to finish, and all the transitions were logical. I'd love to see these two in a longer and main event style match, Anderson matches tend just to be 'good' but not much more, but this match was a step above that and was quite entertaining. Score: 6.5

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata
They jockey for position to start, Tanahashi pushes Shibata into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Slap by Shibata but Tanahashi returns the favor. Elbow by Shibata but Tanahashi elbows him back and they trade shots. Irish whip by Shibata, reversed, but Shibata avoids the dropkick. Shibata goes for a kick but Tanahashi bails out of the ring to re-group. Shibata jumps out after Tanahashi but Tanahashi gets back in the ring and then dropkick Shibata when he gets on the apron. Tanahashi then goes to the ropes and he hits a pescado down to the floor. Tanahashi stomps Shibata and slides him back into the ring, and Tanahashi drops an elbow on Shibata's leg. Stomps to the leg by Tanahashi and he hits an uppercut followed by a dropkick to the knee. Tanahashi charges Shibata but Shibata ducks the crossbody attempt, and Shibata kicks Tanahashi in the chest which sends him out to the floor. Shibata goes outside the ring and he throws Tanahashi into the guardrail, then he lands a big boot on Tanahashi which sends him over the rail. Shibata picks up Tanahashi and throws him back to ringside so he can hit a vertical suplex. Shibata picks up Tanahashi and slides him back into the ring, Shibata gets back in and kicks Tanahashi in the back. Tanahashi gets back up but Shibata kicks him in the chest. Shibata picks up Tanahashi, punches by Tanahashi but Shibata connects with a back kick. Irish whip by Shibata but Tanahashi kicks him when he charges in. Tanahashi avoids Shibata's big boot, Irish whip by Tanahashi, reversed, and Tanahashi hits a jumping elbow smash. Tanahashi picks up Shibata and he hits a scoop slam, he goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a somersault senton. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Shibata knees Tanahashi in the stomach. Shibata picks up Tanahashi and knocks him into the corner, uppercuts by Shibata and he elbows Tanahashi while he is slumped in the corner. Shibata goes to get a running start, Tanahashi catches him with a kick but Shibata elbows him down into the corner again. Shibata gets a running start and delivers a dropkick to Tanahashi's face, he picks up Tanahashi and hits a single arm suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Shibata picks up Tanahashi and applies a sleeper, but Tanahashi hits a snap German suplex. Shibata returns fire with his own German suplex, and both wrestlers are down on the mat. Shibata is up first, he goes off the ropes but Tanahashi catches the PK and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Another dragon screw by Tanahashi and he applies a Texas Cloverleaf. Shibata gets a hand on the ropes to force a break, Tanahashi picks up Shibata and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Waistlock by Shibata and he applies a sleeper hold. Tanahashi gets a hand on the ropes but Shibata kicks him in the face, he goes for the PK but Tanahashi ducks it and hits the Sling Blade. Tanahashi goes up to the top turnbuckle and goes for the High Fly Flow, hitting it to Shibata's back. Tanahashi goes up top again but this time Shibata gets his knees up. Both wrestlers slowly get up, trading elbows along the way, and continue trading blows once they are on their feet. Shibata hits a brutal spinning chop to the face, sending Tanahashi down to his knees. Shibata picks up Tanahashi and puts him on his shoulders, but Tanahashi sneaks in a school boy for a two count. Shibata manages to get Tanahashi on his shoulders this time, and he hits the Go 2 Sleep followed by the PK. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Katsuyori Shibata

Match Thoughts: A fitting main event and one of the better New Japan matches so far this year. The thing that annoys me about Tanahashi is sometimes he goes into 'invincible' mode, blowing off what has been done to him. Well either he was too hot or Shibata hit too hard, because he didn't bother to do that here. Just a really hard hitting match and definitely a 'Shibata' match as Tanahashi didn't get most of his own spots in. Due to the snugness of the action the crowd stayed really into it even though they were hot too after three hours of sitting there, and for sixteen minutes there was virtually no resting or downtime. Just two heavyweights slugging it out, with the one that hit harder winning the match. Definitely a 'must see' in the tournament. Score: 8.5

Current Standings:

Block A: Block B:
Shelton Benjamin  [8]
Hiroshi Tanahashi  [6]
Bad Luck Fale  [4]
Katsuyori Shibata  [4]
Satoshi Kojima  [4]
Shinsuke Nakamura  [4]
Tomohiro Ishii  [4]
Davey Boy Smith Jr.  [2]
Doc Gallows  [2]
Yuji Nagata  [2]
Tomoaki Honma  [0]
Hirooki Goto  [6]
Kazuchika Okada  [6]
Tetsuya Naito  [6]
Hiroyoshi Tenzan  [4]
Togi Makabe  [4]
Toru Yano  [4]
AJ Styles  [2]
Karl Anderson  [2]
Lance Archer  [2]
Minoru Suzuki  [2]
Yujiro Takahashi  [2]

Final Thoughts:

Best Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata. These two have always had great chemistry and have been rivals for a long time. This match was no exception, they just worked so well together and everything made sense. Shibata prevented Tanahashi from being too much like.... Tanahashi and repeatedly was hitting him hard in the face. Tanahashi did his part with a few nearfalls that kept the crowd into it, but this match was about Shibata. Just a great match and a great main event, probably my favorite of the tournament so far.

MVP:   Shelton Benjamin. I have to give the nod to Benjamin, as after four days he is the only wrestler with eight points. Who would have thought that halfway through the tournament that Benjamin would be the overall leader? He still has some of the toughest wrestlers to go against, but he has set himself up well going into the latter half of the tournament.

Overall: At first, I thought that this was going to be a real downer of an event. I could tell it was really hot, and the wrestlers now had been going non-stop for a week, so maybe this was when they would get their breather. Then the second half of the show started and I changed my mind. Ishii/Honma, Naito/Styles, and Shibata/Tanahashi were all really good to great matches, and there were other matches that were solid and worth watching. I can't give my highest recommendation since there were a few bad matches on the card and it took time to 'pick up', but once it did they really did bring the goodness.

Grade: B

review completed on 7/27/14