New Japan "G1 Climax 25" Day 2
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  July 23rd, 2015
Location:  Twin Messe Shizuoka
Announced Attendance:  1,805

And we are back with the G1 Climax!  This is a house show (I refer to anything shot with one hard cam as a house show, obviously if they are filmed they aren’t literally house shows) with no big match-ups so I am going in with low expectations.  That being said a few of these matches have potential and some are quite fresh, which is always a plus.  Here is the full card (remember I am only reviewing the G1 Climax matches):

- Block B: Satoshi Kojima vs. Tomohiro Ishii
- Block B: Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro Takahashi
- Block B: Tomoaki Honma vs. Yuji Nagata
- Block B: Kazuchika Okada vs. Michael Elgin
- Block B: Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

I fear this may be more different than good, but let’s see how it works out.  The one far away camera is just awful for getting emotionally invested in matches but we’ll just have to deal with it.

Satoshi Kojima vs. Tomohiro Ishii
They tie-up to start but they end up trading elbows.  Shoulderblock by Kojima and he hits a side Russian leg sweep followed by a neckbreaker.  Back up they trade elbows again with Kojima getting the better of it, Irish whip attempt by Kojima but Ishii hits a powerslam.  Ishii kicks Kojima in the back and then in the chest, chops by Ishii and he elbows Kojima down in the corner.  Irish whip by Ishii but Kojima avoids his charge and hits rapid fire chops followed by the jumping elbow, but Ishii knocks him off the top turnbuckle when he goes for the diving elbow drop.  Ishii goes out after him and they battle around the ring (hard to see) before Kojima slides Ishii back in, Koji Cutter by Kojima but the cover gets two.  Ishii hits a backdrop suplex to regain the advantage, lariat by Ishii and he puts Kojima on the top turnbuckle.  Superplex by Ishii and he goes for a sliding lariat, but Kojima ducks it.  DDT by Kojima and he lariats Ishii in the back of the head.  Brainbuster by Kojima and he covers Ishii for a two count.  Lariat by Kojima but Ishii headbutts him.  Jumping kick by Ishii but Kojima comes back with a lariat, and both wrestlers are down.   Kojima recovers first and covers Ishii, but it only gets two.  Elbows by Kojima, he picks up Ishii and hits a series of elbows, but Ishii headbutts him.  Sliding lariat by Ishii, cover, but Kojima gets a shoulder up.  Brainbuster by Ishii, and he picks up the three count!  This was a decent match and a smart way to start off the Block B matches.  It was like a compacted Ishii match, he got in most of his stuff but there was no overkill as there was no time for overkill, they got to the point.  We couldn’t really see the outside the ring action but otherwise a perfectly fine but not overly memorable match. 

Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro Takahashi
They begin with a tie-up and wristlocks, Irish whip by Goto but Takahashi bails out of the ring.  Goto goes after him Takahashi slides back in, but Goto knocks him back but Takahashi hits a boot in the corner.  Shoulderblock by Goto and he applies a reverse chinlock but Takahashi gets out of it and they take it outside the ring (to the far side where we can’t really see).  Back in the ring, Takahashi drops Goto onto the top rope and covers him for two.  Big boot by Takahashi but Goto elbows him back, Takahashi bites Goto’s hand and he kicks him in the back for a two count cover.  Reverse chinlock by Takahashi but Goto gets out of it, Goto kicks Takahashi into the corner and he hits a spinning heel kick. Face crusher by Goto and he hits a backdrop suplex for a two count.  Takahashi gets Takahashi up but Takahashi slides away and sneaks in a school boy for two. Sliding kick by Takahashi, Irish whip from the corner but Goto reverses it, Takahashi avoids Goto’s charge and he hits a big boot.  Fisherman buster by Takahashi, cover, but Goto kicks out.  Takahashi picks up Goto and he hits the Olympic Slam, but Goto gets a shoulder up on the cover.  Takahashi picks up Goto and powerbombs him into the turnbuckles, Takahashi goes off the ropes and he hits an elbow for two.  Takahashi picks up Goto but Goto gets away, headbutts by Goto and he levels Takahashi with a lariat.  Goto hits a neckbreaker onto his knee, he drags Takahashi back up and he nails the Shouten Kai for the three count!  The main problem with this match is that Takahashi isn’t good.  His offense is not interesting, simply put, and he should be hidden in tag matches or exiled.  The ending was also really sudden, Takahashi had controlled the match and in 30 seconds Goto hit a few moves and won.  Very limited redeemable qualities, if any.

Tomoaki Honma vs. Yuji Nagata
We get blinded by the light early on but luckily they remembered to turn it off so we can see what is going on. Nagata gets Honma to the mat and they trade holds, Nagata stomps on Honma and elbows him in the back of the head. Nagata Lock by Nagata but Honma gets to the ropes. Nagata kicks Honma in the chest and goes off the ropes, big boot by Nagata and he knocks Honma to the mat. Nagata picks up Honma but Honma hits a vertical suplex, his first offensive move of note in the match. Honma chops Nagata into the corner, Irish whip, and Honma hits a jumping elbow. Kokeshi by Honma as the crowd cheers in approval, and Honma applies a single leg crab hold. Honma picks up Nagata and goes for a slam but Nagata gets away and applies a sleeper. Honma gets out of the hold and he hits Nagata with a lariat, picking up a two count. Honma goes up top but Nagata recovers and joins him. Honma slides off the top and goes for a powerbomb but Nagata blocks it and hits an exploder into the turnbuckles. Jumping knee by Nagata in the corner, he goes for a backdrop suplex but Honma gets to the ropes to block it. Knee by Nagata but Honma catches his kick, elbow by Honma and they trade shots. Honma goes off the ropes but Nagata blocks the lariat and applies a seated armbar. Back up, knees by Nagata, Irish whip but Honma delivers a headbutt. Another jumping headbutt by Honma, cover, but Nagata kicks out. Honma goes up top but Nagata rolls out of the way of the avalanche Kokeshi. Nagata drops Honma with a release German suplex, Honma quickly rolls up Nagata but it gets a two count. Backdrop suplex by Nagata, he picks up Honma and he delivers a backdrop suplex hold for the three count! This was good but nothing special. I never really brought that Honma could win here, partly because Honma has not won a singles match in New Japan against a non-rookie in almost two years. The crowd is behind him though and Nagata didn't go easy on the little guy, so it was still fun to watch. A solid mid-card match but it never really went beyond that, admittedly the far away camera doesn't help. Mildly Recommended

Kazuchika Okada vs. Michael Elgin
Elgin drives Okada into the corner to start the match but Okada fights out of it, Okada goes for an armdrag but Elgin blocks it. Sliding Kick by Okada and he applies a reverse chinlock, Irish whip by Okada but Elgin throws him out onto the apron. Elgin kicks Okada before getting on the second turnbuckle and hitting a somersault leg drop. Okada rolls out of the ring to re-group but Elgin goes out after him and he battles Okada around the ring. Leg drop on the apron by Elgin before they get back into the ring and Elgin hits a jumping elbow in the corner. Uppercut by Elgin and he grabs Okada around the waist, but Okada gets away and they trade elbows. Elgin rolls Okada to the mat and jumps on his back, picking up a two count. Elgin goes for a delayed vertical suplex and he finally hits it, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Okada rolls out of the way of the corkscrew senton attempt. Running elbows by Okada and he snaps off a DDT, jumping elbow by Okada and he hits a flapjack for a two count. Okada picks up Elgin and hits a scoop slam, he goes up top but Elgin recovers. Okada slides off to the apron but Elgin hits a hard elbow, Elgin gets on the second turnbuckle and he suplexes Okada back into the ring. Cover by Elgin, but Okada gets a shoulder up. Elgin picks up Okada and he powerbombs him into the turnbuckles, but Okada comes back with a reverse neckbreaker. Okada picks up Elgin and goes for the tombstone but Elgin blocks it. Elgin goes for a tombstone but Okada slides away and delivers a dropkick. Okada goes up top and hits the diving elbow drop. Okada picks up Elgin but Elgin knocks him away, Elgin puts Okada on the turnbuckles and he hits a jumping kick. Elgin joins Okada up top but Okada slides through his legs and dropkicks Elgin in the back. Okada finally hits the tombstone piledriver, he picks up Elgin and he nails the Rainmaker, picking up the three count! This was really entertaining and shows that Elgin can fit in just fine, even if some people were concerned before the tournament started. They surprisingly had good chemistry as they played off each other well with lots of reversals and slick transitions. This probably should have been the main event so it could have gotten a few more minutes, but enjoyable while it lasted for sure. Recommended

Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura and Anderson do some introductory submissions to kick things off but neither gets a clear advantage. Nakamura kicks Anderson and goes off the ropes but Anderson hits an armdrag which Nakamura quickly gets out of. Nakamura knocks Anderson in the corner but Anderson quickly slides out of the ring. Nakamura goes out also and he throws Anderson into the guardrail, Nakamura charges Anderson but Anderson drops Nakamura onto the guardrail. Anderson slides in the ring with Nakamura very slowly following, Anderson elbows Nakamura as he tries to get in the ring and he hits a big boot to send Nakamura back out of it. Nakamura makes it back in as Anderson starts working him over, neckbreaker by Anderson and he applies a chinlock. Anderson picks up Nakamura and he drops Nakamura neck-first onto his knee, cover by Anderson but it gets two. Anderson grabs at Nakamura but Nakamura kicks him, Nakamura puts Anderson's head over the apron and hits a running knee followed by a knee drop from the apron. Back in the ring, Nakamura does the shaky leg in the corner and he knees Anderson in the ribs. Cover by Nakamura but it gets two. Nakamura picks up Anderson but Anderson blocks the inverted powerslam and hits a neckbreaker. Irish whip by Anderson but Nakamura knees him, Nakamura kicks Anderson but Anderson avoids him in the corner. Jumping boot by Anderson and he hits a sit-down powerbomb for a two count. Anderson goes up top and he hits a diving neckbreaker, cover by Anderson but Nakamura barely gets a shoulder up. Anderson picks up Nakamura and goes for the Gun Stun but Nakamura slides off his shoulders and kicks Anderson in the head.

Nakamura picks up Anderson and knees him before hitting a scissors kick, knees to the ribs by Nakamura and he hits a front suplex. Nakamura waits for Anderson to get up but Anderson catches him when he charges in, he drops Nakamura on the apron and throws him into the ring post. Anderson pulls Nakamura onto the top turnbuckle with him, he gets him on his shoulders and he nails an avalanche swivel Gun Stun, but Nakamura kicks out of the pin. Anderson picks up Nakamura and puts him onto the top turnbuckle, Anderson joins him and goes for a Gun Stun but Nakamura pushes him off and hits a Boma Ye to the back of the head. He goes for another one but Anderson avoids it and hits a low range Gun Stun for a two count. Anderson and Nakamura trade elbows, jumping kick by Anderson but Nakamura blocks the Gun Stun and hits a Boma Ye for a two count. Nakamura picks up Anderson and hits the inverted powerslam, but Anderson avoids the Boma Ye and hits the Gun Stun for the three count! This match was far, far better than I was expecting. I think that Anderson being in the main event threw off people a bit but this was a smartly worked match. Anderson stayed on Nakamura's neck the entire match, he was very focused which made the ending feel realistic. Nakamura's over-reliance on the Boma Ye was his downfall, really he didn't do anything to weaken Anderson much before that and it always felt like Anderson's match. Maybe it shouldn't have been in the main event slot but I liked it quite a bit, worth a watch if you are open minded to Anderson main eventing and beating Nakamura clean. Recommended

Final Thoughts:

Even though I hate the one camera set-up, I actually think the matches themselves overall were better on Day 2 than Day 1, which I was not expecting. Goto/Yujiro was a stinker but all the rest were at least solid, with the last two being very enjoyable. None reached the level of Ibushi/Tanahashi, but as a collective group there was more to like. The main event in particularly surprised me, I came in expecting nothing and they delivered a well constructed and smartly laid out match. Add in the additional surprise of Elgin having a really smooth match with Okada, and I think most people would be surprised at the match quality here. Aside from the blinding lights and camera issue, this show is worth seeing, just skip Goto/Yujiro.

Grade: B-

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event reviewed on 7/24/15