New Japan "G1 Climax 25" Day 3
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  July 24th, 2015
Location:  Kyoto City Budokan Center
Announced Attendance:  1,700 (Super No Vacancy)

This year the New Japan G1 Climax is spread out over many many days, which means you will be getting lots of short G1 Climax reviews. I'll let you decide if that is good or bad. It is Block A night again as they are rotating, and I am happy to report this show does not use just one hard camera. Here are the G1 Climax matches on the show:

- Block A: Doc Gallows vs. Kota Ibushi
- Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs. Togi Makabe
- Block A: AJ Styles vs. Toru Yano
- Block A: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tetsuya Naito
- Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan

An odd collection of matches, let's see how things go.

Doc Gallows vs. Kota Ibushi
Gallows kicks Ibushi to start the match and clubs him down, headbutt by Gallows but Ibushi hits a strike combination. Running elbow by Ibushi and he kicks Gallows in the leg, Gallows tries to throw Ibushi out of the ring but Ibushi lands on the ramp. Gallows kicks Ibushi right in the jaw, he goes to the apron with Ibushi and he throws him down to the floor. Ibushi slowly returns to the ring, Gallows puts Ibushi on the top turnbuckle and kicks Ibushi in the back. Dropkick by Gallows while Ibushi is in the tree of woe, cover by Gallows but it gets two. Gallows throws Ibushi into the corner and hits a punch combination, vertical suplex by Gallows and he hits a leg drop. Ibushi fights back and kicks Gallows to the mat, both wrestlers slowly get up and Ibushi kicks Gallows when he charges in. Ibushi dropkicks Gallows out of the ring, he runs to the corner and he hits a moonsault down to the floor. Ibushi slides Gallows back in, swandive missile dropkick by Ibushi and he covers Gallows for a two count. Gallows drives Ibushi back into the corner but Ibushi hits a German suplex hold for two. Back up, Ibushi goes off the ropes but Gallows catches him with an uppercut. Gallows slams Ibushi to the mat and hits a Jackhammer, but Ibushi barely gets a shoulder up. Gallows goes for the Chokebomb but Ibushi blocks it and cradles Gallows for the three count! This was a good way to kick things off. Gallows looked fine here and Ibushi did the bumping to keep the match interesting. A short match but solid nonetheless. Mildly Recommended

Bad Luck Fale vs. Togi Makabe
They get right to it and trade blows until Fale shoulderblocks Makabe to the mat. Makabe rolls out of the ring but Fale follows him out and throws Makabe around the floor. Fale returns with Makabe eventually rolling back in also, and Fale stands on Makabe near the ropes. Fale punches Makabe into the corner, cover by Fale but the referee has none of it due to all the illegal punches. Scoop slam by Fale and he applies the dreaded neck grip. Elbows by Fale as Makabe returns to his feet and Makabe starts fighting back. Lariat by Makabe in the corner and he hits another one before hitting mounted punches in the corner. He goes for a suplex but Fale blocks it, Fale goes off the ropes but Makabe hits a lariat. Another lariat by Makabe, he goes off the ropes but Fale catches him with a Samoan Drop. Fale and Makabe trade elbows while on their knees and continue after getting up, body avalanche by Fale in the corner and he hits a body press for a two count. Fale goes off the ropes but Makabe fires off a lariat. Makabe goes up top but Fale catches him when he dives off. Fale goes for the Grenade but Makabe blocks it. Spear by Fale, he picks up Makabe and he nails the Bad Luck Fall. Cover, and he gets the three count. This was too short to be good but I am not complaining as I didn't want to see these two brawl for 15 minutes. The issue with short matches is it made it seem like Makabe went down too easy, we are used to higher-ranking wrestlers needing to take a bit more offense before getting pinned. Still I can't say it was a bad match, but it certainly wasn't good or particularly interesting to watch.

AJ Styles vs. Toru Yano
Yano avoids Styles as the bell rings but then attacks Styles from behind with a bottle. Yano dumps Styles out of the ring when he charges in but Styles pulls Yano out with him. Styles goes for a springboard move off the guardrail (well not really a springboard I guess) but Yano throws a chair at his face. Yano hits Styles with the chair again before getting back into the ring, Styles slowly recovers and joins him but Yano stomps him as he slides in. Styles grabs Yano and dumps him out of the ring again before hitting a baseball slide. Styles throws Yano into the apron and goes to hit him with a chair, but the referee stops him. Yano takes the chance to attack Styles from behind, he slides Styles into the ring but Styles delivers a dropkick. Jumping kneedrop by Styles and he dropkicks Yano in the knee. Figure four leglock by Styles but Yano makes it to the ropes to force a break. Styles stomps on Yano but Yano hits an elbow, Yano throws down Styles by his hair and he pushes the referee into the ropes when Styles goes for a swandive move. Yano takes off a turnbuckle pad and celebrates, Styles tries to hit him from behind but Yano ducks. Styles hits a swandive elbow smash from the apron, Styles goes off the ropes but Yano hits an atomic drop. Styles hits a vertical suplex into the exposed corner, cover by Styles but it gets two. Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Yano blocks it and catapults Styles into the exposed corner. He throws him into the corner again before hitting a powerbomb, but it gets a two count. Yano goes for a low blow but Styles blocks it and hits a Pele Kick. Styles picks up Yano, strike combination by Styles but Yano hits a low blow and rolls up Styles for a two count. Yano goes for another rollup but Styles blocks it and he applies the Calf Killer. They are in the middle of the ring and Yano has no choice but to submit! This match was classic Yano, which means it was watchable but ultimately forgettable. Styles tried to be interesting but this was more of a Yano match than a Styles match, even though I liked him winning with the Calf Killer. Overall just an average mid-card match.

Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tetsuya Naito
Shibata attacks Naito immediately, not amused by his new mannerisms, and then boots Naito off the apron while he slowly takes off his shirt. Shibata goes out after him and boots Naito over the guardrail, he slides Naito back in and he applies a figure four leglock. Naito makes it to the ropes, stomps by Shibata but Naito dropkicks Shibata in the leg. Naito throws Shibata out of the ring and twists his leg over the guardrail before dropkicking it from the apron. Naito finally takes his shirt off and pants off (he had been wrestling in a button-down shirt and in slacks all this time), back in the ring Naito applies a figure four leglock but Shibata gets to the ropes to force a break. Naito clubs at Shibata and they trade elbows, running elbow by Naito in the corner and he hits a dropkick. Naito toys with Shibata which seems like a bad idea, Shibata proves me right by kneeing Naito hard in the stomach. Shibata stomps down Naito in the corner and hits a series of facewashes, but Naito pops up and elbows Shibata into the corner. Naito tries to go for the trip/slingshot dropkick but Shibata has none of that, and Shibata dropkicks Naito in the corner. Shibata picks up Naito and applies an abdominal stretch, Naito gets out of it and he hits a jumping elbow smash. Naito goes up top and hits a missile dropkick to the back of Shibata's head, German suplex hold by Naito but it gets a two count. Full nelson by Naito but Shibata muscles out of it, Naito trips Shibata and applies an ankle hold but Shibata gets to the ropes. Elbows by Shibata but Naito slaps him, enzuigiri by Naito and he slaps Shibata some more, until Shibata slaps him back and applies a sleeper. Naito goes to sleep, Shibata lets him go and drills him with a PK, picking up the three count victory! I'm emotionally torn about this match. I liked it, no doubt about that, it was a lot of fun. But the leg work was quality by both men so I wish it had meant something at the end, both of them didn't do much to sell the leg damage unless they were in a submission hold at the time. That being said I am liking new Naito quite a bit and Shibata not putting up with Naito's attitude matches his style perfectly. Naito almost seemed to go down too easily but G1 matches tend not to have a lot of overkill so in the grand scheme of thing not a big deal. Definitely worth checking out even if it did have a bit of an unusual vibe to it. Recommended

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Tanahashi pushes Tenzan into the ropes to begin things but he gives a clean break. Tie-up, waistlock by Tanahashi but Tenzan applies a leglock on the mat. Tanahashi gets into the ropes, Irish whip by Tenzan and he hits a shoulderblock, but Tanahashi stays up. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Tenzan hits a shoulderblock successfully, Mongolian Chops by Tenzan but Tanahashi kicks him back, they lock knuckles and Tenzan lariats Tanahashi out of the ring. Tenzan goes out after him but Tanahashi hits a jawbreaker. Uppercuts by Tanahashi while Tenzan's head is over the apron, Tanahashi drives Tenzan's head into the turnbuckles back in the ring, and Tanahashi hits a neckbreaker. Neck crank by Tanahashi but Tenzan hits Mongolian Chops. Mountain Bomb by Tenzan and he hits more Mongolian Chops, Irish whip by Tenzan and he hits a lariat. Vertical suplex by Tenzan and he hits Tanahashi with a lariat. Tenzan goes for an Anaconda Vice but Tanahashi quickly gets into the ropes, Tanahashi rolls to the apron but Tenzan headbutts him. Mongolian Chops by Tenzan and he goes for a suplex, but Tanahashi snaps Tenzan's neck over the top rope. Back in the ring, Tanahashi applies a sleeper before picking up Tenzan and hitting a dropkick. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Tenzan delivers a heel kick, cover by Tenzan but it gets two. Tenzan picks up Tanahashi and he hits a backdrop suplex, Tenzan goes up top but Tanahashi avoids the diving headbutt. Tanahashi goes up top and goes for the High Fly Flow, but Tenzan gets his knees up. Both wrestlers lariat each other as they are down on the mat, Tenzan recovers first and he covers Tanahashi for two. Tenzan applies the Anaconda Vice, Tanahashi struggles to his feet but Tenzan hits the Anaconda Buster for a two count cover. Tenzan picks up Tanahashi and goes for the Anaconda Vice again but Tanahashi rolls out of it. Back up, headbutt by Tenzan but Tanahashi hits a cyclone neckbreaker. Tanahashi goes off the ropes and hits the Sling Blade, cover by Tanahashi but Tenzan gets a shoulder up. Tanahashi jumps up to the top turnbuckle, he delivers the High Fly Flow and he picks up the three count! He doesn't get the credit he deserves but Tanahashi is on another level when it comes to leading matches and keeping them interesting. It is incredibly rare for him to have a bad singles match because he is a true veteran presence in the ring, not that Tenzan isn't of course but it just happens to be something that Tanahashi is particularly good at. So this was another really good match as even though Tenzan is worn down the pacing was perfect for both. The crowd was really hot for the match which always helps and both wrestlers hit everything well, it was very fluid from bell to bell. Well executed + hot crowd = goodness, definitely worth a watch. Recommended

Final Thoughts:

The first three matches of the show ranged from average to solid, but it was only the last two that were memorable. Shibata was in top form in his match and Naito's new 'attitude' is definitely amusing, he hasn't greatly changed his in-ring style but the small tweaks are noticeable. The main event was great, Tanahashi is a ring master and Tenzan as he usually does is stepping it up for the G1 Climax. This was pro-shot so you don't have to worry about just the one camera set-up, and the crowd was really into the show. This is the first event of the G1 I would say didn't have a single bad match (although Makabe/Fale isn't my personal tastes) so don't hesitate to pick it up and enjoy.

Grade: B

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event reviewed on 7/25/15