New Japan "G1 Climax 25" Day 12
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date: August 7th, 2015
Location: Act City Hamamatsu
Announced Attendance: 2,345 (No Vacancy)

This is another hard cam only show. Why, New Japan, why? Does it really cost that much more to have a second camera man? I don't expect the full presentation for every show but you have over 2,000 people in attendance, you aren't in a high school gym. Sigh. At least it looks like a few of these matches have potential, I am more of a Block A guy but we'll see how it goes. Here is the line-up tonight:

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

Here we go.

Michael Elgin vs. Yuji Nagata
They trade wristlocks to start and attempted shoulderblocks, boot by Nagata but Elgin shoulderblocks him to the mat. Another boot by Nagata does the trick, Nagata clubs on Elgin but Elgin headbutts him in his already injured ribs. Scoop slam by Elgin, he goes to the apron and hits a slingshot body press for a two count. Delayed vertical suplex by Elgin and he knees Nagata in the ribs. Nagata fights back as they trade strikes until Nagata knees Elgin in the stomach. Nagata kicks Elgin in the chest and knocks him into the corner before hitting a big boot. He goes for an exploder but Elgin blocks it, Irish whip by Elgin but Nagata manages to hit the exploder for a two count. Back up they trade boots and then elbows, but Nagata ducks the roaring elbow and hits a heel kick to the back of Elgin. Nagata goes off the ropes but Elgin levels him with a lariat, picking up a two count. Elgin gets Nagata on his shoulders and then climbs to the second turnbuckle, but Nagata slides away. Elgin kicks Nagata but Nagata rolls out of the way when Elgin goes for a somersault senton. Nagata applies the seated armbar but Elgin gets to the ropes, Elgin picks up Nagata and slams him to the mat. Elgin charges Nagata but Nagata moves, jawbreaker of some sort by Elgin and his cover gets two. Elgin goes off the ropes but Nagata ducks the lariat and hits a release German. Big boot by Nagata and he hits the backdrop suplex, but Elgin barely kicks out of the pin attempt. Nagata goes for another one but Elgin blocks it, elbow by Elgin and he hits the deadlift Falcon Arrow from the second turnbuckle for a two count. Elgin goes for the buckle bomb but Elgin gets out of it, spinning chop by Elgin but Nagata hits an exploder into the turnbuckles. Nagata goes for a jumping knee in the corner but Elgin catches him and hits the Buckle Bomb. Elgin Bomb by Elgin and he picks up the three count! I refuse to pretend like this was a good match, even though I do like Elgin. It was just nothing. There was no flow or structure to it, so many repeated spots from other matches, and it never had a real sense of urgency. It also ended pretty quickly, Nagata had just hit an exploder in the corner than two moves later he is done. Some of Elgin's offense is fun no doubt but this wasn't much of an effort from either man to do something memorable.

Karl Anderson vs. Tomoaki Honma
This one started pretty slow as they trade basic moves, Honma goes for a Kokeshi but its too early for that as Anderson easily moves out of the way. Anderson boots Honma, Honma rolls out to the apron and elbows Anderson, but Anderson snaps Honma's neck on the top rope before booting him to the floor. Honma gets back in and Anderson hits mounted punches until Honma gets a foot on the ropes. Irish whip by Anderson and he hits a hard elbow, he tries a few covers but none of them work. Anderson rakes Honma's face with his arm and he applies a chinlock, uppercuts by Anderson and he stomps on Honma. Honma finally does something offensive as he hits a vertical suplex, elbows by Honma and he hits a scoop slam, but again he misses the Kokeshi. Anderson picks up Honma and hits a scoop slam of his own, but Honma avoids the senton. Honma chops Anderson into the corner, Irish whip by Honma and he hits a jumping elbow followed by a face crusher. Front flip neckbreaker by Honma, and he covers Anderson for a two count. Honma picks up Anderson but Anderson gets away from him and hits a neckbreaker. Anderson picks up Honma and drops Honma neck-first onto his knee, cover by Anderson but it gets two. Anderson picks up Honma but Honma slides away and hits a lariat. Back up they trade elbows, headbutts by Honma but Anderson hits the Swivel Gun Stun for a two count cover. Anderson goes for a Gun Stun but Honma blocks it, uppercut by Anderson but Honma slides away and hits a sunset flip for two. Kokeshi Rocket by Honma and he drops Anderson with a brainbuster for a two count. Scoop slam by Honma, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but as he goes for the Avalanche Kokeshi Anderson springs up and catches him with a Gun Stun! Anderson covers Honma and he gets the three count. I liked the ending quite a bit but the journey to get there was a bit plodding. Anderson's offense isn't incredibly diverse and even the crowd took some time to get into it even though they love Honma. The last few minutes were good though, overall an above-average match even if it isn't really a match anyone needs to go out of their way to see.

Hirooki Goto vs. Satoshi Kojima
Goto knocks Kojima to the mat first with a shoulderblock but Kojima returns the favor and they trade elbows. Goto applies a headscissors but Kojima gets out of it, elbows by Goto but Kojima lariats Goto out of the ring. Kojima goes out after him and throws Goto onto the apron before hitting a DDT. Back in the ring they go back to trading elbows, Kojima chops Goto in the corner and he hits the jumping elbow followed by the diving elbow drop for a two count. Goto and Kojima exchange elbows until Goto hits a big lariat. Goto kicks Kojima in the chest, Irish whip to the corner and Goto hits a jumping heel kick. Backdrop suplex by Goto, and he covers Kojima for a two count. Waistlock by Goto but Kojima elbows him and hits a DDT. Kojima snaps off a Koji Cutter and elbows Goto into the corner, Kojima puts Goto on the top turnbuckle and he hits the avalanche Koji Cutter for a two count cover. Goto gets Kojima on his shoulders and hits the Ushigoroshi, Goto charges Kojima but Kojima boots him and chops Goto in the corner. Kojima puts Goto on the top turnbuckle again but Goto elbows Kojima and nails the Kaiten for a two count. Goto goes for a suplex but Kojima reverses it with a brainbuster. Kojima picks up Goto, Irish whip, but Goto headbutts him. Lariat by Kojima but Goto scoops him up and hits the Ura Shouten. Shouten Kai by Goto, and he picks up the three count! This was solid, the issue was that the transitions were horrible at times. One wrestler would hit a big move but for no real reason than the other wrestler would hit a big move, they just went back and forth with it. It had good action and the crowd enjoyed it, it just wasn't very well structured. Definitely watchable but too random for my liking.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yujiro Takahashi
Takahashi stomps on Nakamura before the match starts and elbows him against the ropes, Irish whip by Takahashi but Nakamura reverses it and knees Takahashi in the stomach. Nakamura gives Takahashi the shaky leg in the corner and he hits a kneedrop for a two count cover. Reverse chinlock by Nakamura but Takahashi gets out of it, elbow by Nakamura but Hall grabs Nakamura from the apron. Takahashi then lariats Nakamura out of the ring and goes out after him, Takahashi stomps Nakamura on the floor before sliding Nakamura back in. Takahashi applies pressure to Nakamura's injured arm and then wraps the arm in the top rope. Takahashi boots Nakamura in the arm, Nakamura elbows Takahashi back but Takahashi yanks on the arm again. Nakamura knocks Takahashi away and boots him into the corner and he hits a heel kick, knee by Nakamura and he puts Takahashi across the top rope. Knee to the ribs by Nakamura, cover, but it gets two. Nakamura goes for inverted powerslam but Takahashi bites his hand, Takahashi knocks Nakamura into the corner and he hits a big boot. Fisherman buster attempt by Takahashi but Nakamura blocks it, Nakamura goes off the ropes but Takahashi drops him throat-first on the top rope. Fisherman buster by Takahashi, but Nakamura gets a shoulder up.

Nakamura goes off the ropes and delivers a jumping kick, elbow by Nakamura but Takahashi elbows him back. Nakamura drops Takahashi with a front suplex, guillotine choke by Nakamura and he hits the inverted powerslam. Nakamura charges Takahashi but Takahashi hits a jumping kick and both men are on the mat. Takahashi boots Nakamura after they get up and he hits a sliding kick followed by an Olympic Slam. Takahashi picks up Nakamura and hits a release German, Takahashi picks up Nakamura but Nakamura stomps on his feet and delivers a sliding Boma Ye for a two count. Nakamura charges Takahashi but Takahashi avoids the Boma Ye, he gets Nakamura on his shoulders but Nakamura again slides away. Sliding kick by Takahashi but Nakamura kicks him away and hits a Boma Ye off the second turnbuckle. Standing Boma Ye by Nakamura and he picks up the three count! This was much better than I was expecting. With Nakamura's arm hurt already, it gave Takahashi something to focus on so his control segments weren't so dull and all over the place. Nakamura did his spots well when needed but this was more about Takahashi trying to topple a wrestler much better than him (and ultimately failing). Not very long and no memorable moments, but oddly solid. Mildly Recommended

Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii 
They begin things simply with wristlocks, Okada pushes Ishii into the corner but Ishii elbows him when he goes for a clean break. They trade strikes, which Ishii gets the better of, and he hits a scoop slam. Ishii goes off the ropes but Okada elbows him, Okada boots Ishii and he hits the scoop slam followed by senton atomico. Sliding kick by Okada and he applies a chinlock, elbow drop by Okada and he throws Ishii out of the ring. Okada goes out after him and throws Ishii into the guardrail before booting him over it. Ishii regains the advantage on the floor and throws Okada around, Ishii returns to the ring and Okada slowly follows. Ishii drops Okada midsection-first across the top rope and chops him into the corner, vertical suplex by Ishii and he covers Okada for two. Ishii picks up Okada but Okada gets away from Ishii's waistlock and hits a neckbreaker. Elbows by Okada, Irish whip and he plants Ishii with a DDT. Irish whip by Okada and he hits a flapjack, he quickly puts Ishii in the Red Ink but Ishii gets to the ropes to force a break. Okada goes up top but he jumps off when Ishii charges in, but Ishii hits a release German anyway. Ishii waits for Okada to get up but Okada avoids the lariat, back elbow by Okada and he elbows Ishii some more in the corner. Ishii starts absorbing the blows because elbowing Ishii isn't a great idea, powerbomb by Ishii but it gets a two count.

Ishii goes for a lariat and then a jumping kick, Okada blocks both but the next lariat hits it's mark. Okada avoids the sliding lariat and hits an uppercut, Okada picks up Ishii and he hits a fireman's carry into a slam for a two count. Okada picks up Ishii and hits the reverse neckbreaker, another cover but again Ishii kicks out. Scoop slam by Okada, he goes up top and he hits a diving elbow drop. Okada goes for a Rainmaker but Ishii ducks it, and Ishii hits a headbutt. Big lariat by Ishii, cover, but it only gets a two count. Sliding Lariat by Ishii, but it gets another two. Ishii goes for a brainbuster but Okada lands on his feet and dropkicks Ishii in the back. Okada goes for a tombstone but Ishii blocks it, headbutt by Ishii but Okada dropkicks him as he goes off the ropes. Okada drags up Ishii but Okada ducks the Rainmaker and hits a jumping kick. Ishii goes for a brainbuster but Okada knees out of it and hits a German suplex. He keeps the waistlock applied and nails Ishii with the Rainmaker, and he picks up the three count! This was a quality match from start to finish. I complained about transitions earlier, they were so much smoother here. I don't know if having more time helped or they are just really familiar with each other, but nothing felt excessive or unrealistic in this match. Really the only thing that hurt it was the one hard cam setup so it was hard to see some things, great match between the two. Recommended

Final Thoughts:

Hard camera shows are a difficult sell for me, New Japan is based so much on big strikes that they lose some of their impact when you can't always see what is going on. The first four matches of the event ranged from skippable to barely solid, nothing that needs to be sought out by any stretch of the imagination. The main event was definitely choice, but suffered due to the camera as Ishii's main strength is his stiffness which is hard to see from 75 feet away. Honestly you can just skip this event in its entirety, yes the Okada vs. Ishii match was really good but between the camera and nothing else noteworthy happening on the show it probably isn't worth the effort.

Grade: D+

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event reviewed on 8/19/15