Csonkas NJPW G1-Climax Tournament Match and Show Ratings (Days 6-10)
Posted by Larry Csonka on 08.06.2014
411s Larry Csonka shares his thoughts on the days 6 through 10 of the 2014 NJPW G1-Climax Tournament, with complete match ratings and scores for each individual show .
Welcome back to the latest edition of My Take On. It's the most wonderful time of the year, TOURNAMENT TIME as New Japan Pro Wrestling presents the 2014 G1-Climax Tournament. I caught most of last year's shows, and most regarded that as one of the very best tournament ever. It was hard to disagree with that, as there was a TON of great wrestling on the shows. For 2014, what I decided to do was catch all of the shows (unlike last year) because the price was too damn good to turn down, and offer up my match ratings and a brief write up of the shows. I will do this in three parts, shows 1-5, and shows 6-10 (that's today), and then shows 11 & 12, along with some other special stuff thrown in for the wrap up column (best matches list, best performs list and so on and so forth). I hope that this is something that you enjoy.
As a reminder, the ratings for an individual show is not a basic "how good was the show" number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.
G1 Climax Block A: Doc Gallows  beat Bad Luck Fale  (8:04) with a front high kick. [**]
G1 Climax Block A: Yuji Nagata  beat Davey Boy Smith Jr.  (9:39) with the Exploder of Justice. [***]
G1 Climax Block B: Yujiro Takahashi  beat Togi Makabe  (8:16) with the Miami Shine. [**¾]
G1 Climax Block A: Katsuyori Shibata  beat Satoshi Kojima  (10:11) with a PK. [****]
G1 Climax Block B: Karl Anderson  beat Hirooki Goto  (11:36) with the Gun Stun. [****]
G1 Climax Block B: Minoru Suzuki  beat Lance Archer  (9:17) with a sleeper hold. [***¼]
G1 Climax Block A: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Shelton Benjamin  (9:01) with the Boma Ye. [***¾]
G1 Climax Block B: AJ Styles  beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan  (14:22) with a modified Styles Clash. [****]
G1 Climax Block B: Kazuchika Okada  beat Toru Yano  (9:01) with the Rainmaker. [***¼]
G1 Climax Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  beat Tomohiro Ishii  (15:02) with the High Fly Flow. [****¼]
Quick Thoughts: Following the very great stretch of shows for the first five days of this year's G1, I expected that this would be the show that things would come back down to earth a bit. I certainly did not expect a bad show here, but I was expecting them to deliver a good event with possibly some of the guys taking it a bit easy to finish up the first six events. Once we got done with the first three matches, we got two back-to-back four-star matches and all of the sudden I had that feeling that we were in for a great show. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Satoshi Kojima and Karl Anderson vs. Hirooki Goto were two very good, but different matches which I greatly enjoyed. Nakamura made me enjoy a Shelton Benjamin match, which is an amazing accomplishment. Ditto for Styles getting something really good out of Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Styles again is working on a different level right now, not only coming off as a star, but also making his opponents look great. Okada vs. Yano was fine, technically Okada's "worst" match, but of course it was still good. Tanahashi vs. Ishii delivered a great main event to close out the evening, and another very good event. Again, it has to be said; this was another great show, highlighted by four, four star plus matches, leading the way to a greatly entertaining event. Add in the fact that Nakamura once again gets something useful out of Shelton Benjamin, and that man deserves our praise (if he didn't already get it after the Fale match), and this is just another show you should be watching. The fact that Okada had his "worst match" of the tournament thus far and the show still was great is a credit to the others stepping up their game. This tournament continues to be extremely awesome as the wrestlers continue to deliver night in and out.
G1 Climax Block A: Satoshi Kojima  beat Shelton Benjamin  (10:11) with a lariat. [**¾ ]
G1 Climax Block B: Lance Archer  beat Toru Yano  (4:38) with the Blackout. [**]
G1 Climax Block B: Karl Anderson  beat Yujiro Takahashi  (7:45) with the Gun Stun. [***]
G1 Climax Block A: Davey Boy Smith Jr.  beat Doc Gallows  (10:08) with a Sharpshooter. [***]
G1 Climax Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan  beat Hirooki Goto  (11:46) with the Anaconda Max. [***½]
G1 Climax Block A: Bad Luck Fale  beat Tomoaki Honma  (6:40) with the Bad Luck Fall. [***]
G1 Climax Block B: Togi Makabe  beat Tetsuya Naito  (12:02) with a King Kong kneedrop. [****]
G1 Climax Block B: AJ Styles  beat Minoru Suzuki  (16:20) with the Styles Clash. [*****]
G1 Climax Block A: Yuji Nagata  beat Katsuyori Shibata  (13:31) with a backdrop hold. [****]
G1 Climax Block A: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Tomohiro Ishii  (15:14) with the Boma Ye. [****½]
Quick Thoughts: The first four matches, as usual for this tournament, were fine to good and nothing to either complain about or overly praise. Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Hirooki Goto was the first match to break out of the pack, and that was due to the great comeback and reaction to the comeback from Tenzan. The comeback was good, things happened at the ring time and they played off the crowd well to deliver. Fale vs. Honma was so much fun, not great, but fun booking and the crowd is so wanting a Honma victory and they were hot for it here. These people are just going to go fucking insane when he does win a match in the tournament and it will be awesome. Makabe vs. Naito was just a good, hard-hitting wrestling match that as the match went on, I was pulled more into. Makabe almost destroying Naito during the ending portion was brutal in the best way possible. I will jump ahead for a moment here. Nagata vs. Shibata was two dude kicking the shit out of each other, which is extremely fun when done right, and it was here. Shibata's lack of selling down the stretch hurt this a little, but a great match. Nakamura vs. Ishii closed the show, great match with Nakamura proving again how talented a worker he is as he sold Ishii's offense like Ishii was the biggest monster in the world. The crowd felt a bit burnt out here, as I feel on another night or position on the card that they eat this up and come back for seconds. Still, great stuff with Ishii looking awesome in defeat. Remember, it's not the fact that you lose, it's how you lose.
AJ Styles defeated Minoru Suzuki in what at this time is the match of the tournament and the match of the year for me. I have been praising AJ Styles during this tournament for his great performances, and not just as far as the physical wrestling goes, but also due to the fact that he is laying out/calling great matches that make everyone involved look good. Suzuki work of the arm was great, Styles' show of resilience and counters were not overstated, and worked perfectly. The stuff with Bullet Club and Suzuki-Gun worked as its own layer very well here as it never took away from the beautiful stuff happening in the ring. Much credit to Suzuki here as well, he more than did his part to make this a full boat of awesome, especially with his submission work during the match. But again, AJ is killing it here and very quickly is making a case for wrestler of the year due to these performances.
This was another show with a killer set of matches down the stretch, and the first five star match I gave out this year. With all of that being taken into consideration, this is now my show of the year. And to think, this was the night that Tanahashi and Okada had the night off.
G1 Climax Block A: Katsuyori Shibata  beat Tomoaki Honma  (10:47) with a PK. [****½]
G1 Climax Block B: Kazuchika Okada  beat Yujiro Takahashi  (12:49) with the Rainmaker. [****]
G1 Climax Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  beat Shinsuke Nakamura  (17:00) with a Japanese leg roll clutch hold. [****½]
Quick Thoughts: This is the show that the main hype has been all about, there have been other great shows n this tournament, so good that before this event many were considering this the greatest tournament of all time. Well if there was consideration this is the show that sealed the deal. Not only is this the show of the year so far (I know, I said that before) but I also feel that this show will go down and one of the greatest pro wrestling shows that I have seen in all the days of my life. The second, 3rd and forth matches on the show are all fine and play their role on the show well, but the other SEVEN matches on the show hit the four star mark or higher. The quality was out of this world, the sow had a great flow and the crowd was not only into the matches, they stayed hot all through the show. Davey Boy Smith Jr. again delivered, and showed that he hay have more to offer in New Japan. Naito continues to be great, while AJ Styles got Lance Archer to have the match of his career. Tomoaki Honma keeps having the greatest losing effort matches of all time, and the crowds are just dying for him to score a win. The man is so talented, and they root for him no matter what; and at one point he will win in this tournament, and then you need to get behind him and see what you can do with him. Okada continues to be great, and made Takahashi look like a good pro wrestler. And after all of this goodness, which already secured this being a show of the year contender, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura go out there and deliver. Up and down the card there was excellent wrestling on a level I have never seen on one show, the crowd stayed hot all the way through the show (which says something special about how good Tanahashi and Nakamura are) and I cannot recommend this show enough. The fact that the crowd was so hot, and saw so much good wrestling, but then Tanahashi and Nakamura not only delivered but also made them care and react is a credit to them as pro wrestlers. If you refuse to watch this show, you simply do not love wrestling. Excuse me a minute
G1 Climax Block A: Davey Boy Smith Jr.  beat Tomoaki Honma  (8:53) with the Bulldog bomb. [***½]
G1 Climax Block B: Yujiro Takahashi  beat Lance Archer  (9:00) with a small package hold. [**½]
G1 Climax Block A: Doc Gallows  beat Yuji Nagata  (7:53) with the Gallows Pole. [**¾]
G1 Climax Block B: Togi Makabe  beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan  (8:22) with a King Kong kneedrop. [***½]
G1 Climax Block B: Minoru Suzuki  beat Tetsuya Naito  (12:16) with a sleeper hold. [****¼]
G1 Climax Block A: Bad Luck Fale  beat Katsuyori Shibata  (7:14) by countout. [**¾]
G1 Climax Block A: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Satoshi Kojima  (12:51) with the Boma Ye. [****]
G1 Climax Block B: AJ Styles  beat Karl Anderson  (14:33) with the Styles Clash. [***¾]
G1 Climax Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  beat Shelton Benjamin  (12:32) with the High Fly Flow. [***½]
G1 Climax Block B: Kazuchika Okada  beat Hirooki Goto  (15:34) with the Rainmaker. [****½]
Quick Thoughts: Many expected NJPW to take a hard fall to earth. Two amazing shows back to back, with one of them being the show of the year; well it would have been expected to finally fall off. After all, these are mere mortals right? Right? Not too fucking sure about that anymore. Sure, out of the four shows in this column thus far, it comes off as the weakest, but when you're still pulling an 8.0 score from me, I think that is still pretty damn great. The important thing to consider on these shows, is that there are NO bad matches. On almost any other PPV, you tend to expect and usually get a stinker. Not on these shows. Davey Boy Smith Jr. continues to work hard, and again, the crowd loves Honma and wants him to win in the worst way. Nagata and Tenzan continue to show life even though many thought they would be the weak links due to age and being worn down. Suzuki and Naito has a great match in the middle of the card, and continue to bring the awesome. So many guys are working such a high level, which is why the shows and tournament as a whole are receiving so much praise. The final five match stretch, while not as hot as previous shows (match quality wise and crowd heat wise) was still great, and matches any company would die to have on a PPV. Nakamura and Kojima was damn good, Styles and Anderson was a fun match and Tanahashi actually made me care about a Shelton Benjamin match. Okada vs. Goto was a great main event to close night nine out, and would be considered a top match of the tournament by some, if it wasn't for so many others delivering.
The standings got tight after day nine, with Tanahashi and Nakamura holding 12 points, but Tanahashi in the top spot due to holding the tiebreaker over Nakamura. Fale and Shibata are in the mix with 10 points, and several others with 8 that could make a move. Okada and Styles control block B with 12 points, with Okada holding the tiebreaker over Styles. Suzuki has 10 points, with three others holding eight points and possibly set to make a move. Overall I would have to give credit to the booking, as we have a ton of people theoretically in contention, while I do not really feel anyone has been really devalued. I feel a large part of that are the performances from the guys, for example, Tomoaki Honma has zero points, but is likely more over than ever before due to his great performances and the way the crowd has bought into his story.
G1 Climax Block B: AJ Styles  beat Yujiro Takahashi  (8:36) with the Styles Clash. [***]
G1 Climax Block B: Kazuchika Okada  beat Lance Archer  (11:05) with the Rainmaker. [***¾]
G1 Climax Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  beat Yuji Nagata  (12:34) with a cradle. [****]
G1 Climax Block A: Katsuyori Shibata  beat Tomohiro Ishii  (12:24) with a PK. [****¼]
G1 Climax Block A: Shinsuke Nakamura  beat Doc Gallows  (11:35) with the Boma Ye. [***]
Quick Thoughts: Overall I would have to call this the weakest of the G1 shows, but it was far from bad. Naito and Tenzan was the first quality match of the evening, one I enjoyed but lacked that little extra (and was a little off at times) to call it a great match. Okada got another good mach out of Lance Archer, who I enjoy more as a tag team guy, but has stepped up here in the tournament more that someone like Gallows, who has essentially been passable. Tanahashi and Nagata was a ton of fun, an in front of a better crowd likely comes off even better. They worked hard, Nagata has been showing some of that fire in the tournament, and has been enjoyable to watch. Ishii vs. Shibata was the match of the night for me. It had a great pace, was hard hitting, and they were able to get the crowd into the match more than most on this show. Considering the poor crowd for most of the show, it is a big credit to them. Nakamura and Gallows was fine, but not the great main event you'd expect. Gallows has had chances to step up here, working with some of the best, but hasn't been able to have that break out performance he needed. I enjoy him in tag work, but he hasn't been able to step up like Smith or Archer. At the end of the day, we certainly still had some of the good wrestling we have become used too, but overall the crowd wasn't as into some of the matches as they have been and this was the first show that felt long to me. This was still an overall good show, but nothing you have to see.
Heading into show eleven, Block B is pretty cut and dry. Styles and Okada are tied, and Okada holds the tiebreaker. Styles needs to be in the lead to win the block at the end of night eleven, if they end up tying, Okada takes the block.
For Block A, it is a bit trickier and tournaments can get a bit confusing. So full credit to Voices of Wrestling and Kevin Conway for the Block A scenarios.
- Tanahashi, Nakamura, Shibata and Fale are the four in the running.
- Tanahashi can win the block if: He defeats Davey Boy Smith Jr. OR he draws with Smith AND Nakamura doesn't beat Fale.
- Nakamura can win the block if: He doesn't lose to Fale and Smith beats Tanahashi OR if he defeats Fale AND Tanahashi draws with Smith.
- Fale can win the block if: He defeats Nakamura and Smith defeats Tanahashi.
- Shibata can win if: He defeats Doc Gallows AND both Tanahashi and Nakamura lose. That would then make it a three-way tie for first, but Shibata will get first based on beating both of them
And there we have it with part two of my look at this year's G1 Climax tournament. I cannot remember having so much fun watching a series of wrestling events, ever. There has been a ton of talk about this being the best G1 ever, and while it is hard for me to say that since I have not watched every G1, I cannot deny that the shows have been awesome. With a total of 33 matches coming in at four stars or over, and nothing under a 7.0 for a show score, it is hard to ague with that. AJ Styles has been in two legit MOTY caliber matches, and we have had three show of the year candidates by my score. And to think, we have two shows left and likely some awesome performances to come. This has been so much fun, and again, I cannot stress how much fun it has been to cover the tournament this year. Tanahashi, Shibata, Okada, Styles and Ishii are all kicking ass, and are in the running for tournament MVP. Inclosing, I want to say one last thing. I know people love AJ Styles, and want to say that he was always this good. Listen, I am a huge AJ fan and have been following him for over 12-years. The man is on another level now. He has completely figured it out, is not only working harder, but is working so much smarter and continues to make himself and everyone he works with look like a star.
411's TJ Hawke is also blogging on various parts of the tournament, and you can check out his thoughts here, here, here and here.
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Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.