Views from the Hawke's Nest: NJPW G1 Climax Day One 2013
Posted by TJ Hawke on 01.14.2014
NJPW's biggest tournament gets off to a good start.
August 1, 2013
Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan
Block B Toru Yano [0 Points] vs. Kota Ibushi [0 Points]
Yano attacked Ibushi before the bell. It quickly turned into a brawl on the floor. I believe this is Ibushi’s first NJPW match since the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 2013. Yano was mostly in control of the match. I really need a copy of Yano’s DVD. Ibushi finally came back and hit his quebrada to the floor. Ibushi got a couple of nearfalls after that. He went for a moonsault, but Yano got his knees up and then got a nearfall with a small package. Yano got a nearfall after a schoolboy. Ibushi came back with a Pele Kick and a bridging German: 1…2…NO! Ibushi then hit a Phoenix Splash: 1…2…3!
Kota Ibushi is just so much fun to watch. He deserves millions of dollars for being this fun. The dynamic between these two was pretty amusing, but Yano probably got in more offense than he needed to. Then again, I think Ibushi should have gone on to the finals of this tournament. So, I may have a slightly higher opinion of him than NJPW does. Ibushi now has two points. Match Rating: **1/2
Block A Tomohiro Ishii [0 Points] vs. Lance Archer [0 Points]
Seriously, how did LANCE HOYT get a permanent spot in NJPW?
Ishii is a sentimental favorite among the NJPW fans. Archer completely dominated the early portion of the match. After a few minutes of that scintillating action, Ishii managed to hit a vertical suplex and a German suplex. Archer came back with a black hole slam and a chokeslam: 1…2…NO! Ishii avoided the Blackout and hit an enzuigiri. Archer went to the top rope, but Ishii hit a superplex. Ishii followed it up with a lariat: 1…2…NO!!! Archer hit the Scorpion Deathdrop: 1…2…NO! Archer followed that up with the Blackout: 1…2…3.
This match overachieved big time. Archer is not a performer that I am especially invested in, but the dynamic of him dominated the beloved Ishii worked out really well. Good stuff. Archer now has two points. Match Rating: ***
Block B Shelton X Benjamin [0 Points] vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan [0 Points]
I don’t think the string of pleasant surprises is going to continue here. I’m envisioning myself writing, “This was a match” in the analysis paragraph.
Shelton was sort of in control to start the match. Tenzan hit a suplex on the floor. Tenzan got some momentum going. Shelton hit the spinning heel kick, but Tenzan then got a nearfall with one of his own. Shelton’s looked prettier. Shelton avoided a diving headbutt and hit the Paydirt: 1…2…3
This was a match. Shelton now has two points. Match Rating: *1/2
Block A Katsuyori Shibata [0 Points] vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. [0 Points]
Shibata being in the G1 is just delightful. This is an intriguing matchup for sure, but I don’t know if these two can have a great match together.
Neither guy could get an advantage early on. They continued to go back and forth. Davey got a nearfall with an exploder. Davey then locked in the sharpshooter. Shibata came back and locked in a sleeper. Davey reversed it into a saito suplex. Davey hit a powerbomb, but Shibata reversed the cover into a triangle choke. Davey tried to do the Rampage Powerbomb, but he was too weak to. Shibata broke the hold and hit the Penalty Kick: 1…2…3.
This was just okay. Harry Smith still does not interest me much as a performer. He’s pretty average in almost every aspect of professional wrestling. Hopefully, he will prove me wrong throughout the rest of the tournament. Match Rating: **1/2
Block B Tetsuya Naito [0 Points] vs. Yujiro Takahashi [0 Points]
Yujiro sexually assaulted a woman in the front row during his entrance. Lovely.
Naito is a little rusty, and Yujiro is Yujiro. As a result, I am not all that excited for this. Yujiro quickly got control of the match. He got a nearfall with a lariat. Naito came back with a kimura-like variation. I have no idea what it’s called. Yujiro made the ropes, but Naito hit a missile dropkick. Naito had a ton of momentum and got a nearfall with a bridging German. Yujiro came back with a Drunk Slam and a deadlift bridging German: 1…2…NO! Good nearfall. Yujiro then hit the Dominator: 1…2…3! WOW!
I did not expect that result. This was not a super impressive match. It was perfectly fine though. Yujiro now has two points. Match Rating: **3/4
Block B Minoru Suzuki [0 Points] vs. Yuji Nagata [0 Points]
I don’t think I’d ever get sick of watching these two old fucks beating the piss out of each other. They quickly ended up on the floor. Suzuki went after Nagata’s right leg. Nagata sporadically fought back, but Suzuki was mostly in control for a few minutes. Nagata got the armbar and then hit an armbreaker. He then got the armbreaker with the eyes rolled back. They traded slaps until Nagata went down. Suzuki locked in a sleeper, but Nagata survived. Nagata avoided the Gotch piledriver and fought back with some cool offense for an old fucker. Nagata then hit a wrist-clutch exploder: 1…2…3!
As you would expect, this was a fun match. I'm ready for Nagata to challenge for the title in a big PPV main event. Nagata now has two points. Match Rating: ***1/4
Block A Togi Makabe [0 Points] vs. Hirooki Goto [0 Points]
This is not a matchup for me. Makabe ran through Goto until the latter kicked out the left leg of Makabe. They started to brawl on the floor. Makabe got control and got a chinlock in the ring. Goto came back with a lariat and a saito suplex. They traded forearms. Goto hit a running punt, but Makabe kicked out. Makabe came back with a great short-range lariat. Makabe then hit a spider-German and diving knee drop: 1…2…3!
This completely surpassed my expectations. I was expectation just a match, but this was actually okay~! Highest of praise~! Seriously though, I’m not really a fan of either guy, but they did a good job here. Makabe now has two points. Match Rating: ***
Block B Shinsuke Nakamura [0 Points] vs. Karl Anderson [0 Points]
This could be really good. They ended up on the floor. Namakura hit a knee strike, but Anderson came back with a Brogue Kick. Anderson worked Nakamura over after that. Nakamura made a comeback, which surprisingly involved a high number of knee strikes! Anderson avoided a Boma Ye and hit a Liger Bomb: 1…2…NO! Anderson hit another Brogue Kick and a TKO: 1…2…NO! Nakamura avoided the Gun Stun. Nakamura hit a Funplex and called for the Boma Ye. Anderson avoided it twice and hit a neckbreaker. Anderson then hit the sit-down tombstone: 1…2…NO! GUN STUN: 1…2…3!
This was a good match. There wasn’t an elaborate in-ring story, but both guys knew that they would get the win if they could connect with their finisher. Anderson connected first. Anderson now has two points. Match Rating: ***1/2
Block A Hiroshi Tanahashi [0 Points] vs. Satoshi Kojima [0 Points]
They went back and forth for a while. Kojima hit a DDT on the apron. Kojima was in control after that. They traded some strikes. Tanahashi got the advantage in that exchange, but Kojima came back with a DDT. Kojima then sent Tanahashi to the floor with a lariat. Kojima then hit a brainbuster and a lariat for a pair of nearfalls. Tanahashi came back with the Florida Key out of nowhere for a nearfall. Tanahashi hit the sling blade, fisherman buster, but Kojima then blocked the High Fly Flow. Kojima hit a big lariat to the back of the head and then another sloppy lariat for a nearfall. Kojima called for another one…and CONNECTED: 1…2…3? Someone (looked like the referee) botched the finish.
Until the botched finish, this was the clear highlight of the show. Even with that though, I really enjoyed this. I haven’t been a fan of TenKoji this year, but Kojima stepped up here. Tanahashi is so over that pretty much every match he has is fun at this point. Kojima now has two points. Match Rating: ***1/4
Block A Kazuchika Okada [0 Points] vs. Prince Devitt [0 Points]
At the previous NJPW iPPV, Okada defeated Devitt in the main event to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
The Bullet Club got involved early, which gave Devitt the advantage. Okada finally came back with a DDT. Okada made a comeback. Devitt fired back and hit a double stomp to the back. Okada hit the Air Raid Crash on the thigh. Okada hit the F5, but Devitt hit a piledriver. Devitt hit the Ghetto Stomp, but Okada fired back with the tombstone. Okada went for the Rainmaker, but Devitt caused the referee to eat it. Bad Luck Fale attacked Okada. Gedo tried to make the save, but he failed. They went back and forth. Devitt avoided another Rainmaker and sent Okada into a chair held by Fale. Devitt then hit the Bloody Sunday: 1...2...3
Their Kizuna Road match felt like a proper PPV main event. This felt like a television main event. It's a very fun match, but one cannot help but being disappointed given how great their last match was. Devitt now has two points. Match Rating: ***1/4
After one day of competition, here are the tournament standings:
The 411: This was a very solid start to the 2013 G1. By NJPW iPPV standards, it's a tad underwhelming but with so many shows in such a short timeframe, it would be unfair to expect that level of greatness for every night of the tournament. There isn't one match on this show that everyone needs to see, but almost everything on the show is worth watching.