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New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax 27 match recommendations: Finals

NJPW World

As always, I've got a very simple five point scale laid out where a 1 is total skip, 2 you can probably skip unless you love one of the folks in it, 3 is a match that's worth watching but not necessarily worth making time for, a 4 is a solid recommendation to make time for if you can, and a 5 is a must-watch.

Mind you, these are not star ratings. They're not meant to be absolute ratings in any sense, but rather a simple (and hopefully sensible) way to determine if a match is worth your time. A one is not necessarily a bad match, but rather just one I feel like you're best off skipping. I have my biases, of course, but hopefully I can make it easy for you to adjust for them.

And of course, because this is the G1 Climax, we'll be focusing on tournament matches only for the duration and keeping it relatively short and sweet, folks-- we've got 19 shows to get through here in less than a month, after all. This being the fifth and final match recommendation post for this year’s G1, naturally you can check out the first here, the second here, the third here, and the fourth here if you missed them.

Night Nineteen (Finals, August 13)

Hirai Kawato, Jushin Liger, KUSHIDA, & Tiger Mask IV vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (3): Liger and Taichi to start, resuming their pseudo-feud from BOSJ, and we cycle through matchups in the usual opening tag style. KUSHIDA and Desperado have a fun segment that breaks down into Suzuki-gun shenanigans and Kawato playing the foolhardy young lion and nearly taking the match even.

Anyway, pretty standard undercard tag stuff but the KUSHIDA/Desperado stuff was hot enough for me to bump it up a point. Hot post-match brawl, too.

Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (3): GoD starting by isolating Nagata, but the old man has some gas in the tank and he and his pal keep it from becoming a rout. Fighting to the outside, when we come back in the Sons of Meng are back on Blue Justice, working him over.

As he showed all the through the tournament, however, Yuji is as savvy as ever and capable of making openings. Nakanishi in, using his stature and strength, but of course the Bullet Club boys are happy to engage in underhanded tactics. This one delivered more strongly than I expected-- not quite essential, but a really fun time between two teams with a good contrast between them.

Chaos (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. David Finlay & Togi Makabe (1): Finlay and Tacos to start, the Chaos men having zero problem using the barricade to get ahead and they proceed to keep David isolated with quick tags, working him over. Separation made, Makabe tags in, and this never really gels together all the way. Not the worst match, but deep in stereotypical undercard tag territory.

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Juice Robinson & TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) (2): Bullet Club in at the jump, but TenCozy pick Fale off and end up taking it to Owens as well with Juice coming right along. The match settles down into a normal rhythm, Old Man Tenzan's weakness being exploited and Bullet Club working him over with quick tags.

Kojima with the hot tag, back and forth, Juice in big and the question is if he can finish Owens off before the rest of Bullet Club wake back up and tear him apart. Solid stuff here that doesn't quite rise to the occasion, but I'd quite enjoy Juice & TenCozy (perhaps... Bread Club?) challenging for the NEVER 6-Man titles.

Taguchi Japan (Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship) (5): Taguchi and Matt to start, the Funky Weapon mocking the crotch chops, Jackson throwing his butt around in return, and tags made on both sides. Ricochet turns the heat up and takes to the air, but his knee comes up lame and he starts to struggle.

Desperation gets the tag, Taguchi in hot with his butt but the Bucks low bridge him and the action spills outside, where they go right after the Future of Flight's knee again. Powerbomb on the apron for the Funky Weapon and things are looking bad for Taguchi Japan as they continue to isolate Ryusuke and work his back over.

Ricochet tags in but so it goes, because his knee is in as bad shape as Taguchi's back is, and the story of the match becomes one of if the time off between active periods is enough for either injury to cool off. A weaker start than the Roppongi Vice matches, but some crazy timing on exchanges late evens the score, and in any case the body damage-oriented ethos the Young Bucks have adopted lately continues to make for really good matches.

Intermission (5): Wait, what? A recommendation grade for the intermission? For real?

Well, not the whole thing of course, it's mostly just the usual "the Japanese commentary team recap the first half and discuss the second" deal, but it kicked off with Katsuyori Shibata coming to the ring under his own power to tell us that he's still alive! Obviously any thoughts of him wrestling again are incredibly premature, but just seeing him walk to the ring again (and somewhat inexplicably take a bump on entering) is a hell of a moment.

Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe) (c) (IWGP Tag Team Championship) (2): Rhodes and Rowe to start, a blind tag from Page early and Hanson comes in to run interference. Big lads pulling ahead with the sequence of slams, but Ray comes up empty on the corner knees and Bullet Club go on the offensive.

Warbeard in for real, fighting 'em off two on one but Cody and Hangman are able to put a beating on him. So, basically, either man of War Machine can fight them off on a level playing field, but as long as Bullet Club work together to keep them off center and deny them the tag, they can stay in charge.

This heats up pretty well at the end, with War Machine especially going super hard to try and make it something special, but it took way too long to come together for my tastes.

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, & Michael Elgin vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (3): Suzuki-gun with the pre-bell attack, Minoru attacking Elgin, Iizuka choking Ibushi out with a cable, Sabre going after Tanahashi's injured arm!

The match proper begins, Kota a dynamo of offense, fighting off all three of his opponents with aplomb. The match breaks down again, Suzuki literally stabbing Big Mike with a pen he stole from the commentary booth! Putting the pressure on Elgin's arm, Takashi choking the Golden Star out and leaving him for dead.

Every time the babyface team gets a ray of sunlight shining through, Suzuki-gun brutalize them, but Ibushi is eventually able to use his striking power to actually open the match back up. A nice Elgin/Suzuki segment is followed by Sabre coming in on the one-armed ace but Suzuki-gun won't let a primo opportunity like that go and it becomes a free-for-all again.

So, a bit repetitive and the way the match keeps breaking down means you never QUITE get the match-within-the-match singles action you really want, but a real enjoyable match to watch all the same.

Chaos (Gedo, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, & Toru Yano) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, & SANADA) (2): DARYL'S BACK FROM THE DEAD!

Okada starting against EVIL, not letting the injured neck keep him down. But of course, LIJ aren't inclined to play nice and all four of them go off on the Rainmaker, who manages to fight through initially but sooner or later succumbs to quick tags and heavy offense. Yano in, SANADA leaving him locked in the Paradise Lock while he and his buddies beat the other three Chaos men down on the outside.

Ishii in hot after the Sublime Master Thief finally escapes, holding his own but he, too, is eventually overwhelmed, and it's Gedo's turn before we go into an extended "everybody do something cool" segment to send us to the finish. I freely admit that it might be simply because it's nearly 5AM and I'm very much feeling it at this point, but this one didn't really work for me.

Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax 27 Finals) (5): As always, when we get to a match of this level of importance in New Japan's calendar, the match recommendation scale becomes a bit perfunctory-- if you're watching New Japan, you're watching the G1 finals, right? Even if I told you it was garbage (which it's very much not, but this is a hypothetical here!), it's one of those matches where you really need to see for yourself.

Fortunately, it's very much an excellent match, a mirror of Okada/Omega III, with this time Kenny having the neck with a bullseye painted on it and Naito unloading every trick in the book (including a piledriver through a table!) on it to try and stop him. Much like the Rainmaker, the Cleaner finds himself in charge for long stretches but all it takes is that one shot to the neck and he's way on the back foot again.

Tight exchanges, wild reversals, big nearfalls, callbacks and allusions, you want it, you got it. Legitimately my only criticism is I feel like it could have ended a few minutes earlier, but that kind of thing is always really quibbly and not a hill I feel like dying on. Watch the match already!

There you have it, folks

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.

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