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G1 Climax 27 Day 17 Results & Review: Naito vs. Tanahashi

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Many thanks to Robert McCauley for the following report on the A Block Final G1 Climax 27 show:

Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki & Taichi) def. Hirai Kawato, Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka @ 6:18
Great spirited battle from the New Japan young lions looking to take it to Minoru Suzuki and his faction who have bullying them the entire tour. This was their opportunity to fight back and fight they did. They weren’t able to overcome to brute force of Suzuki though, who blistered Kawato’s face with slaps in the finishing stretch.

Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & SANADA) @ 5:22
This was a short welcome back for Tanga Loa who has been gone on this tour while his brother has been competing in the tournament. This also served to showcase Tonga and SANADA, who will face off on the final night of A block action.

Juice Robinson & Satoshi Kojima def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi) @ 5:14
Another short match to showcase tomorrow night’s tournament match between Kojima and EVIL. One of the biggest standouts of the tournament has been EVIL and he will undoubtedly be looking to impress on the final night of B block. Juice picks up the win with the Pulp Friction, further cementing the devastation of his finish.

War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe), Michael Elgin, Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Cody, Hangman Page, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) @ 11:22
The best way to describe this match is spotty. I mean that in the best possible way. This was a very fast-paced sprint from beginning to end. Young Bucks and Cody made their return to New Japan and picked up where they left off, being the most entertaining tag team on the planet. This match was structured to give a taste of War Machine against Cody and Page, who will be battling for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships in a couple days. From the very start to the end, this was insanely fun. Elgin got the win for his team with an Elgin Bomb.

Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano) def. Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi) @ 5:54
Okada and Omega are here to tease their B block finals match that will be happening tomorrow. They brawl on the outside while Yujiro and Yano goof off in the ring. Not much to this one, Yano low blows Yujiro and rolls him up for the win.

G1 Climax Tournament Match
Bad Luck Fale def. Yuji Nagata @ 11:56
Beautiful story here with Fale taking on his mentor in Nagata’s final G1 Climax tournament match of his career. Nagata’s G1 has been a big highlight of the entire tournament. At 49 years old he’s still upstaging a good portion of the roster in match quality. To say I’ll be sad to never see him perform in the G1 again would be a massive understatement. Blue Justice can win the heart of even the coldest cynic. The match was easily one of Fale’s best performances. The passion and spirit they battled each other with was very endearing. Yuji Nagata’s body winds up failing him once again as he loses to Fale’s Bad Luck Fall. The two salute each other and Nagata has a moment in the ring while he gathers himself on the realization he’s wrestled his last G1 match after nearly twenty straight years of performing for the fans inside the tournament.

G1 Climax Tournament Match
Togi Makabe def. YOSHI-HASHI @ 11:28
Both men perform at their best when they empty the tank early. Sprints help their matches feel exciting from the start. That’s the pace they decided to go at and it turned to a good match. YH hit an incredible lariat and Makabe sold the Butterfly Lock until the fans could believe he’d actually tap, then busts out and hits the King Kong Knee Drop for the win.

G1 Climax Tournament Match
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Tomohiro Ishii @ 15:23
A rematch from their G1 Special in USA tournament match, both men come into this one with a record of 4-4. Although both are already eliminated from possibly winning the block, they took it to each other with great intensity. Ishii got the win in the US so Sabre was looking to even the score. He attacked mercilessly at all of Ishii’s limbs, rendering him almost useless. Sabre grounded Ishii and wrapped all his limbs up from possibly reaching the ropes. The match gets a stoppage because although he didn’t give up, Ishii was unable to make progress out of the submission so for his own safety, the referee called for the bell.

G1 Climax Tournament Match
Hirooki Goto def. Kota Ibushi @ 11:03
The story of Ibushi’s G1 is that he’s mimicked his opponent’s style in order to show that he can best anyone at their own game. Goto is a physical bruiser so Ibushi wanted to highlight that style into his own performance. That proved to be a mistake as Goto took it hard to Ibushi, completely destroying him quicker than anyone else had been able to during this tournament. Very physical and brutal. Ibushi has been an absolute highlight of the tournament. Each match he’s been in he’s tried to make different from the others. He’s been a true pleasure to this year’s G1. Although a finalist last year, Goto finishes off this year tied for only fourth in his block.

A Block Finals: Tetsuya Naito vs Hiroshi Tanahashi @ 26:49
There was a lot going into this final match of the A block. Bad Luck Fale had beaten this mentor, Yuji Nagata, earlier in the night which kept him alive if we did not receive a decisive finale in the main event. If Naito and Tanahashi ended in a double count out, there would be a three-way tie between them and Fale to determine who the winner would be. Also added into the mix, if Naito and Tanahashi were to go to a draw, the two would be tied for first place and would need to go into extra rounds at an undetermined time to declare a winner. This was their third time meeting in singles competition in 2017. They have a split record of 1-1 in previous match ups this year from Wrestle Kingdom 11 and Dominion, Naito taking WK11 and Tanahashi at Dominion, each time for the Intercontinental Championship. The rivalry between Naito and Tanahashi stretches beyond 2017 but that’s the past, this is now. Winner takes the A block of the G1 Climax 27.

To start the match off, the two feel each other out. Tanahashi backs Naito into the ropes and gives him a couple of slaps across the face to show off his dominance. Naito stone faces this, not giving Tanahashi the satisfaction of a reaction that he’s gotten under his skin. Instead, he decides to play the game back and duck out of the ring, to stall the match that Tanahashi undoubtedly wants to end quickly. Being smart, both men attack each other’s bandaged limbs. For Tanahashi that’s the known right bicep that’s torn and for Naito it’s the undisclosed knee injury. The focus on the limbs carries throughout the match as both men are absolutely ruthless to one another.

Tanahashi has been hammering in the fact that his Texas Cloverleaf submission can win him matches the entire tournament. This added story really increased the intensity when he locked it in around mid-way in the match. A clear callback to when Naito passed out to the Cloverleaf by Tanahashi at Dominion, the struggle to the ropes was one of the most intense moments of the match. At one point it seemed certain that Red Shoes was going to call this match in favor of Tanahashi because Naito stopped making progress to the ropes and wasn’t responding to his calls. In what was a truly last gasp of hope, Naito managed to reach the ropes but Tanahashi doesn’t stop there. Three Dragon Screws onto the second rope, three Twist & Shouts in the middle of the ring, a slap battle, but nothing he managed to do would put Naito away. The fighting spirit of Naito was on full display as even though he was clearly running on empty, manages to hit a rope assisted Destino and into a traditional Destino to pin Tanahashi at just under twenty-seven minutes. Naito is the winner of the G1 Climax 27 A Block!

This was an absolute war that is very fitting for the previous wars these two have had throughout the year. Post-match Naito declares that it doesn’t matter who wins the B block, whether it is Kenny Omega or Kazuchika Okada, he will be the winner of the G1. Incredible showcase of professional wrestling displayed by both these men. They truly are two of the greatest of the generation.

 

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