Yujiro, Ryusuke Taguchi & Wataru Inoue VS Jado, Gedo & Minoru
I’m really digging Taguchi’s Funky Weapon gimmick, he sort of looks and acts like a Dragon Gate character and he’s got an afro going for him! Inoue played the serious guy of the team, which didn’t suit him if you ask me. There was a cool spot where Jado countered a spear by Inoue into the Crossface of Jado. The biggest surprise of the match though was Yujiro actually scoring the big upset pin on Minoru after Minoru was heeling him and all. Yujiro ducked a big kick off the ropes and rebounded with a spear to score the win. Good ending, okay match.Match Rating: *
Naofumi Yamamoto VS Tomohiro Ishii
Now this was a lot of fun! Started out with a whole lot of brawling and no selling, and it got really nasty once they took it outside to the floor as Yamamoto brutalized Ishii on the isle before Ishii regained control and bombarded Yamamoto with chairs regardless of how close the audience were! Ishii controlled most of the match once it got back in the ring, but Yamamoto showed a lot of spirit kicking out of a big lariat and a powerbomb before being put away by a sweet brainbuster. Wonder how much of a push Ishii would get if Choshu wasn’t booking this?Match Rating: **1/2
G1 Tag League A Block 2nd Place Decision Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Thunder Liger VS Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto
Another big brawl off the bat. Tenzan and Liger were great in their roles of being the dastardly heels, as they cheated on several occasions to try and steal the win. Comparing the confrontations between the heavies and the juniors, Liger seemed to get more killer offense in on Tanahashi than Kanemoto got in on Tenzan. Kanemoto almost made Tenzan tap with the ground heel lock, but Liger scored two big near falls on the IWGP heavyweight champion with a Liger-bomb and a top rope brainbuster. Tanahashi managed to rebound back and hit the Slingblade followed by the High Fly Flow (both of which still look weak) to win the match.Match Rating: **1/2
Akebono, Manabu Nakanishi & Riki Choshu VS Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Shiro Koshinaka
I rather enjoyed Akebono in the ring every time I see him and I so wanted him to do a hip attack to Koshinaka here! Yano flubbed a scrapbuster by the big man, but the spot of the match went to Nakanishi catching Koshinaka in mid air off the top out of a diving hip attack into the Argentine Backbreaker! Choshu continues his old man no selling ways as he finished off Yano with a Riki-Lariat after Akebono squashed Yano and Koshinaka in the corner with a corner press.Match Rating: *1/2G1 Tag League Semi Final: Shinsuke Nakamura & Masahiro Chono VS Giant Bernard & Travis Tomko
This was my first time seeing Bernard and Tomko teaming together, and I was really impressed! They even moved surprisingly quick together and pulled off some cool tandem moves like a modified neckbreaker and a sidewalk-slam/elbow drop combination. Bernard and Tomko did a whole lot more in this match than I can remember them ever doing in WWE come to think of it! Tomko was still a bit sluggish, but still looked good there.
The other team on the other hand, Nakamura had to play up having bad ribs, so he took all the beatings throughout the match, making the hot tag to Chono to clean house. They pulled off the win when Chono pinned Tomko with a ground cobra-twist after a Shining Yakuza Kick from Nakamura. Fun finish, and the gaijins had a good showing.Match Rating: **
G1 Tag League Semi Finals: Yuji Nagata & Takashi Iizuka VS Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto
This was a ton of fun! You got the experienced team of Evil Nagata and veteran Iizuka stiffing, slamming and stretching the two division champions and putting up a great struggle! Nagata was just relentless here, stiffing both opponents and even giving Kanemoto an Exploder out on the floor! Iizuka was just as fun to watch as he dished out Blizzard suplexes and almost put out the IWGP champion with his trademark choke sleeper.
Kanemoto and Tanahashi had a great showing as well. Note to Kanemoto though, don’t apply an ankle lock on the LEFT leg immediately after giving the RIGHT leg a dragon screw! They did flub things a bit though not entirely their fault. Iizuka should have eased up on the sleeper a bit so Tanahashi could have hit the Shiranui properly, and they almost lost their balance when Tanahashi pinned Iizuka with a ground cobra-twist for the win. Hard fought win for the two champions, and Nagata looks like he’s ready to kill someone!Match Rating: ***
NWA International Junior Heavyweight Title: Tiger Mask [C] VS Milano Collection AT
Honestly I expected more out of these two. The now heel Milano played up his part well, and even tried to steal the win by cheating, hitting Tiger on the head with the ring bell hammer when the referee got bumped! The work between the two was rather ok, and the closing sequence of exchanges and counters was fun, I just wished they could have came up with a better finish than Tiger pinning Milano with a crucifix out of the quick paced exchange.Match Rating: *1/2
G1 Tag League Finals: Masahiro Chono & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Hiroshi Tanahashi & Koji Kanemoto
Is it just me or was Chono again letting Nakamura do all the work here? And what’s up with Nakamura playing up the bad ribs that was worked over constantly in the previous match, but yet he didn’t show any effects of it in this match! On the other team, I noticed it was Kanemoto doing most of the work and getting the bigger reactions for his team. Other than that, it was a really hot back and forth match, with the Black team winning out in the end with Nakamura hitting his new Landslide finisher on Kanemoto for the win.
Nakamura’s Landslide is a bit like a fireman’s carry into a Michinoku Driver II. Nakamura also has a killer modified backdrop now, where he flips them over and slams them on their stomachs. Fun match and a good final I guess.Match Rating: ***1/2
This was a really strong show from top to bottom, and it’s good to see how much the youngsters are improving their game now.