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[Results + Review] New Japan, 8/10/13
–> G1 CLIMAX 23 (8/1/13 to 8/11/13) <--
NJPW, 8/10/13 (TV Asahi ch1 & ch2/iPPV)
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
8,200 Fans – No Vacancy
- G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata  beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan  by forfeit.
- G1 Climax – Block A: Katsuyori Shibata  beat Hirooki Goto  by forfeit.
1. Takashi Iizuka & YOSHI-HASHI beat Captain New Japan & KUSHIDA (8:04) when YOSHI-HASHI used the Tenchu II on Captain.
2. G1 Climax – Block A: Davey Boy Smith Jr.  beat Prince Devitt  (7:26) with the Bulldog bomb.
3. G1 Climax – Block B: Karl Anderson  beat Yujiro Takahashi  (7:00) with the Gun Stun.
4. G1 Climax – Block A: Lance Archer  beat Satoshi Kojima  (12:38) with the Blackout.
5. G1 Climax – Block B: Shelton Benjamin  beat Toru Yano  (7:35) with an ankle hold.
6. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe  beat Tomohiro Ishii  (14:00) with a King Kong kneedrop.
7. G1 Climax – Block B: Minoru Suzuki  beat Kota Ibushi  (13:37) with a Gotch-style piledriver.
8. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito  beat Shinsuke Nakamura  (14:50) with a Stardust press.
9. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi  vs. Kazuchika Okada  went to a draw (30:00) when the time limit expired.
* The beginning of the Sumo Hall double header signalled the beginning of the end of the 23rd G1 Climax. Because of Goto’s injury, we were deprived of the latest Goto vs. Shibata match today but despite that this was a truly fantastic show. The memorable matches all followed intermission (#6-#9), but they were supported by more solid matches underneath.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. beat Prince Devitt in a fun tournament opener (after a tag match added because of the injuries – featuring a cameo by Sakuraba ahead of his and Akebono’s match against Iizuka & YOSHI-HASHI tomorrow). Against such a big opponent, Devitt again resorted to every dirty trick he could think of, relying on Bad Luck Fale to help him out as he has throughout the G1. Fale’s interference wasn’t enough today though as the impressive Davey Boy Smith Jr. won with his Bulldog bomb (jumping powerbomb).
The fun continued with Karl Anderson pinning Yujiro after an out-of-nowhere Gun Stun. Things moved up a level with Kojima vs. Archer which was really good and more than just a short undercard filler match. Kojima was back to his best today and like his tag partner, Archer has improved and impressed a lot in Japan. This had a lot of exciting false finishes with the Sumo Hall crowd well into it. Archer picked up a much needed win with his Blackout ahead of his final day confrontation with KES partner Smith.
Shelton Benjamin survived Yano’s heel tricks and made him tap out to an ankle hold. I enjoyed this far more than I expected having been less than impressed with Shelton in the G1. Yano was really on fire today in his entertaining heel role. After intermission the show became really great, though. Makabe vs. Ishii was the latest Ishii underdog special match in front of a red hot crowd. I wouldn’t say this was as good as his wars with Tanahashi and Shibata, but was still great fun with Ishii giving it his all to try and beat Makabe… almost doing so, but not quite. At the age of 37, Ishii has had his break-out tour in the G1.
Minoru Suzuki beat Kota Ibushi in another excellent match. You know how this one goes… fiery underdog Ibushi against grumpy veteran Suzuki who seemed intent on making Ibushi suffer as much as possible. But they did it so well. Some wicked slap exchanges in this one. Having lost four in a row coming into this match, I thought Ibushi might pull off the upset but his strong start has been more than balanced out by what is now five defeats in a row (he’ll get his fourth win tomorrow, but only via forfeit over Tenzan).
If the main event was #1 vs. #2 in the company, it could be argued that Nakamura vs. Naito was #3 vs. #4, although it might be slightly presumptious to give Naito that high a ranking (but the intent is there). Naito has been somewhat underwhelming since returning from injury as he was dynamite before it, but today looked closer to his best in a terrific match against Shinsuke. This had Sumo Hall rocking with some incredible reversals and false finishes, especially when Naito hit a German suplex hold for two then immediately followed it with a Dragon suplex hold for two. He finished the match with his Gloria slam and the Stardust press, handing Nakamura his first loss since day two of the tournament.
The two leading men not only in New Japan but the entire Japanese pro wrestling industry met for the fifth time in one and a half years in the main event, four months after Okada took the IWGP Heavyweight Title from Tanahashi in the same building. Their record was 2-2 coming into this so the result of this would determine who was superior… or would it? Many of us in the USTREAM chat had a strong feeling this would be a time limit draw from the beginning as their G1s have mirrored each other perfectly. And it was a 30 minute draw, but boy these two know how to put on a main event. As far as individual performances go, this has to be one of Okada’s very best as he was just outstanding today. Tanahashi targetted Okada’s knee and sometimes knee/arm work just fades away as the action increases, but the knee work would actually play into the last moment of the match.
This turned into the expected blockbuster and perfect example of the modern day New Japan main event with red hot action. Okada never managed to land the Rainmaker and Tanahashi never managed to land the High Fly Flow, but Tanahashi did hit Okada’s own Rainmaker on him after avoiding Okada’s version. They fought crazily for a win but the clock defeated them both… the very last action of the match saw Okada go for the Rainmaker but the knee Tanahashi had earlier worked on gave out and he collapsed to the mat and the bell followed. And so these two superstars remain absolutely equal with a 2-1-2 record. A decade ago, New Japan struggled for in-house main eventers who could convince the fans but now they’re spoiled for choice, and these two are at the top of the ladder for a reason. Another astonishing match of the year candidate.
As expected, both blocks will go down to the wire tomorrow. Who will meet in the G1 Climax 2013 final?
1. Togi Makabe 
- Katsuyori Shibata 
- Davey Boy Smith Jr. 
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi 
- Kazuchika Okada 
6. Hirooki Goto 
7. Prince Devitt 
8. Lance Archer 
9. Satoshi Kojima 
10. Tomohiro Ishii 
1. Shinsuke Nakamura 
- Minoru Suzuki 
- Karl Anderson 
4. Yuji Nagata 
- Tetsuya Naito 
- Yujiro Takahashi 
- Shelton Benjamin 
8. Hiroyoshi Tenzan 
- Toru Yano 
- Kota Ibushi 
- Ishii and Ibushi have +2pts to their totals above as they will beat Tenzan or Goto by forfeit tomorrow, but I’m adding the points on day by day to avoid confusion.
Tomorrow’s full card and match order.
NJPW, 8/11/13 (WPW/PPV/iPPV)
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
1. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Yujiro Takahashi
2. G1 Climax – Block B: Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki
3. G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Shelton Benjamin
4. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Karl Anderson
5. G1 Climax – Block A: Lance Archer vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
6. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Prince Devitt
7. G1 Climax – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Kazuchika Okada
8. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata
9. Special 6 Man Tag Match: Kazushi Sakuraba, Akebono & Kota Ibushi vs. Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
10. G1 Climax – Final: Block A 1st place vs. Block B 1st place
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