Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

NJPW SXW LIVE 8/7/09
G1 CLIMAX 2009 ~NEW LORDS, NEW LAWS~ Day 1 Hiroshima Sun Plaza
by Luke Merritt

Makabe Tougi vs. Karl Anderson. Anderson jumps before the bell and works on the leg until Makabe hulks up, throws lariats and hits the King Kong Knee Drop at 5:18. Makabe was on a bye, so they needed something for him to do. This was fine for what it was, but I think it would've made much more sense to open with a junior match. **

G1 Block A: Giant Bernard vs TAJIRI (Hustle). TAJIRI targets the big meaty knee and Bernard the back. Despite not being 1960, the match actually contains a bearhug spot. TAJIRI goes for a tornado DDT and kicks over the ref. Bernard counters the hold, placing TAJIRI back on the top, but gets a face full of mist and the Buzzsaw Kick at 10:33. This was a power vs weird match, with Bernard able to use his size to stymie TAJIRI's unusual offense, leading to TAJIRI needing to use chicanery. On paper, this is a fine formula, but given TAJIRI actually being a face in Hustle and both guys' ability to work a straight match, the result ends up feeling a little cheap. **3/4

G1 Block B: Nakanishi Manabu vs Iizuka Takashi. If someone had watched NJ in the 1990s and then came back, they'd have no idea this was the same Iizuka. Now he's bald, has a long beard, and doesn't wrestle - he just stalks around looking menacing, throwing chairs, and using his stupid iron fingers. Iizuka abuses Nakanishi in the crowd, sort of busting him open with chair shots and adding bites and other heel activities. Nakanishi comes back, but Iizuka uses his iron fingers to break out of the Argentine backbreaker and gets DQ'd at 11:58. If you're entertained by an honorable wrestler fighting back against a dastardly heel who has no interest in actually wrestling, this is for you. Otherwise, this was was a blatant waste of time and has no place in the G1. *1/2

G1 Block A: Yano Tooru vs Tanaka Masato (ZERO1). It's speed versus heel. Yano controls early with brawling, but the magic brainbuster spot brings the momentum to Tanaka. A very hot finishing stretch sees both men kick out of each other's finishers, Tanaka winning with a second Sliding D at 10:44. This had more of a non-deathmatch FMW feel to it, but Yano was more hardcore than Tanaka, who instead relied on his speed and striking ability. The hot finish saved the match from the dullardry of the opening brawly minutes. ***

Nagata Yuuji & Okada Kazuchika vs Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Thunder Liger. Tiger used a chickenwing facelock on Okada at 10:20.

G1 Block B: Tenzan Hiroyoshi vs Sugiura Takashi (NOAH). They alternate between trading strikes and sitting in long rest submission holds, proceeding into a paint by number formula of Sugiura dominating, Tenzan coming back, then back and forth offense until Tenzan locks the Anaconda Vice. Sugiura struggles for perhaps too long, gets slammed down a couple times and taps at 12:42. Tenzan looked exactly as he always does, only now New Japan finally seems to realize he's not main event material. Conversely, for a man ticketed to soon be NOAH's champion, Sugiura should have looked a lot better. They kept it simple because they hadn't worked together, but I expected a lot more. Not a very interesting or memorable match, but not godawful either. **3/4

G1 Block B: Gotou Hirooki vs Nakamura Shinsuke. This is what New Japan is supposed to look like. Great wrestling, interesting counters and all action from two talented younger fighters. Though a couple strikes hit nothing but Hiroshima atmosphere and were sold anyway, Gotou's brutal backdrop and Nakamura's vicious knee strikes made the mistakes irrelevant. Down the stretch, Gotou looks like victory will be his, but Nakamura blocks the Shouten Muta-style with a knee strike and unveils his new Bomaye knee strike finisher at 16:42. New Japan's youth movement of heavyweights working like juniors continues to pay off huge. As the leader of Chaos, Nakamura is supposed to be something of a heel but there was no chicanery, just viciousness. Plus he chews gum. Gotou continues to impress and should be a top guy for many years. Great competition made even better after slogging through the undercard. ***3/4

G1 Block A: Tanahashi Hiroshi vs Oomori Takao. Fast chain wrestling early on leads to Tanahashi controlling with a headlock. Eventually, Oomori escapes to the floor, but Tanahashi hits a tope con hilo off the apron. Oomori checks him into the barricade and runs in for an Axe Bomber, but Tanahashi dodges and Oomori cracks the ring post. Tanahashi works the arm and gets a couple near falls. Oomori comes back but misses a diving knee, which leads to Dragon screws and a clover hold from Tanahashi. Down the stretch, Oomori withstands a barrage of Slingblades and hits his Axe Guillotine Driver, but Tanahashi kicks out at 2.9, only to be downed with a final Axe Bomber in a surprising upset at 18:20. There was one blown spot because it looked like Tanahashi wasn't sure what Oomori was doing, but everything else was spot-on. Some may get annoyed with Tanahashi's repetitive moveset- at times, he's like Mutou with knees- but he never does anything unless there's a reason for it. He's a technician and an opportunist with high ring intelligence, so he may be forgiven if the High Fly Flow isn't the world's best finisher. As for Oomori, he fits in with the New Japan style way better than he ever did with the oudou in All Japan and NOAH. He's aging and I never saw him being a star, but Tanahashi carried him very well, giving him a huge upset in a hard fought match that was played very nearly like a title match. Great way to both end the show and set up the next, as we must wonder how the IWGP champion will respond after losing his first match of the tournament. ****


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