New Japan G1 Climax 2011, Day 1
Review by Kevin Wilson

The Date:  August 1st, 2011
Location:  Fukuoka, Japan
Announced Attendance:  4,500

I am going to make some type of attempt to keep up with the G1 Climax with reviewing the shows as they come in. I haven't seen as much of New Japan in 2011 as I'd like, but the G1 Climax is a great way to catch up. Since this is the first show we are starting with a clean slate, here are the Blocks (names are links so you can go straight to their profiles, all profiles will be completely updated by the end of the tournament):

Block A

Giant Bernard
Hideo Saito
Hiroshi Tanahashi
Lance Archer
Tetsuya Naito
Togi Makabe
Toru Yano
Yoshihiro Takayama
Yuji Nagata
Yujiro Takahashi

Block B

Hirooki Goto
Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Karl Anderson
La Sombra
Minoru Suzuki
MVP
Satoshi Kojima
Shinsuke Nakamura
Strong Man
Wataru Inoue

Tonight's matches, all of which are G1 Climax matches except for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship defense:

- La Sombra vs. Wataru Inoue
- Giant Bernard vs. Hideo Saito
- Toru Yano vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
- Hirooki Goto vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi
- Lance Archer vs. Togi Makabe
- Minoru Suzuki vs. Satoshi Kojima
- MVP vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yuji Nagata

Let's get right to the first round of matches!

La Sombra vs. Wataru Inoue
They circle each other to start, tie-up, waistlock by Inoue, La Sombra reverses it into a wristlock but Inoue trips him up. They struggle for position on the mat but neither can get the upper hand and they return to their feet. Armlock takedown by La Sombra and he applies a wristlock, but Inoue reverses it and elbows La Sombra in the arm. Side Russian leg sweep by Inoue, cover, but it barely gets a two count. Back up, side headlock by La Sombra, Inoue Irish whips out of it but La Sombra hits a shoulderblock. La Sombra goes off the ropes, Irish whip by La Sombra but Inoue avoids the dropkick. La Sombra avoids Inoue's strike attempt and hits an elbow drop, chops by La Sombra in the corner but Inoue returns fire. Irish whip by Inoue, reversed, but Inoue knees La Sombra in the stomach when he charges in. Cover, but it gets two. Inoue picks up La Sombra and kicks him in the corner, elbows by Inoue, Irish whip, La Sombra slams on the breaks and goes for a rebound crossbody but Inoue catches him and hits a gutbuster. Cover by Inoue but it gets a two count. La Sombra rolls out to the apron, Inoue picks him up while still in the ring but La Sombra hits him back and delivers a swan dive crossbody for a two count. Rebound springboard dropkick by La Sombra and Inoue rolls out of the ring. La Sombra goes for a tope suicida, Inoue gets out of the way and returns to the ring, but La Sombra sees he moves and did a roll as he landed on the floor. La Sombra gets back up on the apron and hits a swan dive dropkick, Inoue falls out of the ring, La Sombra goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a moonsault down onto Inoue. La Sombra picks up Inoue and rolls him back into the ring, Irish whip by La Sombra but Inoue knees him in the ribs. La Sombra rolls up Inoue and applies an ankle lock in the middle of the ring, but Inoue makes it to the ropes. Kicks to the leg by La Sombra, Irish whip and La Sombra hits a powerslam. La Sombra goes for a quebrada, Inoue rolls out of the way, but La Sombra lands on his feet and hits a moonsault anyway. Cover, but Inoue gets a shoulder up. Back up they trade chops, La Sombra goes off the ropes but Inoue catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Inoue hits an elbow strike in the corner and hits a wheelbarrow suplex for a two count. Inoue picks up La Sombra, chops by Inoue, Irish whip but La Sombra flips himself out to the apron. La Sombra goes for a swan dive hurricanrana but Inoue catches him with a powerbomb. Staggerin' Blow by Inoue, cover, but it gets a two count. Inoue waits for La Sombra to get up and goes for the spear but La Sombra kicks him in the face. Waistlock by Inoue, Inoue pushes La Sombra into the corner, La Sombra jumps up to the top turnbuckle but Inoue pushes him down and La Sombra ends up in the Tree of Woe. Inoue gets a running start but La Sombra pulls himself up to avoid the spear. La Sombra throws Inoue in front of the corner, goes up top and delivers a split legged moonsault. Cover, but it only gets a two count. La Sombra signals for the end, he goes out to the apron and hits a swan dive firebird splash with his knees destroying Inoue's ribs. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: La Sombra

Match Thoughts: It started slow and was sloppy at times, but it had a few decent moments. They seemed to be... not on different pages per se, but just with a really basic plan. And they still weren't totally synced up in places, with Sombra being a bit sloppy at times. I guess Sombra is the master of swan dive moves, since he did or went for one five or six times in an eight minute match, but at least the finish used one which gave validity to the theory that is his specialty. Although I am sure Inoue needed some ice on those ribs. It had some good moves but overall was a pretty flat match, Inoue really hasn't improved in the last five years it seems but maybe against different opponents he will look better. Score: 3.5

Giant Bernard vs. Hideo Saito
Waistlock by Saito to start the match, Bernard muscles out of it, kick to the stomach by Saito and he applies a wristlock. Hammerlock by Saito but Bernard hits a drop toehold. Saito re-applies the hammerlock on the mat but Bernard gets to the ropes. Back up, tie-up, side headlock by Saito, Bernard Irish whips out of it and hits a shoulderblock. Saito is back up, punches by Saito and he goes off the ropes but Bernard knocks him down with another shoulderblock. Bernard goes for an elbow drop but Saito moves out of the way. Elbows by Saito but Bernard throws Saito into the corner and hits a series of headbutts. Knee by Bernard in the corner and he pulls Saito's head out of the ring over the apron so he can kick it from the floor. Bernard returns to the ring, he picks up Saito and thrusts him in the throat. He picks him up again and hits a scoop slam, Saito sits up but Bernard kicks him in the face. Saito sits up again and this time he avoids Bernard's kick attempt. Bernard goes for a lariat but Saito starts blatantly choking him with both hands. The referee tries to get him off and eventually does, and Bernard rolls out to the apron. Saito gets out of the ring and starts choking Bernard some more. Kick to the stomach by Bernard, he goes for an Irish whip but Saito reverses it into the guard rail. Saito gets the ring bell and bops Bernard in the head with it. The referee yells at him but generally stuff like that is allowed in New Japan as long as it happens out of the ring. Saito grabs Bernard and rolls him back on the apron so he can bite his head. Saito waits for Bernard to get up, chops by Bernard but Saito chokes him some more. Saito yells at the referee which gives Bernard time to recover, and Bernard hits a lariat followed by an elbow drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Bernard to the corner and he Irish whips Saito again, with Saito collapsing to the mat. Bernard charges Saito but Saito kicks him in the stomach. Running elbow strike by Saito and he clubs Bernard in the back. Knees by Saito, he picks up Bernard and chops him in the chest. Cover, but it gets a two count. Saito signals for the Asian Spike and applies it, Bernard goes limp but he barely manages to get a foot on the bottom rope. Saito waits for Bernard to get up and he applies the Asian Spike again, but Bernard pushes him off and hits the Bernard Bomb. Cover, but it gets a two count. Running body splash by Bernard, cover, but again Saito gets a shoulder up. Bernard picks up Saito again and just plants him with the Bernard Driver, cover, and this time he gets the three count. Your winner: Giant Bernard

Match Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this match, probably more then I should have. I love crazy heels and the return of the Asian Spike, and Bernard just doing all he could to put Saito down once he got the chance by hitting his three match winning moves in rapid succession after almost losing. Saito was like a zombie going for the choke constantly and Bernard seemed flustered on how to get him away from him, which is an interesting roll reversal since usually Bernard is the big monster. Even though Saito is half his size, he made up for it by acting like Bernard wasn't hurting him and still continually going after him. Bernard Driver was sick too. A really fun match that served the purpose of showing Bernard is still the big dog, but Saito is a crazy son of a bitch. Score: 7.0

Toru Yano vs. Yoshihiro Takayama
Yano throws his water bottle at Takayama to start the match and charges him in the corner. Elbows by Yano and he kicks Takayama down in the corner before choking him. Yano throws Takayama out of the ring and goes out after him, ramming him into the ring post. Yano looks under the ring and gets some scissors, but Takayama pushes him off and rams his hand into the ring post. Takayama throws Yano into the guard rail, and then hits a big boot, which sends Yano into the stands. Takayama picks up Yano and slams his head into the table. Club to the back by Takayama and he throws Yano back into the ring. Stomp by Takayama and he kicks Yano in the head. Cover with one foot but it gets a two count. Takayama picks up Yano and punches him against the ropes before choking him. Irish whip by Takayama, he charges Yano but Yano ducks the big boot attempt and Takayama falls out of the ring. Yano goes out after him and throws Takayama into the guard rail. Yano then throws Takayama into the stands and throws a chair at him. Yano takes off one of the turnbuckle pads before getting back into the ring, with Takayama slowly following. Stomp by Yano, he picks up Takayama and Irish whips him into the exposed turnbuckle. Yano picks up Takayama and the two trade elbows, but Yano yanks Takayama down by his hair. Yano picks up Takayama and goes for a scoop slam, Takayama blocks it but Yano Irish whips him into the exposed corner again. Yano rakes Takayama's eyes and rips at his face against the ropes. Stomp to the back by Yano but Takayama gets back up. Elbow by Yano, he goes for the Irish whip into the corner again but Takayama reverses it and hits a jumping knee followed by a suplex for a two count cover. Takayama picks up Yano and delivers a backdrop suplex, cover, but again it gets two. Takayama goes off the ropes but Yano ducks the kick, Takayama charges Yano but Yano moves and Takayama goes face first into the exposed corner. Roll-up by Yano but it gets a two count. Yano goes off the ropes, spits water into Takayama's face, cover, but it only gets a two count. Yano picks up Takayama and applies a waistlock, but Takayama reverses it. Low blow by Yano and he throws Takayama into the referee. Yano goes and gets a chair but Takayama ducks the shot and kicks the chair into Yano's face. Takayama grabs Yano and hits the Everest German Suplex, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Yoshihiro Takayama

Match Thoughts: My main issue with this match is just that it was the same formula as the last match, they should have changed up the card order a bit. I did like Yano going all out cheating to beat Takayama. He always does that, but in this case he had to because there is no way he could go toe to toe with Takayama. I liked him finding any way possible to use the exposed corner and finding creative ways to cheat throughout the match, but once Takayama had a hold of him it was all over. An entertaining short match that made them both look pretty good. Score: 6.0

Hirooki Goto vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Tie-up to start but they break cleanly. Another tie-up, side headlock by Goto, Tenzan Irish whips out of it but they collide with no result. Goto tells Tenzan to go off the ropes, he does, but he can't knock Goto down. The two trade chops and elbows, Goto goes off the ropes but Tenzan catches him with a heel kick. Goto rolls out of the ring to re-group but Tenzan goes out after him with an ax handle from the apron. Tenzan throws Goto into the guard rail and stomps Goto while he is on the mat. Tenzan picks up Goto and slides Goto into the ring. Tenzan returns as well, stomps by Tenzan and he gives Goto a headbutt. Chops by Goto but Tenzan hits a series of Mongolian Chops. Knee by Tenzan, cover, but it gets a two count. Tenzan picks up Goto, headbutt by Tenzan and he chops Goto in the head. Tenzan goes off the ropes but Goto does as well and knocks down Tenzan with a lariat. Goto waits for Tenzan to get up, kicks to the chest by Goto, snapmare and he kicks Tenzan in the back. Elbow drop by Goto and he hits a second one. A third elbow drop by Goto, cover, but it gets a two count. Neck crank by Goto and he applies a modified chinlock. Tenzan bites Goto's thumb to get out of it and kicks Goto in the stomach. Goto fights back and elbows Tenzan into the corner, elbow by Goto and he chops Tenzan in the chest. Irish whip by Goto and he hits a lariat in the corner. Goto tosses Tenzan to the mat and hits a top rope elbow drop, cover, but it gets a two count. Goto picks up Tenzan, he puts Tenzan on his shoulders but Tenzan gets out of it and hits a backdrop suplex. Stomp by Tenzan and he chops Goto into the corner. Headbutt by Tenzan, Irish whip and he hits a lariat. Tenzan then gets up on the top turnbuckle and jumps off, slamming Goto's head into the mat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tenzan picks up Goto and hits a vertical suplex, cover, but again he gets two. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle but Goto moves out of the way of the diving headbutt. Stomp to the back by Goto, he picks up Tenzan and delivers a series of elbows. Goto goes off the ropes but Tenzan catches him with the Mountain Drop. Tenzan returns to his feet and hits a series of Mongolian Chops. Tenzan goes off the ropes but Goto grabs him and hits the death valley driver onto his knee. Goto picks up Tenzan and they trade elbows, Mongolian Chops by Tenzan, Goto goes for a lariat but Tenzan blocks it and hits a headbutt. Tenzan picks up Goto and delivers the TTD. Cover, but Goto gets a shoulder up. Anaconda Vice by Tenzan, but Goto muscles back to his feet and knocks Tenzan back. They trade dual lariats and they struggle for position but Goto gets Tenzan into the Goto-Shiki and picks up the three count: Your winner: Hirooki Goto

Match Thoughts: Pretty ho-hum and lackluster. While I still think that Goto has the look of a mega star, this match mostly disintegrated into lots of strikes and sloppy transitions. Goto didn't get to show as much as I know he has, and even though it was only a ten minute match it seemed to drag in parts. I haven't seen much of Tenzan since he returned from injury and maybe this is all he is capable of, I guess I'll know for sure by the end of the tournament. I did like that Goto won by "sneaky" means, it shows that he can win by many different methods. Disappointing overall though, I except more from Goto then a middling match. Score: 4.5

(c) Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
This match is for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Tie-up to start, waistlock by Ibushi and he tosses Taguchi to the mat. Taguchi gets the advantage but Ibushi reverses things back to a hammerlock. Taguchi applies a kneelock, Ibushi tries to roll through but Taguchi keeps it applied. Side headlock by Taguchi, Ibushi slaps on a headscissors but Taguchi gets out of it and both men return to their feet. Tie-up, side headlock by Taguchi, Ibushi Irish whips out of it but Taguchi lariats him to the mat. Taguchi goes off the ropes, dropdown by Ibushi but Taguchi dropkicks him while he lays on the mat. Taguchi picks up Ibushi, Irish whip, reversed, and Taguchi hits another dropkick. Ibushi rolls out of the ring, Taguchi flips himself out of the ring, Ibushi tries to kick his legs out but Taguchi moves and hits two double stomps while Ibushi is on the apron. Ibushi flops down to the floor, Ibushi returns to the ring and sails out onto Taguchi with a somersault tope suicida. Taguchi slides Ibushi back into the ring, Taguchi gets on the apron and hits a sling shot somersault senton. Cover, but it gets a two count. Snapmare by Taguchi and he applies a body scissors. Ibushi makes it to the ropes to force a break, stomps by Taguchi and he throws Ibushi into the corner. Shoulder tackles by Taguchi, he picks up Ibushi and stomps him back into the corner. Taguchi puts Ibushi into the Tree of Woe, he gets a running start and dropkicks Ibushi in the midsection. Cover by Taguchi, but Ibushi kicks out. Taguchi picks up Ibushi, chop by Taguchi, Irish whip from the corner but Ibushi moves when Taguchi charges in and kicks him in the back of the head. Taguchi goes off the ropes but Ibushi catches him with a hurricanrana. Taguchi rolls out of the ring, Ibushi gets a running start and flies out onto Taguchi with a moonsault off the top turnbuckle. Ibushi throws Taguchi into the ring, he gets on the apron and hits a springboard dropkick. Cover by Ibushi but it gets a two count. Ibushi picks up Taguchi, back kick by Ibushi and he kicks Taguchi in the chest. Standing Shooting Star Press by Ibushi followed by a moonsault off the top turnbuckle, cover, but Taguchi kicks out. Ibushi picks up Taguchi, waistlock by Ibushi, reversed, Taguchi runs towards the corner and hits a rebound springboard dropkick. Cover by Taguchi but it gets two. Taguchi picks up Ibushi and his a vertical suplex followed by a slingshot suplex and a slingshot facebuster. Taguchi waits for Ibushi to get up and hits a dropkick in the corner. Taguchi goes up to the top turnbuckle but Ibushi kicks him while he is up there. Ibushi then goes to the apron and hits a springboard hurricanrana, but Taguchi rolls through it for a two count cover. Taguchi goes off the ropes but Ibushi ducks the lariat and hits a Pele Kick. Back up they trade elbows and slaps, Ibushi goes off the ropes but Taguchi catches him with a lariat. Kick by Taguchi and he hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Taguchi picks up Ibushi and grabs Ibushi for the Dodon, but instead he throws Ibushi into the corner. Ibushi avoids a Taguchi dropkick and hits a standing tornillo moonsault for a two count. Ibushi picks up Taguchi and goes for a powerbomb, but Taguchi punches out of it. Taguchi rotates around Ibushi, looks like he is going for the Dodon but hits a Tiger Suplex hold for a two count. Taguchi waits for Ibushi to get up, he goes off the ropes and levels Ibushi with a lariat. Dodon by Taguchi, cover, but Ibushi gets a shoulder up. Taguchi picks up Ibushi and goes for a release Tiger Suplex, but Ibushi lands on his feet and hits a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ibushi goes off the ropes, Taguchi ducks the lariat but Ibushi catches him coming and spears Taguchi like a harpoon into the corner. Ibushi waits for Taguchi to get up and nails the high kick, cover, but it gets another two. Ibushi picks up Taguchi and hits a sit-down powerbomb, cover, but again Taguchi kicks out. Ibushi slams Taguchi in front of the corner and nails the Phoenix Splash, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: Kota Ibushi

Match Thoughts: Not bad. The winner was never in doubt, Ibushi wasn't dropping the belt in the midcard of a G1 Climax event, and Taguchi won't be the one to beat him when he does but they tried to play it up like it was up in the air. I loved the move where Ibushi harpooned Taguchi into the corner. One of the great things about puroresu is if you haven't seen a wrestler in a year he probably has added a few moves since last time you saw them. I was surprised how late it was back and forth/quick reversals of moves, not that that is a bad thing but before the last 30 seconds it was still unknown if either was really ahead of the other. They worked well together but Taguchi has lost something since last time I saw him, he didn't seem to have any charisma.... which he did seem to show in his Apollo55 matches, maybe he feeds of Devitt. Anyway, perfect acceptable and decent Jr. Heavyweight action, but nothing to set your world on fire. Score: 6.0

Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi
As Naito poses on the top turnbuckle getting into the ring, Takahashi grabs him and hits a belly to belly suplex off the top turnbuckle. Takahashi picks up Naito, Irish whip, and he hits another belly to belly suplex. Stomp by Takahashi, he picks up Naito and delivers an elbow. Chops by Takahashi and he hits Naito in the back. Takahashi picks up Naito, Irish whip, reversed, and Naito delivers a dropkick. Snapmare by Naito, he goes off the ropes and hits a tornillo splash. Takahashi rolls out of the ring but Naito comes out after him. Kick by Naito and he clubs Takahashi in the back. Naito takes Takahashi up the ramp, gets a running start from the entrance but Takahashi catches him with a knee to the stomach. Elbow drop on the ramp by Takahashi and he hits a second one. Takahashi picks up Naito and slides him back into the ring. Takahashi returns as well, and he stomps Naito in the stomach. Takahashi picks up Naito but Naito elbows him back. Takahashi comes back with a gutbuster, cover, but it gets two. More knees and elbows to the ribs by Takahashi, he picks up Naito and drops him onto the top rope. Naito lands on the apron, Takahashi gets a running start and hits a lariat, sending Naito crashing into the guard rail. Even Hogan was impressed by that. Takahashi goes out and throws Naito back into the ring, cover, but it gets a two count. Another cover but again it barely gets two. Takahashi picks up Naito and throws him into the corner before hitting a series of shoulder tackles. Kick to the ribs by Takahashi, he picks up Naito, Irish whip, Naito avoids Takahashi's charge and the collide with no result. They go off the ropes again but this time Naito dropkicks Takahashi in the knee. Both men are slow to get up, Naito catches a Takahashi kick and kicks him in the leg. Dropkick to the knee by Naito, he picks up Takahashi and puts him onto the top rope (the actual rope, not the turnbuckle). Naito then stands on the top turnbuckle and hits a kneebreaker down to the mat. Naito goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving dropkick to Takahashi's knee. Punches to the knee by Naito but Takahashi knocks him back. Irish whip by Takahashi but Naito delivers a jumping elbow. German suplex hold by Naito, but it gets a two count. Modified kneelock by Naito, but Takahashi manages to get to the ropes to break the hold. Naito grabs Takahashi and hits an enzigieri, he puts Takahashi on his shoulders but Takahashi gets off and delivers a Fisherman's Buster. Elbows by Naito, Takahashi returns fire, kick to the knee by Naito, he rolls up Takahashi with a jackknife but it gets a two count. Waistlock by Naito, reversed by Takahashi, he goes for a German suplex but Naito lands on his feet. Naito jumps on Takahashi's shoulders but Takahashi pushes him off and hits the Intercollegiate Slam. Takahashi picks up Naito and nails the Tokyo Pimps, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Yujiro Takahashi

Match Thoughts: I liked that both wrestlers were focused on a body part and stuck with it through the match. Takahashi attacked Naito's ribs well and Naito stayed all over Takahashi's leg. A few of the spots were awkward, especially the avalanche kneebreaker, but I appreciate the extra effort. These two are feuding anyway so they had that built in hate that they played up with Takahashi toying with Naito occasionally during the match. It ended somewhat quick as G1 Climax block matches tend to, but an entertaining match overall. Score: 6.5

Lance Archer vs. Togi Makabe
They jaw at each other as the bell rings, elbows by Makabe and he goes off the ropes but he can't knock Archer down. Archer goes off the ropes with the same result, they keep going back and forth until Makabe knocks down Archer with a lariat. Archer chokes Makabe in the corner and puts him onto the top turnbuckle, then he gives Makabe a big boot which knocks Makabe down to the floor. Archer goes out after him and repeatedly rams his head into the steel guard rail. Clubs to the back by Archer and he throws Makabe back into the ring. Mounted punches by Archer, cover, but it barely gets a two count. Reverse chinlock by Archer, Makabe struggles to his feet but Archer punches him back down. Stomps by Archer, he picks up Makabe and chokes him against the second rope. Archer then bounces off the far ropes and jumps down onto Archer as he is against the second rope. Cover, but it gets a two count. Archer applies another reverse chinlock, cover, but it gets a two count. Archer stomps Makabe and goes for a leg drop, but Makabe rolls out of the way. Makabe boots Archer when Archer charges him, Irish whip by Makabe, reversed, and Archer delivers a lariat. Cover, but it only gets two. Archer picks up Makabe, but Makabe ducks a lariat and hits a backdrop suplex. Archer waits for Makabe to get up but Makabe fights him off and hits a lariat in the corner. Irish whip by Makabe and he hits a lariat. Mounted punches by Makabe in the corner and he snaps off a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Waistlock by Makabe but Archer elbows him off, Makabe goes off the rope ropes but Archer catches him with a sit-down side slam for a two count. Archer waits for Makabe to get up and drops him with a chokeslam. Archer goes up to the top turnbuckle but Makabe easily rolls out of the way of the moonsault attempt. German suplex hold by Makabe, but Archer gets a shoulder up. Lariat by Makabe, cover, but again it gets two. Makabe puts Archer onto the top turnbuckle and hits a Spider German suplex, he then goes for the King Kong Kneedrop but Archer moves out of the way. They jockey for position as they trade waistlocks, but Archer sneaks in the Final Days for the three count cover! Your winner: Lance Archer

Match Thoughts: I don't by default hate Archer/Hoyt like some people do, but this match wasn't very good. It was too slow and plodding of a match for one that was only eight minutes long. The ending literally came out of nowhere and I have trouble buying that Makabe could be beaten without being more weakened up by one of the more simple and not over (yet) finishing moves in the tournament. I understand this was needed to put over Archer as a threat in the tournament and Makabe will be fine, I just didn't think it was an entertaining match in the least. Score: 3.0

Minoru Suzuki vs. Satoshi Kojima
They circle each other to start, waistlock by Kojima, wristlock by Suzuki but Kojima reverses it into a reverse chinlock. Hammerlock by Suzuki and he goes for a stomp but Kojima rolls out of the way. Back up they trade slaps to the chest, Suzuki slaps Kojima in the face but Kojima comes back with elbows. Suzuki goes out to the apron, Kojima goes for a lariat but Suzuki catches it and applies an armbar in the ropes. He then pulls Kojima out of the ring and throws him into the guard rail. Suzuki grabs Kojima's arm and twists it around the top of the guard rail before kicking it. Suzuki continues twisting Kojima's arm but returning to the ring with Kojima slowly following. Kicks to the arm by Suzuki but Kojima comes back with slaps to the chest. Suzuki is unphased and kicks Kojima in the arm. Cover but Suzuki but Kojima gets a foot in the bottom rope. Suzuki picks up Kojima and applies a hammerlock into a standing armbar. Suzuki takes it to the crowd while maintaining a hold on Kojima's arm and goes for the cross armbreaker, he gets it applied but Kojima gets a foot on the bottom ropes. Back up, Suzuki knees Kojima in the corner and hits an uppercut. Irish whip by Suzuki to the corner and he slaps Suzuki to the face. Kojima switches positions with Suzuki, rapid fire chops by Kojima, Irish whip, and Kojima hits a jumping elbow. Suzuki comes back with a slap but Kojima elbows him back. Knee to the stomach by Suzuki, snapmare, Suzuki goes off the ropes and kicks Kojima in the chest. He does it a second time but the third time Kojima catches his leg. DDT by Kojima and he hits the Koji Cutter. Kojima goes off the ropes but Suzuki avoids the lariat and applies an armbar. Kicks to the arm with Suzuki and he applies a sleeperhold, but Kojima gets out of it with a backdrop suplex. Brainbuster by Kojima, cover, but it gets a two count. Kojima calls for the lariat, but Kojima gets distracted and Suzuki applies the sleeperhold from behind. Cover by Suzuki but it gets a two count. Suzuki nails Kojima with a running kick to the face while he is sitting on the mat, cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Suzuki, reversed, but Suzuki ducks the lariat and re-applies the sleeperhold. Suzuki goes for the Gotch-style piledriver but Kojima gets out of it, Kojima goes off the ropes but Suzuki kicks his arm. Kojima hits the short range lariat, and both men are slow to get up. Kojima goes off the ropes, delivers the lariat, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Satoshi Kojima

Match Thoughts: The match started strong but fell apart when both wrestlers blew off the really good arm work that Suzuki did in the first 70% of the match. I can't even just blame Kojima, although that is what I usually do, since Suzuki began focusing on sleepers and stopped going for the arm as well except for one kick spot that didn't work. Then of course Kojima finished him off with two lariats and didn't even pretend like it hurt to do it. Normally with two veterans I'd be disappointed but this isn't really that unusual for Kojima. So that took me out of the match a bit as it kinda negated a large part of the match, but the crowd stayed into it and otherwise it was a decent match. Score: 5.0

MVP vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
They circle each other to start, kick to the leg by Nakamura, tie-up, MVP pushes Nakamura into the ropes and he gives a clean-ish break. Nakamura gets MVP to the mat but MVP wiggles away as they jockey for position. Nakamura gets MVP's back but MVP pushes Nakamura into the ropes and the referee forces a break. MVP and Nakamura circle each other, tie-up, side headlock by MVP, Nakamura gets out of it and kicks MVP in the head while he is on the mat. MVP gets up angry, punches by MVP, Irish whip to the corner and he delivers a lariat. MVP then picks up Nakamura and throws him over his head, cover, but it gets two. MVP elbows Nakamura in the back of the head, Irish whip by MVP, reversed, MVP goes for the jump-over in the corner but Nakamura knees him in the stomach. Nakamura puts MVP on his shoulders, puts him over the top turnbuckle and knees him in the ribs. Cover by Nakamura, but it gets a two count. Kick by Nakamura, he picks up MVP and knees him in the ribs a few times. Cover, but again it gets two. Back up, knees by Nakamura, and he pushes MVP into the corner. More knees and MVP falls to the mat. Nakamura steps on MVP in the corner, he picks him back up and hits a scoop slam followed by a knee drop. Cover, but MVP kicks out. Kicks to the chest by Nakamura but MVP absorbs them. Enzigieri by Nakamura, he goes off the ropes but MVP catches him with a belly to belly suplex. Both wrestlers slowly get up, but MVP knocks down Nakamura with a lariat. Elbow by MVP and he kicks Nakamura to the mat. MVP goes off the ropes and hits the Ballin' Elbow. Fisherman suplex by MVP, but it gets a two count. Release German suplex by MVP, he goes up to the top turnbuckle, but Nakamura kicks him back down to the mat. Nakamura is up first, elbow by Nakamura but MVP returns fire. Knees by Nakamura but MVP catches a kick and elbows him in the face. Finally a lariat by MVP wins him the strike battle, cover, but it gets a two count. MVP picks up Nakamura and goes for the Overdrive but Nakamura gets out of it and hits an enzigieri. Grounded knees by Nakamura, he picks up MVP and applies a front facelock. Inverted powerslam by Nakamura and he goes for the Boma Ye, but MVP knocks him back and clubs Nakamura in the head. Overdrive by MVP, cover, but it gets two. MVP grabs Nakamura and goes for a submission, but Nakamura gets out of it and applies a cross armbreaker. MVP gets his hands locked , but Nakamura reverts the move to a triangle choke. MVP manages to pick up Nakamura and powerbombs his way out of it. Both wrestlers are up, Nakamura goes for a lariat but MVP knocks his arm back and locks in the  Irreversible Crisis. Nakamura struggles for a moment but eventually he has to tap! Your winner: MVP

Match Thoughts: Fun little match, it helped put over MVP a bit for the tournament and didn't do any harm for Nakamura. The only confusing part is Nakamura did a great job working over the ribs, but does he have any finishing moves that target the ribs? His big "almost won" spot at the end was the cross armbreaker and the triangle choke, and he missed with the Boma Ye, but nothing to do with the ribs. Course I understand the idea of wearing down the midsection helping all around, but if he was going to go for the cross armbreaker at the end of the match it would have been nice for him to touch the arm at some point before that. He did such a good job on the ribs I'd have just liked to see that play into the last minute of the match somehow to show the method to his madness. But other then that the match was fine, this was my first MVP in Japan match I have seen and he looked really good here, seemed to fit in very well. Score: 6.5

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yuji Nagata
Tie-up to start, waistlock by Nagata, reversed by Tanahashi but Tanahashi applies an arm wringer. Tanahashi gets Nagata to the mat and goes for the leg but Nagata gets out of it and Tanahashi pushes Nagata into the ropes. Clean break by Tanahashi and they jockey for position, snapmare by Tanahashi and he applies a hammerlock. Nagata returns to his feet and hits a side headlock takeover but Tanahashi quickly applies a headscissors. Nagata gets out of it and applies a kneelock but Tanahashi gets his back and applies a facelock. Side headlock takeover by Tanahashi but Nagata quickly gets out of it and applies one of his own. They jockey for position but end up in the ropes so the referee forces a break. Back up, arm wringer by Tanahashi but Nagata slaps him. Kick by Tanahashi and an elbow, and the two trade strikes. Knees by Nagata, he goes off the ropes and hits a big boot but Tanahashi comes back with a dropkick. Tanahashi goes for a rolling senton but Nagata gets out of the way and both men return to their feet. Kicks to the leg by Nagata, snapmare by Nagata and he kicks Tanahashi in the back. Kicks to the chest by Nagata in the corner, he picks up Tanahashi, Irish whip, but Tanahashi blocks the big boot and hits a rebound crossbody out of the corner. Dropkick to the knee by Tanahashi and he kicks Nagata in the leg. Knees to the leg by Tanahashi but Nagata kicks him off. Knees by Nagata but Tanahashi catches a kick and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Figure four leglock by Tanahashi but Nagata eventually makes it to the rope after a minute or two. Tanahashi stomps Nagata in his leg but Nagata fights back. Tanahashi goes to go off the ropes but Nagata grabs him and hits a release German suplex. Knee to the stomach by Nagata but it is with his injured leg so he goes down as well. He is up first, and hits a big boot in the corner followed by a suplex for a two count cover. Nagata picks up Tanahashi and hits a series of kicks to the chest. Tanahashi absorbs some of the blows, he catches a kick, Irish whip by Tanahashi, reversed, but Tanahashi hits a jumping elbow strike. Tanahashi picks up Nagata, scoop slam in front of the corner and he hits a rolling senton off the second turnbuckle. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Nagata catches him with an overhead suplex for a two count. Nagata picks up Tanahashi and goes for a brainbuster but Tanahashi blocks it. Knees by Nagata and he goes for it again, but his knee gives out on him. Nagata goes for an enzigieri but Tanahashi blocks it and drops a few elbows on Nagata's injured leg. Tanahashi applies the Texas Cloverleaf but Nagata quickly grabs the bottom rope. Tanahashi grabs Nagata around the waist, Nagata blocks the suplex but Tanahashi hits a chop block instead. Tanahashi goes off the ropes and delivers the Sling Blade. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tanahashi goes up to the top turnbuckle but Nagata joins him up there. They trade elbows up top and Nagata delivers a suplex down to the mat. Nagata is still having knee trouble, they trade strikes on their feet but Tanahashi dropkicks Nagata in the knee. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Nagata catches him and applies the Seated Armbar. Tanahashi gets a foot on the ropes to break it up, Nagata picks up Tanahashi and hits an enzigieri. Nagata goes for a backdrop suplex but Tanahashi lands on top of him for a two count. Sling blade by Tanahashi and he hits a modified Falcon Arrow. Tanahashi goes up to the top turnbuckle and goes for the High Fly Flow, but Nagata gets his knees up. Cover, but Tanahashi kicks out. Both wrestlers slowly get up but Nagata hits a big boot followed by a knee in the corner. Dragon screw neck whip by Nagata, he picks up Tanahashi and hits the backdrop suplex. Cover, but Tanahashi barely gets a shoulder up. Nagata picks up Tanahashi again and goes for the brianbuster but Tanahashi slides down his back. Full nelson by Tanahashi but Nagata blocks the dragon suplex and hits an armbreaker followed by a high kick. Backdrop suplex hold by Nagata, and he picks up the three count! Your winner: Yuji Nagata

Match Thoughts: Unlike some other matches on this event, Nagata and Tanahashi did a great job staying focused and telling a story. Tanahashi stayed on Nagata's leg the whole match, and Nagata never forgot it as between moves he would frequently grab his leg and a few of his offense spurts were stopped by a quick kick to the knee. These two have fought enough over the years to have pretty good chemistry and it really showed here as the match flowed very well. I actually didn't know who won so I was surprised Nagata picked up the win, but he did hit the dragon screw neck whip, backdrop suplex, big boot, high kick, and backdrop suplex hold all in pretty quick order to finish off the already worn down Tanahashi. This match did a good job "feeling" like a main event, the wrestlers and the structure of the match put over that this was the big match on the card. A good way to end the show. Score: 7.5

Final Thoughts:

Not a bad start at all for the 2011 G1 Climax. Most of the block matches were solid to great, and the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship was a nice treat and change of pace. The main event was the best pure match on the card, but Bernard/Saito, NO LIMIT, and Nakamura/MVP are all definitely worth watching. There were a few stinkers but not every match can be a winner, especially since some of the wrestlers aren't as used to working together. Overall I'd recommend checking it out, if this is what the whole tournament will be like it will be a good tournament.

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review completed on 8/13/11