So, after racing through Night 4, I jumped straight into Night 5….
I was looking forward to Jay White vs Michael Elgin, but something just didn’t click for me (3/5). The march didn’t feel right to me….whether it was Jay White wrestling in a relatively straitlaced fashion until the finish or the huge, powerful Elgin destroying White then losing to a low blow and a Blade Runner (Sister Abigail to WWE fans) I’m not sure. The actual wrestling was good, but I didn’t like the flow or story of the match. By not empathising White’s cheating and disrespectful swagger and Elgin’s toughness and determination, I think the match failed both men. I would have had Elgin overcome White’s cheating and underhand tactics here with sheer strength personally…not that I could plan a G1 tournament out!
Evil vs Togi Makabe was exactly the match I thought these two would have, almost move for move (2.5/5). The match was OK, but it was a short and surprisingly one sided match in favour of Evil…not a match you need to go out of your way to see.
Minoru Suzuki beat Yoshi- Hashi as expected in their match, but it’s the story of Yoshi-Hashi that is interesting me (3.5/5). The commentary of Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero has been good all tournament, but they are excellent during Yoshi-Hashi’s matches, explaining his tactics, his moves and his injuries, as well as highlighting his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Yoshi-Hashi may be winless so far, but his performances have been good and I’m interested to see how his story plays out.
I thought Hiroshi Tanahashi was excellent in his match against Bad Luck Fale (3/5). He showed great energy around Fale’s methodical control segments and I liked his counters, such as the escape from the Bad Luck Fall into a modified Sling Blade. High praise for the ending too – I like that the referee teased counting the pin for Bad Luck Fale after a Tama Tonga Gun Stun, only for him to realise what had happened and disqualify Fale. I don’t want there to be interference finishes in every Firing Squad match, but if we’re going to get them then, then it’s good to see that referees are getting wise to the interference..
The main event was a coming out party for Hangman Page. He may have lost to Kazuchika Okada, but this match was all about Page, who controlled the match. I thought it was a bit dry in places, but it was a fine showing from Page, who is starting to win over the Japanese crowd. I’m happy for him – whenever I see him wrestle, the effort is always there and he’s an under-rated wrestler who maybe doesn’t get the attention the others in the Bullet Club do. Again, I did find my attention wandering at points in this match, but there were lots of cool spots (Page’s first counter of Okada’s Rainmaker, Page’s moonsault to the floor, Page’s attempts to set up his Rites of Passage reverse piledriver) and I found myself getting drawn into the match as it progressed. A solid 3.5/5 match and the best of a fairly average G1 Climax card.
Overall – Night 5 was a bit of a comedown after Night 4 and I was left a bit disappointed. White v Elgin was a match that underwhelmed me and Evil vs Makabe was skippable. I recommend the main event to see Hangman Page get the spotlight and Yoshi-Hashi vs Suzuki for the story of Yoshi-Hashi’s struggles. Overall, I’d go 3.10/5.00 for Night 5.