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Submitted by dave on Sun, 2016-07-17 19:56

The 26th edition of the NJPW G1 Climax tournament kicks off at 2 AM EST Monday morning (U.S.)/7 AM UK from the Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center with lots of intrigue, questions, and eventually answers.

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Tonight's show features five A block matches along with four tag team matches. The show will be aired on New Japan World.

For those of you looking for previews, check out the Big Audio Nightmare's prediction show, as well as this feature by F4W Online staffers picking their most anticipated match and wrestler for the tourney. Additionally, Bryan Rose has created a guide for first-timers that you should really read.

Our coverage begins at 2 AM EST.

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TIGER MASK & JUSHIN LIGER & MANABU NAKANISHI & KATSUYORI SHIBATA VS. CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & KUSHIDA & TOMOAKI HONMA

Nakanishi beat Captain to win with the Hercules cutter, which is a torture rack into the TKO. At times the match was great, when Kushida was in with Tiger Mask and when Shibata was in with Honma. It was way better than the usual opener 2/3 of the way through, partially beacuse they kept Captain and Nakanishi out of the ring. Then they tagged in. There was some comedy as Captain's team kept ignoring him and refusing to tag him in. He got a nice reaction when he finally tagged in but people also recognized it was the end for them.

SATOSHI KOJIMA & JUICE ROBINSON VS. TORU YANO & KATSUHIKO NAKAJIMA

Nakajima pinned Robinson after a penalty kick and brainbuster. Match was okay. Nakajima didn't stand out but did a few cool things. Yano didn't do much at all. Kojima's timing is on point but he didn't do much special.

YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & KENNY OMEGA VS. YOSHI-HASHI & GEDO

Another basic match. Gedo did comedy spots and Yoshi-Hashi looked good. Omega did comedy spots and Takahashi didn't look good. Takahashi pinned Gedo with the Tokyo Pimps (dominator). Prelim Omega is very different from big match Omega.

MICHAEL ELGIN & YUJI NAGATA & DAVID FINLAY VS. TETSUYA NAITO & EVIL & BUSHI

Started a little quiet considering Naito is in the match. Elgin came out wearing both his IC title and Elite belt. Good power stuff with Elgin vs. Evil. The finish saw Bushi pin Finlay after a codebreaker, and then a second one cming off the top rope.

TOMOHIRO ISHII VS. HIROYOSHI TENZAN

This was great. It seemed at first the idea of Tenzan's last G-1 wasn't getting over like I thought it would. But largely due to Ishii, the match was great and there was super heat down the stretch with all the near falls. Kojima was in Tenzan's corner cheering him on. There were the sick ramming head-butts that have no place, especially at their age. Lots of big moves. Ishii survived the Anaconda buster and Tenzan driver. Tenzan was bleeding from the mouth. The finish saw Tenzan use a Kojima style lariat and a moonsault for the pin.

TOGI MAKABE VS. TAMA TONGA

A hard hitting match but nothing compared to the previous match. Tonga looked good most of the way. Makabe won clean with a belly-to-belly superplex and the King Kong kneedrop off the top rope.

HIROOKI GOTO VS. BAD LUCK FALE

This wasn't flashy but was hard hitting and Goto carried it well. Goto kicked out of a splash. He also kicked out of the Grenade. Fale went for a brainbuster but Goto got behind him and choked him down, hit the final cut (GRT) and got the pin.

HIROSHI TANAHASHI VS. SEIYA SANADA

Tanahashi is clearly not at his best physically but he is a genius at putting a match togehter. Just a super match where every move meant something. From a timing standpiont,Sanad ais awesome. Tanahashi did his main event style match here, with the high fly flow to the floor. Great struggles to get to the ropes by Sanada on a Tanahashi cloverleaf and by Tanahashi on a Sanada dragon sleeper. The big move was Tanahashi going for the high fly flow after a German suplex, but Sanada hit the RKO out of nowhere with perfect Randy Orton timing. Sanada hit a moonsault but Tanahashi kicked out. He did a second moonsault and then used the dragon sleeper and Tanahashi tapped out.

KAZUCHIKA OKADA VS. NAOMICHI MARUFUJI

Super match, very much put together like an Okada vs. Styles match with the great twists and turns at the finish. Okada could never hit his tombstone or rainmaker. Marufuji could never hit the shiranui (sliced bread). Marufuji's timing and stiffness on his chops, kicks and knees were great. Among the highlights were him doing a running dive over the top, a dropkick from one side of the ring to three-quarters of the way across. Okada went for the rainmaker but Marufuji used a knee to the left arm, a hard spin kick to the head and a jumping knee, followed by a fisherman suplex into a emerald flowsion and Marufuji got the pin.

Quite the newsworthy opening night with Tanahashi losing via submission and the IWGP champion Okada losing via clean pin to the outsider. With Marufuji winning, this also means he'll probably get an IWGP title shot in the fall.

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