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August 9, 2009 / Bryan

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Toru Yano from NJPW’s G1 Climax 2009

Pre-Match Thoughts from Bryan Rose:

I looked at this Youtube video and checked the time. This video was thirty one minutes long. I was about to lose my mind upon seeing this number, but then realized that I hadn’t written for anything for Free Pro Wrestling for months and damnit, I owe people some thoughts on matches. Depending on how this match goes, I’ll either accept my punishment for not contributing lately or breathe a sigh of relief.

Why all these emotions going into this match? Toru Yano. That pretty much sums it up. On one hand, he’s a rather funny heel that’s fine as a opening match kind of guy. On the other, he sucks in the ring and gets the flukiest wins for dumb reasons, like to prolong a feud with Minoru Suzuki that seems like it’s never going to end, ever. But at least he’s facing Hiroshi Tanahashi, who is one of the best in the business right now, and probably a lot better back in 2009 than here in 2014 where he’s banged up.

In other words, mixed emotions heading into this match. I shall click play now and hope these thirty minutes fly by quick.

The Match:

After doing a clean break, Yano wanted a handshake from Tanahashi. As he turned his back to contemplate this like a dope, Yano jumps him but Tanahashi quickly regains control, not like a dope. Tanahashi focuses on one of Yano’s legs and starts working it over. Yano eventually regains control and throws him into the barricade on the outside, then undoes the turnbuckle. Just how long has he been doing these same spots? Tanahashi fights back and tries to do the same, but Yano reverses his reversal and whips Tanahashi into the barricade again. He goes to him with a chair on the post but Tanahashi blocks it. Tanahashi goes to the apron and goes for a running senton but Yano PELTS HIM with a steel chair shot in midair. Wow.

Yano works him over, including taking the hammer to ring the bell and uses it as a weapon. Yano continues to work on him in the ring, with Tanahashi getting a few hope spots. Tanahashi finally lays him out with a forearm splash and a standing senton for a nearfall. Tanahashi locks in the sharpshooter, but Yano grabs the ropes. Yano grabs him in midair and hits a sloppy German suplex…then goes for something and botches it. Twice. Maybe a tilt a whirl slam but Tanahashi blocked it? No idea. Tanahashi counters a powerbomb and they start exchanging punches. Yano blocks the Dragon suplex but doesn’t see the waistjacket suplex following it. There’s a ref bump somewhere in here. Yano low blows him twice. Yano tries to hit Tanahashi with the chair, but Tanahashi blocks it and low blows him.

He hits the slingblade but Yano gets the knees up when going for the high fly flow. Yano goes for the powerbomb but Tanahashi counters with the hurricanrana and follows with a Dragon suplex. Another slingblade. High fly flow connects, and that’s it.

Thankfully, this was only about twenty minutes long. The last ten minutes was Tanahashi cutting a promo and meeting with fans after the match.

Final Thoughts:

It was an average New Japan Pro Wrestling match you’d see in like the second or third bout nowadays, with slightly more time. And that’s because Tanahashi was pretty alright here, doing all of his signature stuff and looking good while doing it. Yano ranged from ok to terrible during several spots in this match. Yano’s just not a guy you want to headline with. But at least people were sorta into the nearfalls. It was there.

Star Rating: ***

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