Wrestling Observer Exclusive: Tomoaki Honma’s Heartbreaking G1 Journey

Last year, Tomoaki Honma replaced an injured Kota Ibushi in New Japan’s G-1 Climax 24 tournament. As part of Block A, Honma would finish the tournament in last place on ZERO points. Despite losing every single G-1 match in his debut appearance in the now legendary New Japan heavyweight tournament, Tomoaki Honma won the love and support of fans around the world – Honmania ran wild, and it has’t stopped running!

Honma’s 2014 tournament matches against Katsuyori Shibata, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura and Tomohiro Ishii were some of the most brutal, breathtaking and heartbreaking matches of the year. What made Honma’s performance in 2014 so great is that he is a master of making believers out of the most cynical fans. It became clear early on that Honma was going to be taking a lot of falls in his G-1 matches. In the end, he was defeated in all of them, but during every one of those matches, he made us believe that it was possible he could pull off that one big victory. And every time he didn’t, it made us want to see it happen even more (and it made my heart break a little more).

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You can follow Zach on Twitter @TheKoalaMask

New Japan G-1 Day 5, Miyagi: Thoughts and Predictions


Pre-Show Thoughts and Predictions

Coming off the absolutely incredible Day 4 of the G-1, Day 5 in Miyagi will have its work cut out for it if it wants to impress. Day for set almost impossible standards for the rest of the tournament, and we’re not even halfway through yet. After the incredible matches we’ve seen so far, I have all the faith in the world that this year’s G-1 will only get better. (Please no jaws get broken after I said that).

As you can see from the standings above, Tomoaki Honma, the standout star of this year’s G-1, in my opinion, is the only participant still on 0 points. And facing Shinsukue Nakamura probably isn’t going to help matters. But as we saw in the match between Goto and Yano from Day 4, anything can happen in the G-1. As much as I love Nakamura, I’m rooting for Honma tonight. He’s the forever underdog, how can you not? Don’t stop missing those headbutts, Honma!

Okada vs. Naito ought to be another fantastic match up. They had a really good feud for the IWGP Heavyweight championship and excellent matches together (despite being overshadowed by Nakamura/Tanahashi) going into Wrestle Kingdom 8. Okada came out on top then, but after Naito’s recent win over current IWGP champ A.J. Styles, I think tonight’s the night he’ll finally best Okada.

Tanahashi has the task of overcoming resident New Japan monster, Bad Luck Fale. After his epic battle, which he lost, with Shibata on Day 4, I think Tanahashi will step his game up even more and defeat Fale. Unless of course, he’s still battle worn fro his previous match. In that case, Fale has a good chance of topping the New Japan’s #1 guy.

Got and Styles in a match up I’m really excited about, as I believe it’s a first time encounter between these two guys in singles action. Both coming off losses, Goto’s loss to Yano more embarrassing than Styles loss to Naito, I think Goto’s bad luck will continue tonight. I can’t imagine the current IWGP taking too man losses in this tournament.

Speaking of losses, and not having any. Tonight is the night Benjamin’s uncanny winning streak ends. There’s no stopping Shibata after his win over Tanahashi in Akita. I expect Benjamin’s hot streak to cool off after tonight. And Shibata to only get hotter.

As for the lower card. Take your pick! Ishii should go over Gallows, just because he’s my guy and he should go ever everyone and win the tournament and the IWGP championship at Wrestle Kingdom 9 and high five me after the match. But we’ll see.

Suzuki has looked pretty great in his matches so far. I liked his use of Saka Otoshi to finish off Tenzan on Day 4. It’s a brutal looking submission. I hope he puts it on Takahashi and never lets go (I’m not a Yujiro fan).

Anderson is going to Gun Stun Yano’s smile off, Kojima will lariat the Honky Tonk out of Davey Boy Smith Jr. (he so looks like the Honky Tonk Man), and Archer is going to…do what Archer does to defeat Tenzan.


Follow the G-1 with me on twitter @TheKoalaMask

New Japan G1 Climax 24 Day 3 Live Results

G1 Climax Day 3  Card, Yamagata

  • Tomoaki Honma (From Yamagata) vs. Doc Gallows
  • Lance Archer vs. Karl Anderson
  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yujiro Takahashi
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shelton Benjamin
  • Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano
  • Katsuyori Shibata vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
  • Yuji Nagata vs. Bad Luck Fale
  • Hirooki Goto vs. Minoru Suzuki
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Satoshi Kojima
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Togi Makabe


1. Tomoaki Honma (From Yamagata) vs. Doc Gallows
Gallows defeated Honma with the Gallows Pole. Still zero points for Honma. Couldn’t even get a win in his hometown. That was very WWE of New Japan.

2. Lance Archer vs. Karl Anderson
Archer defeated Anderson with Blackout. Still no points for Anderson. Good match. Archer’s intensity level is off the charts. Anderson targeted the leg and had Archer in control early. Archer kicked out of a fireman carry stunner and made the comeback to get the win.

3. Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yujiro Takahashi
Tenzan made Takahashi tap out to the Anaconda Vice.

4. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shelton Benjamin
Benjamin just destroyed Ishii early on with stiff forearm shots. Ishii came back with a nice Ishii powerslam. Benjamin did a cool leg sweep into an ankle lock. Ishii reversed it into an ankle lock of his own. Benjamin then reversed that into another ankle lock. Cool sequence. Ishii got to the ropes.
Benjamin took a German suplex from Ishii very poorly. Like he was afraid of the impending impact.
Ishii no sold a wheel kick but walked straight into a superkick followed by Paydirt, giving Benjamin the win. F##k!

5. Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano
Naito was busted open very early on from a Yano chair shot. Naito pinned Yano with the Stardust Press. Naito landed right across Yano’s face.

6. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
I’ve worked it out. Davey Boy’s classic 80s wrestler style. He’s becoming the Honky Tonk Man!
Davey Boy Smith Jr. defeated Shibata with a powerbomb. Bit of a surprise win. Not much energy from the crowd for that one. To be fair, it was a fairly slow match.

7. Yuji Nagata vs. Bad Luck Fale
Strong showing by Nagata. He had Fale in all sorts of knots. Fale finally got the win with the Bad Luck Fall.

8. Hirooki Goto vs. Minoru Suzuki
Really good match. Better than anything beforehand. Goto pinned Suzuki with Goto Shiki.
Suzuki was heeling it up big time. TAKA tried to interfere but received an Ushikoroshi. SUzuki had Goto out with a sleeper and was going for the Gotch piledriver, but Goto quickly pinned him with Goto Shiki.

9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Satoshi Kojima
Awesome match. Kojima hit Tanahashi with everything. Cozy Crush Dynamite. Cozy Lariat. But Tanahashi kept coming back. Tanahashi finally landed a flying crosbody followed by the High Fly Flow for the victory. Easily the most exciting match of the night up to this point.
Earlier in the match, Tanahashi went for the High Fly Flow but Kojima got his knees up. Kojima looked like he was going to score the upset victory over Tanahashi, alas it wasn’t meant to be.

10. Kazuchika Okada vs. Togi Makabe
Please don’t break Makabe’s jaw, Okada.
Okada defeated Makabe in the match of the night with the Rainmaker.
Fantastic match. It really looked like Makabe was going to come away with the victory. Makabe had a big flurry of offense near the end. Lariat, powerbomb, German off the turnbuckle, but then he missed the King Kong Knee Drop and it was all Okada after that. German Suplex and Rainmaker for the win.


The final three matches were good, really good and fantastic respectively.
The opening match, while good, was a bit of a downer start to the show. Honma was great, but deserved a victory in his hometown.
Shibata vs. Davey Boy was the biggest let down of the night. Just very slow and underwhelming.
Overall, Day 3 would have to be the weakest of of the three shows so far. That’s not saying it was bad. The second half was very good, just a bit forgettable in the first half.