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  1. There are some posts on the last page of the Current New Japan thread in the Megathread Archive about the G1 Climax but I think it deserves its own thread. Going to be a barn burner this year. A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, EVIL, Sanada, Bad Luck Fale, Zack Sabre Jr, Lance Archer & KENTA B Block: Juice Robinson, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, Jeff Cobb, Jon Moxley, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Jay White & Taichi Pretty stacked. They did a good job with the blocks, too. You have some money matches in the A Block & you have new & interesting matches in the B Block. Then they have guys like Yano & Fale in there to switch things up so it's not just a bunch of workrate matches. I'm really digging the line-ups. There's definitely some matches that catch my eye. Anything having to do with Jeff Cobb or Shingo, in example. I'm also curious on who is going to win it all this year. I want to say they're going to pull the trigger on Ospreay but it might be too soon & NJPW seems to wait awhile longer than most before trying things. Jeff Cobb Vs. Jon Moxley is going to be interesting. I'm really looking forward to Shingo Vs. Naito. You know what you're going to get with Tanahashi, Ibushi & Okada, so some of the intrigue there is gone for me but you know the matches will be good. Curious to see how KENTA looks nowadays, healthy & away from NXT. <Opening Day> Saturday, July 6th (Local time): American Airlines Center in Dallas TX, the USA ・Saturday, July 13th: Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo ・Sunday, July 14th: Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo ・Monday, July 15th: Hokkai Kitayell in Hokkaido ・Thursday, July 18th: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo ・Friday, July 19th: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo ・Saturday, July 20th: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo ・Wednesday, July 24th: Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall in Hiroshima ・Saturday, July 27th: Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Aichi ・Sunday, July 28th: Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Aichi ・Tuesday, July 30th: Takamatsu City General Gymnasium in Kagawa ・Thursday, August 1st: Fukuoka Citizen Gymnasium in Fukuoka ・Saturday, August 3rd: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka ・Sunday, August 4th: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka ・Wednesday, August 7th: Hamamatsu Arena in Shizuoka ・Thursday, August 8th: Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium in Kanagawa ・Saturday, August 10th: Nippon Budokan in Tokyo ・Sunday, August 11th: Nippon Budokan in Tokyo ・<FINAL> Monday, August 12th: Nippon Budokan in Tokyo
  2. These two had a match in the 2015 G1 that was spectacular from a moves standpoint but that forced the narrative to take a backseat and the egregious selling of the leg by Ibushi was too much for me to overcome in viewing the match as great. This match starts off with a bit of a feeling out and then Tanahashi works on the leg. He does this for a couple of minutes and kind of clumsily puts on an Indian Deathlock. Ibushi is able to power out of that and then is kicking and running around right over the leg that was just worked on. Limb selling is always in the eye of the beholder but this was a match based around perseverance so in this singular regard, I had no issue with Ibushi doing that. It also coupled with the fact that Tanahashi isn’t the king shit he was even two years ago. Tanahashi has his peer rivalry with Okada where he still holds a .500 record against in singles competition. Ibushi has always been positioned at a level below that. Now he is certainly a threat but much in the way, 1995 Kobashi was a threat to Misawa. The hierarchy has been clear. Until tonight. Ibushi has sprinkled in his high impact moves just enough that him doing the Golden Triangle and ramp deadlift German feel fresh in the confines of the G1 because we haven’t seen it since the opening night tilt with Naito. So Ibushi is able to run in through some stuff and show Tanahashi that his little air guitar semi cocky bullshit of working the leg wasn’t working today. That tactic worked when Tanahashi beat YOSHI-HASHi, Goto and even Nagata but now we see that Ibushi is a level above those. Tana is rattled by this but goes back to knowing what he knows well by catching the leg of Ibushi in a dragon screw. However, Tana is woke to the idea that it is going to take more to put Ibushi away than his stock routine so he adds in the High Fly Flow to the outside to up the ante of the match overall. This sequence has Tana turning the switch and getting more vicious with his strikes and locking in a nice Cloverleaf that built up intrigue. The spot where Ibushi is able to hit the double stomp is beautiful and Ibushi’s facials really sell the point home that he has survived another onslaught from Tanahashi and is ready to win this battle. This match came in twos. Ibushi tried the deadlift German twice before hitting it. Ditto the lawn dart. Ditto the ending KO knee. Tanahashi’s ultimate downfall was going for the High Fly Flow twice when Ibushi gets the knees up. The drive to that point made complete logical sense with Ibushi’s leg hurting but nothing is stopping him now. Even Tanahashi kicking out of the Last Ride didn’t bother me in the slightest as that has been positioned as Ibushi’s main finisher in the tournament. Tanahashi is still in some ways the co-ace of the promotion so you best bring your A game if you want to defeat him. Ibushi following that up with a sickening knee that not only looked effective as a definitive KO blow but also gave a nod to Kenny Omega was a beautiful choice. There was so many callbacks and upcoming storyline narratives in this match that it crafted a beautiful picture of the past, present and future for New Japan all within the confines of one match. ****3/4
  3. Just to set the scene by giving a bit of background to this match. Koji Kanemoto, most famous for his feud with Jushin 'Thunder' Liger, popular Junior Heavyweight in the 90's and 00's and was the third Tiger Mask, is taking part in the G1 Climax 2004 looking to prove himself amongst the Heavyweights of the company after accomplishing everything as a Junior. Even coming second place in that years Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament just falling short to Tiger Mask IV. So far he has earned four points beating the likes of Yoshihiro Takayama (Forfeit) and a young Togi Makabe. Hiroshi Tanahashi whilst not at his once in a century status just yet, seems to be on the cusp of glory and is destined for big things, eventually heading to the finals of this years G1 Climax. Can the veteran, recently junior turned heavyweight use his experience to outsmart and beat the future ace or will Tanahashi continue his good record? We'll see. Grumpy heavyweight Kanemoto is the bloody best, isn’t he? Early Tanahashi was AWESOME too. The start of the match was excellent with the two exchanging some slick grappling and counters, Kanemoto schooling Tanahashi technically but Tanahashi using his power to hold his own. Then they smoothly transitioning into Kanemoto beating the piss out of Tanahashi with wicked slaps w/ a few shoot punches mixed it with the slaps/palm strikes. It was awesome. Tanahashi acting heelish, using Kanemoto’s boot face wash against him but Heavy Koji was having none of that and roughed him up so more, kicking him flush in the face quite a few times. The finishing stretch was like 5 minutes long but kept up the tempo and was highly compelling with each other beginning to get their heavy shots in and Tanahashi making a comeback, hitting his suplexes but Kanemoto refusing to stay down. Kanemoto kicking out of the High Fly Flow and the arm traped suplex AT ONE (!!!) and began kicking the hell out of Tanahashi w/ the crowd totally behind him just begging for a Kanemoto win. It was not to be on this night after Tanahashi finally put Kanemoto away with the dragon suplex after multiple suplexes beforehand but oh my, what at a night it was. Honestly didn’t expect this match to be THIS high level but they pulled it off. Perfect example for why Kanemoto is an all time great. He was able to pull of his usual grumpy, angry demeanor but be charismatic and sympathetic while doing so. It's an art very few can master, and Kanemoto did just that.
  4. I loved this match. Heel Okada was awesome just being a prick between the clapping and going after Tenzan. This allowed Kojima to turn in a wonderful babyface performance full of sympathy and admiration from the crowd. The early neck work helped lay the groundwork for the final portion of the match and Kojima got in some great nearfalls thinking the upset was near. Okada has been great in the G1 so far and still has plenty of high profile matches left. ****
  5. I don't know, guys. I think they broke me. Perhaps I just understand the "grammar" of this style more now or perhaps they really just have finally refined this main event NJPW style to something that I completely enjoy because I LOVED THIS. It starts off a little slow but without much of the meandering matwork that comes from matches earlier in the year. Here, they go right for the good juicy meaty stuff. Lots of mind games from both guys as expected and lots of personality. Both guys target the neck relentlessly and there are some pretty fantastic moments that surround it. Omega not being able to complete his usual kip up and springboard was MASTERFUL (5 star moment). Omega stayed fairly consistent with his neck selling all throughout the match too and god knows it played right into the finish as well. Naito meanwhile put in what might be one hell of a babyface performance. He looked amazing taking just a BRUTAL beating from Omega. I have so much love for Omega's repeated and deliberate V Triggers all building up to that glorious callback of Naito collapsing just as Omega went in for one more (5 star moment). It was a great spot at Dominion and it's a great spot here. Then you have that ridiculous top rope DDT into the ring post and a whole series of bumps that people really shouldn't be taking (face first into the turnbuckle off the top, top rope powerbomb countered into Rana, etc.). Loved the desperation of Naito at the finishing stretch trying to hit any variation of Destino possible to get a pinfall. He probably went for one too many but that is a minuscule nitpick to this match. Is this the MOTY? It just might be. It really just might be. While Okada-Omega III had the blistering pace and the down to earth story, this seemed to perfect the more theatrical elements that something like the Dominion match aspired for. Whoa, boy, what a G1. *****
  6. This may be construed as nitpicky and it isn’t his general style but I was hoping for less animated selling from Omega being in there with Suzuki than what we got in the early going. The leg work was really well done with Suzuki going after it with ferocity and Omega selling it well. One legged moonsault was a nice touch. Then we get the ref bump and the Suzuki Gun and Bullet Club clear out. This will set up faction wars I suppose in the future but I can’t be bothered to care about that in the slightest and it disrupted the flow of the match greatly for me. When the match restarts 1 vs 1, it is very engaging from the leg lock submissions to the V-Triggers that Kenny lands in. There was some pretty glaring execution spots where at two moments, Red Shoes seemed to count three on clearly designed two counts. In addition, the reverse rana in the finishing run was ugly with Suzuki not being able to take that bump properly. A little ambitious overall for those type of spots here and unnecessary to boot. Kenny does win which helps prove his dominance and he gives his grandstanding speech afterwards. I enjoyed this but didn’t think it every reached that next gear into great territory. ***1/2
  7. I guess I am officially out on the Omega big match formula right now. This had a lot of pomp and circumstance, explosive moves, and big bombs in the final stanza culminating in Big Mike getting the win off of the burning hammer. What it lacked was the heart of the previous match. I liken it to the Ishii vs Omega USA match which I also felt cold on. Eventually, I need a reason for why I should care all of this stuff is happening and Omega isn’t giving me one right now throughout these matches. It is just big move, big move, finisher, etc. Disappointing. ***
  8. Decent enough match but another one that didn't have an engaging overall story. Elgin has a great arsenal of power moves but I still fail to see him create a compelling middle of a lot of his matches. SANADA also has a trouble bringing a compelling overall story. As a result, this was a ho hum 15 minutes that lacked a lot of emotion or overarching theme. **3/4
  9. This was a sludge to get through as well. Generic brawling and a 10 minute match that felt like 25. Tonga is not an intriguing brawler and doesn't have the strikes to match the intensity. I hope the next three matches pick things up as this has been a rough start to day 10. **1/4
  10. This had even less substance to it than most Yano matches. He tries a couple of rollups, they backfire and EVIL wins. If Yano is spoiling Suzuki on the final night like many people think, he is not being built well at all for that. *1/2
  11. Sort of a tale of two matches. The beginning with the leg work done by Fale was fine but felt like his ho hum stuff throughout the tournament. Then the action spills to the outside and the ante is upped around 5 notches. Ibushi does essentially blow off the leg stuff here but it wasn’t a huge focal point so I wasn’t too bothered by it. He proceeds to moonsault off of the second level of seats in a great spot after riling up the crowd. Back inside the ring, Ibushi bumps like a freak off of the lariat of Fale. Ibushi is showing some great underneath babyface fire and even lfits Fale up in a seated position for a piledriver in a great show of strength. Eventually the size of Fale is too much and he brutalizes Kota some more before putting him away with the Bad Luck Fall. The most surprising great match of the tournament so far. ****
  12. A strong main event to end a great day of action. I can see some being slightly disappointed in this but I thought it did a strong job in reigning in the excess we have seen plague a few of the matches in the tournament so far. Naito really focused on the neck of Ishii and did a ton of strong stuff on top to get the action moving but it was his own neck that failed him with the suplex and brainbuster combo of Ishii. The Destino being devolved into a throwaway nearfall continues to be disappointing. This didn't have as egregious pop up selling from Ishii that annoys me from time to time too. A slightly restrained and refreshing effort from these two. ****
  13. Another very good match for this show. This was a mis match from a star standpoint but YH did do a good job here timing his hope spots and selling the damage from Tanahashi. I was hoping we would get full blown heel Tana here and he only went around halfway doing the air guitar and some other cocky stuff. The double knees to the face and the swantom were the best bit of hope spots for YH before Tana makes his comeback and wins with the High Fly Flow. This was worked in a big main event style and did a good job of diversifying itself on the card overall. ***1/4
  14. This was a lot different from the Sakura Genesis match these two had. That was a wizard mat performance by ZSJ until he realized that wasn’t going to work and Suzuki Gun intervened. This was more revolved around strikes and ZSJ finding combos and pinning combinations that could end the match at any point. It was effective in that regard in keeping both men strong and displaying the crafty nature of ZSJ in general. The finish was strong with Goto winning on the first GTR and showing that he was the stronger power worker of the two. ***1/2
  15. The interference actually worked here as we got the big faction battle between Suzuki Gun and LIJ and actual hate was felt between the two factions. Couple that with EVIL possibly picking up the biggest win of his entire career and this became a memorable match even if it wasn’t a technically great one. Suzuki still has the goods when it comes to going after a submission and EVIL performed his role well as the young powerhouse that had a lot to prove coming in. ***1/4
  16. Yano is back at the hijinks again. This was base level for him and enjoyment although the finish was clever with the SANADA tie up leading to a count out. **1/2
  17. This was the striking equivalent of Naito vs Ibushi. Just a hard hitting nutso match with multiple strikes that will make you cringe. Ibushi could have some credibility issues in that regard going up against a brick shithouse like Ishii but I do think his precision on his strikes help give gravity to his strikes and allow him to go toe to toe with the Stone Pitbull. Ibushi’s powerbomb is really becoming that knockout finisher as well that much like the One Winged Angel, it is doom if hit. The lack of overarching story kept this out of MOTYC range for me but it was a great slugfest and felt like a battle when it was over. ****
  18. This had some added ooph being in Makabe’s hometown but I didn’t get the slugfest feel they were going for and some of the forearms in particular looked weak compared to the shots that were fired in Ibushi vs Ishii. The best sequence was the final one with Makabe going for the King Kong knee and hitting the first at a unique angle. Big time pop for his win and this ended a good night of wrestling. ***
  19. This was kind of a base level Fale match. He works over the back of Naito and like usual, the underneath person is trying to find an opening to gain an advantage. I thought Fale’s execution looked pretty sloppy tonight and Naito was unable to generate much offense leading to a bit of a disconnect in the match overall. The teases of the Destino were well done. The first spike slam was a good nearfall and it was smart for Fale to come right back with the Bad Luck Fall to put the match away. With Naito at 2-0 a loss for him was coming and it happened to be tonight. ***
  20. This was the perfect length for a YH match. A quick opening matwork segment leading to ZSJ going after the arm and cranking it out like only he knows how. YH was good in selling the damage and then was able to mix in his comebacks building up the sympathy that had been laid out in the prior 6-7 minutes. I enjoyed him sending Desperado down to the floor before he eats the knees of Sabre on the Swantom. That leads to the finishing run where he narrowly escapes the pinning combo of Sabre and then loses by submission to an adaptation of the octopus hold. ***1/4
  21. Yano had a fun match vs Okada but that streak ends at 1. This wasn’t entertaining to me at all and just kept going and going. A waste of time. **
  22. Juice’s longterm selling has been splendid. He came hobbling out here and you knew Suzuki would pounce on it. Juice being such a traditional babyface makes the Suzuki Gun interference a bit more bearable even though it is still annoying. Juice musters up a great effort and gets his Juice punch but ultimately succumbs to the damage of the leg and the knockout blow of one of the better Gotch Piledrivers you will see. Really nice breakout style match for Juice. ***1/2
  23. A strong main event. These two still feel like they could have a MOTYC within them and havent hit that mark yet, but all of their matches have been enjoyable. SANADA was smart to fake the knee injury in the early going of this one and then pounce onto the attack. Okada was strong underneath and it led to a compelling finishing stretch where SANADA did feel like he had received a reputation bump even in defeat. The sequence of reversals and SANADA going for the Skull Crush only to lay into a final flurry of Rainmakers was particularly intriguing.. ***3/4
  24. I give Tama Tonga chance after chance and I just never am going to be on board with him. He has now been given ample opportunity but I don’t feel any violence or hatred in his brawling and much of his uniqueness revolves around a couple of speed spots inside the ring. The brawling here was really mundane and the only highlight was the final two minutes which were basic counters around the cutter of Tonga. The first match accomplished its goal but this was more boring than that match and less memorable. **1/2
  25. This was a good opening slugfest. Elgin’s forearms in particular looked really explosive and he pounded down Kojima throughout the match. He felt like a bruiser and allowed Kojima to be resilient. This is the type of match that certainly won’t be one I can easily recollect when the tournament is over due to having 80 matches overall but as a beginning of a night to settle the viewer in, it accomplished what it set out to do. ***
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