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G-1 Climax 25 Discussion

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Pete is failing at his job here

 

Yohei Komatsu & Tiger Mask & Jushin Liger & Yuji Nagata vs. Tomoaki Honma & Mascara Dorada & David Finlay & Jay White

 

This was a lot of fun and had more spark to it than a lot of these openers do to me. We had a hot opening with Nagata and Honma firing off setting up their match on 7/23, Dorada and Liger doing some flashy stuff and then it settling down into Komatsu being worked over by Finlay and White. Finlay looks good working over the arm but was off on saving a pin attempt so he is still green at spots. Finish was a lot of fun and mayhem all over with Liger doing a nice senton to the outside and Nagata putting White away with a backdrop suplex. Good opener. ***

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Hirooki Goto & Captain New Japan vs. Cody Hall & Yujiro Takahashi

 

Honestly one of the worst matches I have seen in New Japan in 2015. Yujiro is so bad and fails to deliver at all. Captain New Japan did some of his comedy here which landed flat. Goto is not someone I am invested in but seems above this nonsense and Cody Hall is still not good but at least trying out there. The finish here was a head scratcher with both Bullet Club members getting pinned so I guess they can blame each other? Utter shit. *

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Shinsuke Nakamura & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga

 

Solid match all around. I am lower on Tonga than some around here (Lanza and Dylan) but when he did his offense on Nakamura in the closing stretches he looked great with that crisp elbow and dive where he flew in with great velocity. Nakamura did his usual performance in a tag of not being bad per say, but not outstanding either. He did rev it up for the finish with the Boma Ye. Anderson and Hashi felt like bit players and were fine. Acceptable mid card stuff. **1/2

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Should we have a thread for complete G1 talk?

 

Thoughts on night 1 from me.

 

Since I'm skipping the tag matches, 5 matches a show is a lot easier for me to watch than prior G1s.

 

Tenzan vs Gallows was a fun hoss match to me. Nothing special or anything, but a simple match that I can enjoy. If these two stay at this level through out the tournament I will be happy.

 

Makabe vs Yano was a one man show by Yano. I loved his antics and was cheering him on for a quick roll up win in the first few seconds. Yano was fun with the chair and constant attempts at pins, while Makabe was Makabe with his ultra level of believability. Makabe wins and I was not too happy.

 

Naito vs Fale was a weird match I was digging it for a long while, but the miscues (including botching an atomic drop) brought the match down. Still the best match so far.

 

Styles vs Shibata was the match I was most anticipating in the whole tournament. If Shibata sold the leg after AJ murdered it this would had been a classic. Still a really good **** though. AJ was killer again here and he will probably have a great tournament!

 

Tanahashi vs Ibushi was a bunch of really good spots mixed together into something. I find watching Tanahashi weird as there is a lot of cool moves, the crowd is hot and there is nearfalls that are exciting, but as an overall match I feel cold. There is a lack of substance there, maybe?

 

Ibushi brought some really awesome offense though and if you are a fan of these guys this would be an amazing match to you. *** 1/2 I guess?

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Reposted from VOW board.

 

Haven't looked at others thoughts yet, but I finished the show this morning. I stayed up through STyles v. Shibata last night, but was half awake at the finish so I rewatched it and the main event. And...well...it was a show. I guess if you are all in on New Japan as the hottest shit on Earth, and you think Tanahashi is an all time great worker, you probably liked this more than I did, but to me it felt like an almost perfect follow up to the middling-ness of Battleground in the sense that there was nothing that I thought approached home run levels, some stuff that I really hated (on Battleground this was largely booking, here it was the first three G1 matches), and then a bunch of stuff that merely existed.

In some ways my favorite match of the night was the opener because it delivered exactly what I expected and wanted it to deliver. Not a great match, but I actually enjoyed Nagata for once, and six of my favorite guys in the promotion were in it, so it's a plus. The other big takeaway from the undercard stuff is that I'd probably like the promotion a whole lot more if guys like Tonga and Gedo were pushed/treated as bigger parts of the show.

I hated the first three G1 matches. Tenzan v. Doc was filled with embarrasing looking offense, botched/mucked up simple spots, and nearfalls just because "hey it's a G1 match, we need nearfalls!" It also went WAY too long. Terrible start to the tourney.

Makabe v. Yano was blah. I like Yano more than most, but other than the last minute or two, this lacked the charm of his usual stuff and Makabe has "jump into an open flame" heat with me at this point.

Fale v. Naito was comical. I was amazed to see people on Twitter calling it a very good match. I honestly have no clue what people were watching. I actually really like Naito's new character as a change of pace, but there was nothing in this that felt well worked, dynamic, story driven, et. I can't imagine any person alive would have raved about a match of this quality if had taken place a few hours earlier on the WWE show.

Shibata v. Styles was good but disappointing. Lots of little stuff I liked, like the left arm forearms of Shibata, his kicking the post, the calf killer spot, and him continuing to use his mouth as an escape valve when he gets in sticky situations (someone run with that please), but it really needed more time. I think it went 13 minutes or so, and it seemed like they were building to a second half that never came. I have no problem with avoiding nearfalls craziness at the end, but this had the feel of two solid to very good individual performances, rather than a very good match. Doesn't bode well for me either as I had this pegged as the potential best match in the whole thing.

Tanahashi v. Ibushi was okay. The match was really helped by the fact that Tanahashi's work on the leg was nowhere near as violent looking as Omega's on Kushida, so it was easier to buy Ibushi using the leg as a weapon down the stretch. I also thought he used it in a smarter fashion than Kushida did which pains me to say but there it is. I did laugh at the top rope rana spot, which in setup, execution and timing would be PANNED relentlessly if it was in another place and time. I honestly don't give a shit about minor-ish flubs like that, but if you do you should be screaming from the rooftops about it, especially based on when it happened in the match. The first quarter of this was really boring - as in far more boring than the slow part of Reigns v. Wyatt - and I think it would have been better if Shibata v. Styles got about three to four minutes of what these two got.

As a whole I preferred the wrestling on Battleground, but the booking was bad enough where I wouldn't fault anyone who thought this show was better. That said, it really left me empty, and almost dreading the rest of the tournament going forward.

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I did laugh at the top rope rana spot, which in setup, execution and timing would be PANNED relentlessly if it was in another place and time. I honestly don't give a shit about minor-ish flubs like that, but if you do you should be screaming from the rooftops about it, especially based on when it happened in the match.

 

The arm-rana is a spot that Ibushi does from time to time to change it up.

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Chad thanks for helping me out by getting the ball rolling.

 

Yohei Komatsu & Tiger Mask & Jushin Liger & Yuji Nagata vs. Tomoaki Honma & Mascara Dorada & David Finlay & Jay White

 

Watching the young boys run past Honma was pretty sweet. I thought this was fun and had a lot of energy to it, The Honma/Nagata pairing was good. Then Dorada and Liger took it to the next level. This was just a perfect opener. 3*

 

Hirooki Goto & Captain New Japan vs. Cody Hall & Yujiro Takahashi

 

This was crap. 1 1/4*

 

Shinsuke Nakamura & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga

 

This was solid stuff. I'm with Chad on the Tonga debate. Most of the time I see nothing in him, but occasionally he'll step up. 2 1/2*

 

Okada/Ishii/Gedo vs Kojima/Elgin/Taguchi

 

 

Gedo as FIP was well worked. Kojima still has plenty in the tank and expect him to have several really good matches. Elgin in any custom try not to kill the Ace of the company. NJPW roster is really samey that seeing Elgin out there is shocking. 2 3/4*

G1 matches time.

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Tenzan vs Gallows

 

This looks scary on paper. Tenzan has been moving around like the Undertaker lately. This is a pretty basic match. The match seems to be lacking a story. The strikes lacked credibility. The finish was worked well. It would have meant more if the work would have built to the finish. Yes Tenzan worked the neck a bit, but not nearly enough for it to matter . 1 3/4*

 

Yano vs Makabe

 

What is potential trainwreck in Japanese? Yano could get a part in a Batman film as a member of The Jokers gang. The comedy was funny, but for the most part the match was nothing. 1*

 

Naito vs Fale

 

 

Fale won my worst worker of the G1 last year. Let's see if he's up for a repeat. Love Naito's look. An emo wrestler shouldn't have tassles on his boots. I liked Naito's low drop kick. Both guys showed flashes, but for the most part this felt flat. 2*

 

Styles vs Shibata

 

I'm excited about this match up because it's fresh. I liked the teasing of big spots early. Styles arm work was crisp. Shibata with the coolest transition into an abdominal stretch I've ever seen. Nice touch Shibata having to use his left arm for strikes. Big spot Shibata misses AJ and kicks the corner post. Styles starts to work the leg. AJ has such credible offense that he can work any part of the body. Nice sell of his bad wheel by Shibata. AJ's strikes are so wicked. Shibata kind of quits selling the leg, but I'm fine with it since Styles transitioned into strikes. As soon as I wrote that Styles hooks on a Calf Slicer. Now Shibata better sell the limb better. Styles goes for the bad arm . The finish came way too quick like Dylan said. Almost like they clipped out 5 minutes of the build to the finish. Still this was good stuff. The guys stuff looked good, but aspects of the story they were telling didn't seem cohesive. 3 3/4*

 

Tanahashi vs Ibushi

 

Basic exchanging of holds to start. Tanahashi going after the leg. All basic stuff, but it works. Ibushi does a good job selling it . Ibushi kicks him with his bad limb like a dummy, and Tanahashi makes him pay. Now Ibushi transitions on offense. He does kind of shit cans the limb work, but sells it post move.So I can live with that. Tanahashi back on the leg. Dragon Screws and drop kicks to the leg in the ropes. That look pretty wicked. Ibushi again selling the limb post move. Texas Clover Leaf by Tanahashi. I've liked Tanahasi's work on top. Tanahasi eats Ibushi's knees on a 2nd High Fly Flow that Ibushi sells. Comeback by Ibushi. With Ibushi's limb I don't think he should have hit that suplex. Ibushi crashes and burns on his legs. Pele' kick by Ibushi. It didn't hurt the match, but no way was Ibushi going for an arm-rana. For people who believe that I have Last Battle of Atlanta for sale.Ibushi overshot but covered. Overall I thought this was great. 4 1/4* I read Dylan's argument that the leg work wasn't as good as Omega's from last month. That's fine, but seems a little unfair. Than all leg work should be held to that standard. For me Tanahasi's leg work was effective. It told a story. It worked for me even if it wasn't as good as Omega's from last month.

 

 

I've got to let it sit if this is a thumbs in the middle or up show. I liked it better than Battleground based on the last 2 matches and I would give Battleground a thumbs down. The wrestling was more consistent on Battleground up and down the card, but felt G1 night 1 top 2 matches were better than anything on Battleground.

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Thought only some spots in the tag matches and the Styles/Shibata match did anything for me. Naito actually going full Ingobernale with his entrance gear is inspired, but everything else wasn't. Not off to a great start here.

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Okada/Ishii/Gedo vs Kojima/Elgin/Taguchi

 

Elgin didn't really impress me here like I have read elsewhere. He did some of his stuff well but also botched others. The match was high octane action overall but really inconsequential to me and nothing I will be able to remember 3 days from now. **1/4

 

Tenzan vs Gallows

 

This match lasted FOREVER. It had no story and awkward action. A really bad start to the G-1 overall. This is why I think a round robin tournament of the 8 biggest NJ stars would have been preferable to me overall even if someone like HOnma was sacrificed from the tournament. *1/2

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Yano vs. Makabe

 

At least this was short. A brawl between these two with comedy mixed in? No thanks guys. *1/2

 

Naito vs Fale

 

I have enjoyed the new Naito character but this felt like a regression to his old style as he was underneath for much of the match and had to chop down the big tree that is Fale. He did do some more dickish stuff in accomplishing that task but also did some flashy stuff I wasn't impressed with. Fale is a clumsy, bad wrestler who did not have a good showing here. **

 

Styles vs. Shibata

 

This was worked in sequences so much above everything else minus the opener for the most part. Some great transitions here and AJ hooking the leg submission was so smooth. I thought Shibata selled the leg damage here better than Kushida at Dominion but it could have been better. This being only 13 minutes was criminal and 3-4 more minutes could have had it creeping into the great range for me. I do still think it was very good and I look forward to what AJ does to try to get something interesting from most of the members of this group ***1/2

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Maybe it's the AJPW fan in me, but Tanahashi working Ibushi's leg and it being the junior-ranked guy fighting through it to keep it even felt backwards. I know Tanahashi's been working legs for years, but even with Ibushi higher on the totem pole than two years ago this is still a vet/underdog match, right? You even had the killer snake eyes for Tanahashi's neck injury angle to give Ibushi his opening... I don't know.

 

Naito/Fale was a great indication of how good Okada is. Nothing more. Styles/Shibata was ok but I agree it needed more time.

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I only watch what I'm told to watch when it comes to New Japan so I only saw Styles/Shibata and Tanahashi/Ibushi.

 

Styles/Shibata was a lot of fun. Styles still can't throw a chop - it's 2002 Christopher Daniels level bad. This is the first time that Shibata has been in back to back singles matches where he has looked good. Headlock hold and abdominal stretch sequence will always win points with me. I liked Shibata's sleeper being used to set up the penalty kick. Even Styles reverse suplex into the turnbuckles, a spot I usually hate, came off well here since Shibata didn't get too much air to make it look a little more authentic. ***1/2

 

Tanahashi/Ibushi was a flawed match, but it wasn't because of any leg selling issues. There were three things that really stuck out to me:

 

1. Crowd heat. This had a good reaction for 2015 but it didn't approach even "good" heat from AJPW in the early to mid-90's or New Japan heat in the mid-80's or mid-90's. The amount of stuff they did should have produced a much greater reaction but it didn't. And that is a huge issue

 

2. Respective Roles. Ibushi has some great spots (his super fast kip up, all of his kicks) but he never strung any sequences together to make it look like he is the young gun trying to knock off the king. He never brought the crowd along on the emotional rollercoaster. I wasn't looking for him to be Akiyama against Kawada in 1993-1995, but did expect something to follow up the Nakamura match from January.

 

3. Payoffs. New Japan heavyweight's (and juniors for that matter) have always sold a specific way, so complaining about not selling the leg the entire match isn't something I'm interested in. What I am interested in and this goes for all sorts of entertainment (books, movies, TV, music) is if you are going to fill up 75% of the body with leg work, there eventually has to be a pay off. Maybe the payoff is later in the tournament but I doubt it. And all that leg work could have lead to the ref having to stop the match as Ibushi won't quit but the ref can't let someone get injured for the rest of the tournament. Simple pay off, doesn't make anyone look weak, etc. That was the Hashimoto 1996 G-1 story, although he was playing a very different role than Ibushi.

 

Tanahashi comes off to me as the wrestling equivalent of Baltimore Orioles Starting Pitcher Chris Tillman. Neither guy does anything great but they also don't do anything poorly. They both "keep you in the game" and in 2015, that has to count for something.

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Maybe it's the AJPW fan in me, but Tanahashi working Ibushi's leg and it being the junior-ranked guy fighting through it to keep it even felt backwards. I know Tanahashi's been working legs for years, but even with Ibushi higher on the totem pole than two years ago this is still a vet/underdog match, right? You even had the killer snake eyes for Tanahashi's neck injury angle to give Ibushi his opening... I don't know.

 

Naito/Fale was a great indication of how good Okada is. Nothing more. Styles/Shibata was ok but I agree it needed more time.

 

Certainly a vet/underdog match where it would have been impressive for Ibushi to win but not an overwhelming match in that sense like Kawada vs. AKiyama from 1993. Think something along the lines of Kobashi vs. Misawa from 1995.

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If Tanahashi vs Ibushi happened on Battleground it would be bashed for having the worst kind of selling, being formulaic and having horrible strike exchanges. ** at most.

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Tanahashi vs Ibushi

 

It didn't hurt the match, but no way was Ibushi going for an arm-rana. For people who believe that I have Last Battle of Atlanta for sale.

I don't want this to get lost :)

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Either Fale changed his ring gear or gain about 30 pounds in the last 2 months because he looked more awful then usual

 

I can't tell if Shibata has incredible ability to not feel pain or he isn't as badly injured as we thought because except for having to use his teeth to put on a move he didn't really seem to have any lingering effects. Something tells me that won't be the same in about 3 weeks

 

Given how awful Block A is except for Styles, Ibushi, Shibata, and in some ways Tanahashi; I don't understand the logic of putting 2 of the only 4 to 6 matches people care about on first show. I guess for the big time feel of first night

 

I understand that picking on Meltzer for undying love of New Japan is old gimmick but listening to him gush about how incredible Tanahashi post match celebration is just weird. I can live with have a Guitar Hero gimmick if the crowd loves it but he doesn't do it very well. Plus it isn't like he is the first person to wipe stuff from his body on a towel/paper and give it to fans. I mean New Jack was doing that with tickets and shirts over 15 years ago. of course it was blood and gross.

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Tanahashi vs. Ibushi

 

What a weird match. I thought Ibushi's selling wasn't good but not near as egregious as Kushida. The moves and everything was really good and I can see how some people would rank this where it has been but it did leave me cold in spots. I think Tim touches on a few of the reasons. The escalation and feeling of Ibushi growing throughout the match that I thought he had in spades in the 1/4 match was lacking here. Overall, a really good match and my MOTN but a match that I actually felt overachieved in some ways and was less satisfying than Styles vs. Shibata in other areas. ***3/4

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Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Jay White & Yohei Komatsu

 

Disappointing as this certainly had a house show feel more than these competitors usually have. Just not much shine or substance. White gets worked over a bit and we have some flying around and moves for the finish but everything was paint by numbers the rest of the way and Tiger Mask pinned White. **1/4

 

Captain New Japan, Kota Ibushi & Togi Makabe vs. Cody Hall, Doc Gallows & Bad Luck Fale

 

Dreadful lineup and nothing to see here as this was really quick. Makabe wins, I am shocked as you are. *1/2

 

YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga & A.J. Styles

 

I thought this could have beena pleasant surprise but it never got there. AJ probably gives his laziest performance of the year in a match I have seen. If I do unfairly judge Nakamura from Most Outstanding Wrestler contention based on his multi-man performances, I have to do it for AJ too. Tonga didn't look near as electric here as in night 1 and Hashi didn't have one of his better performances either. Yano pinned Tonga. **1/2

 

Mascara Dorada, Tetsuya Naito & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Katsuyori Shibata & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

 

They set up tomorrows matches with naito vs Shibata and Tanahashi vs. Tenzan. Tenzan is really worrying me as executing anything properly looks like a stretch for him at this juncture. I think Shibata vs. Naito could be really good based on the glimpses we see here. Taguchi was fucking awful here with his butt offense shit and thinking he is Randy Orton. Him pinning Dorada was a disgrace. **

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Satoshi Kojima vs. Tomohiro Ishii

 

Good match but nothing great in my opinion. The generic strike and bomb fest from Ishii with some good timing on the delayed suplex and the headbutt prior to the finish. Kojima actually had passable strikes which was an upgrade over the Makabe series. I was glad to see Ishii win here. This was missing that extra gear and hatred to take it to another level for me. ***

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Ishii vs Kojima

 

I think I like Kojima more than most and think he's capable of good matches. Lock up right into a strike exchange. Pretty much the story of the match is let's hit each other. We got some ring side brawling. It was the match you were expecting, 3 1/4*

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This tournament could use more matches like Ishii/Kojima. Chad & Pete covered everything but it was the sort of easy to watch, mildly entertaining match that they could use more of the #1 - #3 tournament match slots each night. The first night had none of those. To me, having a watchable/good match or two in those slots are more important than the big one or two matches each night hitting it out of the park.

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