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SmartMark15

[2018-08-12-NJPW-G1 Climax 28] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi

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Well, goddamn. I remember thinking as the match was going on just how damn impressive Tanahashi looked. He really brought all his strengths to this particular match. Not only showing his abilities on top by dominating much of the early half but also showing enough of those weak points to make anyone believe that Ibushi could win. Thought that their strike exchange in the middle of the match was a really compelling moment. It drew me in to see Ibushi power up against Tanahashi only for the Ace to come right back and absorb the punishment. Flaws? Sure, Ibushi more or less no sold his leg but comparatively speaking, this was far more consistent than any of the other matches I've seen him in this year. Not to mention that Ibushi really did bring the fire and stiffness from a match like the Ishii block match to really match up against Tanahashi here. I thought this was far and away the best G1 match of the year, maybe Ishii-Goto as a close second. The Budokan crowd pulling for Tanahashi all weekend was amazing as well. 

****3/4

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Yep. They saved the best for last (to me at least). This match was white hot. It had everything. It was high impact, dramatic, nuanced. Everything meant something. The leg work early was good and even though it didn't come back it was built into the story of the match for the most part until they were both operating on just adrenaline.  Excellent stuff ****3/4

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I really enjoyed everything after the slap exchange but, the first two thirds of the match were not my cup of tea overall. On a whole this was not organized well. I think they could have cut something in the middle because it was neat but, bloated. It was a strange thing because I enjoyed the moves and got the story but, it didn't make much sense to me why things happened as they did. There probably could have been two matches out of all what they did here.

Neither guy really did a great job selling either. I actually thought Ibushi's leg selling was appropriate but, for all the suplexes and strikes, neither really conveyed that they were being hurt. It was two dudes trading ineffective but, cool looking moves. Why do the maneuvers if they don't really amount to much? That's just a general complaint, I suppose.

It was a good match and probably an appropriate Final to a stacked tour but, I didn't think it was a great match.

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I feel like if a NJPW main event goes over 30 minutes, you really only need to watch the last 15 minutes and that was definitely the case here. The slap battle with Tanahashi's fighting spirit and Ibushi looking like a bobblehead was easily the highlight of the match. They follow it up with a pretty lame elbow exchange but some of the spots and nearfalls in the final minutes were cool, including Ibushi bouncing off Tanahashi's chest with those backflip knees. I really liked Ibushi staggering into that second to last High Fly Flow. But yeah, the first 20 or so minutes were whatever. 

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A bittersweet finale to a very emotional tournament. Ibushi is finally at the mountain top, and the only thing left standing in his way is the god of New Japan himself, Hiroshi Tanahashi. Besides the many storyline layers that led up to this match, the match itself was quite spectacular. It felt like an old school Hiroshi Tanahashi big match main event, and the added flair of Ibushi's insanity took it to the next level. On one hand, the victory for Tanahashi makes too much sense, but on the other it breaks my heart watching Ibushi go to the back in tears. Sometimes fate is cruel, but other times it can be the most blissful thing depending on your own perspective. What this match reminded me of at the end of the day is pro wrestling is a magical thing no matter who the victor is, *****.

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On 8/12/2018 at 4:50 PM, superkix said:

I feel like if a NJPW main event goes over 30 minutes, you really only need to watch the last 15 minutes and that was definitely the case here. The slap battle with Tanahashi's fighting spirit and Ibushi looking like a bobblehead was easily the highlight of the match. They follow it up with a pretty lame elbow exchange but some of the spots and nearfalls in the final minutes were cool, including Ibushi bouncing off Tanahashi's chest with those backflip knees. I really liked Ibushi staggering into that second to last High Fly Flow. But yeah, the first 20 or so minutes were whatever. 

Yeah, this is very true! I felt like the slap exchange could have been in the first 5 minutes. So, what the hell purpose was the first half of the match? :)

They need to use 2/3 falls stipulations and maybe these type of layouts would make more sense. I mean that piledriver move when Ibushi caught Tana' in the Skin-the-Cat should have been a pin...

As with a lot of the NJ big matches, they just burn through so much shit that looks crazy that, it hides the fact that the layout and selling is crap (edit: crap's too harsh. Let's say layout and selling is spotty). This match felt like that...all kinds of moves in damn near any order (well not any order). Still a fun match just not something I would call an all-time classic.

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I don't necessarily disagree with the criticisms of the match, but I do think that the spotty selling later in this match actually works in this match because of how much they lean on Tanahashi's fighting spirit to tell their story. I also think the final of a tournament like this gives us another sort of environment all together. It is like when the super bowl comes around all the injury talk comes with, "but its the super bowl and there is nothing after this, so I expect him to play and play well". They both put it too much into this to not hit the move they needed to or to not hit the reverse when needed

I have no idea if that was their thinking, but because it is so central to the dynamic, because Tanahashi was the defacto underdog vet proving he isn't done yet, and because this was the final the spotty selling felt logical to me for the most part in this match.

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I really wasn't feeling this one until the sequence where Ibushi went to that murder-death-kill -mode, and Tana showed great fire, while Ibushi was absolutely baffled by it. After that the match was just very good, bombfest-y action. On par with their IC Title match from 2017. ***3/4

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I didn’t think it was super likely that these two would top the best of the B Block stuff in the final, but they really goddamn did. The first half of the match was a pretty compelling version of what this type of New Japan match is, with Tanahashi throwing his weight around to wind up on top on the mat fairly effectively. I guess you might complain that Ibushi knee selling didn’t continue through the whole match, but I think it worked for what it was in the short term really well, and Ibushi’s mission to destroy the old man’s torso was really fun to watch. I liked the strike exchanges a ton, which is not something I really expected out of this match. I much prefer strike exchanges where it’s not just a strike at the end or a mutual collapse that matters; there are individual slaps here that change the flow of the exchange itself, a tiny story with in a story. The end is good drama, not a ton of realistic false finishes necessarily but a a big final dramatic flourish of Kota popping up after the first high fly flow only to get put away by a cross body version and another for good measure; that makes him look sufficiently valiant and Tanahashi sufficiently triumphant and it’s all good.

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