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Ishii unsurprisingly with match of the night again. But hat's off to Jay. Not only is he mechanically excellent but he heels it up so well against tough guys like Ishii. Yano-Shingo was a lot of fun and pretty much what you would want out of a Yano match. Mox-Cobb wasn't great but I really dug Mox's psychology. Went after the shoulder to take away Cobb's power, stomped on his foot to escape the suplex on the apron,  hit him with the knee to set up the rope-assisted DDT because he couldn't lift him. Juice-Goto was solid but definitely the worst of their matches together. Taichi-Naito was a lot better than their New Beginning match and even if the overbooking got to be a bit much, it was at least saved for the end and the execution was much better.

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Yeah, I thought Naito-Taichi was the best match they've had together, even if the excess of gaga was kind of exhausting. I did like that they finally re-introduced the iron hand, and of course this is the match that Taichi would save it for. Still not a classic or anything.

Ishii-White was in there with Okada-ZSJ for me for the best match of the tournament so far. Definitely recommended if you're cherry picking. 

I also very much enjoyed the Kenta-Tana interaction in the undercard tag match. Seems like there might be a longer story they're building there, which seems like a nice use of both guys for the fall (or Wrestle Kingdom).

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ZSJ vs Okada from Day 3 and Ishii vs White from Day 4 were great matches. I agree thus far it's not looking as insanely loaded as last years, but there's more "fun" stuff as opposed to say, Elgin or Makabe matches, which could be good but really uninteresting. Although I must say, thus far if anyone is under-delivering, it's been Jeff Cobb. His match with Mox was kinda disapointing and he's clearly not on the level as the best guys here.

On the other hand, Jay White is bordering brillant. He's so great as little things and at heeling it up. It's no surprise White had an excellent match with Goto (whose bring comeback story I'm not buying, he's still good old solid but not engaging Goto to me) and Ishii had an excellent match with Cobb (who looks impressive in spots, but seems to not be able to put things together yet) and the two had maybe the best match of the G1 thus far together.

KENTA, like with other posters here, I'm still unsure. I liked both his matches, although none I would call "great". He's kinda shaky to me at points in term of intensity, although he has that great bad-ass charisma still. May take a bit more time to get himself into his groove though, which would make sense.

Loved Naito vs Taichi, but then again Taichi is ridiculously underrated (he's much more compelling than Goto for instance). Interesting booking thus far with Naito, Tanahashi, White & Ibushi at 0 point.

Hopefully the Ibushi & Ospreay injuries don't get in the way too much. But Ibushi is obviously hurting, although I guess it can add some interesting tricks to his matches in term of psychology.

The announcing is fantastic. The undercard stuff have plenty of fun stuff thus far with Suzuki being really salty, the LA Dojo young guys clashing with the Young Lions, Umino teaming up with Mox. I don't miss the Guerillas of Destiny in those one bit, go figure...

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July 18 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

A Block

KENTA vs. Lance Archer
Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
EVIL vs. SANADA
Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay

 

Ibushi Vs. Ospreay will be interesting, since they're both not 100%. Also interested in Tanahashi/ZSJ. I don't expect much from the other three matches, but Archer has surprised me so far. 

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I've really liked both of ZSJ's matches. MVP of the tournament so far. So I have some hope for this one.

To me, ZSJ vs Okada and Jay White vs Ishii have been the best things outside of the opening night.

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54 minutes ago, Coffey said:

Ibushi Vs. Ospreay will be interesting, since they're both not 100%. 

Yep, makes it really intriguing.

Tana vs ZSJ should be excellent (and the booking makes it really really interesting since they have no win yet). Okada will have his usual good match with Fale that he always has, but honestly Fale in the G1 is overdone and boring at this point. KENTA vs Archer is another one I look forward to, Archer has looked great and KENTA is quite compelling to watch, for a number of reasons. EVIL vs SANADA has the novelty appeal, but it could go either way, very good or just there.

 

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G1 CLIMAX 29 - DAY 4

#1. Shingo Takagi [0] vs. Toru Yano [2]

Another exercise in masochism. 

*

#2. Hirooki Goto [2] vs. Juice Robinson [2]

Similar to Juice’s match with Shingo -- in that it’s competitive, well-worked, and both performers click well -- but lacked the second gear and drama of said match.

***

#3. Jon Moxley [2] vs. Jeff Cobb [0]

About an average match up until the abrupt, deflating finish. Moxley’s arm-work was solid, and Cobb sold it nicely, but the chemistry was lacking at times and the deliberate pacing was a misfire.

**¼

#4. Jay White (with Gedo) [0] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [2]

These two work well together because it’s satisfying to watch a genuine prick like White get his comeuppance and get knocked around by Ishii’s smash-mouth offense, and Ishii is so compelling underneath that he elevates White’s, at times, unpolished control segments. Great match. 

****
 

I couldn't even muster the courage to watch a twenty minute Taichi match, so I skipped the ME.

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Liked the main event this morning - the slow start was worrisome but paid off nicely as the time went on (Kelly was right that 20 minutes did fly by), and they were doing a really good job of selling the accumulated damage of the injuries and big moves... right up until they ignored it to do a few finisher kick outs and a finishing sequence. Still very good and worth checking out. (Haven't seen the rest of the show yet, as I woke up late - anything else worth seeking out?)

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KENTA/Archer - Kenta starts by chopping down Archer with some brutal kicks. Archer gets back on offense with a big clothesline. Then Archer goes for a ring apron chokeslam, with the LA Dojo boys trying to talk him out of it, so he Chokeslams Kenta onto them. Then does a running rolling senton onto all three. That was a helluva start! The crowd is super into the match too, which is fun. They chant for Archer a couple of times. "You're not Kenta anymore. You're Hideo! Yeah, that's right, fucking Hideo." That pissed Kenta off lmao. Archer hits a muscle buster! Then a huge Powerbomb. Kenta then reverses a Chokeslam into an cross armbreaker which he turns into a Crippler Crossface & Archer taps out. This was a good little match, man. Archer has been MVP of the G1 so far.

Sanada/Evil - Evil's strikes look like shit. They're super unbelievable. He hits a double-axe handle during this match that would make Barry Darsow cringe. Sanada on the other hand is super athletic but seems to struggle to turn his athleticism into good matches a lot of the time. The talent & skill is there but it always feels like something is missing. Evil putting Sanada into his own Paradise Lock was probably the highlight here? Maybe it was the Evil Superplex, actually. That was really well executed. They do some good things, back-and-forth. Including countering each other's finish. Sanada even hits Evil with his own finish for a 2-count. There's a Tiger Suplex from Sanada that gets a nearfall as well. I actually think this match went long because the content wasn't there for the time limit they got. Felt very average all around. Like a two star match.

Fale/Okada - Starts with Fale already beating on Okada from the backstage area into the arena. That's a different start! The match was pretty bad though. Okada selling throughout most of it because of the start. Working to get a bodyslam. Then there's a ref bump & a lot of outside interference from Chase Owens & Jado. Match ends with a sunset flip rollup. 

ZSJ/Tanahashi - Really good back-and-forth wrestling where the story is that Tanahashi is out wrestling ZSJ. A lot of nearfalls off of rollups. A lot of submission attempts. Tanahashi is noticeably a step slower than he used to be but this is still really good. Good finish too. This might be my fav match of the G1 so far. Went about fifteen minutes. 

Ospreay/Ibushi - Ibushi & his ankle injury against Ospreay & his neck injury. Ibushi whom signed the long-term New Japan deal & said he wants to finish his career in New Japan. Ospreay whom moved to Japan & said he wants to be the ace of New Japan. Ospreay working the injured ankle of Ibushi also has the added impact of limiting his high-flying ability. This match is even better than ZSJ/Tanahashi! This is a strong G1 night because of the last two matches. The best night of the G1 so far. Both matches are worth checking out, for sure. With this match being MOTN & definitely worth seeking out. It goes over 25 minutes. Match of the tournament. Watch this one!

 

 

 

 

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Just done with the Ospreay vs Ibushi match. I agree with Thread Killer that it was absolutely incredible and possibly a MOTYC for me. The injuries added to the realism factor and really got me emotionally invested but in an almost uncomfortable way - I was sure that Ospreay was going to do something stupid and possibly die. Ultimately, the physical limitations probably made them work a smarter match and there was a really great escalation in the offence as opposed to bomb throwing from the get-go. Match of the tournament for me too and possibly the stellar performance needed to kick what has been a good-but-not-yet-great tournament to the next level.

On a side note, it was interesting to me that Archer got more over with the crowd than KENTA in their match despite the thing clearly being set up for KENTA to come off as a babyface. He's clearly being pushed strongly and has gotten bigger wins than Archer so far but I wonder how much that push is actually taking with the crowd. To me, Archer is the more engaging performer and may be the one to come out of this G1 as the bigger star of the two. I'd be interested in seeing him get the win over Okada to set up a title match down the line.

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G1 CLIMAX 29 - DAY 5

#1. Lance Archer [4]  vs. KENTA [4]

KENTA’s completely uninteresting underneath, so this match doesn’t work at all. His bumps have no pop. He’s not a particularly compelling seller here. His comeback sequences are lethargic. Archer’s performance so far has been a pleasant surprise, though. 

**

#2. SANADA [2] vs. EVIL [2]

This was sinfully boring up until the final stretch, when they finally decide to convey some intensity and urgency, but they had already lost me by then. The inter-stable dynamic was there, but sadly, wasn’t taken full advantage of.

**

#3. Bad Luck Fale [2] vs. Kazuchika Okada [4]

Yawn.

#4. Zack Sabre Jr. [0] vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [0]

Tanahashi outclassing ZSJ at his own game is a story that didn’t entirely connect with me. Especially with how awkward and mechanical Tanahashi was going hold-for-hold with ZSJ. He looked out of his depth. Not a terrible match by any means -- and we get another great, petulant ZSJ performance -- but one that felt poorly conceived. 

**¼


#5. Will Ospreay [2] vs. Kota Ibushi [0]

I wasn’t confident these two could pull off a long-form match based around their injuries, but they executed it much better than I expected them to. The selling wasn’t perfect -- they mostly ignored the accumulated damage in the final few minutes -- but it was good enough to believably sell the viewer that their injuries were hampering them, and I really liked how they went about incorporating them in a manner that wasn’t heavy-handed. I was also skeptical of the slow start, but they steadily increased the tempo as the match progressed, and it worked - especially in conjunction with the way they escalated the offense and transitioned from working holds to hitting bombs. Great match.

****¼
 

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G1 Climax Night 6:

Taichi/Shingo - Everything about Taichi is bad. Maybe the Phantom of the Opera style gimmick could work with someone else. The best part of the act is Miho Abe and I think she would be better off with Shingo. The match is perfectly serviceable. They get the crowd into it & it gets more fun at the end with the near falls, finisher attempts & big clotheslines. That's the thing about New Japan that I think I enjoy the most: you can't write anyone or any match off because you never know when they'll show out. Even matches that feature people you normally don't like at all, like me with Taichi. This was still a decent match but nothing special, ultimately.

 Cobb/Juice - Cobb has gotta cut some weight. He's still as strong & agile as he ever was but he looks terrible in that singlet & seems to be gassing out early. It's funny that I felt like he showed more charisma when he was in the Matanza mask in Lucha Underground. I like Jeff Cobb but lately he has reminded me of a combination of ECW Taz & WWF Rhyno... and I'm not sure if either of those are compliments. He just seems so much slower & like his pacing is off. I still think he would be a good pick-up for AEW but so far in the G1, he's under performed for me. I expected more out of him. Juice is on the offense & controlling the match for the majority of it. Crowd seems more behind Juice, for sure. I don't think we'll get better than what Cobb did with Ishii in this tournament. That might have been his ceiling. Cobb reversing Pulp Friction into Rolling German Suplexes was a cool spot. Cobb finally gets on the scoreboard when he hits his finish. Match never grabbed me.

White/Yano - Fuckin' Yano. LMAO. This was a clusterfuck of cheating/comedy & only went like four minutes or something but Yano with the upset win was cool. Switchblade Jay White is now 0-3 in the G1. Didn't see that coming!

Goto/Naito - Naito did a spot in this match that I had never seen before that I LOVED: 

 

The match is all about the leg after that. Naito going after it & Goto selling it & trying to work through it. Selective is how I would describe Goto's continual selling. Also it should be said again, because it can't be said enough, Kevin Kelly is fucking awful at commentary. And I'm a moron for continuing to watch with English commentary over Japanese. That will be rectified with the rest of the G1. I can't do it anymore. This match was OK. Not great.

Moxley/Ishii - Moxley comes out through the crowd, throwing chairs. Like he's Brody or Hansen. Ishii comes out & gets right into his face, as they go head-to-head in the middle of the ring. Hard-hitting, smashmouth donnybrook. Strike exchanges to start. They brawl into the crowd. Like up the stairs into the theater seats part of the crowd. Ishii is so good at the Hulk-up/fighting spirit/whatever you wanna call it. You really believe that he's a tough bastard that can just shrug shit off.  This was pretty easily MOTN. Which... Ishii seems to keep doing. He's now had a good match with White, Moxley & Cobb.

 

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I'm about to watch this show now. Based on a few things I've seen on Twitter and your review, some of the undercard tags seem like more fun than the G1 matches. I've been excited for Mox vs Ishii from the start though so I'm glad it seems to have delivered.

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G1 CLIMAX 29 - DAY 6

#1. Taichi (with Miho) [2] vs. Shingo Takagi [2]

Good, heated, back-and-forth match. Excise the Taichi control segment in the beginning, and this could’ve been even better. 

***¼

#2. Jeff Cobb [0] vs. Juice Robinson [4]

Juice dominating this match is an… interesting choice. I get it, though. He’s on a roll at the moment, and Cobb has been struggling. It’s an understandable story to tell. I’m just not entirely sure that dynamic worked as intended, and if the silence in Korakuen Hall is any indication, then it didn’t work at all.

**¼

#3. Jay White [0] vs. Toru Yano [2]

LOOOOOOOOOOOL.

***

#4. Tetsuya Naito [0] vs. Hirooki Goto [2]

Goto’s awful selling overshadows anything good that happens in this match. Disappointing.

#5. Jon Moxley [4] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [4]

Well, this fucking ruled. Ishii working a pseudo-hardcore match was a blast to watch. Moxley returned the favor by compellingly standing toe-to-toe with Ishii in the strong style sequences at the end. This was every bit the violent affair it needed to be, and was colored heavily by both wrestler’s styles in such a cohesive manner that it gave this a unique flavor you don’t typically see from New Japan main events. 

****½
 

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G1 Climax Day 7 - A Block

ZSJ/Fale - This match from the jump is nothing but Sabre climbing Fale like a jungle gym, slapping on various submissions that Fale has no answer for. Even with all of his power, he repeatedly has to go for the ropes because he can't get out. That continues until outside interference from Jedo & Chase Owens, which allows Fale to take control, finally. I'm over the Fale, Owens, Jedo trio. Finish was pretty cool though. ZSJ slaps on an armbar in the crowd until the count of 16 & then sprints back to the ring to beat the 20 count. Fale doesn't make it back in time because he's slow. 

Archer/Tanahashi - Tanahashi starts quickly going for Archer's leg. Archer fights back with power. Hits a big Chokeslam onto the ring apron. Hits a big Black Hole Slam. Tells Tanahashi "I'm the Ace now!" & tries to put Tanahashi in his own Texas Cloverleaf but Tanahashi fights out of the turn. Repeated corner Avalanches by Archer. Last one countered into a Sling Blade. Tanahashi goes for his own Cloverleaf but Archer gets out of that. Tanahashi was going for Archer's rope walk, but Archer countered it with a big Arm Drag off the top. It's a story of one-upsmanship but neither man is really getting the upper hand. Archer does his rope walk around a corner & a half then goes for the clubber at the end but Tanahashi reverses it into a Dragon Screw Neck Whip/Twist & Shout. Tanahashi goes for the Flying CrossBody but gets countered into a Chokeslam. Archer fights for & gets the E.B.D. Claw hold but he's in the ropes. Archer goes for what I think was an Iconoclasm attempt but Tanahashi turns it into a roll-up for a 3-count. Pretty decent back-and-forth match.

EVIL/KENTA - EVIL tries to look tough by no-selling a kick. KENTA wipes off EVIL's eye make-up. :lol: EVIL puts a chair over KENTA's head & then slaps the chair with a second chair. Some how that's not a disqualification. They brawl through the crowd, to the back & are fighting in a hallway. Then back into the crowd, up the stairs & onto a stage platform. EVIL folds & stacks up a pile of about a dozen chairs & goes to Suplex KENTA onto them but KENTA reverses & gets the Suplex on EVIL instead. Now the referee starts counting... The crowd is booing KENTA & behind EVIL. KENTA goes through his finishing sequence, running corner big boot, running corner basement dropkick & top rope doublestomp & gets a 2-count. KENTA counters an EVIL headbutt with a BIG knee to his face. Then a Penalty Kick. Then a Go to Sleep to the gut for the win. Another pretty decent match.

Sanada/Ibushi - Fast, action-packed, athletic match. Both wrestlers bicker about who has a better fan response. Both try to outdo one another with athleticism. Breaks down into a strike exchange fest. I feel like these two would make better tag team partners than opponents. Ibushi eventually wins with a knee to the face but this match didn't really grab me like I thought that it would. I'm not even entirely sure where the disconnect was. Just not enough drama to pull me in, I guess. It was another decent match but that feels like what the whole show is. Nothing is trying to get to that next level.

The matches have been fine but nothing great. Nothing where it would feel like you missed out if you didn't see it. No MOTY contenders or anything. But maybe that's on purpose to subdue the undercard a little heading into the main event...

Ospreay/Okada - G1 Climax Tournament matches all have a 30-minute time limit. However, the way they're working early, I feel like this is going to go long. My expectations for this match, at bare minimum, are Match of the Night. But that should be a foregone conclusion with how the rest of the evening played out. I'm hopeful for a Match of the Year Contender. Which right now, I think my working Match of the Year is Cody Vs. Dustin Rhodes from AEW Double or Nothing because they told such a good story. Ospreay knocks Okada to the outside & then holds the ropes for him to get back in, which Okada refuses. Then Okada knocks Ospreay to the outside with his standing big dropkick in the corner & does the same with holding the ropes open. Okada works over Ospreay's injured neck with some forearms & clubbers. Ospreay, like A.J. Styles, makes everything he does look so easy. Ospreay hits a BIG open hand, knife edge chop which is so loud it echoes through the arena & gets a very audible, positive reaction from those in attendance. Okada hits an insane Dropkick shortly after his Rainmaker Pose. It irked me that even though Ospreay has the injured neck, Okada still used the Tombstone to set up the Rainmaker instead of going for a pinfall attempt after the Tombstone. Maybe that's the American wrestling fan in me though, where I've been conditioned to buy the Tombstone Piledriver as a finish. Ospreay uses the guard rail on the outside of the ring to hit his jumping Cutter. Will Ospreay reverses The Rainmaker into a one man Spanish Fly. Then hits a top rope Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. Ospreay goes for The Stormbreaker. Okada reverses it into a Tombstone Piledriver. Ospreay reverses that into his own Tombstone Piledriver. Okada then reverses a Stormbreaker into The Rainmaker & maintains wrist control while both are down. Okada then picks him up & hits another Rainmaker. Then is going for a THIRD Rainmaker, that Ospreay counters into a Stormbreaker attempt, which Okada rolls out of & hits a rolling Rainmaker. THEN STILL DOESN'T GO FOR THE PIN & is setting up ANOTHER freakin' Rainmaker. Way overkill here. Okada hits that Rainmaker & wins with that but the ending sequence was too much for me. They went over twenty minutes but the match wasn't where I expected it to be. Definitely not a MOTYC.

Night 7 was fine, nothing special. You could probably skip the entire night. 

 

 

 

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Star ratings from last few days:

Archer-KENTA **3/4 Disappointing match considering how much I liked the beginning with KENTA chopping Archer's legs out from underneath him. They moved on from this pretty quickly though and had a rather listless David vs. Goliath match with a few cool spots scattered about. But KENTA's LaBell Lock is better than Bryan's.

EVIL-SANDA ***1/2 Pretty good match but the beginning was way too slow. I liked the psychology of both guys knowing each other so well with EVIL putting SANADA in a Paradise Lock and SANADA hitting EVIL with an Everything is EVIL.

Okada-Fale *** Typical decent Okada-Fale match with the added twist of Fale attacking Okada before their entrances which I thought was clever. Okada mostly worked from the bottom and had to overcome outside interference. Perfectly fine but not on the level of their New Beginning match this year or the awesome Invasion Attack 2015 match. Fale just sucks. Okada continues to get his groove back against the folks who beat him last year with a decisive win and dropkick to send Fale packing.

Tanahashi-Sabre **** Loved that they worked a sprint here with both guys in a must-win position struggling on the mat. Tana and Zack have such good chemistry together. 

Ospreay-Ibushi ****1/2 Match of the tournament contender and even better than their WK match. I liked the approach of both guys going after the other's injury, although the mat work went a bit too long for two guys who are known for fast-paced action. Wish Ibushi sold the leg more but Ospreay did a good job selling the neck. Incredibly dramatic finishing stretch that really put the ending in doubt even if Ibushi getting his first win was a given.

 

Taichi-Shingo: **** The Taichi heat segment at the beginning wasn't great but this turned into an exciting, fast-paced match. I just don't get why Taichi needs to be able to withstand so much damage and kick out of a Last of Dragons. Still, another standout match for Shingo and a pretty good showing from Taichi.

Cobb-Juice: ***1/4 Decent match where Juice surprisingly dominated the first half. Really like how Juice has more focus and intensity since the loss to Moxley. Cobb has his faults, but he's still fun to watch toss people around. Finishing stretch was good but still never quite took off.

Yano-Jay: ***1/2 Another Yano special. He'll never have any MOTYC's, but he's always one of my favorite people to watch in this tournament. And holy crap was not expecting him to win! Glad he's been more of a spoiler this year than the last two.

Naito-Goto: **** Really liked Goto attacking Naito from behind. It's one thing to say you've reinvented yourself, but you better show your work and Goto did here. Naito did a good job rallying back and working the leg. Some nice drama in the end that put the finish in question.

Mox-Ishii ****1/2 Welp, this was as good as you'd expect. Ishii did a top rope splash through a table. Must watch and possibly the best match of the tournament. Ishii is the clear frontrunner for tournament MVP and Mox has continued to impress.

 

Fale-Sabre ***1/2 Fale is usually a drag in this tournament but loved Zack's approach here. He knew he was in a must-win situation against a guy much bigger and stronger than him, so he immediately tried to go for the submission win. We got some interference from Jado and Chase, but it led to a pretty fun crowd brawl where Zack outsmarted Fale for the win.

Tanahashi-Archer ***3/4 Haven't been as high on Archer's last two matches as most, but this was really good. Loved Tana's urgency by attacking Archer before the bell and Archer in turn nearly murdered him in retaliation. Really good David vs. Goliath match and further proof that Archer is capable of a good match. Tana is also still the man.

EVIL-KENTA **** KENTA has acquitted himself well this tournament but thought he disappointed in the Archer match. And combined with EVIL's inconsistency, I wasn't expecting a good match here. But holy crap did they prove me wrong. KENTA was in perfect dickhead form, trying to wipe off EVIL's eyeliner and put it on himself. The crowd brawling was also really fun and didn't feel contrived. The finishing stretch had some really good, hard-hitting action. A definite sleeper hit.

SANADA-Ibushi ****1/4 Don't think they quite topped the match they had last year, but this was really good. No real underlying story except two excellent athletes going fast and furious. SANADA continues to prove he can hang with the top stars in the ring.

Ospreay-Okada ****1/4 Arguably the best match they've had against each other. Unfortunately, like their last two, it started off a bit too slowly. Okada is my favorite wrestler but I really wish he'd pick up the pace during these opening stretches. Still, liked how Okada wasn't afraid to go after Ospreay's neck and Ospreay in return hit him with the loudest chop I've ever heard. This became the fast-paced, reversal-heavy match you'd expect from these two with a few extra twists like Okada hitting the dropkick early and Ospreay hitting an Oscutter on the outside from the guardrail. I agree with Coffey that it got a bit overkill near the end, but I honestly though Ospreay might pull it off, so it definitely worked. Ospreay continuing to prove he's the best in the world when it comes to output this year. Great stuff.

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As usual, I have just been cherry-picking rather than slogging through entire shows. 

Man, if you had tried to tell me back in 2011 that the two guys I'd be most psyched about watching in the 2019 G-1 would be Lance Archer and Tomohiro Ishii... There is NO WAY I would have believed you. Still, here we are...

 

Out of what I have seen my top four matches are probably:

Mox vs Ishii

Ospreay vs Archer

KENTA vs Archer

and Jay White vs Ishii

...in that order. Seems like I enjoyed KENTA vs Archer more than most. I haven't watched Archer vs Tana yet.

 

All four matches were largely character-based and all four featured some very good character work and some creative spots.

The New Japan Cup Ospreay vs Archer match was held in my home town and I was there for it live and I marked out HARD for that.Easily one of the top 20 matches I have ever seen live, and I have been to a lot of live wrestling shows. I thought their rematch lived up to it.

I liked KENTA vs Archer because of the crazy visual of Archer clearly being a full foot taller than KENTA, and I loved, loved, loved the character spot with the young boys, and the crowd popping when Archer yelled "Shut up!". I was pretty much just hoping to see Archer successfully pull of the David vs Goliath stuff with someone other than Ospreay, and I feel like I really got that with this match. I think maybe KENTA's attemot at being a classic "stoic" Japanese fighter character hurt the drama a little. Clearly this particular crowd preferred the New Japan heel to the outsider underdog face. I got a big kick out of that crowd reaction, though.

I think I'm turning into a Lance Archer mark.

In Mox vs Ishii I loved that Mox character spot with the two chairs, and Air Ishii was definitely not something I was expecting to see.

I wonder if Jay White is going to be next on the list of New Japan guys who have won me over. I genuinely enjoyed his cowardly heel performance against Ishii. (Of course, I enjoyed White vs Yano as well).

Ishii, of course, is absolutely on fire now.

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G1 CLIMAX 29 - DAY 7

#1. Bad Luck Fale [2] vs. Zack Sabre Jr. [0]

This is cleverly booked and a brisk watch. Worth watching? Probably not, but it’s short, and ZSJ climbing on top of Fale is kind of funny.

**½

 #2. Lance Archer [4] vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [2]

Archer has miraculously become a decent singles match-up after seemingly going through a mid-life crisis and turning goth. WATTBA. 

***

#3. EVIL [4] vs. KENTA [6]

There’s some interesting sequences/character-work here, but the pacing in these KENTA matches have been problematic, to say the least. This is his best match yet, but there’s a lifelessness to his matches that make them a chore to watch, and the sluggish pace he’s worked at doesn’t help. He’s lost so much of his in-ring charisma since leaving WWE. Sad.

**¾

#4. SANADA [2] vs. Kota Ibushi [2]

Extremely athletic, unusually paced, and wrestled with a complete lack of urgency - also known as the SANADA formula.

**

#5. Will Ospreay [2] vs. Kazuchika Okada [6]

This was a spirited back-and-forth. There was nothing about this match that screamed great to me outside of the technical execution of the spots and sequences - which was damn near flawless. The storytelling was fairly basic, if not uninspired. Neither wrestler has a standout performance. The finishing run is fun, but I’ve seen much better. A good match for sure -- almost a really good one -- but is this even better than Ospreay's match with Archer? Or even Juice's match with Shingo? (Which is probably a better comparison since this match was of a similar mold). I wouldn't say so.

***¼
 

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I've just catched up on the G1. Ishii vs Mox and Okada vs Ospreay were out of this world great. Ibushi vs Ospreay was also amazing. Still not sold on KENTA, the Archer match was complete cruising to me, while he was really good against EVIL.

Really cool booking thus far, the best part being Jay White being bitched out by the CHAOS crew. He's been terrific, too. Also, Taichi needs a lot more love, the guy is actually really good (and much more fun than, say, EVIL or Goto).

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G1 Climax 29 Night 8 - B Block:

Juice/Yano - This was a total nothing match. Juice hits his finish to win after a few of the usual Yano antics.

Taichi/Goto - Taichi beats up one of the Young Lion L.A. Dojo jobbers. Makes Goto mad so he beats on Taichi before he even gets his shirt off. Beginning of the match is pretty sloppy. I'm just skipping this shit. Both these guys fucking suck.

Shingo/Moxley - Looking forward to this one. Back-and-forth corner strike exchanges to start. Mox goes for a Suicide Dive, Shingo "catches" him & hits him with a Death Valley Driver on the floor. Which should probably be a death move but in 2019 ultimately doesn't mean anything. Mox is back on offense not long after, tells the camera "I give zero fucks" & then sets up a table. Table doesn't get used yet. Mox starts working the leg of Shingo. Gets a figure-four. One of my apartment complex neighbors got a new german shepherd puppy & I keep getting distracted as she and the puppy are outside playing with her other border collie dog & it's adorable. 4-stars for the puppy. Lil' inexperienced & needs to learn to work more. Moxley still working over the leg. Posts the knee a couple times then hits the Bret Hart style figure-four around the ring post. This match has been almost all Jon Moxley so far & he's the one that took the DVD on the outside! I actually like the leg work that Moxley has been doing. Shingo gets some BIG Clotheslines in. Shingo goes for Last of the Dragon but his knee gives out. Mox hits the Death Rider for a 2-count. Mox goes for the Implant Death Rider & Shingo fights it off & both men roll outside. Mox drops Shingo's knee on the table, then puts a chair around his leg, Pillman style. Then slaps the chair with a second chair. Not a DQ but a cool spot. Shingo manages to roll in at the 19 count & immediately takes a running Regal Knee, with the knee pad pulled down, from Moxley. Moxley goes for the Death Rider again, Shingo reverses into Made in Japan for a 2-count. Shingo goes for Last of the Dragon again & Moxley slides out, kicks him in the back of the injured knee & hits a running Regal Knee to the back of the head. Then another to the face. 2-count. Now a Texas Cloverleaf from Mox. Submission finish & it looked great. First Shingo submission loss in New Japan. Glad the leg work played into the finish. Shingo didn't get as much offense as expected in this match but I still really liked this match & the finish. Jon Moxley is still undefeated in the G1 Climax. I would seek this match out. United States Champion Jon Moxley now sitting with 8 points on top of the B Block.

White/Cobb - Jay White has to win this, yeah? Cobb has no shot in this tournament & White is sitting at zero points. Cobb hit a big dropkick early which really surprised & impressed me. They're sort of telling the story early that Cobb's strength is too much for White, so White powders outside a few times. White gets onto offense after Gedo plays distraction. Red Shoes refuses to count a couple of times because of White taking shortcuts. Cobb hits a big overhead release belly-to-belly. Then a big Gutwrench. I like White as a heel. He does stuff that not a lot of heels do anymore... like cheat! White gets a running DDT & then two Flatliners then gets a Back Drop & a big Uranage. Pretty good sequence of moves from Switchblade. Cobb hits a deadlift superplex that was super great. Red Shoes gets bumped. Gedo tries to hit Cobb with brass knuckles but Cobb catches him for a slam but White gets a low blow. White gets the Bladerunner to win the match & finally get on the scoreboard. This wasn't a bad match.

Naito/Ishii - I feel like Ishii has been the MVP of the G1 so far, so I hope that continues with another good match. Naito has unimpressed so far. Early on, they go through a lot of their normal stuff, including Naito getting his spots in & Ishii getting some big corner strikes. It picks up after the first five minutes. Ishii takes a huge tornado DDT. The crowd is behind & cheering for Naito right before the ten minute mark. I lost my shit at the corner jumping headbutt into the very tippy top rope jumping Superplex by Ishii. GREAT shit. I love a good Superplex. Ishii then hit a big running clothesline that dropped Naito on his neck for a 2-count. Naito hits a short Destino outta nowhere for a near fall. The finishing stretch of this match is sick. Naito hits the full on Destino for the win. Good match. 

The last three matches are all worth checking out, probably. White/Cobb being the worst of the three. I don't know if I think Moxley/Shingo or Naito/Ishii was MOTN, I wouldn't argue with anyone that said one or the other. I would watch them both though if you're selectively choosing matches from the tournament to watch. Ishii with another good G1 Climax match. 

 

 

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At this stage, has anyone expected Moxley to lead his Block? I personally thought that Naito would at this point but that's really fun

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29 minutes ago, SirEdger said:

At this stage, has anyone expected Moxley to lead his Block? I personally thought that Naito would at this point but that's really fun

Sure, considering the schedule it made sense for Mox to have 8 points at this stage of tourney. Ishii was the only match he could've lost (on paper) imo. If he beats Naito, that would be a huge surprise though.

It's gonna be cool seeing how Juice plays spoiler and is the reason for Mox to not get to the Finals, setting up a nice grudge match for the US title. 

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