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I'm interested on how Gedo books the coming days for Block B because he has to have at least two matches with legit stakes for the Budokan show, and that means Mox has to start losing and one of the people that gives him that L (White and/or Goto) have to win out to have a chance on the last day.

Naito could win out but for him to have a chance he needs Yano to at least get a double dq/draw out of Mox and for White and Goto to beat him too. That could lead to 3 matches at Budokan having Finals stakes, depending on how Ishii or Goto get to that final day.

More "traditional" scenario would be White winning out, needing to beat Naito at Budokan and for Juice to spoil Mox so he could reach the Finals.

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At this rate I wonder if they're almost tempted to run Okada and Moxley to the final unbeaten and then put Mox over. You'd end up having a lot of dead rubber matches but it would make Dome match pretty huge.

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The problem with that is that it would mean tanking 2 of the 3 Budokan Hall shows because there would be no stakes in them. Budokan is way too big of a building to rely on "great matches that don't mean anything", specially when it comes to a tournament. Mox and Okada have too big of a lead in points already that them going unbeaten to the final day of their blocks would mean they would've already qualify to the Finals.

Unless those shows are already sold out (or have something like 8-9k tickets already sold), I don't see Gedo doing that.

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35 minutes ago, NintendoLogic said:

I suspect that Naito is really starting to break down physically. The match with Moxley reminded me of a Minoru Suzuki match in the liberal use of shortcuts to fill time.

If that's the case, it's even worse in hindsight that they didn't just give him his win over Okada in the Dome when they had the chance and the people were dying for it.

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G1 CLIMAX 29 - DAY 9

#1. Lance Archer [4] v. Kota Ibushi [4]

This was smartly, efficiently worked. It lasted about as long as it should. There was very little downtime. Ibushi’s sold and bumped like a mad-man. Archer was an all-around compelling performer. I loved the no-sell on the first Kamigoye, and how he drops like a sack of potatoes on the second one from Ibushi without the kneepad. Good, compact match. 

***½

#2. Bad Luck Fale [2] vs. Will Ospreay [2]

Admirable effort from Ospreay to try and salvage this, but overcoming the roadblocks inherent with Fale’s matches are a tough task for anyone, and this match unfortunately threw every obstacle in the book at him. From constant interferences, to lackluster effort from Fale himself, to referee bumps, there’s just no way this was going to be a watchable match.

#3. Zack Sabre Jr. [2] vs. EVIL [4]

#4. SANADA [2] vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [4]

I’m reviewing these two together because they both consist of the same flaws: undramatic matches that lack a hook/narrative, lack of (compelling) chemistry between the two performers, and poor pacing due to unnecessarily long runtimes. 

**

#5. KENTA [8] vs. Kazuchika Okada [8]

This isn’t bad, but the disconnect in KENTA’s presentation and his actual performance is so jarring that it negatively overshadows all of his matches. He’s booked as a big-time threat in the tournament, but he just looks …. washed. There’s no explosiveness or pop in any of his moves (including his strikes). Sure, they’re stiff, but they lack the intensity that made him such an infamous and captivating striker. The palm strikes he delivers towards the end of the match are actually the first time his strikes felt like they had some semblance of dramatic weight behind them. His trademark disrespect towards his opponents feels forced. Yet he’s consistently booked like one of the top wrestlers in the company, and a legitimate threat to win the whole damn tournament. Those realities simply do no exist harmoniously, and that's reflected by the sterility and heatlessness of his matches.

Stray Observations:

  • There’s little room for error when you’re going thirty minutes with the corpse of KENTA, and Okada’s selling was critical to holding this match together. The match is obviously flawed, for reasons laid out above, but it’s not the abject failure it could’ve been had it not been for Okada. Credit where credit’s due. 

**¾
 

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7 hours ago, Jmare007 said:

First big shocker of the G-1 today. The plot of Block B thickens.

You don't say. Pretty balsy and intriguing booking by Gedo, going Okada and Moxley at 10 points at the middle of the G1. They can't keep up like that, so something is got to give somewhere.

Yano is gonna beat Mox. You can quote me.

I can see Ibushi vs Mox as the final, with Ibushi winning the whole thing.

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Given how they haven't done the winner of the tournament being in the same block as the champion since 2014 (and even then they put the title on Tana), I remain convinced that the winner is going to be in the B block. I also think with Naito and Jay being the clear main event of the B block final, one of them is winning. Mox losing four in a row seems like a stretch, but I don't see how they mathematically eliminate Naito before the final day. 

I suppose it's possible that with doing two dome shows, it's possible Okada beats Mox in the finals and picks both Jay and Naito, who were the runner-ups, to face him. But that seems like a really lousy way to build to the two biggest shows of the year by giving title shots to the losers. At any rate, I'm kinda glad they're keeping the winner from being too obvious, even if it does make me worry that they deny Naito again.

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Goto-Yano (NR) Too short to really give this a proper rating. Still, thought it was fun enough for what it was. I agree that Goto should use that pin more often.

Juice-Ishii ****1/4 Really great back-and-forth fight. Loved Juice's aggression and how he continues to be more focused post-Mox loss. Ishii is great as always. He's a case study in how no-selling CAN work. If you have the charisma and carry yourself like you're the toughest dude around, no-selling is far more believable. Some pretty nasty bumps though and Ishii landing on his head after that Juice Box made me gasp.

Cobb-Taichi **3/4 Taichi really needs to cut out the crowd-brawling and overbooking shenanigans. He can actually have pretty good matches if he just wrestles, but this kind of stuff just completely sucks the life out of a match. That being said, I thought they did a decent job bringing this one back in the second half and I give a lot of credit to Cobb. The moment he exploded on Taichi and beat the crap out of him in the corner really felt like the turning point. But it still wasn't enough to save this rather skippable affair.

Shingo-Jay ****1/4 Most of this was very good but it felt like Jay was getting a little bit TOO much offense on Shingo. I think having Shingo beat up on Jay more would have made for a more compelling match. Still, it was good 50-50 action and the finishing stretch was great, really putting the ending in doubt and creating a true sense of drama. Jay's final comeback came a bit too easy but I still liked this a lot.

Mox-Naito ****1/2 I seem to be in the minority because I loved this. Did a tremendous job carrying over the tension from the previous tag match and bringing it to a boiling point. I feel that 95% of the time plunder and crowd brawling in NJPW is contrived and pointless, but Mox does a terrific job weaving both into a match by making both seem important and consequential. Naito being comfortable in this environment went a long way as well (as evidenced by the Jericho WK match). Also liked how Mox was prepared and had an answer for a lot of Naito's offense while Naito was a bit more disrespectful than usual. And oh boy does that finish really shake things up for this tournament.

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7 minutes ago, Boss Rock said:

Mox-Naito ****1/2 I seem to be in the minority because I loved this.

Loved it too. Great match. Naito may seem like his body is breaking down, but he's still an awesome worker. That bump off the twisting lariat was a thing of beauty. His charisma was off the charts too in this.

I wonder if Rene Young, after calling some heatless, boring Seth Rollins match puts on NJ World on her computer at the hotel room and checks her husband killing it in Japan and making himself a gaijin star...

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I wouldn't be surprised if Naito is slowing down due to his history of knee issues and the fact that he's nearing 40, but he's still managed to deliver in a lot of high impact matches.

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I didn't think the Mox vs Naito match was a great match work-wise but in terms of having two really engaging characters interacting with each other it was really entertaining.

I've gone from being at best hot and cold on Dean Ambrose to being a signed up Moxley mark.

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G1 CLIMAX 29 - DAY 10

#1. Toru Yano [4] vs. Hirooki Goto [2]

Skipped.

#2. Tomohiro Ishii [4] vs. Juice Robinson [6]

I love this shit, man. A physical, hard-hitting, war of attrition. Some of their fighting spirit segments had me popping out of my chair. Trim some of the excess sequences, and this is a great match. 

***¾

#3. Taichi [4] vs. Jeff Cobb [2]

Taichi manages to extract a more fiery side out of Cobb here, so that was a welcome surprise. Some decent back-and-forth sequences. All in all -- an average match.

**½

#4. Jay White [2] vs. Shingo Takagi [4]

Almost a great match, but they needed to shave a minute or two, and the transition into White’s finishing flurry isn’t as smooth as it could’ve been. Shingo, like Ishii, proves himself to be a compelling foil next to White.

***¾


#5. Jon Moxley [8] vs. Tetsuya Naito [4]

These two had psychological chemistry, but not much of a physical one. Naito’s antics and trolling made me chuckle. A re-match is worth exploring now that they’ve developed a feel for each other in the ring. Their personalities and charisma harmonize wonderfully.

**¾
 

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My top-ten matches through the first ten days:

  1. Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii (****1/2)
  2. Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi (****1/4)
  3. Shingo Takagi vs. Jon Moxley (****)
  4. Jay White vs. Tomohiro Ishii (****)
  5. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Juice Robinson (***3/4)
  6. Jeff Cobb vs. Tomohiro Ishii (***3/4)
  7. Jay White vs. Shingo Takagi (***3/4)
  8. Lance Archer vs. Kota Ibushi (***1/2)
  9. Shingo Takagi vs. Juice Robinson (***1/2)
  10. Lance Archer vs. Will Ospreay (***1/2)

B-Block >>>> A-Block so far.

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We're halfway through and I managed to catch up. I've skipped everything involving Fale. Tried to watch EVIL once and got bored so haven't watched anything involving him either. Picked my spots with Yano, Taichi and Robinson, but have watched almost everything else. 

Ishii has been a star performer, but I far prefer him opposite guys positioned higher than him on the card as he plays "defiant underdog who ultimately falls short" and "plucky underdog who fights through and shocks the favourite" extremely well. However, up against those even or below him on the card, the incessant strike exchanges start to drag. 

I've loved everything that Jay White has done in this tournament. El-P mentioned that he wrestles in a manner a little too close to his character, which leads to less dazzling spectacles. I think he cuts off his opponent too quickly (the match against Goto is a good example where I was worried that it would come across too much like a squash if White won or too unbelievable if Goto took it, before they rallied at the end to create a more satisfying whole) but his commitment to his character, the tandem with Gedo, and his proficiency in the ring (general rule of thumb is that if somebody has a neckbreaker that doesn't look shit they are usually pretty good. Exhibit A: Bobby Eaton) have been gold. 

Will Ospreay has continued his run of perhaps being the best in the world at the moment. A title I would be more willing to give if he removed that slight delay before every dive or Oscutter that he does so that he can pander to the crowd. 

Zack Sabre Jr for me has the highest floor to his matches. They don't always deliver classics that garner major snowflakes, but his ability to deliver something interesting or unusual against a great variety of opponents is almost unmatched, and after his run of post match promos this year, I think he's taken Daniel Bryan's crown of being the most entertaining talker in wrestling at the moment. If anybody hasn't already caught the one where he loses his battle against the wall and gravity simultaneously, then seek it out as soon as possible. 

Below are my favourite matches so far:

4.5* Kota Ibushi v Will Ospreay

4.5* SANADA v Zack Sabre Jr.

4.25* Tomohiro Ishii v Jay White

Everything below is in 4* range

Kota Ibushi v Lance Archer

Kazuchika Okada v KENTA

Jon Moxley v Shingo Takagi

Tetsuya Naito v Tomohiro Ishii

Tetsuya Naito v Hirooki Goto

Jon Moxley v Tomohiro Ishii

Hiroshi Tanahashi v Zack Sabre Jr.

KENTA v Hiroshi Tanahashi

Hirooki Goto v Jay White

Lance Archer v Will Ospreay

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On 7/28/2019 at 8:22 PM, Calvin said:

Stray Observations:

  • There’s little room for error when you’re going thirty minutes with the corpse of KENTA, and Okada’s selling was critical to holding this match together. The match is obviously flawed, for reasons laid out above, but it’s not the abject failure it could’ve been had it not been for Okada. Credit where credit’s due. 

This is pretty harsh. You can tell that KENTA's on the downturn of his career but I've had a blast watching him in the G1 so far. I've seen 0 KENTA matches from before his WWE debut, and all this has done is made me curious to go seek them out. If this is him when he's not great, what does great KENTA look like?!

I will also mention however, that my opinion of Okada isn't the highest. I basically see him as a millionaire's Edge, in the sense that Edge may be the worst wrestler in the highest amount of matches that I think are good/great. Okada is the most average wrestler I can think of who also happens to be in the highest amount of matches that I think are good/great/classic. In the end, I can't think of a great Okada match where I felt he was the driving force behind it. But, he's in too much good stuff for me to think he's bad. Maybe he's an amazing foil and I'm not giving him enough credit, who knows....

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7 minutes ago, SAMS said:

This is pretty harsh. You can tell that KENTA's on the downturn of his career but I've had a blast watching him in the G1 so far. I've seen 0 KENTA matches from before his WWE debut, and all this has done is made me curious to go seek them out. If this is him when he's not great, what does great KENTA look like?!

I will also mention however, that my opinion of Okada isn't the highest. I basically see him as a millionaire's Edge, in the sense that Edge may be the worst wrestler in the highest amount of matches that I think are good/great. Okada is the most average wrestler I can think of who also happens to be in the highest amount of matches that I think are good/great/classic. In the end, I can't think of a great Okada match where I felt he was the driving force behind it. But, he's in too much good stuff for me to think he's bad. Maybe he's an amazing foil and I'm not giving him enough credit, who knows....

A lot more athletic, explosive, and insolent.

Re: Okada - I mostly agree. I'm not his biggest fan, either. I just give credit when it's due, and I thought his contributions prevented that KENTA match from completely failing.

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16 minutes ago, SAMS said:

This is pretty harsh. You can tell that KENTA's on the downturn of his career but I've had a blast watching him in the G1 so far. I've seen 0 KENTA matches from before his WWE debut, and all this has done is made me curious to go seek them out. If this is him when he's not great, what does great KENTA look like?!

I think KENTA is actually on the upturn again, for a last stint that will live up to his name. Let's be real, he came into the G1 with some of the greatest workers in the world (Okada, Tanahashi, Naito, ZSJ, Ishii, Ospreay, Takagi) straight from a long layoff after a mostly catastrophic WWE stint marred by injuries and unlearning what made him great. Considering his age, the state of his body and where he comes from, he's been doing mighty fine. KENTA was a terrific worker in the 00's. Expecting he was gonna be the same worker in 2019 that he was in 2009 is ridiculous, especially considering his last five years. Apart from the Archer match, he's had nothing but excellent/great matches. That's pretty miraculous, actually.

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To clarify, I'm not expecting 2000's KENTA. He's at a different stage of his career, mentally and physically. I think it's completely fair to give him time to re-acclimate to Japanese wrestling and shake off whatever ring rust he developed in WWE. That being said, booking him as one of the top contenders of the tournament seems hasty when he's unable to perform like one. I'm probably in the minority on that one, though. Most seem satisfied with his performance thus far. *shrugs*

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Ibushi-Fale *3/4 Two years ago Ibushi got a really good match out of Fale in the G1. History did not repeat itself. I can't even think of a word to describe how bad and boring this was.

Ospreay-Sabre **** If you've seen any of these guys' matches together than you know what to expect. Very fast-paced action of Sabre's grappling vs. Ospreay's high-flying athleticism. Ospreay's selling has been really good over the last two years and this match was no exception, although I worry the guy's neck seriously screwed. Some of Ospreay's kicks missed the mark a bit but overall this was really good stuff.

Okada-Archcer ****1/4 I didn't think this was going to top or even be as good as Ibushi-Archer but I was wrong! A bit more of a deliberate pace with Archer steamrolling Okada who in turn sold everything like death. Speaking of, I think Okada is a really underrated seller. He made KENTA's offense look great and he did the same for Archer. The longer the match went on, the more difficult it was for Okada to capitalize on any counter or comeback, giving Archer ample time to reassert his dominance. Some awkwardness in a Rainmaker transition, but that's pretty much a nitpick. Great stuff. And Archer continues to rule.

KENTA-SANADA **1/4 I've generally enjoyed KENTA's run in the G1 but this was easily his worst outing. Very slow-moving trudge and as good as I think SANADA has gotten over the last few years, he's not the best at making comebacks. A few decent spots but proof that KENTA might be better off working quicker-paced matches unless he's in the ring with someone like Okada, Tana, or Ibushi.

EVIL-Tanahashi ***1/4 Not as bad as KENTA-SANADA but this was another slow match. EVIL really needs to stick to just clobbering dudes rather than work over limbs and do submissions. Tana's selling was really good but there were times I seriously thought he was breaking down. They thankfully saved everything with a really hot finishing stretch. It's a credit to Tana's charisma and starpower that he kept the crowd in the palm of his hand after such a rough start.

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