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[2019-08-10-NJPW-G1 Climax 29: Night Seventeen] Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi


paul sosnowski
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As good as Okada has been in this tournament and really this year as a whole, I've been rather critical of his lack of urgency in the beginning of these big main event matches. However, with the story being that Okada only needed a draw to win the block, the slower build was logical. His repeated targeting of the neck also made sense due to Ibushi's history of neck issues. And not just with the DDT's, but with how Okada really cranked on the chin lock (which he normally isn't very good at). It was only once Ibushi started mounting his comebacks that Okada knew he had to finish him off. Really, the whole match felt like 15 minutes as opposed to 25 as they stepped on the gas rather quickly with both guys dishing out their heaviest shots and selling this as a war. The finish seemed to come a bit out of nowhere, but maybe I'm just so used to these long reversal sequences that it caught me a bit more by surprise. And it honestly worked.

I'm not quite sure if this is a MOTYC, but it's still one of the best matches of the tournament. ****1/2-****3/4

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Quite similar to Okada's excellent match vs. SANADA in that it builds so excellently from the opening minutes to the molten hot action that was the last 5. Okada's performance was real spirited overall, with him showcasing great cocky ace work in the beginning, and then showing some somewhat rare pure fire later on in the bout. Ibushi's performance is wonderful as well -- much like in the great match vs. Tana, he brings his pure passion here into everything he does, and it translates perfectly. What a FANTASTIC match. ****

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  • 8 months later...

Watched this with only the announcing to guide me through the history.  Okada kind of comes across as the ace, but it's a little wierd that he goes to the floor DDT to start the heavy bombs given that he is the ace.  Normally it is the challenger/younger up-and-comer that is going to start out big to try and make his mark and show the passion/desperation.  The deliberate pace following the floor DDT makes way more sense, especially given the points going in.  The fact that Ibushi had neck issues helps the case for the floor DDT, but I'm still not 100% buying.  I also don't love the elbow duel on their knees.  I am not a fan of those exchanges in the first place and it really seems like a replacement (shitty one for the wrestlers) for a rest hold when they need to slow down and figure out what comes next.  Finishing sequence is pretty good, with both showing they know the other's offense well enough to get out of the way when it counts.  Everything that they hit is earned and I really like that.  No-selling is kept to reasonable levels.  Ibushi's glassy-eyed selling is really good. 

I wouldn't call it a great wrestling match for a few reasons, but really good.  The pacing is kind of odd, really slow at points with bursts of action then slowing to a crawl.  I'm not quite sure if I am unhappy with that or not, will take time to decide with more matches.

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