DAY THIRTEEN – A BLOCK
– Bad Luck Fale v KENTA – Bad Match Fale needed a roll-up to defeat 205 Live’s Hideo Itami! Need I say more? No, but I will. To KENTA’s credit, he was able to pull one of the better matches in this tourney out of the Worst Wrestler of 2019. Crazy. – 2.25/5
– Zack Sabre Jr v Lance Archer – Has any other G1 participant looked stronger in (recent) defeat than Archer? No one’s looked a million bucks losing this much. The record doesn’t matter with the big man’s vast singles improvement. Archer’s stock has soared! – 3.5/5
– EVIL v Will Ospreay – An excellent, excellent, excellent match. EVIL started off alright but has really picked it up against the bigger stars. While Os’ KO from the Climax is questionable, perhaps New Japan is using his recent rise to the upper echelon as a way to give other guys the rub. As a heavyweight and longtime G1 vet, EVIL definitely needed this one more and showed it down the final stretch. The pace of this match was nearly picture perfect. – 4.25/5
– Kota Ibushi v Hiroshi Tanahashi – Not the classic from the G1 Finals last year, but still pretty damn great. Both guys have been kinda flying under the radar this year with Okada not losing a match, but they both wrestled like this was their shot to dethrone the Rainmaker. Ibushi needed this. – 4.25/5
– SANADA v Kazuchika Okada – Not an easy match to rate. They coasted for 25-minutes, having a basic match until an uproarious crowd supported a scintillating final 5-minutes. Okada and SANADA had a few callbacks from SANADA’s last several defeats, while Okada seemed to have an answer for everything until that final stretch. They teased a full-30 no contest but SANADA finally — FINALLY! — gets the win, ironically during a G1 where he has, maybe, underperformed. Or a Climax where he just hasn’t clicked with opponents despite getting a much higher boost from the crowd. I’d rate the match a very good (3.5/5), but those last 4-minutes and 48 seconds were INSANE (6/5). This wound up a perfect way to keep SANADA super relevant and keep Ibushi and company’s hopes alive. Bravo. – 4/5
Overall = 3.5-3.75/5 Bibles.
With three bangers to close the show, Night 13 winds up one of the better shows of the G1 29. Despite Fale, the A Block this year is soooo much better than last year. Now with Okada finally taking a fall, it’s about to get real competitive down the stretch too.
DAY FOURTEEN – B BLOCK
– Tomohiro Ishii v Toru Yano – It’s not a shocker for Ishii to have a good match with anybody, but how about New Japan’s top workhorse having a very good match with fucking Toru Yano? From the gate, this match was an exciting sprint of goofy nearfalls, and — believe it or not — intense, hard-hitting action. This was Yano’s coming out party for the 29th G1, often going toe-to-toe with Big Tomo to much of our surprise. People forget, but Yano was a killer earlier in his career– and whadya know, not too many shenanigans here besides the usual ringpost padding stuff and lowblow attempts. No, Yano actually wrestled a match! This was definitely fun and makes me wish all Yano affairs could be like this. – 3.5/5
– Taichi v Juice Robinson – Eh, why couldn’t they just have a regular match! My love/hate with Taichi continues… and Juice losing doesn’t do the top of B Block any favors either. – 2.5/5
– Hirooki Goto v Jeff Cobb – A good, solid match you’d see help headline a Strong Style Evolved type show; but, for the G1, it misses those extra 2-3 minutes of nearfall stuff that typically makes the G1 Climax a special affair. – 3-3.25/5
– Jay White v Jon Moxley – A real good match between two gaijin that surprisingly wasn’t ruined by Gedo. Moxley is really coming into his own in New Japan and I can’t possibly be the only one seeing “Stone Cold” all over his latest persona. The way he carries himself, moves around the ring, brawls and applies holds is so reminiscent of WWE’s all-time great (p.s. marks.. I’m not saying Moxley is anywhere near Austin as a whole, but more so that his run in NJPW is very “Stone Cold-like”). Switchblade plays the snakey Rick Rude/Rick Martel character here, doing his best to find a shortcut to counter the presence and tenacity of Mox. White battled the brawler with an array of tight suplexes, well-timed DDTs and big urange’s. Gedo was def a huge factor in the match, but at least his mark on the match didn’t deter the overall quality. Despite the Mox loss, this was rock solid. – 3.5/5
– Tetsuya Naito v Shingo Takagi – This was absolutely incredible and my now favorite match of the G1, surpassing 4.75/5 matches from Ibushi/Ospreay and Ospreay/Okada. The story here is simple. Naito has been the clear-cut leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon for a few years running now, and no one under his wing has ever come close to questioning that spot. Not until the arrival of Shingo, of course. The Last Dragon has been a dominant performer in his first year in New Japan, going so far as to making him and Bushi a reputable tag team and going on to take Will Ospreay to the limit at the Best of the Super Juniors finale. Shingo’s run in the G1 has been pretty special too, despite a now 2-5 record, with three matches scoring a 4/5, a pair of matches rating 3.75/5 and 3.5/5, and only one match scoring a 2.25/5, ’cause…Yano. Well, this had absolutely no frills, with its fuck our faction, thunderclap loud lariat, spit in the face, outside brawling, smooth as butter counter wrestling. All this came with a completely wild and insane second half, as each guy timely reversed each other’s signature and finishing moves; Naito hit perfectly timed Gloria and Poison RANA’s; Shingo matched it with a second Made in Japan attempt and a few glorious Pumping Bombers! Outta nowhere Naito wrecked his L-I-J buddy with a Destroyer that followed a lighting fast Destino that countered a Last of the Dragon. Enter one more Destino and Naito helps Shingo nearly earn his second ***** match in New Japan, and almost the first ***** rating from Moods in this year’s G1 (I know I’m a bastard for the 4.875 rating, but it is what it is, homie!) Please go out of your way and see this. – 4.75-5/5
Overall = 3.5/5 Bibles.
An easy to watch night of action, capped by the G1’s arguable best match. We’re down to the Block finals now. See you all on Wednesday!