NIGHT THREE – A BLOCK
– Lance Archer v Bad Luck Fale – This match went a helluva lot better than I imagined. That’s chiefly in part to how great New Japan is pushing their new singles monster, Lance Archer. To get a clean, pretty dominant win — via Iron Claw nonetheless! — over a guy the size and stature of Fale is huge. – 3/5
– Will Ospreay v SANADA – An absolutely terrific match between two of the best all-around wrestlers in the world without any super danger spots. Ironically, Ospreay skipped Day Four’s tag stuff due to injury; let’s hope it isn’t major and he can still go (safely) on July 18th. This one also had a great story of Ospreay failing on multiple Oscutter attempts due to SANADA’s skull-end. The “climax” went as wondrous as you’d dream, a seamless display of finisher reversals and chain wrestling transition work until Os finally got Stormbreaker. – 4/5
–Kazuchika Okada v Zack Sabre Jr – What a difference 10-minutes can make. At this spot on the card, you just knew that these two of the World’s Finest would only be able to tease what they’re capable of. While this lacked the overall big-time drama of an Okada main event, it didn’t lack on action. Sabre is a master of locking in on a weakness and he applied his usual 2-3 bizarre Euro-locks, banana splits and octo-holds, and often all, at once. Okada would eventually fight off ZSJ’s counters and nail a pair of Rainmakers for the win. – 3.75-4/5
– EVIL v Kota Ibushi – Imagine watching Ibushi in a match where he doesn’t kill himself? To Kota’s credit, he worked an “EVIL” type match here; hence the loss. Even after a pair of Boom A Ye’s, EVIL recovers. After punishing Ibushi for much of the much (with Ibushi still selling the leg from his previous bout), the LIJ senior would power through Kota’s onslaught with a counter, a pair of big lariats, Darkness Falls and Everything Is Evil. Pretty dominant finish over a guy the caliber of Kota! While not your typically spectacular Ibushi match, this was still very very good and presents a great story eith the G1 favorite going down 0-2. – 3.75/5
– KENTA v Hiroshi Tanahashi – Can KENTA top his solid G1 debut performance against Ibushi against one of the all-time greats in Tanahashi? Yes. Why yes he can. And he even disrupted Tana’s fan fav air guitar pose in the process. Savage. No frills KENTA is back. He vehemently applied the pressure to Tana, even using an array of Shibata signature kicks and moves in the process. Following a pair of twist-and-shouts, one of which countered the GTS, Tana would go on his usual role that leads to victory: dragon screw, high fly flow crossbody, etc, until KENTA got the knees up on a second attempt. Following a vicious PK, a GTS would follow. Thankfully this looked far better than his finisher from the last match. Much in thanks to the crafty selling job by Tana, that KENTA BACK! – 4/5
Overall = 3.75/5
While there was nothing too “blowaway”, this was definitely the best, most consistent night of G1 Climax 29 action yet. Go watch it NOW.
NIGHT FOUR – B BLOCK
– Shingo v Toru Yano – At least this was more creative and fun than the Naito/Yano match. But, yeah.. this was all Torufoolery, with Shingo squeaking out of Yano’s “He did it!” spot ala Eddie Guerrero, chucking the chair at Yano and nailing him with a pumping bomber for the win. This was fine. – 2.25/5
– Juice Robinson v Hirooki Goto – A solix match between middle ground G1 guys trying to prove themselves to be top-notch. Booking could have gone either way with both guys coming off a win, but I do like Juice going over here; this way he doesn’t seem so secondary to the other gaijin. – 3.25/5
– Jon Moxley v Jeff Cobb – This was cool for the time allotted. I can imagine them having a great 20-minute match, despite the styles clash. Every match involving Mox feels different but not in a glaring way. Imagine Steve Austin in his prime having a G1 run and this isn’t too far off. Nice draping Death Rider finish over the big Hawaiian. – 3/5
– Tomohiro Ishii v Jay White – A typical Jay White match with Switchblade taking all the heat unt a ferocious 5-bible level last 5-minutes. I’d even go so far to argue that they had the best final stretch of any match yet in this tournament. Ishii is just absolutely incredible, an amazing babyface/underdog and White is a superior villain. The best false finish here followed a Kiwi Krusher. The crowd was so hot for this following that moment. A flatliner would counter Blade Runner and Ishii followed with a huge lariat and brainbuster for the win. Outstanding. – 4/5
– Taichi v Tetsuya Naito – This was better than the pairing’s recent bouts that wound up in severe disappointment. We’ve seen a lot better from Taichi lately, especially against Tanahashi and Ishii, but this wasn’t bad. I know it’s part of gimmick, but I thought maybe, just maybe, that Taichi had turned a new leaf and would/could lean more on his striking and actual skill than outside shenanigans. But.. nooo. He still had to get the Iron Claw thingy and make a mockery out of the G1. This surely had moments and I didn’t mind the multiple ref bumps, but, eh, same ol’ Suzuki-Gun bullshit. Not much of a story nor your best main event. – 2.5/5
Overall = 3/5 Bibles
The worst night of the G1 and still a fairly good show. I’d like to see longer matches for Mox, but seeing how it’s his first G1 Climax and he’s still getting used to the New Japan style/workload, I don’t blame NJPW for taking it “easy” with him. Ishii is a fuckin’ monster and I highly recommend watching his battle with Jay White, even if it did go nowhere for half the match.