G1 Climax

G1 Climax update

The G1 is well underway, and we’ve gotten some great matches from it so far. Through 6 nights, I’ve ranked 13 matches at 4 stars or better. Everyone should check these out when they can:
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr – A great showcase on how dangerous ZSJ can be. ****1/4
Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito – Ibushi’s return to the New Japan ring ****1/2
Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii – Really good hard hitting, no quarter given brutality. ****1/4
Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr – The Cruiserweight Classic final that finally happens. ****1/4
Kazuchika Okada vs Michael Elgin – The best match of the tournament so far. ****1/2
Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii – If you like hard hits, watch this match. ****1/2
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Yugi Nagata – An aging Nagata makes every effort to hang with the Ace. ****1/4

I’ve also written a few new things. Check out my piece on Michael Elgin and my review of the G1 Climax Night 5

Michael Elgin

G1 Climax Night 5

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The Underdog Underboss

The G1 Climax has started, and if you’re not watching you’re missing out. This is one of the best times of the year to get into New Japan if you’re not already. Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi killed it on Night 1, and it’s just going to get better. In anticipation, I wrote a bit about Bad Luck Fale, the Bullet Club’s Underboss, and what it would take for him to finally advance in the G1.

Bad Luck Fale

G1 Climax 2016

Well, I didn’t make it. In retrospect, vowing to review every match of a 19 day tournament when I had a freaking wedding in the middle of it was probably not my brightest idea. Ah well, maybe next year. I’m still working my way through the events, so will have a comprehensive list of matches that need to be checked out, but for now, let’s just talk about the winner of the G1 Climax: Kenny Omega.

There’s a lot to talk about in regards to Omega winning the tournament. The first being that he is the first gaijin to ever win, and only the third to reach the finals. That’s a HUGE accomplishment for Omega. That’s up there with, say, Brock Lesnar ending the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, or Chris Jericho becoming the first ever Undisputed Champion. It’s an accomplishment that could define Omega’s career. He could retire tomorrow, and still be the first and only foreigner to win the biggest tournament in wrestling. (more…)

G1 Climax Nights 13 & 14

It’s time for the eliminations to start coming, and I don’t mean eliminating everything from my social life to finish this damn tournament. A Block already has a few eliminations. SANADA, Tenzan, and Tama Tonga have been mathematically eliminated. Goto and Ishii also face elimination this show. B Block is… confusing, and I don’t have the mental faculties right now to figure out if people are facing elimination or not. This night should help clear things up. Or I could have done all my math wrong in the haze of a wrestling-induced coma. (more…)

G1 Climax Nights 11 & 12

I have 3 days to get through 6 shows before the climatic final three events. So far I have managed to avoid almost all spoilers. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this….

Night 11

Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-3) vs Bad Luck Fale (2-3): Things look better for Fale than they do for Tenzan, even though they have the same record. Tenzan has lost three in a row and has been looking his age the last few matches, and his losses have been against the three wrestlers ahead of him. And now he has to go against one of the most physically intimidating men on the roster. Meanwhile Fale has momentum from winning his last match, has beaten Marufuji already, and still faces Makabe and Okada later. A win here may signal that Fale is rising in the rankings. (more…)

G1 Climax Nights 9 & 10

Ha ha ha ha I’ll catch up before the end of the weekend… anyways, let’s keep this train moving. There’s nothing that stands out immediately in these shows, so we’ll see if there’s any surprises in store for us.

Night 9

I’m not sure what building they’re in, or even what town they’re in for this show, but it’s one of the coolest buildings they’ve been in. One wall is practically all giant windows, flooding the arena in natural light and providing a very different backdrop than normal.

Tomohiro Ishii (2-2) vs Tama Tonga (1-3): Ishii is my favorite wrestler, so I’m hoping he mops the floor with Tonga. Tonga has been improving as the tournament goes on, and he’s still much better than fellow Bullet Club member Yujiro Takahashi. Ishii is on a roll though, winning his last two matches against Marujuji and Fale, two big names. In theory, Tonga shouldn’t be much of a problem. (more…)

G1 Climax Night 7 & 8

As I type this, Night 12 aired earlier this morning. So I think I could catch up before this weekend is over. Or I spend time instead playing video games. Either way, no more wasting time with introductions!

Night 7

Togi Makabe (3-0) vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-1): Makabe is undefeated so far, but I don’t expect that to last. Tenzan got his first taste of defeat in his last match, and will need to bounce back. Neither of these guys is a super great worker these days, so this match will probably be filled with stiff hits and not much else.

Yeah, these guys try to spice things up a bit, but pretty much hit the physical limit of what they’re capable of. Makabe won with the King Kong Knee Drop in a short but inoffensive match. Makabe remains undefeated. ** (more…)

G1 Climax Night 5 & 6

So, yeah, I knew I would fall behind, but this is a little ridiculous. But hey, I got married! And my buddy Jack got us (okay, me) the coolest gift. nakamura

So I guess getting married was worth falling behind on my tournament updates. But no longer! It’ll be double updates on the G1 and the Cruiserweight Classic until I’m caught up. Amazingly, I have remained mostly spoiler free, as I was too busy the last few weeks to even bother looking up show information.

Night 5

Tomohiro Ishii (0-2) vs Bad Luck Fale (1-1): Ishii is off to a slow start, and has the Underboss to contend with if he’s going to get any points. Fale excels at defeating main eventers, and Ishii did main event a smaller show this year against Naito, so he may be in some danger of going 0-3. (more…)

G1 Climax Night 4

Night 4 of the G1 Climax is a B Block night, and on paper there’s no stand out match ups. The highlight might end up being a hopefully comedy filled match between Toru Yano and Kenny Omega. Omega has a tendency to do too much comedy when it’s not needed, but against Yano he can run amok to his heart’s content.

Tomoaki Honma vs YOSHI-HASHI: Both these guys have been on the losing end of a lot of matches for a couple years now, but both got bigs wins in their first matches. Honma set himself up to challenge Shibata for the NEVER title with his win, while YOSHI got his first major single’s win against Kenny Omega. The win streak will continue for one of these unexpected victors, but which? (more…)

G1 Climax Night 3

We are back to the A Block for night three. Looking at the card in advance, the card didn’t scream excitement, but there’s still enough to be interested in. Most notably, there is a rematch of my favorite G1 match last year, Ishii vs Goto. A lot of people preferred Okada vs Nakamura or Tanahashi vs Nakamura, but I loved how hard hitting and aggressive Ishii vs Goto was. We’ll see if they can come close to what they did last year.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Tama Tonga: Tenzan continues his retirement tour with a match against the Bad Boy of the Bullet Club. Tenzan won his last match against Ishii, while Tama came up short against Makabe. Tenzan will be fighting with a lot of emotion, which gives him a pretty strong edge on anyone. At least until he loses. Tonga meanwhile continues to prove that he deserves to be in the G1.

Tenzan’s Mongolian Chops may be the most copied signature move in New Japan. Everyone he fights just loves doing them to him. Tonga is much faster then his older opponent, and is able to use that to his advantage several times. I enjoy that every time Tonga hits Tenzan in the head, he hurts himself. It’s a very simple thing that makes Tenzan’s headbutts seem even more devastating. Tonga displayed several moves I hadn’t seen him use before, like a spear and a rope-assisted neckbreaker. Tenzan pays tribute to his friend Kojima, and hits a Western Lariat before finishing Tonga with a moonsault. *** (more…)