NJPW G1 Climax 29: Day 13 (8/3/2019)- Osaka, Japan
JUICE ROBINSON & TOA HENARE VS. REN NARITA & YOTA TSUJI- 4.5/10
Fine for the time it got.
JEFF COBB, TOMOAKI HONMA, & TORU YANO vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, & Hirooki Goto)- 4.75/10
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, & BUSHI) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & Taichi) (w/Miho Abe)- 5/10
Suzuki-Gun jump the bell on their opponents, and then we spill to the outside for all of the usual bullsh*t. BUSHI was the babyface in peril and got his legged worked over. Naito got the hot tag and ran wild for a bit before we started the usual changes of momentum and went into the finish, which was Shingo pinning Kanemaru.
JON MOXLEY & SHOTA UMINO vs. BULLET CLUB (Jay White & Chase Owens) (w/Gedo)- 5.5/10
This was EXCELLENT for the time it got.
BLOCK A MATCH: KENTA vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Jado)- 6.5/10
They had a good intensity, and did he a heel finish that actually made me want to see a rematch between these two.
BLOCK A MATCH: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Lance Archer- 7.5/10
A great big man vs. small technical guy match. Archer had the match won but pulled Zack up, and got rolled up soon afterwards.
BLOCK A MATCH: Will Ospreay vs. EVIL- 6.75/10
They were on the outside forever without being counted out. While this happened EVIL hit Ospreay in the head with a chair and was not DQed either for the chairshot, nor for shoving Red Shoes down when Red Shoes tried to stop him from hitting Ospreay with the chair. Unlike two matches earlier, when he was screaming bloody murder about Jado hitting KENTA with a Kendo stick, Kevin Kelly reacts to this weapon shot by happily pretending that EVIL is a baseball player who can now celebrate because he just hit a homerun.
Ospreay’s beck got worked over and he did his usual stuff to make a comeback but EVIL prevailed in the end. Look… that first part really put me out of this match, and I find EVIL to be another one of those Ishii/Goto/Naito/Tanahashi types where all of his matches feel the same, so this just didn’t work for me as well as I’d guess it did for most others.
BLOCK A MATCH: Kota Ibushi vs. Hiroshi Tananashi- 8.5/10
A rematch of last year’s finals not being the main event over a match we’ve seen at least twice already this year is shocking. These guys had an awesome match that built wonderfully in terms of emotion, although some of the stuff they started with in the beginning (Tanahashi working over Ibushi’s injured knee) didn’t play into anything at all later on. They had one of the best slap-fights I’ve ever seen, because they were actually trying to avoid the other’s slap at times rather than this slow-paced “fighting spirit” stand there and let the other guy hit you” crap. That’s the spot from this match that will always stick with me, but there were a bunch of other great reversal spots to build things up for later as well.
BLOCK A MATCH: Kazuchika Okada vs. Sanada- 9.5/10
We start off with some good athletic stuff in the ring until they go to the outside for the usual “whip into the barricades,” “stay on the outside forever with no count-out” and then all of a sudden count-outs are a thing again for the Count-Out Tease That No One Ever Buys™.
These guys proceeded to have an absolutely FANTASTIC match which built on their previous two encounters this year to tell a story about them having counters for each other’s big moves in addition to the story of them working on each other’s heads, with Sanada coming up with a new counter to the Rainmaker leading to his victory… but with the following asterisk.
I spent a good chunk of those climactic last few minutes yelling at Sanada through my computer screen for being a dumbf*ck. First he let up on a submission hold that was clearly wearing Okada down in order to go for a mounsault… which Okada countered. Then, when he finally hit the moonsault with less than thirty seconds left, instead of going for the pin, he went up for another moonsault. This guy is lucky that his stupidity didn’t come back to bite him in the end. And what’s worse, is that he has made this sort of mistake in BOTH of his previous matches against Okada… and lost both of them. Can we maybe see some sort of story where this guy learns a lesson and stops making the same mistake instead of just getting lucky and winning anyway?
In a semi-connected point, as much as I loved the match itself, I don’t like the booking here at all. Block A losing its final undefeated wrestler the show after Block B does makes things feel very same-y, but more importantly, as awesome as this match was, I have no interest in seeing Sanada challenge Okada for the title again, because I do not for one moment believe that he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Throw in the fact that it was a guy Okada has already beat twice this year being the one to finally hand him a G1 loss and it coming at this stage of the tournament, and Sanada’s win feels less like a vote of confidence from the booking team and more like Okada lost here because mathematically he had to lose and they gave it to Sanada because he was a guy who needed some points to not look bad. I think a more interesting idea would have been to go to a draw, as it allows other people to get a bit closer to Okada while preserving his undefeated streak, and is something you can point to as a tangible example of the wear-and-tear of the tournament starting to adversely affect him, and built that idea up to him losing in his next match to EVIL, who has a better chance of catching him than Sanada does.
Just about the only bit of the booking here that I did like was keeping up the streak of the IWGP Heavyweight Champion losing in Osaka during the G1. I really like building little things like that up from year to year, even if you don’t have a plan in mind to pay it off, just so you have the resource there when you need it.
This was an awesome show from New Japan. They kept the undercard short and the big matches all delivered. Sanada vs. Okada in particular is one you absolutely need to go out of your way to see, so go watch it now!
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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