[Please note: to save myself some time, I am only going to review the G1 tournament matches themselves. If there is a really good undercard match, and I get the time to watch it, I will make a note of it eventually. There may be spoilers for previous days as we progress.]
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual heavyweight tournament begins, where for the next few weeks, two blocks of ten competitors will compete in a round-robin format in the G1 Climax 28. The two winners – one from the A Block, and one from the B Block – will then face off in the final, with the winner receiving the main event title match at the annual January 4th show, Wrestle Kingdom. Day 3 will see see the second round of five matches for the A Block competitors, including the sadistic Switchblade Jay White, the angry giant Bad Luck Fale and the fallen champion Kazuchika Okada, along with Mike Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Minoru Suzuki.
+ Minoru Suzuki vs Togi Makabe (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was a stiff matchup, and probably my favourite of the show. I’m a huge Suzuki fan, and while I can take or leave Makabe, I can’t deny that these two have really good chemistry. There is not a huge amount to say, other than this was a match with lots of hard strikes and some good crowd response
+ EVIL vs YOSHI-HASHI (G1 Climax A Block Match): I am struggling to write anything about this. I’m a big fan of EVIL, and YOSHI-HASHI’s one other match was impressive on Day 1, but this was still just “there”. EVIL had a great run last year, including a win over Okada and a great match (where he was legit KOed) against Omega. YOSHI-HASHI needs to prove his spot in this year tournament, and he certainly did here. This was fine, but never really kicked into that second gear
+ Hangman Page vs Michael Elgin (G1 Climax A Block Match): It’s very clear that Hangman is going to be something special in the years to come (despite my somewhat tepid reaction on him in the past, and perhaps even until recently). Elgin is a strange one to rate, because he does the same thing in his matches, but what he does is pretty dang good. This was fine, but it was still a match between two guys I don’t give a chance of winning overall
– Switchblade Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (G1 Climax A Block Match): I’ll say it: Tanahashi doesn’t do it for me anymore. and the fact I am still undecided on this “Switchblade” character (including his cringe worthy “Breathe with the Switchblade” line) made for a lackluster main event. Tana is no doubt a 10/10 talent, but he is only operating at a strong 7 these days. The fresh but inexperienced White and the aged and injured Tanahashi had what can only be described as “a match”, and I couldn’t have cared less
– Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax A Block Match): of Okada’s monstrous IWGP Title run, his least good (but not to say “worst”, because they were all good enough) match was against Bad Luck Fale. This battle between two undefeated should-be-leaders was not particularly great, but it was the notion of one of them being 0-2 by the time the match was over that made for the most drama. In that regard it was fine, but as a match, this was not worth going out of your way for
> at time of posting, I think there are only three days left (18 in total, if my maths is correct), and here is my review of day 3. I’m going to have to haul ass if I want to catch up.
Should you watch this event: We are only on Day 3, which is night two for the A Block, but they have already been so badly blow out of the water by the B Block that I can see these odd numbered nights being a swamp to wade through. The rise of Hangman, everything EVIL and Suzuki do and just what they are doing with Okada are all interesting points, but none particularly relate to the wrestling itself. This was a weak night.