[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 5 sees more action from the A Block, including the rising star of Hangman Page, the monstrous Togi Makabe and YOSHI-HASHI, who arguably has the most to prove of anybody else in the entire tournament.
+ Hangman Page vs Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax A Block Match): Page has made a recent career of killing himself for our enjoyment, but this was perhaps the best non-life-threatening match he has ever had. Title or no title, Okada is still one of the best in the world, but as they say, it takes two to tango, and Page more than held his own. This was bloody fantastic, and in years to come may well be THE breakout performance for Hangman Page
+ EVIL vs Togi Makabe (G1 Climax A Block Match): EVIL really is underrated as a big man. I’m a fan, as is very clear, but I feel he often gets out-shined by his LIJ brothers in arms, and Makabe is always a beast (take a look at the image below and tell me he didn’t go Super Saiyan for a second). This was a slug fest, and I loved it
+ Jay White vs Mike Elgin (G1 Climax A Block Match): I get giddy when I see a good roaring (or rolling, if you’re a pleb) elbow strike, and there were two of the best I’ve ever seen in this match. I enjoyed this significantly more than I thought I would, even with one sloppy and dangerous spot on the ring apron
– Bad Luck Fale vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (G1 Climax A Block Match): It should be clear by now what to expect from a Bad Luck Fale match. Tanahashi is what he is, and if you are still a fan then I do’t think I could change your mind, but to me, this match was not very good, and it’s a shame it was in the semi-main event slot
– Minoru Suzuki vs YOSHI-HASHI (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was a frustrating match to watch, because every time it started to suck me in, YOSHI-HASHI would do something a little bit awkwardly, and I would immediately remember I was meant to be reviewing the match. This was almost a really good match for YOSHI-HASHI (and of course a good match for Suzuki), but it just missed that mark
> I am so far behind. Sorry I have failed you all
Should you watch this event: The A Block may be the weaker of the two brackets, but days like this prove that there can still be phenomenal matches on both sides. Hangman/Okada was one of the absolute matches of the tournament so far, and EVIL/Makabe wailing on each other was a personal highlight. I really do wish that YOSHI-HASHI was a little bit more crisp, but for the most part this was a good show.