[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. We are here on Day 8 for more B Block matchups, including the huge main event of the first ever singles meeting between SANADA and Kota Ibushi. All the other B Block competitors are in action as well, inlcuding Kenny Omega, Juice Robinson, Tomoshiro Ishii and Zack Sabre Jr.
+ Kota Ibushi vs SANADA (G1 Climax B Block Match): holy cow, this was great. I can’t say there was anything crazy dangerous, like Ibushi is often known for, but these two athletic freaks put on a phenomenal main event, in their first ever singles meetings. I really liked this match, including the outcome
+ Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax B Block Match): I wasn’t certain I would enjoy this beforehand, but damn if they didn’t completely sucker me in. The ending legitimately made me gasp out loud, loud enough to scare my dog who was asleep nearby. Wow
+ Tama Tonga vs Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax B Block Match): because both guys are so quick and athletic, this was at a lightning pace from the beginning. A really exciting final few moments punctuated well one of Tama’s best matches, and another great one from Naito
– Juice Robinson vs Kenny Omega (G1 Climax B Block Match): these two had one of the best matches from last year’s tournament, where Juice was able to get the shocking upset over Omega. Now both are champions in New Japan, but this match did nothing for me. I don’t know if I was just comparing this to their match last year (I mean, obviously I was, but that’s not what I mean). I was disappointed here
– Toru Yano vs Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax B Block Match): frankly, after the Yano/Ishii blitz, I was surprised at the way this one went. I can’t say I was a fan
> the tournament is already over, in real time, but I have been avoiding all spoilers. I’ll keep on plowing through these, but this is a big weekend for wrestling, so I can only do my best. You may notice the match reviews themselves are getting shorter…
Should you watch this event: Until the main event, I was willing to call this show a dud, the first time in the B Block as far as I recall. But dammit, Ibushi and SANADA had such a good match. Go out of your way to see that main event, but maybe give the rest a miss.