[Please note: By the time I post this, and indeed you read it, the tournament is over, and a winner has been crowned. I have no idea who that may be, and 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 are potential spoilers for every previous day of action.]
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’re into double digits as the B Block once again gets it’s groove on, with the headline bout of Day 10 being only the second ever singles meeting between SANADA and Kenny Omega. Tetsuya Naito, Juice Robinson, Zack Sabre Jr and Tama Tonga are all also in action, and as the tournament heads into the home stretch the winners and losers mean so much more.
+ SANADA vs Kenny Omega (G1 Climax B Block Match): this was really good, but suffered from many of the same issues as Naito/Goto before it. Omega is just so out of this world good that even someone like SANADA pails in comparison. I’ve been touting SANADA as the next big thing for years, as has most everyone else, but there needs to come a time where he either pins the champ in the G1 Climax, or we start thinking maybe we were wrong about him. Whichever happened here, this was a damned good match
+ Tetsuya Naito vs Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax B Block Match): I thoroughly enjoy Goto, which should be no secret by now, but it’s hard to feel too much when you just know he doesn’t stand a chance against Naito. Without implying there are not any upsets for Goto in his singles matches (because nudge nudge, watch this match nudge nudge), Naito is just so bloody good. It’s interesting to me that of Naito’s biggest matches, they did Omega first and SANADA last, rather than the other way around, but I guess that might be for a reason down the line
+ Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax B Block Match): Jesus Christ almighty, this was insane. I feel like every single Ibushi match I say he nearly killed himself, and every Ishii match I say he nearly killed the other guy, so just imagine what these two had to do to surprise even me. This was incredible
+ Toru Yano vs Juice Robinson (G1 Climax B Block Match): I was half way through writing that this match sucked and you should avoid stupid comedy matches, but then they did something and I couldn’t help but literally laugh out loud, so dammit, it gets a pass from me
– Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tama Tonga (G1 Climax B Block Match): this was nothing more than a filler match for each guy, and I think even the crowd knew it. Tama has had his own story through this tournament, and after they got the match with Omega out of the way so (relatively) early, he’s been nothing more than just another ‘guy’. Sabre has been fine, too, but he already had his huge tournament moments with the New Japan Cup, so I can’t help but feel they just don’t want him to go on another tear here
Should you watch this event: Once the lackluster Tama Tonga/ZSJ match was out of the way, this was a damned good show. The final four matches were all good, albeit for different reasons, and I really felt like they were all setting up much bigger things to come. This was good, and worth watching (especially Ishii/Ibushi, god damn).