Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 29 (Day 3 & Day 4) (2019)

[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.]

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s (NJPW) annual heavyweight tournament, the G1 Climax 29, continues. Day 3 is a return to action for the A Block, headlined by Hiroshi Tanahashi facing off with KENTA, while the main event for Day 4 is Taichi and Tetsuya Naito renewing old hostilities. The A Block matches on Day 3 will also include Kazuchika Okada and Zack Sabre Jr doing battle once more, while Will Ospreay and SANADA test their mettle against one another. For the B Block, Tomohiro Ishii and Jay White will share the ring, whilst Jon Moxley will be the overwhelming underdog in the strength department as he faces the Hawaiian Juggernaut, Jeff Cobb. All of this and much more over two days of G1 Climax 29 action.

+ Taichi vs Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax B Block Match): these two have great chemistry, and this was no exception. Like Sabre/Okada from Day 3, something about these two just work so well together, and this was another match that you’ll never predict and had the crowd going rabid for them. Taichi was the hometown boy and extreme crowd favourite in this match, but Naito is Naito, and he could spit in your face and you’d still want to cheer for him (or you’d hate him, but respect just how damn good he is)
+ Tomohiro Ishii vs Jay White (G1 Climax B Block Match): if Ishii eating an elbow and then staring his opponent down as he moves forwards into their attack doesn’t get you going then I don’t know what to tell you. White is the biggest scumbag in new Japan (in the same way Cody was before him) and Ishii is the perennial underdog favourite of many, myself included. Those two aspects just make for a fantastic match
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi vs KENTA (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was great, in the same way that Tanahashi/Shibata was great in their matches (and as a side note, if we don’t get KENTA vs Ishii at some point in the future I might explode). KENTA looks like a million bucks, and although I don’t like him myself, Tanahashi is the Ace for a reason, and he shows it in these sorts of matches. This was a worthy Day 3 main event
+ Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax A Block Match): really good, as these two always are. Obviously this was shorter than their previous singles matches, due to the time limit, but it just meant that (theoretically) the match could have ended at any time, even if we all knew that wasn’t really the case. Still, something about these two just click, and I always enjoy it
+ Will Ospreay vs SANADA (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was really good, between two crazy good athletes. It is these sort of matches that make you forget Ospreay is still a junior – at least up until you pay attention to the size difference. SANADA is so, so good but even I, in my love for him, are slowly getting to that stage where if he doesn’t do something great soon he’ll always just be ‘that really good guy’

Jon Moxley vs Jeff Cobb (G1 Climax B Block Match): this was all right, but once again Cobb seemed really off to me. Maybe this is just ‘the new Cobb’, and the stuff of his I loved from the past won’t be coming back. Moxley still has that superstar vibe about him, so at least there was something here for me. Basically, another dud for Cobb
Hirooki Goto vs Juice Robinson (G1 Climax B Block Match): this was okay, perhaps even good, but not as good as either man’s first match. Juice is not quite the mountain to climb for Goto compared to Jay White, but Goto is certainly more of a challenge for Juice than Shingo was. Both men did their best, but in the end it just lackecd the spark from the other big matches
Shingo Takagi vs Toru Yano (G1 Climax B Block Match): I didn’t particularly enjoy this. No good action and poor comedy; Tagaki is not the type to play off Yano’s comedy
EVIL vs Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax A Block Match): unfortunately, this was ‘okay’ and nothing more. I can’t say I expected a five star match, but I certainly expected something a bit more than this. Through no fault of either man individually, they just didn’t really gel
Bad Luck Fale vs Lance Archer (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was fine, between two guys who obviously work better with smaller opponents. Archer is on a roll, though, and while I can’t say this was must watch, or even a positive in the two-week stretch of G1 matches, it was still as good a bad match as you’ll get

> it seems I was wildly off the mark for Ishii/Cobb from day 2. Apparently everybody loved the match

Should you watch this event: This was a near perfect split of good and bad. Okada, Moxley, Ishii and even Lance Archer were again impressive, whilst Cobb stunk up the joint for the second time (for me, at least). Go out of your way to watch Okada/Sabre and Tanahashi/KENTA, as well as Taichi/Naito, but otherwise just look out for your favourites.


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