Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 29 (Day 9 & Day 10) (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. As always, the odd-numbered day, Day 9, features all the competitors in the A Block, as KENTA and Kazuchika Okada face off in the main event, where only one man will remain undefeated, and sit atop the A Block as the clear leader. For the B Block on Day 10, however, it is the Los Ingobernables de Japon leader, Tetsuya Naito, facing off against the violent Jon Moxley, as Naito seeks to be the first man to defeat Moxley in NJPW.

+ Tetsuya Naito vs Jon Moxley (G1 Climax B Block Match): just fantastic. One again, a switched-on Naito is hard to top as one of the best wrestlers in the world, and Moxley still has that aura about him that makes him stand out as a character. This wasn’t the stiff brawl that Ishii/Juice was, nor was it really a good-versus-bad match in terms of characters (because personally, I’d call them both anti-heroes at best) but the crowd was into every second, both men were giving it their all and the winner was certainly always going to be interesting
+ Jay White vs Shingo Takagi (G1 Climax B Block Match): really good, but a little bit awkward; White is the super bad guy, but his quest to go 6-0 in his last six matches is a pretty good underdog story. Shingo, meanwhile, is also technically a bad guy, but he is the junior facing off against the heavies, to prove he is more than ‘just a junior’. No matter who won, or even if it was a draw, one of the guys we should have been rooting for was going to lose their chance at winning the tournament
+ Tomohiro Ishii vs Juice Robinson (G1 Climax B Block Match): the opening few minutes to this match might be my favourite in a very long time, and the rest of the match was almost as good. This was a slug fest, which Ishii always excels at, but it was Juice that really surprised me. Juice has always been a hard hitter, but not quite to the level he showed in this, and for someone like me – who enjoys big beefy bois brutally banging – it was nearly perfect
+ KENTA vs Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax A Block Match): hot damn, I’d been waiting for this one and it did not disappoint. KENTA looked like a mega star (and Okada IS a mega star) so this was a real, genuine main event match up that I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll see again some time for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. KENTA’s speed and accuracy were perfect, and everything Okada did build the drama to almost unbearable levels. This wasn’t quite the same style of match as Ishii/Naito was, but it is Okada’s ability to adapt to his opponents’ styles that makes him so damn good
+ SANADA vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was pretty good, but definitely not SANADAs best match of the tournament. Tanahashi didn’t look quite as off his game, though that may be more to the fact that SANADA was able to be int he right position at every moment. I’ll not go so far to call this a negative due to my dislike of Tanahashi, but it was certainly not a MOTY contender
+ Zack Sabre Jr. vs EVIL (G1 Climax A Block Match): I enjoyed this more than Sabre’s more recent matches. EVIL got to play the powerhouse against the technical style of Sabre, and that suited both men perfectly
+ Lance Archer vs Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was pretty good, because, as the commentary team to rightfully said, Ibushi is basically Ospreay and KENTA put together, and both of those men had a good match against Archer. This was essentially more of the same, but that same is still pretty damn good

Taichi vs Jeff Cobb (G1 Climax B Block Match): this did nothing for me at all. It was technically sound enough, but I just spend the whole match time waiting for it to end
– Toru Yano vs Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax B Block Match): I didn’t like this
Bad Luck Fale vs Will Ospreay (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was not good. You could say that the ending was interesting, but in my mind, even though someone did win, it just made both competitors look like losers

> something about Cobb is just not doing it for me in this tournament, and I can’t figure out what. I loved Cobb as Matanza, and even his recent ROH spell and NEVER Openweight Championship win was pretty good

Should you watch this event: These two days were overall pretty damn good. Ishii/Juice may be one of my favourite matches of the tournament, and both nights’ main events — KENTA/Okada and Naito/Moxley — were well worth checking out.

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