Wrestling Review: NJPW G1 Climax 29 (Day 11 & Day 12) (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. For the main event of the A Block side of the bracket on Day 11, Hiroshi Tanahashi will face EVIL. The still undefeated Kazuchika Okada will face off with the dangerous Lance Archer, and SANADA and KENTA will do battle to see who can still hold on to a chance of winning. Meanwhile, while the B Block’s main event will see two of CHAOS’s toughest men go to war, when Tomohiro Ishii and Hirooki Goto go to battle, as well as Jay White look to continue his unlikely-but-possible run home to the finals, when he faces off with Taichi.

+ Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax B Block Match): god almighty I loved this. Ishii has been the MVP of the tournament, and it’s not even close, but to say that Goto has been coasting like he may have been last year would be so far fromt he truth it might literally be a crime. This was everything I love on a wrestling match, and the onyl thing I could say was wrong would be that it wasn’t the final of the whole tournament
+ Jay White vs Taichi (G1 Climax B Block Match): this was great, as one of the rare bad guy vs bad guy match where both bad guys are actual bad guys, not the cool bad guys. In that regard, however, Taichi was the clear fan favourite, because Switchblade is just that scummy. I liked this more than I thought I would at its beginning, mostly because of the shenanigans both guys were happy to employ
+ Tetsuya Naito vs Juice Robinson (G1 Climax B Block Match): I loved the intensity of this match, and it is a match that is relatively fresh. With Juice’s still semi-recent ascent to the upper echelon’s of the card, I can’t think of too many other matches these two have had (only the IC title match from a few years ago comes to mind, where Juice was never a real chance to win), so this was not just a good match, but a match full of surprises due to the sparseness of their interactions
+ Toru Yano vs Jon Moxley (G1 Climax B Block Match): I was looking forward to this from the day the Blocks were announced, and this didn’t disappoint. Moxley is a well known style-adjuster, and this proved that as much as anything, as he not only kept up with Yano’s comedy style, but even had some fun of his own
+ Shingo Takagi vs Jeff Cobb (G1 Climax B Block Match): hot damn, this was the Cobb-style match I was looking forward to. Shingo looks like a beast, despite the significant size disadvantage, and Cobb had the power and crazy athleticism on display on all fronts. I liked this a lot
+ EVIL vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was fine, but once again Tanahashi looked out of place again a younger guy (not that 32 is overly young in the game of wrestling). I just don’t care for Tanahashi, and it is frustrating because I know that so many others do, and particularly NJPW as a company does, so I can’t expect to get a break from him any time soon
+ SANADA vs KENTA (G1 Climax A Block Match): I really liked this. This was a clash of styles, but in a way where each man was able to do any of the strikes/grapples/submissions of the other at any time, so the match continued to evolve as it progressed. I found the ending to be a bit surprising, but that just made me like it more
+ Lance Archer vs Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was surprisingly good, especially with just how much of a star Archer has become in the last weeks. I didn’t give Archer much of a chance, but the ending surprised me, and both men ended up looking good

Bad Luck Fale vs Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax A Block Match): pretty much what you’d expect. Ibushi made all of Fale’s offence look good, but frankly Fale is not quite the mover that Archer is for a big guy, so even with Ibushi’s speed this just looked slow
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Will Ospreay (G1 Climax A Block Match): the crowd was dead silent for the majority of this match, and that was basically how I felt as well. The ending was clever, but for the most part this was not to the standard of their previous matches

Should you watch this event: Ishii/Goto is one of my matches of the tournament, if not matches of the year, but overall this was a very good double-night of action. Archer continues to impress, , Shingo, KENTA and Moxley are bringing fresh new matches and the big guns of Okada and Naito are still firing at their best.


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