[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. The undefeated Kazuchika Okada faces off with SANADA in the main event of Day 13 for the A Block, whilst Hiroshi Tanahashi will face Kota Ibushi and Will Ospreay will face off with EVIL for the first time ever. For the B Block on Day 14, two members of Los Ingobernables de Japon will do battle in the main event, as newest member Shingo Takagi goes head to head with the LIJ leader, Tetsuya Naito. Tomohiro Ishii will face Toru Yano and Jon Moxley will face Jay White, as well as much more from both days of G1 Climax action.
+ Shingo Takagi vs Tetsuya Naito (G1 Climax B Block Match): this was a match the commentary was putting over as more than just a G1 match, with a long history between the now-stablemates. I can’t say I knew of that past history, but it certainly made the match feel bigger than it would have otherwise. I don’t know how I feel about Shingo in this tournament overall, but I can’t help but think there are some big things in his future, and Naito is as Naito does, so you know what to get from him in a match he finds important
+ Jay White vs Jon Moxley (G1 Climax B Block Match): this was great, not least of all because it propelled Moxley to ultra good guy. White’s tactics god him nuclear reactions from the until-then subdued crowd. If nothing else, it proves that an underdog good-guy Moxley could be money for NJPW, but they had better capitalise on it before his AEW deal becomes exclusive
+ Jeff Cobb vs Hirooki Goto (G1 Climax B Block Match): this was good. It may have taken a little bit of time, but Cobb has finally started to work like the guy I wanted him to be. I can accept I was off the mark for Cobb/Ishii, to an extent, but since then Cobb has looked pretty good, and I am once again excited for his next matches. Goto, meanwhile, has been a sneaky second place MVP in terms of match quality for the B Block
+ SANADA vs Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was essentially the same as their IWGP title match from a few years back. SANADA is athletic, and Okada is the champion, do you could probably imagine most of the action from their other matches. There were no real surprises here, but it was still enjoyable to watch
+ Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (G1 Climax A Block Match): god damn, this was the best Tanahashi match of the tournament, by far. Ibushi was at his a-game in terms of strike accuracy and speed, and Tanahashi really looked like the veteran against the opponent who admired him so much, and it made for more than a simple ‘master versus apprentice’ style match. I really enjoyed this
+ EVIL vs Will Ospreay (G1 Climax A Block Match): this started off really slowly, and I was dreading having to sit through it all. But once it hit about the half way point, things picked up and I was completely suckered in. The ending stretch, in particular, was something really special
+ Lance Archer vs Zack Sabre Jr. (G1 Climax A Block Match): this intra-Suzuki-gun fight was pretty good, especially when Archer was showing off his technical skills against ZSJ. I’ve enjoyed Archer in this tournament, and Sabre has had a few good match, too, and in the end this was nothing special, but still well worked
+ Bad Luck Fale vs KENTA (G1 Climax A Block Match): this was short and not overly technical, but for what it was, and what it had to accomplish, I enjoyed it (especially one monstrous slap)
– Taichi vs Juice Robinson (G1 Cimax B Block Match): this match did nothing for me at all. The crowd was near silent until the final minute, and I kept getting distracted by wanting to look at my phone – I didn’t, but ignoring that desire just made the match drag on even longer
– Toru Yano vs Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax B Block Match): truthfully, I didn’t like this. Neither guy looked particular good in the match, and when it was over I was not looking forward to a rematch
> It’s a bit strange not watching the undercards of these shows (but considering how far behind I am, can you blame me? because it feels like half the roster is MIA, despite the fact they are on just as many shows as the G1 competitors are
Should you watch this event: Day 13 was a very good one fo the A Block, with no negatives comes from their five matches. The B Block finished on a 3:2 ratio for Day 14, which is still pretty admirable. From the two days, Ibushi/Tanahashi, Moxley/White and Shingo/Naito were the standouts.