[Please note: By the time you read this, the tournament will be over and winner will have been crowned, and by virtue of this being the final, all tournament results will be clearly implied. There are no spoilers for this show itself.]
The most prestigious tournament in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW_), if not pro-wrestling as a whole, the G1 Climax 29, concludes on Day 19. Kota Ibushi and Jay White, the winners of the A Block and B Block respectively, will face off in a match no time limit where a clear winner must be crowned. In the semi main, the super powers of NJPW, current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada and the Ace of the Universe, Hiroshi Tanahashi, will team up to face arguably the two toughest members of Suzuki-gun, Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. With three of those four having some completed their own run of G1 Climax action, it may be the fresh man, Minoru Suzuki, who is looking to make a statement. Elsewhere on the card, The Guerrillas of Destiny will team with the Rogue General, Bad Luck Fale, as the Bullet Club trio face off with Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI, of Chaos, when the latter team with NJPW newcomer, KENTA. Tama Tonga has teased a new member of the Bullet Club to make their debut very soon, so their opponents should keep their heads on a swivel. All of this and much more ont he final night of the G1 Climax 29.
+ Kota Ibushi (A Block winner) vs Jay White (B Block winner) (G1 Climax 29 Final): this was the absolute perfect pro-wrestling match. Both men are incredible at their respective styles – strikes for Ibushi, and slimy counter-cheater White), and the crowd as as one-sided in their love for Ibushi as you could imagine. With so many intricate parts to this, including Ibushi’s new long-term contract, White being the former champ, the newest member of the Bullet Club as hinted at by Tama before the show and the history Ibushi has with former BC members, this was just fantastic
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada vs Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.): holy cow I’ve missed Suzuki as the monster he is. Sabre and Suzuki is one of the best tag teams I’ve seen in a long time, and going against literally the top stars in NJPW, despite my dislike of Tanahashi, was something special. One of the four men even performed a La Mistica (ie. a tilt-a-whirl headscissor takedown into a Fujiwara armbar), and you’ll probably need all four guesses to figure out who pulled it off
+ KENTA & CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii) vs Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, & Bad Luck Fale): I wanted KENTA versus Ishii, but them teaming will have to do. I’ve missed the GoD on the recent tour (but that Briscoes Ladder War was NUTS) so it was good to see them back in action, especially against the undisputed MVP of the G1, Ishii. This match was mostly to build up to the aftermath, but if you didn’t get tears in your eyes, for one reason or another, then wrestling might not be the thing for you
+ Yota Tsuji & Ren Narita vs Karl Fredericks & Clark Connors: would you believe me if I said this battle of the homegrown young lions, and the recruits at the LA Dojo, under Katsuyori Shibata, was one of the best young lions matches I’ve ever seen? These guys were seemingly able to do a fair bit more than in recent times, and it made for a really, really enjoyably way to open the show
– Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe, & CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, SANADA, EVIL, & Tetsuya Naito): just from the match list I could tell this was going to be a bit of a mess. It’s hard to recognise any of the competitors as doing much at all that stands out, except for the ending
– Toa Henare & Juice Robinson vs Shota Umino & Jon Moxley: the Moxley/Juice story continuations was great, and I have a feeling I could guess where it’s going. Similarly, Henare has improved in leaps and bounds of late, and Shooter is great as Mox’s innocent lackey, but still, this was not a particularly good match
– CHAOS (SHO, YOH & Will Ospreay) vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi): short and standard. Ishimori looked good, and I enjoyed the R3K boys, but overall this was nothing noteworthy (except for Pieter, the Bullet Club Bunny. Holy cow)
– Tiger Mask, Jyushin Thunder Liger & Jeff Cobb vs Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi, & Lance Archer): I enjoyed the interactions between Archer and Cobb, and I really enjoyed Cobb throwing Kanemaru around like a rag-doll, but overall this was a pretty bland match. I still get excited for Liger’s theme, though. What a banger
> I love Shibata. Shibata/Okada from Sakura Genesis is still my favourite wrestling match of all time.
Should you watch this event: After that wild young lions tag match, the show did head into a bit of a lull, but the final three matches were all absolutely INCREDIBLE for one reason or another. Do everything you can to at least find the highlights of the Bullet Club/Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI and KENTA tag match, as well as the Okada/Tanahashi versus Suzuki/Sabre, and take a day off work if it means you will get to see the G1 Climax final.