There is literally nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said about the 2014 G1 Climax.

Never in my roughly 30 years as a wrestling fan has a singular event garnered the type of universal praise the likes of which we’ve seen with this tournament. With very little question, this has been the greatest G1 of all time. Many are calling it the greatest tournament period in the history of wrestling, and quite honestly i’m struggling to come up with a counter argument. You’d probably have to go back to the glory days of All Japan to find a great Champion Carnival or Real World Tag League to find something comparable to stack this up against, but even then while you may find a tournament that can match this G1 at the top, it will be hard to find an event that can match the sustained night in, night out consistent greatness, and overall depth of this twelve night, two week odyssey. Out of 120 matches, reviewers are checking in with roughly 25 four star or better bouts, and anywhere between 80-100 three stars or better. That is an unfathomable amount of high level wrestling (our site, with seven reviews done by Bryan Rose, and four by yours truly, rated a staggering 31 bouts 4-stars or higher going into the final night).

It was pretty obvious that this thing was special by about Night 4. It was also pretty obvious by that point that barring a complete and impossible drop in quality, it was going to surpass the 2013 tournament, which in case you’ve forgotten, was the (short lived) reigning “best G1 ever”. This is yet another case of New Japan finding a way to top itself, which this promotion has somehow been consistently doing over the last three years. I remember writing last year at this time that G1 23 was very likely the peak of the hot run. I couldn’t imagine anything being better. I’m tempted to write the same thing again today, but I’ve learned my lesson.

All of this praise, and we hadn’t even gotten to what is usually the best night of the tour, the finals, which if nothing else generally serves as an exclamation point. But in this case, a good night would just be showing off. This final night was chugging along, a perfectly fine show, progressively getting better and better as it got deeper into things, when following a very good semifinal bout Scott D’Amore betrayed Hiroshi Tanahashi and joined the Bullet Club.

Say again?

Scott D’Amore betrayed Hiroshi Tanahash and joined the Bullet Club.

That really happened, reader. I’m not creative enough to make it up.

In what was one of the more surreal angles I’ve ever seen (following an intermission segment that turned out to be the ultimate red herring), Jeff  “#JointheForce” Jarrett joined the Bullet Club when he whacked the New Japan hero across the face with one of his balsa wood guitars. Take that, Slapnuts. Throw in the complete absurdity of Scott D’Amore involved in all of this, whose role on this night was to conspicuously carry Jarrett’s guitar case around the Seibu Dome, and you had an angle that was crazy, predictable, unpredictable, surreal, absurd, wacky, nonsensical, incredible, amazing and shocking all rolled up into one.

And you know what? It was all so completely ridiculous that it worked. It sent Twitter into meme shock, and for a few moments mentally took people out of a highly anticipated main even that was over two years in the making. A main event, which to the credit of the competitors, not only earned back the attention of a stunned crowd and iPPV audience, but then proceeded to cap off this amazing G1 with one more Match of the Year contender. Because why the fuck not?

This show was all over the map. The first third, filled with throw away matches, was (predictably) bad, but nobody cared because no one came to see Nakanishi in a six man. If nothing else, the middle portion was very solid, even if a few matches didn’t meet their full potential. Then D’Amore happened, but lost in that will be the fact that Hiroshi Tanahashi and AJ Styles had a great match. The main event was a classic.

All told, this was a wild & wacky show.

1. Special 8 Man Tag Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Tiger Mask & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., TAKA Michinoku & El Desperado – Nondescript opener here, with a surprise appearance of the returning Taichi, who was creeping around and being Taichi. Everybody did their key spots, and Taguchi pinned TAKA. Exactly what you would expect of this type of match at this point in the show. Get in, get out. **

2. Special 6 Man Tag Match: BUSHI, Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Bad Luck Fale, Doc Gallows & Yujiro Takahashi – See above. This was just a match. Yujiro gave BUSHI the buckle bomb & Miami Shine to win it for Bullet Club. BUSHI replaced Togi Makabe, who re-injured his jaw during the round robin stage, and wisely sat this meaningless one out. Despite the spread out schedule, he wasn’t the only person to suffer a serious injury, although a few never came out publicly. **

3. Special 8 Man Tag Match: Toru Yano, Kazushi Sakuraba & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka & Shelton Benjamin – This was awful. Shelton did some basic stuff with YOSHI, Yano did his shtick with Iizuka, and then Suzuki fake grappled with Saku until the ref DQ’d him for refusing to break a hold in the ropes. Crowd didn’t care about any of this. DUD

4. Special Tag Match: Jushin Thunder Liger & Captain New Japan vs. Adam Cole & Michael Bennett – Bennett & Cole had matching gear, and ring walked to the most awful over dubbed rock jam of all time. This was easily the best match on the show to this point, worked like an old school traditional North American style tag team match, with CNJ as the babyface in peril. Liger got a huge reaction on the hot tag, and cleaned house. Liger & Cole, who had a pretty decent singles match in NYC, did some more solid work here, making me want to see another singles bout. Mike Bennett was his usual average self. Bennett is so average, Bobby Roode & James Storm think he’s mediocre. For the finish, Maria did the Elizabeth SummerSlam ’88 routine to distract CNJ, who sold it like he’d never seen an (almost) naked woman in his life. Bennett took advantage of the distraction, hit a piledriver, and pinned The Cap’n. Fun match. ***

5. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title: KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish – This was good, not great, and couldn’t sniff the excellent reDRagon vs Young Bucks match from New York, but I still liked it a lot. All four guys were super crisp and did a great job. O’Reilly in particular is having a great year, and looked very good here. Two cool spots were KUSHIDA coming off the top and over the guard rail to the outside with a crossbody, and Shelley breaking up a KOR guillotine choke on KUSHIDA with a double stomp from the top. An interesting dichotomy, as the previous match was a really good example of an 80’s style tag match, and this match was a really good example of a state of the art modern tag bout. Bobby Fish has always been a personal favorite, and I’d like to see more reDRagon in New Japan. ***3/4

Intermission. Jeff Jarrett came out to his old TNA music, signed some GFW paperwork, and cut a super generic “i’m so happy to be here” promo. What a sneaky carny. We should have spotted this a mile away, guys.

6. G1 Climax Special Singles Match: Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomoaki Honma – Disappointing match, but keep in mind the bar is set awfully high for Honma bouts. At this point we expect the guy to get beaten near death every time out, and that’s probably not fair. With that said, this had a ton of potential, with Naito playing subtle heel and soaking up the boos, and a spirited forearm exchange, but the Stardust Press finish came out of nowhere, the crowd wasn’t ready, and the finish was super flat. Good match, but nothing special at all, and probably the worst Honma match of the tour. ***

7. G1 Climax Special Singles Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Karl Anderson – Ishii was working with a legit separated shoulder (from somewhere in the middle of the tour), and very early on may have broken his nose. He lost Anderson on a superplex attempt that may or may not have been an intentional spot (playing off of the weak shoulder), but the awkward landing that nearly broke Anderson in half was clearly not planned the way it happened. Very scary. Yujiro yanked the ref out of the ring on a two count, and got serious heat as he worked over Ishii. YOSHI-HASHI of all people ran in for the save, so it looks like that could be Yujiro’s next NEVER defense. I’m totally OK with that. YOSHI-HASHI has shown flashes of improvement, but needs longer showcase matches to truly have a chance to move up. With Yujiro dispatched, Ishii blocked a Gun Stun, and an Anderson head butt backfired as Ishii no sold. The crowd got behind Ishii big at this point, and it looked like he would survive the injuries and pull out the win, but Anderson hit a Gun Stun out of nowhere and finally put him away. This was a rare instance where the interference worked and improved the match. Normally it kills it for me and takes me right out of it. ***1/2

8. G1 Climax Special Singles Match: Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata – As expected, this was an exhibition in violence. I didn’t love the first half of this, but the second half more than delivered. The Shibata spinning back chop to the face thing might be my favorite move in wrestling right now. It always comes at just the right time, and even though you know it’s coming, you still never see it coming. Goto took a shitty G2S bump, but the Penalty Kick was vicious looking and made up for it. This didn’t quite get to where I wanted it to go, and was the worst of the bouts they’ve had against each other, but it was still very good. ***3/4

9. G1 Climax Special Singles Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. AJ Styles – For posterity, Tanahashi won this when he reversed a Styles Clash attempt into cradle. But in a few years, nobody is going to care or remember who won the match. This was the night Double J joined the force. There will be differing opinions on this, just like the night Yujiro cost Kazuchika Okada the IWGP Heavyweight Title, but if nothing else, this was memorable and resonated. Hours later, I still can’t wrap my head completely around it. It was absurd, and on the weirdest of levels, it worked. Lost in all of this was an excellent match. ****1/4

     AJ Styles spikes Tanahashi on his head! #NJPW #G124 #Jeeeeezus http://t.co/tkxXDJbfxE

— LARIATOOOOO!!! (@SenorLARIATO) August 10, 2014

10. G1 Climax – Final: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazuchika Okada – For the first few minutes of this, there was a noticeable and heavy cloud of shock in what was a crowd already suffering from big building malaise. Give these guys some credit, because we’ve seen wrestlers fall apart mentally under circumstances similar to this in the past (clears throat, RANDY ORTON, clears throat), but that didn’t happen here. They worked incredibly hard, told a great story, and put together a masterpiece of a bout, likely to go down as one of the five best G1 Finals matches ever (if not the best). Without taking a single thing away from Nakamura, who was great, this may have been my favorite Okada performance yet. Perhaps motivated by a crowd that could have been very easy to lose, perhaps motivated by being handed the company torch after months of being out of the primary spotlight, perhaps motivated by a drive to deliver a memorable match that wouldn’t be lost in the shuffle of the two weeks of memorable matches that proceeded it, Okada delivered big and showed a new level of intensity that he may have been saving for a match just like this one. The closing moments were savage. Okada repeatedly picked up his buddy & stablemate, and repeatedly drove him back to the mat with short clotheslines until annihilating Nakamura with a final Rainmaker that left no doubt. I thought this might be the night that somebody kicks out of the Rainmaker, but not after seeing that sequence, and not after seeing the phenomenal bump Nakamura took. This was a statement by Okada, punctuated by his post match promo, where he spoke with a confidence and intensity we have not seen from him. He yanked the mic from Gedo, praised Nakamura, told Styles he’s coming back for *his* title, dropped a bunch of F-bombs (or whatever letter it starts with in Japanese), and looked like a man who should not be fucked with. To me, this was the definitive Okada moment, and you got the sense he was driven some by reality. If this guy is starting to mature from humble young champion to the hungry GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY, BECAUSE THIS IS MY COMPANY AND I WILL FIGHT TO THE DEATH FOR MY SPOT veteran, look out. Taking the title from this man and making him a booking afterthought this past spring may have been the biggest stroke of genius from Gedo & Jado yet. ****3/4

Final Voices of Wrestling G1 Climax Pick’em Standings:
(Winners will be contacted shortly with details on redeeming their prizes. Thanks again for all who participated and a huge thanks to our sponsor IVP Videos (www.ivpvideos.com)

As a result of the main event match time tiebreaker, the winner of the inagural Voices of Wrestling G1 Climax Pick’Em is… PARKER!

2nd: Andrew Bates

3rd: Bryan Rose

Name Total Points
Andrew Bates 84
Bryan Rose 84
Parker 84
Derek Drago 82
Guilherme Jaeger 82
Jesse Ewiak 81
Peter Biancardi 81
Jason Felix 81
Richard 80
Matt McEwen 79
Gin Malkavar 78
Jody Plante 78
sarah kenneally 78
Jamie O’Doherty 78
Mitchel Cowan 77
Joe Bailey 77
Tarek Lababidi 77
Guy 77
Brandon 76
Christmas Benoit 76
Travis Kriens 76
Jack Edwards 76
CRVX 75
Eric Barraza 75
Matt Pecolatto 75
Zach 75
George Charalambopoulos 75
Theo Wilson 74
Andrew Rich 74
Sean N 74
Greg Johnson 74
Alan Counihan 74
Dan Svensson 74
TJ Hawke 73
Paul Cooke 73
Matt Gerardi 73
Jordan Benterman 73
Jon Solomon 73
Lee west 73
Joe Roche 73
Chris Griger 72
Matt Rolder 72
Will Young 72
Larry 72
Dylan Hales 72
Tim Kelly 71
David Dunn 71
Matt Kennedy 71
minorusan01 71
Ryan Kabacinski 71
Rob Reid 71
Garrett Kidney 70
Kevin hare 70
Shelly 70
Dan 70
Adam Hastings 70
Chris Harrington 70
Dylan Harris 70
Jonathan Boyle 70
Jason Woito 69
Darrell 69
Jordan Walp 69
Rich Kraetsch 69
Oliver Court 69
Filip Pejic 69
Joe Gagne 69
Jake 69
John Mulligan 69
Case Lowe 68
Brendan Quinn 68
Dennis 68
Bry Musslewhite 68
Kyle Blevins 68
Dan Masters 68
Pip 67
Jake Glowacki 67
Ben 67
Gavin Fitzpatrick 67
Iftar Puja Utama 67
Steven Ingrassia 65
Kristian Nielsen 65
Dusty Anderson 65
Chris Linay 64
Lasse 64
Nick Probola 64
Rodrigo 63
Aaron Bentley 63
Wayne Maw 63
Ed Burns 63
Will Housell 62
Michael McDonald 61
Rob Viper 61
Ryan Clingman 59
Mario L. Morrison 58
Neil Parthun 58
David Penton 58
Jeff Parker 58
Michael Smart 58
William Fairchild 57
Bill Thompson 57
Daniel Mason 57
Blacktus Jack 57
Kenn Haspel 56
Sunflower 55
Julio 54
Tenese Sarwieh 50