New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax 29: Night 10
July 28, 2019
Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
The second straight night of G1 Climax action in Nagoya featured a number of big matchups from the B Block. A dream match served as the headliner with the undefeated Jon Moxley going up against Tetsuya Naito, while Jay White looked to build a winning streak to keep his hopes alive after a shocking 0-3 start. Before diving into the tournament matches, here were all of the undercard bouts that took place on this show:
Ren Narita def. Yuya Uemura
The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi) def. Kota Ibushi, Tomoaki Honma, & Toa Henare
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Zack Sabre Jr., & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) def. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, & YOSHI-HASHI) & Shota Umino
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, KENTA, & Karl Fredericks
The biggest note from the undercard is that we got our first non-tournament singles match on the entire tour, as Ren Narita picked up a win against Yuya Uemura. If you’re really into the young lions, then I would say it’s worth checking out. Beyond that, the only other undercard bout I watched was LIJ vs. Tanahashi, KENTA, and Karl Fredericks. Solid stuff, as per usual.
G1 Climax 29 – B Block – Hirooki Goto (4) def. Toru Yano (4)
Before this match got started, Kevin Kelly noted on commentary that the previous two meetings in the G1 Climax between Hirooki Goto and Toru Yano (in 2014 and 2018) have only lasted a combined three minutes and thirty eight seconds. That trend of short matches continued on this show, as Goto picked up the win via a crazy pinfall (which started as a leglock) in just under two minutes. Outside of the finish, and the various rollups that Yano attempted, the only offensive maneuver in the entire match was a reverse atomic drop from Yano. Goto got in a couple of punches, but that’s all he got in. I’m sure he’s not complaining though, as it was a really easy night for him. I know some people always get annoyed with Yano’s presence in the G1 Climax, but this year, I’ve found him to be tolerable and totally inoffensive. A lot of that has to do with the length of his matches. Thus far, Yano’s average match time is just under four minutes. I don’t think anyone’s complaining about that. An extremely short affair (the shortest match in the entire tournament thus far) that resulted in Goto getting a much needed victory. **1/2
G1 Climax 29 – B Block – NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii (6) def. Juice Robinson (6)
What a difference a year makes for Juice Robinson. In last year’s G1 Climax, he didn’t even get his first win in the tournament until Night 10. This time around, he came into Night 10 with an impressive 3-1 record. Unfortunately for Juice, he suffered his second loss of the tournament after a brutal war with Tomohiro Ishii. This was an awesome match that featured hard-hitting, intense action for close to eighteen minutes. These two charged at each other as soon as the bell rang, and it became clear immediately that Juice wanted to wrestle Ishii’s style of match. We saw everything from throat chops, to stiff lariats, to awesome back-and-forth exchanges, and so much more. Both men showed a ton of fighting spirit in this one, and even though Ishii put away Juice in the end with a vertical drop brainbuster, the former two-time IWGP United States Champion looked very strong in defeat. This was one of the best matches of Juice’s career, but it was totally different from his bouts with Jay White in 2018 and with Jon Moxley at this year’s Best Of The Super Junior Finals. Juice stepped up and had a fantastic, strong style fight with one of the best wrestlers in the world.
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) July 28, 2019
Speaking of which, Tomohiro Ishii has had an absolutely fantastic G1 thus far, which shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. His consistency, in terms of the quality of his matches, has been off the charts. Ishii’s going to have some more awesome bouts down the stretch with the likes of Goto, Shingo, and even Taichi (remember, their New Japan Cup match was really strong). He does have Yano coming up as well, but their match in last year’s G1 was pretty good, and I have no doubt that they’ll deliver again. A lot of wrestlers have been doing some fantastic things in this tournament, but if Ishii keeps up this pace, he might be on track to have the greatest G1 Climax in history. ****1/2
G1 Climax 29 – B Block – Jeff Cobb (4) def. Taichi (4)
Going into this show, this was a match that I just couldn’t see myself getting invested in. That’s because both guys are pretty much out of the running at this point (they’re both mathematically alive, but for all intents and purposes, they’re not in contention anymore). The result wasn’t in much doubt either, as this seemed like a perfect spot for Cobb to get some payback on Taichi after he took the NEVER Openweight Title from him during the Wrestling Dontaku Tour. This was by no means a stellar bout, but it ended up being pretty solid. The first five minutes or so were pretty uninteresting, as Taichi gained the early advantage after brawling with Cobb on the floor. However, things really picked up in the second half, once Cobb was able to fight back. We got some good back-and-forth between these two in the closing minutes. Taichi nailed several big kicks and an Axe Bomber, while Cobb showed off his awesome power. This included a nasty piledriver and a really cool spot where he went from having Taichi in a powerbomb position to hitting his swinging Saito Suplex. Taichi tried a low blow in the final moments, but Cobb was able to block it, and he connected with Tour Of The Islands for the win. Cobb’s had a very fascinating tournament thus far, with regards to his matches. Outside of the brutal war he had with Ishii on Night 2, he’s mainly been falling in the ***1/4 – ***3/4 range. That’s by no means bad, but he’s certainly in the lower half of performers in this tournament thus far. However, I feel like he’s going to have some great matches down the stretch, as he still has to face the likes of Goto, Naito, and Shingo.
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) July 28, 2019
Again, with regards to the result, Cobb scoring the victory here wasn’t really in any doubt (especially since he was only on two points coming in), but these two managed to have a good undercard singles bout. Does it meet the incredibly high standard of the G1 Climax? No, but when it comes to the lower end of matches in the G1, I’d much rather have matches like this over absolute stinkers. ***1/4
G1 Climax 29 – B Block – “Switchblade” Jay White (4) def. Shingo Takagi (4)
After starting off the G1 Climax with an 0-3 record (all three of those losses coming against members of CHAOS), Jay White finally picked up his first win of the tournament against Jeff Cobb on Night 8. The former IWGP Heavyweight Champion needed to go on a winning streak if he wanted to stay in contention to win the B Block, and he got the job done here against Shingo Takagi after hitting the Blade Runner. In terms of match quality, I thought this was very much cut from the same cloth as EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA from the night before. It was a really good match featured solid action and told a fine story, but there was just something missing that prevented it from going to the next level. Jay White and Gedo used heel tactics to gain an edge in the opening minutes, but once Shingo started fighting back, we got an entertaining closing stretch. Both men busted out a number of their signature moves, and were able to counter each other at numerous points. There was a great nearfall towards the end when Shingo connected with Made In Japan, and this led to a nice sequence of finisher counters. White able to avoid Last Of The Dragon, and hit two Sleeper Suplexes on Shingo before putting him away with the Blade Runner. Again, from a technical standpoint, this was pretty good, but by no means a standout. While White seemingly peaked early in this tournament with his matches against Goto and Ishii, he still has big matches in front of him against the likes of Moxley, Juice, and Naito. We’ll see if his performances start to pick up again in the final two weeks. ***1/2
G1 Climax 29 – B Block – IWGP United States Champion Jon Moxley (10) def. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito (4)
This was easily one of the most anticipated matches in the B Block, and the win-loss records of both competitors coming in made this match feel even more crucial than it already was. Moxley came into this match with an impressive 4-0 record, but he had a tough task ahead of him, as he went up against one of the biggest stars in New Japan, who was (surprisingly) sitting at a 2-2 record. Many people were expecting Naito to score the victory here. After all, he was already four points behind Moxley, and a third loss would put Naito extremely close to potentially being eliminated. However, to the shock of many, Moxley managed to defeat Naito after hitting an elevated Death Rider. The match itself was pretty awesome, and was definitely the match of the night on this card. There were A TON of mind games early, as Moxley became increasingly frustrated as Naito just calmly took his time during his entrance. This even continued into the opening moments of the match, as Naito continued to toy with Moxley. Once Moxley finally managed to get his hands on Naito, a wild brawl broke out. They brawled in the crowd and around ringside for several minutes (this culminated in Naito hitting a massive running dropkick to a seated Moxley in the entranceway). Things were already intense by this point, but it only got more heated once they got back in the ring. The closing six or seven minutes were very strong, as Naito somehow managed to survive getting dropped on his head a couple of times (once on a slightly botched top rope rana, and again when Moxley hit the original Dirty Deeds). Naito managed to hit a running Destino late, but Moxley was able to kick, and followed up with the aforementioned elevated Death Rider.
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) July 28, 2019
Again, the match itself was great, but the result was a real shocker. Moxley getting wins over the likes of Taichi, Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii and Shingo Takagi wasn’t that much of a surprise, but Moxley beating one of New Japan’s biggest stars certainly was. This means that, in order for Naito to have any shot of winning the B Block, he needs to win out, and Moxley needs to lose out. This would mean that Moxley’s first loss in New Japan would need to come at the hands of Toru Yano. That might seem unlikely, but let’s not forget that the sublime master thief is the ultimate G1 spoiler, who can literally beat anyone. I’m sure that’s the scenario that will play out during the coming B Block shows. There’s no way that a big star like Naito is getting eliminated this early (he’s certainly not getting eliminated before the Osaka shows). This was certainly a concerning result for Naito fans, but all hope isn’t lost just yet. ****1/2
When it comes to the match quality, Night 10 very much mirrored Night 9, which is ironic given that both shows were in the same building. You have two very strong bouts that are absolutely worth checking out (in this case, Jon Moxley vs. Tetsuya Naito and Juice Robinson vs. Tomohiro Ishii), while the other three tournament bouts ranged from pretty good to skippable. If you’re really in a time crunch, the two matches I just mentioned are the only ones you must watch.
Here are the updated B Block Standings after Night 10:
Jon Moxley – 10 Points
Tomohiro Ishii – 6 Points
Juice Robinson – 6 Points
Shingo Takagi – 4 Points
Toru Yano – 4 Points
Taichi – 4 Points
Tetsuya Naito – 4 Points
Jeff Cobb – 4 Points
Hirooki Goto – 4 Points
Jay White – 4 Points
As I already mentioned, Jon Moxley going undefeated in his first five tournament matches was a real shock, especially since everyone else is in a big logjam behind him. Moxley needs to lose a number of bouts coming up. Again, that would mean that Toru Yano would be his first loss in New Japan, but it needs to happen if Naito is going to stay in contention. I don’t think anybody saw this coming. Then again, the G1 Climax always manages to produce surprises, both in terms of the results and the standings, so we could be in for a lot of movement of shuffling in the final two weeks on the B Block side of the equation.