NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
G1 CLIMAX 29 – NIGHT 18
Watch: NJPW World
- Ren Narita & Shota Umino defeat Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji
- BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) defeat Los Ingobernables de Japón (BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA)
- Kota Ibushi, Toa Henare & Tomoaki Honma defeat KENTA, Clark Connors & Karl Fredericks
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay & YOSHI-HASHI defeat Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Lance Archer & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
G1 CLIMAX 29 B BLOCK
JEFF COBB (8) DEFEATS TORU YANO (8)
That sure was the final Yano match of the G1. This was nothing like the Shingo, Ishii or Moxley matches, just the classic routine. There was an original spot in which Yano trapped Cobb on his singlet and rolled him up for a nearfall. The match should have ended right there, instead, it went 5 minutes until Cobb applied the Tour of the Islands for the win. Cobb ends his first G1 in underwhelming fashion, after a pretty strong start against Ishii, he hasn’t had an stand-out performance. He hasn’t been bad either, just a guy who always puts out a good effort. Yano has been Yano. **
G1 CLIMAX 29 B BLOCK
TAICHI (8) DEFEATS TOMOHIRO ISHII (8)
If you miss G1 sprints, this is the match for you. Taichi stood up to Ishii and wrestle his type of match. No shenanigans, just two dudes kicking and striking each other. In some ways, it was reminiscent of the G1 classic between Ishii and Shibata in 2013. That match put Ishii on the map and he’s been a constant MVP contender of the tournament, and of New Japan in general since then.
Hopefully, this match does the same for Taichi, because he proved here that some of his previous big matches with the likes of Naito were not a reflection. In the final moments of the match, when Ishii was about to apply his Brainbuster finish, Budokan erupted in support for Taichi. The Japanese crowds really want to love this guy, and with performances like this, he’ll earn that love for sure. Ishii was amazing as usual, and slowly but surely he has gained a status in which crowds don’t need to support him all the way through like a few years ago, when he was always the plucky underdog. Now he’s just Tomohiro Ishii, the badass that can’t stop having great match after great match, and this was another example of that. ****½
G1 CLIMAX 29 B BLOCK
JUICE ROBINSON (8) DEFEATS JON MOXLEY (10)
After the sprint that was Ishii vs Taichi, Moxley and Robinson opted for a more traditional style pro wrestling match. Robinson sold his knee from early on, and most of the match consisted on Moxley working that body part in classic fashion. Juice really is a great babyface and this style of match works perfectly for him. He does impeccable selling, and his mannerisms and facial expressions are top notch. Moxley, on the other hand, comes across as a sadistic pro wrestler, so he also benefits greatly in a bout like this. A good example of this dynamic is the spot where Robinson bit Moxley’s piercing out of his ear, which made for a great visual and popped the crowd.
They even put their own spin into the classic pro wrestling trope of “unconscious babyface lifts his arm just before the third fall and mounts a comeback”. Robinson just grabbed the referee by the ankle, but Moxley doesn’t realize it and starts celebrating. After the ref tells Moxley, he becomes increasingly frustrated and starts to throw weapons into the ring. Juice takes advantage of his opponent’s lack of focus and applies the Pulp Friction for the win. Nicely work match between these two, who will obviously met again in the near future. ****
G1 CLIMAX 29 B BLOCK
SHINGO TAKAGI (8) DEFEATS HIROOKI GOTO (10)
Shingo and Goto did what they know how to do best: beating the shit out of each other. It was similar to the Ishii and Taichi match, only that Shingo and Goto started working at a slow and methodical pace instead of going balls out from the beginning, allowing for a more structured match that build to an amazing climax.
Shingo is just one of the most charismatic wrestlers in the world right now, and his final three performances on this G1 have been outstanding. His run has been a complete success and who knows what’ll come next, but he has proven that he can hang with the heavyweights.
Goto’s G1 has been consistent, but not remarkable, especially in a year like this with so many high level matches. But his entire tournament gets redeemed just for one of the lariats he took from Shingo that almost decapitated him, and was one of the most vicious clotheslines that you’ll ever see. That lariat is worth a quarter of a star in his own right. What an intense and physical bout between these two warriors of the ring.****½
G1 CLIMAX 29 B BLOCK
JAY WHITE (12) DEFEATS TETSUYA NAITO (10)
Saying that this match and its result have been controversial is selling it a bit short. Almost two years of hope for Naito fans to get their moment at next years Wrestle Kingdom practically evaporated the moment Red Shoes Uno slapped the three count. Naito joins the list of top tier New Japan main eventers that have lost to Jay White in 2019, and like with many of White’s big moments, the seeds were planted all along but many didn’t want to see them. His run in this years G1 recalls the first Kenny Omega G1 in execution. When many assumed that his push was done after losing the IC title to Elgin, Omega only needed two incredible performances in his block finals and the actual final to remind everyone that the push was not getting colder, it was, in fact, hotter than ever.
But that Omega comparison might be damaging to White, since he’s no best bout machine. Part of the controversy with the B block final is that is not up to standard when it comes to big time New Japan matches. White vs Naito was not the best match on a show with two incredible matches, but it wasn’t any kind of bad match either, in fact, it was pretty great. The final stretch was memorable and dramatic, you could feel the tension in the building, the usual White hijinks where kept to a minimum, and the final pinfall had those Okada vs Naito vibes that are so hard to get in pro wrestling. Yes, maybe this wasn’t a match at the level of 2016’s Naito vs Omega, but it was a good main event.
There’s also been a lot of concern for tomorrow’s final after the angle in the post-match, where White attacked Ibushi’s leg. It’s obviously going to be worked around that body part, and it probably won’t be an epic like years prior. The goal seems clear: Ibushi fights from underneath and gets a hard-fought victory against top heel Jay White to make him the biggest babyface possible going into the Tokyo Dome shows. This is not a bad decision, maybe an odd one, but we’ll see what happens in the G1 Finals. ****¼
The final night of action in the B block was probably the best show of this half of the tournament, with two amazing matches starring two of the MVPs of the tour. The result of the main event has the potential to be a seminal moment in New Japan’s modern history, and sets up and intriguing G1 Final.
VOW G1 Climax Audio Reviews & Pick’Em Standings/Scores
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