New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 Climax Night 3
September 23, 2021
Ota City General Gymnasium
Tokyo, Japan





Not really. Look, in a time period that’s been particularly harsh to NJPW (much of it not their fault, some self-inflicted) losing one of your most popular wrestlers during one of your most popular periods during a cold snap is not ideal. In fact, it’s straight-up awful. If you opened your door and stuck your ear out you could hear the sound of many a wrestling fan still clinging to their NJPW fandom gasp, and begin to walk away from the tournament their interest depleted and defeated.

Ah, but the Magic Writing Girl is still here. Why? Well, one reason: she agreed to this review and no backing out now. Seriously though, I know there’s magic in the air when the G1 is around. I’m curious how things play out from this point. Not in the, who now win sense, but who’s going to step up. Which wrestlers will now seize this moment and become the unsung hero(s) that the NJPW desperately needs. Maybe it’ll be someone you expect, maybe someone you wouldn’t finger in this role will rise to the occasion and chop it right in the face. These are the moments that can earn respect and elevate careers. Naito is down and out, who’s going to step up and fill the void? That… that has me very excited indeed.


Non-Tournament Results

Tonga Loa defeated Yuji Nagata

Tournament Results

G1 Climax A Block
Great O-Khan [6] def. Toru Yano [4]

Do you ever get a dreaded sense before a match begins that you’re absolutely going to hate it. You already enter the match with a sense of malice toward the proceeds that haven’t even happen yet? It’s an unfair mindset, but here we are, and here I was with that exact mindset going into this match. I’d like to tell you they proceeded to prove me wrong, I’d like to tell you that but I don’t have it in me to lie to you. This was a slog, a chore, and bore, and just flat out bad. Even if you are one of those fans who are spellbound by Yano charm, I assure you hardly any charm can be found here. This was unequivocally in your face awful. Needles to say, don’t skip this, leap over it as high as you can to avoid touching.  1/2*


G1 Climax A Block
KENTA [4] def. Yujiro Takahashi [4]

The question I had going into this match was, would Yujiro be tolerable two matches in a row? The answer? He was pretty tolerable. In all seriousness, I did not hate this. I didn’t think it was capital G good, but it’s definitely going to earn my generous lady’s three. Yujiro’s ceiling is always going to be low, and even then he doesn’t often hit it, but he’s clearly putting in effort and I feel like rewarding that. KENTA is a wonderful little shit, and I still find him quite enjoyable, even if I felt he was a bit subdued in this match. No need to go out of your way to watch this or anything, but if you decide to watch it you won’t completely hate your time, no, that would be the previous match you will find yourself doing that with. Actually, upon thinking about it, this deserves to be slightly above three. It’s really a simple nice match and considering we’re talking Yujiro, that’s not a bad thing. *** 1/4


G1 Climax A Block
Kota Ibushi [4] def. Tomohiro Ishii [2]

You’re always going to be guaranteed hard, crisp-sounding hits when these two face each other. Once more that is exactly what we got. G-1 is an Ishii great match breeding ground and Kota Ibushi is one of the best in NJPW. Those parameters explained this was very good but was missing the spark, the necessary components of a great Ishii or Ibushi match. It’s hard to fully explain. It had those hard hits, it moved along nicely, and both men looked good, but in the end, nothing felt like that next-level shit. Nothing felt like that turning up another gear and bring the match and your emotions through another gear. In a lot of ways, it felt like going through the paces, going through them smoothly and in an entertaining fashion. It felt like formula and let’s not kid ourselves Ishii formula matches usually rule. The formula is a proven success, but it feels like this formula was brewed lesser than normal.

That’s not to say this match is skippable. It is not, it’s Ishii versus Ibushi after all. It’s good, just not great. It’s the kind of match you enjoy, end up with positive thoughts about, but feel disappointed with all the same. It’s a shame cause they worked hard, they worked well together, and it’s not a case of doing anything wrong as much as you need a bit more right. A bit more juice. The crowd is into it clap-wise at parts though, and that does enhance things, if clap crowds can enhance anything for you, so don’t skip this match. Watch this match, enjoy this match, appreciate what you get. Then go back to the past and select any previous Ishii/Ibushi match and compare and you’ll see they blow this out of the water. It’s a winner, but it had to struggle and fight to get over the finish line this go around. I hate to call an over-three-star match underwhelming, but compared to what we can get from these men, that’s exactly what it is. ***1/2


G1 Climax A Block
Zack Sabre Jr. [4] def. Shingo Takagi [4]

In this cruel world where we have had Naito taken away from us, Zack Sabre Jr should be wearing a shit-eating grin not only this tournament but the rest of the year. He should be telling everyone he is the man who singles handily put Naito on the self. Hell, to piss Naito fans off he should be telling them he ended their career. Add as much fuel to the fire as possible for when Naito returns to exact his revenge. Zack Sabre Jr is a threat and in my mind the #1 person to win A block now. Singo Takagi is perhaps the best NJPW has to offer right now, their top dragon, their champion. It’s matchups like these that make me clamor for the G-1, and this was one of my more hyped matches in the earlier shows.

A match that builds as it goes along, a match like this is a journey, and a worthwhile one. Zack using his grappling superiority to try to ground and twist Shingo while Shingo is hard-hitting, hard-throwing, and straight-up physical Crowd gets into this early and for good reason, these are two masters at their respective styles and craft meshing together to make magic. When one kicks it up a notch, the other is able to follow in kind and you get an explosion of greatness. Shingo is world champion and isn’t going to let anyone push him around. Zack Sabre Jr has already collected one trophy in Naito’s leg, and he’s looking to paster his wall with body parts. Both of these attitudes and philosophies come into play in this match. Zack’s movements as he slips and slides and turns certain situations into his favour are masterful. He’s definitely one of the best if not best, technical wrestlers we are watching today. He focuses on Shingo’s arm and makes that the target of his torture.

As the match goes on you begin to wonder if they’ll do it, give Zack Sabre Jr. a submission victory over the world champion, AND THEY DO. It’s wonderful and fantastic and it does everything for Zack Sabre Jr. while doing nothing against Shingo who puts in a hell of an effort. The kind of effort you expect, demand your world champion to give. When he can get out of Zack’s clutches, he takes those moments to make him pay and pay hard, hitting some of his signature offense in brutal fashion. Tit for tat, abuse for abuse. If you can’t sink your teeth into this match I’m unsure what to tell you from this point on. This ruled. In case you can’t tell at this point, I loved this match, and so will you. It’s beautiful. They trade back and forth, they bot get control, and they both lock-in, sync in, and I need more of them against each other after this tournament. Excellent main event with a big win for Zack Sabre Jr. who I hope wins A-Block at this point. ****1/2


Final Thoughts: Very skippable undercard and that borderline includes Ishii vs. Ibushi which is JUST good enough for me to say watch, but there are much better versions of that match out there. The main event is excellent and you should take the time to watch it when you get a chance. A great main event, an undercard you don’t need to worry about.