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Ryan

2014 G1 Climax

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I would have left it at 8-9 days.  The last 3 days before the finals were a damn chore.  Up to that point, it was a damn good tournament.  Not as good as last year(the actual best tournament ever), but plenty of shit that I loved, even if the guys I wanted to win didn't.

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Is this like the longest tournament ever or what? It seems like this started back in June, jesus.

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Is this like the longest tournament ever or what? It seems like this started back in June, jesus.

 

Ran 20 days from 7/21 to now. The ROH World Title Tournament took two-ish months last year.

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It was brutal long.  If they had just cut out three wrestlers from each block it still would have been a decent sized tournament but more focused, and the wrestlers wouldn't have been so beaten up by the end.  Hopefully it won't get even bigger next year.

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I'm calling for a critical re-analysis of the 2000 G1 Climax. Twenty wrestlers! SIX days! FOUR blocks! I don't care if the final was Kensuke vs. Nakanishi. It sounds downright pastoral after our current marathon.

 

I don't know how the money works out with the tournament - I'd have to imagine that live gates provide more relative revenue than TV rights did 14 years ago. So if you need more ways to almost sell out mid-level venues, just cheat a few extra dates. Add one wrestle to each block (+1 day), separate the semi-final and finals day (+1 day), still give guys a day off (+1 day? But then the number isn't even so if you gave two guys off? I can do this math but I'm choosing not to). I'm happy that NJPW has so many active HW singles wrestlers who can perform at a high level, but I want some (potentially misguided) shakeups.

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128 wrestler single-elimination tournament, TNM style.

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128 wrestler single-elimination tournament, TNM style.

If by TNM style you mean I can press my spacebar to get to the finish of the match then sure

 

James

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I finished up the tournament last night and I'd say that the average match quality was better than last year's tournament but the high end stuff from last year was a step or two above this year's best. As a whole, long strings of single matches really do expose the style and individuals, though. 90% of the matches had the typical modern puroresu formula, particularly in the stretch run with bigger but not quite huge moves being traded, then the first finisher reversal stretch, then the absolute worst, nonsensical 50/50 strike exchange (from within a minute of one guy getting dropped on his head a bunch, fuck off with that noise!), then the last finisher reversal exchange and the actual finish. Pretty boring when you know nothing matters prior to the lame-ass 50/50 exchange (which also starts most matches). Why not move away from the formula a few matches per show? Have somebody hit their finisher first go 'round? Have more Tanahashi-esque flash pinfalls? Have a match end abruptly, like three minutes in - particularly near the end of the tournament when guys are prone to mental mistakes from exhaustion? Does damn near every match have to be an epic? Between the formulaic pattern most matches fell into and the lack of selling and simple psychology, it really emphasizes the problems I have with the style. I remember tournaments back in the '90s having all sorts of surprising shit happen in them to spice things up. There would be more long-running stories woven throughout the tournament as well. I suppose Tanahashi and Makabe's injuries were like that this year, but not the most compelling of shit.

 

Even with all the bitching, there are about 5-10 really good matches that eclipse the formula, or do it so well that you forget that it is the same shit you've been watching for the past two weeks. There are a bunch of solid-to-pretty good matches in there too. Tenzan, Kojima, Nagata were all pleasant surprises in the tournament but I think the MVP has to be Styles. He really surprised me with some quality heeling, bits of comedy gold, and creative ways of making the finishing stretches different for each match. It's weird when AJ Styles is having among the least contrived matches in the tournament. I thought for sure he'd make the finals against one of Nakamura, Tanahashi, or Shibata. Going back to the long-term storytelling, I thought he'd either win or get reversed with the super Styles Clash he went for against Okada on day 1 in the finals as an example of planting the seed for storytelling, but alas. I enjoy some of Okada's matches, but I find he's the guiltiest of doing all the pet peeves I have (my favourite: hit an inverted Gotch-style tombstone piledriver, then immediately grope the guy to a standing position [he doesn't pull them up! He just touches them until they start moving, hah] to do your next move - you can sometimes see the gears going in his head "next move! Next move!"). Props to Honma bringing the underdog fighting spirit, Shibata for his old school amalgamation of Choshu's intensity and poor man's Maeda fighting style, Nakamura is my favourite of the main NJPW guys, which is weird because he was so dull and so forced until his bizarre charismatic epiphany years ago. Fun but flawed tournament in all.

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I finished up the tournament last night and I'd say that the average match quality was better than last year's tournament but the high end stuff from last year was a step or two above this year's best. As a whole, long strings of single matches really do expose the style and individuals, though. 90% of the matches had the typical modern puroresu formula, particularly in the stretch run with bigger but not quite huge moves being traded, then the first finisher reversal stretch, then the absolute worst, nonsensical 50/50 strike exchange (from within a minute of one guy getting dropped on his head a bunch, fuck off with that noise!), then the last finisher reversal exchange and the actual finish. Pretty boring when you know nothing matters prior to the lame-ass 50/50 exchange (which also starts most matches). Why not move away from the formula a few matches per show? Have somebody hit their finisher first go 'round? Have more Tanahashi-esque flash pinfalls? Have a match end abruptly, like three minutes in - particularly near the end of the tournament when guys are prone to mental mistakes from exhaustion? Does damn near every match have to be an epic? Between the formulaic pattern most matches fell into and the lack of selling and simple psychology, it really emphasizes the problems I have with the style. I remember tournaments back in the '90s having all sorts of surprising shit happen in them to spice things up. There would be more long-running stories woven throughout the tournament as well. I suppose Tanahashi and Makabe's injuries were like that this year, but not the most compelling of shit.

Have to wholeheartedly agree with this point, im new to puro at this stage and to be honest the G1 tournament is the first time I've watched puro in bulk.

But ive noticed throughout the tournament that every match follows the exact same layout and it makes watching 3-4 matches in a row a bit of a chore, now im not knocking the style or layout of matches in a single match capacity (im after becoming a huge fan of puro thanks to this tournament) but cant help but feel changing up some of the match layouts would liven up the tournament format.

That said,the tournament gave us some fantastic matches,Styles/Suzuki was fucking awesome and definitely one of the matches of the year.

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I'd visit Ditch's websites and go through some of the All Japan matches mentioned in the remedial thread on Kawada/Misawa. Also, Choshu in the '80s, the Tenryu/Jumbo feud, and Stan Hansen vs. just about everybody except his matches with Jumbo are all good places to branch out. Puroresu transformed in the mid '90s and not for the better in my opinion. There was less emphasis on moves and more emphasis on psychology, though it's always been a more aggressive style of wrestling compared to North America and Mexico. Perhaps this modern style is the natural evolution of what once was, I don't know. Just seems like a lot less variety now and that's a shame.

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That's a complaint I'd direct towards New Japan in general because of a personal preference towards uncommon finishes to keep people (fans and fighters) on their toes rather than wait-for-the-finisher pro wrestling. Usually I'd use WWE's dominance and NJPW's upturn as proof that the market has spoken and I should silence my out-of-touch dissent, but for me crazy results and alternate match styles that couldn't normally happen are the whole point of booking a tournament like this. Main event, or upper card match in a tour ender with Meltzer-influenced iPPV dollars to be had then I get it you've got to ep it up a bit, but not here.

 

Was going to say something about how the giant format means there's no room for palate-cleanser tags when I realised that while the heavies are killing themselves the rest of the roster are sat in the back enjoying their two months off. Awkward.

 

Sucks for Goto to un-win his feud.

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I wonder how many of the people bashing the tour are bashing the quality or just Meltzer's hyperbolic nonsense?

 

Anyway,..............

 

I really hate to end this on a bad note but for me it was possibly the worst show of the tour. The last show was a tired effort, this went up to exhaustion. I was starting to fear a big fuck up and we nearly got one. So many things not going right in the last 5 matches, little slip ups, moves not hitting as they should, tired sloppy strikes etc

 

I didn't watch the Jr Tag Title match, to save a long explanation it was due to time. I'll watch it tomorrow probably.

 

G1 CLIMAX 24 FInal

 

Archer/Smith/Michinoku/Desperado vs. Tenzan/Kojima/TM4/Taguchi: Pretty much an iPPV level dark match
Fale/Gallows/Yujiro vs. Bushi/Nagata/Nakanishi: Filler
Suzuki/Iizuka/Benjamin vs. Yano/Sakuraba/YOSHI-HASHI: Filler
 

The Maria Kanellis Arse Invitational: Liger/C'N NJ vs. Cole/Bennett if you're in love with Maria's arse you'll love this as much as the cameraman (i'm not, i prefer more meat on the bone) Would be a fine lower card match on most iPPV's but this wasn't your average iPPV.
 

Naito vs Honma started well enough, the crowd were into it but it fell apart. VERY stiff looking brainbuster from Honma followed by Naito not getting out of the way quick enough for the diving headbutt. Didn't look good
 

Ishii vs Anderson Zero pleasure from this. Ishii looked in serious pain throughout, Anderson broke Ishii's nose on the first maybe the second move which produced quite a bit of blood, then Ishii went for a superplex and both crashed to the mat Anderson was VERY lucky not to land on his head and to top it off with Ishii in the corner huddled over in pain they zoom in on a woman crying her eyes out. If this was a work it would be fantastic. it wasn't.
 

Goto vs Shibata Not good, super super stiff but not good. Both tired, Shibata looked to have injured his pec maybe a rib as well during the match and if Goto's jaw is still in place i'll be surprised. As stiff a Go 2 Sleep as you've ever seen and Shibata's spinning chop has never been stiffer.
 

Tanahashi vs Styles: Have you ever watched a match between two guys half asleep? I expected this to be an all out fast paced match that i was either going to like or moan endlessly about. Just about decent. If you've ever dreamed of seeing these two have a match SKIP THIS and wait for next time. The less said about the crap afterwards the better.
 

Nakamura vs Okada This started like the last one, plodded along again both guys dead on their feet but the ending was kind of fitting, two guys knackered after a long tour desperate to win giving everything and the last 5 mins was a great way to end the tour. Those Rainmaker reversals JESUS!

 

----------------------------

I can't believe i watched every G1 match. I started out thinking of just watching the matches i wanted to watch then after that first show being so much fun it was a breeze up until day 9. the last 3 to 4 shows have been a struggle. They need to cut this down next year, they probably won't. Two Blocks of 8 is enough, this was crazy.

 

Best Wrestler: Nakamura

Best Show: Day 7 at Korakuen

Surprise of the Tournament: Tenzan: not only lasting the whole tour but stepping up and having the best singles matches he's had in years.

Best Match: i'm gonna need a longer think

Worst Wrestler: Gallows

Worst Show: The Finals

Worst Match: Gallows vs Fale

Worst Moment: Honma not getting the win on the final day.

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So after reviewing everything, I averaged out what match score each wrestler got throughout the tournament.  Basically I use a real scale, so 5 is actually average, 6 is solid, etc.  This is what I came up with for each block:

 

Block A:

 

Katsuyori Shibata - 6.65
Tomohiro Ishii - 6.25

Shinsuke Nakamura - 6.15

Hiroshi Tanahashi- 6.1

Yuji Nagata - 6.05

Tomoaki Honma - 6

Satoshi Kojima - 5.9

Davey Boy Smith Jr. - 5.5

Shelton Benjamin - 5.3

Doc Gallows - 4.9

Bad Luck Fale - 4.4

 

Block B:

 

AJ Styles - 6.7

Kazuchika Okada - 6.65
Hiroyoshi Tenzan - 5.9
Karl Anderson - 5.7
Tetsuya Naito - 5.65
Hirooki Goto - 5.4
Toru Yano - 5.15
Yujiro Takahashi - 5.1
Minoru Suzuki - 5
Togi Makabe - 4.85
Lance Archer - 4.2

 

Not too surprising to see so many wrestlers around the '6' line, it goes with my thoughts that a lot of the matches were solid but nothing great.   I know Suzuki didn't do well but he to me is someone that has either really good or really bad matches.  He probably had the widest range of matches as he had a few I loved, but a lot were below average.  Didn't help that he had the worst opponents.

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My Archer/Fale finale would have been glorious.

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Only if you booked Inoki face punching the loser for no reason.

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Not to bring this argument back up but I was thinking. Do "we" say the last 2 G1's were so great because they are pretty much the only 2 G1's that were so accessible to EVERYONE? If YouTube, DailyMotion, and USTREAM were invented in 1992, would we still be making these "best cards of all time" claims?

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I think all the G1 Climaxes from the last decade or so were pretty easy to find, hell I remember purchasing the 2004 G1 Climax complete soon after it came out and youtube/DM have been around for a good while now (we are old).  I think it is more because there are a lot more matches now than there used to be.  On one hand more matches is exhausting, but percentage-wise it gives the tournament a much better chance at having a 'stand out' match.  This year there were 111 G1 Climax matches.  In 1992 (just for example) there were 15.  So if 5% of the matches this year were 'great' and 10% of the 1992 matches were 'great', the 2014 version would still win by a margin of 5.5 to 1.5 in terms of the number of great matches.

 

I guess what I am saying is that with sooo many matches there are bound to be some great matches, and since people can pick and choose the matches they want to see (most people aren't dumb enough like me to watch literally every single match), they are only seeing the great matches.  If you choose 10 matches from 2014 to watch and 10 matches from 1992 to watch, the 2014 version is going to win.  So to answer your question I don't think its availability, I think it is quantity.

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 (most people aren't dumb enough like me to watch literally every single match)

 

Oh come on those other people haven't truly lived until they've sat through a tournament's worth of Bad Luck Fale matches!

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I had so much free time this past summer, I too watched every tournament match (skipped a couple of the non-tourny matches on the finals)

 

Honestly, Fale surprised me. He was in some decent to good matches. Gallows was by far the worst guy in the tournament.

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 (most people aren't dumb enough like me to watch literally every single match)

 

Oh come on those other people haven't truly lived until they've sat through a tournament's worth of Bad Luck Fale matches!

 

That might be banned by the Geneva Convention.

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I had so much free time this past summer, I too watched every tournament match (skipped a couple of the non-tourny matches on the finals)

 

Honestly, Fale surprised me. He was in some decent to good matches. Gallows was by far the worst guy in the tournament.

 

Gallows was certainly the most disappointing to me,  In an "on paper" sense he seemed like an awesome inclusion; maybe if I payed more attention to the non-tournament shows I'd have known better.

 

I just remember my reaction to Fale's matches ranging from indifference to fighting the urge to fast forward.

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