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NJPW G1 Climax 28, LIVE AT THE BUDOKAN! 7/14-8/12

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Watching two The Elite tag team matches in two days made me realize that I wouldn't complain if I never saw YBs or Scurll again. Yes, they have produced some great matches when they needed, but ratio of great to terrible stuff that they do is rather low.

Suzuki vs Evil tag match was pretty cool. Makes me think that maybe they are thinking about doing Suzuki/Evil at RevPro for that British title.

Honmania in Budokan! My life is complete. And Tanahashi being man enough came out to Honma's music. Okada getting booed for evading Kokeshi was also great and Okada even tried to do same DDT that injured him. Everything was wonderful about this match.

This BCOGz stuff is reaching another level of absurdity. But I guess it was right move to have them start shit in a match with Yano and get thrown out of the building before Omega/Ibushi. Anyway since their new CEO was there I guess that this confirms whole "no more cursing" as an angle.

Goto/Juice was enjoyable match. I think I slightly prefer their previous match during Wrestling Dontaku tour, but this was good as well and I'm happy that Juice finally managed to defeat Goto. Goto also sold his arm a lot so I guess there is room for one more match in near future. Perfect stuff for small shows or in the midcard for bigger shows.

Ishii/Sanada had some slight botches and started slow, but towards the end it got crazy. I also like Sanada's tiger suplex, wouldn't mind if he used it as a set-up for moonsault instead of that awful sleeper. All in all Ishii had amazing tournament and Sanada showed lots of improvement as well. I think that in 2019 world might be ready for Sanada's main event push. One thing that I think it lacked towards the end was roll up bridge by Sanada for close pin.

I think that Zack and Naito have great chemistry. Naito likes to make people angry and Zack gets mad easily so it is a treat to watch. It also helps that Naito is very over so every submission by Zack is bound to get appropriate reaction. And well Naito is also good at selling submissions. Anyway, my point is that Naito/Zack is something that I enjoy and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it. And Taka also adds to whole thing, like how he was calming down Zack in the beginning or how Zack now got a huge win with his move. Loved it and I'm looking forward to their another meeting. Speculating randomly, I think that IC title match between them will happen next year once Naito is done with Jericho.

Omega/Ibushi was weird to me in a sense that it felt like high end Omega match. Which is not to say that it was bad or anything of the sorts, but it didn't feel to me like an actual dream match, they added few ridiculous bumps/moves as could be expected, but I'm kinda used to it by now from Omega and Ibushi that it is starting to become less effective, I think. Anyway, I liked it, but I feel like Omega/Ishii and Ibushi/Ishii and likely Goto/Ishii were better matches?

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That felt like a really violent teaser of something bigger to come. The storytelling was excellent with lots of nods to their Peter Pan insanity and Ibushi being more reluctant in the beginning. It makes a lot of sense for Kenny's character to come out fast and less hesitant. He's 0-2 against Ibushi, the reigning IWGP champion, and more of a shades of grey character to begin with. Loved them running back the golden triangle block to apron dragon suplex spot early on and later hinting at that insane hurricanrana from the top to the floor. Great match but felt a little rushed and they have something more special in their locker. If this is indeed a preview of Wrestle Kingdom, then it makes a lot of sense not to give everything away. 

And in a match with an avalanche tiger driver (a nod to AJPW/NOAH for the Budokan?), the scariest bump had to be the moonsault with knees, right? 

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DAY 18 INSTA REACTIONS

watched some of the undercard today. nice to see Honma, the White-R3K stuff was funny, Umino looks like a future hand, Henare seems fine. The commentators mocking Honma's voice was a bit rum.

TONGA-YANO get the bullshit out of the way early with Harold Meij-Tunney doing the lawful neutral authority bit. I love Yano but this match was terrible. 1/2*

JUICE-GOTO nice for Juice to finally get a win over Goto after losses last year and earlier this year. He seemed to dominate him whilst Goto wrestled like his race had been run. Which it had. Enjoyed Juice's babyface routine arriving and leaving. That stuff never leaves you as a kid. ***1/4

ISHII-SANADA really good stuff. Ishii usually gives whatever is left in the tank on the final night (some great wars with Nagata and Elgin) and this was no exception. Enjoyed the stealing each other's signature moves, and the way all the moves are borrowed from their mentors, it was occasionally flashes of Tenryu v Muta only not quite as charismatic. Just as I thought they were finishing they took it up a gear. ****1/4

SABRE-NAITO well-paced and attractive match. I thought this was Sabre's best of the tournament so far because he did less bullshit and more cutting-off and rubbing-in. Wonder why they booked it like this - can only think there's something down the line, otherwise why would you want to shut off the Naito-backdoor possibility as the clock runs down in the main? ****

IBUSHI-OMEGA some thought they'd try and kill each other but I thought the match would look like this (except with some brief interference, reinforced by having Chekhov's Enforcers at ringside in the Young Bucks) - which is to say high intensity, a little messy in parts, undeniably entertaining with a heavy emphasis on story, but not quite the entire package in terms of match quality. Though they did a bit too much trepidatious turnbuckle manoeuvring for my liking, I loooooved Ibushi's huge stomp to Omega's neck. Not sure why a top rope sitout bomb isn't a finish in 2018 either. Anyway, I sound like I'm moaning when I was happy with this and the result and the final match-up. ****1/2

perception change

120px-Green_Arrow_Up.svg.png - IBUSHI, SANADA, ISHII

120px-Arrow_Blue_Right_001.svg.png - YANO, JUICE, GOTO, SABRE, NAITO, OMEGA

120px-Red_Arrow_Down.svg.png- TONGA

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4 minutes ago, sevendaughters said:

SABRE-NAITO well-paced and attractive match. I thought this was Sabre's best of the tournament so far because he did less bullshit and more cutting-off and rubbing-in. Wonder why they booked it like this - can only think there's something down the line, otherwise why would you want to shut off the Naito-backdoor possibility as the clock runs down in the main? ****

Naito had more wins than Ibushi. If he had won or got a draw then Ibushi would have been eliminated.

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Right to the fucking sternum. Horrifying, my man. 

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1 minute ago, Archibald said:

Naito had more wins than Ibushi. If he had won or got a draw then Ibushi would have been eliminated.

that'll be why then!

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1 minute ago, Oyaji said:

Right to the fucking sternum. Horrifying, my man. 

Watch Dave have zero problems with it as he gives it 6 stars.

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It is what it is at this point. I used to agree with most of Meltzer's NJPW ratings and opinions but he's seeming more and more out of touch. The Sabre Driver bump (fucking brilliant tournament booking btw, set it up early as a death move and have him only bust it out here in the biggest match of his tournament and a hugely significant match for the G1) was probably grosser than anything in the main event. Naito continues to want to land on his neck and back of his head as if Hiromu didn't just get fucked up. Whatever, he's a grown ass man. 

Loved the crowd reactions to Ibushi's win. And yeah, that was by far the least contrived setup to a top rope stomp in the history of top rope stomps. 

Btw, agree 100% with @sevendaughters ratings and @Archibald about SANADA being just about ready for da big push to join the top guys. Just needs a few tweaks to his late match arsenal.

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I flipped over to fire off a quick tweet about the double knee moonsault, and when I went back to the match, Omega was already back on offense. That's my only issue with it - there was selling, but both guys were superheroes in terms of shaking off the huge bombs.

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On 8/3/2018 at 11:19 AM, sevendaughters said:

stats latest

12 in 65 = 1 in every 5.41 matches have been 4+ or better.

I also have 12 matches rated 3.75, which tends to be my "I'll watch this again" threshold.

Looking ahead I expect, based on general tastes, performances, and previous (ie. finals are usually always brilliant), that we can expect 8 more with an outside shot of up to 12. Obviously this is a messy and subjective way of talking about wrestling but it would take a lot for me to hit the best parts of 24-27. DAVE thinks it's better than last year already, so buyer beware.

assuming that the final is 4*+, there have been 21 matches rated 4*+ by me in 91 matches. This puts in on a par with G1 24, just behind G1 25, and a little more behind G1 27. Anecdotally it seems a touch better than G1 26 and 23. Those are the only ones I have seen in full.

I've just been doing an individual breakdown and will post it after the final (which I might not see live).

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A night of surprisingly emphatic, decisive finishes. And I would like to thank Gedo for booking the G1 exactly as I wanted and predicted, to make up for my New Japan Cup picks going immediately and absurdly awry.

-You know, Goto's reputation for losing is what it is, but he's really good at it, and was really generous in this case. Basically gave Juice the entire match, and lost clean as you like. Sold the arm really well, which gives him an out, of sorts, but it felt like it carried real narrative weight, and wasn't just someone protecting their image in defeat.

-Ishii's on fire, and Sanada stepped up. The latter wrestled circles around the former early, but Ishii cut off that fancy business, so Sanada had to match the escalating violence. He mostly did, but this is Ishii's time.

-A Michinoku Drive being an instakill death move in New Japan 2018 is amazing, and it worked brilliantly for the finish here. I feel like Sabre rightly sells everything so hard that it makes his sudden "I'm actually fine!" reversals a bit tedious after a while: Either he's remarkably recuperative, or his opponents are suckered in so often that they're all a bit stupid. I don't mean that to be as prominent a complaint as it sounds, though--these two have great chemistry and this was really good.

-My only concern going into the main was that they'd milk the sentimentality too much. I liked the Long Beach GL/Bucks tag a ton, but I understand the complaints people had about all the ~acting~ dragging things out and down a bit. Thankfully, Kenny had all the kayfabe justification he needed to avoid that, and he kinda squashed Ibushi for the first segment of the match. But that's been the story of Kota's tournament so far, really: People wake him up, then he puts them to sleep. And, well, we saw what happened. (I suppose some might be bothered that the first kamigoye didn't to the job, but it was: A) too early, because Kota wanted this over; B) the knee pad was up, because Kota didn't really want to kill him.) They hit eachother really hard--those striking sequences were my favorite part of the match--and built up to the kind of big setpieces you expect, several of which were really cool and appropriately violent looking. The one thing the match, lacked--and I'd never have predicted this--was a real finishing stretch. I mean, in a way 80% of the match was that, because they basically only hit big stuff. But I mean there wasn't the "oh shit, who's gonna win!?" counter/counter/nearfall/counter/nearfall barrage that's so characteristic of New Japan main event style, and so--given that Naito had just lost--there was never really a moment where I felt Omega was winning. I suppose I could praise them for being reserved (sorta, considering all the stuff they hit), but they had the tension of a possible draw to play with, and a lot of big nearfall moves they left in the chamber. It got right up to that red line, but never crossed over into the euphoric the way Omega/Ishii did. Is that because they're saving a ton for Wrestle Kingdom? I think so. But I loved it. Will probably love it more when I watch again, without the worry one of them might die. (And they didn't hold off on the sentimentality post-match, thank god. Kenny saying this is "the age of Kota Ibushi", that he's happy for his life partner. My heart!)

-On that note: Ibushi's gonna win. I'm still gonna just about throw my laptop at five different points when the contest is in doubt, though. In any case, Ibushi channeling Tana as ascendant pretty man main eventer, across the ring from Tana, and also invoking his great old rival as he shifts into sadistic weirdo strike sequences, probably with a goddamn bomaye or two, is gonna be one hell of a trip.

-A few other things:

1: I wonder if Omega seconds Ibushi? I'm thinking and hoping that he does.

2: I wonder if they tease that Ibushi could challenge for the IC title? It is "owned" by his two heroes, but presently stolen and absent. Of course he wouldn't actually do it, but I could see a few moments, mid promo, where it looks like he might.

3: Omega/Ishii for the title, and Ibushi/Sanada for the briefcase? That'll do.

4: What does Naito do now? He could get the IC title back, but he famously doesn't care about it.

5: The Bucks are here, so we need tag team challengers.

6: If Hiromu shows up tomorrow, I might cry. (Not, like, to be "back." Just to show that he isn't dead, and hand off the title.)

7: If he doesn't, I'm hoping for something equally crazy.

8: I'm stoked! Wrestling, man.

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6 minutes ago, Beech27 said:

4: What does Naito do now? He could get the IC title back, but he famously doesn't care about it.

Goto/Naito at Destruction for NEVER title. Naito wins.

Naito/Zack at PS for NEVER title. Naito finally beats Zack.

Naito/Jericho at WK. Naito unifies both belts into something different.

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Ibushi has to win. The fact that they sold out Budokan Hall at full capacity for a non-G1 Final and they couldn’t draw more than 7,500 in Sumo Hall for a non-G1 Final shows the power of this match. This Omega/Ibushi matchup is a mega draw. This could be the one that sells out the Tokyo Dome. People talk about Naito/Okada in 2020 but these guys might do it a year early. 

Also Omega has still never beaten Ibushi in a singles match. It would be a great moment if he finally beats him in the Tokyo Dome.

NJPW could also use this as a bargaining chip. If they offer him the possibility of winning the Tokyo Dome main event, there’s no way Kenny doesn’t re-sign, right?

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Am I the only one that’s not that excited for Ibushi/Tanahashi in the final?

They usually have great matches but you already know that Tana is gonna work the leg and Ibushi will completely forget to sell the leg like he always does which will really hurt the match. Ibushi never sells his damn leg. 

Tanahashi is gonna attack the leg for the entire first half of the match but Ibushi will do all his signature spots quickly without a hint of difficulty making the leg work a waste of time.

This has happened in all their previous matches.

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Fuck NJPW World for spoiling who wins the B Block with their graphic for the finals, which  you see the second you load up to watch the fucking B Block 

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53 minutes ago, Beech27 said:

5: The Bucks are here, so we need tag team challengers.

Well, Loa/Fale didn't actually intervene in Tonga vs Yano, so I don't think they get the 3 month suspension and I think they'll end up challenging. Both combinations were very dominant during the prelim tags.

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Really excited for the final. Think it's a great match-up. I think they'll burn it down.

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1 hour ago, Tromatagon said:

Fuck NJPW World for spoiling who wins the B Block with their graphic for the finals, which  you see the second you load up to watch the fucking B Block 

Wow. Sorry matey.

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Well, I’m an impulsive child who watched the main again, and I did like it way more. I really, really love how the respective block finals told complimentary stories: Okada has regressed a little, and fallen behind his old rival; Omega has ascended, but still isn’t better than Ibushi. And that was, I think crucially, the story they told. There’s a blow away last five minutes where Omega dodges that second kamigoye, and in that alternate universe I probably get the same endorphin bomb Omega/Ishii gave me. But that wouldn’t have been the right choice. Ibushi needed to win clearly and decisively—though you could say Omega got in his own head a bit, going for the avalanche OWA and not sticking with the regular version. Given the venue, I thought it was also an appropriately King’s Road finish, where a big move or two decides the match before a finisher actually earns the three count. That it was a tiger driver that did the job makes it even more resonant.

So, brilliant match for the current story, that puts Ibushi over huge going into the finals *and* leaves a big series of questions only the dome can answer. Omega/Ishii is still my MOTG1, but this joins Okada/Tana, Ishii/Goto, and Ishii/Ibushi on that tier just barely below, for me. 

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Double post, so, uh... here’s a nice pic 

And a random fact twitter told me: Ibushi is already the first man to make the finals of the BOSJ, New Japan Cup, and G1. He would, thus, be the first to win all three as well. 

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2 hours ago, Tromatagon said:

Fuck NJPW World for spoiling who wins the B Block with their graphic for the finals, which  you see the second you load up to watch the fucking B Block 

Dude, they used to be really bad at that and I thought they were over it. Total lack of consideration for their North American audience, which normally I would give them a pass on except: 1) the majority of World subscriptions are from outside of Japan and 2) they're in the middle of a big expansion into America ffs! 

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1 hour ago, Beech27 said:

Well, I’m an impulsive child who watched the main again, and I did like it way more. I really, really love how the respective block finals told complimentary stories: Okada has regressed a little, and fallen behind his old rival; Omega has ascended, but still isn’t better than Ibushi. And that was, I think crucially, the story they told. There’s a blow away last five minutes where Omega dodges that second kamigoye, and in that alternate universe I probably get the same endorphin bomb Omega/Ishii gave me. But that wouldn’t have been the right choice. Ibushi needed to win clearly and decisively—though you could say Omega got in his own head a bit, going for the avalanche OWA and not sticking with the regular version. Given the venue, I thought it was also an appropriately King’s Road finish, where a big move or two decides the match before a finisher actually earns the three count. That it was a tiger driver that did the job makes it even more resonant.

So, brilliant match for the current story, that puts Ibushi over huge going into the finals *and* leaves a big series of questions only the dome can answer. Omega/Ishii is still my MOTG1, but this joins Okada/Tana, Ishii/Goto, and Ishii/Ibushi on that tier just barely below, for me. 

You've definitely added to the depth of my understanding of the match with your analysis, thanks! It defo felt like a table setter and a match that left me with more questions than answers in some ways and not a match that they wanted to tell a completed story/get all them stars (I'm saying this about Kenny Omega?!). Ibushi losing to Omega at the Dome feels right, but it would continue that stupid streak of G1 winners failing at WK. I would say it's going to devalue the tournament soon but this bitch is seemingly bulletproof. Somebody's gotta break the curse and soon. And hopefully before somebody loses the briefcase, which would further take the air out of the tournament's prestige. 

How many times did Omega go for a standard OWA? Twice? He also went for it off the apron in addition to the avalanche version. There was enough here to make it seem Omega's still looking up at Ibushi and overcompensating when he may not have to anymore. You were spot on with the first Kamigoe (STRIGGA is spelling it without the 'y') being way too early. My initial thought was it came that soon because he was playing catchup at that point due to Kenny coming out of the gates in such a dominant fashion. But he didn't lower the kneepad for exactly the reason you gave. He only did when he had to. 

And will the phoenix splash ever hit?

You're right again that the match's syntax was funky compared to normal NJPW big matches. That's certainly okay but I don't think it exceeded it, and maybe that's part of this being a setup and not a blowoff. In a sense, you're right that it was a lot like Omega/Okada where they just got to it and it didn't have the standard back and forth formula in the end, instead choosing to tell an alternative narrative but this time for a completely different reason. Regardless, it didn't get to the point where I was losing my damned mind. It was rather unlike the Ishii/Omega match which was full of counters to counters and seconds long momentum shifts. This had clear control segments and that took a bit away from the drama and played with our expectations. I'm gonna have like a dozen matches to rewatch with my friend, hah, but I look forward to seeing this back on its own merit rather than expecting it to be something it was not. 

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Saw the Ibushi vs Omega match and guess what? I saw this.

tumblr_pdb2k2TmYe1u2ragso1_500.gif

FUCK YES. I saw this and pretty much marked the fuck out. That is how you fucking do that move! For those who do not know, this has always been my dream finisher as a kid.  It was when I saw Unleashed with Jet Li as a kid and I thought to myself as a kid....That would be my finisher.

tumblr_lnykal12Ev1qdenl2o1_500.gif

When I saw Mike Bailey do this move, I was mad as fuck because he made it so fucking weak. Even from the top rope, it looked fucking weak. It doesn't help that Mike Bailey looks like Tom Holland's doughy and dopey brother. Fuck that dude. 

Anyways, great match. BUt I don't care. I am happy.

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