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NJPW G1 Climax 31.


The Natural
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My MOTNs: Naito/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Okada, Shingo/ZSJ, Sanada/Taichi, Ibushi/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Tama, O-Khan/ZSJ.

So yeah, ZSJ is a clear MVP for me. Unfortunately his 4-0 streak probably means that he is about to eat multiple Ls, but if God exists then ZSJ should be making finals. Looking at B block I'd probably most enjoy another ZSJ/Sanada match.

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I'm maintaining optimism for a ZSJ push on the basis that NJPW are starting to realise the value of a talented foreigner who isn't only wrestling for them because there wasn't an English speaking alternative offering their pay grade when their contract was negotiated.

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14 hours ago, Salads said:

I'm maintaining optimism for a ZSJ push on the basis that NJPW are starting to realise the value of a talented foreigner who isn't only wrestling for them because there wasn't an English speaking alternative offering their pay grade when their contract was negotiated.

Well it’s no secret that New Japan’s popularity is because they’ve cultivated a foreign roster of talent. Even native fans have always been into that part of the company. The pandemic exposed that further, and covering for it has created a weakness. If you look at the “Popular Video” rankings, the B-Block videos tend to pack that list, more than A-Block. Without question ZSJ is the only foreigner with name recognition, and credibility currently working in this tournament. I mean it’s probably less than years past, but you’d have to take advantage of whatever you got if you’re New Japan. 

I think what will hurt New Japan again is what they’ll do after this G1. I’m reminded of the 00’s where they ran packed G1 houses, and interest had gone up, but fans disappeared again when they started running regular tours because the cards, and actual matches got worse. We’ve seen how they’ve run these shows before the G1. Running two Dome shows again doesn’t strike me as a good idea. They better pray things improve with travel to Japan.

Edited by LoneWolf&Subs
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My MOTNs: Naito/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Okada, Shingo/ZSJ, Sanada/Taichi, Ibushi/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Tama, O-Khan/ZSJ, Taichi/Yoshi.

I'm not sure, but my gut feeling is that this was the weakest show so far and crowd was dead even by clap-crowds standards.

I don't agree with ZSJ being only foreigner with name and credibility. Cobb has been heavily pushed since last year's WTL and is having a good tournament as well. If I'm not mistaken he was also third in NJPW's poll of who'll make the finals from B block, while ZSJ wasn't even in the conversation.

That being said ZSJ has been getting a slow push since the pandemic. While these two years he spent most of the time in tag team wrestling he did participate in many semi-main of big shows and last year got many matches against Tanahashi/Ibushi, while this year got few against Naito/Sanada. Getting into G1 finals would be logical next step, I think. But how far can he go? Who knows really, but to me "big problem" is that usually Taichi looks like a bigger star when they are tagging. And you know, Shingo/ZSJ might be a better title match, but I'd rather buy tickets for Shingo/Taichi.

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4 hours ago, Archibald said:

Found the poll I was thinking about: https://www.g1climax.jp/en/ef.html

So I was wrong on ZSJ not being in the conversation, but Cobb ranked higher.

Yeah, but 44% percent of that poll was voting for the now-injured Naito to win the block. If you erase that number, factor ZSJ's 9% of the vote, keep in mind that the 18% of people voting for Shingo forgot that the champ can't win...

...hold on, some mysterious chain mail just appeared my head that I gotta go deal with.

Edited by John E. Dynamite
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My MOTNs: Naito/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Okada, Shingo/ZSJ, Sanada/Taichi, Ibushi/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Tama, O-Khan/ZSJ, Taichi/Yoshi, Shingo/Ibushi, Taichi/Cobb.

Shingo/Ibushi match works very well with my theories about what WK is going to be like this year. While on B block results are a bit surprising to me. Looks like pretty much only Okada and Cobb are alive? With outside chance of Evil winning it as well, but he likely will be spoiled on final night by Sanada.

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I think there are only two who are actively eliminated 

Spoiler

Goto and YOSHIHASHI

but it's really only Okada, Cobb, EVIL and Tanahashi (would have to beat Cobb to have a chance) who are in a real position to win. Everyone else needs to win out and get help to have a chance and pretty much are all one loss away from being eliminated.

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My MOTNs: Naito/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Okada, Shingo/ZSJ, Sanada/Taichi, Ibushi/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Tama, O-Khan/ZSJ, Taichi/Yoshi, Shingo/Ibushi, Taichi/Cobb, O-Khan/Ishii.

Pretty good show, ZSJ/Yujiro and Tanga/Ibushi were close to main event for me. If not for very bad looking botch on Ibushi's part then I think Tanga/Ibushi would have even been by MOTN. I don't know, Tanga to me starts to look kinda like Lance Archer - tag guy for eternity and when he hits 40s starts actually having pretty good singles matches.

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That Ibushi botch was a bit scary, glad he was able to recovery well. Loa has been really fun in the G1 and I'm really enjoying it, hope he gets some more G1 appearances in his career. O-Khan has looked really good too, I think he has a bright future ahead of him and I'm glad to see it I was a big fan of him during his young lion days.

I think the results have eliminated Yujiro and Loa unless there is some deep level tie breaker stuff I'm over looking.

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The O-Khan-Ishii match delightfully exceeded my expectations.  I thought it would be good, of course, because Ishii would make it so, and he did.  However, it would be far too easy to say, as has been implied elsewhere, that O-Khan's best matches, with ZSJ and Ishii, were only due to the quality of his opponents.  I feel that argument simply doesn't work anymore after the Ishii encounter, as O-Khan wasn't necessarily being led so much after a certain point, and it was him equally as much as Ishii who took the match to the next level in terms of creativity and brutality.

The G1 has really allowed him to show his overall in-ring prowess and he has quite the bag of tricks, which he has obviously refrained from fully dipping into until now.  I still think he's a bit of a work in progress, but all the key elements appear to be there.  

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Every now and again I try to remember to thank posters on this forum because I barely ever actually watch wrestling but love reading your thoughts. Extra appreciative of the G1 talk this time round because from what I'd seen of NJPW talk so far this year on this and other sites, I'd resigned myself to the possibility that there may not have been any.

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Night 6 of B Block, first time I've been flat wrong about all 5 matches on one night

 

Spoiler

I was looking at my bracket and saw that Sanada still had a path with EVIL and Cobb to go so thought it might be that time of the tournament where someone starts making a move (yeah Okada owns the tiebreaker but he has to lose at some point right?  ..... right? Also the way Kevin Kelly was talking up how someone needs to slow down EVIL so why not the ace and... yeah this show pretty much shit in my cereal. So maybe not all 5 since after Cobb won I feel like him vs. Okada getting each other at 8-0 is super intriguing but if they really want to tease EVIL winning or at at least making the finals, both of those guys need to hit some road blocks.

Solid night of wrestling overall though, especially Okada/Taichi. Kind of wish Taichi was up more on points but even with his losses they really feel like those "god, he's so close" kinds of matches. For shitty as how EVIL is getting everything done though, dude really feels like the most dastardly heel in wrestling in some time.

 

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My MOTNs: Naito/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Okada, Shingo/ZSJ, Sanada/Taichi, Ibushi/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Tama, O-Khan/ZSJ, Taichi/Yoshi, Shingo/Ibushi, Taichi/Cobb, O-Khan/Ishii, Okada/Taichi, O-Khan/Ibushi.

O-Khan had many haters, but after those matches against ZSJ, Ishii and Ibushi I can't see how someone can't be very high on him. And no, he wasn't carried in any of them.

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O-Khan I think gets more negativity because of the current negative feeling towards New Japan, he and Wato kind of personify the current COVID-stale period. I think he's great! His match with Naito in the New Japan Cup is one of my favourites this year and he's really shining in the G1. Outside of the Yano stuff mid-year, he's delivered in every featured singles match. 

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My MOTNs: Naito/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Okada, Shingo/ZSJ, Sanada/Taichi, Ibushi/ZSJ, Tanahashi/Tama, O-Khan/ZSJ, Taichi/Yoshi, Shingo/Ibushi, Taichi/Cobb, O-Khan/Ishii, Okada/Taichi, O-Khan/Ibushi, Okada/Chase, Shingo/O-Khan.

During Yano/Chase feud I was expecting him to be evil Yano in G1, but he is trying real hard to show that he belongs. He probably is well aware that he is in this only due to Covid so he wants to make a case for himself why he should be included next year as well. And he is going to get Tanahashi title match after G1 so it feels like he might establish himself as a decent midcarder on the Yoshi/Finlay level.

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28 minutes ago, The Natural said:

Blast from the past:

x69xzatvmse31.jpg

As I said at the time, they totally needed to follow this up with everyone in his block suddenly selling the effects of food poisoning for a day or two.

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