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NJPW G1 Climax 30.


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I’m not sure if Okada is really trying to get it over, or if this—like his balloons before—is another prop to show he’s not the Rainmaker anymore. “Okada doesn’t know who he is without the title” is an interesting premise, but “working boring matches on purpose” is not the most compelling way to tell it. 

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Yeah, because now I'm not sure if he is really working and on purpose having boring matches or is he just having boring matches and we are trying to kayfabe it.

As for submissions, I think that Sho has taken Kushida's spot in that regard.

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Night 5 had been plenty of spectacle between the battle of the ‘no-sellers’ and the battle of the former juniors and that was even before Jay ruined Okada’s night. Shingo might have my favourite in-match facial expressions, that face he pulled just before he ducked the hidden blade was priceless and there was quite a range of others in this one too.

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Night 6 was fun. I think I've overall enjoyed Block B events more than Block A. But there's usually something on every show I've liked.

SANADA vs. Yoshi-Hashi was okay. Can't really remember anything about it.

ZSJ vs. KENTA was great. Favorite match on the show and probably Top 5 of the tournament for me. First KENTA match I've thoroughly enjoyed since, I don't know, 2007? (My memory isn't what it used to be. This is an exaggeration, I imagine.)

Tanahashi vs. Juice was good. Liked Juice's constant effort to get the crowd into it. Liked the ending. Liked the sense of competitive animosity between these two. The hair-pulling early on was unexpected but a nice touch.

Yano vs. EVIL. Thumbs up. Yano is MVP of the tournament. I looked forward to this match more than the others, and it didn't disappoint.

Naito vs. Goto was okay. I liked Goto's second outing against SANADA more (I think). Naito's aggressiveness early was good, but I didn't think Goto's selling was all that great (inconsistent; not a real factor in the last 1/3 of the match [though I may be misremembering]). Naito looked legit out of it at one point, so props to him for tricking me. They covered up some slip-ups really well. Pros.

I'll concur with other folks that the preliminary exhibition matches on all the shows have been very good. Well worth watching.

 

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just finished Night 4. Yoshihashi-EVIL was the best proper match of the night and Yano-Tanahashi was a fun Yano match. Sabre-Naito went for an epic that landed short (some good stuff, but would have been good at half the length) and the other two were solid. I'm enjoying this all thus far but have to say the smaller crowds are hurting it a little.

Naito-Tanahashi the best so far by a short head from Ishii-Suzuki, then everything else a long way back.

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I kind of feel like there's a subtle storyline going on with Juice Robinson getting a little cocky and over-confident early in this year's G1. In previous G1's, Juice would have a chip on his shoulder because he was trying to prove himself and proved he belonged. Now that he's an established veteran, I think he got a little too over-confident in the match with Tanahashi. He was fairly dominant over Tanahashi through most of it, but Tanahashi managed to pick up a surprise win proving he's still the Ace and can beat a less experienced vet. 

Also, the true Ace, Toru Yano, is now 3-0 in the G1 and tied with Naito as B Block leader. Let's send Yano to the Tokyo Dome. This is Yano's year.

Edited by TheVileOne
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Night 7 was good. A few thoughts:

Liked Suzuki and Takahashi. Suzuki might be my Block A MVP thus far. The opening segment was particularly fun, with Takahashi getting the upper hand with his cane only to get a much more brutal beating moments later with a chair. Dig how Suzuki maneuvers his opponents in and out of the choke, in and out of the piledriver. And that elbow . . . so pronounced in each match thus far. They ask for it; he brings it.

Cobb vs. Ibushi was also good, even though I smirk and shake my head every time Ibushi brushes off offense and does his best "manly face." I just don't buy it. Crowd was really into Cobb's strong-man counters, and Ibushi seems to be the right build for Cobb's style of offense.

Okada vs. Taichi was fine. Liked the opening minutes more than the rest of it. Liked that Taichi uses one of Okada's signatures late in the match. Crowd is clearly not enthused with the Cobra Clutch.

Ospreay vs. Jay White was fine. Can't really remember much about it (despite it being one of the later and longer matches).

Not having watched NJPW in years (and only following headlines here and there), I didn't really have any context for the main event and was initially surprised to see it positioned in that spot. Come to find out these two main evented one of the G1 shows last year (and apparently I should track that match down). Really, really liked this, though I can't help but feel it would have been better as an undercard match that had a few minutes shaved off. After a while, I just didn't buy any near falls, just waiting for a big finisher. Liked the post-bell shenanigans too.

 

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Man, the way KENTA holds his left arm, like how it always dangles now, makes me think it's just hanging on by a thread. One day I'll be bored enough to go back and read up on how badly he messed his shoulder and arm up when he was in NXT.

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Night 8 was really fun.

Preliminary match was great. Love these exhibitions.

First two G1 matches were surprisingly short, but they were also my favorite matches of the night. Yano vs. Juice is the only match of the tournament that I wish was a little longer.

ZSJ vs. Goto made good on the fact that Goto had a longish match with the double champ just two nights earlier. Liked that and liked the match overall. Now that he gets a few days to heal before his next G1 match, it'll be interesting to see where they go with the story of his arm (bicep?) injury.

The intermission came only an hour into the show (which started about 4:31am CST).

The next three matches were interesting, since they seemed to match up folks who either liked each other or were part of the same stable. Tanahashi vs. Yoshi-Hashi had an air of friendly rivalry around it. Overall pretty fun, but I can't recall much about it at the moment. Tanahashi is just so good at the NJPW main event style (which isn't my favorite, but still); better than anyone else right now. Crowd loved it.

KENTA vs. EVIL (Bullet Club battle of the capital letters) wasn't as much fun as I hoped. Wished Togo had been a bit more torn about who to help before the briefcase payoff and the finishing stretch. We've had better heel vs. heel matches in the tournament, but this was still entertaining in its way. I like EVIL's theme music.

The main event (battle of Los Ingobernables de Japon) was also good. Liked cocky Naito. SANADA also interested me for the first time since the Yano match on Night 2. Some awkward slips in the finishing stretch, but the result keeps things interesting in terms of who might pull ahead in Block B standings. Crowd was really into this show.

FIVE WRESTLERS in Block A have a 3-1 record. And one has a 2-2 record. Only two wrestlers in Block B have a 3-1 record, but FIVE wrestlers are 2-2. Lots of possibilities here. The next few shows will be interesting as a few guys start pulling ahead.

 

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Up to Day 7. I'll just keep to the notables for now.

- Is it me or is Yujiro showing some mild babyface fire and sympathetic traits?
- Cobb v Ibushi was what this tournament perhaps needs more of: short, energetic, clean finish with not too much spam.
- Willing to be patient while Okada does the 2020 version of the balloon gimmick. Bad back, new finisher (which I like!), go with it, use the G1 to test it.
- Ishii v Shingo was a delight for me. Fair enough if you couldn't buy any pinfall attempt pre-finish but I just like seeing them mix it.

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17 hours ago, doctorhbomb said:

The next three matches were interesting, since they seemed to match up folks who either liked each other or were part of the same stable. Tanahashi vs. Yoshi-Hashi had an air of friendly rivalry around it. Overall pretty fun, but I can't recall much about it at the moment. Tanahashi is just so good at the NJPW main event style (which isn't my favorite, but still); better than anyone else right now. Crowd loved it.

 

This was the most recent match I watched (gonna try and watch the last two Night 8 matches on the train to work now) and I looooved it. Tanahashi worked Yoshihashi like he was the second coming of Kensuke Sasaki or something, working that crowd as if he could only win with them on his side, and they ate that shit up. As I get a bit older I start to feel like the mark of a great wrestler has something to do with how they get you involved in a reasonably low stakes match (like, ok, Tanahashi kayfabe needs to win, but really Tanahashi doesn't NEED to do anything) like this. Objectively it wasn't as good as Tana vs. Naito or a couple of high-end Ishii matches, but as an expression of how wrestling can be really GREAT, I loved it as much as anything I've seen since the Dome.

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The opening seconds of KENTA v EVIL have me thinking that while fans can't actually boo they need to limit the powdering and shitcanning the early sections of matches. There's a thousand ways to be heel but right now your job is to get these people involved. Heel vs heel match and the crowd were clapping like crazy, then KENTA rolls out of the ring and flattens them. Hope it picks up. Maybe silence is his true home, coming from NOAH.

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4 hours ago, TheVileOne said:

Man, Juice is really good at the whole off the cuff, from the hip promo thing. Why do more people not talk about this guy? 

It's weird that there's not much talk but there really should be.  Not only has he shown more of how great he is with wrestling and promos.  But the guy in the truest sense is proof that you don't need WWE to be a star.  He was dealt a shit hand there and left to make a name for himself.  If I was a WWE wrestler I'd look at him and go "Damn, how fast can I get out of this contract and how soon can I get to Japan?"

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God damn, Ishii and Taichi do pull out the best out of each other, definitely right up there as one of my favourite matches of the tournament. 

White/Cobb was a lot of fun too, White made Cobb look like a million bucks. 

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I finished work in time to catch all of Cobb v White, which I enjoyed the hell out of. Then I switched over to AJPW TV and, well, it'll be a few days before I stop marking out over the CC final. Then I switched back in time to catch all of Ospreay v Ibushi, which was also very enjoyable. Sometimes I have being stuck inside in front of my computer screen. Right now is NOT one of those times. Great night of wrestling, for me.

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Night 9 was okay. Probably my least favorite night of the tournament thus far (though after 45 matches, who really knows). Still, far from a bad show, and the results were interesting.

Takagi v. Takahashi was not good.

Cobb v. White was really fun, but it is a bit strange to see Cobb taking huge bumps for White's offense. Sometimes White struggled to move him; sometimes he was just able to hit his moves with no trouble at all.

Okada v. Suzuki was probably my favorite Okada match thus far (though that's not saying much). I'm not really following whatever is going on with Okada, but at least he is consistently struggling to wrestle at his "ace" level. I liked that he seemed totally out of his depth against Suzuki here and couldn't rely on his signature offense to survive.

Ishii vs. Taichi went on too long for my taste. If I had been following NJPW before the tournament, perhaps I would have been more compelled. The inconsistent, spotty no selling didn't really work for me. The crowd LOVED the match, though, so I'm probably not a good judge in this case.

Ospreay v. Ibushi was shorter than I expected it to be (which is a good thing). Might be my favorite Ospreay match thus far. 2nd favorite Ibushi match (since I preferred the Ishii match). Liked that the finishing sequence seemed much more succinct than the previous match. Ospreay's chops are pretty next-level. More impressive as strikes than his leg-slap kicks.

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