New Japan Pro Wrestling
G1 CLIMAX 29
Day 9 – Block A
Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Aichi
Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero on commentary which is PERFECTION.
LANCE ARCHER (4)
KOTA IBUSHI (4)
Archer just decks Young Boys at ringside as he circles the ring on his entrance. LOVE his new music and shtick. What a G1 for Archer. Chants for Ibushi who hits kicks and strikes early and uses speed to evade Archer, landing a dropkick. Archer catches a spring, Ibushi looks for a rana reversal which Archer blocks, Archer looks for a powerbomb but Ibushi ranas Archer over the top to the floor. Golden Triangle is blocked by Archer who throws Ibushi into the barricade. The injured ankle is targeted by Archer on the floor, and Archer throws Ibushi into a Young Lion and then takes another Young Lion out because he can, motherfucker. Archer brings Ibushi back inside and stalks him, then hits a black hole slam and covers for 2. Clubbing blows from Archer who looks for the EBD Claw early, Ibushi blocks it so Archer takes out the ankle again. RIDICULOUS short arm lariat by Archer, cocky cover but a solid 2 count as Archer now just steps on Ibushi’s face. Chants for Ibushi, Archer yells at them to shut up. Flurry by Ibushi, Archer looks for the Derailer but Ibushi counters by jumping up and driving his knees into the back of Archer’s head, driving him into the mat. Another flurry by Ibushi who hits a powerslam, the ankle almost gives out but he gets the spring moonsault and covers but only gets 2.
Ibushi now looks to climb but Archer cuts him off with a rising knee strike, looks for a superplex, Ibushi blocks and gets Archer up for a sit out powerbomb. Cover but only 2. Ibushi eats a boot from Archer and Archer comes in from the apron walking the ropes into a flipping senton into a standing Ibushi! Cover but only 2. Archer is awesome. Kicks by Ibushi but Archer just DESTROYS Ibushi with an ABSURD Chokeslam, cover but still only 2. WHAT THE HELL MAN. Archer calls for the EBD Claw again, chants for Ibushi but Archer gets it applied and Ibushi is able to make the ropes for the break. Full nelson by Archer but Ibushi gets a rollup for 2 and a Boma Ye to the back of Archer, and calls for Kamigoye. Ibushi lines up Archer but Archer just DRIVES his knee through Ibushi with a Kamigoye of his own! Cover but Ibushi is out at 2! Archer now positions Ibushi and climbs to the top but Ibushi moves out of the way and Archer crashes on the moonsault attempt. Ibushi measures Archer and runs but Archer catches him for Blackout, Ibushi escapes and hits a head kick, uncovers the knee, channels Nakamura and hits BOMA YEEEEEEE! Cover but only 2. Ibushi hits Kamigoye, BUT ARCHER DOESNT GO DOWN! Archer fires up, Ibushi fires up and exposes the other knee, and hits another Kamigoye! Cover and that finally puts Archer away!
Kota Ibushi (6) defeats Lance Archer (4) by pinfall via Kamigoye
JAY’S RATING: 4 out of 5
This was a GREAT match, with Ibushi overcoming a very game Lance Archer to get to 6 and continue rising up the board after a slow start. The ankle continues to be a primary point for Ibushi, but Ibushi is so locked in and its only adding drama to his matches. And the other real story here is HOLY SHIT LANCE ARCHER. What a fucking run he is having, Ibushi sold the shit out of this match for him and he looked right at home. That final sequence with the two Kamigoye’s was MONEY. Great work.
BAD LUCK FALE (2)
WILL OSPREAY (2)
Chase Owens grabs Will’s leg on the way in and Fale puts him down on the floor before the bell as Chase puts the boots to Will while Fale distracts the ref. Jado tries for the kendo stick shot but hits Chase, Will fights off Jado and drops Fale with Pip Pip Cheerio back in the ring and covers for 2. Shots by Will, Fale uses the size and strength to counter and Jado gets a kendo stick shot in and is met by jeers from the crowd. Fale works on Will in the corner, focusing on the taped neck and shoulder, then stands on top of Will as Chase helps peel tape off of Will’s injured areas. Camel clutch by Fale, Will bites Fale’s hand to escape but Fale beats him down and covers for 2. Nerve hold by Fale keeps Will grounded. Will fights up and hits the handspring enziguri to put Fale down. Flying Euro and shots in the corner by Will, evades a Fale avalanche and hits a kick and a standing shooting star press. Cover but only 2 on Fale. Robinson Special lands, Will looks for the OsCutter but Fale throws the ref into Will who gets dumped over the top. Chase looks for a piledriver on the floor but eats a hook kick, Will evades a kendo stick shot but Fale grabs Will and hits Grenade. The ref is still down, Chase throws him in and Fale covers but Will kicks out at 2. The Bad Luck Fall is countered, hook kick connects PERFECTLY and Will tries for Stormbreaker… but cant get Fale so he hits a wicked Hidden Blade instead and covers but only gets 2. OsCutter connects, cover but Chase pulls the ref out and into the barricade at 2. Jado is in the ring but Will blocks the kendo stick and decks Jado, lines up Fale but Chase attacks, piledriver is reversed by Will but Chase hits a kendo stick shot and lands a nice package piledriver! Fale crawls to cover as Chase looks to the KOed ref, Red Shoes Uno hits the ring and makes to count the cover but then FLIPS OFF FALE AND CALLS FOR THE DQ AS FALE RAGES AND CHASES RED SHOES OFF! Fale keeps chasing Red Shoes who escapes to safety.
Will Ospreay (4) defeats Bad Luck Fale (2) by Disqualification due to interference
JAY’S RATING: 1.8 out of 5
There wasnt much here to rate, which is why I’m rating it so low, though I’m in general ok with matches like this to break up the storytelling. But the outside interference wasnt creative in and of itself so it didnt really add much save the ending, which I mostly love simply due to the image of Red Shoes flipping off Fale and then running away from the raging giant. That was fun. And Will going to 4 points is not something I will complain about either.
ZACK SABRE, JR. (2)
Rocky remarks on how good ZSJ usually is in tournaments until this G1. EVIL gets a headlock takeover early, nice counter by ZSJ, they trade arm counters, ZSJ evades a senton, EVIL evade a PK and we get a stand off. Headlock by ZSJ, tackles move no one, EVIL evades a boot and then runs through ZSJ with the next tackle. Arm surfboard by EVIL, EVIL prevents the counter attempts but ZSJ gets a nice one and transitions into a Cobra Twist, EVIL throws ZSJ to counter that but ZSJ gets a neck crank and gets distance to control the pace. ZSJ keeps the pressure on and ties up EVIL on the ground but EVIL gets the ropes to break. Cravate by ZSJ keeps EVIL grounded, EVIL powers up and hits a slam but cant folllow up. Shots by EVIL, ZSJ looks for a hanging guillotine but EVIL transitions it into a release fisherman suplex, and fires up. Bronco buster by EVIL connects, cover but only 2. ZSJ blocks a move by EVIL, EVIL gets shots to the back and hits a nice backbreaker and looks for the Scorpion Death Lock. Counter by ZSJ into a triangle, EVIL lifts ZSJ and drops him with a bomb, tries the Scorpion again but ZSJ counters again into a Scorpion Death Lock of his own, but EVIL makes the ropes to break. EVIL slides outside, evades an apron PK and gets an Anarchist Suplex off the apron (basically Magic Killer) and both are down at ringside.
Back inside and EVIL hits a shot in the corner and looks for Darkness Falls, ZSJ counters into a choke but EVIL torques the arm and looks for the gut kick but ZSJ counters into a heel hook! Great application by ZSJ but EVIL reverses it into a modified Scorpion Death Lock! ZSJ struggles and makes the ropes to break. Darkness Falls is countered again and ZSJ kicks away a lariat and sweeps EVIL’s legs to put him down. Nicely done. PK is caught by EVIL, Euro by ZSJ but EVIL outs him down with a thudding lariat. Chants for EVIL. Everything is Evil is blocked and ZSJ gets a rollup for 2, EVIL gets one for 2, European Clutch by ZSJ gets a CLOSE 2 but EVIL kicks out. Gut kick by EVIL, fisherman suplex iss countered and ZSJ lays in a nice PK but cant follow up. ANOTHER big PK by ZSJ connects, cover but only 2. Zack Driver is blocked, headbutt by EVIL collapses ZSJ but ZSJ gets an octopus hold, EVIL hoists him over and counters into Darkness Falls but cant follow up. The crowd claps for EVIL, Everything is Evil is countered again into a cradle but EVIL kicks out at 2. They trade a sequence and EVIL is able to surprise ZSJ with Everything is Evil, cover and thats 3!
EVIL (6) defeats Zack Sabre Jr (2) by pinfall via Everything is Evil
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
A very good match if a bit “mid-card” in its energy. Both are capable of more, but both also stayed locked in here and worked a simple and effective match against each other. EVIL continues to build some momentum down the stretch as ZSJ falls short again in a ROUGH tournament this year, and is almost certainly out of the running though technically not mathematically yet. (If you havent seen ZSJ yell about Boris Johnson in his post-match tantrum you should. Its great.)
HIROSHI TANAHASHI (4)
A good mix of cheers for both, with a slight nod toward SANADA so Tana tries to get the crowd chanting more for him. Love it. Lock up and they feel each other out to start, going hold for hold methodically. They work to a stand off and get a nice pop. Chants for Tana, then chants for SANADA. Nice wrist work by SANADA, they feel out again until Tana hits a forearm, SANADA replies with one and they each catch each others kicks. They agree to put the feet down but SANADA fakes out and looks for the Paradise Lock early. Tana escapes, sunset flip but SANADA rolls through and gets the Paradise Lock! Milano looks on approvingly from the Japanese announce position, and SANADA hits the dropkick to the bum. Corner elbow and snap suplex by SANADA, cover but only 2 as SANADA keeps Tana grounded. “Go Ace” chants. Tana fights up but misses the dropkick to the knee but SANADA misses the standing moonsault and both are down. Shots by Tana, flying forearm drops SANADA and Tana follows with a slam and somersault senton off the middle. Cover but only 2. “Go Ace” chants, Tana eats boots but then gets a dragon screw. Sling Blade is blocked with a dropkick to the knee and SANADA gets a dragon screw of his own. Spring dropkick by SANADA sends Tana outside and a pescado wipes Tana out to follow, and the crowd is loud for SANADA. This is why its clear SANADA will be fully in the main event picture someday soon. That moment right there.
SANADA rolls Tana back inside, shots from Tana, they trade shots and SANADA looks for Skull End, Tana counters and hits Twist and Shout. Tana holds on and hits another Twist and Shout and holds again, but SANADA hits an Anarchist Suplex to counter. SANADA looks for a TKO but Tana counters into a dragon sleeper, transitions into Twist and Shout and hits Sling Blade! Cover but only 2. Tana climbs, looks for High Fly Flow but SANADA moves and Tana crashes, SANADA looks for the moonsault but Tana moves and SANADA crashes! Competing chants for both. Tana evades the spring into Skull End but SANADA finds another way into it and locks it standing, swings Tana around but Tana gets an inside cradle for 2. Rollup by Tana for 2 but SANADA counters into Skull End, but doesnt have the body scissors. SANADA now applies it fully in the middle of the ring, Tana struggles and flips out of it and gets a dragon sleeper of his own. SANADA flips over the top and reapplies it standing, Tana now flips over the top and SANADA gets driven down. Yota Tsuji hypes the crowd at ringside, shots traded, BEAUTIFUL dragon suplex with a bridge by Tana but only 2. Tana climbs again, standing High Fly Flow connects and he climbs again, and he hits HIGH FLY FLOW! Cover and thats the 3 count!
Hiroshi Tanahashi (6) defeats SANADA (2) by pinfall via High Fly Flow
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5
This was a pretty dang good match between these two, but feels underwhelming because these two have also brought better in the past. But the finishing sequence was well done, with Tana pushing his war-torn body to the limit to hit High Fly Flow once again to beat SANADA. SANADA also looked great here and the crowd was so fully behind him, but at 2 points still his G1 Final chances are pretty much out. As such, I’d keep a close eye on him for next year after this crowd reaction vs Tana, and with his performances – in spite of this one – becoming more consistent in general.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA (8)
This one will be SUPER interesting in terms of where this block is headed, as only one will emerge still undefeated so far. Okada has hometown advantage here and gets big chants at the bell, and he soaks it up ADORABLY. Feeling out grappling at the top, they work into the ropes and we get the signature Okada clean break. They work the mat again, get to the ropes and KENTA teases the Okada break before slapping Okada in the face. Great. Shots traded, Okada goes shot for shot with KENTA who evades a dropkick and gets Okada in the ropes, laying in kicks and hitting a knee to the back of a draped Okada’s head. Vicious kick by KENTA and Okada rolls outside, and KENTA follows and just drops on the back of Okada’s head like a dick. KENTA throws Okada into the post, and hits a kick to the back and shoulders before rolling Okada in and covering for just 1. Neckbreaker by KENTA, cover but still just 2, and KENTA grounds Okada keeping the pace slow. Okada gets the ropes to break, KENTA lands chest kicks and Okada fires up but KENTA baits him in just to take him down and ground Okada again. Elbow drop to the back of the head by KENTA, cover but still 2 as he goes back to the ground. Okada fights up but KENTA gets a knee to the gut and another kick to the back, then gets the classic fake-out mule kick to the face, and KENTA mocks the Rainmaker pose in Okada’s hometown. Nice.
KENTA wakes Okada up with kicks again, shots by Okada but KENTA evades a shot in the corner, looks for a DDT but Okada throws him in a release Northern Lights. Shots by Okada who hits the running elbow shot to take down KENTA. Corner running elbow and DDT from Okada connect, cover but only 2. Chants for Okada. Air Raid Neckbreaker is countered, powerslam by KENTA connects but doesnt land hard. Okada fights KENTA off but KENTA gets the tornado hotshot and climbs, dropping Okada with a flying clothesline off the top. Cover but only 2. Traingle by KENTA, looks for Game Over but Okada reverses and gets a flapjack. Chants for Okada. Shots traded, ASSHOLE slap to the back of the head by KENTA, Okada returns the favor, they trade shots again with KENTA getting the advantage. Okada gets KENTA up top and dropkicks him down to the floor. A boot by Okada puts KENTA over the barricade, and Okada follows looking for a draping DDT on the floor but KENTA counters, drapes Okada on a barricade, lays in kicks then hits a running double stomp to the back of Okada’s head. Nice spot. KENTA back in and the ref starts to count, Okada back in at 18 but KENTA is waiting and hits a nice spring dropkick, hits the running corner boot and follows with the hesitation dropkick. Diving double stomp by KENTA misses and he eats a great John Woo from Okada, who hits his own hesitation dropkick!
Slam by Okada who climbs for the elbow drop, KENTA cuts him off and looks for a superplex, Okada blocks but KENTA slaps the shit out of him, climbs to the top but Okada blocks the superplex again and knocks KENTA off. Okada flies for the elbow drop but KENTA catches him in a triangle and transitions it into Game Over. The crowd goes quiet before chanting for Okada, which is interesting. Okada crawls to the ropes and makes it for the break as the crowd breathes a sigh of relief, it feels like. Knee to the back by KENTA and he follows with a nice busaiku knee, cover but only 2. Basement busaiku knee connects from KENTA, another cover but still 2. KENTA now climbs and lands the diving double stomp FULLY, cover but Okada is still out at 2. GTS is countered by Okada who tries a tombstone, KENTA reverses and transitions into a firemans carry but Okada catches the knee on the GTS and lands a dropkick to the back of KENTA’s head! Dropkick to the front follows, and Okada hits the tombstone and calls for the end. Rainmaker is ducked and KENTA hits a spinning clothesline and both are down. They go forehead to forehead and trade shots, we get the 25 minute call (on a 30 minute limit), they keep throwing slow and hard, BIG slaps from KENTA and he just rains them down, but then botches a kick attempt, realigns it but Okada counters. KENTA reverses into a sleeper and Okada fades, KENTA looks for a PK but eats an Okada dropkick. GTS is countered by Okada into a spinning tombstone, Rainmaker follows with a thud and the cover gets 3!
Kazuchika Okada (10) defeats KENTA (8) by pinfall via Rainmaker
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
Honestly, this was a very good match that I expected more from. And I still feel like the issue lies with KENTA and some pacing issues. He’s finding his inner asshole again and that is FANTASTIC to see, and leads to his best moments. But he’s having trouble stringing stuff together, and so there’s too much air in the game. That near botch at the end showed exactly the kind of discomfort that I’m still feeling from post-WWE KENTA. But if he can get that momentum-building power back in full force again, you can see from this match that the potential is HUGE for him in New Japan. Okada taking the win – and remaining undefeated at 10 points – is interesting, and is starting to further solidify my new predictions of where the tournament might be going…
After the match, Okada extends the hand, and KENTA accepts it. Glad to see that. This is all the more interesting as KENTA extended to Tanahashi after their match and Tana refused. Okada takes the mic and cuts the closer promo. He thanks everyone for coming during a typhoon. No Charlton and Rocky only does a bit of translating, so again not fully sure what is said here, but Okada looks and sounds awesome cutting a closer.
This was a solid enough day of tournament action, but nothing surpassed the opening match and that was definitely felt here. Archer is on a FUCKING ROLL and is looking better than he ever has in this gaijin monster singles role. I’m all about it, and that closer with Ibushi was great. Glad to see Ibushi notch another win, as will as Ospreay, and ZSJ falls further behind while Tana knocks off SANADA with the High Fly Flow. The final three matches all felt like they could have reached another level but didnt. But the thing I’m feeling most of all is how there hasnt been a IWGP Champion G1 winner in nearly 20 years… and with some of the favorites starting slow and Okada undefeated, I’m getting curious about that route for this year’s tournament, further entrenching Okada as one of the greatest ever in the company with another accolade? In which case, Okada would get to pick his January 4th opponent, which actually could be EXTREMELY exciting given a wide field of intriguing options available. I had been eyeing Naito most closely for the G1, and I still feel like he’s gonna end up being a big part of WrestleKingdom no matter what… but Okada is looking more and more interesting. More to come. The standings are now:
Kazuchika Okada (5-0)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-2)
Kota Ibushi (3-2)
Lance Archer (2-3)
Will Ospreay (2-3)
Zack Sabre Jr (1-4)
Bad Luck Fale (1-4)
Jon Moxley (4-0)
Juice Robinson (3-1)
Toru Yano (2-2)
Tetsuya Naito (2-2)
Tomohiro Ishii (2-2)
Shingo Takagi (2-2)
Hirooki Goto (1-3)
Jay White (1-3)
Jeff Cobb (1-3)
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