NJPW G1 Climax Day 13 (August 4th) Review

He’s becoming a naughty boy. Credit: NJPW

You go away for a long weekend and not only do you fall behind on the G1, but New Japan dredges up a demon from the depths of hell to provide commentary. It’s brilliant to see Honma on the mend, but fuck me, I’m going to be having nightmares about that voice for weeks. Anyway, as mentioned, I’ve fallen behind so we better get on with the show.

Kota Ibushi defeated Yuji Nagata

Don’t piss off Blue Justice. Credit: NJPW

Two men who have a genuine claim to being the tournament’s MVP going head to head, it was never going to be bad, was it? We started off slow with Nagata trying to floor the faster man, but Ibushi was able to create some distance and hit that Golden Triangle Moonsault. He then made the mistake of trying to go blow for blow with the veteran, though, which is never a good idea. Despite that, Nagata’s stiff strikes weren’t enough and, as has been the case throughout this tournament, he was unable to keep up with the speed and athleticism of his opponent. Both men have had better matches in the last few weeks, but for an opening contest deep into proceedings, this did everything it needed to do. If you summed up these two’s G1s, you’d say Ibushi has provided the in-ring work while Nagata has supplied the heart, both of those things were on show here.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Bad Luck Fale defeated Tomohiro Ishii

Ishii dives into his bag of tricks to floor the big man. Credit: NJPW

For a man who appears to have been chiselled from a particularly gnarly boulder somewhere in Japan, Ishii is one hell of an underdog. He might be one of their strongest men, but he’s not one of their biggest and Bad Luck Fale dwarfed in the ring. However, presumably much like his creator, he was happy to chip away at the big man. It was the little touches, the stamping on Fale’s foot while going for a suplex, that made all the difference. You might not have believed that one chop would unsettle the Underboss, but when you add them all up, you could see why he was wavering. It was all building to the moment when Ishii managed to lift Fale for a suplex, and if you want proof of how a simple move can be a big deal, that was it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much you chip at the boulder if you fall off a cliff you die and no one kicks out of the Bad Luck Fall. This was a good match and was one of Fale’s best which, let’s be honest, is no surprise when you consider who he was in the ring with.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Hirooki Goto defeated YOSHI-HASHI

Not the most relaxing way to have a lie-down. Credit: NJPW

When Goto and YOSHI-HASHI are on form, they are two of the best. Goto, in particular, is one of New Japan’s most consistent workers and I love watching him. However, every now and then they both deliver matches like this one. Matches which while not bad, lack that little bit of sparkle that is needed to take them to the next level. I don’t know whether it’s a lack of story or maybe charisma, but despite everything that happened in the ring being pretty decent, something about this kept me at arm’s length. I could appreciate it for what it was, but there was no love.

Verdict: Three Stars

Tetsuya Natio defeated Zack Sabre Jr

Damn sneaky Englishman. Credit: NJPW

Considering he’s supposed to be one of the company’s biggest heels, Naito sure does spend a lot of time playing babyface. In this match, he went up against Suzuki-gun’s resident chiropractor and got twisted up in all kind of horrible ways. Every time he was slipping into his groove Zack found a new and inventive way to hurt him instead. He even came close to stealing a pin with a few of his innovative roll ups. However, this was a chance for Naito to play hero and eventually, he was able to get the distance required to introduce Zack to his Destino. This followed the theme of this show by being a good match while not managing to hit spectacular. It’s also one of those Zack matches that will turn certain people off. It was all about him wrestling his game before being caught out by some big moves. If, like me, you are 100% on board with that, then enjoy. If not, it’s one you can miss.

Verdict: Three Stars

Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Togi Makabe

Making the incredible look effortless. Credit: NJPW

This is one of the more uninspiring main events being dished up by New Japan this year. Makabe is having a good tournament, but I still find it hard to get excited about his matches. However, when you’re in there with a man who has hair that good (and also happens to be the former Ace) you should always expect at least some degree of excellence. That excellence took its form in a fun little brawl which saw Makabe out muscle Tana but not out think him. Continuing his hints of a heel turn Tanahashi wound Makabe up by using his own move against him and the man with the King Kong Knees was suddenly intent on taking off the Intercontinental Champion’s head. It led to the Ace took a lot of high impact offence but when push came to shove he was able to wriggle out of what Makabe had planned and pull a few tricks out of his own arsenal. This was a fitting main event for this show in that it was once again good but far from spectacular. For all Makabe’s upsides, he lacks the extra gear that would allow him to have the truly fantastic matches New Japan call their own. Despite that, this was was a very watchable encounter.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Overall Show

‘Naito’s a bit tied up right now, can you call back later?’ Credit: NJPW

I used the word watchable above and that kind of sums up this show. Nothing here will go down as match of the year worthy, but it was all effortless to watch and a lot of fun. We saw decent matches from Makabe and Fale while Nagata and Ibushi continue to be wonderful. Not everyone is going to love Zack, but I do, so that’s all that is really important, isn’t it? This wasn’t the most newsworthy show of the tournament, but for good solid wrestling fun, you could do a hell of a lot worse.

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