After a underwhelming performance from the A Block the previous day, Aichi will have been looking at B to pick up the slack. It was certainly a card with potential as Naito got his shot at ending Moxley’s unbeaten streak, Ishii and Juice went head to head, and Shingo faced-off with the Switchblade. Was there enough there to make it a classic? Let’s find out.
My spoiler-free must-see recommendations are Tomohiro Ishii vs Juice Robinson, Shingo Takagi vs Jay White and Tetsuya Naito vs Jon Moxley.
Hirooki Goto (2-3) defeated Toru Yano (2-3)
Yano’s barely crossed the five-minute mark in his matches so far, but this still managed to be the shortest yet as they went 102 seconds. After convincing Goto to take his top off, Yano attacked him when it was over his head, sneaking a few near falls, but then Old Hirooki tied up the Master Thief’s legs, twisted him round onto his shoulders and got the three. Even the Yano haters will find it hard to get pissed off at a match this short.
Verdict: Two Stars
Tomohiro Ishii (3-2) defeated Juice Robinson (3-2)
It looked like Juice Robinson had come to a decision before this match. Rather than attempting to negate Ishii, he faced him head-on, defiantly charging toward the Stone Pitbull and demanding he hit him. Juice seemed determined to prove he could go blow for blow with the hardest man in New Japan.
That decision set-up one hell of a war. This was exhausting to watch, so I can’t imagine what it was like to take part in as these two crazy bastards beat on each other with chop after chop, forearm after forearm and headbutt after headbutt. It was gruelling, and a shitload of fun.
There were some fantastic spots littered throughout. They went on a run of no-selling each other’s offence, Ishii popping up from a Superplex and Robinson a Powerslam. That was until their bodies caught up with their hearts, as they both leapt up again their legs went wobbly underneath them, sending them both staggering across the ring and back to the mat.
By the final act, it was all about that heart. I don’t know how they kept getting up, but they did, as Ishii even found a way to land on his head after a Juice Box. It became a war of will and little else, and if you engage in a war of will with Tomohiro Ishii, you’re probably not going to win. However, if Juice was looking to prove a point, he proved it. He is also a stubborn bastard.
Verdict: Four And A Half Stars
Jeff Cobb (2-3) defeated Taichi (2-3)
There was something off about this match, and I’m not even sure I can put my finger on what it was. It never flowed the way I wanted it to, as it felt like Taichi and Cobb struggled to get on the same page. The issue wasn’t big enough to kill the action, but it stopped me from getting fully absorbed.
Which was weird because there was a lot to like about it. Taichi’s bullshit was kept to the first act, and it turned into a fight as Taichi attempted to negate Cobb’s throws by kicking him in the head. I enjoy watching Big Jeff throw people around, and Taichi’s at his best when he gets stiff, so I’m not sure why this failed to click.
Still, I’m not saying it was a shit match, just that there was a barrier placed in the way of it becoming a great one. On paper, they did a lot right, so it might be me rather than them.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Jay White (2-3) defeated Shingo Takagi (2-3)
The first five minutes of this match was dull as shit. It was very Jay White as with the help of Gedo he took over and looked to quash the explosive offence of Shingo.
Thankfully, those five minutes were quickly forgotten when they got into the meat of the action. This became Shingo’s brute force vs White’s brain, and as the Ishii match showed, that might be White’s best setting. There was minimal Gedo interference here as Switchblade fought to survive The Dragon’s onslaught (who he was amusingly called Mr Dragon at one point) and keep his hopes alive.
And if you haven’t figured it out, Shingo Takagi is fucking brilliant at the whole onslaught thing. Everyone is out there bleating about Will Ospreay as the runaway wrestler of the year while ignoring the fact that Shingo has been just as good, if not better than the Ostrich. He’s a fucking machine and is maintaining that image even as he’s started to take falls. Jay White looked like the smartest man in the room for figuring out how to take this motherfucker down, and that was exactly what was needed.
Verdict: Four Stars
Jon Moxley (5-0) defeated Tetsuya Naito (2-3)
What the fuck is going on? Gedo-san, you are stressing me out.
Right, before I get into that, let’s talk about the match. I loved the start with Moxley pacing on the spot as Naito took as long as possible to make his entrance and then remove his suit. With that simple touch you set-up the differences between these men, it was Tranquilo vs barely contained insanity.
When it finally broke down, we got what is beginning to feel like the Moxley match. Lots of brawling on the outside with chairs and barricades coming into effect. I don’t mean that as an insult, it’s a match I enjoy, I’m just not sure there is much more to say about it at this point. He’s nailing these chaotic brawls, and Naito is insane, so he might be the perfect opponent.
Despite that, I think things got better when they returned to the ring. These two threw themselves into the action, flying at each other again and again. I mean, fucking hell, Naito found a way to spike himself on his head while hitting a Super Hurricanrana. He usually lets his opponents do it, but now he’s ditching the middle man.
That wasn’t to be the end of Naito landing on his head. He took an unholy Death Rider and left everyone fucking shocked. I mean, what the cunting hell? Naito lost? Are you fucking kidding me? What the hell is going on with this G1? I have no idea where Gedo is going with this, and subsequently, don’t have a clue whether it’s a good thing or not. Fuck me. Still, good match.
Verdict: Four Stars
Right, ignoring my utter confusion (and slight sadness because I am so desperate to see Naito win that belt), this was a big improvement on yesterday’s show as Moxley has still not laid an egg, White had another great performance, and Ishii is fucking Ishii. Who is going to complain about that?
Top Three Matches Of the G1 So Far
- Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay (18/7/19) – Four And Three Quarter Stars
- Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada (20/7/19) – Four And A Half Stars
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito (24/7/19) – Four And A Half Stars
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