We are over the hump and the G1 is roaring towards it’s conclusion. Meanwhile, the booking has me in a place where I genuinely don’t have a clue what’s going on. I’m still optimistically clinging to my Naito pick, but who fucking knows at this point.
My spoiler-free must-see recommendations are Jeff Cobb vs Shingo Takagi and Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii.
Jeff Cobb (3-3) defeated Shingo Takagi (2-4)
Jeff Cobb makes Shingo look like the Junior that he is. Early on, he went for a slam but couldn’t get Jeff up, and as the match went on, it became clear that was going to be a problem for Takagi. So, he changed the plan.
Instead of playing muscle games with Cobb, he started to attack the big man’s leg, looking to negate some of that power with an injury. As the attack wore Jeff down, he was opened up to other aspects of Shingo’s offence, and suddenly those slams and suplexes were becoming viable. Takagi had found a way to even the playing field.
And with that field even, this became a fight. It was two big boys standing in the centre of the ring, exchanging blows and huge moves to discover who was the biggest boy of them all. The answer? Big Jeff, who kicked out of a thunderous Made In Japan and came out on top of a frantic final sequence to hit Tour of the Islands for the three. This was a great hoss off between two fantastic wrestlers.
Verdict: Four Stars
Toru Yano (3-3) defeated Jon Moxley (5-1)
During the previous show, Yano sold Moxley a DVD for 5000 yen and, being Yano, came away with the DVD and the yen. He continued to wind-up the B Block leader by showering him with a water bottle before the match and then presenting him with a DVD and 10,000 yen. Moxley was smart enough to see through that scheme and booted it away, showing he was more than prepared for Yano’s antics.
That set-up a match where you could tell Mox was having all kinds of fun. He taped Yano to the railing, engaged in a turnbuckle pad battle and finally decided to introduce The Master Thief to his style of antics by bringing a table out. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a mistake. As Moxley came charging in Yano dragged Shooter into his path, hit the double low blow and taped them together. As Moxley desperately tried to arrange a three-legged race to the ring, the ref’s count snuck up, and Moxley’s first defeat in New Japan became a reality. Naito’s still alive, I laughed all the way through this and Yano made it out with his DVD and the cash. What a lad.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Tetsuya Naito (3-3) defeated Juice Robinson (3-3)
Juice and Naito both took their time getting ready for this match, taking their entrance gear off at a leisurely pace with Juice even beating Naito at his own game. He not only insisted on folding up his jacket, but it turned out he was wearing three t-shirts, with each one taking a bit of effort to remove. He’s a muscley man, folks.
The mind games didn’t end there either. Naito was pumping his fist while Juice was getting Tranquilo. It was Robinson refusing to let Naito get in his head, playing the lead Ingobernable’s games as well as he was.
Outside of those antics, this match took a bit to get going. When it did, though, it took off nicely as it became a battle of counters, both men seemingly having an answer to the other’s questions. Naito fought out of a Juice Box to hit a Reverse Rana and Juice out of a Destino to finally connect with the aforementioned move.
In the end, Naito had one more counter than Juice. He slipped out of Pulp Friction to spike Robinson on his head, leaving him loopy. A Destino later and this was done. The Naito comeback train is picking up speed, baby and while this wasn’t a great match – the slow start, a couple of botches and the lack of a great finishing sequence hurt it – it was still a very good one. I suspect these two will have a lot more in their locker if we see it again in the future.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Jay White (3–3) defeated Taichi (2-4)
Jay White beating Taichi might not appear an essential part of the Naito comeback train’s journey, but it kind of was. White is facing Naito on the last night, and we don’t want him in a place where he’s playing spoiler because then, he probably will. We want him to be going face to face with Naito to finish first, so he needs those wins.
The question coming into this match was how much bullshit we were going to get. With Miho, Kanemaru and Gedo at ringside, the answer was a lot. It took these two a good few minutes to get around to wrestling, with both men happy to take their time and delay the start. When things did kick-off, it was two of the scuzziest men of all time facing off, and neither was going to play clean.
Which, honestly, made it a hard match to like never mind love. It was shenanigan central with every cunt and his mother getting involved. Some moments hinted towards a good wrestling match, but they never stuck around long enough to save proceedings. If you put two bullshitters in the ring together, you amplify the bullshit. That’s maths. Still, at least we got the right result.
Verdict: Three Stars
Hirooki Goto (3-3) defeated Tomohiro Ishii (3-3)
I’m going to shock you, but Ishii and Goto went out to have an incredibly physical main event. Who could have seen that coming? These two hard fuckers revel in hitting and being hit hard, which makes them pretty perfect opponents. You know exactly what you’re going to get from their match, and yet, I still love it.
It does make it a bit hard to review, though. At least to review in a way that isn’t just pointing out things we already know. Goto and Ishii beat the shit out of each other, throwing elbow after elbow, as they hammered away trying to put a chip in the other’s defence. Then, as they went along, they began to pick up the pace. It went from elbows to Suplexes and from Suplexes to dropping each other on their heads.
By the end, I genuinely don’t know how these guys kept getting up. The sweat was dripping off them as they stood in the centre of the ring battling it out. There was nothing complex or fancy about it. It was just two men hitting each other with moves that look like they really fucking hurt. And, in the end, Goto’s moves hurt that bit more.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
This wasn’t a great G1 show, but it was a good one. It also set-up the final act of the B Block as I believe I’m starting to unravel what Gedo is up to. Moxley is still out in front, but there is now a gang of people on six points, hunting him down and looking to get involved. Can they do it? God, I hope so. Come on, Naito!
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
Watch New Japan: https://njpwworld.com/