We are getting very close to the end of this G1, aren’t we? There are two shows left, including this one, and it’s time to find out who will be going on to face Kota Ibushi for the right to main event Wrestle Kingdom. Goto, White, Naito and Moxley are all still in the mix, but we’ve all got our fingers crossed for the Naito Express, right? Come on, my son, bring it home.
My spoiler-free must-see recommendations are Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi and Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto.
Jeff Cobb (4-5) defeated Toru Yano (4-5)
Yano was packing something very impressive (and slightly deformed) in his trunks. Thankfully, it turned out to be five rolls of tape secreted around his person and not something horrifying. Red Shoes would confiscate them, but Yano still managed to tie Cobb up in his own singlet before nearly stealing the victory.
This went surprisingly long for a Yano match, by which I mean it cracked the five-minute mark, while providing plenty of giggles. Yano’s had a great tournament, and while Big Jeff hasn’t blown me away, I suspect he’s done enough to be invited back.
Verdict: Three Stars
Taichi (4-5) defeated Tomohiro Ishii (4-5)
Is anyone noticing a theme with the final points tallies in this G1? It’s all wrapping up quite neatly, isn’t it?
Ishii brings the best out of Taichi, which should be no surprise as Ishii brings the best out of everyone. There was no bullshit in this match, as Taichi went out with the intention of having a fight, charging across the ring at the bell and getting straight into a stiff war. This was the version of the singing ballbag that I enjoy watching.
As the match went on, they built on that stiff start. This was Ishii at his underdog babyface best, taking Taichi’s beating and refusing to die before roaring back into the action. How can you not love a man that swats away a kick with a forearm and then headbutts his way through his opponent before letting out a snarl of triumph? However, even more impressive was babyface Taichi, a man battling to prove he belongs. There might be a future in that character.
It helped that Budokan was rabid, screaming along with every blow. It was a fantastic match already, but when the crowd is that hot, you find yourself riding every second dancing along with the magic of the moment. It was a fitting end for Ishii’s tournament and a reminder than when Taichi can be arsed, he’s brilliant.
Verdict: Four And A Half Stars
Juice Robinson (4-5) defeated Jon Moxley (5-4)
Budokan has strict rules about what you can and can’t do there, so anyone expecting Moxley and Juice to descend into the same crowd brawling chaos as the first match was going to be disappointed. Still, I did not go into this expecting Moxley to work a limb, focusing on the leg of Juice (which he’d attacked after their preview tag so I probably should have seen it coming) and going through his submission moves as the fans roared Robinson on.
Then, Juice bit Moxley’s ear. In fact, he managed to bite Moxley’s earring out which I genuinely don’t understand. I mean, eh? How the fuck does that work? Either way, it was the moment this match changed, and we did move to that more brawling style. Although good boy Juice Robinson made sure it didn’t get too extreme, as he went around tidying up after Moxley, putting chairs and tables away.
On paper, I 100% understand what they were going for. It was Juice as the defiant babyface, taking a beating and desperately trying to survive. At one point he had to grab Red Shoes’ trousers to stop him calling for the bell as Moxley choked him out. Mox was so sure he’d won that he actually let go of the hold and started celebrating which, let’s be honest, was dumb as fuck. When has a wrestler ever done that outside of that spot? It made Moxley look like an idiot, and was a silly way to set up the final act.
Still, it was by no means a bad match. Juice got his win back and put to bed a tournament where both he and Mox have impressed. One assumes they have another match in their future, and I have faith that I’ll enjoy it more than this one.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Shingo Takagi (4-5) defeated Hirooki Goto (5-4)
If Goto and Shingo had built their match entirely around Lariats, I would have been happy. Watching these big boys beat the shit out of each other is my happy place, and I have all the fun in the world watching them do it.
And you don’t need me to explain this match to you. It was Shingo and Goto, what do you think it looked like? They had a stiff, back and forth battle, with neither man budging an inch. Watching it, you have to laugh at the idea that Shingo is a Junior because he isn’t only Goto’s equal in wrestling ability, but in power as well.
The final seconds were awesome as Goto hit the front GTR but then ran into a hellacious Pumping Bomber. Shingo followed up with another which might have been even harder and then hoisted Goto up for Last of the Dragon – give that boy all the belts, I love him.
Verdict: Four And A Half Stars
Jay White (6-3) defeated Tetsuya Naito (5-4)
Jay White just sent the Naito Express crashing into a wall. Fucking hell, Gedo. You just won’t give us nice things, will you?
Honestly, I’ve attempted to write this review four or five times, and I still don’t know what to say. I was so emotionally invested in a Naito win that the moment White hit the Bladerunner all my enthusiasm was sucked out off me. Yes, you could argue that’s a fantastic way to put heat on him, and as someone that has stuck up for White in the past I get that, but what does this mean for Naito? Is he ever going to get his moment?
The match wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t great, it was very much just a match. A solid main event that saw both men focus their attack on the neck before White won, clean as a sheet in the centre of the ring with little to no shenanigans (Gedo’s one attempt at interference saw Naito boot him in the balls which must have been pleasing for the lead Ingobernable). I don’t know where Naito goes from here, but White is off to face Ibushi for a chance to headline the Dome.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
In his post-match promo, White invited Ibushi down to the ring and promised him that Gedo would not be involved tomorrow. He didn’t say anything about tonight, though and the two of them attacked, using a chair to bash Kota’s ankle and setting him up to fight from underneath in the final.
We got two fantastic matches, so even if (like me) you’re a bit deflated by Naito’s elimination, this is a show worth watching. We also now know who our final two are, White vs Ibushi. Now Naito is out the picture I’m firmly in Ibushi’s corner, so come on my son!
Top Three Matches of the G1 So Far
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Shingo Takagi (8/8/19) – Five Stars
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi (3/8/19) – Four And Three Quarter Stars
- Shingo Takagi vs Tetsuya Naito (4/8/19) – Four And Three Quarter Stars
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