As this summer will be a lot of people’s first time experiencing a G1 Climax tournament, and it is such a gruelling tournament that many people won’t be able to watch live or be able to watch in-full every show, so I’ve decided to post a weekly guide to the best matches of the past week. I invite everybody to try and watch as many live shows as they can, but if you haven’t got the time and just want to go back and check out the best of the best, get yourself onto NJPW World and watch the recommendations below.
At the end of the tournament, I will be posting a top 10-15 list of the best matches from the entire tournament.
11. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Michael Elgin – A Block: August 5th
Although Michael Elgin divides opinion amongst wrestling fans these days, and I tend to avoid recommending his matches to people, but if you want to see a great performance from Hiroshi Tanahashi, check this one out. Apart from a slightly botched finish, this is about as good as you will see Tanahashi when he’s not in the ring with Naito or Okada.
10. Toru Yano vs. Tetsuya Naito – B Block: Wednesday August 1st
This match is just pure fun. Full of shenanigans, full of Yano’s trademark ridiculousness, full of tranquilo Naito, it’s everything you’d want from a quick burst of silliness.
9. Hangman Page vs. Togi Makabe – A Block: August 2nd
He may not have picked up many points during the G1, yet Hangman Page has definitely picked up a lot of new fans. If he continues to put on performances like this, there is no doubt that he will be invited back to compete next year, where he will be even better than he is now.
8. SANADA vs. Toru Yano – B Block: August 4th
This is probably the most ridiculous match you’ll see throughout the entire G1, and it is wonderful for that very reason. Short in length, but big in entertainment. Plus, Rocky Romero will have you in stitches in this one.
7. EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada – A Block: August 5th
A rematch from their match in last year’s G1 Climax, which saw EVIL get the surprise victory over then champion Okada, this one wasn’t quite as exciting and frantic as we saw last year, but it is still a top quality main event match with several great uses of move thievery and a hot crowd to go with it.
6. Hangman Page vs. Minoru Suzuki – A Block: August 5th
Hangman Page added another brilliant performance to his G1 run with this fantastic and frantic brawl. Knowing how dangerous Suzuki is, Hangman jumped Minoru before he had a chance to even finish his entrance, threw him all around the ringside area, and hit a gorgeous moonsault off the entrance ramp. It was a chaotic and entertaining affair with a fantastic finish which I could not recommend enough.
5. Kota Ibushi vs. Hirooki Goto – B Block: Wednesday August 1st
When a match like this isn’t anywhere near the best match either wrestler involved has had during a tournament, that’s when you know we’re having a fantastic G1. Goto attempted to use strength and strong style, whilst Kota utilised speed, strikes, and high spots. You’ll be entertained, and you will question Kota’s sanity, just like every other match he has had this tournament.
4. Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki – A Block: August 2nd
As soon as that bell rang, it was obvious Minoru Suzuki intended on decimating Kazuchika Okada. Without even letting him complete his entrance, Suzuki pounced upon The Rainmaker, and started assaulting him in the crowd.
Okada immediately went into survival mode, trying to outlast the brutality of Suzuki. On two occasions Okada struggled to get back in the ring for the 20 account. As he always does though, Kazuchika fought back to exchange punishment with The King in a very entertaining main-event brawl.
3. Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito – B Block: August 4th
How either of these men have any use of their necks after matches like this I will never know. Combine Naito’s tranquilo ways with Ibushi’s insanity and you’ve got a formula for greatness. Arguably not quite as good as their previous G1 Climax match from last year, Ibushi vs. Naito is still a match you cannot miss.
2. Kenny Omega vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – B Block: Wednesday August 1st
If you want to show somebody a match that exhibits why ZSJ is so exciting to watch in the ring, show them this.
A fast-paced exchange that is a perfect example of how dangerous Zack can be. The normally dominant Kenny spends this entire match trying to overcome Zack’s masterful counters and lightning fast reactions. If these two ever eventually battle for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, it will be something truly special.
- Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii – B Block: August 4th. MATCH OF THE TOURNAMENT SO FAR
If you like physicality, you will adore this match. The amount of punishment both of these men took in this match is truly astonishing. It was bloody, it was brutal, and it was beautiful.
Starting off slow, Omega was beaming with arrogance as he boded Ishii, yet after a good ten minutes or so of build, they turned up the intensity to maximum and did not turn it back down until the bell rung. Kenny was clearly on a mission to prove that the V Trigger is one of the most effective and re-watchable moves on the planet, whilst Ishii was clearly on a mission to prove that he genuinely is made of stone as he absorbed blow after blow from his opponent. By the end of it, they were left bloody and brutalised, thanks to this absolutely incredible match.
My current top three matches of G1 28 so far are so close together in quality that I can’t fully decide which is truly the best, yet at least for now, I’m ranking this one as the best.
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