Trying to keep up with all of the greatness of the G1 Climax can be like having a part-time summer job. If you don’t have time to watch every show in full, or you only want to watch the absolute cream of the crop, I’m here to help. Every week I will be listing every match that I believe to be worth watching from A and B block competition, before finally rounding off the tourney with a list of my favourite overall matches.
Week three only featured three shows, yet it still gave us plenty of great content to watch as the G1 always does.
8. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. EVIL – Night 9
FUCK BORIS JOHNSON FOR MAKING ZSJ TOO DISTRACTED TO WIN THIS YEAR’S G1 CLIMAX. At least Zack is still capable of putting on great technical showcases like the one we saw in this match. EVIL brought the strong style to combat Sabreism in an exciting G1-ruiner for ZSJ.
7. Jon Moxley vs. Tetsuya Naito – Night 10
After showing very little respect to his opponent, Tetsuya Naito quickly discovered why Jon Moxley is undefeated in New Japan. Starting out with Naito playing his usual tranquillo mind games, the match turned into a one-up contest between the two. By no means either man’s best bout in the tournament so far, and perhaps it fell slightly flat thanks to the show-stealing match earlier in the night (we’ll get to that later), but definitely worth a watch.
6. Jay White vs. Shingo Takagi – Night 10
Jay White is such a little bastard. This match showed off both men’s greatest skills perfectly. Switchblade began the match with an onslaught of devious tactics, slamming Takagi all over the ringside area, punishing his back repeatedly. The slimy villain completely dominated the first part of the match, that is until the immense strength of Shingo helped him to overpower his foe and gain the advantage. White was visibly drained from the arsenal of moves brought onto him by Shingo, making the LIJ member look very dangerous in the process.
It was a great showing of what both men are best at that I would highly recommend everyone put some time aside for.
5. Lance Archer vs. Kota Ibushi – Night 9
Without question, one of the main things the 2019 G1 Climax tournament will be remembered for will be the performance of Lance Archer. Compared to the last time he was in a G1, this man has stepped his game massively, bringing out a new level of intensity and a variety of different moves. Watching a 6’8 man doing moonsaults and rolling sentons is quite the sight. In his match against Ibushi, he looked like an absolute monster thanks to his combination of speed and impressive power moves, including one of the most vicious knee strikes you will see all year. Yet another great showing from Mr EVERYBODY DIES.
4. Shingo Takagi vs. Jon Moxley – Night 8
In his post-match interview, Jon Moxley declared, “Shingo Takagi is not a junior heavyweight! That man is a tank!” While this match isn’t the best evidence for that, it does explain Moxley’s strategy for besting The Dragon. Knowing of his opponent’s strength and explosiveness, Moxley targeted Shingo’s legs, and proceeded to absolutely destroy them in an effort to avoid his lethal lariats and throws.
By punishing his lower limbs with moves such as a figure four around the ring post, Jon Moxley became the first man to make Shingo Takagi submit in NJPW. It was something different compared to the other G1 bouts we’ve seen from both Moxley and Shingo, but definitely a great match regardless.
3. KENTA vs. Kazuchika Okada – Night 9
Dear god the strikes in this match were stiff. KENTA kicked and slap the soul of Okada throughout. The sound of these shots connecting were violent music to my ears. Both men came out at the end of this looking fantastic after absorbing and delivering big moves in equal fashion. It could have gone either way given how strong both men looked, and it was easily one of my favourite A Block matches of the tournament so far.
2. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito – Night 8
Another Tomohiro Ishii G1 match goes by, another instant classic takes place. I love that this tournament is a yearly reminder of just how much I absolutely adore watching this man brawl.
Naito vs. Ishii was an intense battle full of physicality. The two traded huge blows throughout, with Ishii particularly brutalising his foe with a barrage of chops, punches and a brutal leaping headbutt. They had the crowd enthralled in the final five minutes, making for a really exciting watch. Yet another fantastic fight between these two that rivals the incredible wars they’ve had in the past.
- Juice Robinson vs. Tomohiro Ishii – Night 10
Without question, this was the greatest Juice Robinson match I have yet to see. His performance in this match was the embodiment of the journey he has been on since his match against Jon Moxley. If you wanted to showcase who Juice Robinson is in 2019, this is it. And of course, as with every G1 match, Tomohiro Ishii was an absolute beast.
The two men were erupting with fighting spirit from bell to bell, leaping out of the gates immediately with colliding shoulders. At no point did the action slow. Each man refused to lay down no matter how much they were brutalised by their opponent. When hit with a punishing strike or an impactful throw, both Juice and Ishii would pop right back to their feet, even more fired up than they already were, with no signs of pain on their face, until eventually their bodies were forced to crumble from the torture they had received.
Juice Robinson repeatedly calling Tomohiro Ishii a “motherfucker” directly to his face, laying in shot after shot to his opponent’s chest, and competing with a murderous look on his face throughout the match – that is the Juice Robinson I want to see. I could not be more hyped up for the Moxley vs. Juice rematch if I tried.
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