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Csonka’s NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco 2018 Review

July 8, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco 2018
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Csonka’s NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco 2018 Review  

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Csonka’s NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco 2018 Review

– Bullet Club defeated CHAOS @ 9:25 via pin [**¼]
– Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano defeated Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. @ 9:55 via pin [***¼]
– Hangman Page & Marty Scurll defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA @ 10:00 via pin [***]
IWGP NEVER Openweight Title Match: Champion Hirooki Goto defeated Jeff Cobb @ 12:12 via pin [***½]
IWGP Tag Team Title Match: Champions The Young Bucks defeated EVIL & SANADA @ 16:10 via pin [****]
– Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay defeated Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI @ 11:55 via pin [**½]
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Champion Hiromu Takahashi defeated Dragon Lee @ 16:36 via pin [****¼]
IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson defeated Champion Jay White @ 23:30 via pin [****¼]
IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Champion Kenny Omega defeated Cody @ 34:20 via pin [***½]

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– You can read my preview at this link.

CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Gedo, Rocky Romero, Sho, & Yoh) vs. Bullet Club (King Haku, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi, & Honorary Tongan Chase Owens): Haku and HASHI to begin. They lock up, and Haku overpowers to begin. HASHI hits clotheslines and a dropkick, not pleasing the crowd. Haku cuts him off with a clothesline, Tonga & Loa tag on and work over HASHI, and Romero now tags in. He tries shoulder tackles, Loa no sells him and Romero hits a RANA and forever clotheslines. Tonga in ad cuts him off as Bullet Club clears the ring and we get floor brawling. Haku hits a piledriver for 2 on Romero. Loa in and he covers for 2.Bullet Club isolates Romero, Owens tags in and continues the attack. Romero fires back, but Owens cuts him off right away, hitting a back breaker for 2. Yujiro tags in and hits a leg drop for 2. He grounds the action, he and Owens cut off the tag and double team Romero. Romero hits a RANA to both, and tags in Yoh. He runs wild with dropkicks as JR calls him HASHI. Sho tags in and he and Yoh work over Yujiro. Double teams follow until Yujiro runs them together and tags in Tonga. He works over Sho, picking up the pace a bit until Sho hits a spear. Gedo tags in and lays in jabs. The jawbreaker follows and Owens is in to cut him off. Yujiro joins in as it breaks down. Romero flies in and takes out the Guerrillas. The suicide dive follows, Haku in and gets the Tongan death grip on Gedo and Tonga hits gun stun for the win. Bullet Club defeated CHAOS @ 9:25 via pin [**¼] This was an ok, but very lackluster opening match.

Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.: Ishii and Suzuki start off, just kicking the shit out of each other. Throwing bombs here, and it’s magnificent. Ishii finally takes Suzuki down and Sabre tags in. Yano also tags in as Ishii posts Suzuki. Yano wants a handshake, but Sabre attacks and looks to work the arm. Yano retreats to the ropes and gets the break. Sabre lays in uppercuts, but Yano cuts him off and heads to the ropes. Suzuki slaps him around and then rushes in and attacks Ishii as Sabre grounds Yano. The inverted death lock follows, and he transitions to an arm lock, tying up Yano. Yano just barely makes the ropes. Suzuki now tags in for double team submissions on Yano. They are torturing the sublime thief, working quick tags and keeping Ishii on the floor. Yano fights off Suzuki and tags in Ishii and it’s ass kicking time once again. Ishii hits clotheslines and slaps around Suzuki, Suzuki gets pissed and Ishii slaps him. They trade big time strikes, Suzuki rocks Ishii, and drops him with forearm strikes. Suzuki follows with kicks, but Ishii fires up with strikes. He slaps Suzuki and Suzuki smiles. It’s on now as Suzuki just ruins Ishii’s day with strikes, gets the sleeper, but Ishii escapes. The Saito suplex follows and Yano tags in. He rakes the eyes of Sabre, undoes the buckle pad, but Sabre cuts him off with an octopus hold and Suzuki hits him with the buckle pad as he and Ishii spill to the floor. Sabre blocks the low blow, European clutch and Yano kicks out at 2. Sabre blocks the low blow again, but Ishii in and hits the lariat for the win. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano defeated Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. @ 9:55 via pin [***¼] This was good, with the Suzuki/Ishii interactions carrying the match, and the Yano/Sabre interactions continuing go be fun.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA vs. Hangman Page & Marty Scurll: Taguchi is out with Team Ace. Marty and KUSHIDA to begin. They lock up and KUSHIDA immediately looks to work the arm. They work into counters and KUSHIDA grounds things. Marty now works an octopus hold. KUSHIDA counters out and they work counters until Marty does his bird pose. Page tags in as does Tanahashi. They lock up, Page looks to control with a side headlock, but Tanahashi counters out. Page grabs the hair to escape, Tanahashi does the same and follows with rights. The high cross follows and we get some Tanahashi air guitar. KUSHIDA tags back in and attacks the arm of Page, but Page dumps him and Page hits the shooting star off the apron to the floor. They go after Taguchi and beat him down. They roll him in and avoid the ass attack and send him back to the floor. Double teams to KUSHIDA follow, and Page covers for 2. KUSHIDA manages to fight back with a back handspring elbow and Tanahashi tags in. He runs wild, working dragon screws on Marty. The slam and senton follows for 2. Marty looks for a chicken wing, Tanahashi fights it off, lays in strikes and KUSHIDA tags in with a hip toss into a dropkick. Page cuts him off, but Tanahashi hits sling blade. Marty takes out Tanahashi, and KUSHIDA cuts him off and rolls into the hover board lock as Tanahashi gets the cloverleaf on Page. Tanahashi takes Page to the floor, but misses the plancha, back in and Page hits the buckshot lariat on KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA hits the PELE and attacks the arm. Page counters back and hits rite of passage for the win. Hangman Page & Marty Scurll defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA @ 10:00 via pin [***] This was a good back and forth match with a slightly surprising result for Page as he gets some momentum, ahead of the G1.

NEVER Openweight Title Match: Champion Hirooki Goto vs. Jeff Cobb: They lock up, looking to go power for power to begin. They lock up again and work to the ropes, and Goto then attacks, laying the boots to Cobb. They now trade shoulder tackles, and Cobb takes him down with the flying shoulder block. The overhead belly to belly follows by Cobb, tossing Goto across the ring. Cobb maintains control, laying in chops and strikes. Goto now low bridges him and sends Cobb to the floor and follows with a plancha. He now posts Cobb, and rolls him back in. Goto lays the boots to Cobb back in, mixes in elbows and the crowd is not pleased as he hits an elbow drop and covers for 2. Goto grounds things, working a neck crank. He transitions to a head scissors, but Cobb makes the ropes. Cobb fights off the elbow strikes and connects with a dropkick. Cobb follows with chops and strikes, and then hits running uppercuts and a spinning side slam for 2. Cobb follows with a torture rack slam and misses the standing moonsault. Goto follows with the corner spin kick and Saito suplex for 2. Cobb fights off ushigoroshi, and drops Goto with a forearm strike and then hits the old Oklahoma stampede for 2. They trade clotheslines, and Cobb then decapitates Goto and hits the standing moonsault for a very good near fall. Cobb looks for tour of the islands, Goto counters into a sleeper but Cobb escapes. Cobb fires up but Goto hits a lariat, head butt, and ushigoroshi for 2. Cobb counters the GRT, but hits version one and version two for the win. Champion Hirooki Goto defeated Jeff Cobb @ 12:12 via pin [***½] This was an overall very good match, Cobb had a good showing, but it wasn’t the great match I had hoped he’d have tonight. Still this was very enjoyable with an invested crowd in Cobb; while the finish felt a bit flat, I thought this was the best thing on the show so far.

IWGP Tag Team Title Match: Champions The Young Bucks vs. EVIL & SANADA: This is a rematch from Dominion, where the Bucks won the tag titles from LIJ in a great match. Nick and SANADA to begin. They knock Matt & EVIL to the floor and Nick escapes skull end and they pick up the pace with EVIL & Matt joining in for a four way submission spot. The Bucks work double teams and take control as they take EVIL to the floor. They isolate SANADA but EVIL is back and the challengers take control and dump Matt. SANADA works over Nick, trips him up and locks on the paradise lock. The dropkick to the ass breaks it up and EVIL tags in. Double teams follow and EVIL covers for 2. He grounds Nick, but Nick kicks his way out and SANADA pulls matt to the floor to stop the tag. EVIL continues to control, but Nick rolls and gets the tag. Matt fights off the challengers, lays in rights and hits a stunner to SANADA on the floor, back in and the death lock on EVIL follows. EVIL makes the ropes and Nick tags in and takes out SANADA. The x-factor to EVIL follows but SANADA gets skull end on the floor until Matt makes the save, EVIL dumps him but runs into superkicks. Missile dropkick by SANADA follows and everyone is down. Matt and SANADA trade rights now, SANADA gets skull end but Matt counters out and SANADA gets it back. He swings Matt around and heads up top and land son his feet on the moonsault attempt. He gets cut off and Matt hits the 450 splash for 2. EVIL is dumped as Matt gets the sharpshooter. Nick flies in with a swanton and then wipes out EVIL with a dive. SANADA fights, teases tapping, but makes the ropes. Nick heads up top as they look for more bang for your buck, but it fails as SANADA rolls out of the way. Hot tag to EVIL as he throws Germans, and he’s fired up. Clotheslines follow and darkness falls gets 2. Nick counters out of everything is evil, but SANADA is in and they hit magic killer for 2 as Matt makes the save. Matt fights off SANADA, back and we gets ref bump off of accidental superkicks. LAME. EVIL gets a chair and it gets superkicked into his face. Matt lays out the chair as they look to dial up uncle Dave, but SANADA cuts that off and LIJ hit the indie taker onto the chair for 2 as Nick just barely makes the save. Nick is dumped, magic killer follow son Mat, and that gets 2 as he kicks out. SANADA wipes out Nick on the floor, Matt counters everything is evil and hits a superkick. Superkicks on SANADA follow as he flies in. The Meltzer driver finishes EVIL. Champions The Young Bucks defeated EVIL & SANADA @ 16:10 via pin [****] While the ref bump wasn’t needed at all, this was still a great tag match, but not quite as good as their first (this one was more sprint than a heavy storytelling match). The action escalated well throughout, the crowd was hot and they delivered once again. It was tremendously fun. The Bucks deliver again while EVIL & SANADA continue to be great.

– They announce the US returns in September & November.

– We get hype videos for the rest of the card.

Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay vs. Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI: Jim Ross keeps talking and saying stupid shit, like that this was a title match. Naito and Okada to begin. Naito plays around, refusing to lock up. Now JR is talking about “HIROMI” Takahashi. They finally lock up and work to the ropes. Clean break by Okada, Naito attacks and dumps him to the floor and it’s tranquilo time. Back in and they circle, but Naito tags out to BUSHI. Ospreay tags in, they pick up the pace, working into some counters and Ospreay teases the dive. Ospreay takes out Naito and then BUSHI trips him up, allowing Naito to attack. They take out Okada and isolate Ospreay as BUSHI chokes him out in the ropes. Naito brawls with Okada on the floor as JR calls BUSHI “Ibushi.” Naito back in and hits the corner dropkick combo on Ospreay. BUSHI now chokes out Ospreay with his shirt and hits a neck breaker. Naito back in and kicks away at Ospreay. Osprey fires up with strikes, and follows with a dropkick and enziguri. Okada tags in and he takes out BUSHI, and tarts working over Naito. He flapjacks BUSHI onto Naito, slams Naito and heads up top. The high cross follows for 2. Okada looks for a tombstone, Naito counters out and hits a basement dropkick. The enziguri follows, Okada counters Gloria and misses the dropkick. Okada counters destino but Naito counters the tombstone. Okada counters the tornado DDT into a neck breaker and Ospreay & BUSHI tag in. Ospreay hits a hook kick, but BUSHI cuts him off and hits a missile dropkick. The corner knees follow and the fisherman’s neck breaker gets 2 as Okada makes the save. Naito dumps him to the floor, BUSHI hits the code breaker for 2 on Ospreay. BUSHI looks for MX, but Ospreay cuts him off with a kick. Okada dropkicks Naito, and they brawl back to the floor. Ospreay fires up and hits the Robinson special and storm breaker finishes it. Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay defeated Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI @ 11:55 via pin [**½] This was a very average and disappointing match, with very little heat or energy, and featuring Naito & Okada largely taking the night off.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Champion Hiromu Takahashi vs. Dragon Lee: Daryl Takahashi Jr is out with Hiromu. Lee attacks right away, hitting the RANA off the apron and top the floor. The suicide dive follows as lee is already fired the fuck up. back in and lee mocks Naito’s tranquilo pose before beating down Takahashi with strikes. The hesitation dropkick follows and Lee covers for 2. Lee grounds things, raking the eyes and then laying in kicks. Takahashi looks for a RANA, but lee cartwheels out but gets it on the second try. The dropkick follows, Le to the floor and Takahashi goes John Woooooooooo off of the apron! Takahashi up top and now hits the suicide senton attack to the floor. They brawl to the apron and trade strikes. Takahashi hits a superkick and takes Lee up top. He follows and teases a superplex, Lee fights him off and they trade strikes. Lee now hits the double stomp, sending Takahashi into the apron on the way down. They struggle to their feet, but Takahashi powerbombs Lee from the apron to the floor. They beat the count back in and Takahashi hits clotheslines, the German follows and Lee battles back as they now trade Germans, just killing each other and the crowd loves it. They keep trading Germans, but Takahashi hits a superkick and German, but Lee hits the reverse RANA. Takahashi finally cuts him off with a lariat. Both men are down and struggle to their feet. They trade chops now, both firing up and then dropping to their knees. They get back to the feet and continue trading, going crazy fists and now they start slapping each other. Lee connects with knee strikes, but Takahashi suplexes him to the buckles. Takahashi smiles and he likes it. Dynamite plunger follows and Takahashi covers for 2. Takahashi hits a superkick but then runs into a Spanish fly for a good near fall. Takahashi now counters into the triangle choke, but Lee powers up and powerbombs him, but Takahashi keeps the choke. Lee powers up again and spikes Takahashi on his fucking head on a dragon driver!

Lee follows with descadora for a good near fall. Takahashi now counters back with a destroyer for another near fall. The time bomb connects for the win. Champion Hiromu Takahashi defeated Dragon Lee @ 16:36 via pin [****¼] This was a great match and exactly the style of match you expected and wanted from these two. It wasn’t at the level of their classics, but was really great and had the crowd invested the entire time and delivered on the crazy/danger level that they have become famous for. Who knows if they will be able to walk the next day, but it was just tremendous and these two guys remain absolutely insane.

A live look at the Cow Palace

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IWGP US Title Match: Champion Jay White vs. Juice Robinson: Now these poor bastards have to follow that. Juice cannot use his cast on his left hand, and if he does, he can be DQ’d. White injured Juice’s hand heading into this match. Juice spears White and lays in rights to begin. He follows with a running cross body, sending White to the floor. The apron cannonball follows. He then slams White to the barricade, and then again. Juice is fired up here to begin. Back in and Juice lays in rights and chops. Clotheslines follow, but White now dumps him to the floor. White follows and slams Juice into the barricade. White takes time to mock Juice, and tosses him into the barricade once again. Back in they go and White suplexes Juice to the buckles and covers for 2. He grounds the action and attacks the left hand of Juice and stomps away on it. The hammerlock slam follows, and White continues to punish the hand of Juice. Juice battles back with rights, but White hits the Saito suplex, and the crowd hates White. The Muta lock follows by White while also trapping the injured hand, but Juice makes the ropes. Juice rolls to the apron and White works him over with strikes and chops as Juice is trapped in the ropes. White now follows with running uppercuts. He again mocks Juice, and lays in jabs ala Juice does with his left. Juice fires back with chops, they trade, as the crowd tries to rally Juice but White attacks the injured hand. Juice manages to cut him off with a spinebuster. The corner clothesline connects, and the cannonball is cut off into a flatliner and German for 2. White works for an arm bar now, ripping at the hand of Juice and now has both arms trapped until Juice makes the ropes. Juice rolls to the floor, White follows and posts Juice. The suplex to the barricade follows. “You done fucked up now”- Josh Barnett. Barnett chases White for suplexing Juice into the barricade in front of him. Get out of here with that shit. White gets a chair’ JR says officials need to get their shit together as he was apparently knocked to the floor. White became a babyface with that attack on the commentary team. Juice avoids the chair attack, but White suplexes him on the floor. JR continues to bitch as Juice suplexes White to the apron. They work to the apron now, and White hits a flatliner on Juice. Juice fights off a German, clinging to the ropes, and lays in elbows. He now hits a Russian leg sweep to the floor and both men are down. They beat the count and are back in the ring. The crowd again tries to rally Juice, and he hits the cannonball. He takes White up top and lays in head butts and follows him up. The superplex connects and the cover gets 2. Juice fires up, looks for pulp friction, but White counters into a crucifix, and Juice makes the ropes, but White keeps laying in elbows. White looks for blade runner, countered and the ref stops Juice from throwing the KO left, so Juice gets a backslide for 2. Low blow by White as they teased a ref bump. Juice hits the big left as the ref was distracted and hits pulp friction, and covers for a SUPER close near fall. Juice looks for pulp friction again, White attacks the hand and hits a sleeper suplex. He dumps Juice on his head with another. Blade runner countered and Juice gets the cradle for the big win! Juice Robinson defeated Champion Jay White @ 23:30 via pin [****¼] Juice finally wins the big one, in what I felt ended up a great match, if a bit of an overbooked spectacle for my tastes. The good news was that the crowd was completely behind Juice (something I had been worried about) and White had some really good heel heat on him through out, but I thought that commentary really took away from the match, not adding to the story, and that they largely came off as an annoyance. Juice continues to feel like a legit rising star, and while White continues to evolve and improve his game, he was a really good, ruthless heel here against super babyface Juice and after this, I am really excited for both men’s G1 run. They worked a smart match that was completely different than Lee vs. Takahashi, which it needed to be, and followed it up very well under some insane pressure. The Juice win needed to happen as he had been so close so many times, and I thought that overall it came off well.

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Champion Kenny Omega vs. Cody: Brandi & Burnard are out with Cody. The Bucks are out with Omega. Cody holds a win over Omega at ROH Supercard of Honor. Cody is annoyed that the Bucks are out with Omega. They lock up and Cody counters out and to the ropes. Cody rakes the eyes and they break. Lock up again, Omega breaks clean and Cody shoves him away. They push and shove, Cody attacks and hits a shoulder tackle. Omega hits a hip toss, and they work into counters and Omega now lays in chops. Cody uppercuts Omega to the floor and follows. They brawl on the floor, and Cody slams Omega to the apron. Back in and Cody follows with chops. Omega now fires back, laying in big chops. Cody turns things around, and hits the snap slam for 2. Omega cuts him off with a basement dropkick and Cody powders to the floor. Omega fires up but Cody uses Brandi as a shield to stop the tope. Omega misses a plancha, and that allows Cody to follow with a step up high cross. Cody now slams Omega to he barricade and then again. Omega fights back, tossing Cody onto a table and then double stomps Cody through the table. Omega gets another table, sets it up and lays Cody onto it. Omega now teases a dive, Cody rolls off the table and slams the table into Omega. Back in and Cody cuts off Omega, hitting a flatliner for 2. He chokes out Omega in the ropes, an then lays in strikes. The dump suplex follows for 2. Cody does some pushups, and then attacks the leg of Omega. Cody now works a cravat, grounding the action. Omega escapes, and hits a RANA. Cody to the floor and Omega wipes him out with a tope. Back in and Omega heads up top, and hits the missile dropkick. The cross legged neck breaker follows, and Omega looks for V trigger, but Cody counters, only for Omega to hit V trigger to the back of the head. He hits another and the snapdragon suplex follows. Cody fights off a second and he hits a snapdragon. They come face to face and trade strikes. Omega hits a big boot but Cody counters into the figure four. Omega fights, they trade strikes as Cody maintains the hold. They trade slaps, and Omega rolls the hold and Cody breaks the hold, grabbing the ropes. Cody to the floor, Omega follows and gets a ladder. Cody has a chair and Omega slides the ladder in. Back in and Cody slams Omega onto the ladder. Omega to the floor and Cody slides the ladder to the apron. They brawl on the floor, and Cody suplexes Omega gut first onto the ladder. Cody celebrates, and slams Omega into the barricade. Cody now gets the table that was previously set up, back in and sets up the ladder and now heads back to the floor and lays out Omega on the table. He shoves down Matt and Cody back in, climbs the ladder, and Omega is back up and climbs with him. They battle on the ladder, trading strikes, and Omega teases a suplex, but Cody superplexes him back into the ring. Both men are down and Cody eventually covers for 2. Cody to the floor and poses with the title, brings it back in and Omega cuts him off with a reverse RANA. Cody fights off one winged angel, uses the ref as a distraction, and hits the disaster kick and the ref is down. A belt shot by Cody is teased, Omega counters cross Rhodes, but Cody gets it anyway and that gets 2. The Bucks remove the ladder, Cody looks for a vertebreaker, but Omega counters out and hits V trigger. He hits another, and the one winged angel is countered, Omega counters back with a spin kick. V trigger follows, and the powerbomb gets 2. V trigger again. Another and then Cody counters and ends up eating another. V trigger again and Omega covers for 2. One winged angel is countered as Cody grabs the ropes. Omega now tosses Cody from the ring and over the ropes onto the table, but, I AM THE TABLE! He’s dead, Jim. Omega follows him out, rolls him back in and Brandi slides in to save Cody. Cody now counters V trigger, they trade strikes, V trigger by Omega. Another. The double under hook piledriver gets 2. V trigger. The one winged angel finally connects and Omega retains. Champion Kenny Omega defeated Cody @ 34:20 via pin [***½] The main event ended up being a very good, but really overbooked and at times repetitive match. Cody brought the circus, which I know some love, but this didn’t feel like a high-level NJPW main event, and instead felt like a throwback to overbooked WWE main events from a decade ago. I can appreciate the hard work and punishment they took, but this in no way felt like a high-level Omega match, as I felt it went way too long, and it just never really connected with me.

– Omega helps Cody to his feet post match. Cody leaves as Omega talks about successfully defending the title. He’s proud to be champion and to do it here in the Cow Palace. Being the champion, you see more people trying to knock you down. But we all deserve a second chance and puts over Cody’s performance. He then praises the NJPW roster, and says that the show went well and thanks the crowd. Goodbye, and good night. Bullet Club arrives to celebrate with Omega, closing out the show. UNTRIL TAMA TONGA ATTACKS OMEGA! HE TAKES HIM TO RINGSIDE AND TAKES OFF HIS BULLET CLUB SHIRT AS HAKU AND LOA JOIN IN. They lay out Omega with a double team powerbomb and then beat down the Bucks. Adam Page arrives to make the save, but gets taken out. Marty arrives and he gets taken out as well. Owens & Takahashi arrive and they get taken out as well. Tonga now lays in chair shots asking “who are you with?” The Tongan side of Bullet Club stands tall. Cody now limps his way out to the ring and Tonga hands him a chair. He attacks the Tongans but eats a stun gun. Haku piledrives him and BULLET CLUB IS NOT FINE! Cody now helps Omega to his feet and they embrace. This was a great closing angle, ending the Cody/Omega arc and moving onto another, the Tama Tonga led portion, which many had been waiting for.

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Good
The 411
The NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco 2018 event was an overall very good and strong event, with three standout matches, a big title change, and a great show closing angle with Bullet Club. Unfortunately, some production issues and commentary once again hurt the show, which is my only real big negative on the event. If cherry picking, catch the Bucks vs. LIJ, Lee vs. Takahashi, White vs. Juice, & the show closing angle.