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Hamilton’s The Lookup: October 2020 – Tomohiro Ishii vs. Minoru Suzuki, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito, More

October 7, 2020 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
Tomohiro Ishii NJPW G1 Climax 27 Wrestle Kingdom 13

Welcome back to The Lookup – a shorter take on the old “match of the month” columns. All pulled from my “big wrestling watching spreadsheet”… hence the pun.

A little late this month, but we’ve got a few G1 matches in the mix as New Japan’s biggest annual tournament finally got going. As usual, we’ve no spoilers…

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Minoru Suzuki – New Japan G1 Night One 9/19 ****½

What a way to get the G1 underway, with a hell of a sprint between two guys who, to borrow a line from Finlay’s old WWE ring music, love to fight. Thirteen minute long, with very little down-time, this was an early shout for the best match of the tournament… it’d be eclipsed within 24 hours…

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito – New Japan G1 Night Two 9/20 ****¾

The first of many matches that would tease going to a time limit draw, Naito and Tanahashi rolled back the clock as they looked to get their campaigns off to a rocking start. Helped by a LOUD crowd in Osaka, this was damn near half an hour of greatness, and a match that under normal circumstances, would likely be a shoe-in for a lot of “match of the year” votes.

Jay White vs. Kota Ibushi – New Japan G1 Night Three 9/23 ****

Another night, another good outing in the G1. Jay White’s G1s have been somewhat dogged by Bullet Club shtick, but this outing was the sign of him dropping all that in favour of being what some would describe as a “shithouse” bad guy. At a shade over 20 minutes, this didn’t fall into the trap of “teasing a draw”, while also not outstaying its welcome – one of the better G1 main events so far…

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tetsuya Naito – New Japan G1 Night Four 9/24 ****¼

…just like Tetsuya Naito and Zack Sabre Jr., with both men looking to extend their runs in a match that absolutely teased a draw. Considering that ZSJ has been slotted as a tag team guy as of late, this was a roll back to his earlier days in New Japan, and that year where he was running roughshod over tournaments.

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kota Ibushi – New Japan G1 Night Five – 9/27 ****

You can always count on Big Tom to be a consistent feature in tournaments like this, and so far he’s not disappointed. With Kota Ibushi ditching a lot of his flying, this was much more of a conventional slugfest, with Ibushi proving there’s a lot more to him… and there looked like there’d be a lot more to this match afterwards!

Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay – New Japan G1 Night Five – 9/27 ****½

A lot of this G1 has been overshadowed by the cloud over Will Ospreay – and the lack of addressing accusations in his direction as part of Speaking Out. Deleting his Twitter account has been a signal that he’s trying to brush that aside, but for my money his G1 has been a little underwhelming. This rematch from last year’s Best of the Super Juniors finals didn’t quite hit those heights, but was a reminder of just what both men have in the tank as far as the bell-to-bell goes…

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. KENTA – New Japan G1 Night Six – 9/29 ****

Another personal favourite from the tour’s stop at Korakuen Hall, this was a lovely hard-hitting match as KENTA again dug back into his past and uncorked a lot of heavy strikes that’ll leave you wincing.

Just Missed The Mark

If you’re looking to cherry pick stuff that just missed the proverbial notebook, then take a look at these…

Erick Stevens vs. Lee Moriarty – AIW I Assure You We’re Open (9/7)

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) – New Japan Road (9/11)

Wheeler YUTA vs. Jonathan Gresham – ROH TV #469
Jay White vs. Shingo Takagi – New Japan G1 Night One 9/19
YOSHI-HASHI vs. Juice Robinson – New Japan G1 Night Two 9/20
Matt Makowski vs. Chris Dickinson – Beyond Shangri-La Magistral 9/20
Benjamin Carter vs. Scorpio – AEW Dynamite 9/22

Will Ospreay vs. Tomohiro Ishii – New Japan G1 Night Three 9/23
Piper Niven vs. Kay Lee Ray – NXT UK 9/24
Logan Stunt vs. Nolan Edwards – Unsanctioned Pro 9 9/26
Lee Moriarty vs. Lexus Montez – Unsanctioned Pro 9 9/26
Calvin Tankman vs. Shane Mercer – Unsanctioned Pro 9 9/26

Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito – New Japan G1 Night Six 9/29

That’ll do it for a shorter-than-usual wrap-up – we’ll drop by again in November for a look at some of October’s top line matches, featuring the remainder of the G1 and hopefully more than a handful of matches from the Collective this weekend.

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NJPW, The Lookup, Ian Hamilton