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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night Eighteen Review

August 11, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Jay White NJPW Best of the Super Jr. 26, NJPW G1 Climax
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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night Eighteen Review  

NJPW G1 Climax Night Eighteen
August 11th, 2019 | Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 9,861

Kota Ibushi won the A Block to cap a strong night of wrestling. More people are in play in the B Block, but I’m pretty sure they’ll all be eliminated so only Naito and White in the main event will matter. It’s just how Gedo books. Let’s see if that holds up.

B Block: Jeff Cobb [6] vs. Toru Yano [8]
Amateur wrestling legends going at it here. Yano hilariously hid a bunch of rolls of tape in his tights and was easily caught. When Cobb started beating on him, Yano went to the outside and tried goading Cobb into his shenanigans. However, Cobb still just threw Yano around. It was another impressive show of strength for him. Again, Cobb has been at his best in this tournament when he gets to shine as the big boy gaijin. Cobb won in relatively short order with Tour of the Islands at the 5:18 mark. A fine little match here but nothing more. [**¼]

B Block: Taichi [6] vs. NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii [8]
Ishii beat Taichi in the New Japan Cup (***¼) and won the NEVER Title from Taichi at Dominion (***½). Neither man can win the block but Taichi has a lot on the line. A win keeps him out of the bottom of the standings and could earn him a NEVER Title rematch. He came out firing because of it and walloped Ishii with the strong start. Ishii recovered enough to give it right back and that set the tone for this match being an unexpected war. There was no Taichi BS or shenanigans. It was just two warriors battling for pride. That was much more than I expected. The trading of strikes ending with an Ishii headbutt was great. Taichi seemed to biting off more than he could chew. But he got up and fought back before winning via Black Mephisto in 11:56. It’s not hard, Gedo. Book more shit like this. You don’t need to go 20+ minutes to have a great match. G1 sprints are where it’s at. This was hard hitting and had a sense of urgency that a lot of other matches lacked. The best thing I’ve ever seen Taichi do. [****¼]

B Block: IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley [10] vs. Juice Robinson [6]
Moxley took the US Title from Juice in his New Japan debut (****½). After starting 5-0, Moxley dropped three straight because, Gedo. He needs to win, plus have Goto and White lose later to make the finals. Shota Umino got a makeover and was dressed like Moxley. While this started with some intensity, it wasn’t quite at the level of the last match. Juice also entered on a huge losing streak, but he had the added motivation of a title shot and revenge. He also happened to enter with a bad leg, especially after Jay White’s TTO on the previous B Block show. Moxley targeted it throughout. To combat it, Juice resorted to stuff that even shocked Moxley. When Juice bit his earring off, he had no clue to react. Moxley resorted to a chair but missed a vicious shot on the ring post. Juice was nearly out with an STF but Juice grabbed the referee’s leg before his hand dropped a third time. He rallied from there and won with Pulp Friction in 16:27. The expected outcome. Nowhere near a patch on their first match but still a very good featuring some really good stuff. [***½]

B Block: Hirooki Goto [10] vs. Shingo Takagi [6]
Goto wins the block with a victory and a Tetsuya Naito loss. As a change of pace from the last two matches, this didn’t get off to a hot start. They hit each other hard, but it felt like they were moving a it slower in order to build to something bigger. That made sense since there was no personal animosity or rivalry here. Once they got into the bigger stuff, the pace picked up seriously. Shingo moved with more ferocity than Goto. Maybe it’s because he’s hungrier to prove himself and Goto is just going to be a goof for the rest of his career. As they beat on each other, I became more invested in the match. Goto survived most of Shingo’s signature moves. That has been a trend in this tournament because Shingo is still pretty much a junior heavyweight. The fans got way into the closing stretch and for good reason. Shingo DESTROYED Goto with a Pumping Bomber that was so legit, Goto should’ve lost to it. Shingo added Last of the Dragon to cap this, winning in 15:10. A very good match. They probably have something even better in them down the line. Shingo is fantastic. Goto is a guy. [***¾]

B Block: Jay White [10] vs. IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito [10]
Guess what? Gedo booked every challenger to lose, meaning it all comes down to this one match. Like it has almost every year in almost every block. Lots of stalling early, which kind of play into who both guys are. It also made you feel like this would go way long. Especially with the commentators teasing sudden death. Anyway, this unfortunately never really felt like it picked up following the slow start. I mean, it had some of the closing stretch you expect from a New Japan match, but still wasn’t up to par. Both of these dudes excel at character work, yet neither did enough of it here to keep me engaged. Gedo got involved a few times. There’s irony in Gedo the character trying to stop Naito from winning a big match when Gedo the booker has mastered that concept. White dead sold his weight to avoid Destino and Naito didn’t really do anything about it. Like, just hit him or something. They made a mess of a poison rana attempt and it was clear these two weren’t clicking. As noted, the finishing stretch was an improvement but still just fine. White won with Blade Runner in 18:51. That was a match that happened. The G1 is usually a safe bet for some great stuff to close out each block but this was definitely the lamest I’ve seen. [**¼]

Kota Ibushi *Winner* 14 (7-2) Jay White *Winner* 12 (6-3)
Kazuchika Okada 14 (7-2) Jon Moxley 10 (5-4)
EVIL 8 (4-5) Tetsuya Naito 10 (5-4)
KENTA 8 (4-5) Hirooki Goto 10 (5-4)
Hiroshi Tanahashi 8 (4-5) Tomohiro Ishii 8 (4-5)
SANADA 8 (4-5) Toru Yano 8 (4-5)
Zack Sabre Jr. 8 (4-5) Juice Robinson 8 (4-5)
Will Ospreay 8 (4-5) Shingo Takagi 8 (4-5)
Bad Luck Fale 8 (4-5) Taichi 8 (4-5)
Lance Archer 6 (3-6) Jeff Cobb 8 (4-5)
The final score: review Average
The 411
That was a lackluster way to end the B Block. They surprised by being pretty good for most of the tournament but this didn’t end the way I wanted it to. I liked most of the matches, especially Taichi/Ishii. But it ended on a sour note with a disappointing main event.

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G1 Climax 29, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja