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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night Thirteen Review

August 3, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s NJPW G1 Climax 29 Night Thirteen Review  

NJPW G1 Climax Night Thirteen
August 3rd, 2019 | EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan | Attendance: 5,555

The G1 Climax usually picks up steam when it hits Osaka in early August. They try to load up these cards and it signals the time for guys to start bringing their “A” game again because the tournament is winding down. This show has a rematch that sounds great (Ibushi/Tanahashi), one that is underwhelming (Okada/SANADA), and some intriguing first time meetings (Sabre/Archer and EVIL/Ospreay).

A Block: Bad Luck Fale [2] vs. KENTA [8]
KENTA got off to a 4-0 start but has dropped two straight since. A loss here would eliminate him. That sounds like classic Gedo booking. Anyway, Fale had Chase Owens and Jado with him at ringside. I don’t have much to say about this one. It was everything we’ve seen from Fale in this tournament so far. A lot of nothing in terms of interest and way too much in the way of shenanigans. KENTA couldn’t hit Go to Sleep because of Fale’s size, so his greatest weapon was of no use. He nearly won with a triangle choke but Fale rolled him up to steal this in 7:20. Fale has been the worst in this tournament. Kevin Kelly incorrectly said an Okada win eliminates KENTA but the best KENTA can finish is now 6-3 and that’s the worst Okada can finish, but Okada owns the tiebreaker anyway. [*]

A Block: Lance Archer [4] vs. RevPro British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. [4]
Archer has been one of the G1 MVPs. Suzuki-Gun battle here. Both guys came in eliminated but an Archer win could get him a RevPro title shot and the victor gets stable bragging rights. It was a clash of power against technical acumen. Sabre kept up the trend of getting frustrated and it resulted in him throwing uppercuts that had zero effect. He’d only get the upper hand when he focused on the submission stuff. Watching him find smart counters for Archer’s power game was a lot of fun. He’d pull Archer into any submission he could. It showed off a sense of desperation that other guys who are still alive in the tournament have yet to display. Sabre finally found the recipe for success when he countered Blackout into a cradle to win in 10:43. It felt longer than it was but it was still good stuff. I thought they wrestled a smart match that played to their strengths. [***¼]

A Block: EVIL [6] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay [4]
One of the more intriguing Willy matches of the tournament. Their styles could play well off each other. Honestly, this was kind of the match I expected from them. It started a bit slow and had something of a funny moment as EVIL struggled to get a chair in the ring. You can’t help but laugh at that stuff. Then it was a case of EVIL being the big guy and Ospreay having to fight from behind because of his size and injuries. I do think that Will being so banged up adds a lot to the idea that a junior heavyweight is out of his element in a tournament like this. None of what they did felt particularly special but it was all very good. Of course, in typical New Japan fashion, they turned it up down the stretch. The thing about a tournament like this is that a formula for a lot of the matches forms and you notice it a lot more because it is happening so often. It can get tiring. Anyway, both guys kicked out of big moves late. Everything is EVIL was enough to put Ospreay down in 17:08. Very good match. They did their stuff and the crowd was hot but it never felt like it was anything special. [***¾]

A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi [8] vs. Kota Ibushi [8]
Tanahashi won their G1 25 match (****¼), Ibushi won their G1 27 meeting (****¼), and Tanahashi won their IC Title match in 2017 (****½) and last year’s G1 final (****½). Only Okada still gets the main event when the G1 finals rematch is up. Needless to say, this is a combination that works. Tanahashi needs a win to stay alive because he lost to Okada. Ibushi can lose and barely stay in the tournament. Tana worked this at a methodical pace. He knew Ibushi came in with a bad leg and that’s a body part he excels at working over. It’s like Tana is a smarter and better wrestler, but Ibushi is a freak of nature. He popped up for a springboard rana after having his leg targeted. That’s when Tana was in trouble. He resorted to just disrespectfully slapping Ibushi. That proved to be a mistake because striking is a place where Ibushi has a clear advantage. Ibushi won with Kamigoye in 15:53 in a match that kind of felt like a passing of the torch. Another great match from these two. It lacked some of the drama from prior outings because you kind of knew Ibushi was winning to make sure Ibushi/Okada on the final night means something. [****¼]

A Block: IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada [12] vs. SANADA [4]
A pairing I’ve always found underwhelming. Okada has won every encounter. They occurred at Wrestling Dontaku 2016 (***¼), the G1 26 (***), G1 27 (***½), New Beginning 2018 (***½), New Japan Cup Finals this year (***½), and Wrestling Dontaku 2019 (***). SANADA needs to win to give other guys in the block a chance. This ultimately turned out to be their best match together. Outside of the typical early Okada stuff, it was paced pretty well for being something that went so long. The crowd helped out a lot. They were way behind SANADA and that meant we got a bit of cocky jerk Okada. That’s the best Okada. SANADA did most of his usual stuff, but made sure to throw in a few wrenches. I liked that he changed the order or threw in a new move here or there to throw Okada off. When you’re 0-6 against a dude, you have to change things up. What worked was how things felt down the stretch As they neared the 30 minute mark, you almost believed they would end this in a draw. Instead, SANADA nailed the moonsault to secure the victory in 29:47. This was very good and borderline great. There’s just something about this pairing that, even when they’re at their best together, doesn’t fully click for me. Still, a good way to end the show. [***¾]

Someone on Twitter pointed out that this was the third straight year where the IWGP Champion started the tournament unbeaten and took his first loss in Osaka. And in 2016, the only difference was Okada lost on night one, reeled off five straight wins, and then lost in Osaka. You can always rely on predictable booker Gedo.

Kazuchika Okada 12 (6-1) Jon Moxley 10 (5-1)
Kota Ibushi 10 (5-2) Tomohiro Ishii 6 (3-3)
EVIL 8 (4-3) Juice Robinson 6 (3-3)
KENTA 8 (4-3) Toru Yano 6 (3-3)
Hiroshi Tanahashi 8 (4-3) Tetsuya Naito 6 (3-3)
SANADA 6 (3-4) Hirooki Goto 6 (3-3)
Zack Sabre Jr. 6 (3-4) Jay White 6 (3-3)
Lance Archer 4 (2-5) Jeff Cobb 6 (3-3)
Will Ospreay 4 (2-5) Shingo Takagi 4 (2-4)
Bad Luck Fale 4 (2-5) Taichi 4 (2-4)
The final score: review Good
The 411
A good show today. Other than the Fale match (what else is new?), this was good stuff. A pretty good Archer/Sabre match, two very good matches, and a great one in Ibushi/Tanahashi. Nothing that happened was all that surprising but it was enough to keep me entertained.

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G1 Climax 29, NJPW, Kevin Pantoja