Sorry this is late – on Thursday, I survived a day of work, taking the kids swimming, getting them to bed and dealing with moving house stuff and thought I could catch up with Night 4 of the G1.
Long story short, I got distracted and ended up only watching two matches that night. Luckily I managed to catch up today, but I nearly messed up. There is four consecutive nights of the tournament, if I miss one night then I will fall behind and fail my goal of watching the entire tournament.
So, I’m gonna quickly post this and get back to Night 5…
The opener between Sanada and Tama Tonga was a victim of my discomfort – my usual New Japan viewing device, my ipad, was out of charge. So I tried to watch on my phone, but the screen is cracked badly and I have no volume buttons left…add in Whatsapp messages and I was getting irritated. Then I tried my laptop, but the streaming kept stopping to buffer…I did try and rewatch the match and I liked what I saw, but I feel a little bad as it didn’t have my full attention. The finish was cool, I’ll say that – it was good to see someone overcome the Firing Squad’s interferrence and it makes Sanada look smart in outwitting Tama Tonga and the interferring Tanga Loa. A solid, if slighty vague 3/5
Zack Sabre Jr vs Toru Yano was good fun and one I made sure to rewatch during my laptop issues (3/5). Yano’s ongoing battle to fight fair and try and outwrestle his opponents is hilarious and yet, really shows off his ability too. Some nice wrestling in this one and the crowd are really getting behind Yano. It was good to see Sabre Jr win and get off the grid too – I think he’s going to be close to qualifying to the finals, if not a finalist.
Then I got distracted and began responding to messages on my phone and listening to music/watching Youtube…luckily, I had some time before work this morning to catch up on the rest of the matches…
Juice Robinson vs Kota Ibushi is where this card started to heat up for me and this was a great ‘sleeper’ match (3.5/5) I liked how Juice had scouted Ibushi’s high flying moves and was able to cut him off, it’s good to see an intelligent face (good guy) and both guys worked really hard until Ibushi got the win with the Kamigoye (double wrist clutch knee to the head of a kneeling opponent). Juice is getting better and better in my opinion – with this match, his win over Jay White at the G1 Special and a cracking cameo on Being The Elite, he’s becoming someone I look out for now.
Tetsuya Naito vs Tomohiro Ishii was an absolute war (4.5/5). Ishii was superb here, dishing out vicious chops to Naito’s throat and throwing everything at him in order to get the win. I’m not the biggest fan of Naito’s in-ring performances, but with this and his match with Kenny Omega on Night 2, he’ s been on fire so far. I loved the finish here – Naito countered a Brainbuster with Destino, then hit another Destino to make sure of the win. It was creative and slick, I only saw the Brainbuster/Destino counter happening at the last possible second. I think finishes are one of the most important spots in a match…a good finish can improve a bad match. Here, a great finish enhanced a great match.
Kenny Omega vs Hirooki Goto was a fantastic match and I’m not sure why I didn’t expect this going in. Both men are always entertaining to watch in the G1 and I loved their 2016 G1 Finals match, probably my favourite Goto match. It started slowly, then really picked up with a brawl into the crowd. The action was great from here with huge moves and counters from both men, plus tons of drama – Goto’s Shouten Kai (vertical suplex lift into a sitout slam) on Omega lead to the nearest near fall I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t sure what to give this match…I was considering 5/5, but I think I wanted a little more from the finish. I guess you can’t have Goto kick out of the One Winged Angel, but I felt like he was beaten a little too decisively after a heroic effort. A damn fine 4.5/5 then and it could well be one of the matches of the tournament.
Overall – a rating of 3.70/5.00 for a fantastic night for the G1 Climax. It’s the best night so far and could well be the night of the tournament. I’d advise anyone to at least watch the last two matches, but the whole card is worth your time.