After a nice day out with family, what better way to unwind than with some G1 action?
Toru Yano vs Kota Ibushi was pretty much a standard Yano comedy match, with Yano getting his first points in the G1 via a low blow and a roll up. It was alright, but I’ve seen funnier Yano matches. I’ll go 3/5 for Ibushi’s acrobatics, but this was Yano’s worst showing so far.
Zack Sabre Jr vs Sanada was a hidden gem of a match – I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this match as much as I did, but I really liked the story of Sanada being a wrestler able of keeping up with the technical ability of Sabre Jr. There were superb counters and reversals here, until Sanada took the win with a flash pin. This match was a 3.5/5 for me…it was just too short for me to go to 4/5, but I’m gutted I missed their New Japan Cup now and would love to see a rematch.
Tetsuya Naito vs Juice Robinson was an odd one for me, I felt it was slow and methodical at first and I wasn’t really feeling it. However, the match really picked up in the middle and the finishing stretch was very good. Maybe if this match had a bit more urgency from the start I’d have been into it more, but as it stands I scored it 3.5/5.
Kenny Omega vs Tama Tonga was more Bullet Club drama, with tons of interference and some decent action. I think I would have preferred more action and less interference to be honest…I think Tama Tonga is decent, if nowhere near Omega’s level, but I wish he’d be given more time to show what he can do. Three matches in for Fale and Tonga and the interference is getting tiresome, especially when both are capable of good matches without it. I’m going 3/5 for this one on principle – it was more angle than match and the interference has lost it’s novelty. I can’t grade this on the same level as the previous two matches when it consisted of less actual wrestling.
Tomohiro Ishii vs Hirooki Goto would be a great demonstration of New Japan’s style to a newcomer. Lots of hard strike exchanges, vicious head and neck drops and neither man backing down until Ishii spiked Goto with a huge Brainbuster (basically a vertical suplex, but the opponent lands on their head/neck as opposed to their back) for the win. A reliable pairing, even though I prefer them facing other people (I think Goto and Ishii are very similar and I have a theory going that similar wrestlers never have great matches – see Randy Orton vs HHH for example) and an easy 4/5.
Overall – I would give this card 3.40/5.00 – a solid night with some fine matches on. Shame about Omega vs Tonga though, that could have been a really good match if given time to shine. All the tournaments matches flew by though (well, bar the start of Naito vs Juice) and I’d consider this an easy evening of wrestling to watch.