New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax 2019 – Final Night – 12/08/2019

Hello You!

So here we are, after eighteen nights of action and however many stars, we’re here for the Final of G1 Climax 29. Who will leave the Nippon Budokan with the fabled G1 Trophy and a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Champ at Wrestle Kingdom on the 4th of January 2020? Will it be the devious Jay White? Will it be the Golden Star Kota Ibushi? Will White’s unscrupulous manager Gedo ultimately decide the fate of the Trophy? Will Ibushi be able to overcome the numbers game to win his first G1? Will the Title shot even be on 04/01/2020 or will it be on the 5th instead because they’re running the Tokyo Dome on consecutive nights next year? Will the G1 Final attain a 5 Star rating? Lemon Curry?

The suspense is killing me; let’s watch the ruddy show right chuffing now!!!

The event is emanating from the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan

Calling the action are “Dangerous K” Kevin Kelly, “R-Type” Rocky Romero and “C-Span” Chris Charlton

Opening Match
Karl Fredericks and Clark Connors Vs Ren Narita and Yota Tsuji

This is LA Dojo Vs New Japan Dojo, I’ll allow you to guess which wrestlers belong to which Dojo. Tsuji is Hiroshi Tanahashi’s young boy and has regularly been seen at ringside during Tana’s G1 matches. Tsuji and Fredericks trade open hand chops to start, which leads to Tsuji clamping on a headlock, only for Fredericks to cross body block him in reply.

Narita and Connors go at it next, doing some nice chain wrestling. The LA Dojo Lions work over Narita together for a bit, getting a double shoulder tackle. Narita makes sporadic attempts at a comeback, and eventually counters a Connors hip toss with one of his own, but Tsuji has been knocked off the apron earlier and isn’t there to make the tag. Narita gets worked over a bit more as a result, taking a spine buster from Fredericks and a spear from Connors, but he’s able to kick out of Fredericks’ pin attempt. Narita delivers a desperation suplex and finally manages to make the hot tag to Tsuji, who then trades chops with Connors.

Tsuji gets a big back body drop on Connors and then gets a nice jumping forearm in the corner followed by a big shoulder block. Tsuji goes for the Boston Crab on Connors, but Connors is able to make it to the ropes before he can properly apply it. Connors catches Tsuji with a dropkick and then goes for a Boston Crab of his own, but Tsuji fights him off, only to walk into a spear. Connors manages to apply the Boston Crab and cinches it in, whilst Fredericks holds Narita at bay outside. Tsuji tries to pull himself to the ropes, but Connors keeps pulling him back into the middle. After a valiant effort, Tsuji is eventually forced to submit to give the LA Dojo the win.

RATING: **1/2

Standard Young Lions opener. The general level of competence throughout all levels of the card in New Japan is something that I don’t think any other major company can match outside of maybe NXT, and even they have a few really green people on the books who couldn’t work close to the level of the four lads here.

Narita isn’t happy following the match and a big brawl breaks out between the rival Dojo’s. Hey, it’s like that game Rival Schools from the PS1! All it needs is some lad to start whacking everyone with a giant baseball bat whilst his football playing mate does keepie-uppies!

Match Two
Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Lance Archer w/ Mioh Abe Vs Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV and Jeff Cobb

Taichi, Kanemaru, Archer and Abe are all part of Minoru Suzuki’s “Suzuki-gun” Faction. Liger is retiring in January, so this could likely be his last match at the Nippon Budokan. Suzuki-gun jump Liger right from the start like absolute jerks and work him over inside the ring. Taichi actually tries to remove Liger’s mask, but Liger manages to just about fend him off and then attacks both him and Kanemaru. Liger tries for a surfboard on Taichi, but Archer puts a stop to that and then slams Tiger Mask for good measure. Taichi now goes for Tiger’s mask, but the referee intervenes and his attempts to de-mask Tiger are unsuccessful. The heels work Tiger over for a while both outside the ring and in their corner.

Taichi rips off his pleather pants, but this gives Tiger a chance to rally and he fends off both Kanemaru and Taichi, getting the latter with a Tiger Driver, and then manages to make a tag to Cobb. Cobb and Archer go at it, with Cobb actually matching Archer for power but Archer putting his longer limbs to good use with a big boot. Archer does the old Hakushi rope walk and then comes off the top with a moonsault. Archer tries THE CLAW next, but Cobb blocks it, so Archer delivers DA POUNCE (Period) before tagging out. Suzuki-gun triple team Cobb next, but his partners come in to help, leaving it to Kanemaru and Cobb. Kanemaru goes for his Deep Impact DDT from the second rope, but Cobb counters that into a suplex and then turns him inside out with a clothesline for two. Kanemaru tries a sunset flip in reply, but Cobb aloha Arn’s to block it and then muscles Kanemaru up into Tour of the Islands (Spinning Front Powerslam) which is enough for the win.


Quick paced 6 man tag that allowed Suzuki-gun to be heelish jerks, Archer to do some wacky big man spots and for Cobb to get the clean pin to get himself over. Good stuff!

Liger didn’t get to do much in that match, but he got to be on the winning side for his last Budokan showing at least. Liger’s music plays on the way out and he thanks the crowd before leaving. At this stage I don’t think Liger is especially bothered that he’s on his retirement tour. By that I don’t mean he isn’t trying in the ring, I just think he seems very content with how his career has gone and he’s not sweating hanging up the mask once and for all, which is how you’d want to be I think. He’s got nothing left to prove and is a first ballot Hall of Famer, plus he can probably do commentary or agenting once his in-ring career is over anyway if he misses being around the business.

Match Three
Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi w/ Pieter Vs Will Ospreay, Sho and Yoh

Pieter really looks like a character from Rumble Roses that didn’t make it past the censors. Team Takahashi is repping Bullet Club, whilst Team Ospreay is turning out for CHAOS. Yoh starts out with Ishimori, but that quickly leads into Sho and Yoh double teaming him. Eventually all of Bullet Club get sent outside, but before CHAOS can do a triple dive they get pulled outside by Bullet Club for a brawl around ringside. Yoh gets worked over back inside by Bullet Club, but manages to fend them off and make a tag to Sho.

Sho, looking like one hench mofo, runs wild briefly on Owens and then trades forearm strikes with him. Owens goes for a clothesline, but Sho ducks it and spears him down, but Owens keeps coming and gets the clothesline on the second attempt for a double down. Ospreay and Yujiro both come in next, with Ospreay getting the better of that with a springboard flying forearm for two. Yujiro gets a sliding dropkick in reponse, which allows his partners to come in with quick attacks on Ospreay. Yujiro follows up with a fisherman’s buster, but Ospreay is able to kick out at two. It all breaks loose, as everyone comes into the ring to hit moves, which ends with Yujiro getting a reverse DDT on Ospreay. Sho and Yoh come in with stereo knees to Yujiro before diving onto his opponents, which allows Ospreay to pin Yujiro with The Storm Breaker.

RATING: **1/2

Just another first half of the card match to give everyone a chance to hit something before giving Ospreay another win over a Heavyweight to make him look good. No complaints from me.

As CHAOS leave to the back, Kevin Kelly notes on commentary that Bad Luck Fale has tweeted that Bullet Club have just recruited someone new. I hope it’s not Kurt Zouma, I’m still holding out hope that we’ll go back in for him in January!

Match Four
Jon Moxley and Shota Umino Vs Toa Henare and Juice Robinson

Juice beat Moxley yesterday in the Final Round of the B Block, so Moxley will be out for vengeance here. Henare is a strange case as he’s way beyond being your typical Young Lion at this stage due to having an actual gimmick and unique ring attire, but he still spends most nights looking at the lights regardless. You have to think that at some point they’ll have to push him a little bit surely? Umino now has his own special entrance jacket, as his weird relationship with Moxley continues on.

Moxley wastes no time attacking both of his opponents, stomping a mudhole on Juice in the corner. Umino comes in for a double team, as he and Moxley look to have some good chemistry going on as partners. Umino works over Juice’s left leg, continuing the work that Moxley started the previous night. Moxley comes in with a single leg crab and then transitions it into a modified calf crush, which causes Juice to pull himself to the ropes to break. Juice manages to fight Moxley off long enough to deliver the Juice Box (Fireman’s carry into a gutbuster) and then limps over to his corner to tag Henare.

Umino comes in and the two younger wrestlers go at it, with Umino getting a vertical suplex on Henare for two. Henare manages to avoid a drop kick and then blocks a small package by powering Umino up into his own vertical suplex. Mox and Umino go for a Hart Attack on Henare, but Juice rescues him and then dives onto Moxley outside. Henare goes for a spear back inside the ring, but Umino is able to kick out at two. Umino dodges a Henare kick and gets a German Suplex for two, before trying a fisherman’s buster. Henare fights that off though and gets a nice uranage slam to pick up a win.

RATING: **1/4

A bit on the short side, but they gave a lot of the focus to Henare and Umino and they did well.

Post-match, Moxley and Juice face off, which leads to Moxley hitting Juice with his IWGP US Title belt. Moxley DDT’s Henare and then sets a table up outside the ring before driving Juice through it with a uranage slam. Well, that should heat up their issue quite nicely I should think, bring on the rubber match!

Match Five
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL, Shingo Takagi and BUSHI Vs Toru Yano, Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma and Hirooki Goto

Team Naito are Los Ingobernables De Japon, whilst the other team are a mishmash of Taguchi Japan (Taguchi), CHAOS (Goto and Yano) and Great Bash Heel (Makabe and Honma). That would make you think the LIJ team would have the advantage as they’re more likely to all be on the same page. Makabe wants to start out with Naito, but Naito sends EVIL in to the ring instead, which leads to a battle of the bulls between EVIL and Makabe. Makabe gets the better of that and tags in Taguchi, who promptly hits EVIL with his bum a bunch of times. EVIL fends him off with reasonable ease, as everyone else in the match starts brawling outside the ring.

We see that during the brawl SANADA has trapped Yano in The Paradise Lock on the entrance way, which causes Goto to have to sprint over and roll him over. Meanwhile, Taguchi gets worked over by LIJ back inside the ring. Taguchi eventually uses the power of his buttocks to knock down BUSHI, but Naito sprints in to stomp him making the tag and spits at Goto. This allows Taguchi to rally however and he drops both Naito and BUSHI with DDT’s before tagging in Goto. Goto runs wild on Shingo (The man he lost to the previous night), getting the Saito Suplex for two.

Shingo fights back and both men throw bombs at one another, which ends with Shingo flooring Goto with a clothesline. SANADA comes in next, but ends up taking a Ushigoroshi (Fireman’s carry onto the knee) from Goto, which leads to Honma coming in. Honma of course is not the worker he used to be thanks to suffering a serious neck injury, but it’s nice to see him still being able to have a match now and then like this. Honma gets his trademark falling head butt on SANADA, but this brings in EVIL for an attack. Honma gets double teamed by EVIL and SANADA but his team come in to rescue him.

SANADA locks in Skull End (Dragon Sleeper) on Honma, which is the cue for everyone to come in for some chicanery. Once that all calms down, SANADA goes for Skull End again but Honma counters it into a roll up for two. SANADA replies with a TKO (Fireman’s carry into a cutter) but Honma is able to kick out at two. SANADA back breakers Honma and heads up top for a moonsault, which is enough for him to pick up the win.

RATING: **1/2

Energetic tag stuff there, with Honma doing the honours so that SANADA can close out his G1 with a win. A Title shot with Kazuchika Okada must surely be on the horizon for him considering he pinned Okada in the A Block?

SANADA seems to be limping a bit following that, which is probably the effect that 9 big singles match in a month will have on you. The commentators ponder what would happen if SANADA was able to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title, especially as Naito is ostensibly the leader of the Faction. LIJ all raise their fists at the end though, so everything appears to be rosy (Interestingly it was SANADA who put his fist up first)

Match Six
Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa w/ Jado Vs KENTA, Yoshi-Hashi and Tomohiro Ishii

I must admit, I miss Tonga and Loa’s old “Guerrilla Tactics” entrance music, I think it suited them better than the music they use now. Tonga and Loa are the current IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champs and are known as Guerrillas of Destiny. Fale actually beat KENTA in the G1 Tournament with a roll up of all things, which was the first of three wins he achieved with a pinning hold. Apparently he’s the new Johnny Saint and no one told us. Ishii ended up fading in B Block despite still being in a shout with two matches to go. Yoshi didn’t even get in the tournament this year, which was probably for the best as, despite being okay in the ring; he’s not an especially interesting guy that you’d want to see over 9 matches.

Tonga wants KENTA to start out with him, but Yoshi wants to start instead, so we go with Yoshi and Fale as the first two. Yoshi peppers Fale with strikes and eventually takes him down with a running elbow. Fale eventually takes Yoshi down with a clothesline and that leads to Yoshi getting worked over in The Firing Squad’s corner. Yoshi eventually manages to catch Tonga with a neck breaker and makes the tag to Ishii, who takes Loa down with a shoulder block, but he can’t knock Fale off the apron. Fale comes in and Ishii goes for a brain buster, but Fale counters with a slam, which allows Loa take Ishii down with a clothesline.

Ishii fights off both Guerrillas however and makes his way over to tag KENTA, but KENTA pulls his hand away when Ishii tries to tag him. Oh hang on, didn’t Fale mention that Bullet Club had a new member on Twitter? It couldn’t be KENTA could it? Regardless, the faces are now left 3 on 2, as KENTA watches on. Ishii manages to vertical suplex Fale for a big pop and then turns Tonga inside out with a lariat, only to turn around into a Busaiku Knee (running knee strike) from KENTA. KENTA follows with the Go To Sleep (Fireman’s carry into a knee to the face) and Tonga makes the cover for the pin.

RATING: **3/4

Heck of a surprise finish there!

KENTA grabs a mic post-match, but Katsuyori Shibata, the head of the LA Dojo and the man who essentially “sponsored” KENTA on his return to New Japan, runs down to attack him. Wow, I thought Shibata was done as a wrestler, but he’s doing a lot of stuff here. Shibata fends off the Firing Squad and dropkicks KENTA in the corner, as the crowd is going nuts. Shibata goes for the PK, but Jado hits him with his Singapore cane, which allows KENTA to choke him down and then deliver a PK of his own. Where the frig is Hirooki Goto during this by the way? Get out there and help your friend! KENTA poses with The Firing Squad to show that, yes, he has officially joined The Bullet Club. He needed an edge to be fair, so this is a pretty good storyline direction to take him in. I do wonder if this means that Shibata is going to come back as a wrestler or if this bit of physicality was a one-time thing to get the angle over?

Match Seven
Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr Vs Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi

Suzuki and Zack are, not surprisingly, representing Suzuki-gun, whilst Tanahashi usually teams and hangs around with the Taguchi Japan Faction and Okada is the leader of the CHAOS group. Tanahashi and Okada were of course rivals for years, but mutual hatred of Jay White and the Bullet Club finally brought them together and they’ve been partners ever since, although they’re hardly close friends or anything. It’s still pretty cool to see them tag though, just because there was a time where it would have seemed impossible.

Tanahashi asks to start out with Zack and Okada lets him, which leads to Zack and Tana doing some nice chain wrestling. Tana gets the better of that and then calls in Okada for a double team, but that leads to stereo arm bars from the Suzuki-gun team. Suzuki-gun work over the Dream Team’s arms outside the ring, wrapping them around the railings. This leads to Tana getting worked over in the Suzuki-gun corner, with Suzuki himself throwing some stuff shots at Tana and then sneering a hole in Okada. Is anyone better at being an imposing and intimidating 50 year old than Minoru Suzuki?

Zack and Suzuki work every one of Tana’s limbs with some double team submission holds, and he’s getting stretched so much here we might as well change his surname from Tanahashi to Armstrong and be done with it. Tana manages a desperation Dragon Screw on Zack and then tags in Okada, who runs wild on Zack and drops him with a DDT for two. zack dodges an Okada move from the top and then counters an Okada neck breaker attempt into a submission hold. In comes Suzuki with a PK for two and then a running kick before tying Okada up and going to an arm bar.

Tana comes in to break that up, but Suzuki just looks at him with disgust and sends him out of the ring. This allows Okada to recover a little bit, but Suzuki grabs him for a piledriver, only for Okada to counter it to a modified neck breaker over the knee. Zack and Tana both get tagged in, which sees Zack counter the Slingblade into an octopus hold. Tana fights out of that with a swinging neck breaker however and then gets the Slingblade for two when Suzuki breaks it up. Okada fights with Suzuki outside, which allows Tana to come off the top with the High-Fly-Flow Frogsplash, but Zack gets his knees up and then transitions into a triangle choke. Tana rolls forward to turn that into a pinning combination, but Zack is able to kick out at two.

Zack gets a big PK and both men are down in the ring whilst Okada pulls himself up onto the apron, along with Suzuki. Both men get tagged in and Okada slams Suzuki before heading up for an elbow drop. This leads to THE RAINMAKER POSE!!! Okada goes for The Rainmaker itself (Spinout Clothesline) but Suzuki fights that off and both men start trading strikes in the middle of the ring. Suzuki holds his arms behind his back and actively demands that Okada hit him, but Okada can’t make a dent and Suzuki knocks him down before getting a PK and a sleeper. Suzuki tries for a Gotch Style Piledriver (Jumping cradle piledriver) but Tana rescues Okada with a Slingblade and then delivers another on to Zack, before taking him outside.

This leaves Okada and Suzuki in the ring again, which leads to Suzuki getting a satellite sleeper hold on Okada which is something a guy his age that has worked this kind of high impact style really shouldn’t be capable of doing, but he’s Minoru Suzuki and he LAUGHS at such notions! Tana tries to come in and rescue Okada from the sleeper, but Zack dives in with a guillotine to stop that, which allows Suzuki to choke Okada down further and then finish him off with the Gotch Piledriver for a rather surprising three count.

RATING: ****

That could have been a kind of apology to Suzuki for not having him in the G1 this year, as you have to think he’ll definitely get a shot at Okada’s Title now. The match itself was excellent and I wasn’t expecting Suzuki to pin Okada like that either.

Suzuki grabs a mic post-match and mocks Okada for losing to a guy who wasn’t even in G1. He then lays down a challenge to Okada for the belt, and I’m sure we’ll get that match down the line.

Main Event

A Block Winner: Kota Ibushi Vs B Block Winner: “Switchblade” Jay White w/ Gedo

White attacked Ibushi’s already injured leg with a chair on the previous show, so he will be even more weakened here and will have an uphill battle to defeat White, who after a slow start has found a run of form and went six matches undefeated in the B Block. This is a great example of how a good video package transcends the language barrier as well, as you can tell from watching it that White has been a dirty cheating scum bag throughout the tournament and is clearly a heel, whilst Ibushi has been gallantly winning fair and square and is thus clearly a babyface.

Before the match even starts, White brings down the entire the Bullet Club down with him during his entrance to stack the deck even higher against Ibushi. Ibushi winning now would probably blow the roof off the joint, but maybe they’ll go for the big gut punch ending of White winning so that he can get his comeuppance at the Tokyo Dome from Okada in a rematch from this year’s Wrestle Kingdom event? That’s the one thing about the heat finish here; it will make sense from a storyline perspective and won’t be heat for heat’s sake. It’s incredible listening to how much the crowd hates Bullet Club as well; it’s fantastic to see New Japan crowds really get into the Face/Heel divide like that.

However, before the match can start Referee Uno decides he’s going to send Bullet Club to the back, but Gedo thinks on his feet and negotiates that he will stay so long as the rest of Bullet Club leaves. That seems to be agreed and Bullet Club leaves sans Gedo. With that all sorted the match can finally begin, so Jay White immediately bails and tries to goad Ibushi to come outside the ring. Ibushi refuses however, so White comes back inside and targets Ibushi’s leg right away. Gedo makes the mistake of grabbing Ibushi’s leg in view of Referee Uno though, so Uno decides to do some serious reffing and actually kicks Gedo to the back as well, meaning we will now have a one on one match.

Ibushi goes for the Golden Triangle Asai moonsault to White, but White sees it coming and attacks Ibushi whilst he’s prepping to jump and then wraps the leg around the railings at ringside. White stays on the leg back inside, with Ibushi even selling the impact of a snap suplex by grabbing his leg in a nice touch, as your leg/ankle does indeed hit the mat with the rest of you when you get suplexed. Ibushi sells his leg great, as White continues to target it like the proverbial shark that’s smelt some blood, but Ibushi is able to snap off a desperation rana to buy himself some time. Ibushi gets a powerslam next and then comes off the second rope with a moonsault, but his leg meant he couldn’t get the most of it. Ibushi gets a standing moonsault next, but then makes the mistake of trying a back flip knee drop and lands right on his injured leg when White moves.

White takes advantage by getting a DDT and then follows up with a spinning suplex for two. White tries to lock in the Tanahashi Tap Out (Inverted Figure Four) but Ibushi fights him off and then double stomps White for good measure when he tries a chopblock. Ibushi tries to lawndart White into the turnbuckle, but White kicks at the leg to block it and then gets the Complete Shot followed by a deadlift release German Suplex. White sets Ibushi up on the top rope and goes for a superplex, attacking Ibushi’s leg when he tries to block it. White finally gets the superplex, and it’s a beauty, but he doesn’t even cover and tries for the Kiwi Krusher (Ki Krusher) but Ibushi fights him off and counters into a modified Tombstone Piledriver for a double down.

Both men fight up from their knees, which is a battle Ibushi wins at first, but White fights back and then lariats Ibushi down. Ibushi pops up from that, but White stops that with a uranage and then delivers the Kiwi Krusher for two. White goes for The Blade Runner (Sister Abigail’s Kiss) but Ibushi slips out of that and gets a release half Nelson Suplex. Ibushi looks to lawndart White into the corner, but White slips out and then sends Ibushi into Referee Uno to bump him. With the ref down, White low blows Ibushi, which brings Gedo back down to ringside with a chair. White attacks Ibushi’s leg with the chair, even going as far to break the chair over Ibushi’s leg, and then applies the Tanahashi Tap Out (Named as such because he invented it specifically to make Tanahashi submit).

Gedo puts the referee back in the ring as White cinches in the move. Ibushi does the dramatic sell of pulling himself to the ropes to break the hold, delivering his usual excellent facials. Despite making the ropes, Uno considers stopping the match as Ibushi is in bad shape, but Ibushi keeps going and manages to clock White with a back flip kick to White’s face. Ibushi finally gets the illusive lawndart, which causes White to roll onto the apron. Ibushi tries to German Suplex White back into the ring from the apron, and he gets it…for a count of two. Ibushi tries for a powerbomb, but White hits the leg to block it and then slaps Ibushi in the face…

Indeed! Ibushi gives White a look that says “Fam, did you just slap me blud?” and White responds by giving a look that says “Oh man, I’ve been a proper ham roll here”. Then in a funny bit, White tries to look brave, only for Ibushi to slap the fudge out of him until he sinks in the corner. Another slap sends White down to the mat with a glassy look in his eye, but he manages to catch Ibushi with a desperation Dragon Screw before Ibushi can clock him with a lariat. Ibushi blocks another Dragon Screw with a lariat though and then delivers a Sitout Last Ride powerbomb for two. Ibushi goes for the Bom-Ba-Ye (Shinsuke Nakamura’s running knee) but White drops to the floor so he can’t be knee’d and then distracts the referee which allows Gedo to come into the ring.

Ibushi clocks Gedo with a kick, but this allows White to deliver a sleeper suplex. Ibushi rolls through the move however and then delivers a Bom-Ba-Ye to the back of White’s head and both men are down. With Gedo down, Rocky Romero drags him out of the ring, leaving it to be one on one again. Ibushi gets another Bom-Ba-Ye, but White manages to kick out at two. Ibushi goes for the Kamigoye (Knee strike to the face whilst holding the opponents wrists) but White attacks the leg to stop that, so Ibushi gives him a Mirko Crop Cop like kick to the head, followed by another one.

Kamigoye looks to finish, but White counters it into The Blade Runner. White decides not to make a cover and instead picks Ibushi up for a cross arm brain buster. Ibushi fights out of that with a head butt however and gets a straightjacket German Suplex, but before he can Kamigoye White gets a pair of sleeper suplexes and the cross brain buster, which sets up The Blade Runner, but Ibushi blocks it with a trio of knees and then gets Kamigoye for two. Ibushi won’t be denied however and delivers another Kamigoye to pick up the win and claim the G1 Crown for 2019!

RATING: *****

Full House for me on that one, as I was totally into the drama, the selling from Ibushi and the wonderful character work from White. I know some think White is over pushed, but matches like this show he more than has the chops to back it up in the big match situations. I’m happy they went with Ibushi though, as he stayed loyal to New Japan by signing that contract and it’s nice to see stuff like that rewarded.

Kota Ibushi, now adorned with flag and ruddy big trophy, gives his celebration speech and we’re out without any further shenanigans.

In Conclusion

Most of the people on the undercard were tired and beaten up, and it kind of showed. Nothing on the show was remotely close to being bad though and it was all worth it for the big two closing bouts. I’m sure there’ll be those that disagree with the rating of the main event, but hey, I like Ibushi as a wrestler and I really enjoy Jay White’s heel antics, so it was the perfect close to the tournament for me.

Will Ibushi win the Title at Wrestle Kingdom? I think they might as well roll the dice on him. It’s not like it’ll kill Okada for him to put him over in The Dome and it’s someone new on top. Sometimes in these situations you don’t know if someone is going to work in the top spot unless you try it. The good thing is that if it doesn’t work for whatever reason, they can always go back to Okada as he’s reliable in the role and there are always guys like Naito and SANADA waiting in the wings as well if needs be.

Anyway, thanks for joining me on this G1 journey. After last year I didn’t think I’d do it again, but I’m glad I did in the end as I saw a lot of good wrestling and really enjoyed the tournament as a whole. Maybe we should do this again next year eh?