Kenny Omega and Hirooki Goto battled it out to decide who’d win this year’s G1 Climax, and who’d be heading to the main event of next year’s WrestleKingdom.
#TLDR: This year’s G1 Climax was wrapped up with another five-star outing, as Kenny Omega and Hirooki Goto tore down Sumo Hall in a show that also set the table for later in the year.
The Full Review: After both blocks produced ***** classics to determine today’s final, there’s a lot of expectation between two people that virtually nobody expected to make to the final, least of all in this pairing.
Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Tiger Mask
Taguchi was back with his sparkly jacket and microphone, whilst Finlay seemed to sneak his way to the ring during that entrance. Finlay and Taguchi jump the masked veterans at the bell with hip attacks, with Taguchi landing a plancha to Tiger Mask on the floor.
When it calmed down, we had Finlay and Liger in the ring, with Finlay taking down Liger with a dropkick, before landing a barrage of European uppercuts. After kicking out of a backslide, Finlay took a Dragon screw to the leg, before Liger took too long in setting up the surfboard, prompting Taguchi to run in and break things up.
Tiger Mask eats a load of hip attacks from both Taguchi and Finlay for a two-count, before the pair bump into each other as Tiger avoided a sandwich hip attack. Liger tags in and blocks another hip attack, but eats the second attempt, and then a load of running hip attacks as he’s sat against the ropes. A pair of tiltawhirl backbreakers take down Taguchi, who tags in Finlay, and we get more uppercuts, and an attempt at a Finlay roll, before Tiger Mask locks in a cross armbreaker.
Liger makes the save as Taguchi broke it up, but we saw a Finlay roll on Tiger Mask for another two-count. Finlay runs into a back kick, then a Shotei for a near-fall. The end came when Liger caught up Taguchi in the Romero special as Finlay took a double underhook suplex from Tiger Mask for the win. A nice fast-paced opener, but not much to it. **¾
Gedo & Jado vs. Yoshitatsu & Captain New Japan
Hey, Jado’s on a New Japan show! He’s allegedly been under a mask as Captain NOAH, and this is the first time they’ve teamed together in New Japan since February 2015. Oh, what I’d have given for the two Captains in this match…
The Bullet Club Hunters argue over who should start, and we end up with the Captain starting off with Jado. Well, we did, except Gedo jumped from behind and we actually started with some double teaming. A collection of knees gets Jado a two-count, as Yoshitatsu comes in and forces a break-up. Jado locks in a crossface on the Captain, and eventually Yoshitatsu makes the save to a few boos from the Ryogoku crowd.
Jado pulls up the Captain by the mask, and throws him into Gedo’s boot. After some trash talking, the Captain fires back by choking Gedo until Jado runs in, but the Captain manages to take the two down with a diving shoulder block. Yoshitatsu tags in and runs through his Triple H knees to Gedo, before almost losing Gedo with a back body drop that turned into a spinebuster. A big boot gets Yoshitatsu a two-count, before a hiptoss into a knee leads into a Pedigree attempt, at least until Jado took down Yoshitatsu with a clothesline.
Back comes the Captain, and he takes a clothesline from Jado, then a draping DDT off the middle rope for a near-fall. Captain scores a roll-up for a near-fall which Gedo broke up, and then Jado went back to the crossface… and finally this ended. Good lord, this was bad, even for a five-minute match. I used to like him when he was in WWE, but it seems that Yoshitatsu’s regressed badly since his return from a broken neck. I’d dare say he was better off being an English announcer. And that’s saying something! ½*
Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma)
YOSHI-HASHI and Makabe start by trading shoulder tackles, and then we went back to Honma and Ishii for the third day running, with the pair of them seemingly trying to break each others’ ribcages with chops.
Honma lands a Kokeshi at the first attempt, before getting a knee to the back from YOSHI-HASHI. He tags in and whips Honma into the buckles, before launching in with a chop for a near-fall. Ishii tags back and targets the taped-up ribs of Honma, with forearms and clubbing blows to the taped-up area.
Honma tries to block a suplex, and succeeds with a deadlift suplex before making a beeline to Makabe on the apron. Makabe knocks YOSHI-HASHI off the apron and into the barricades, before landing a powerslam on Ishii. The corner mounted punches and a Northern Lights suplex gets Makabe a two count on Ishii, as does a lariat.
A series of forearms from Ishii send Makabe drop to the mat, and Ishii immediately tags out to YOSHI-HASHI as the referee checks to see if Makabe is still alive. He is, and drops YOSHI-HASHI with a lariat, before tagging in Honma, whose first move is to knock Ishii into the barriers. Honma scores a pair of Kokeshis for a near-fall, but YOSHI-HASHI catches him with a Bunker Buster, before a powerbomb is aborted in order to deal with Makabe.
Makabe’s dualling clothesline takes down Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI, who then steps up into the path of a leaping Kokeshi, before he rolled away from a swandive. Well, four out of five is his best so far this tournament. More forearms from Honma, who counters a spin kick with another Kokeshi, and then the Kokeshi Otoshi… but YOSHI-HASHI rolls through into a near-fall.
A back cracker from YOSHI-HASHI’s followed up with a sliding lariat from Ishii and a double knee strike from YOSHI-HASHI for a two-count. A pumphandle driver’s blocked, as Honma follows up with elbows, before taking a lariat, then the pumphandle driver as YOSHI-HASHI takes the win. A fun tag-match, and you have to think that this thrown-together pairing are in line for an IWGP tag title shot after beating the recently-unthroned champs. ***½
Katsuhiko Nakajima, Go Shiozaki, Maybach Taniguchi, & Masa Kitamiya vs. Katsuyori Shibata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, & Manabu Nakanishi
They’ve gone for NOAH vs. New Japan here, with Shibata leading a team of veterans, featuring a Hiroyoshi Tenzan who looked pretty immobile once more. We started with Nagata and Kitamiya, and we got an unclean rope break early on from Kitamiya, earning him plenty of boos. A big boot takes down Nagata, as does a slam, with Kitamiya getting a two count from a back senton splash.
Nagata kicks down Kitamiya, then tags in Tenzan, with the two veterans scoring a double shoulder block before Taniguchi tags in. Maybach clonks into Tenzan with a shoulder tackle, and then the roles get reversed, before a headbutt and a series of Monglian chops take down Taniguchi.
Mayback powerslams Tenzan off the ropes before the NOAH team runs in to clear the apron, and we get Tenzan in the ring against Taniguchi and Shiozaki, who combine for a side slam and a neckbreaker combo for a near-fall. Tenzan drops Kitamiya with a headbutt, before eating a bunch of chops. Shiozaki tags in and chops away at Tenzan in the corner, before Tenzan blocked a suplex and landed some Mongolian chops.
A spinning heel kick takes down Shiozaki, and in comes Shibata to kick the heck out of Shiozaki. Taniguchi runs in to break it up, and takes a Yakuza kick, before Shibata runs in with corner dropkicks into Shiozaki and Taniguchi for a near-fall. Shiozaki lays into Shibata with chops, but Shibata just leans into them before drilling Shiozaki with an elbow and a Yakuza kick.
Shibata pops up from a back suplex, then dumps Shiozaki with one himself, and then takes a lariat before both men slump to the mat. Nakajima, Kitayama and Taniguchi triple-team Shibata, with a Nakajima PK getting a two-count. Nakajima clears the apron, then tries for a suplex, but Shibata slips out of it… and then nails THIS.
— John Stevens (@DK1105) August 14, 2016
A headbutt so hard, that Shibata made himself bleed. Incoming CTE diagnosis, anyone?
Shibata tags out, and in comes Nakanishi with a load of Polish hammer-style double axehandle blows. A lariat takes down Nakanishi for a two-count, and the ring quickly fills up… then empties as Nakanishi gets triple-teamed by the veterans, before kicking out at the last possible moment.
Nakanishi picks up Nakajima in the Argentine backbreaker, then no-sold Kitayama’s attempt to break it up by simply tossing Nakajima into him. Shiozaki came in and dropped Nakanishi with a lariat, before Taniguchi flew more than halfway across the ring to hit a big splash. Nakajima picks up Nakanishi, then lands a brainbuster and that was it. An insane match, plenty of hard hitting – perhaps a little too much, especially when you make yourself bleed from a headbutt?! ***¾
Shibata leapt into the ring after the bell, and the brawling continued, with Shibata taking aim at Nakajima. Perhaps that’s coming up down the line? Shibata’s laying into everyone with headbutts, with Shiozaki getting a few of them, as the NOAH and New Japan young lions finally separating all eight guys. The Sumo Hall crowd were absolutely hating the NOAH crew, to the point where the usually-reserved Japanese fans were flipping off the NOAH guys.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe) (c)
So, after scoring a load of undercard multi-man tag match wins, Yujiro Takahashi came out as a “Tokyo Pimp”, playing a Japanese version of the Godfather, it seemed. To little response.
Mark dropkicked Takahashi out of the ring to start us with, as Jay sent Page the same way, following up with a tope before Mark landed a moonsault off the top rope. Page gets stomped in the corner, before the Briscoes land a double shoulder tackle. Takahashi tries to bring a title belt in, but as the referee takes it away, Hangman Page uses the second belt on Jay for a near-fall.
The Bullet Club pairing work over Jay Briscoe for a spell, but he elbows out of a Fireman’s carry from Page and tags in Mark, who counters a waistlock with a Pele kick. Takahashi takes a forearm smash, before Mark drops Page with a death valley driver. A frog splash elbow is blocked by Takahashi who tries to shove him over the top, and then Page gets snapped to the floor, where he takes a running elbow off the apron.
The camera just about caught Page hitting a somsersault off the crowd barriers into a clothesline on Mark Briscoe, which ended up getting just a one-count after they rolled back into the ring. A series of running boots from Takahashi gets him a two count on Mark Briscoe, but he a missed enziguiri from Mark allowed Page to pick him up with a pumphandle fallaway slam for a near-fall.
A low dropkick from Takahashi got him a two-count, again on Mark, as the Bullet Club made frequent tags, but couldn’t stop Mark from dropping Page with a suplex. The hot tag as made to Jay Briscoe, who took down Takahashi with a neckbreaker for a near-fall, before a lariat got Jay a two-count after Takahashi’d worked free from a Jay Driller attempt.
Takahashi backdropped Jay into Page on the apron, and that almost led to a Jay Driller on the apron, but instead Page took a death valley driver instead. Takahashi came in and slipped out of a Doomsday device, and dropped Jay with a Fisherman buster, before tagging in to Page, who went into a battle of forearm smashes with Mark.
Page spiked Mark with a DDT for a near-fall, then followed up with a powerslam into the turnbuckles and a Saito suplex for another two-count as Jay made the save. Mark ended up taking an elbow drop/Dominator for a near-fall as the Bullet Club nearly grabbed the win. Mark fired back with headbutts as he fought off both of the Bullet Club, but Takahashi hot shotted him into the top rope, only for Mark to turn around and drop Page with a uranage as he tried another slingshot clothesline.
From there, the Briscoes rushed to the finish and took out Page with the Doomsday Device and that was it for the challengers. A decent match, an ultra-rushed finish, but this crowd were flat as this failed to follow the New Japan/NOAH brawl. ***½
During interval, New Japan made the formal announcement for WrestleKingdom 11. To the surprise of nobody, the annual Tokyo Dome show will take place… on January 4. Then, at the end of intermission, we had a Chris Jericho-esque countdown video announcing that a Time Bomb will blow in 1992 hours. That’s in 83 days…or November 5’s Power Struggle show. People who know better than I do are suggesting that this is Minoru Suzuki, who’s been dropping a lot of “time bomb” references in promos in NOAH as of late. At 48 years though, I wouldn’t expect much longevity from Suzuki this time around.
ROH World Championship: Satoshi Kojima vs. Jay Lethal (c)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan cornered Kojima – as payback for an entire G1 of cornering for Kojima. Yep, Koji’s the big favourite here, and from the opening lock-up, Lethal takes Kojima into the ropes for a clean break.
Lethal scores a shoulder block takedown, then a low dropkick, before Kojima turned out of a headlock before DDTing Lethal. Kojima crashes and burns with a plancha, before Lethal dropkicked him back to the floor from the apron, and followed up with a dropkick as Kojima laid prone on the apron.
A neck crank from Lethal forces Kojima to reach for a rope break, and Lethal stays on top of him with some forearms in the corner, before missing a leaping elbow… and you know what that means! Machine gun-like chops! Leaping forearm! And with nobody to cut him off… finally the top rope elbow drop!
After Lethal kicked out at two from that, before countering with some rolling belly to back suplexes after he’d ducked a lariat. Kojima elbowed out of a third suplex, but fell to the Lethal Combination, before Lethal went to the top for an elbow of his own. That got a near-fall, as Kojima countered a Lethal Injection with a Koji Cutter, then a series of Mongolian Chops in tribute to Tenzan.
Kojima continued the Tenzan love with an Anaconda Vice, but Lethal worked free, before a brainbuster scored Kojima another near-fall. A big boot and an enziguiri blocked a Cozy Lariat, but Kojima hit it anyway for a near-fall. Lethal kicked Kojima to the outside and started with his hattrick of topes, but Kojima came back in after the second tope and cut off the third.
A Lethal Injection attempt was blocked with a Cozy Lariat, but Lethal grabbed the referee and hit Kojima with a mule kick, then the Lethal Injection for the win. Eh, I could have lived without the Yano-like finish, but it was a good match for its length. ***¾
Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & KUSHIDA vs. Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI
Tanahashi and Naito start us off, and well, Naito seems to have gotten more popular in defeat yesterday. Something tells me that the babyface turn – when it comes – will be epic.
Well, Naito immediately tags out to SANADA, so it’s those two who start instead. Tanahashi takes down SANADA with a shoulder tackle, then a headlock takedown, before Tanahashi throws SANADA as he escaped an early Skull End. Double leapfrog and a dropkick from SANADA takes down Tanahashi, who comes back with a twisting cross body onto BUSHI, and in comes BUSHIDA.
Juice Robinson comes in and cycles tags with KUSHIDA over a wristlock, with BUSHI being held in place for a running dropkick to BUSHI. A cartwheel into a low dropkick sends BUSHI down again, and Los Ingobernables trip KUSHIDA before they rush the ring, taking out Tanahashi.
BUSHI chokes away at KUSHIDA with a t-shirt, then tags out to SANADA who trades shots with KUSHIDA on the apron, before kicking the rope as KUSHIDA tried to enter the ring. In comes EVIL, who squashes KUSHIDA with a back senton. Naito tags in but just wanders around as BUSHI lands a missile dropkick, then we get Naito’s outside-in dropkick to the junior heavyweight champion.
KUSHIDA drops Naito with a right hand, but EVIL rushes the ring to prevent the tag. A handspring elbow drops EVIL and allows KUSHIDA to tag in to Michael Elgin, who clotheslined SANADA and BUSHI off the apron. A deadlift German suplex followed next as Naito sold it like death before the move even happened! EVIL ran in to cut off an Elgin superplex… but that just turned into a double slam by Elgin on Naito and EVIL. Elgin repeated the feat with the Samoan drop/Fallaway slam to SANADA and BUSHI… Holy God, Elgin is a monster.
Elgin eyed up Naito and dropped him with a series of avalanche clotheslines, then a stalling suplex into a Falcon arrow for a near-fall. Tanahashi was slingshotted by Elgin onto Naito for a near-fall – and a move that seemed to hurt Tanahashi more than it did Naito.
Naito punches out of a powerbomb from Elgin, who replied with a right forearm shot, before Naito connected with a tornado DDT. Both men tagged out, and we got Juice Robinson and EVIL. An EVIL uppercut was followed by a leg lariat from Robinson, then an avalanche clothesline, then a normal clothesline for a near-fall. EVIL pushed out of the Unprettier, and Robinson went into a lungblower from BUSHI… from there, a Fisherman buster got EVIL a near-fall, before a Tanahashi slingblade took out EVIL.
SANADA locked in the Skull End on Tanahashi, before BUSHI took out KUSHIDA with a tope. Elgin broke up the Skull End, before taking a double team press slam from Naito and EVIL. Robinson came back for some chops, but fell to a lariat, then an STO from EVIL as Los Ingobernables de Japon picked up the win. ***½
Post-match, Naito laid in front of Elgin and mocked him, before kicking the Intercontinental title belt out of the ring. Future match incoming?
Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Naomichi Marufuji vs. Bad Luck Fale & Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa)
Hey, the GHC tag champions united here! Yano’s back in his Hypnotoad jacket, whilst Bad Luck Fale simply shoved down the ring announcer from his ringside position.
Okada started by taking Fale into the corner and stomped away on him, before an Irish whip was reversed, sending Okada into the opposite turnbuckle hard. An avalanche was ducked by Okada, who then saw Fale tag out to Tanga Roa… and in came Yano.
Yano got taken to the ropes and he started to yodel “break” for his first spot of the day… so Roa just booted him in the belly. More yodelling saw Tama Tonga spook Yano, allowing Roa slam Yano for a near-fall as Fale tossed Gedo onto Okada on the outside.
Yano got slammed in the corner, then had no choice but to be dragged groin-first into the ringpost by Fale and Tonga, but he was able to kick-out at two. Fale tagged in and stood on the back of Yano, before Okada kicked Fale as he sat on Yano for a pinning attempt. Tonge clotheslined Yano after more tomfoolery, but a hair pull got Yano enough time to tag in Marufuji, who tried to clear the apron.
Some big boots from Marufuji and a high kick dazed Tonga, who then ducked a load of kicks out of the corner and dropped Marufuji with a headbutt. Tonga missed some punches before his wacky rope running ended in a dropkick, before Tanga Roa came in and cleared the apron again.
Marufuji took an avalanche splash, then a spinebuster from Roa for a near-fall. A cartwheel dropkick took Roa into the ropes, as Marufuji then tagged in Okada for a couple of forearms, then a back elbow. Fale came in and caused a distraction, allowing Roa to backdrop suplex Okada, as Tonga dropped an elbow. Fale’s splash got a two-count as the ring filled, but a running Samoan drop from Roa forced Okada to kick out at two.
A dropkick from Okada set up for a top rope elbow onto Roa, but Okada had to counter his Rainmaker pose into a dropkick as Fale went for a Grenade. Fale got clotheslined to the outside, then Okada followed with a Rainmaker to Roa for the win. Pretty simple match, but a nice way to keep the crowd’s interest ahead of the main event. ***¼
Post-match, Okada challenged Fale… then Marufuji! I can guess which of these two will be more anticipated! Okada offered Marufuji a shot at the IWGP title, before blowing off a handshake as the offer was accepted. Well, that’s going to be a great match when that happens!
Japanese announcer Shimpei Nogami introduced Masahiro Chono onto the Japanese announce team for the final – five-time G1 winner Chono got a great reaction, as you’d expect.
G1 Climax Finals: Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto
After 19 shows, and 170 matches, this is what the G1 Climax tour boils down to. Kenny Omega, and Hirooki Goto – both block winners on 12 points, with Omega’s tie-breaking win over Tetsuya Naito yesterday being key.
The finals have no time-limit, so none of that teasing a draw like we had on Friday and Saturday…
Omega takes Goto into the ropes for a clean (ish) break, before a wristlock from Omega gets countered into a leg grapevine by Goto, who rolled back for a near-fall. Back on their feet, Goto works a hammerlock, then a headlock, before Omega worked free and took Goto to the outside with a hurricanrana… only for Goto to run in and kick him in the leg to prevent the dive.
The crowd soundly booed Goto kicking the leg, but he kept targeting the knee, locking Omega in a figure four. Omega made the ropes, but the offence continued, with Goto clotheslining Omega to the outside. The obligatory whip into the guard rails was attempted, but Omega stopped himself and landed a moonsault off the railings into Goto.
Goto took a slam onto the apron as Omega tried to win via count-out, but he slid back outside at 18 and picked up Goto for a powerbomb onto the apron as he teased dumping Goto into the front row. Omega didn’t break the count for a second time, and instead waited for Goto to return to the ring before landing a neckbreaker.
A modified camel clutch sees Omega stay on top of Goto, then he turned it into a sitting cobra clutch, with Goto finally making the ropes. After a chop and a near-fall, Omega goes to a neck crank on Goto, using the hair for extra leverage, then chopped Goto again in the corner. A reverse leg lariat/bulldog gets Omega another near-fall. Goto fought back in a battle of chops to the chest, but Omega kicked the knee, only to get dropped with a lariat after some Tama Tonga-esque rope running.
Goto lands a spinning heel kick, then a Saito suplex onto Omega, before an avalanche clothesline and an elbow drop gets Goto a near-fall. Omega bounced back with a springboard moonsault off the middle rope, then rubbed away at Goto’s face with his forearm. Goto invited some more shots from Omega, but instead got an eye rake as the crowd turned on the Bullet Club leader. Well, at least until he hit a snap Dragon suplex on Goto, anyway…
Omega wipes out Goto with a tope con hilo that sent Omega into the barriers, before a missile dropkick takes down Goto, with Omega following with another Dragon suplex, only to spin Goto around into some forearm shots. Off the ropes, Goto drops Omega with the ushigoroshi, then hits a clothesline as Omega folds in half on the apron.
Omega nearly fell off the top rope as Goto went for… and connected with a super ushigoroshi, but Omega kicked out at two after the latest entry in the list of “Wrestlers Hate Necks”. Goto picks up Omega for a rear naked choke, as a set-up for the GTR, but Omega fought free, only to slip back into the hold once more.
Omega back flipped out of a German suplex, hit a knee trembler, then a cross-legged ushigoroshi onto Goto. Holy crap, that looked painful. Goto slipped out of a One Winged Angel and into another sleeperhold, but Omega rammed into the turnbuckles to free himself, only for Goto to once again go back to the hold.
In response, Omega climbed to the top rope, and jumped onto his back to squash Goto… only he over-rotated slightly and took a lot of the bump on the back of his neck and head. Because wrestlers hate their own necks…
— LARIATOOOOO!!! (@SenorLARIATO) August 14, 2016
Both men beat the standing ten count, with Omega going back to the elbow shots on Goto. Goto gave as good as he got, but again was dropped by Omega’s knee strike from a spinning clothesline. Omega then pulled out a Last Ride powerbomb (as seen by, err, The Undertaker and Kota Ibushi), and then missed the Phoenix Splash (as also seen by Ibushi) as Goto rolled away from the splash as Omega’s knees crashed to the mat.
Goto dropped Omega with a kick for a near-fall, then Omega’s attempt to slip out of a Shoutenkai saw him land and buckle his knee. A Ura shouten (GIF below, courtesy of Senor Lariato on Twitter), got Goto another near-fall as Omega and his bad knee kicked out. Man, Goto’s bringing out the big guns for this!
— LARIATOOOOO!!! (@SenorLARIATO) August 14, 2016
More knee strikes from Omega follow as he blocked the GTR, then got a near-fall from a Dragon suplex, before Goto blocked another knee strike… but couldn’t defend some rapid knees, before dropping Omega with a lariat. Goto dropped Omega with the shoutenkai for a very-near-fall, before Omega dropped him a Bloody Sunday double underhook DDT, and a Styles Clash, as we got callbacks to the prior leaders of the Bullet Club. Omega hoisted up Goto for the One Winged Angel, and that was all. Kenny Omega becomes the first Canadian (and the first Westerner) to win the G1 Climax, and that was definitely his best match in a New Japan ring! *****
Post-match, the rest of the Bullet Club (at least those who were there) rushed the ring with a Bullet Club flag to celebrate with him. Omega took the trophy, but eschewed the traditional G1 Climax flag, instead waving the cheaper-made Bullet Club flag. Omega then cut a post-match promo in English… then switched to Japanese halfway through. Ah, what a heel – after telling us for years that he didn’t understand Japanese, he knew it all along. That rascal!
Well, considering that the criticism that the G1 took this year – including from myself – that slant of “predictable booking” certainly disappeared quick, didn’t it? Three five-star matches to finish off the final three days of the tournament shot this tournament up the list of “best G1s of all time”.
As for the rest of the finals card, on paper it looked to be pretty unspectacular, but that was not only proven wrong, but also set up plenty of stuff for later this year. Naito/Elgin should be a riot as we continue towards Naito’s turn, as will whatever we get out of the NOAH/New Japan feud, particularly the Shibata/Nakajima rivalry. Then we’ve got Okada/Marufuji – which should be great, but perhaps predictable, if they’re building up to Okada/Omega for WrestleKingdom. Of course, there’ll be the criticism over the reliance on NOAH imports, but lets see where this goes – I’d not expect a full-on Invasion-style storyline, but if the imports steamroll over the home talent there’d be issues. Likewise if New Japan squashed NOAH… but we will see!
As my first ever G1, this was well worth the time, money and effort. Nineteen shows over two months for just over £15? Considering that only a few years ago, the entire tournament cost you $120 to stream, this was insane value for money. Kudos to all involved, from the winner Kenny Omega, all the way down to the insanely-overworked medical staff. This was a monstrous effort from all involved – and well worth a watch. Yes, even the Toru Yano matches.