The G1 Climax is over, so it’s time to take a look at the entire finals card, folks. For full results of each show, you can check out our NJPW category right here, and for previous match recommendations, you can click right here for the first batch, here for the second, here for the third, here for the fourth, and here for the fifth.
As always, I’ve got a very simple five point scale laid out where a 1 is total skip, 2 you can probably skip unless you love one of the folks in it, 3 is a match that’s worth watching but not necessarily worth making time for, a 4 is a solid recommendation to make time for if you can, and a 5 is a must-watch.
Mind you, these are not star ratings. They’re not meant to be absolute ratings in any sense, but rather a simple (and hopefully sensible) way to determine if a match is worth your time. A one is not necessarily a bad match, but rather just one I feel like you’re best off skipping. I have my biases, of course, but hopefully I can make it easy for you to adjust for them.
Ayato Yoshida, Shota Umino, & Yuji Nagata vs. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & Michael Elgin (2)
Team Blue Justice strong out the gates, but inevitably Umino gets isolated. Nagata clears house, he and Makabe have at it at length before he tags Kaientai Dojo’s Yoshida in to take it to the Unchained King Kong. The young man acquits himself pretty well, the match breaks down and we head to our finish in short order.
All in all, a pretty standard opening tag. It’s nice to see Honma in action again after his near career-ending injury, of course, but there’s nothing here you need to go out of your way for.
Bad Luck Fale vs. Toa Henare (1)
Henare takes it right to Fale from the jump, hitting hard and refusing to stay down, but Fale clobbers him with a lariat in return and this one is over in impressively short order. Not bad for what it is, but you have to do some pretty exceptional stuff (or be Yano, which is kinda the same thing) to get out of the basement in two minutes, folks. Pass.
Chaos (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Takashi Iizuka) (1)
All-out chaos in the Suzuki-gun style to start, which is almost refreshing after two months of Firing Squad interference in tournament matches. The match settles down into YOSHI-HASHI taking it to Taichi, but in short order Iizuka is unleashed. Goto comes in, the match breaks down a little, we get a finish, and overall this is dull and not really worth watching.
Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page) vs. David Finlay & Juice Robinson (3)
Cycling through matchups in the feeling out, first Page/Finlay and then Rhodes/Robinson before the match breaks down a little and Bullet Club pull ahead on the floor. BC work David over, Juice is able to turn the tide, the action heats up, tight near-exchanges of finishers, a hell of a jab duel between Robinson and Cody, and all in all this match is hardly essential but it’s a good solid watch.
Bullet Club (Marty Scurll, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) (c) vs. Firing Squad (Taiji Ishimori, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Loa) (NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship) (4)
Tonga and Matt getting right into it, Jackson hammering him with punches and the match quickly breaks down into a brawl on the floor. The Elite take flight, a low-key fountain of dives, but soon enough it’s back to Tama and Matt and the Buck finds himself on the back foot and subject to quick tags and working over. Nick in, house afire, he and Matt get rolling, the action intensifies, Ishimori and Scurll have it out and we head into our finishing stretch.
This is a really good fast-paced trios match, and a pleasant reminder of how enjoyable the Firing Squad can be when they’re not just dumping all over the G1. Certainly better than any of their tournament matches, and worth a watch.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (3)
Again, all-out chaos in the Suzuki-gun style as they take it to LIJ on the floor, and the two captains have a neat moment on the floor where they both decide to eschew chairs for just slapping the crap out of each other. In the ring, Suzuki goes to work on Naito’s knee and his army proceeds to isolate the Stardust Genius with quick tags. Shifting to the arm with a wicked cross armbar over the apron, Sabre brings it to Tetsuya in the same fashion but he’s able to tag to EVIL for some relief.
Cycling through, from Sabre/EVIL to Kanemaru/BUSHI where Despy gets in on the action, the match breaks down into chaos again and we get our finish. Good fun stuff, a hair shy of a full-on recommendation because the back half doesn’t quite live up to the Naito/Suzuki action early, but worth tossing in the pile.
Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Kenny Omega, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (“Switchblade” Jay White, Tomohiro Ishii, & Toru Yano) (3)
White and Owens with a measured start before we cycle on to Yano and Takahashi and then the Bullet Club team pull ahead with a three-way wishbone/rowboat sequence with Pieter dancing in the middle of their whole... situation. Omega’s the only one who isn’t completely distracted by her wiles, but in getting the match back on track he gives Toru a chance to tag Ishii in and we get RIGHT back into it!
The Stone Pitbull runs wild, Bullet Club use their numbers game to try and put him down, Chaos equalize things, and we head towards our finishing stretch. A solid match, not worth going hard out of your way for but worth tossing on the pile.
Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, SHO, & YOH) vs. KUSHIDA, Pro Wrestler Sengoku Enbu, & Rey Mysterio, Jr. (5)
Okada and Mysterio facing off to start, electric atmosphere, again the Rainmaker with the cocky disdain he’s been showing of late and Rey puts him in his place! Turning up the speed, Okada lands on his feet on a victory roll to the floor and Mysterio turns it into a Dragonrana! Cycling through, KUSHIDA on SHO, the two most grapply men in the match having a go and quick tags on SHO become the word of the day.
The match breaks down, SHO gets his back with his arm hanging limp at his side, KUSHIDA takes his turn in isolation and finally it’s time for
Honestly the Rey/Okada stuff here alone is a must-watch, even just the taste we get here shows how really great a proper singles match between them would be. So, an above-average undercard tag sprinkled with a taste of an incredible dream match means... watch it!
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 28 Finals) (5)
I mean, look, you don’t REALLY need me to sell you on watching the G1 Climax finals-- if you have even a casual interest in NJPW, this is one of the matches that, good or bad, epic or pedestrian, you’re probably gonna want to seek out regardless of what any dork lady on the internet might tell you.
THAT BEING SAID, this ruled. Fantastic match, maybe the best of the tournament, and elevated greatly by the competitors seconds. Ibushi had Omega in his corner, naturally enough, the Golden Lovers must stand together, but Tanahashi brought with him a man we’ve all missed very much, the Wrestler himself, Katsuyori Shibata.
The end result is a match that’s a violent crescendo of offense, both men unloading everything they’ve got, with the absolute most memorable moment being the 1/100 Ace at one point walking through some of Ibushi’s hardest strikes and channeling Shibata’s boundless fighting spirit.
There you have it, folks
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.