Monday, July 20, 2015

The G1 Climax kicks off with two big matches

The one flaw a Round Robin tournament always has is that some of the matches will just not be as good as others. Day one of the G1 Climax showed that with some awkward battles, but it made up for it with a semi- and main event that were well worth viewing right now in replay.

Image credit: NJPW.
After the preliminary multi-man matches, the tournament kicked off with Hiroyoshi Tenzan versus Doc Gallows. I have seen a few negative reviews of this match, but while nothing special by any means it was a good showing by the aging legend and the former Straight Edge Society member. Ultimately Tenzan wins (as he is wont to do a bit too often) to give him the first two points of the tournament.

Toru Yano is one of the least interesting wrestlers on the NJPW roster to me and not even the resident ape-man Togi Makabe could save their bout. Thankfully they went a blissfully short six minutes and change before Bousou King Kong took down Yano for the win.

Naito debuted an interesting new look for his entrance, but
he couldn't save his match against Bad Luck Fale.
Image credit: NJPW
The worst match of the night goes to Bad Luck Fale as Tetsuya Naito tried desperately to pull a good match out of the lumbering overweight weak spot of the Bullet Club. Fale did a decent bit of beating down, but just doesn't have the skill to make a match with Naito work. Naito walked away with two points for his new stable Los Ingobernables.

But the action seriously picked up as AJ Styles took on Katsuyori Shibata. While Shibata is still rather lacking in personality, he's a capable ring tactician despite still dressing like a young boy. He put on a hell of a match with Styles, easily the best battle of the night in my humble opinion. A few folks seemed surprised that the veteran Shibata lost to the gaijin, but I expect Styles to go deep in the tournament.

Former New Japan ace and consummate winner Hiroshi Tanahashi took on Kota Ibushi in another superb match for the main event. In a twenty minute battle, the two men threw everything at each other. Sadly though Ibushi hurt some of the fight when he failed to sell any damage from the massive number of leg attacks with which Tanahashi hit him. But though Ibushi looked like he might win a few times, never forget how rarely Tanahashi takes a loss. He scored the two points after over twenty minutes of great in-ring action.

Tanahashi won a great main event. Image credit: NJPW.
The A Block seems inherently weaker to this reviewer than the B Block, but it still succeeded in putting on some great matches as it kicks off. The other block kicks off its action on Thursday with a stellar main event between Shinsuke Nakamura and Karl Anderson that was previewed by a solid tag match on night one.

A Block returns to action on Friday with probably the weakest card of the tournament, main evented by Tanahashi and Tenzan, but Shibata and Naito should put on a hell of a semi-main event.

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