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The Book Club: Rebooking The G1 Climax



Welcome to The Book Club! This is where I try to take current talent, storylines, and events and book them to their maximum potential.  To get a better understanding, you can read through last week’s installment on Roman Reigns.  This week we’re taking a look at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax 28 which just concluded on Sunday.  For an in-depth breakdown of every night of G1 action, check out the coverage of The Chairshot’s Andrew Balaz and Mathew Sarpraicone. If you watched and followed along for the past month you’re probably thinking that there isn’t really anything that needs to be improved on.  And I agree.  New Japan has a knack for consistently providing the best product in the world.  With that being said, instead of wiping the G1 clean and stating how it should have been booked, I’m going to give a few proposals on how it could have been booked.  Whether these proposals are better than what actually happened are completely up to you.

Proposal #1: The Path of Kota Ibushi

In the first booking article I wrote back in May, I stated how I hoped Kota Ibushi would win the G1.  My feelings remained the same up until the start of the tournament.  If you’re reading this then you probably know that he lost in the finals.  My big goal would have been to save the Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega match for the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 13.  Keeping Hiroshi Tanahashi in the finals is fine with me but I probably would have booked Ibushi to win.  In order to preserve the match against Kenny and still have Ibushi win the finals, I would keep everything the same except move Ibushi to the A Block and Tanahashi to the B Block.  If you watched the final night of the B Block then you heard the commentary team mention how the venue was above capacity just because of the Omega-Ibushi main event event.  Imagine if you could channel that type of demand for a match and pair it with a 5 month build to the Tokyo Dome.

Proposal #2: Kenny Omega Loses His First Match

We saw Taiji Ishimori defeat Will Ospreay in the first night of the Best of the Super Juniors.  This was shortly after Ishimori was revealed as the new Bone Soldier of the Bullet Club.  I thought we would see something similar since Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa turned on the rest of the Bullet Club right before the G1.  The win wouldn’t have been without outside interference, of course.  Tama did win his first match but didn’t beat Kenny and didn’t finish with a great record.  I was a little disappointed because I thought this would be the start of a big push for him.  I understand that Tama and Bad Luck Fale cared more about their impact than scoring points but I think their top priority should have been to ruin Kenny’s tournament hopes.  Regardless, Kenny Omega starting the tournament 6-0 as the company’s new champion was still a strong choice.

Proposal #3: Same B Block, Different Outcomes

This proposal works as an alternative to the last one.  Kenny Omega won his first six matches but lost his last three.  That worked just fine but I would have had his final three opponents be Zack Sabre Jr., Tama Tonga, then Kota Ibushi.  News broke last month that Kenny had been wrestling with a fractured heel.  With this news public, the heel would have been the perfect target for Zack Sabre Jr.  He could have targeted it with submissions throughout the match which would eventually lead to a referee stoppage.  This would then give Tama Tonga a path to cleanly defeat a hobbled Omega.  They could have a rematch for the belt later when Omega is healthy and able to retain.  That leaves us with the Ibushi v Omega match.  I mentioned wanting to preserve that encounter.  I would accomplish that with a draw via an assault from the Firing Squad.  The assault would need to be long and violent enough to warrant a draw like the one in San Francisco.  The points would also need to be in a situation like in the A Block to where Ibushi only needs a draw in the final match to win the block.  Even though it makes sense, I ultimately decided against this idea because calling off that main event would basically be robbing the capacity crowd of their money.  That’s why I preferred the option of moving Ibushi to the A Block so his bout with Omega could wait for Wrestle Kingdom.

Proposal #4: Chris Jericho

I didn’t mind Jericho not being part of the G1.  He has a ridiculous schedule and his mystique within NJPW remains in tact.  However, it would have been nice to see him make an appearance on the final night to target his next opponent.  Kazuchika Okada and Jay White have the perfect characters at the moment to match Jericho’s insanity.  There’s already a story going on between Okada and White for control of CHAOS.  Maybe the Intercontinental Championship could alternate between the three of them until the score can be settled between two of them at Wrestle Kingdom.

Proposal #5: The Kick Out

Kevin Kelly addressed it during their match.  Kota Ibushi is the only person on record to kick out of Kenny Omega’s One-Winged Angel back in DDT.  Now that they’ve grown much closer since then, Kota should remain as the only person to do it.  The reasoning could be that perhaps Kenny doesn’t want to hurt him or that only Kota knows the intricacies of Kenny’s moveset like no other.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if it ending up happening in their match last week.  If they meet again on a big stage, Kota Ibushi kicking out toward the end of an arduous match would be beautiful.

Proposal #6: Juice in the A Block

Chris Jericho’s absence from the G1 means the second biggest belt in the company was left out of the blocks.  The B Block had three champions and the A Block didn’t have any.  I thought that was a bit of a peculiar decision.  Those that defeat champions during the G1 usually get rematches for the title later on.  That means the A Block competitors didn’t have any consolation belts to chase on their journey.  Since Juice Robinson lost many matches due to his injured hand, he may have been better served as the only champion in the A Block.  They tried to create the narrative that he has a long line of opponents waiting for title shots after the G1 but Kenny Omega and Hirooki Goto are bigger names that suffered losses to similar people.  So it would make more sense for guys like ZSJ and Ibushi to chase Goto instead.  In fact, Tomohiro Ishii has already hinted at a rematch for Kenny Omega’s heavyweight strap.  If Juice was the lone champion in the A Block, it truly would have felt like him versus the world.  He’s a bright babyface on the rise and just won his first championship.  Successful defenses against everyone in the A Block would have been a fun thing to get behind in the coming months.


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AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?



With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass

Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed

The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!

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King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!



Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.

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