NJPW brings the Summer to a Climax!
The most grueling tournament in all of NJPW, the G1 Climax, begins again! Which world-class heavyweights take the critical first wins in this round robin’s opening night?
Coverage of the G1 Climax 29 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs to come courtesy of https://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Roppongi 3K VS Guerrillas of Destiny; Guerrillas of Destiny win.
- Tomohiro Ishii & Shota Umino VS Jeff Cobb & Ren Narita; Cobb & Narita win.
- Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI VS Jay White & Chase Owens; Goto & YOSHI-HASHI win.
- Six Man Tag: Taguchi Japan VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Taguchi Japan wins.
- G1 Climax, A Block: Will Ospreay VS Lance Archer; Archer wins.
- G1 Climax, A Block: EVIL VS Bad Luck Fale; Fale wins.
- G1 Climax, A Block: SANADA VS Zack Sabre Jr; SANADA wins.
- G1 Climax, A Block: Kota Ibushi VS KENTA; KENTA wins.
- G1 Climax, A Block: Kazuchika Okada VS Hiroshi Tanahashi; Okada wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene for this now state-side summer blockbuster!
For the first time, NJPW brings this incredible tournament to America! And live we will see the first part of the round robin tournament, which will lead to a tournament finals to grant one man a match with THE IWGP Heavyweight Champion for the title! Of course, that champion is also in this tournament! This midsummer battle will determine who is the toughest in the world!
A Block once again has two of the biggest stars in NJPW! Hiroshi Tanahashi looks to once again be a back-to-back G1 winner! But the Rainmaker, Kazuchika Okada, looks to completely deny the field by winning his third G1! Zack Sabre Jr has won New Japan Cups, but he wants to be the first Brit to conquer the Climax. Of course, so does his fellow countryman, Will Ospreay, who looks to take over both weight classes! Kota Ibushi wants to rebound from losing his IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Evil wants to make Darkness Fall on the Heavyweight Division while his Cold Skull ally wants to bring it all to a Skull End. To show his true style, THE Kenta makes his G1 debut in Dallas! Who of A Block takes the opening night for their own?
Roppongi 3K VS Guerrillas of Destiny!
Sho and Yoh are making the move up the weight classes as they take on the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions in non-title competition! Will RPG3K take down Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa in the states? Or will GoD return to Japan victorious?
Tonga Loa rushes RPG3K the second he gets in the ring, but they send him right out! RPG3K then get Tama in a drop toehold and dropkick! Tama bails out and Loa returns, but gets double dropkicks! The bell rings and this match truly begins! Fans rally with RPG3K as Yoh and Sho FLY onto GoD! Double direct hits, and RPG3K are fired up. They kick Tama then put him in the ring. Fans duel as Tama and Yoh brawl. Sho kicks Tama down then regroups with Yoh. RPG3K whip but Tama slips out. Tama says F U and Loa runs both RPG3K over! Tama whips Yoh into railings hard, then Loa scoops Sho for a powerslam!
Fans duel as Sho writhes. Loa drags Sho up and brings him over, tag to Tama. They whip Sho and throw hands, then a neckbreaker to leg drop! Fans cheer as Tama swaggers about. Tama drags Sho up for fast hands and a dropkick! Sho is down in a corner but Tama drags him up. Tag to Loa, scoop slam to slingshot senton! Loa grins as he makes Sho look into the camera. Loa tries to make Sho Too Sweet but Sho refuses, so Loa clubs him down. Tama taunts the fans then tags in. Loa drags Sho up for a scoop and slam. Tama slingshots for a senton of his own! Fans rally and duel as Tama stands on Sho’s hands. Sho grits his teeth ash e heads for his corner, but Tama drags him up for a suplex. Sho slips out to German, but Loa saves Tama.
Loa scoops but Sho escapes! Sho dodges Loa to SPEAR Tama! Fans rally up as Sho crawls, hot tag to Yoh! Yoh rallies with dropkicks and forearms! Yoh whips Tama but Tama reverses. But Yoh keeps dodging to hit flying forearms! Yoh kips up and Dallas fires up with him! He runs in corner to corner for a big back elbow. Then a half hatch with bridge! TWO, but Yoh keeps his cool. Yoh waits for Tama to stand as fans cheer “Roppongi!” Tama blocks the kick to hit a big back suplex! Tama drags Yoh up but Yoh fights out of the fireman’s carry. But Tama reels him back in, only for Yoh to fight out. Yoh denies Gun Stun to SUPERKICK! Fans fire up as both RPG3K give Tama knees! They do the same to Loa!
Sho backstabs Tama into Yoh’s Yakuza Kick! RPG3K fire up and Dallas follows. They watch Tama stand, but GUN STUN! Loa tackles Yoh to a corner, and Tama hits a BIG splash! GoD coordinate, suplex to SUPER powerbomb! Cover, GoD wins!
Winners: Guerrillas of Destiny, Tama Tonga pinning
And that’s why they’re both IWGP Heavyweight and ROH World Tag Team Champions! Can anyone outdo these brothers’ teamwork and hustle?
Tomohiro Ishii & Shota Umino VS Jeff Cobb & Ren Narita!
It’s a sampling of B Block as the Stone Pitbull and the Hawaiian Juggernaut each get themselves a Young Lion for this 2v2 showdown! Which side gets some momentum before the B Block gets its opener?
The Young Lions stare down but so do the heavyweight veterans. Ishii dares Cobb to start and the two start shoving. Their Young Lions keep them apart, but they do let them star. Dallas likes that! The bell rings and Ishii ties up with Cobb. Ishii headlocks but Cobb powers out. They collide but neither falls. Cobb dares Ishii to go so Ishii does. They collide again and still neither falls. Ishii throws forearms but Cobb gives it back! Cobb runs but Ishii shoulders him back. Ishii runs and things speed up. Cobb hits a dropkick! But Ishii stays up to run Cobb over! Cobb gets right back up and they tie up. Narita tags in to kick at Ishii.
The ref keeps Cobb from getting at Ishii again. Ishii tags Umino in and now the Young Lions tie up! Narita goes for a leg but Umino waistlocks. Narita switches but Umino escapes and fans love the technical trade. They tie up and Narita headlocks. Umino powers out but Narita runs Umino over! Narita stomps Umino then whips. Umino reverses and he elbows Narita down, to hit a big basement dropkick! Fans cheer as Umino keeps on Narita. Umino gives European uppercuts then tags in Ishii. Ishii CHOPS Narita over and over! Umino holds Narita up just so Ishii can CHOP more! Ishii toys with Narita but Narita gives up to forearm back. They do nothing! Ishii swings but Narita ducks, and that one gets Ishii! But Ishii runs Narita over for it!
Ishii drags Narita up for a suplex, but Narita powers Ishii up and over!? Incredible! Narita crawls to tag in Cobb! Cobb suplexes Ishii overhead! Then he throws Umino! Ishii kicks and whips but Cobb reverses to scoop Ishii for a pop-up into a suplex! Fans are fired up as Cobb runs corner to corner and hits a BIG back elbow! Cobb whips Ishii but Ishii reverses. Cobb reverses back, cradle plex! Cover, TWO! Cobb keeps his focus as he drags Ishii up in a waistlock. Ishii fights out but Cobb ducks to forearm. Ishii doesn’t even flinch. He eggs Cobb on so Cobb throws more forearms. Ishii hits Cobb back and now it’s a brawl! They don’t slow down at all and fans fire up again!
Cobb runs but misses, Ishii German Suplexes him down! Fans rally as both men slowly get up. Hot tag to Umino! Umino leaps for a missile dropkick! Umino makes sure Narita can’t tag in, and he runs corner to corner for an elbow! He tries but can’t suplex Cobb, so he throws more forearms. He tries again but Cobb is still too strong. Umino tries a third time, but still nothing. Perhaps the fourth time? YES! Umino covers, TWO! Umino stays fired up as he waistlocks and drags Cobb up. Cobb elbows free to then uppercut him to a corner! Cobb kicks at Ishii but gets a BIG forearm! Narita dropkicks Ishii, then dodges Umino for a belly2belly! Cobb moonsaults onto Umino! Cover, TWO!? Umino survives! So Cobb whips Umino, and gives him Tour of the Islands! Cover, Cobb and Narita win!
Winners: Jeff Cobb and Ren Narita, Cobb pinning
The Hawaiian Juggernaut takes care of the Young Lion, but he stares down Ishii with a grin. Ishii gets in the ring to stare back, and the forearms start flying! Narita and the referee aren’t enough to keep these two away, and Dallas wants to “Let Them Fight!” Security comes in but even they can’t hold these behemoths back! Eventually, Cobb and Ishii cool off and will wait for their B Block match. Will Cobb be victorious over the NEVER Openweight Champion in this round robin? Or will the Pitbull take a bite out of the Olympian?
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI VS Jay White & Chase Owens!
It’s not just Chaos VS Bullet Club, but another preview of B Block action! The Fierce Warrior has the Head Hunter while the Switchblade has the Crown Jewel, which partner proves to be the key to momentum?
The teams sort out and Goto starts against White. Fans rally behind Goto so White tags out to Chase. Goto circles with Chase and they tie up. but White attacks from behind! Chase hits Hashi down and then Bullet Club mugs and stomps Goto down. White drags Goto up but Goto fights back! Goto throws forearms at both White and Chase, then focuses on White in the corner. Chase comes in but gets a CHOP! Goto goes after White on the outside but Gedo is there to protect White. Chase wrecks Goto with a dropkick! Chase puts Goto back in the ring and White returns to the corner. Goto blocks Chase’s boot to give him a spinning clothesline!
Tag to Hashi and Hashi fires off on Chase, topping it off with a CHOP! Hashi whips but Chase reverses. Hashi dodges and CHOPS Chase again! He hangs Chase out to dry, then runs to dropkick Chase down. Cover, ONE, but Hashi keeps his cool. Hashi stomps Chase then drags him up> Chase powers Hashi to the corner and White pulls on Hashi’s hair. Gedo also wipes at Hashi, and Chase YANKS Hashi into ropes! Chase hits Goto down while White CHOPS Hashi! White rams Hashi into the apron, then again! And a third time! White puts Hashi in for Chase to cover, TWO! Chase keeps on Hashi with a headlock and punches.
Chase drags Hashi up but Dallas rallies. Hashi CHOPS Chase again! Chase kicks low then drags Hashi up, but it’s Hashi who suplexes Chase into a neckbreaker! Fans rally, White tags in and stomps Hashi out. Fans boo White but he insults them back. White CHOPS Hashi then whips but Hashi dodges. Hashi hits a blockbuster! Fans rally up, hot tag to Goto! Goto rallies on White then whips, hip toss! Fans fire up as Goto fires forearms off on White in the corner. Goto whips corner to corner but White boots back. Goto still clotheslines White, then hits a big back suplex! He drags White up but White gets away. Chase comes in but gets tripped up to a Half Crab! White steps to Goto but Goto scares him off!
Goto throws Chase out but White CHOPS Goto. White whips but Goto reverses and follows. White dodges but Goto fireman’s carries, only for White to slip out. Goto elbows White away but misses, SAIDO from White! White tags Chase and Chase toys with Goto. Dallas rallies up for Goto and GOto just gets angry from Chase’s slaps. Chase throws forearms but Goto doesn’t budge. Chase fires off a strike fest then says “Suck It!” He runs, but Goto follows, but Chase enziguris! Chase backslides Goto, TWO, knee trigger! Chase drags Goto up, hammerlock lariat, the Jewel Heist! Cover, TWO!! Chase hits Hashi out just for good measure, and White gives Goto the twisting suplex! Shining wizard! Cover, but Hashi breaks it!
White hits Hashi and throws him out. Chase takes aim at Goto and says BANG! Powerbomb position, tucking him in for the package, but Goto fights out! Goto spins but gets Chase’s elbow! Chase runs but into Hashi’s LARIAT! White runs in but he gets the spin kick! Goto clotheslines White out! Goto fires up, grabs Chase, USHIGOROSHI! But he’s not done there, he and fans fire up! Chase sits up to get swift kicks! Goto stands Chase up, GTR! Cover, Goto and Hashi win!
Winners: Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI, Goto pinning
Chaos is victorious in Dallas! Can Goto do that to Jay White when these two meet in the B Block? Or will Goto Breathe with the Switchblade?
Six Man Tag: Taguchi Japan VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!
Specifically, it is Toru Yano, Juice Robinson, and Jushin Thunder Liger against Shingo Takagi, BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito! We get two B Block previews in one, who earns major momentum before #YTR and the Flamboyant One eventually meet the Muscle Dragon and Uncontrollable Charisma?
The teams sort out, and Naito takes his time with his jacket as he would with his suits. Jushin starts with Bushi after LIJ fist-bump salute. The bell rings and fans are fired up for this match already! Dallas roars for Liger as he ties up with Bushi. Liger powers Bushi to ropes but lets up with a swift pat on the shoulder. Bushi and Liger circle again and Bushi goes after Liger’s mask! Fans boo but Bushi soaks it all up. Bushi kicks low then clubs away. HE runs but into Liger’s tilt-o-whirl backbreaker! Liger dumps Bushi down for the surfboard, Romero Special! But LIJ saves Bushi while taking out Liger’s team!
Shingo drags Liger up and ducks Shotei to feed to Bushi’s drop toehold. Naito dropkicks Liger down then he and Shingo go after Yano and Juice on the outside. Bushi drags Liger up for another attack on his mask! Yano and Juice are sent into railing while Bushi hammers away on Liger. Tag to Naito and Naito pulls on the mask’s hair. Naito throws big hands then whips Liger to get him in a sleeper hold. Liger reaches but Naito drags that arm into an armbar. Naito uplls on the mask’s horns and fans boo. THe ref reprimands Naito but Naito keeps moving around as he pulls. Tag to Bushi and Bushi stomps Liger with Naito. Bushi eggs Yano and Juice on while Naito keeps stomping. Tag to Shingo as fans rally for Linger.
Shingo drags Liger up but Liger CHOPS! And CHOPS! Shingo eggs Liger on then forearms him back. He takes his time picking Liger up to whip corner to corner. Liger boots back but Shingo still clotheslines. Shingo runs into a SHOTEI! Fans rally, hot tag to Juice! Juice hits Bushi and Naito before going after Shingo! Big corner clothesline, but Shingo follows for his own! Shingo drags Juice out but Juice shoves him! Juice and Shingo stare down and start throwing forearms. Juice runs but into an uppercut. Shingo runs into a heel kick! Dallas fires up as Juice drags Shingo up to a fireman’s carry. Juice Box denied, but so is the sliding D. Juice gets Shingo with a full nelson bomb! Cover, TWO!
Juice pumps it up and fans chant his name. Shingo slowly stands and Juice aims those jabs. Then he powers up, but gets Shingo’s JAB! Shingo runs but into a clothesline! Neither man falls so they go again. They still stay up, and Shingo blocks one, but gets the Left Hand of God! Juice reels Shingo in, but Pulp Friction is countered into Noshigami! The Gory Bomb variant hits but both men are down. Dallas is thunderous as they rally for both men, hot tags to Naito and Yano! Yano goes to low blow but Naito spits on him! Naito clubs away then whips Yano, but Yano holds ropes. Yano goes to the corner!
Naito stops him from taking the buckle pads, but Yano whips him away. Yano gets the pads! Naiot dodges and gives Yano an atomic drop. Naito hits the jump kick, the sweep, and the combination, cabron! Then he spits on Yano a LOT! Naito stomps Yano then picks up the buckle pad for his own. Yano rolls Naito up, TWO!! Naito kicks but Yano pulls hair. Naito pulls hair, then spins Yano for a neckbreaker! Bushi tags in and climbs up for a missile dropkick! He hits a Bushirooni while Shingo blasts Liger and Juice! Bushi hits Yano then Shingo adds on. Naito and Bushi double dropkick Yano, Bushi covers, but Liger breaks it!
Naito throws Liger out and Shingo tosses Juice into railing! But Yano throws Bushi down! Bushi comes back for a neckbreaker, only for Yano to shove him at the ref! Yano Low Blow! Roll up, Yano and team win!!
Winners: Taguchi Japan, Toru Yano pinning
The Clown Prince of NJPW pulls it out for his team! Will Yano use the same tactics to spoil things for everyone else in B Block?
NJPW has a huge announcement!
They’re headed to the East Coast of America now, with Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2019! Boston, New York AND Philadelphia, prepare for a hot September weekend! Referee Tiger Hitori is retiring in Hammerstein Ballroom! And speaking of, he’s calling the next match!
G1 Climax, A Block: Will Ospreay VS Lance Archer!
The round robin truly begins as the Aerial Assassin takes on an even meaner Killer Elite! Archer returns to the G1 after being out for several years, but will he be able to start hot against the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion?
Archer rushes Ospreay before the bell, but gets caught into a Spanish Fly! The bell does ring as Ospreay climbs, to CORKSCREW ASAI Archer down!! Ospreay puts Archer in fast, springboards to a 450 splash! Cover, TWO! Dallas is already fired up as Archer gets to a corner. Ospreay kicks away then stands Archer up to CHOP. But Acher doesn’t flinch, he just laughs! “You done f*cked up now!” Ospreay keeps throwing forearms but Archer DECKS Ospreay with that right! Archer runs in again but Ospreay dumps him out. Ospreay throws forearms but Archer again rocks him with one. Ospreay swing kicks then springboards to dropkick Archer down! Fans fire up as Ospreay builds speed, SASUKE SPECIAL, is caught! Choke Slam through commentary!
Archer roars and Dallas is thunderous while losing their minds! Archer drags Ospreay out of the wreckage, then tosses him over the railing. The 20 count reaches 10 while Archer taunts commentary. Archer tosses Ospreay in at 13 then stalks him in the ring. Ospreay stands and Archer takes aim, and runs Ospreay over with a shoulder! Archer stands up on the corner while fans boo and jeer. Archer goes back to Ospreay and pulls back on his hair. Tiger Hitori counts but Archer lets up. Archer stands Ospreay in a corner for a CHOP! Fans rally as Ospreay has a bloody nose. Archer says, “Ospreay ain’t doing sh*t!” And then he CLOBBERS Ospreay with that clothesline! Archer covers, TWO!
Archer likes the fight in Ospreay as Ospreay throws weak forearms. Fans rally up as Archer drags Opsreay up. Archer clubs Ospreay and then knuckle locks to climb the corner. Archer shows us some Old School, and even does an extended version, before clubbing Ospreay down! Then he drags Ospreay into a mounted armlock. Archer digs Ospreay into the mat but Tiger Hitori counts. Archer lets up to intimidate him, then runs at Ospreay corner to corner for a big back elbow. And then another! And another! Archer stares down the camera while fans boo and jeer. He drags Ospreay up but Ospreay throws forearms. They don’t back Archer down, but Archer dares Ospreay to keep trying. Ospreay boots Archer instead! Archer gives Ospreay a back elbow for that, and Ospreay ends up in a corner.
Archer hits another back elbow then whips, but Ospreay handsprings for the enziguri! Both men are down and Dallas fires up! Archer and Ospreay get to opposite corners, and Archer grimaces. Archer runs in but into a boot! Ospreay rolls to top-rope 619 Archer back! Ospreay springboards for the flying lariat! Cover, TWO! Ospreay keeps his focus as he finally has Archer reeling. Fans rally behind Ospreay as he fires up. Ospreay underhooks but Archer forearms back. Archer reels Osprey in but gets the dropkick-flip and enziguri! Ospreay runs but Archer goes perpendicular, but Ospreay leaps over the Pounce! ROUNDHOUSE! They keep going, Archer goes to the corner to POUNCE! Ospreay hits the opposite corner and ends up folded up!
Archer drags Ospreay up and into powerbomb position, buckle bomb! Ospreay rebounds back into another, Last Ride! Archer follows Ospreay out of the ring and drags him up into another powerbomb, to the apron! Ospreay is down while Archer grins. Archer drags Ospreay up to the ramp! The 20 count is climbing but Archer powerbomb lifts! Ospreay slips out, DESTROYER! Archer is down but so is Ospreay. The count hits 10 and Ospreay hurries! Archer is up, too, and he shoves Ospreay down! Archer is in but Ospreay springboards to dropkick him down! SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay can’t believe it, but he won’t let up. Robinson Special! Then the springboard, but Archer catches him!
Archer back suplexes but Osperay slips out, springboard to OSCUTTER! Cover, TWO?! Ospreay can’t believe that Archer still lives! Fans are thunderous as Ospreay gets back up. Ospreay goes to underhook, but Archer is too big for the lift! Ospreay kicks away on Archer’s face, then takes off the elbow pad. But Archer scoops Ospreay, but Ospreay escapes and boots back. Ospreay hops up but gets an uppercut! Archer hoists Ospreay up, MUSCLE BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay survives! Archer puts him in a corner and on the top rope, inverted crucifix lift. BLACK OUT BOMB! Cover, TWO?!? #EverybodyDies but Ospreay still lives! But Archer uses the Iron Claw on Ospreay’s head! He squeezes tight and Ospreay fades. Fans rally and Ospreay powers back up, to a ropebreak!
Archer holds onto Ospreay’s head until 4. He intimidates Tiger Hitori again then goes back to Ospreay. He drags Ospreay up from the opposite side of the corner and they go to the top rope. Ospreay fights back but Archer still has a choke grip. Ospreay changes it into a SUPER SPANISH FLY!! Cover, TWO!?! Now Archer shockingly survives! Dallas knows “This is Awesome!” but it’s not over yet. Ospreay drags Archer up with underhooks, but he still can’t get Archer up. He gives more of those fast kicks then fires himself up. Ospreay underhooks, and lifts Archer up! STORM- CHOKE- ROUNDHOUSE! HOOK! Wristlock, reeling hook kick! Ospreay hurries to a corner, hops up top, but Archer trips him up!
Archer climbs up behind Ospreay, grabs at hair and then puts on a full nelson. Ospreay works against the hold and elbows Archer back. Ospreay adjusts to headbutt Archer down. Archer is back with a step-up knee! Archer sits Ospreay up and climbs, lifting Ospreay in the inverted crucifix, SUPER BLACK OUT! Fans are still thunderous, even with the mixed reaction. Archer has the claw and clamps it on tight! Ospreay fades as it becomes a cover, Archer wins!
Winner: Lance Archer, by pinfall; earns 2 points
Archer keeps the claw on past the bell and it takes Young Lions to pull him off. Archer takes his first two points in five years while Ospreay’s G1 debut is a zero. And then Archer “celebrates” by attacking the Young Lions! Will Archer make sure everyone in A Block suffers? Can Ospreay make a comeback in the later rounds?
G1 Climax, A Block: EVIL VS Bad Luck Fale!
The King of Darkness and the Rogue General are no strangers to each other, and certainly not in the G1. They add a new chapter to this fight, who takes two points into the next round?
The bell rings and Evil rushes Fale! Evil throws him out of the ring and throws big knees. Evil brings Fale to the ramp and gets some space to run in. BIG lariat hits Fale but Fale doesn’t fall! Fans rally behind Evil as he scoops Fale. But Fale is too big for that! Fale clubs away on Evil’s back to then scoop and slam Evil to the ramp! Evil writhes while Fale catches his breath. The referee tells Fale to get in the ring while he checks on Evil. Fale doesn’t care, he stomps Evil then pushes the ref. Fale drags Evil up to throw big body shots. He drags Evil to the ring to bump him off the apron. The ring count finally begins but Fale kicks Evil down. Fale gets in the ring at 16 and leaves Evil to the count. Evil gets in at 19!
Fale is right on Evil with stomps but the fans rally up. Evil fights back with forearms, but that scoop doesn’t work. Fale body shots back then puts him in a corner hard. Fale clubs away on Evil’s back against the buckles. The ref counts and Fale lets up, only to put Evil against the bottom rope. Fale stands on Evil’s back with all his weight! Fale drags Evil up to throw big clotheslines in the corner from both sides. He dumps Evil down and stands on him for a cover, TWO! Fale blames the fans for this. Fale drags Evil up again but Evil fights back! Evil CHOPS then whips, but Fale blocks. Fale whips Evil then runs in, but Evil dodges! Evil scoops and slams Fale! But it took everything he had, so Evil falls over, too.
Both men slowly stand and fans rally again. Evil runs at Fale and clotheslines him out! Evil follows Fale and looks under the ring. He brings out spare chairs! But Fale kicks him down before he could use one. Fale has a chair but the ref reprimands him. Fale aims but Evil mule kicks! Evil puts a chair around Fale’s head and rams him into the post! Fale goes down and fans fire up behind Evil. Evil puts Fale in the ring and the fans start drumming. Evil runs corner to corner, bronco buster! Cover, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as he prepares the arm. He runs as Fale stands, but the clothesline only staggers Fale. Evil tries again, and Fale falls to a knee! But that’s not enough, Evil tires again, only for Fale to run Evil over!
Evil and Fale get to opposite corners, and Fale hits a corner to corner splash! Then drops the splash! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer Evil’s toughness but Fale picks up those chairs from before. Fale brings them into the ring but the ref stops him. But there are two chairs, so the ref has to take the other chair, too. Evil kicks the chair into Fale! Then runs to LARIAT Fale down! Cover, TWO!! Evil keeps his focus as fans continue to cheer him on. Evil slashes the throat and drags Fale up. Everything is denied, and Fale grabs Evil. Evil breaks free to headbutt and spin, into the GRENADE! Cover, TWO!? Evil survives and Fale is shocked!
Fale drags Evil up again, prepares the bomb, crucifix but Evil wiggles free! Evil blocks the boot, gives it to the ref, and lariats Fale down! But the ref goes down, too! Evil takes advantage by getting those chairs back in. Evil aims at Fale, and jabs Fale in the back! Then he puts it around Fale’s head again, only for Fale to throw it back at him! LOW BLOW! Fans boo as Fale goes one cheat too far! Fale takes the chair and puts it around Evil’s head now. He takes the other chair and salutes, before swinging a HOME RUN! The chair flies off Evil and the ref finally returns. Fale drags Evil up, crucifix, Bad Luck Fall! Cover, Fale wins!
Winner: Bad Luck Fale, by pinfall; earns 2 points
Bullet Club’s A Block behemoth scores big in this opening round! Will he continue his way towards the finals? Or will darkness still fall?
G1 Climax, A Block: SANADA VS Zack Sabre Jr!
Another familiar match-up is revisited in the G1’s opening round! Cold Skull and the Submission Master will go toe to toe and hold for hold again, but who takes the victory?
The bell rings and fans sing for ZSJ as he circles with Sanada. Sanada stays out of ZSJ’s reach, but they do tie up. ZSJ headlocks but Sanada wrings him out. ZSJ gets away and says, “No way, mate.” The two circle again and tie up. ZSJ headlocks then cravats, but Sanada endures. Sanada breaks the hold to get the wrist, but ZSJ chinbars. Sanada wrenches but ZSJ rolls to wrench and arm-drag Sanada down. Fans applaud the technical exchange, but ZSJ keeps it going as he bends the fingers. He stands Sanada up to wrench through again. Sanada endures as ZSJ has a standing armlock. Sanada rolls and handsprings then cartwheels and handsprings and spins all around ZSJ to spin him through to a wristlock! But ZSJ just trips him to a heel hook.
Sanada resists but ZSJ Bow ‘n’ Arrows only for Sanada to pop to a cover, but ZSJ kicks out. ZSJ chases Sanada to a corner but Sanada gets clear, and fans are thunderous for this exchange! Sanada and ZSJ catch their breath as they circle. ZSJ taunts Sanada as fans duel. Sanada and ZSJ approach and feel it out. ZSJ gets a facelock and then the armlock. He powers Sanada to the corner but the ref calls for the break. ZSJ takes his time grinding into Sanada before he whips. Sanada reverses but ZSJ ducks down and baits Sanada. ZSJ then rolls Sanada but Sanada sits on it, only fro ZSJ to pop out. Sanada jackknifes but ZSJ sits on him, only for Sanada to pop out.
They go back the other way, then the other, and then Sanada has the legs! ZSJ resists Paradise to pop Sanada to a cover, TWO! Sanada has a cover, TWO! Another stalemate and the fans cheer. Sanada goes out to catch his breath and redo a wristband. ZSJ dares him to get back in while fans duel. Sanada chooses to take a sip of water instead. Sanada hears the count go up to 10 then 14. He slithers in when ZSJ finally backs off. Sanada and ZSJ have only be at this for 5 minutes but they’ve already done so much. Sanada calls for a test of strength and ZSJ laughs. ZSJ takes the challenge only to kick Sanada’s hands away.
Sanada calls for another test of strength, and ZSJ comes back to actually take it. ZSJ tries but can’t power Sanada down. ZSJ twists the fingers, then reels Sanada in to stand on his hands. He hooks Sanada’s face then puts on a full straitjacket hold. Sanada gets flashbacks to a previous match up as he stands up. He turns it onto ZSJ as fans rally and duel. ZSJ endures and works against it, but Sanada has more strength. ZSJ keeps trying, but Sanada keeps reapplying it. A third time, and ZSj turns it around only to get it turned all the way back. But ZSJ silps under to bridge and put it on Sanada! ZSJ pulls back but Sanada rolls through to put it back on Zack!
ZSJ wiggles the jacket off and swaggers out. Then he turns to uppercut Sanada! ZSJ snapmares but Sanada rolls through to a wristlock. ZSJ tries again but Sanada does it again. Fans rally as ZSJ snapmares a third time, but Sanada handsprings through. Sanada misses his dropkick but dodges the Penalty Kick. He still gets a headlock takeover, but ZSJ headscissors back. Sanada pops out and dropkicks ZSJ down! ZSJ bails out but Sanada just runs. ZSJ gets clear but Sanada tumbles to the apron. Sanada watches ZSJ go around the way and fans rally up. ZSJ rests at the corner and now Sanada dares him to get back in. ZSJ refuses it, same as Sanada.
The ring count begins but ZSJ waits until it climbs past 10. The count passes 15 and higher, and ZSJ plays around. He gets in at 19 and flips off the fans. Then he runs at Sanada, but Sanada blocks! Sanada trips ZSJ up, but ZSJ resists Paradise again. Sanada whips ZSJ but ZSJ sunset flips, only for Sanada to roll through! One more try but ZSJ monkey flips Sanada into an armbar! Sanada flails to a ropebreak! ZSJ lets go only to kick the arm! Sanada bails out and the ring count begins again. ZSJ lets Sanada stay out there, and Sanada gets in at 12. ZSJ is on Sanada and stomps the arm again. He also kicks Sanada swift in the back. ZSJ taunts Sanada while fans rally up.
Sanada gets mad now and starts throwing CHOPS! ZSJ eggs him on, and throws uppercuts back. ZSJ whips but Sanada reverses, only to get caught into an abdominal stretch! Sanada powers out to a hip toss! Both men are sore as they slowly stand up. ZSJ uppercuts but Sanada hurdles over him to dropkick him down! ZSJ backs out but dodges the slingshot. He has the arm through the ropes! The ref reprimands ZSj and he lets go at 4, but misses his Pele to the arm! Sanada has ZSJ in the ropes as he puts on a modified Paradise Lock! ZSJ is bamboozled! He shouts to the ref to get him out, but Sanada kicks him out of Paradise!
ZSJ bails out of the ring, Sanada slingshots to take him down! Fans fire up behind Sanada as he drags ZSJ into the ring. Sanada drags ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the suplex. ZSJ switches but Sanada switches back, big back suplex! Cover, TWO! Sanada keeps his cool and he throws haymakers on ZSJ. He wrenches ZSJ as fans duel. Sanada whips corner to corner but ZSJ reverses. Sanada goes out then springboards in, but ZSJ gets clear. ZSJ runs back in, only for Sanada to fireman’s carry. But ZSJ slips down into the Octopus! And he cranks the arm back hard! Sanada endures as ZSJ locks on tight. ZSJ finds the other arm and makes it part motorcycle stretch.
Sanada drops to the mat and ZSJ just pulls back hard! Sanada endures more, and reaches with his legs, to get the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go but the damage was done. Fans duel and sing again as ZSJ catches his breath. ZSJ kicks at Sanada over and over, but Sanada just gets mad. ZSJ throws an uppercut, and Sanada gives it back! They go back and forth with heavy EuroUppers, but then Sanada scoops ZSJ into the dragon sleeper! ZSJ slips out but gets a forearm. Sanada whips but ZSJ comes back, tornado DDT into a dragon sleeper of his own! He hooks his hands behind his back for a deeper sleeper, but Sanada refuses to give in. Sanada powers up with ZSJ on his shoulders! Fireman’s carry but ZSJ slips to a guillotine!
Sanada stays standing with ZSJ’s weight pulling on him, and fans rally up. He pops an arm free and suplexes ZSJ for a brain buster! Fans fire up as Sanada drags ZSJ into the fireman’s carry, TKO! Cover, TWO! ZSJ lives but Sanada vows to finish it. He goes to the corner and climbs up, but has to land on his feet when ZSJ dodges the moonsault. ZSJ uppercuts Sanada, but leaps into a backslide! TWO, and Penalty Kick takes Sanada down! ZSJ catches his breath instead of covering, then gets a facelock to a scoop. Sanada slips out to the dragon sleeper! ZSJ resists so Sanada swings him around! Then he drops ZSJ to go up top, MOONSAULT into knees! And a Triangle Hold!!
Sanada endures again as we hit the 20 minute mark! ZSJ twists the arm and squeezes tight. Sanada fades but fans give him a second wind! He lifts ZSJ but ZSJ Peles the arm. ZSJ runs into an elbow and Sanada moonsaults to the dragon sleeper! ZSJ starts fading now, but he keeps going. Sanada lifts but ZSJ slips out. ZSJ body scissors and leg clutches to the EuroClutch, TWO! SKULL END, but ZSJ pops out to another EuroClutch, only for Sanada to pop out into a Japan Clutch! SANADA WINS!
Winner: SANADA, by pinfall; earns 2 points
Sanada snatches victory from the jaws of defeat! He gets a big win and ZSJ is shocked! ZSJ takes his frustration out on the referee! Will these two meet again for another shot at the Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Championship?
G1 Climax, A Block: Kota Ibushi VS KENTA!
The Golden Star has become a full-time member of NJPW, but so has his opponent! Perhaps one of the most anticipated matches of the entire block, Kenta is finally in NJPW to #Takeover! Who strikes harder to take those pivotal opening points?
Katsuyori Shibata is spotted nearby as he watches this match intensely. The bell rings and fans are fired up already. Kenta and Ibushi circle and tie up. They’re evenly matches in strength, but Ibushi manages to get Kenta to ropes. Kenta turns it around but Ibushi dodges his punch. Kenta dodges Ibushi’s kick, and fans already like the exchange. Ibushi and Kenta circle again and tie up. Kenta kicks quick but Ibushi walks it off. Ibushi and Kenta approach again, and they test out strikes. Each man is ready to block and evade. Fans duel as each man keeps trying to find an opening.
Kenta catches a leg to a waistlock but Ibushi drops to hook and switch. Ibushi has a facelock but Kenta slips out to a hammerlock. Fans agree to cheer for “Both These Guys!” as they end up on ropes again. Kenta pats Ibushi’s shoulders but then SLAPS him! Ibushi scowls then SLAPS Kenta back! Ibushi stomps Kenta then toys with him. He drags Kenta up for big haymakers and swift kicks. Kenta ends up in a corner and Ibushi whips him corner to corner. Kenta takes a spin but tosses Ibushi to the apron. Ibushi forearms back but gets a kick through the ropes! Kenta hops up to guillotine knee drop Ibushi down! Fans cheer as Kenta toys with Ibushi.
Kenta drags Ibushi up as fans duel again. Kenta gives Ibushi a swift kick, but Ibushi eggs Kenta on. More kicks come in and Kenta covers, TWO! Kenta keeps on Ibushi with a chinlock and grinds Ibushi down. Ibushi endures and fans rally up. Ibushi fights out then runs, but into Kenta’s kitchen sink knee! Kenta drags Ibushi up and Penalty Kicks Ibushi down HARD! Kenta stands on Ibushi but Red Shoes does not call that a cover. So Kenta drags Ibushi to be on his stomach. Kenta drops knees right to Ibushi’s head, takes off his knee pad and jumps, to scuff Ibushi’s head. He drags Ibushi up but Ibushi fights back. They fire forearms and Ibushi gets the edge. He eggs Kenta on but Kenta makes him pay for it with heavy shots! Cover, ONE!
Kenta kicks Ibushi hard in the back but Ibushi eggs him on. They each egg each other on as they start throwing forearms fast and furious! Ibushi rocks Kenta but Kenta body shots and uppercuts. Kenta elbows Ibushi’s head then snapmares him for another kick! Ibushi writhes while trying to get his arms moving. Kenta covers, TWO! Kenta wraps Ibushi in another chinlock. Fans rally up and Ibushi powers up. Ibushi throws forearms but Kenta knees low, only to run into a dropkick! Both men are down but are sitting up fast. Kenta is in the corner and Ibushi walks over. Fans duel again as Ibushi whips corner to corner. Kenta reverses but Ibushi goes up and over to then powerslam Kenta down! Ibushi keeps moving, moonsault! Cover, TWO!
Both men are down as they catch their breath. Fans rally up as Ibushi stands. Ibushi waistlocks and drags Kenta up but Kenta resists. Kenta switches but Ibushi elbows free. Ibushi runs and things speed up, calf kick from Kenta! Both men are down again, but Kenta is up first. Kenta drags Ibushi up to whip but Ibushi reverses. Kenta ax handles Ibushi down then rallies with lariats. Ibushi just fires up, only to get caught into an exploder! Kenta glares at Ibushi as he climbs up top. Kenta leaps for a flying clothesline! Cover, TWO! Kenta drags Ibushi up and waistlocks, but Ibushi elbows out again. Ibushi runs in but into a boot. Kenta hops up and brings Ibushi in, tornado denied and Ibushi SLAPS Kenta!
Ibushi climbs up to join Kenta, but Kenta resists. They fight up top, and Ibushi elbows Kenta down to the apron. Ibushi drags Kenta up, has the waistlock, but Kenta fights free! Only for Ibushi to PELE Kenta down! Kenta hits the floor but Ibushi slingshots, into a knee?! Kenta makes Ibushi crash and burn and then drags Ibushi up. He suplexes Ibushi to hang him out to dry on railing. He drives elbows in, too, then goes back to the apron. Kenta leaps for guillotine double stomps!! Dallas loses its mind over that one! Kenta gets back in the ring and still wants more, but the ring count begins. The count reaches 10 before Ibushi stands. Ibushi climbs in at 12, so Kenta springboards and dropkicks him back down! Running boot in the corner, then a basement dropkick in the corner!
Kenta climbs up top while Ibushi is in the drop zone. DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi survives Kenta’s coup de grace, and fans duel harder then ever. Kenta slashes the throat and drags Ibushi up. Fireman’s carry, but Ibushi resists! Kenta still gets Ibushi up, but Ibushi grabs ropes. Kenta pulls him away but Ibushi fights out. Ibushi shoves but Kenta blocks one clothesline, only to spin into a LARIAT! Fans rally up while both men are down. Ibushi is up first and he drags Kenta up. Ibushi powerbomb lifts, sit-out Last Ride! Cover, TWO! Kenta lives but Ibushi rises again. Fans duel hard as ever as Ibushi sits Kenta up with the wristlocks. Kami- Fireman’s carry! Ibushi fights out and crucifix rolls, TWO!
Ibushi and Kenta collide with clotheslines, then run, shotgun knee from Kenta takes Ibushi down! But both men are down again as fans cheer. Dallas declares “This is Awesome!” as both men slowly stir. Ibushi and Kenta head for each other, and grunt and growl as they go forehead to forehead. They go forearm for forearm back and forth, and Ibushi starts to enjoy this. Kenta comes back with more but so does Ibushi. Ibushi and Kenta stand and fans cheer as they keep the brawl going. Kenta hits but Ibushi immediately responds, over and over. Even as they switch to kicks! Kenta gets Ibsuhi with the roundhouse! Cover, TWO!! Kenta drags Ibushi up for another kick! Then another! And a third! But Kenta isn’t done, he drags Ibushi up for a fourth! Cover, TWO!!
Kenta is furious, and he brings the knee pads down as he slashes the throat. He drags Ibushi up and fireman’s carries, GTS!! Cover, Kenta wins!!
Winner: KENTA, by pinfall; earns 2 points
Kenta makes Ibushi #GoToSleep in this G1 A Block opener! Is Kenta going to unlock more of his true style as the G1 rolls on? Can Ibushi make the comeback in the following rounds?
But to show respect to his opponent, who took so much out of him, Kenta helps Ibushi up to his feet. Fans cheer both men and the sportsmanship between them, though Ibushi can barely stand. Ibushi shakes Kenta’s hand and they even hug. Was this just the first match of a new and storied rivalry?
G1 Climax, A Block: Kazuchika Okada VS Hiroshi Tanahashi!
Speaking of a storied rivalry, the greatest rivalry in NJPW history, and perhaps of all pro-wrestling, of all fight sports and of all sports period, finally comes to the states! These two fought in the last round of A Block last year, to a time-limit draw! But now, in this year’s A Block opener, can we get a true finish?
The fans are already fired up for this incredible fourteenth match-up all time. They even lose their minds over Okada revealing the iconic shorts! The bell rings, and the A Block main event begins!
The Rainmaker and The Ace hear the fans roaring for them both. Okada and Tanahashi hear them cheer for “NEW JAPAN! NEW JAPAN!” as the two circle. They stay back to hear the fans chant and duel, then approach. The first tie up and both men are evenly matched in strength. Okada uses his leverage to back Tanahashi down. They end up on the ropes, and Okada backs off. Okada again fakes the chop to pat the shoulder.s Tananashi throws a forearm! So Okada responds! And we already have a fast and furious brawl! Neither man backs down or slows down, and they even grab for hair at the same time. Okada gets an edge and whips, to BOOT him down! But Tanahashi’s back up quick!
Tanahashi throws forearms, whips but Okada reverses. Tanahashi holds ropes to deny the dropkick, but Okada dodges the Slingblade. Okada wristlocks and ripcords, but Tanahashi denies Rainmaker to get a full nelson. Okada fights out of the dragon suplex only to get an arm-drag! But he headscissors back, only for Tanahashi to pop out. Fans cheer this great opening exchange! Dallas loves “Both These Guys!” as both Okada and Tanahashi catch their breath. Okada and Tanahashi circle and tie up again. Okada wrenches but Tanahashi forearms. Tanahashi scoop slams and drops an elbow! Fans cheer as the air guitar makes its Dallas debut! Tanahashi drags Okada up as fans cheer “Go Ace!”
Tanahashi throws forearms then whips Okada. Okada reverses but runs into an elbow. Tanahashi hops up but Okada anchors his feet. Tanahashi shoves him away but Okada dropkicks Tanahashi down! Okada catches his breath while Tanahashi is down, clutching a leg. He goes out to fetch Tanahashi while fans duel again. Okada brings Tanahashi up for a DDT to the floor! Okada leaves Tanahashi behind and the ring count begins. The count reaches 10 before Tanahashi sits up. Tanahashi stands at 14 and enters at 15, but Okada is on him with a basement dropkick! Okada stands on Tanahashi, but much like with the Kenta-Ibushi match, that’s not good enough for Red Shoes. Red Shoes mocks the Rainmaker pose, and fans cheer.
Okada drags Tanahashi up and powers him into a corner. He throws big elbows into Tanahashi then some more. Tanahashi throws forearms back, but the kick is blocked to a dragon screw! Okada borrows one of Tanahashi’s favorites! Okada drags Tanahashi up for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Okada puts Tanahashi in a chinlock but fans rally up. Tanahashi fights his way up but Okada wrangles him back down. Fans rally up and duel again. Tanahashi pries against the chinlock and stands up to fight with elbows. Okada clubs Tanahashi back, then whips. Tanahashi kicks him but Okada blocks. Tanahashi fights the screw off, then catches Okada’s boot for his own dragon screw!
Okada clutches his leg now as Tanahashi gets to a corner. Fans rally again as Tanahashi throws haymakers and forearms. He boxes Okada to ropes then whips, but Okada reverses, only to get flying forearms! Tanahashi fires up and Dallas with him as he runs in. Dropkick in the corner staggers Okada. Tanahashi scoops and slams, then hops up for the second rope somersault senton! Cover, TWO! We pass 10 minutes as Okada stands. Tanahashi runs but Okada dodges, to then elbow Tanahashi down! Okada fires up and Dallas with him. Tanahashi is in a corner but Okada whips him corner to corner. Okada runs for a big back elbow, then kicks low for a DDT! Cover, TWO!
Okada keeps his cool as he stalks Tanahashi. Tanahashi stands and Okada lifts for the Alabama. Tanahashi fights out to throw EuroUppers. Okada puts Tanahashi on the apron but Tanahashi hits back. Tanahashi drags a leg out, for a dragon screw! Okada goes down and Tanahashi stalks him now. Tanahashi runs but into a flapjack! Both men are down but fans continue to fire up. Fans rally and both men stir. Okada gets to a corner and runs at Tanahashi. Tanahashi dodges but so does Okada. Okada uppercuts but Tanahashi dropkicks a leg out. Tanahashi whips corner to corner but Okada reverses into a forearm! Alabama lift, Air Raid neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!
Okada keeps his cool as he drags Tanahashi back up. He scoop slams fast then says he’s headed up top. Okada climbs a corner and leaps, Macho Elbow! But that just leads into the Rainmaker pose! But Tanahashi victory rolls! TWO, to a grounded dragon screw! Tanahashi has both legs now and ties them up into a Texas Cloverleaf! Perfect for being in Dallas. Okada endures as Tanahashi pulls him back. Tanahashi sits in deep but Okada gets the ropebreak. Tanahashi lets go but comes back for more. Okada holds onto the rope, so Tanahashi gives him another grounded dragon screw! Tanahashi hears we’re at 15 minutes so he fires himself up. He goes to the top rope and aims at Okada on the outside, for the HIGH FLY FLOW-BODY!
Fans are loving this as both men are down! Red Shoes starts the ring count, and it reaches 5 while Tanahashi gets the legs moving. The count reaches 10 as Tanahashi stands and fetches Okada. Tanahashi puts Okada in at 15 and the match continues. Tanahashi fires up again as he stalks Okada. Okada stands, Tanahashi runs, but Okada dodges. Okada fireman’s carries, but Tanahashi pops out for Twist ‘n’ Shout! But Okada’s back with a shotgun dropkick! But Tanahashi’s back with a slingblade! Tanahashi keeps moving, but gets the dropkick! Okada scoops, TOMBSTONE! Rainmaker Pose! Wristlock, SLINGBLADE! Tanahashi fires up again and heads up top. Dallas cheers The Ace on as he aims, leaps, High Fly Flow-body again!
But Tanahashi isn’t done here, he climbs again. Okada is in the drop zone, HIGH FLY FLOW onto knees! Okada saves himself at the expense of his legs! Red Shoes starts a standing count as fans rally. Both men sit up and head for each other. Okada is on his feet first and he scoops Tanahashi. Tanahashi resists and then scoops Okada. Okada resists and scoops Tanahashi. He grits his teeth but Tanahashi lifts him! Tanahashi can’t get Okada all the way so he clubs and forearms and uppercuts back. Palm strike! Tananashi runs, but into a backslide! He rolls through, RAINMAKER! But Okada doesn’t end here as we hit 20 minutes. He drags Tanahashi up for a second RAINMAKER! Okada hits the pose, and wants a third!
Okada drags Tananashi up, full wristlock ripcord, cradle counter!! TWO!! Okada escapes, but boots into the full nelson, Snap Dragon Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!! Both men are down but fans are hitting a fever pitch! Tanahashi runs, but Okada ducks and ripcords only for Tanahashi to escape. Tanahashi tries again, but Okada dodges to wristlock and ripcord, PALM STRIKE! But Okada holds onto the wrist. Tanahashi throws another slapping palm strike, but Okada refuses to let go. Okada roars, but a third strike does it! Dallas keeps cheering as Tanahashi runs, into a JUMPING TOMBSTONE! Okada roars again, ripcords, FULL RAINMAKER! Cover, Okada wins!!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; earns 2 points
These are perhaps the most important points in the entire tournament! The fact Okada finally gets one over on Tanahashi in the G1 could decide the entire block right here! But history is against Okada as the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Can Okada make history all over again as he takes the block and the tournament?
Okada puts on the belt and takes to the mic to address the fans. “My first win!” He apologizes to the American audience for starting in Japanese, so he’ll start again in English. “DALLAS~!” Dallas cheers for Okada while he catches his breath. “How was G1 Climax?” They loved it! “Tonight is the first time G1 is in America!” But it won’t be the last. Okada promises NJPW will come back. And when he does come back to Dallas, he will be the winner. But also, he promises to still be THE IWGP Heavyweight Champion. “Thank you, Dallas! Thank you very much!” And back in Japanese, he promises to take the entire tournament, and continue to make it rain! Dallas looks forward to it! Can Okada maintain being on a whole ‘nother level?
NJPW Media Backstage Interviews
The Rainmaker takes a seat and the belt is propped up. Okada speaks in Japanese to his thoughts on the G1 Climax’s opening night, and a translator steps up to turn it into English.
“What I’m thinking right now, after my first match, is that this is G1 Climax. This is a tough tournament. It’s fierce, and really hot. But honestly, I don’t think there is any wrestler that doesn’t give anybody a really tough match. So this is really normal for G1 Climax to have really tough matches. This first win in the tournament, especially from Hiroshi Tanahashi, this victory is really, really huge. This gives me huge momentum for the future matches, so I would like to keep this momentum going, and definitely for it to lead to the tournament victory.
“About the audience in Dallas, and not just Dallas, of course. The audience in the United States and of course in Japan, this tournament has been watched everywhere. And I think many of you who haven’t seen G1 before, maybe you don’t know much, but this is the tournament that goes on for one month, with 18 matches. So I think NJPW is the only organization that does this kind of tournament, anywhere in the world. This is the world’s best tournament, and I would like people to watch this,e specially for those in Dallas, to continue to watch the rest of the tournament, that is going to be held in Japan. I understand there is a time difference, so you might get sleepless if you keep following the matches in Japan.”
Media asks Okada some quick questions, to which his responds. His feelings towards this first time having a match with Tanahashi outside of Japan: “I think the reaction from the audience tells you what it’s about.” Okada continues to say that “regardless of where the tournament is held, Tanahashi’s power, his strength, hasn’t changed. He’s a pretty strong wrestler, and this match was definitely a great match that is deservedly fitting to the main event of G1.” Okada’s thoughts towards about his next match against Zack Sabre Jr, back in Japan: “Well I still have a little time until my next official match, so I’ll probably think about it a little later. As for me right now, I would like to enjoy this really pumped up, heated audience reaction in Dallas, and I will bring it with me when I go to Japan.”
Okada’s thoughts towards Minoru Suzuki calling him out given the G1 snub, and the chances of Suzuki attacking during the G1: “I think all I can say is, ‘Okay, come and try.’ I think my name was mentioned because I’m the champion. Suzuki probably feels pretty frustrated right now, so I’m not going to let him crash the G1. So come and try.” Okada’s thoughts to Tanahashi’s own personal rankings of the two of them: “Well I guess if that’s what Tanahashi said, that’s what he feels right now. But I still think he’s a really great wrestler, and he can try to minimize the gap, but all I can do is to have the gap bigger, and I will be better.”
Okada’s thoughts to his chances of being in the G1 Climax 29 finals: “I think I really had a great start this year, so it doesn’t really matter if I’m the champion or not. I’ve always been aiming to win this tournament, and I always aim for that. I’ve never given up on it. So whether it’s possible for me to win the G1 Climax as IWGP Champion or not, I would like you to go home today and maybe you can talk it over with your friends and family while having some drinks and relaxing. You can do that.” Okada’s thoughts on how special it is to have a crowd reaction like this outside of Japan: “Yeah, I did have some expectations about the reactions, but actually, this was more than what I expected. And it gives me a strange feeling that everybody calls my name, ‘Okada! Okada!’ at each match. Yeah, it gives me a strange feeling.”
Okada’s thoughts on new match-ups in the A Block, namely KENTA: “Right now, all I’m focusing on is my next match with Zack Sabre Jr. I still have plenty of time until I face Kenta, so I will think on how to fight against Kenta right before the match.” Okada’s thoughts on how much NJPW will travel to the states, and what the best part of that is: “I can’t really say there are too many or too few matches held in the United States. All I can do as a wrestler is show great matches. As to where matches are held, it’s not really something I can say as a wrestler. That’s something that’s left to the company to decide. All I do is go wherever the matches are going to be held, and just show the best wrestling I can bring.”
Even with the press conference continuing, the AXS TV cameras leave it at that to look at the standings. We know Okada, Kenta, Sanada, Archer and Fale take an early lead, but this could change after eight more rounds! The B Block begins very much the same next Saturday, same-day access on AXS! Who from the other half of this bracket take the opening points to join the five winners here tonight?
Woo what a great event! NJPW and AXS give us the entirety of this opening night and there wasn’t a bad match on the card. RPG3K do great even in losing to GoD. The NJPW Heavyweight Tag Division needs some refreshing so adding Sho and Yoh would be an interesting move. Ishii & Umino VS Cobb & Narita was great, mostly with the Cobb-Ishii interactions. However, given the supposed opening night block AEW pulled on Jon Moxley, this must’ve been the match he was going to be in, considering the Young Lion in question was Umino. Mox looked to be making Umino is unwillingly sidekick given their previous interactions. But that’s fine, as Ishii and Cobb was a great match-up and will be again in the B Block opening round.
The one thing that was clear in these preview tag matches was that the decisions did not come down to actual participants in the G1 Climax getting a cover off each other. Cobb pinned Umino, Goto pinned Chase Owens, and Yano used a low blow to beat Bushi. This is obviously good booking since it keeps all G1 Climax participants strong, so that it is only the G1 matches that decide things. Then just over the last two hours of this four hour event were the G1 matches, and again not a single one disappointed. Some of the finishes did confuse, namely in who went over. I did not expect Fale or Archer to win, but I supposed not all Faces can win tonight. Archer is immediately a dangerous force, and I can’t wait to see him against Fale.
I love that Sanada got the drop on ZSJ in a flashback to their previous tournament match-up. It would be really big for Sanada to get a high score in the G1 this year, given his great performances against Okada. Kenta VS Ibushi was an amazing match, and already we see what Kenta means by “his style.” Health concerns were most likely why WWE never let him go this hard, but he seems more than able to do strong style. It was a great move for him to be the winner, and he, too, might go pretty far in the block. But don’t count Ibushi out yet, either, he’s got a lot of fight left. Of course, this also does set up a future IWGP Intercontinental Championship match after the G1 is over, which will be incredible, too.
Okada VS Tanahashi as our main event was superb, and it really does set the pace for the rest of the block. Obviously there had to be a winner this time, and it means a lot for Okada to win. Obviously time constraints on television keep us from seeing all of Okada’s press conference, but I feel like that last question being indirectly aimed at WWE was not something AXS and NJPW wanted to have answered on live television. But Okada is a respectful winner being Face and the face of NJPW, I’m sure almost all his matches in the A Block are going to be highlighted. The story of him as champion and unlikely to win given history is a good one to follow through with, making even one loss feel critical. Then they can set up the finals as even bigger, because it will be a preview of Okada’s future title defense.
My Score: 9.5/10