The second half of the G1 just wrapped up and the final match between the A Block winner and the B Block winner is tomorrow. I just finished watching the finals of the B Block and I can’t remember the last time I watched this much wrestling. Not even when I was watching WWE do I remember tuning in for every event. So here are my thoughts on the second half of the G1.
Aug 1 – A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
Ibushi can be cocky at times, but I was surprised that Tanahashi was also a little dirtier than normal during this tournament. I know this can be attributed to his bicep tears, but it’s weird to see the Ace be a little bad. Ibushi’s kicks are devastating, so Tanahashi targeted his knees throughout the match while Ibushi targeted Tanahashi’s bad arm. It was a bit back and forth, but over all a fun match to watch.
Aug 2 – B Block: Kenny Omega vs EVIL
Holy crap. That was my first thought after watching this match. Omega and EVIL had an amazing match and I would love to see more matches between the two. There were times when I thought EVIL was going to get the victory, but Omega managed to pull it out. The best spot of the entire match was when EVIL sent them both through a table from the apron.
Aug 4 – A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito
Zack Sabre Jr is an octopus in all the best ways and this match was so entertaining to watch. Naito getting ZSJ on the outside of the ring and then hitting Tranquilo while ZSJ kicked the barricade in frustration was absolutely hilarious. There were quite a few times I thought that Naito was going to tap out and it was hard for him to go for Destino for much of the match since ZSJ could reverse it, but eventually he was able to string together a few moves and hit his finisher for the victory.
Aug 5 – B Block: Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL
Okada was undefeated until he met EVIL. And what a freaking wonderful match this was. I know I said this during the first half G1 post, but EVIL was amazing this tournament and really surprised me. He pulled out a lot of victories I don’t think people thought he was going to win, like against Suzuki and against Okada.
Aug 6 – A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tomohiro Ishii
I picked Tanahashi to win this match but was honestly surprised that he did. The Stone Pitbull has grown on me this tournament and I really thought at times that Ishii was going to pick up the two points. But there’s something in Tanahashi that just always keeps him going, always drives him on to victory. A lot of well-targeted attacks to Ishii’s knees were what it took to keep the big man down.
Aug 8 – B Block: Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki
This was another holy crap match for me. I didn’t think there was going to be a time limit draw in this tournament, but when the bell rang and Suzuki and Okada were both just laying on the mat, it hit me. All of the back and forth. All of Suzuki’s mind games. Okada’s never surrender attitude. This is definitely a match I’d tell non-NJPW wrestling fans to check out.
Aug 11 – A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito (A Block Finals)
The mind games started from the beginning of this match, but not just from Naito. Tanahashi had some mind games of his own and it made for a really interesting match. These two have had some incredible matches against each other at Wrestle Kingdom 11 and Dominion and this was no different. I was clutching my phone as I realized there was only five minutes left in the match and nobody had been pinned yet, but once Naito got the victory I might have started dancing in my seat at work. I especially loved when the other members of Los Ingobernables de Japon came out to be with Naito after his victory.
Aug 12 – B Block: Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega (B Block Finals)
Right off the bat, these two went at it. They went for some of their signature moves right away. Maybe because of the 30 minute time limit, but also because these two know each other so well by now. Their rivalry is definitely one for the books and just like their matches at Wrestle Kingdom 11 and Dominion, this is not one to miss. And we can finally say this – Omega can hit the One-Winged Angel on Okada AND get the pin. Don’t think I didn’t notice that the only members of Bullet Club that were out there with Omega were the Young Bucks, though.
So that’s that! Congratulations to Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito for winning their blocks this G1. I love that the finale was a repeat of their incredible match from last year’s G1 and will hopefully have a post talking about it up later this week after I watch it about fifty times and soak in all that greatness.