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New Japan: Best Bout Collection 2016 - 2019 Vol. 1
Presented May 16, 2020
COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc (the non-Halloween kind) on society, so let's take a look back at this critically acclaimed era in New Japan. I was largely tuned out from wrestling as a whole for huge portions of 2016-2019, so most of these bouts will be new to me, and I'm not so well studied on the recent history of the company that I know all of the results. If I haven't seen it, it's new to me! This collection, offered on Fite.TV, clocks in at just a hair under nine hours, so this will be a bit of a project.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship:
Wrestle Kingdom 10 - January 4th 2016
Shinsuke Nakamura © vs. AJ Styles
Styles is just weeks away from debuting for WWE at the Royal Rumble
, while Nakamura would follow him there about a year later. They would go on to have a WWE title match together at Wrestlemania 34. They engage in a feeling out grapplefest until Nak goes for an opportunistic knockout kick that fails to connect. AJ fires an invisible bullet from his finger and Nak pretends to catch it in midair and chew and spit it out. Soon, Nakamura wrenches Styles off the buckles for a bad landing, and AJ fakes a back injury for an ambush. Nakamura absorbs some punishment before dishing out a hard backbreaker right into AJ's compromised spine. Shinsuke relentlessly assaults the spine, but AJ stays in it with a phenomenal forearm. AJ is too hurt to hit a normal vertical suplex, so he improvises with a snap suplex into the buckles. Nakamura answers with a single leg lungblower and overhead suplex. AJ has shifted his strategy to attempting a submission with the Calf Killer. Nak reverses into an armbar, but AJ smashes out. AJ's bad back still allows him to hit a Torture Rack slam for 2. Nak maneuvers into a Kinshasa off the second rope! Both guys are going for broke and slug it out. AJ steals the Kinshasa and nails a 450 splash for an excellent nearfall! Nakamura fights for a cross armbreaker, but settles for a triangle choke. AJ reverses into the STYLES CLASH, but NAKAMURA KICKS OUT! Shinsuke is in big trouble as AJ hits a quick suplex, but a second one is blocked. Nakamura desperately hits a top rope Michinoku Driver for another blazing nearfall. Nak delivers a vicious running boot to the back of the head and Kinshasa to retain the gold at 24:20! This featured incredible, intricate details, and deliberately paced and timed action that built to hard earned nearfalls. Absolutely must-see, ****¾.
Winner and still IWGP Intercontinental Champion: Shinsuke Nakamura
AJ and Nak are bruised but show respect with a fist bump on their knees. Simply awesome moment. Far cry from Shinsuke kicking AJ in the nether regions at Wrestlemania later on.
G1 Climax 26 - A Block Tournament Match:
G1 Climax Night 13 - August 6th 2016
Tomohiro Ishii vs. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada (with Gedo)
Both guys represent CHAOS, so it starts off respectfully enough, but Ishii makes a statement with sudden lariats for an early nearfall. They block each other's finishers before Okada hits a neckbreaker to buy some time. Ishii dominates with chops and a big power slam. Ishii seems to have the champ on the ropes when Okada counters with a flapjack. Okada builds steam with a spike DDT and running uppercut for 2. Ishii pops up for a Saito Suplex. Okada absorbs some strikes before dropkicking Ishii off the top rope. Ishii appeared to injure his ankle on the way down. Okada follows up with a draping DDT off the rail. Flying elbow by Okada, but Ishii interrupts the Rainmaker pose to chop his leader down. German suplex by Ishii and powerbomb into a pin attempt for a good nearfall. Desperation TKO by Okada leaves them both down. They sprint through some counters until Ishii hits a devastating dropkick. Superplex by Ishii gets a close 2 count that the fans ate up. Ishii's sliding lariat gets another red hot 2 count. After a breather, Okada hits a series of dropkicks but can't gain the pinfall. Ishii blocks the Tombstone like a bad-ass but Okada responds with a dropkick. I'm probably not doing Okada's dropkicks justice in this recap, they look far more painful than what you typically see. Another exchange results in Ishii viciously headbutting Okada to the mat. Ishii reverses a Tombstone Piledriver, and lands a huge lariat, but OKADA KICKS OUT! Brainbuster by Ishii and he wins at 18:44! Huge win and moment for Ishii, who had the fans behind him all the way in this upset, ****¼.
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii
G1 Climax - B Block Tournament Match:
G1 Climax - Night 18 - August 13th 2016
Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito
The winner advances to the G1 Climax finals, though Naito can afford a draw, while Omega must win. Loud "Naito" chant at the opening bell. Naito walks away from some lockups, sparking Omega to feel disrespected and attacks from behind. They reach a stalemate where Naito poses on his side, and Omega just spits his gum at him. They trade some more projectile saliva and quicken the pace until Naito dropkicks the knee. Naito relentlessly attacks the freshly injured knee. Omega goes high risk with a dive and lands on his bad knee, but he manages to smash Naito into the ringside furniture and power slam his lower back onto the ring frame. Omega sacrifices his own bad knee to hit a sick shoulderbreaker. Omega targets numerous body parts while dishing out a beatdown. Omega tweaks his knee while hitting the rolling slam and Naito pops up for a targeted dropkick. Naito builds steam with dropkick-heavy offense and applies a modified Figure Four. Kenny busts out for a bulldog and kicks Naito off the apron for a nasty bump onto the barricade! Omega teases a powerbomb on the apron but instead sends him through a table! Not satisfied, Kenny delivers a springboard senton over the rail onto Naito in the crowd! They are both almost counted out before Omega hits a DRAGON SUPLEX ON THE APRON, followed by an immediate Dragon Suplex in the ring for an EXCELLENT nearfall. Naito desperately counters with a swinging DDT. They slug it out and Omega surprises with a V-Trigger. Naito answers with a tornado DDT. Top rope rana by Naito, but Omega rolls through for a great nearfall. Naito pops up and hits a hammerlock slam for 2. Omega lands on his knee in a German suplex, but it tweaks his knee, but he still hits a clothesline. V-Trigger, but One Winged Angel is reversed into a modified knee bar. Kenny is trapped for an eternity before getting the ropes right as the ref was about to call it off. One legged atomic drop by Naito, but Omega blocks a second one with a knee to the face. German suplex by Kenny, and sitout powerbomb for 2. V-Trigger, but Naito reverses One Winged Angel into a Destino! With only 5 minutes left, Naito hits a SUPER REVERSE RANA but KENNY KICKS OUT! Omega then reverses Destino into a reverse powerbomb for another volcanic nearfall! Kenny is too hurt for One Winged Angel but he hits another V-Trigger and powers into a German suplex for a NASTY NEARFALL! The crowd is going nuts. He finally hits One Winged Angel to win at 28:13! INCREDIBLE MATCH that teased just about every possible outcome convincingly and told a focused story surrounding Omega's knee. Must see, *****.
Winner: Kenny Omega
Editorial note: I started this review on May 17th. I was using Larry Csonka's full reviews of these shows to fill in some missing details, and to sort of compare how I felt to his ratings. Today, on March 18th, I received the devastating news that Csonka had passed away. I'm still processing my thoughts on his loss, which is significant to his wife and children more than anyone else. Larry was extremely influential and inspirational to me in not just getting me to coming back to wrestling, but to wanting to write my own recaps and reviews. I appreciated Larry's straightforward style and his enthusiasm for the industry was infectious. I was constantly in awe that he would review everything he could get his hands on. In a typical month, the guy probably watched and reviewed somewhere around 60-70 different shows. Personally, I watch one boring WWE PPV and I want to quit for a month (or about three years, give or take). Anyway, I am about to sit back down and continue this compilation, and I expect that I'm going to continue using Csonka's reviews as a reference when I miss an important detail, and it's going to make me feel sad right now, but I'm so grateful that I have his body of work to refer to, his hours of podcasts to keep me company on long walks, and a lasting impression of a good-natured, genuine, and joyful view of what wrestling can be.
Rest in peace, Larry.
G1 Climax 27 Block A - Tournament Match:
G1 Climax 27 - Night 1 - July 17th 2017
Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito
I gave these guys a middling review for their 2018 G1 Climax encounter, in which I was in the minority, so this could be interesting. Naito taunts after a clean break and spits, avoids any real contact from Ibushi, and poses like only he can. Ibushi casually walks away from a lockup and Ibushi attacks from behind and then hits a double stomp to the heart. Naito pulls Ibushi's head into his knee to take over. Naito slows things down with a neckbreaker on the apron. Ibushi absorbs a ton of neck punishment before hitting a desperation dropkick. Rana by Ibushi and Golden Triangle moonsault to the floor! Naito comes back with a flurry, but Ibushi uppercuts the face. Ibushi runs into a leg sweep, allowing Naito to hit a slingshot dropkick to the lower back. Draping neckbreaker by Naito and German suplex gets a good 2 count. The pace quickens and Ibushi nails a snap Dragon suplex. Ibushi seems to go into a trance while delivering stiff kicks. Naito plows past Red Shoes but Ibushi hits a nasty lariat for 2. Crowd chants "Naito." Naito finds his second wind and drops Ibushi right on his head with a German. Gloria only gets 2! Naito gloats while setting up and hitting a SUPER REVERSE RANA but IBUSHI KICKS OUT! Ibushi desperately blocks Destino and lawn darts Naito into the buckles! Ibushi hits a dead lift German over the ropes, dropping Naito right on his head, for a good nearfall. After a breather, Naito counters into a tornado DDT. Ibushi maneuvers into a second rope piledriver, but NAITO KICKS OUT! Crowd is going bonkers. Naito blocks a Pedigree and hits a rolling kick. Ibushi chops the face and Naito leaps into Destino, but IBUSHI KICKS OUT! A second Destino ends it at 24:39! Excellent war of survival, albeit with some ill-advised bumps along the way. Not sure what happened in 2018, but this was awesome, ****½.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito
G1 Climax 27 Block B - Tournament Match:
G1 Climax - Night 14 - August 5th 2017
EVIL vs. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada (with Gedo)
EVIL quickly kicks the gut, but Okada answers with a shoulder block. EVIL rakes the eyes but Okada snapmares him into position for a running dropkick. They head to ringside, where EVIL wraps a chair around the champ's head and knocks it off with another chair! Okada avoids a countout, but is vulnerable to EVIL's beatdown. Okada comes back with a flurry of offense, hitting a leaping uppercut for 2. EVIL's neckbreaker buys some time. They exchange some power moves, and Okada builds enough steam to signal the Rainmaker, but EVIL blocks and lands a superkick. Okada saves EVIL from falling off the buckles by accident only to dropkick him off the buckles on purpose. Okada attempts a charge over a rail but EVIL throws a normal chair into his face! EVIL collects some chairs and piles them deep in the crowd for a BRUTAL Darkness Falls. EVIL hauls the champ back to the ring for a Fisherman suplex for 2. EVIL nails a second Darkness Falls and attempts a superplex, but Okada blocks and delivers a perfect springboard missile dropkick! They jockey for position and Okada lands a pair of beautiful dropkicks. EVIL fires back with a sick lariat and hammerlock suplex, then another lariat but OKADA KICKS OUT AT THE LAST FRACTION OF A SECOND! RAINMAKER leaves them both down. A second Rainmaker is good, but EVIL blocks a third, and nails a headbutt. Okada counters with a nasty German suplex, but EVIL reverses another Rainmaker into an STO and WINS at 22:20! Crowd pops for the upset, and EVIL stands on the fallen Okada in victory. Typically outstanding Okada match, elevated by EVIL being, well, evil, ****¼.
G1 Climax 27 Finals:
G1 Climax Finals - August 13th 2017
Kenny Omega (with The Young Bucks) vs. Tetsuya Naito
I just gave these guys five stars for their 2016 G1 match, so needless to say that expectations are high. Naito continues his mindgames of casually walking away from lock-ups, and spits at Omega. The pace quickens and Naito teases an early dive before posing on his side. Omega responds with a moonsault off the rails. Omega leaps too high for a Kotaro Crusher but saves face with a standard bulldog instead. Back leg sweep by Naito sets up a neckbreaker on the apron, followed by a second neckbreaker on the floor. Naito continues attacking the neck and lawn darts himself in a suicide dive to send Omega over the rails. Naito slips while attempting a piledriver through a table and they spill onto the floor in dangerous fashion. That was scary, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't increase the drama. Omega recovers first and picks Naito apart. Omega tweaks his own neck delivering the rolling slam, and Naito catches him with a neckbreaker off the second rope! Slingshot dropkick by Naito, but Omega answers with a leaping Frankensteiner. Omega soars with a perfect plancha. Omega zeroes in on the head, and fights through Naito's counters to hit a German suplex. Sick backbreaker by Omega, blocks a German, but Naito nails the tornado DDT. Omega flapjacks Naito's skull onto the ring post, hits a snap Dragon and V-Trigger, but Naito kicks out (as expected at 20:00). Naito blocks a J-Driller and hits a pendulum DDT. Naito builds some steam and nails Gloria for a good nearfall. Omega blocks Destino and hits a reverse piledriver for a HOT nearfall. Omega blocks a superplex with a DDT ONTO THE RING POST! Omega attempts a super powerbomb, but NAITO COUNTERS WITH A SUPER RANA! Naito follows with a REVERSE SUPER RANA but OMEGA KICKS OUT! Naito brings back the Stardust Press but Kenny dodges! J-Driller by Omega only gets 2! Naito eats some V-Triggers and collapses. V-Trigger by Omega and Doctor Bomb but NAITO KICKS OUT! Another V-Trigger, but Naito reverses One Winged Angel with a rana. Desperation Destino but Kenny kicks out! German suplex by Kenny and more V-Triggers. Naito reverses One Winged Angel into another DESTINO! They stumble through a slapfest and Omega takes over with V-Triggers, but Naito surprises with a rolling kick and Dragon Suplex! A third Destino only gets 2! A fourth Destino ends it at 34:36! About midway through this I was thinking "This is good, but not great" but then they went and tore it up for another 15 minutes. Naito's sell-job in the third act is worth studying. Sadly, they missed the crescendo and went a few minutes too long, but they still managed to tell an epic tale, ****½.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito
New Japan Cup 2018 Finals:
March 21st 2018
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (with Taka Michinoku)
They lock up and ZSJ forces Tanahashi into the ropes. ZSJ controls the mat game, digging his fist into the back. Tanahashi tries to answer ZSJ's technical wrestling prowess, but has to resort to another rope break. Tanahashi has better luck with a side headlock, but that even gets reversed into a head scissors. They continue to have a great mat contest (the likes of which I wish we'd see more of in AEW) and the crowd seems reserved, but interested. Tanahashi finally scores a leg sweep, but ZSJ reverses an elbow drop into a vicious armbar. They exchange uppercuts and ZSJ lunges at the legs for a submission. Tanahashi's arm has been softened up enough to become a target. Tanahashi moves gingerly but manages a flurry of offense, and they both stay down after a running elbow. Somersault senton by Tanahashi gets a routine 2 count. ZSJ goes for the arm again, but Tanahashi breaks it off with a dragon screw legsweep. They trade abdominal stretch counters until Tanahashi hits a pump handle slam. ZSJ responds with a triangle choke. Tanahashi stomps the head to reverse into a Cloverleaf. ZSJ counters into a cross armbreaker on the bad arm, but Tanahashi breaks free for another dragon screw. High crossbody to the floor crushes ZSJ! The match restarts with Tanahashi skinning the cat (despite the arm injury) only to get caught in a grapevine ankle lock. Rope break, and a frustrated ZSJ paces around while hitting opportunistic kicks. Tanahashi desperately hits a series of neckbreakers for 2. Tanahashi's dive is reversed into a heel hook. Tanahashi blocks the PK but ZSJ nearly steals the match with a clever jackknife cover variation. Dueling uppercuts leads to a struggle for a backslide pin, but ZSJ floats over for an insane crab pinning predicament. PK by ZSJ gets a great nearfall (mainly because there haven't been many thus far and we're 30 minutes in). Sling Blade out of nowhere gets 2 for Tanahashi, and as does a Full Nelson suplex. Frog Splash to the back by Tanahashi, and ZSJ dodges a second attempt. Tanahashi blocks an uppercut and almost wins it with an O'Connor roll, but ZSJ reverses into a ruthless leg bar. Tanahashi kicks the head, but ZSJ holds onto his Napalm leg submission for the win at 34:01! This was nothing short of a masterpiece and brought some variety to this collection. I would argue this to be the best pro wrestling on the planet, *****.
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship (2/3 Falls, No Time Limit):
Dominion - June 9th 2018
Kazuchika Okada © (with Gedo) vs. Kenny Omega (with Kota Ibushi)
It's going to be a long night at the office, so they pace themselves in the feeling out process. They start to get sick of each other and block each other's finishers before both tumbling over the ropes. Reverse Irish whip into the rails by Okada and a big boot into the crowd. Okada dives over the barricade but Omega V-Triggers him in mid-air! Omega scores a power slam onto a pile of scattered furniture and gets a late 2 count. Omega wears Okada down, mainly picking apart the back. Okada makes a comeback and busts out a Cobra clutch. Omega's plancha misses, but Okada's does not. Back to the ring, Omega counters with a leaping rana. Baseball slide dropkick (somewhat comically) sends Okada over the rail, and Omega delivers a springboard crossbody into the stands! Kotaro Crusher by Omega and neckbreaker onto his knee. After a series of blocks, Omega hits a V-Trigger, but Okada answers with a German suplex for 2. Okada pops the crowd with a Tombstone Piledriver onto the ring frame. Omega gets dropkicked off the apron and his lower rib cage hits the rails badly. Another Okada dropkick gets 2. Rainmaker pose is interrupted by a Snap Dragon! Omega delivers a soaring dive, but seems to aggravate his injuries. Omega delivers a sequence of moves but can't hit One Winged Angel, but settles for a German for 2. Okada blocks another One Winged Angel, but Rainmaker is blocked, and a V-Trigger gets a close nearfall. Tombstone Piledriver by Okada, Rainmaker is blocked, but Okada scores a rollup to earn the first fall at 28:46!
They get a 2 minute rest while commentary puts over how lofty it is to expect Omega to gain two straight pinfalls over Okada, who hardly ever gets pinned. The second fall begins with a sense of urgency. Omega gets dropkicked off the top rope. Omega attempts a moonsault on the railing but gets pushed into more railing. Okada's draping DDT earns them a breather. Omega throws some stiff chops but runs into a big boot. Omega breaks the Cobra Clutch with a stunner and delivers a back suplex. Omega hits a second back suplex onto the ring frame. Omega places Okada under a table for a flying double stomp off the apron! Okada comes right back but Omega blocks a back senton with his knees. This second fall feels a bit directionless, as Okada just hits another suplex. Omega excites the crowd with a superplex variation. Rolling Hills by Omega but the moonsault is blocked. Omega hits a tornado DDT and attempts a German off the apron onto a table. Okada blocks, and Omega counters into a reverse rana on the floor. Okada is nearly counted out, and counters One Winged Angel into another Tombstone. Omega blocks Rainmaker and hits a spike Uranage! A slugfest leads to Omega building some serious momentum, while still failing to hit his elusive finisher. The double underhook piledriver only gets 2. V-Trigger and (FINALLY) One Winged Angel earns Omega the second fall at 50:33!
Third fall begins with an instant V-Trigger. Okada slips out of One Winged Angel and nails Rainmaker! Late cover gets 2! Both guys look dead on their feet. Omega lucks his way into hitting a Styles Clash for a GREAT nearfall. V-Trigger but Omega collapses while attempting One Winged Angel. A series of counters results in Omega hitting a piledriver for another great false finish. Omega misses a Phoenix Splash! Calculated V-Triggers by Omega, but Okada answers with dropkicks. Okada injures himself hitting a Rainmaker! After a breather, they duke it out on their knees. Rainmaker, and Okada controls the wrist to pull Omega into a second Rainmaker! Omega ducks a third Rainmaker and hits a German suplex! They exchange German suplexes and Omega puts a stop to it with another reverse rana. Omega uses the ref to pull himself up and runs into an Okada dropkick. Rainmaker is reversed into One Winged Angel! Running dropkick by Omega and another One Winged Angel finishes it at 69:51! Omega wins the gold! Incredible match in many ways, and one that was universally praised in real time (some calling it a six star match, etc).
Now, it's time for me to make some people upset. I felt like I was watching a five star match throughout the first fall and I was pumped. Then, the second fall just fell off the rails from a narrative standpoint. It was a slow paced exchange "You do move, I do move" rather than building up Omega's comeback. For example, Omega hitting the double stomp over the table should have been a huge turning point moment, instead it lead right back to trading moves. Once Omega finally got to hit One Winged Angel (a storytelling crutch he leans on far too often in big matches), things go back on track, and the final fall was great, though I sensed the fans weren't as sold on the drama as with many other matches in this collection. They aimed high, but I think the length hurt this a bit, as they were not able to focus on any particular story, other than "holy crap, this is long." This evens out to a lowly ****, dragged down considerably by the middle.
Winner and new IWGP Heavyweight Champion: Kenny Omega
Omega, Ibushi, and the Young Bucks celebrate with tears in their eyes. Omega cuts a humble promo in Japanese and a cocky promo in English. Cody arrives late, seems torn about what to do, and ultimately storms out while the celebration continues.
G1 Climax 28 - Block B - Tournament Match:
G1 Climax 28 - Night 10 - July 28th 2018
Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Bell rings and they tear right into each other. No holding back in this one. They reach a quick stalemate and slug it out. Ishii overwhelms Ibushi by chopping him into a heap in the buckles. Ibushi eats another hard forearm but answers with a nice dropkick. Leaping rana by Ibushi and a slingshot crossbody to ringside. They head into the crowd, where Ibushi reverses a powerbomb into a rana. Ibushi pops the crowd with a moonsault off of a balcony! Back to the ring, Ibushi hits a targeted missile dropkick and half nelson suplex for 2. Ishii absorbs about as much punishment as he desires, and forearms Ibushi to the canvas. Delayed vertical suplex off the second rope by Ishii, but Ibushi trolls him by standing right up. German suplex by Ibushi and backflip kick earns them a breather. Ibushi takes a series of quick strikes and then clocks Ishii off his feet. Lawn dart into the buckles by Ibushi! Tempers flare and they exchange slaps. Ishii hatefully chops the face! Ibushi punches the throat and hits a crushing lariat! Sitout powerbomb by Ibushi only gets 2! Ibushi can't finish with a German, and Ishii grabs his hands for a KO knee strike to the face! Last Ride by Ishii isn't enough! Decapitation lariat, but IBUSHI KICKS OUT! Brainbuster by Ibushi, but Ishii stands right up. Knee strike by Ibushi only gets 1. They resume lighting each other up until Ibushi scores a KO knee strike to win at 16:15! Total bell-to-bell mayhem, great example of just leaving it all there in the ring, ****¾.
Winner: Kota Ibushi
Best of the Super Juniors 26 Finals:
June 5th 2019
Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi
Shingo is riding an undefeated streak since joining New Japan in 2018. Ospreay enters with a samurai sword and points right in Shingo's face, which rules. Some chain wrestling leads to a Shingo shoulder tackle, but Ospreay kips right up. The pace drastically quickens and they reach a stalemate to an ovation. Shingo fakes a clean break and chops the chest. Ospreay answers with a head scissors takedown and fakes a dive. Shingo takes a breather and Ospreay catches him with a proper dive. Shingo recovers with a fireman's carry slam onto the ring frame. Shingo scores a scary dive and gets his boots hung up on the rail in the landing! Shingo is moving gingerly but remains in control. Ospreay survives a pop up DVD and retaliates with a back handspring heel kick. Shotgun dropkick into the corner by Ospreay, followed by a running SSP. Back handspring senton by Ospreay and springboard clothesline for 2. Desperation lariat by Shingo buys them some time. Shingo flips Osprea over for a 450 bump, but Ospreay counters with a sunset flip. Shingo blocks Storm Breaker, Ospreay hits an enziguri and somersault cutter. Yakuza Kick by Ospreay, superkick through the legs to the face, and they trade many counters on the top rope before Shingo scores a super DVD for 2. A crazy sequence results in Shingo hitting Noshigami. Ospreay counters with a wild powerbomb for a great nearfall. Ospreay misses the Robinson Special and Shingo wheelbarrow suplexes him into the buckles! OSCUTTER ON THE RING FRAME! Shingo barely avoids a countout and Ospreay meets him with a missile dropkick, followed by a 630 splash to the back of the head! Shooting Star Press but Shingo kicks out! Robinson Special connects and Oscutter, but SHINGO KICKS OUT! Ospreay seems to be toying with Shingo, who answers with a brutal headbutt. They duke it out until Shingo nails a wild piledriver for an EXCELLENT nearfall. Pumping Bomber lariat by Shingo, crowd totally expected a pinfall but Ospreay kicks out. Ospreay counters with a Poison Rana, Shingo takes a bad head bump. They trade potential KO blows and Ospreay hits a Spanish Fly for 2! Hidden Blade by Ospreay, and top rope OSCUTTER! Ospreay hits Storm Breaker to seal the deal and win at 33:36! Outstanding war of survival, elevated by a red hot crowd and high stakes, ****½.
Winner and Best of Super Juniors Champion: Will Ospreay
G1 Climax 29 A - Block Tournament Match:
G1 Climax - Night 7 - July 20th 2019
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay
Some friendly chain wrestling leads to a big monkey flip by Ospreay, and he clears the ring. Ospreay sits on the ropes to dare Okada back in, takes advantage of his higher ground, but Okada responds with a dropkick off on the top rope. Ospreay is in trouble as Okada picks apart his bandaged shoulder and neck. Ospreay comes back with a vertical suplex and back handspring kick. Ospreay gets 2 with a springboard forearm. Ospreay slips just enough for Okada to nail his patented neckbreaker. Okada builds enough steam for the Rainmaker pose, but Ospreay counters everything he's got. Okada blocks the running SSP and nails a great dropkick. Tombstone Piledriver connects, but Ospreay reverses Rainmaker into a roll-up. Robinson Special by Ospreay but the Oscutter is blocked via dropkick to the floor. They battle for position on the apron and floor until Ospreay nails an OSCUTTER OFF THE RAIL! Coast to coast dropkick by Ospreay and second Oscutter, but OKADA KICKS OUT! A third Oscutter is reversed into a German suplex! Rainmaker is reversed into a Spanish Fly! Shooting Star Press, but OKADA KICKS OUT AT THE LAST SECOND! Storm Breaker and the Tombstone are countered, and Ospreay knees the face to steal the Tombstone! Roundhouse hook kick by Ospreay, but Rainmaker out of nowhere! Second Rainmaker is good, but a third is blocked, but Okada spins around for the third and fourth Rainmakers to win at 21:55! Ah man, I wanted Ospreay to win so badly! The complexity and creativity of the counters and reversals were off the charts, this rocked, ****¾.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada
G1 Climax 29 Finals:
August 12th 2019
Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White (with Bullet Club)
The entire Bullet Club is at ringside and referee Red Shoes is having none of it and tosses them before the bell. Gedo pleads to stay and is granted permission. They lock up, Ibushi pats the chest on a clean break, and Gedo grabs the ankles and is immediately ejected! Crowd LOVES this. Ibushi capitalizes with a flurry. Unfortunately, White wraps Ibushi's leg around the ring post to reaggravate an injury. White relentlessly attacks the bad knee, so I hope Ibushi is willing to sell this when he makes his comeback. Suplex into the buckles gets 2 for White. Ibushi has his rana countered, but tries again, and checks his knee. Powerslam by Ibushi and one legged moonsault gets 2. Ibushi hits one standing moonsault, but misses a second and lands on his knees. A delighted White hits a DDT and hyperextends the knee over his shoulder. Ibushi absorbs a brainbuster and hits a double stomp to the spine. Dead lift German by White and superplex. Ibushi desperately counters into a Bastard Driver! They slug it out until White nails a lariat for 1, so White nails a Uranage and Kiwi Crusher, but IBUSHI KICKS OUT! A series of counters leads to Ibushi's sleeper suplex. White throws Ibushi into Red Shoes and hits a low blow. A gleeful Gedo returns to massive booing. Gedo holds Ibushi's leg down for chair shots to the knee. Gedo revives Red Shoes while White locks on the Tanahashi Tap Out. Ibushi gets the ropes and blocks a sleeper suplex with a Pele kick. Lawn dart by Ibushi and dead lift German off the second rope! White slaps the face, which sends Ibushi into his serial killer trance. White gets knocked down and improvises with a dragon screw. Lariat by Ibushi and sitout powerbomb only gets 2. White collapses, Ibushi catches a sneaky Gedo with a superkick, White nails the sleeper suplex only for Ibushi to pop up for Bom a Ye! Ibushi is a new man and sprints into a second Bom a Ye for a great nearfall. White attacks the bad knee to stay alive but eats a roundhouse kick. Desperation Blade Runner by White, who is too hurt for a quick cover, so he pulls Ibushi up for a brainbuster, but Ibushi blocks and hits a straightjacket German! White answers with a two sleeper suplexes and a Brainbuster. Ibushi blocks Blade Runner and hits Kamigoye for a devastating nearfall. A final Kamigoye ends it at 31:03! Terrific come-from-behind win for Ibushi, ****¼.
Winner: Kota Ibushi
Final Thoughts: For 10 dollars, this was a great cliff notes of the past four years of New Japan, hand-selected so you don't have to look all over New Japan World. I assume there will be more volumes of this series that will focus on tag teams and junior heavyweights, as there was not a ton of variety here, mainly epic heavyweight showdowns. Still, the worst match here was four stars and one that many others regard as a five star (or six star, if you ask Meltzer) affair, so you may like this more than I did. I heavily recommend that you check this out at Fite.TV.
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