By Anish Vishwakoti, Prowrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
Powell’s Non-Spoiler Recommendations I’ll turn it over to Anishi in a moment, but, yes, you must see the Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi tournament final. It’s incredible. The six-man tag with Rey Mysterio is fun, but I also recommend checking out Hangman Page and Cody vs. David Finlay and Juice Robinson, and The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll vs. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Taiji Ishimori, and the Kenny Omega, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Jay White, Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii for storyline developments more than match quality.
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 19”
August 12, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall
Broadcast live on New Japan World
The finale of the 2018 G1 Climax tournament is set to crown a challenger for the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 13 on January 4. The tournament finals feature Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi. The show also includes a number of showcase tag matches with NJPW’s best talent, and the returning guest, Rey Mysterio.
The show started off with a promo showing all of the highlights from this year’s G1 Climax. The most important moments from each day were spotlighted and the video highlighted Tanahashi and Ibushi’s journey to the top. There was a lot of promotion using the G1 tagline “Be a Survivor”…
1. Tomoaki Honma, Michael Elgin, and Togi Makabe vs Ayato Yoshida, Shota Umino, and Yuji Nagata. The match started with all six men brawling in the ring. Nagata and company isolated Honma and started attacking him in the corner, three against one. Honma was left to fend for himself against Umino while Nagata and Yoshida fought with Elgin and Makabe on the outside. Eventually, Honma managed to tag in Makabe, who took control of Umino and used his strength to neutralize the young lion.
Later, in a break in the action, Nagata managed to tag in Yoshida who used his freshness to knock down Makabe. At this point all six men entered the ring and brawled, leaving Yoshida and Makabe alone in the ring in the end to face off. Makabe got close to a pin with a big clothesline. When that wasn’t enough he hit a diving foot stomp to pick up the victory…
Tomoaki Honma, Michael Elgin and Togi Makabe defeated Yuji Nagata, Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida.
Anish’s Take: As by the numbers as an opening match as could be. Nothing special here, but the crowd were certainly into Honma being back. Very quick and to the point, I guess it got the crowd warmed up for the rest of the show.
2. Toa Henare vs Bad Luck Fale. As soon as Fale entered the ring he was rushed by Henare who caught him off guard and overwhelmed him with speed and knocked him to the corner. Henare whacked Fale with a headbutt and immediately headed to the top rope where he hit a flying shoulder block, taking Fale down. Henare attempted to lift Fale up in a Fireman’s carry but was reversed and hit with a massive Clothesline. Fale quickly hit Henare with a chokeslam and a Bad Luck Fall (Razor’s Edge) to get the pin with one hand…
Bad Luck Fale defeated Toa Henare.
Anish’s Take: This was essentially a squash match. Henare looked for a quick second like he might have been able to mount some offense, but Fale put a very sudden end to that.
3. YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto vs Taichi and Takashi Iizuka. While HASHI and Goto were making their way to the ring, Iizuka jumped them from behind with a chair and the two Suzuki-Gun members got the match under way. Later, Taichi then tagged in Iizuka, who tried to bite HASHI with his face mask still on. Taichi stopped him and removed it so that he could then effectively bit HASHI. Iizuka then bit HASHI’s shoulder and targeted the back of his neck where HASHI had tape on.
The referee tried to get Iizuka to stop biting, so he stomped on HASHI as a distraction and bit Goto who was on the apron. Iizuka then attempted to Irish Whip HASHI, but was hit with a blockbuster for his efforts and was forced to face Goto who got the tag. Goto quickly took Iizuka down and Suplexed Taichi onto him to maintain control.
Goto moved quickly, taking advantage of a stunned Iizuka to hit him with a Back Suplex. He then brawled with Iizuka who used his biting to gain an advantage and tag in Taichi. Goto and Taichi exchanged strikes and Suplexes in the ring before Goto tagged in HASHI, who hit Taichi with a rope hung running knee. The two exchanged kicks and chops in the ring, with HASHI getting the better of the exchange. Iizuka tried to equalize, but Goto helped HASHI out, keeping it just Taichi and HASHI in the ring. Taichi used the chaos to hit HASHI with a high kick and a powerbomb to get the pin as Goto and Iizuka brawled on the outside.
Taichi and Takashi Iizuka defeated YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto.
Taichi used his cane to wail on the two CHAOS members after the match, and disrespected Goto’s NEVER Openweight Championship as he left ringside, possibly setting up a match between the two…
Anish’s Take: Another rather slow-paced match. There wasn’t anything entirely special about this, aside from Iizuka’s entertaining biting antics. Taichi and Iizuka managed to look cruel and crafty at least, using every dirty trick to gain an advantage over the two baby faces.
4. David Finlay and Juice Robinson vs. Hangman Page and Cody. Finlay and Page started the match in the ring, locking up and trying to get control of the other’s back. They exchanged hip tosses and stood toe for toe, to applause from the audience. Page tagged in Cody, who was left to meet Juice in the ring. The two taunted each other, with Cody posing and doing pushups, while Juice danced in the ring.
Later, Cody got Finlay up to the top rope to try for a superplex, but Finlay reversed and hit a corkscrew elbow and tagged in Juice. Cody tagged in Page and he and Juice battled in the ring. Juice initial control and getting Page to the ground. Page and Cody tried to double team Juice but were countered and Juice hit them both in the corner with a cannonball.
All four men then battled in the ring, with Cody and Page coming out on top, Page hit a standing shooting star press but it was only enough for a two count. Cody then used a series of Dusty style punches to wear down Juice, however Finlay got in the ring to break his momentum. Page hopped in to counter and equalized it, leaving Cody and Juice to exchange Dusty Rhodes style punches, a real sight with one of Dusty’s students and his son. Juice attempted Pulp Friction, but Cody hit him with a surprise Vertebreaker and got the three count victory.
Cody and Adam Page defeated Juice Robinson and David Finlay.
After the match, Cody grabbed the mic and stated that he doesn’t believe that Juice has improved. He said that Robinson was doing a ‘bad impression of Kairi Sane.’ The crowd ‘ooohed’ for this and Cody claimed that he would be the next IWGP United States Champion. As Cody left, he spotted a small child in the audience that Juice had gifted his sunglasses to earlier. Cody stole his glasses in a dastardly heel move.
Anish’s Take: This was the first really good match of the evening. The four men had very good chemistry together, and their timing helped put together quite a good match. The crowd was invested in all of the men, especially Juice and Cody. This was an effective way to set up a future U.S. Title match.
Introductions for the next match took place. Tanga Loa grabbed the mic when his team were in the ring and introduced Tama Tonga, Ishimori, and himself. He labeled themselves the Bullet Club. He said that their opponents were making their farewell tour and soon to be former trios champions. He feigned like he forgot their name and asked the ring announcer for help.
Loa continued to taunt the Bucks and Scurll, acting like he had no idea who they were. Even when they were in the ring, Loa once again called them the soon to be former champions. He dared them to put the titles on the line tonight. Matt got on the mic and introduced himself and his partners as the ‘Bullet Club Elite.’ He called themselves the best in the world and asked the crowd if they wanted this to see a title match.
Matt asked the new president of NJPW Harold Meij, who was ringside, to make this a title match. This added a really nice touch as Harold signed some paperwork to make it a NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Title match…
5. Marty Scurll and “The Young Bucks” Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Taiji Ishimori, Tanga Loa, and Tama Tonga for the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles. Matt and Tonga started the match in the ring, striking each other however it quickly resulted in all six men going at it and fighting on the outside. They six men used the guard rail and the ring apron to inflict damage on each other. The Bucks dived in and out of the ring to take all three of their opponents out with dives.
Later, the Bucks attempted More Bang for Your Buck, but Tonga reversed it and forced Nick to hit Matt by accident. Matt surprised Tonga with a superkick, leaving all three men on the floor. Scurll and Ishimori got the tag and went back and forth with chops and strikes. Ishimori dodged and hit an impressive Handspring Kick, before trapping Scurll on the rops and executing a rope hung German Suplex followed by a Seated Senton from the top rope.
Ishimori and Scurll then continued to go at it, with Ishimori attempting another Handspring move, but was caught with a Chicken Wing. The Bucks also caught Tonga and Loa in Sharpshooters, but none of them got a submission. The Elite isolated Ishimori and walloped him with a Buckle Bomb/Kick combo and a three man splash, however Ishimori kicked out to shock from the crowd. Scurll attempted a Superkick on Ishimori, not realizing that he made the tag to Tonga. All six men fought in the ring, resulting in everyone but Loa and Scurll on the ground. In the confusion, Tonga hit Scurll with a cutter and got the pin as the legal man.
Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, and Taiji Ishimori defeated Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, and Marty Scurll to win the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship.
After the match, the winners attacked The Elite and threw away their newly won titles at the feet of Harold Meij. They left the arena without the belts showing that they didn’t need the belts…
Anish’s Take: This match had a real sense of weight to it. We’ve been watching the ballad of the Bullet Club for over five years now and seeing this implosion come so quickly really seems important. The match was a good one, not in the usual way that Young Bucks matches are. They really seemed like they were fighting up hill and when Tonga got the pin it felt like the Elite had been robbed of their titles. It was a very solid way to continue the Bullet Club civil war, and a unique entry onto the night’s card. The surprise title win was a shock and more so was the way the titles were treated after the match was over.
6. BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL and Testuya Naito vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr, and Minoru Suzuki. TAKA Michinoku got on the mic and welcomed the crowd to ‘Zack Sabre Time”, he asked if anyone can beat Suzuki-Gun, he stated that ZSJ had the best submission moves in the game and was the one to beat Naito with the Zack Driver. He stated like always that ZSJ would make everyone ‘just tap out.’ Michinoku then ordered LIJ to ‘come on over here’ to the ring.
As soon as all eight men were in the ring, Suzuki-Gun jumped LIJ and starting brawling with them on the outside. Later, EVIL and ZSJ got into it in the ring, going back and forth with ZSJ attempting submissions and EVIL using his strength to damage ZSJ. EVIL was taken down by a smooth looking sweep from ZSJ and was forced to endure a series of kicks from the Brit. EVIL was then caught in a Kimura by ZSJ but managed to Suplex him to break it up. EVIL tagged in BUSHI, and ZSJ tagged in Kanemaru. The two battled in the ring with Suzuki-Gun jumping BUSHI to take control of the match.
BUSHI hit Kanemaru and Desperado with a double Hurricanrana, giving himself some space to tag in SANADA. While SANADA tried to fight Kanemaru, all of Suzuki-Gun entered the ring and lured him into a four on one battle. Naito broke up a pinning attempt but was quickly dragged out of the ring by Suzuki. SANADA and Kanemaru continued their fight in the ring, but once again all eight man entered the scene and caused chaos in the ring. Kanemaru attempted Poison Mist in the chaos but was caught in a Dragon Sleeper by SANADA, resulting in LIJ getting the victory via submission.
SANADA, BUSHI, EVIL, and Tetsuya Naito defeated Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Zack Sabre Jr.
Anish’s Take: Every big NJPW card seems to have some sort of war between LIJ and Suzuki-Gun, but for now I’m not complaining. The match was fun and showcased everyone’s skills. It seems odd that a vicious bout like this acted as some levity after the Bullet Club civil war match, but it did just that and got the crowd to enjoy the reckless violence between the eight wrestlers. A fun match and it got the job done, Naito and Suzuki especially still seem like they have a story to tell and I’m eager to see what these factions will do in the future.
7. Jay White, Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi. White and Owens started the match off in the ring. They took a little while feeling each other out and started by locking up and aiming to get control of each other’s backs. Owens and White hit each other with some hard chops and slaps, neither man backing down. Eventually, Owens hit a running dropkick and looked to gain control, but White tagged in Yano to take over, getting the crowd to cheer him on.
Takahashi also tagged in, he and Yano fought for control with Yano quickly trying to unhook the turnbuckle pads but was stopped by Omega and Owens. Takahashi hit Yano with a running Basement Dropkick and got him to the corner where Omega and Owens double teamed him, giving Owens control of the match. Bullet Club tagged in and out quickly, keeping Yano grounded and in pain.
White and Ishii jumped in the ring, but Bullet Club got a hold of all three of them, and with an assist by their ring girl Pieter, cinched in a three man groin stretch. Omega however realized they were getting distracted and asked Pieter to leave the ring, reminiscent of AJ Styles and Karl Anderson getting distracted by Maria Kanellis.
This allowed Ishii and Yano to jump Bullet Club, leaving Ishii and Omega to do battle in the ring, with Ishii absorbing all of Omega’s strikes. Owens then jumped in the ring, helping Omega hit the Kotaro Crusher and take Ishii down. All three members of Bullet Club attacked Ishii, but the Stone Pitbull was helped out by Yano and White, allowing them to out man Owens.
The six men all brawled to the outside, leaving only Ishii and Owens to wrestle in the ring. The two went back and forth with Owens hitting a huge Lariat to down Ishii, but it wasn’t enough for the three count. Owens attempted to hit a Piledriver but Ishii reversed it and landed a Lariat of his own, followed by a Brainbuster to pick up the pinfall victory.
Tomohiro Ishii, Jay White, and Toru Yano defeated Kenny Omega, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi.
After the match, Ishii handed Omega his IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and pointed to himself as if to say he wanted a shot. Omega motioned to the crowd who cheered, leading me to believe that Ishii will challenge Omega for the title in the near future…
Anish’s Take: A feally fun match with a lot to be entertained by. Yano looked to steal the laughs and the show, but Bullet Club held their own with the Pieter spot. Ishii definitely got a lot of the shine in the match, fending off all of the attacks of Bullet Club, he and Owens were the workhorses of the match. Not a bad way at all to set up a match between Ishii and Omega.
8. Rey Mysterio, KUSHIDA and Pro Wrestler Sengoku Enbu (Rysuke Taguchi) vs. SHO, YOH and Kazuchika Okada. In association with a video game that’s sponsoring the G1 Climax, Mysterio and KUSHIDA teamed with Taguchi dressed up as one of the characters in the game. The Japanese commentators acted like this was a completely new wrestler, although it is obviously Taguchi, much like when ACH and Ibushi dressed up as Tiger Mask W characters. Mysterio came out to a huge pop, the crowd are clearly excited for him here. Okada, SHO, and YOH entered to a big pop as well, the three men clearly having chemistry that’s visible as soon as they walk out.
Mysterio and Okada started the match in the ring, with the crowd screaming 619 at the top of their lungs. Okada acted a little heelish as they obviously want Mysterio to be cheered. He hit a quick Head-Scissors Takedown and a victory roll out of the ring to catch Okada off guard. The Rainmaker was clearly not used to Mysterio’s style, and almost gets hit with a 619.
Okada tagged in SHO and Mysterio tags in KUSHIDA. The two ran at and past each other, ducking Clotheslines and dropkicks until KUSHIDA hit a huracanrana and tagged in Mysterio to inflict some damage on SHO. KUSHIDA then continued to work on SHO, as the other four wrestled outside the ring. Okada even attempted to take Enbu’s mask off, possibly revealing the unknown wrestler underneath! The Rainmaker is getting booed heavily here, while YOH managed to tag in and take control of KUSHIDA in the ring. Roppongi 3K continually tagged in and out, double teaming KUSHIDA as they went. KUSHIDA eventually managed to hit a handspring elbow and got the tag to Enbu.
Enbu promptly entered the ring and executed a number of Taguchi’s signature hip attacks. A great tribute to the veteran wrestler (who was definitely not present at the event). Enbu attempted a slam on SHO, but had to settle for grabbing an Ankle Lock instead. When attempting another hip attack, SHO caught him with a German Suplex and quickly tagged in Okada.
An angry Okada stomped on Enbu, asking if he was really a Pro Wrestler, all to more boos from the crowd. Okada attempted a quick Rainmaker but Enbu reversed it into a pull back Hip-Attack and tagged in Mysterio. The Luchador hit Okada with a Senton and attempted a follow up Cross Body, but was met with a Tombstone attempt and then a Flapjack by Okada.
Okada tagged in YOH to continue to attack on Mysterio, but Mysterio fought back and hit YOH with a sharp kick. He attempted a 619 but SHO entered the ring and delivered a Backstabber to Mysterio. They went for the 3K cutter, but Mysterio hit them with a DDT and a pair of kicks to set up the 619. Okada jumped in to foil the 619 to absolutely deafening boos from the audience.Enbu and KUSHIDA took Okada out, leaving YOH and Mysterio to keep fighting. This time, Mysterio indeed hit the 619 and a Splash on YOH. The crowd went crazy and Mysterio picked up the victory for his team.
Rey Mysterio, KUSHIDA, and Pro Wrestler Sengoku Enbu defeated Kazuchika Okada, SHO, and YOH.
After the match, Mysterio went around the ring and greeted as many fans as possible in typical Mysterio style, it will be interesting to see what Mysterio does after this, whether it’s a WWE return or a longer run at NJPW…
Anish’s Take: An extremely well built match for something that could have been a simple throwaway showcase for Mysterio. The use of Okada as a heel actor continually blocking the 619 to build up to the final blow was very well done and allowed Mysterio to get the maximum catharsis from finally hitting his beloved finishing maneuver.
Before the finals, another promo hyping the match played. This time the promo went in to depth about Tanahashi and Ibushi’s run to the top of their blocks. Tanahashi was represented as a veteran who was out to prove that he is still at the top of his game and by showing all of the people he beat, including Okada, it highlighted that he could still go.
Ibushi was given a really flashy highlight reel, showing all of his most high flying maneuvers and showing how much he wants to win by highlighting his victory over Omega. Ring entrances for the main event took place. As Tanahasi entered the ring, the crowd was greeted with a surprise in the form of Katsuyori Shibata, who acted as Tanahashi’s corner man. There was a huge pop for Shibata. Omega was of course standing by Ibushi’s side in support his longtime friend and partner…
9. A Block winner Hiroshi Tanahashi (w/Katsuyori Shibata) vs B Block winner Kota Ibushi (w/Kenny Omega) in the G1 Climax Tournament Finale. The crowd applaud massively as the bell rings, the tension is palpable between these two supreme wrestlers. Tanahashi seemed to be getting the majority of the cheers, but there was definitely support for both.
The two tentatively moved around the ring, trying to figure out exactly how to move in. Ibushi and Tanahashi exchanged Wrist-Locks to start the match. Tanahashi seemed to get control first, taking Ibushi’s back and locking in his hooks to keep Ibushi grounded. They wrestled to the ropes and broke apart cleanly. They locked up and broke apart again, with the crowd eating up their every move, they didn’t rush this in the slightest.
Tanahashi grabbed a hold of Ibushi’s neck, grappling him to his knees and wrenching his head back. Ibushi attempted to bounce him off the ropes but Tanahashi held on. Tanahashi eventually found a moment to hit Ibushi with a Shoulder Block, but Ibushi jumped straight back up and responded in kind. Ibushi then attempted to whip the Ace between corners, but Tanahashi hit a Basement Dropkick to ground Ibushi. He followed up with a series of strikes to Ibushi’s knee. Tanahashi went for a Sharpshooter to follow up, but Ibushi struggled and forced Tanahashi near the ropes and broke out.
Ibushi tried to break Tanahashi’s momentum with forearms but they didn’t work initially, Tanahashi attempted to take him down again but Ibushi countered with a running Dropkick to get Tanahashi down. The two then went back and forth, with Ibush hitting a rapid Powerslam into a moonsault combo. This was barely enough for a two count and Ibushi moved on, attempting a German on the Ace. Tanahashi struggled out but was met with a Dropkick for his efforts.
Tanahashi rolled to the outside for a reprieve but was chased down by Ibushi who seemingly went for a Golden Triangle Moonsault to the outside but changed directing and hit Tanahashi with an apron Stomp instead. They then continued to fight in the ring, with Ibusi wearing down Tanahashi with kicks. Just as Ibushi attempted a third kick, Tanahashi reversed into a Dragon Screw and then a Corner Dropkick. None of this stopped Ibushi however, who reacted to the Dropkick with a stomp to Tanahashi’s back. The Ace was also relentless however, and he quickly rammed Ibushi with another Dropkick.
Tanahashi attempted a top rope move, but Ibushi blocked it and grabbed an Oklahoma clutch. Ibushi tried for a slam but both men fell due to fatigue. Tanahashi recovered first and hit Ibushi with a Basement Dropkick into the corner. Tanahashi allowed Ibushi to get up and challenge him to a striking exchange. The crowd roared with each strike and the two wrestlers shook off every blow by retaliating with a harder blow. Tanahashi eventually beat Ibushi into the ropes and rushed him but was caught in a jumping Package Piledriver. Ibushi transitioned to a cover, but only managed a two count.
Tanahashi recovered after a while by tripping Ibushi and hitting two grounded Dragon Screws. Tanahashi followed up with a Texas Cloverleaf, turning Ibushi over onto his back. Tanahashi stretched the Golden Star out, Ibushi looked close to tapping at times, but locked eyes with Omega on the outside and found the strength to get to the ropes. Ibushi attempted to recover, but Tanahashi hit an apron hung Dragon Screw to weaken Ibushi’s legs. Tanahashi then followed up by chasing Ibusi to the outside with a giant cross body block to the floor.
The count almost got Ibushi, with the Golden Star only making back into the ring at eighteen. Tanahashi tried to rush a weakened Ibushi but flew straight into a Frankensteiner that ripped him to the outside. Ibushi followed up with an Asai Moonsault and tossed Tanahashi back into the ring and hit a Dropkick for good measure. Ibushi wrestled Tanahashi up to the top rope, readying himself for a superplex. However, Tanahashi pushed him off and instead, Ibushi caught him with a Super Frankensteiner, resulting in a very close two count. Ibushi then lifted Tanahashi up and hit a Tiger Suplex. He then grabbed Tanahashi’s wrists, readying him for a Kami-Goye knee. Tanahashi reversed the knee into a pin attempt, but Ibushi rolled out and hit a running knee.
Ibushi then tried to end the match with a Golden Star Powerbomb, but Tanahashi popped out and slapped Ibushi. The two then stared each other down to massive ovation from the crowd and Ibushi unloaded hellish strikes onto Tanahashi. The Ace crumpled into the corner and Ibushi stomped on him, prompting the referee to drag him away. Tanahashi then rallied and started exchanging strikes with Ibushi, relentlessly mobbing forward even as Ibishi peppered him with slaps.
Tanahashi and Ibushi got into a hard-fought slapping match, that ended up with Ibushi rebounding off the ropes and hitting a massive Lariat. The two slowly crawled to their knees, locking eyes and striking each other with huge elbows. They fought to their feet and continued to fire elbows at each other. Tanahashi seemed to be hulking up with Ibushi just trying to survive, eventually the Ace found a burst of energy and hit a Slingblade to get the two count.
Tanahashi hit Ibushi with an arm trapped German Suplex, and immediately headed to the top rope. Tanahashi tried for a High Fly Flow, but Ibushi got the knees up. The two men try to get up before the other, but Ibushi got there first and rams Tanahashi’s head with a running knee. Ibushi hit an unbelievable Moonsault Knee Stomp and stays vertical for a second before collapsing on Tanahashi.
Ibushi picked up the Ace, throwing him like a Lawn Dart into the turnbuckle, and promptly collapsing. Ibushi then kicked Tanahashi to the corner and attempted a German from the second rope. He hit it, thrashing Tanahashi to the ground and following up with a Golden Star Powerbomb.
Ibushi covered Tanahashi. With a millisecond to go, Tanahashi kicked out much to the surprise of Ibushi, Omega, Shibata, the crowd, and myself. Tanahashi then got up and tried for a Slingblade, but Ibushi got him into an arm trapped German. Ibushi held the Suplex for the cover, but Tanahashi kicked out, got up and reversed a Kamigoye attempt into two Curtain Call Suplexes. Ibushi tried to fightback with kicks, but Tanahashi found a second win and hit another German.
The Ace then jumped up to the top rope and hit the High Fly Flow, once on a grounded Ibushi, and once on a standing Ibushi. Tanahashi didn’t go for the cover however and runs to the top rope as the crowd cheers him on for one more High Fly Flow. The Ace hit it on a lifeless Ibushi and laid on him to get the three count. Tanahashi has won his third G1 Climax, and he celebrated with Shibata holding him up on his shoulders while Omega consoled a fallen Ibushi, who was still in the ring out cold.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kota Ibushi to win the G1 Climax Tournament.
After the match, Ibushi was helped up by Tanahashi, but refused to shake hands. He stayed respectful, but quickly left the ring with Omega by his side. Tanahashi celebrated in the ring with the G1 trophy. He grabbed the mic and shouted that he had done it. The crowd chanted his name and the commentators declared that he is still the Ace of New Japan.
Tanahashi stated that this G1 was the very best of NJPW, and that he will see everyone at the Tokyo Dome. He put the mic down and feigned like he was leaving the ring, but the crowd cheered for him to come back and he did. He picked up the mic again and shouted for the Budokan. He asked for his music to be played and Tanahashi air guitared himself out, collapsing to the floor in fatigue.
The crowd continued to cheer him on and Tanahashi got back to his feet, apologized for stopping and continued to air guitar to celebrate his victory. He collapsed again, prompting the crowd to chant for him and pretended to break his guitar. He then asked for a new air guitar from the crowd and continued to celebrate Tanahashi style.
Tanahashi grabbed the mic again and continued to celebrate, stopping the crowd and saying sorry as he has something to do. He thanked the sponsors and prompted for the streamers to go off. The show ended with the picture of Tanahashi lifting the G1 trophy and waving the G1 flag around the ring.
Anish’s Take: This match was spectacular. Tanahashi and Ibushi have very different styles and they used their contrasting wrestling styles to create a really unique match. The story was of Ibushi falling into the trap of wrestling the match to Tanahashi’s tune rather than wrestling completely like himself.
Tanahashi and Ibushi really laid into each other, making the match extremely exciting to watch at parts. Ibushi is not done by any means, and clearly neither is The Ace. Both men put their heart into the match and Tanahashi especially seems to have become stronger than ever. I doubt this is the last encounter between the two, as they put on an amazing show to end the card. The whole night built up to Tanahashi vs. Ibushi and they made sure that the crowd and the audience got their worth.
The overall card felt a little different to other big NJPW shows, but not in a bad way. Some of the initial matches felt a little unnecessary, but the card seems to have been a starting place for a few feuds and a midpoint for some other ones. This was smart as the finale of the G1 Climax wasn’t really the culmination of a long-term story as much as it was a showcase of two amazing wrestlers in Tanahashi and Ibushi.
It will be interesting to see where the Bullet Club civil war goes form here, as all the different parts of Bullet Club seem to be in their own feuds. The Elite and OG BC seem to be battling for the trios belts, while Cody looks to be going for the U.S. Title, and of course Omega will be preoccupied with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
I had Ibushi winning the G1, so it will be interesting to see where NJPW goes here with Tanahashi having the belt, whether it will lead to an eventual feud with Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito, or if he will indeed challenge Omega at Wrestle Kingdom is to be seen. Tanahashi also lost to Jay White on his way to the G1 so he will have to defend his Wrestle Kingdom 13 spot against him. He also drew against Okada so that could lead to a match there as well.
I would definitely say watch the main event if you can only watch one of the matches, it was a great showcase of the best of Japanese talent in Tanahashi and Ibushi and a unique match that you won’t see anywhere else. If you have time, then the match between The Elite and OG BC is also worth a watch just for how raw and brutal it was. To contrast that, also check out the Mysterio match for how fun it was and just for how well built the 619 aspect of the match was. Overall, a solid show from NJPW, moving a lot of stories forward and providing some fantastic strong style action.