By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “G1 Climax Tournament Day 19”
August 12, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan at Budokan Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World and FITE.TV
Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton were the English broadcast team…
1. Clark Connors and Karl Fredericks vs. Ren Narita and Yota Tsuji. Late in the match, Connors fought to role Tsuji into a Boston Crab, but Tsuji reached up and hit him with a palm strike. Connors came back with a spear and then applied a high angle Boston Crab and then sat down into a traditional version. Tsuji crawled toward the ropes, but Connors dragged him back to the middle of the ring twice. Tsuji powered up a third time, but he fell back down and tapped out.
Clark Connors and Karl Fredericks beat Ren Narita and Yota Tsuji..
After the match, some of the Japanese dojo young lions got in the face of Connors and Fredericks. Kelly said American promoters would be wise to get Connors and Fredericks on their cards…
Powell’s POV: The LA Dojo wins the bragging rights match. I like the post match pull apart to create further tension between the dojos. And Kelly is right about recommending Connors and Fredericks for U.S. independent shows, but I don’t think they’ll have a problem being booked. They are both impressive.
2. Jushin Liger, Jeff Cobb, and Tiger Mask vs. Taichi (w/Miko Abe), Lance Archer, and Yoshinobu Kamemaru. Taichi made an early play for Liger’s mask. Liger rallied quickly and set up for a surfboard, but Archer hit him with a boot to the face. Tiger Mask checked in an Taichi also made a play for his mask. Tiger Mask performed a tiger bomb on Taichi and then tagged in Cobb for the first time. Archer also tagged in and the big men battled.
Archer knocked Cobb down with a big boot. Archer performed an Old School style rope walk and did a moonsault off the middle of the top rope onto Cobb. Archer went for the EBD Claw, but Cobb blocked it. Archer put Cobb down with a Derailer and then tagged in Kanemaru. Cobb caught Kanemaru leaping off the ropes and then suplexed him. Kanemaru came back momentarily, but Cobb simply powered him up and hit the Tour of the Islands and pinned him clean…
Jushin Liger, Jeff Cobb, and Tiger Mask beat Taichi, Lance Archer, and Yoshinobu Kamemaru..
Powell’s POV: It was a match. It was nice to see Cobb end the tournament with a win and it’s always a treat to see Liger as he winds down his career.
3. Will Ospreay, Sho, and Yoh vs. Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi (w/Pieter). The soon to be retiring Tiger Hattori was the referee for the match. Ospreay had his back and neck taped once again. Ospreay, Sho, and Yoh cleared their opponents to ringside and set up for a big dive, but they were pulled to ringside by the Bullet Club trio. Later, Sho and Yoh to performed flip dives onto Ishimori and Owens, then Ospreay hit a Storm Breaker on Takahashi and pinned him…
Will Ospreay, Sho, and Yoh vs. Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi.
Powell’s POV: A fairly brief match (thought I’m not complaining after watching Day 18 and SummerSlam earlier in the day. Or I guess technically it was yesterday. Wait, what day is it again? Anyway, this was a quick and tame six-man tag match considering the wrestlers involved.
Kelly noted after the match that Tama Tonga tweeted about recruiting a high caliber athlete into Bullet Club. The broadcast team assumed it was a junior heavyweight…
4. Juice Robinson and Toa Henare vs. Jon Moxley and Shota Umino. Hattori stuck around to referee this match. Moxley hit Robinson with a running knee and then went right at Henare as well. In the end, Henare performed the Toa Bottom on Umino and pinned him.
Juice Robinson and Toa Henare beat Jon Moxley and Shota Umino.
After the match, Moxley stood at ringside and glared at Robinson, who motioned for him to enter the ring. Moxley did so and then went face to face with Robinson while holding up the IWGP U.S. Championship belt. Moxley hit Robinson with the belt, then took out Henare with a Death Rider. Moxley pulled out a table at ringside and looked into the camera and said Robinson looked lost in a 1990s jazzercise class so he was going to toughen him up. Moxley put Robinson through a table with a uranage. Moxley entered the ring and bowed to all four sides, then grabbed Umino and brought him to the back…
Powell’s POV: Another brief match only this time with a good post match angle. Moxley attacking Robinson after losing to him the night before in the final night of block play was logical and adds to the build to their eventual rematch for the IWGP U.S. Title.
5. Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma, and Togi Makabe vs. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Evil, Sanada, and Bushi. The broadcast team recalled Takagi stating that he is now a permanent member of the heavyweight division. Sanada tied up Yano in the Paradise Lock and left him at ringside. Goto eventually rolled him out of it. There was a good exchange between Goto and Takagi fo follow up on Takagi beating Goto the night before. In the end, Sanada performed a Muta moonsault onto Honma and pinned him while everyone else was fighting at ringside.
After the match, Romero said Sanada could be in line for an IWGP Heavyweight Title shot against Kazuchika Okada. Kelly said Sanada is closer to the title than Naito is. Kelly added that Evil holds a win over Kota Ibushi, so Ibushi would have to put the rights certificate on the line against him if Ibushi wins the G1 tournament. Kelly said everything seemed fine with the LIJ members, but pondered whether it would stay that way. The LIJ members came together and this time Sanada was the first man to put his fist up. Naito was second and then the others followed suit, including Evil at the end…
Powell’s POV: The post match angle was intriguing with Sanada being the first to put his fist up. LIJ is such a loaded faction (minus Bushi) and it will be interesting to see if they are still together by this time next year.
6. Kenta, Tomohiro Ishii, and Yoshi-Hashi vs. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Bad Luck Fale (w/Jado). Kelly mentioned the ladder match that the GOD duo of Tonga and Loa had with the Briscoes in Ring of Honor and said it had the world talking. Late in the match, Ishii took some punishment from the Bullet Club trio and finally made it to his corner for a tag, but Kenta dropped off the apron and watched from the floor. The match continued with Yoshi-Hashi continuing to fight with Ishii. When Ishii went on an offensive roll, Kenta entered the ring and hit Ishii with a Psycho Knee and then a GTS. Tonga covered Ishii and pinned him while looking up at Kenta and smiling.
After the match, the Bullet Club members roughed up Yoshi-Hashi. The LA Dojo wrestlers entered the ring and were quickly cleared while Kelly pointed out that they were a big part of Kenta’s training. Kenta took the mic and was about to speak when Katsuyori Shibata entered the ring and punched Kenta and then delivered a big kick in the corner. Shibata fought off the Bullet Club members and delivered a running dropkick on the seated Kenta, then glared at him. Shibata put Kenta in a sleeper, then ran the ropes, but Jado hit him from behind with a kendo stick. Kenta put Shibata in a sleeper hold and then Jado hit him with the kendo stick while Kelly pointed out that Shibata is no longer an active competitor.
Kenta threw a kick at Shibata, then Gado hit him with the kendo stick. Kenta sat down on Shibata while using Shibata’s own pose while the Bullet Club members all posed around him. Kenta held up the too sweet hand gesture. Kelly assumed that Kenta was the Bullet Club signee that Tama Tonga referred to. Kelly spoke about how Shibata paved the way for the “ungrateful son of a bitch” to be in the tournament. Kenta and his new Bullet Club stable mates went to the entrance area where Kenta held up the too sweet sign before going backstage.
Shibata rolled to ringside and the fans cheered loudly for him. Shibata had welts on his back and arms from the kendo stick, and he slammed his fists on the ring apron before walking to the back…
Powell’s POV: A strong angle. The story was that Shibata helped get Kenta in the G1 tournament and helped train him at the LA Dojo, so for Kenta to turn on him is a big deal. Kenta also turned on Tomohiro Ishii in the process, so that’s a dance partner for her. I thought early in the tournament that they were telling a story of Kenta working hard to win people over, but this is much better, especially since most of the fans were still rejecting him. Kelly was really good here at explaining the situation and expressed strong emotion while acting outraged by Kenta’s actions. On a side note, it’s fun to see how much Loa has come out of his shell. I thought he lacked charisma during his Impact run and even during the early on in GOD, but it appears it was simply a confidence issue, as he seems much more at home in the ring in playing to the crowd.
7. Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. Late in the match, Okada and Suzuki traded elbows in the middle of the ring. Suzuki put his hands behind his back and let Okada hit him with several elbows while saying, “More, Okada.” Suzuki fired back with an elbow that knocked Okada down. Okada went for a dropkick, but Suzuki avoided it and connected with a kick. Suzuki applied a rear naked choke. Tanahashi ran in and performed a sling blade clothesline on Suzuki and then hit another on Sabre. Tanahashi took out Sabre on the floor. In the ring, Suzuki took a dropkick and then a back drop a short time later. Suzuki ended up applying a rear naked choke again. Tanahashi rushed to returned to the ring, but Sabre caught him in a guillotine choke. Suzuki released the hold and then hit a Gotch style piledriver and scored the clean pin over Okada.
Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
After the match, Suzuki took the mic and told Okada that he wants his IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt. Suzuki told him to hand it over to him. Okada was still lying on the floor. Suzuki said Okada can’t escape from him. Okada was helped to the back. Suzuki said they weren’t playing hide and seek, and he is the king of pro wrestling…
Powell’s POV: Okada wasn’t in the G1, but he appears to be getting the first post G1 shot at Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. I don’t see Suzuki as a real threat to take the title, but Suzuki is always fun and it should be an entertaining match.
A video package set up the main event and recapped how each man made it to the tournament finals…
Jay White and Gedo made their entrance, then White had the rest of Bullet Club, including new member Kenta, come out with him. The Bullet Club members all did their hand thing in the corner, then White had them all drop off the apron to ringside. Referee Red Shoes Unno ejected the Bullet Club members. Gedo protested and was allowed to stay, but the rest of the faction was sent backstage…
8. Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White in the G1 Tournament Final. The match had no time limit and had to have a winner. Once the referee returned from ejecting the Bullet Club members, he called for the bell to start the match. White took a powder to ringside and spoke with Gedo, then called for Ibushi to come and get him. White returned to the ring. Gedo reached in and grabbed White’s leg early. Red Shoes Unno spotted him and ejected Gedo from ringside. White protested at ringside. Ibushi went after him and brought him back to the ring and went on the offensive.
White caught Ibushi on the ropes and tripped him up, then wrapped Ibushi’s bad ankle around the ring post. White took Ibushi to ringside and wrapped the bad leg around the top of the guardrail. White threw Ibushi back inside the ring and wrapped the bad leg around the ring post again. White remained on the offensive and taunted Ibushi. White stood up and told Ibushi to the do the same. Ibushi got to his feet and threw some forearms. Ibushi went for a huracanrana, but White slammed him to the mat and said, “No, no, no.”
Ibushi eventually caught White with a huracanrana. Ibushi continued to sell the ankle, but performed a powerslam and then followed up with a single leg moonsault from the middle rope. Ibushi held his ankle in pain. Ibushi threw some kicks and performed a standing moonsault. Ibushi went for another standing moonsault, but White moved and Ibushi landed with his knees on the mat. White hit a DDT, the went back to work on the ankle and performed a neckbreaker. Ibushi kicked White away.
Ibushi got to his feet. When White dove at his legs, Ibushi leapt into the air and came down with a double stomp to White’s back. The got to their feet and White stomped the bad ankle. White performed a German suplex. They fought on the ropes and White executed a superplex. White went for a Kiwi Crusher, but Ibushi countered into a package style tombstone piledriver. The wrestlers got to their knees and traded elbows. Ibushi got the better of it, but White caught him with a shot to the gut and then it a series of strikes. Ibushi fired up only to have White put him down with a uranage.
White hit a Kiwi Crusher for a good near fall with Ibushi kicking out at the last moment. White set up for a Blade Runner, but Ibushi avoided it. They fought for position and Ibushi hit a sleeper suplex. Ibushi picked up White for a lawn dart, but White slipped away and then shoved Ibushi into the referee. REF BUMP!!! White low blowed Ibushi. A smiling Gedo walked to ringside and entered the ring with a chair while White chop blocked Ibushi’s bad leg. Gedo held Ibushi’s leg while White slammed a chair over it. White performed a dragon screw leg whip and then applied a reverse figure four. Gedo rolled the referee back inside the ring. Ibushi teased tapping, but crawled and reached to the bottom rope to break the hold.
Ibushi grabbed his bad ankle at the 20:00 mark. Romero noted that Gedo was hiding at ringside so that the referee couldn’t see him. White went for a sleeper suplex, but Ibushi avoided it and hit White with a Pele Kick. Ibushi let out a primal scream and then picked up White and lawn darted him into a corner of the ring. White went under the bottom rope. Ibushi stood on the middle rope and performed a deadlift German suplex for a near fall. Ibushi set up for a Last Ride powerbomb, but White punched at his bad ankle. With both men on their feet, White blasted Ibushi with a palm strike. Ibushi looked pissed, then fired back with a series of slaps and a kick that knocked White into the corner. Ibushi threw more strikes at White until the referee pulled him away.
Ibushi motioned for White to bring it. White slapped Ibushi’s chest, but Ibushi responded a fraction of a second later with a slap that knocked White down. Ibushi set up for a lariat, but White caught him with a dragon screw leg whip. White got Ibushi to his feet, but Ibushi knocked him down with a lariat. Ibushi hit a Last Ride powerbomb for a near fall at the 25:00 mark. Kelly reminded viewers that there was no time limit in the tournament final.
Ibushi set up for a bomaye knee, but White dropped to the mat to avoid it. White laid on his back and laughed at Ibushi and motioned for him to come toward him. White grabbed the referee while Gedo ran in and tried to low blow Ibushi, who ducked it and hit Gedo with a kick. White went for a suplex, but Ibushi rolled onto his feet and then performed a running dropkick. Romero got up and pulled Gedo to ringside.
Ibushi followed up with a bomaye knee for a good near fall. A short time later, White avoided a kamigoye attempt hit a Blade Runner, but he was too weary to make the count. Once White recovered, he set up for a cross-arm brainbuster, but Ibushi headbutted White and suplexed him. White came right back with a pair of sleeper suplexes. White hit a brainbuster and set up for a Blade Runner, but Ibushi blasted him with a knee to the head. White came right back with a Blade Runner attempt, but Ibushi drilled White with two jumping knees and then hit kamigoye and covered him and counted with the ref, but Whit kicked out again. Ibushi looked shocked. Ibushi lowered his kneepad and then hit White with another kamigoye and the referee counted 1-2-3.
Kota Ibushi defeated Jay White to win the G1 Climax 29 Tournament.
While both men were lying on the mat, Romero taunted Gedo about Ibushi winning. “No, don’t lie to me,” Gedo said. White was helped to the back. Ibushi used the referee to pull himself up and limped on his bad ankle. NJPW President Harold Meij entered the ring and presented Ibushi with the trophy along with a ceremonial flag.
Once Ibushi was alone in the ring, he took the house mic and said the G1 is the most important month of his entire life. Ibushi said he could not be any happier. Ibushi said that everybody will tear up the pro wrestling world as one. He said a new era of New Japan starts today. Ibushi thanked the fans and said he would see them at next year’s G1 tournament. Ibushi went to ringside and shook hands with the Japanese broadcast team. Ibushi was ushered back to the ring where he picked up the trophy and flag and then confetti fell onto him. Ibushi returned to the back with the trophy and the flag while Kelly wrapped up the English broadcast…
Powell’s POV: A terrific match and a crowd pleasing finish to a great 19-day tournament. There was a lot of fan grumbling about White going to the finals, but he was a great choice, as it stage for an Ibushi win that everyone could be happy with. If Naito had gone to the finals to face Ibushi then it’s likely that the two of them would have split fan support. And it wasn’t like it felt like a slam dunk that Ibushi would beat White, as there were some very believable moments when it looked like White was on the verge of going over. That said, it’s hard to have a 19-day tournament conclude with the most hated man in the tournament going over.
It was a fun night and an excellent tournament final with a satisfying finish. The Kenta and Shibata angle was great, and I also enjoyed the LIJ moment and Jon Moxley attacking Juice Robinson. This is the first year that I’ve covered every tournament match from start to finish. I didn’t even set out to do that initially as my goal was to catch the bigger matches, but I enjoyed the tournament matches so much that I just kept going. It was a really fun experience and if future tournaments look as good as this one on paper then I’m sure I’ll do it again. I’m looking forward to talking about the G1 and WWE SummerSlam when Will Pruett and I co-host ProWrestling.net Live today at 3CT/4ET at PWAudio.net.