The HTCWrestling Staff Answers: NJPW G1 Climax 28 Edition!
After a great month of wrestling, the members of the HTCWrestling staff that watched all of the G1 bring you there thoughts on the tournament overall!
Who was the MVP of the G1?
Justin C: I have to go with Tomohiro Ishii. Ishii is the badass that everyone loves. There is a reason they call him the Pitbull. Ishii had great matches with pretty much everyone in this tournament. His match with Sanada the last night of B Block was tremendous. Those two were out of the running to win and they went out and had a phenomenal match. With Ishii beating Omega, I fully expect him to have a match with Omega at either Kings of Pro Wrestling or the next Long Beach show. Ishii probably won’t ever win the Title, but he will always have the support of the fans if he continues to put out performances like he had this G1 and the last G1.
The Chairman: The MVP is my mind is Hiroshi Tanahashi. Even if Ace would’ve came up short against Kota Ibushi, Tanahashi would’ve still been my MVP choice. He managed to rack up fifteen points in A Block setting a new record only losing to Jay White and drawing with Kazuchika Okada.
Trey: Tomohiro Ishii was the standout performer for me, as I had him having a 4 star match with everyone except Yano and Tonga. I also had him having 5 star matches with Ibushi, and Omega which will probably finish in the top 10 matches of the year. The Stone Pitbull needs a belt around his waist, and soon.
What are your Top 3 matches?
Justin C: It was REALLY tough to come up with a Top 3 list. You could make an argument for about ten matches overall and I wouldn’t disagree with it. For example, I know some people have Omega/Ibushi as their top match. But it didn’t make my Top 3. Here are mine: 1. Tomohiro Ishii vs Kenny Omega 2. Okada vs Tanahashi 3. Omega vs Naito.
The Chairman: Top three matches for the G1 Climax 2018 for me personally were the final match between Tanahashi vs Ibushi, Ibushi vs Omega, and Tanahashi vs Okada. It is a cop out to pick the matches with the most implications? Maybe? But these matches held my interest the most because of what was on the line and these four men are four of the top in ring performers in the world.
Trey: Omega/Ibushi, Ibushi/Ishii, Okada/Tanahashi
What is one match not in your Top 3 that you liked but is flying under the radar?
Justin C: I’m going all the way back to night one of the A block. I really liked the Evil vs Michael Elgin match. It was a hard hitting match that you would expect from those two. I thought it was what EVIL/Suzuki should have been. Elgin quietly had a good tournament and it started off well with this match.
The Chairman: My favorite match that’s under the radar was Kota Ibushi vs Sanada. I’m a little surprised it wasn’t talked about more after it happened, but it was also featured on the same night as some other big B Block matches. It was also considered an upset since Sanada pulled off the victory. This was the point in the tournament where I thought Sanada might’ve been a threat to make B Block interesting.
Trey: I thought Ibushi and Sanada had a great main event that kind of just slipped through the cracks due to all the other great matches taking place. Lots of athleticism and great drama towards the end.
What was your biggest surprise of the G1?
Justin C: You know what? I was quietly impressed with Yoshi-Hashi’s G1. When I saw that he was in it again my initial reaction was that I would hate all his matches. But he had good matches with Okada, Tanahashi, White and Page. Nothing that would blow you away. But I went in fully expecting to be bored by his matches but that did not happen.
The Chairman: The biggest surprise in G1 Climax 28 was Jay White. I wasn’t expecting Switchblade to rack up twelve points in his first ever G1 Climax (including wins over Tanahashi and Okada), but he did it. White was looking like the A Block favorite with his hot start, but unfortunately for White he suffered a few losses which was enough to do him in when Tanahashi racked up an impressive fifteen points to win A Block.
Trey: I was surprised at Tanahashi winning it all. It seemed most predictions had Okada, Naito, or Ibushi winning it all, but in the end the Ace prevailed. I’ll be happy to see Tanahashi it what could be his final Dome main event, and he proved this tournament that he still is at the top of his game when it matters most.
What was the biggest disappointment of the G1?
Justin C: Leading up to the G1 I heard a bunch of people talking about how Hangman Page would be the breakout star of the tournament. But I did not come away impressed at all. Sure he got a big win over Minoru Suzuki, but I didn’t really think he blew anyone away in any of his matches. I honestly thought his best match was against Jay White.
The Chairman: Biggest disappointment in my opinion was Minoru Suzuki. I love Suzuki, but something just felt off with his matches. Like they should’ve felt more important then what they were? It’s hard to explain it. Maybe it’s because he was overshadowed in the A Block by Tanahashi, Okada, and Switchblade? Ten points is definitely a respectable showing, I guess I would’ve expected him though to maybe take a win from either Tanahashi or Okada?
Trey: Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale. The amount of interference just made their matches disappointing as a whole.
Did you enjoy this year’s or last year’s G1 more?
Justin C: I have to give the edge to last year’s G1. Part of it of course being my Naito fandom. But last year’s blocks felt more spread out when it came to big matches. The A Block this year had good wrestlers but lacked the compelling stories, and you knew it would come down to Tanahashi and Okada on the last day. So the drama wasn’t really there. Last year it was there for both blocks all throughout the G1.
The Chairman: I personally enjoyed the G1 Climax last year more compared to this year. I don’t know if it was because last year was the first time I ever watched the G1 Climax so it was all new to me or what. Last year we had Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito in the finals where both men were desperate for another shot at Okada and his long reign as IWGP Heavyweight Champion so we had a major compelling story. I personally thought this years A Block was just lacking. I don’t know if it was because there was no champion in the block or just the majority of my NJPW favorites were in the B Block.
Should things remain the same now up to Wrestle Kingdom, we’ll be seeing Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi. This is a very interesting match to me because it’s one I personally haven’t seen yet and I know it’s been a few years since they’ve faced off one on one.
Trey: Both years were just tremendous, but I would give the edge to last year for being better top to bottom. I thought this year had better top end matches (I had four 5 star matches this year, last year I had 2). That said, when one out of every five matches ended in DQ in both blocks, that brought it down from last year. In any case, both years were next level, and I am now going to suffer from G1 withdrawal.
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