New Japan Pro-Wrestling: G1 Climax 27, Day 1 – Day 4 (Review)

Looking at a selection of matches from the first four days of the 27th annual G1 Climax tournament, including Kota Ibusi versus Tetsuya Naito…


Hiroshi Tanahashi
vs.
Zack Sabre Jr.
G1 Climax 27, Day 1
3half_star
(Winner via submission: Zack Sabre Jr.)

Kota Ibushi
vs.
Tetsuya Naito
G1 Climax 27, Day 1
5star
(Winner via pinfall: Tetsuya Naito)

Minoru Suzuki
vs.
Kenny Omega
G1 Climax, Day 2
4half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Kenny Omega)

Kota Ibushi
vs.
Zack Sabre Jr.
G1 Climax, Day 3
4star
(Winner via pinfall: Kota Ibushi)

YOSHI-HASHI
vs.
Tetsuya Naito
G1 Climax 27, Day 3
4star
(Winner via pinfall: Tetsuya Naito)

Michael Elgin
vs.
Kazuchika Okada
G1 Climax 27, Day 4
4half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Kazuchika Okada)


Review

It’s probably one of my biggest regrets in 2017, at leat related to wrestling, that I could not keep up with the 27th New Japan Pro-Wrestling G1 Climax. Even as I write this, a month removed from the end of the competition, I find myself without the time to truly take in what has been called one of the greatest G1 Climax tournaments of all time. So with that in mind, I decided to simply go through each card, and pick out the matches that really screamed out to me as must-see, at least on paper. Such a technique will likely mean a few gems are missed along the way, but the joy of NJPWWorld.com is that I’ll still be able to go back and watch them at some point.

Going by their chronological order, I decided to begin my journey with Hiroshi Tanahashi versus Zack Sabre Jr. I’ve yet to completely buy into Takahashi (there’s just no connection there for me, yet), but ZSJ has turned me into a real big fan of his in 2017 (even purchased a t-shirt off him in Sept ’17!). Whilst there’s a disconnect between Tanahashi and I, I’m not blind to his abilities as a wrestler, so him battling with Sabre Jr. sounded like a great match. And so it turned out to be, as ZSJ won a fiercely fought battle against the IWGP Intercontinental Champion, eventually targeting an existing arm injury of the champion’s.

Of the six matches I took in, the absolute standout was Kota Ibushi against Tetsuya Naito. This was an incredible contest that I would have happily watched go an hour, maybe more. Everything clicked here, from the in-ring action, to the crowd reactions and commentary. NJPW has spoiled us with great matches in 2017, and this was yet another to add to the collection, and one that will surely challenge my Top 5 for the year, come the end of December.

Ibushi put in another stellar performance versus Sabre Jr., resulting in his first win in the competition, via pinfall. I wanted to watch this match for multiple reasons, but the overriding reason was that I still felt bitter at not seeing it be the final of the Cruiserweight Classic in 2016. I’ve not had the opportunity to see the pairing in any other promotions, if indeed it has already taken place, so this was my first time seeing them one-on-one, and it didn’t disappoint. ZSJ often brings a strong aggressiveness to his matches, but he’s almost vicious when he’s in a New Japan ring, and it makes him a believable opponent for just about anyone. My only real regret here? That they didn’t have another 5+ minutes. That could have really turned this into a match of the year contender.

Kenny Omega’s match with Minoru Suzuki was another incredible match, but one that I felt let itself down ever-so-slightly with the outside interference in the early stages. Without that overbooking, this match would be up there with the best Omega has put on this year. Still fantastic viewing, mind!

Four days into the tournament, and six matches highlighted. Some wonderful matches await me, and I can’t wait to cover them. New Japan Pro-Wrestling provides breathtaking matches on a regular basis right now, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else awaits me as I get deeper into this world famous tournament.

You can view the G1 Climax at NJPWWorld.com
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