As the G1 Climax crosses the halfway point, we look at a another selection of standout matches…
G1 Climax 27, Day 9
(Winner via pinfall: Tomohiro Ishii)
G1 Climax 27, Day 10
(Winner via pinfall: Kazuchika Okada)
G1 Climax 27, Day 11
(Winner via pinfall: Kota Ibushi)
Zack Sabre Jr.
G1 Climax 27, Day 13
(Winner via pinfall: Tetsuya Naito)
One thing became very clear to me as I selected what matches to watch from this range of dates: I’m much more interested in Block A than I am Block B. For whatever reason, watching the various combinations of Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Zack Sabre Jr., appeals to me far more than most of the matches over on Block B.
It was with Naito that my viewing started, as he took on Tomohiro Ishii in a match that was certainly good, but didn’t reach the levels that Naito has in previous matches (or would later in this very viewing session, in fact). Of that later match, I would say that on paper, Sabre Jr. versus Naito really interested me. Naito is a very lively talent who can bounce around the ring, but Sabre Jr. is a very calculated competitor who works at a slower pace, and in truth the latter wrestler doesn’t often change his style to adapt to his opponent. That said, whilst the majority of this match saw Naito being taken to town by Sabre Jr.’s technical skills, when Naito did start to put a bit of his own stamp on the match, ZSJ stepped up and did his bit. It was a good match, and well deserving of more time.
I’ve looked back at my rating for Robinson/Okada, and second guessed myself a few times. Have I unintentionally inflated its rating because of my high opinion of Okada? I honestly can’t answer that with a difinitive response, but it’s possible, but Okada has likely earned that right. We all know Okada can get great matches out of anyone, and he’s worked well with Robinson here, but let me tell you where I think my doubt is coming from: I don’t believe that Juice Robinson can hang in the ring with Kazuchika Okada. Robinson is still a rookie in regards to his spot, compared to others like Okada, and after seeing some of the opponents Okada has knocked off in 2017 alone, Robinson running him so close just didn’t feel right. That said, that’s wrestling, no? We can’t have Okada mopping the floor with every opponent he faces!
I was incredibly impressed with Tanahashi versus Ibushi, a match which early on felt like it would just be a decent one, but in its final minutes felt like a superb one. Ibushi has been on fabulous form in this tournament, and whilst I’ve written previously of my lack of any real opinion on Tanahashi, I can’t claim that Ibushi didn’t bring out the best in him. This was incredibly close throughout, and there were some real moments where the match seemed over, only for a last second kick out. Great matches need those close near falls, and this had them. Ibushi, along with Naito, has been a standout performer in this competition.
At this point in the G1 Climax, we are pretty much passed a lot of the kinda filler matches in the middle, and there are some hot matches on the horizon that I can’t wait to get through. The match quality in this tournament has been very good, don’t get me wrong, but I feel that there may even be better to come.