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NJPW G1:Climax Night 1 Recap and Review

NJPW’s premiere tournament the G1 Climax returned on the 19th September and for the tournament NJPW were able to welcome back fans with the Venue filled almost to capacity. Along with those fans NJPW were also able to welcome many of their international stars, back for the G1 climax were Will Osprey, Juice Robinson, Jay White and recent singing Jeff Cobb.

Night one of G1 climax kicked off proceedings with the competitors from block A, to decrease risk of spreading Covid 19 among its performers, only the competitors of block A are able to perform on the night. Usually during the G1 Climax when one block is having its set of matches, the competitors from the other block would be thrown into a variety of tag team matches to fill out the card unfortunately due to the virus, this is not the case this year.


The action from night 1 took place in Osaka at the Edion Arena; although we do not have competitors from B block as warm matches before the tournament begins we do have one Young Lions match to warm up the crowd with Yuya Uemura Vs Yota Tusji. The first round of matches include Will Ospreay Vs Yujiro Takahashi, Taichi Vs Jeff Cobb, Minoru Suzuki Vs Tomohiro Ishii, Jay White Vs Shingo Takagi and in the main event Kota Ibushi Vs Kazuchika Okada


Young Lions Match

Yuya Uemura Vs Yota Tusji

  • Yuya Uemura wins Via submission

This was a quick and fast paced match up with both young lions putting on a great display of hard hitting chops, slaps and forearms, both of these Young Lions are big lads. Yota the slighly bigger of the two, managed to take the advantage early on using his size with Yuya having to fight back from underneath. Yuya eventually gained the upper hand via a fantastic double armed over head suplex, before locking in the young lion’s tried and tested submission hold, the Boston Crab, making Yuta tap out, in a fantastic opening contest.


Match 1

Will Osprey Vs Yujiro Takahashi

  • Will Ospreay defeated Yujiro Takahashi by pin fall

This match was far more competitive than many were expecting with Yujiro, the proverbial ‘pin eater’ for the Bullet Club having a considerable amount of offence, then again this was a typical paint by numbers Will Osprey match. That’s not to say that this was a bad match though as Will Osprey is pretty much incapable of actually having a bad match. At the same time this match was not exactly a match of the year candidate. As stated Yujiro got the majority of the offence making will Osprey fight from underneath, just as Yujiro thinks he’s about to get a big win, Ospreay kicks out of the pin attempt, followed by a flurry of offence including the hidden blade into the storm breaker and Ospreay gets the first win of the tournament.

Match 2

Taichi Vs Jeff Cobb

  • Taichi defeated Jeff Cobb Pin Fall

This was a match up of two different styles, with Taichi looking to keep his distance from Jeff Cobb, peppering him with kicks and trying to work over Cobb’s leg, whilst Cobb was looking to close the distance to get a hold of Taichi and throw him round the ring. Taichi took the advantage early on, goading Cobb to the outside of the ring, where Taichi would use the ring bell to Hammer and injure Cobbs leg, he then went on to use a variety of strikes including leg kicks to slow Cobb down. Eventually Cobb would fight back taking hold of Taichi where he proceeded to throw him around the ring, however Taichi’s early work on Cobb’s leg would pay dividends when Cobb could not hit his tour of Island slam properly. Taichi managing to escape the attempt, then hooked Cobb up with his air raid crash and picking up the pin fall, getting his first win in his first match of the tournament.


Match 3

Minoru Suzuki Vs Tomohiro Ishii

  • Minoru Suzuki defeated Tomohiro Ishii by Pin Fall

The Stone Face Pitbull that is Tomohiro Ishii and the man affectionately known as Murder Grandpa lived up to their monikers, as the two faced off in clash of titans style match. The two veterans hit, kicked and slapped two tonnes of literal crap out of each other with a few wrestling throws and holds thrown in for good measure, in a hard hitting violent affair. The two men must have competed together in some form of match up over 100 times but given the events the two could possibly face off against each other another 100 times. This was a back and forth match up with neither competitor able get a clear cut advantage, eventually it was Suzuki who would win the match, reversing a brain buster into a Gotch Pile Driver to get the pinfall victory.


Match 4

Jay White Vs Shingo Takagi

  • Jay White defeated Shingo Takagi by Pinfall

The first of many Bullet Club vs Los Ingobernables de Japon that are to come, as most would be aware the LIJ and Bullet Club have been locked in faction warfare since Evil betrayed LIJ joining Bullet Club. Jay played the heel in this match and by god is he good at playing the heel, with his ever trusted advisor Gedo ring side, Jay would try to use mind games to get under the skin of Shingo. This would gain the advantage early as Shingo played right into Jay’s hands, leaving the Shingo having to fight from underneath, a situation he rarely finds himself in. Of course typical of a Bullet Club Jay White match the Referee is incapacitated just as Shingo hits his finish and clearly covered Jay for the win but with no Referee to count the pinfall, it was not counted. This would then give Jay White enough time to hit a Shingo with variety of big moves leading to the blade runner, as Jay would pick the win and get points on the board.

Match 5

Kota Ibushi Vs Kazuchika Okada

  • Kota Ibushi defeated Kazuchika Okada by Pinfall

Can there be two more loved competitors in Japan right now than Okada and Ibushi? Of course this match would have to be the main event, these two are wrestling gods after all. In the longest bout of the night by far, the two competitors were wary of each other early on, they’ve competed against each plenty of times to know their opponent is dangerous. As per a usual Okada match, it started off at very slow pace before picking up, dropping off, picking up and dropping off again. Is there anyone that can work a match and control the fans like Okada? He is the master of match pacing. Ibushi is the perfect opponent for Okada, Ibushi is just incredible to watch he is a freak athlete capable of some amazing feats, he is the Shawn Micheals to Okada’s Bret Hart. It was an incredible back and fourth match up, although Okada did have slight more of the offence, like 60:40 split, but it was Ibushi who come away the victor thanks to his kamigoye finisher to get the 1,2, 3 pin fall victory over Okada.


Final Thoughts

Wow, what a way to kick off the tournament, what a way to truly welcome back near to capacity crowds, there was not single bad match, every match must be over 3 stars according to Dave Meltzer star system, would’ve been 4 stars but it wasn’t a Tokyo Dome. I think there may have been a couple of surprise results here, I myself would’ve picked Ishii and Okada to have won their matches, goes to show what I know really. This is a hard block to call and currently I have no Idea who’s going to win this block. I would love a bit of shock result and have Osprey and Jay white make it to the semi-fianls maybe even face off against each other in the final but the wise money would be on Ibushi and Okada to qualify. An incredible night of wrestling I cannot wait for night 2 and another incredible night of wrestling.


The Great British Otaku

Andrew More

@GBOtaku82

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