Well, we said that we wanted changes. NJPW gave them to us in abundance. The shock victories on Night #1 were fantastic, but when almost all of the wins are like that, the impact is diluted. After five of the nineteem shows, Makabe leads Block A, with Tenzan and Goto close behind. Nagata leads Block B, with almost everyone else tied for second place. We’re still in the early stages.
Everyone isn’t into the story of YOSHI-HASHI this year, but the flaws are what make it work. Yes, he looks uncertain, even afraid, and almost surprised when he wins. Yet he is determined to soldier on, and it’s that determination in spite of the fear of going it alone that makes him so compelling. YOSHI has a heavily-wrapped shoulder after his match with Honma as well. He and Shibata are either helping sell Honma’s finisher as really damaging, or this is a sign that Honma is going to seriously hurt someone by the time that G-1 ends. Whatever “Loose Explosion” means, wearing it across your buttocks is not helping you to be taken seriously. Please change that.
The first week of the nearly month-long G-1 Climax tournament from New Japan Pro Wrestling has reached its end, and there’s quite a bit to think about as compared to previous tournaments. For many fans, this is the highlight of the summer, as well as of wrestling fandom. We get nearly a solid month of the best wrestlers in the world doing their best collective thing and setting the general direction of feuds and title chases for the next five months, as well as for the January 4th Wrestle Kingdom show. What’s not to love???
The 2014 G-1 was widely hailed as one of the greatest wrestling events of all time, while the 2015 version drew some criticism for stagnation and repetition, despite having some fantastic matches. The 2016 G-1 offered the perfect opportunity to rectify those concerns, as NJPW lost five of its top players to the WWE after contracts expired at the end of January. Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles were obvious major overall losses, but Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Kota Ibushi had all played significant roles in past G-1 tournaments, and their absences were definitely going to be felt. That’s twenty-five percent of the total participation roster for G-1. NJPW seemed to embrace the WWE’s “anything can happen” motto with considerably more gusto than the company itself has, and the theme of the first week has been “surprises and upsets.”