RADICAN’S 7/6 NJPW G1 Climax 29: Night 1 report: coverage of A Block action headlined by Ibushi vs. KENTA, Okada vs. Tanahashi

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist



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RADICAN’S G1 CLIMAX 29: NIGHT 1 REPORT
JULY 6, 2019
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER
DALLAS, TEX.
AIRED LIVE ON AXS TV

Commentators: Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero

(1) IWGP HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS GOD (TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA) vs. ROPPONGI 3K (SHO & YOH) – NON-TITLE MATCH

GOD tried to surprise SHO and YOH, but they thwarted the sneak attack and wiped them out with a pair of tope con hilos. There were a lot of empty seats visible on camera. GOD fired back and worked over SHO. SHO tagged out to YOH, who ran wild. YOH blocked a Gun Stun attempt from Tonga and hit a superkick. SHO & YOH hit stereo jumping knees on Tonga and then Loa. They set up Tonga for 3K and the fans fired up. , but Tonga came out of nowhere with the Gun Stun on SHO. G.O.D. then went to work on YOH. Tonga hit the Super Power Bomb that Gedo taught them on YOH and it was good for the win.

WINNERS: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa in 7:00. (**¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a hot opener and the crowd sounded awesome.)

(Commercial break)

Kevin Kelly pitched to some highlights of the G1 Climax 29 press conference yesterday. Okada was shown talking to the press.

(2) REN NARITA & JEFF COBB vs. NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION TOMOHIRO ISHII & SHOTA UMINO

Cobb and Ishii will meet when B block action begins next weekend. Cobb and Ishii started and the fans gasped when they hit shoulder tackles at the same time. They went back and forth and shoved each other. Narita tagged himself in, but Cobb didn’t want to get out of the ring. Umino also tagged into the match. Umino got the upper hand and went to work on Narita. Narita countered Ishii and hit a suplex. Cobb and Ishii went at it again and Cobb hit a big suplex on him. He also hit one on Umino. Cobb hit a big vertical suplex on Ishii and the fans fired up. Cobb hit a leg capture suplex with a bridge, but he kicked out at two. Cobb and Ishii traded bombs and the fans fired up. Ishii caught Cobb and hit a big German and both men were down. Umino got the tag and hit a missile dropkick on Cobb. He tried to suplex Cobb, but he blocked it. Umino hit a forearm and delivered a forearm on Cobb for a two count. The fans chanted for Shota. Umino got isolated and took a standing moonsault from Cobb for a near fall. Cobb then hit Tour of the Islands on Umino for the win.

After the match, Cobb and Ishii traded elbows. Narita tried to come between them. The fans chanted to let them fight. Several Young Lions tried to step in, but they went after each other again.

WINNERS: Jeff Cobb & Ren Narita in 7:00. (**¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: The crowd really fired up for the interactions between Cobb and Ishii, who will face off in B block action next Saturday. The post-match pull-apart was well and Cobb got some “fortunate juice” around his nose to really sell the hard-hitting exchange.)

(Commercial break)

(3) BULLET CLUB (JAY WHITE & CHASE OWENS (W/GEDO) vs. CHAOS (HIROOKI GOTO & YOSHI-HASHI) 

This match is a preview of the White vs. Goto match in B block action next weekend. White and Goto kicked the match off. Kelly pointed out that White already had beaten Goto in a singles match this year. Owens attacked Goto from behind and knocked HASHI off the apron. Goto fired back on Owens and White with some big forearms. Goto went to the floor and Gedo distracted him, which allowed Owens to nail him with a dropkick through the ropes. Goto turned the tide and tagged in HASHI, who went to work on Owens. Gedo distracted HASHI, which gave Bullet Club the upper hand once again. White slammed HASHI into the apron several times on the outside. The fans booed White as he worked over HASHI. HASHI caught White with a running blockbuster. Goto got the tag and went to town on White. The announcers highlighted that Goto had been training with Shibata in L.A. Owens tried to run in, but Goto cut him off and applied a single leg crab. White tried to break it up, but Goto let go of the hold and went after White. White begged off and Goto sent Owens to the floor. He then went at it with White. White hit a snap Saito suplex and tagged in Owens. Owens hit a combination of strikes on Goto. Goto tried to counter, but White caught him with a big knee and the Jewel Heist for a near fall. White ran in and hit a twisting brainbuster on White. Owens followed up with a running knee, but HASHI made the save.

The action broke down and HASHI came to Goto’s aid. Goto sent White to the floor with a clothesline over the top. Goto then hit the Ushigoroshi on Owens. The fans fired up and Goto hit a big kick to Owens’s chest. He then finished him off with the GTR for the win.

WINNER: Hirooki Goto in 9:00. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: Big win for Goto heading into his block match against White next weekend. The biggest factor will be can Goto beat White and his backup on the floor. The crowd was hot for this match.)

This is a preview of Robinson vs. Takagi and Naito vs. Yano in B block action next Saturday. Liger came out to a good reaction first. BUSHI was out first for L.I.J. followed by Shingo Takagi and finally Tetsuya Naito. The fans chanted for Naito as he made his way down to the ring.

(4) JUSHIN LIGER & JUICE ROBINSON & TORU YANO vs. L.I.J. (BUSHI & SHINGO & IWGP IC CHAMPION TETSUYA NAITO) – SIX MAN TAG MATCH 

The fans fired up big time and chanted for Liger before the opening bell rang. The fans also popped for L.I.J. doing a pre-match first bump. BUSHI and Liger kicked things off and the fans fired up. The fans booed BUSHI for going after Liger’s eyes. Liger fired back and locked in his signature surfboard, but Shingo and Naito broke it up and the fans booed. L.I.J. hit a sequence of moves on Liger capped by a Naito dropkick. BUSHI went after Liger’s mask as the other men brawled on the floor. The fans booed. Naito worked a headscissors on the mat and tugged at Liger’s mask and the fans booed. Liger finally fired back with a Shotei on Takagi. Robinson tagged in and ran wild to big Juice chants. Robinson and Takgagi ended up trading blows in the middle of the ring. Robinson finally cut him off with a leg lariat. Both men traded counters and Robinson hit a full nelson bomb for a two count. The fans fired up and chanted for Juice as he pumped his fist. Robinson went for his signature punches, but Shingo cut off the Left Hand of God. Both men countered each other going for lariat attempts. Robinson hit the Left Hand of God and went for Pulp Friction, but Shingo turned it into a Gory Special.

Natio and Yano both tagged in and went at it. Yano went right for the turnbuckle pad. Naito cut him off and hit his signature corner dropkick. Natio went to pick up the pad and Yano rolled him up from behind for a near fall. They went back and forth and Naito hit a neck breaker. BUSHI got the tag and hit a dropkick on Yano. L.I.J. went to town on Yano. Yano took a double dropkick to the front and back, but the pin got broken up. Yano shoved BUSHI into the ref and hit a low blow and made the pin for the win. Kelly said their monitor went out and Romero said he didn’t see anything.

WINNERS: Juice Robinson & Toru Yano & Jushin Liger in 8:00. (**¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: Not much to this match, although the crowd was very much into Liger during the early going.)

Liger’s theme was played to end the match and Robinson posed with him on the ropes.

(Commercial break)

Romero said he had some special news for everyone. They went to a video package. A video said NJPW lands again on USA East Coast. A three show tour beginning Sept. 27 in Boston at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Sept. 28 in New York at The Hammerstein Ballroom, which will be Tiger Hatori’s retirement celebration. The final show will take place on Sept. 29 in Philadelphia at the ECW Arena! That’s big.

(5) LANCE ARCHER (0) vs. IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPION WILL OSPREAY (0) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH – NON-TITLE 

Archer charged at Ospreay and ate a Spanish Fly. Ospreay went up top and hit a corkscrew splash to the floor. Ospreay hit a 450 back inside the ring for a two count. Ospreay sent Archer to the floor again and went for the Sasuke Special, but Ospreay caught him and choke slammed over the barricade through a table! WOW! The announcers pointed out Archer was looking to avenge his NJPW Cup loss earlier in the year to Ospreay. Archer took control and worked over Ospreay inside the ring. Archer did the Taker walk on the top rope, but he continued all the way to a second section of rope before coming down with a clubbing blow and the fans applauded. Archer hit a series of running elbows on Ospreay in the corner and smiled into the camera as the fans booed. Archer said, “Everybody dies!” Ospreay fired back and hit a handspring kick and the fans applauded. Ospreay leapt over the pounce and hit a high kick, but couldn’t avoid a second pounce attempt and the fans applauded. Archer hit a buckle bomb and a powerbomb. Ospreay went to the floor and Archer hit an apron bomb. Archer dragged Ospreay up the ramp and went for a powerbomb, but Ospreay countered it into a Code Red. WOW! Ospreay said at the press conference he wants to face Amazing Red.

Ospreay got shoved on the floor as the count closed in on 20. Archer slid into the ring, but Ospreay beat the 20 count with a missile dropkick and a SSP off the top for a near fall. Ospreay hit the Robinson Special. Ospreay went for the Os-Cutter, but Archer countered it. They went back and forth and Ospreay hit the Os-Cutter for a near fall. Ospreay went for the Stormbreaker, but he couldn’t land it. He went for the Hidden Blade and Archer had it countered, but Ospreay got out of his grasp. Archer hit a big right hand up and carried him out of the corner with a muscle buster for a near fall. WOW! Archer lifted up Ospreay and hit Blackout, but Ospreay kicked out! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Archer got the claw on Ospreay’s head. Ospreay tried to fight out of it and he managed to get to the ropes. Archer held on, but the ref made him break the hold. Archer told the ref, “I’ll f–k you up.” Archer lifted Ospreay to the top with him at the 15 minute mark. He set up for a chokeslam, but Opreay blocked it. Archer got the chokeslam again, but Ospreay hit a one man avalanche Spanish Fly for a near fall!

Ospreay couldn’t lift Archer, so he hit several kicks and the crowd roared as he got him up from the Stormbreaker. Archer escaped and landed on his feet. Ospreay flipped out of a chokeslam attempt. Ospreay hit a big hook kick and went for a super Os-Cutter, but Archer cut him off in the corner. They battled up top. Ospreay hit a headbutt and Archer went down. Archer hit a running knee to the top that hit Ospreay’s head. Archer set up for Blackout off the top and he connected. OH MY GOD! Archer locked in the Iron Claw once again. He drove Ospreay down and it was good for the three count. That was amazing.

WINNER: Lance Archer (2 pts) in 19:00. (****½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was an incredible match and Ospreay is just at another level now, but Archer rose to the occasion and put on the best performance of his career. The counter sequences in this match were amazing.)

(Commercial break)

Kelly narrated highlights of the press conference yesterday. Footage was shown of fans at a meet and greet. 

No lasers or staff for EVIL’s entrance. Boo! 

(6) BAD LUCK FALE (0) vs. EVIL (0) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH 

EVIL ran across the ring and went right after Fale. They brawled up the ramp and EVIL hit a running clothesline, but Fale didn’t go down. Fale fired back and slowly beat on EVIL as he dragged him back towards the ring. The fans tried to rally behind EVIL once they got back into the ring. Fale made a cocky cover and the fans booed. EVIL suddenly hit a big bodyslam to stop Fale’s momentum. EVIL clotheslined Fale over the top to the floor. He grabbed some chairs from under the ring. Fale grabbed a chair, but EVIL nailed him with a kick. He wrapped a chair around Fale’s neck and ran him into the ringpost. The fans fired up behind EVIL as he measured Fale in the corner. EVIL hit a Bronco Buster and made the cover for a two count. EVIL hit several clothesline, but Fale only went down to a knee. EVIL went for another clothesline off the ropes, but Fale hit a shoulder tackle and both men were down. EVIL went for Everything is EVIL, ubt Fale blocked. EVIL blocked a Grenade attempt and hit a headbutt, but Fale fired right back with the Grenade for a near fall. Fale went for the Bad Luck Fall, but EVIL slid out of it. EVIL blocked a kick, handed Fale’s leg to the ref, and hit a big clothesline at the 10 minute mark. The ref took a HUGE bump as well. EVIL put a chair around Fale’s neck and grabbed another chair, but Fale got out of it and hit a low blow. The fans booed. Fale put the chair around EVIL’s neck and swung for the fences and connected. The ref was helped back into the ring by some Young Lions. Fale then hit the Bad Luck Fall for the win. 

WINNER: Bad Luck Fale (2 pts) in 11:00. (**½)

(Radican’s Analysis: Solid action here, but a bit slow at times.)

(Commercial break)

(7) RPW BRITISH HVT. CHAMPION ZACK SABRE JR. (0) vs. SANADA (0) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH

The announcers talked about how SANADA and Sabre have had long matches and short matches. Sabre went after SANADA’S arm during the early going. Romero mentioned that SANADA has yet to beat Sabre with the Skull End, which is his signature submission. No Take Michinoku with Sabre tonight. They exchanged pinning combinations, but neither man could even get a one count. Sabre countered out of the Paradise Lock and they exchanged a pair of two counts before coming to a stalemate. Sabre got the upper hand on the mat and went to work on SANADA. SANADA reversed the hold and Sabre tried to counter it, but SANADA held on. Sabre then countered it and they continued to trade reversals. Sabre then arrogantly freed himself from SANADA’s grasp. Sabre bailed to the floor and the fans chanted for SANADA. Sabre acted like a jerk on the outside before barely beating the ref’s 20 count. SANADA went for the Paradise Lock again, but Sabre got out of it. Sabre suddenly got an arm bar, but SANADA got his foot on the ropes. Sabre continued to target SANADA’s arm with his attacks. Sabre hit some light kicks and SANADA fired up.

SANADA fired back and hit his signature dropkick. Sabre went for a kick using the ropes for leverage, but SANADA countered it and Sabre landed on his back. SANADA then locked Sabre in the Paradise Lock around the bottom rope. SANADA milked the fans firing up before sending Sabre to the floor with a big dropkick. SANADA followed up with a slingshot splash. SANADA countered Sabre and hit a backdrop suplex. They went back and forth and Sabre got the Octopus Hold at the 15 minute mark. Sabre dragged SANADA down to the mat and locked in a nasty arm submission with his legs around SANADA’s head. SANADA struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Sabre hit some light kicks and SANADA began to show some fire. They began trading uppercuts. SANADA caught Sabre charging at him and went for the Skull End. Sabre got out of it and hit a swinging DDT out of the corner. Sabre then grabbed the Skull End. Sabre wrapped his arms around his back to crank the hold. SANADA got Sabre up on his shoulders, but Sabre turned it into a headlock from the mount. The fans tried to rally behind SANADA. SANADA eventually bounced Sabre off the top into a suplex. He lifted Sabre onto his shoulders and hit a TKO for a two count. SANADA missed a moonsault, but landed on his feet. He got a backslide for a two count, but Sabre kicked out and hit a PK and raised his fist to celebrate.

SANADA began to apply the Skull End. He swung Sabre around and let him go. He went for moonsault, but Sabre got his knees up and applied a triangle at the 20 minute mark. SANADA lifted up Sabre, but he escaped and kicked SANADA’s arm. SANADA hit a moonsault into the Skull End. He checked Sabre’s arm, but it didn’t go down. Sabre flipped over Sanada and got a bridging pinning combination. SANADA countered Sabre and got a bridging pin of his own for the win.

WINNER: SANADA (2 pts) in 24:00 (***¼)

After the match, Sabre put the ref in a submission before the Young Lions ran in to break it up. Sabre knocked over a Young Lion while going back up the ramp.

(Radican’s Analysis: Sabre was cocky here and it cost him. This wasn’t a particularly physical match and the action dragged at times. This should set the tone for a much more serious and vicious Sabre the rest of the tournament.)

(Commercial break)

(8) KOTA IBUSHI (0) vs. KENTA (0) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH 

Katsuyori Shibata was shown watching from the side in the arena. KENTA ducked a kick as they broke away from the ropes during the early going. The fans chanted back and forth for both men as they traded and countered kicks and strikes. KENTA backed Ibushi into the ropes and teased a clean break before slapping him as hard as he could. Ibushi fired back with a live round of his own that grounded KENTA. OH MY GOD. Ibushi ended up hung over the middle ropes and KENTA hit a knee drop off the second rope. KENTA took control and began working over Ibushi. KENTA plastered Ibushi with a big running kick off the ropes. He made a cover with one foot and the ref wouldn’t make the count. KENTA teased a jumping knee strike and then jumped over Ibushi and hit a light back kick to the head. They traded blows and KENTA sent Ibushi down to the mat with three big forearms. Kelly said Ibushi had found his equal in the striking game. KENTA hit some light kicks and Ibushi began to wake up. They traded some big blows. KENTA hit an uppercut and then plasted Ibushi with a big kick to the back.

The fans tried to rally behind Ibushi, who caught KENTA with a dropkick as he came off the ropes. They went to a quick exchange and Ibushi hit a powerslam and a second rope moonsault for a two count. KENTA caught Ibushi with a big suplex a short time later. KENTA then hit a big clothesline off the top for a two count. Ibushi hit a big open palm strike with KENTA up top. KENTA ended up crashing to the apron after Ibushi hit several elbows to the ribs. Ibushi set KENTA up for his outside in German off the ropes, but KENTA fought out of it, but Ibushi nailed him with a backflip kick and he spilled to the floor. Ibushi went for a slingshot splash, but KENTA nailed him with a kick and it looked like Ibushi twisted his ankle. KENTA hung Ibushi over the barricade. KENTA then hit a big double stomp off the apron to the barricade. A small holy s–t chant rang out in the venue. KENTA hit a springboard dropkick. He then nailed Ibushi with a stalling dropkick in the corner and the fans fired up. KENTA went up top and hit a sick double stomp. He made the cover, but only got a two count. KENTA set up for the GTS, but Ibushi grabbed the ropes. KENTA blocked a clothesline attempt with his foot, but Ibushi cut off a roaring elbow attempt with a huge clothesline and KENTA went down. Ibushi hit the Last Ride, but KENTA kicked out at two.

Ibushi set up for the Kamigoye, but Kenta tried to turn it into a GTS. Ibushi countered it into a crucifix pin for a two count. KENTA caught Ibushi with a jumping knee and both men were down. Both men got to their knees and began trading blows. The fans roared with each strike. Both men glared at each other and continued to exchange. They got to their feet and the fans continued to fire up as they exchanged blows. The pace quickened and they continued to exchange blows. KENTA beat a palm strike attempt from Ibushi with a high kick for a two count. That was a great exchange. KENTA measured Ibushi and kicked him right in the head. He then measured him and hit two big head kicks as the 20 minute mark passed. KENTA hit another head kick on Ibushi, who was on his knees for a two count. KENTA set up for the GTS and connected for the win.

WINNER: KENTA (2 pts) in 21:00. (****)

After the match, KENTA heled Ibushi up to his feet. Ibushi went back down to his knees. He got up and shook hands with KENTA and hugged.

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a really good hard-hitting match. They had some incredible hard hitting exchanges during the early going. KENTA looked really good here. He wasn’t the 2005 version of himself, but he looked much more comfortable in the NJPW environment. KENTA needed to win this match to establish credibility going forward, but I expect Ibushi to be in the mix to be in the finals.)

(Commercial break)

Kevin Kelly set the stage for the Tanahashi vs. Okada main event. This is the first time these two have wrestled a singles match in the U.S.

Hiroshi Tanahashi was out first to a good pop. Okada’s coin drop to start his entrance music got a huge pop from the crowd.

(9) HIROSHI TANAHASHI (0) vs. IWGP HVT. CHAMPION KAZUCHIKA OKADA (0) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH

The opening bell rang and the fans fired up huge in the building for the start of the match. Both men began trading bombs in the middle of the ring. They then grabbed each other by the hair and glared at each other. Okada caught Tanahashi with a big boot off the ropes, but he got right back. They went to another exchange and came ot a stalemate and the fans applauded and chanted “both these guys.” Tanahashi hit a bodyslam and a jumping elbow. He then played some air guitar and the fans chanted “Go ace.” Okada took control and worked over Tanahashi with a chinlock on the mat. Okada went for a dragon screw, but Tanahashi blocked it and hit one of his own a short time later and the fans applauded. Okada fired back and got the upper hand. He hit a big flying elbow in the corner and then his signature DDT for a two count. Okada set up for his signature neck breaker, but Tanahashit got out of it. Tanahashi got a hold of Okada’s leg on the apron and hit a dragon screw around the ropes. Okada caught Tanahashi with a flapjack a short time later, but favored his leg after. Tanahashi caught Okada with a dropkick to the knee, but he fired up with a forearm and hit his signature neck breaker. Okada favored his knee after making the cover. Okada dropped the elbow off the top and signaled for The Rainmaker, but Tanahashi rolled him up for a near fall.

Tanahashi hit an inverted dragon screw and locked in the Cloverleaf Hold. Okada struggled, but got to the ropes. Okada hung onto the ropes and Tanahashi hit another inverted dragon screw right before the 15 minute mark passed. Tanahashi went up top and hit the High Fly Flow to the floor and both men were down!

Tanahashi hit Twist and Shout. Okada fired back with a shotgun dropkick. Tanashi hit a Sling Blade, but Okada fired right back with a tombstone! Okada went for The Rainmaker, but Tanahashi turned it into a Sling Blade. Tanahashi went up top as the fans chanted Go ace. Tanahashi hit a standing High Fly Flow on Okada. He went back up top and went for a traditional High Fly Flow, but Okada got his knees up! The fans chanted for Okada with both men down. Okada went for a tombstone, but Tanahashi blocked it. Okada got Tanahashi up, but he couldn’t get him into position for the tombstone. Tanahashi then went for a tombstone, but he couldn’t get Okada up. Tanahashi hit several slaps and a big open hand slap. Tanahashi escaped a backslide only for Okada to nail him with a short Rainmaker at the 20 minute mark. Okada held on and hit another Rainmaker! Okada hit The Rainmaker pose and went for one more Rainmaker, but Tanahashi got a small package for near fall. Tanahshi hit a dragon suplex with a bridge and Okada kicked out at the last second! Okada ducked a Sling Blade and Tanahashi ducked a Rainmaker. Tanahashi and Okada exchanged counters and Tanahshi held onto Okada’s wrist. He finally let go after hitting a big slap to Okada’s face. Kelly pointed out that Okada was bleeding from the back. Okada caught Tanahashi coming off the ropes and hit a jumping tombstone and a Rainmaker for the win.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada (2 pts) in 22:00. (****1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis: Great match full of some fantastic counter exchanges. Tanahashi went after Okada’s leg and nearly had him put away with his signature High Fly Flow sequence, but he couldn’t put Okada away.)

After the match, a big Okada chang ran out through the crowd. Okada got on the mic to address the fans. He said first win and shouted out Dallas. The fans started a big Okada chant. Okada said they would come back to close out the show. The announcers wondered if Okada could win and choose his own opponent at Wrestle Kingdom. Kelly said they would stay with the feed for Okada’s post-match press conference.

Contact Sean at radicansean@pwtorch.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at twitter.com/sr_torch

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