Alan4L’s 7/20 G1 Climax 29 Night 7 report: Archer vs. Tanahashi, Ibushi vs. SANADA, Okada vs. Ospreay (w/spoiler free viewing guide & updated standings)

By Alan Counihan, PWTorch Columnist


Will Ospreay (photo credit ROHWrestling.com)

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G1 CLIMAX 29: NIGHT 7 REPORT
JULY 20, 2019
KORAKUEN HALL
TOKYO, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD

G1 CLIMAX 29: NIGHT 7 VIEWING GUIDE

(5) Zack Sabre Jr.  vs. Bad Luck Fale (***)

(6) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Lance Archer (****)

(7) EVIL vs. KENTA (***3/4)

(8) Kota Ibushi vs. SANADA (****1/2)

(9) Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay (*****)

Note: This section will provide my spoiler free recommended matches to watch from each night of the tournament if you’re pressed for time and only want to see the essentials (based on match quality or overall G1 storyline implication i.e. ZSJ vs. Fale).

Commentary: Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton.

UNDERCARD RESULTS

(1) Shota Umino & Jon Moxley beat Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson in 3:56.

(2) Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki & Taichi) beat CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano) & Yuya Uemura in 8:52.

(3) Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Jay White & Yujiro Takahashi) beat Jeff Cobb & Toa Henare & Tomoako Honma in 9:50.

(4) L.I.J. (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) & Ren Narita in 7:33.

A BLOCK RESULTS & ANALYSIS

(5) BAD LUCK FALE (2) vs. ZACK SABRE JR. (0) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH

The early stages of this one were spent with Zack trying everything he could think of to chop down the “giant land mammal” or to grab a body part and hold onto it for dear life. Fale was showing signs of frustration in not knowing quite how to deal with the desperation tactics of the “noodle man”. Eventually he turned to his friends and despite having a huge size advantage, he used his 3 on 1 man advantage to turn things around and put the isolated ZSJ in trouble.

Upon seizing control, Fale sought to take the action to the stands and this proved his downfall. After throwing Zack from pillar to post, he teased a Bad Luck Fall down the stands. The slippery Labour man dodged disaster like it was the threat of a Hard Brexit, but soon he found himself in the clutches of Chase Owens who had him all set up for Fale to attack. Zack once again avoided the attack and Chase was floored by his Rogue General. The big man looked for a Grenade but ZSJ countered into a Triangle as the ref’s count reached 10. He held it through to 14 and then raced back to the ring. Fale was not able to get back from the famous orange seats in time and Zack celebrated as if he’d won a free Tofu Scramble or Eggplant Parmesan.

WINNER: ZSJ (2 pts) in 6:30. (***)

(4L’s Analysis:A delightful way for Zack to get off the snide. As arguably the most entertaining character of the tour so far, this was a perfect character win. He outsmarted the big, angry giant and did do in extremely fun fashion.)

(6) HIROSHI TANAHASHI (2) vs. LANCE ARCHER (4) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH

The dynamic here was always going to be a winner. Two veterans in very different positions. Tanahashi, a legend who’s done it all, trying to keep his body going and cling on to the competition using his tricks of the trade. Archer, the same age, but with nowhere near the level of singles success, motivated and driven to prove a point – charging into this head on with a chip on his shoulder.

Lance’s long legs were the ideal target for Tana and The Ace would go after them whenever he got an opening. However Lance was able to snuff out any sustained attack and took advantage on the floor with a big apron chokeslam and a rolling somersault off the apron which got the Korakuen faithful going with huge chants of “Archer”. This developed into one of the most heated matches in the building this week with a genuine split and passionate chants for both men.

A cool sequence in the match started with Archer trying to lock in a Texas Cloverleaf on the man who usually deploys that hold (screaming “I’m from Texas!” as he went for it). His technique was lacking though and Tana avoided being turned over. But it seemingly gave the ace an idea. Archer tried to steal his move, so he’d try to steal one of Archer’s. Only his goal was not to steal the move, but lure the big man into the exact position he wanted. Tana grabbed Lance’s wrist, teasing that he might go for the rope walk. Archer was FUMING, floored Tana and then immediately went to show him how it was done. He walked around too sides of the ring, all the while Tana was playing possum and luring him in. As Lance leaped off, Tanahashi took a step back and grabbed him in a front chancery to hit Twist & Shout. Beautiful wrestling!

If that was an example of getting a lot out of something small, they got even more out of even less a few minutes later with an EPIC struggle as Archer sought to put the EBD Claw onto the lovely head of The Ace. It was like great 1986 wrestling happening in 2019 and getting a 1986 reaction. So good and was a testament to how great these two are.

Archer did lock the claw in, but got greedy in attempting The Blackout as well. Tanahashi turned it into a Victory Roll as if he was Bret versus Bam Bam and got his second win of the tournament!

WINNER: Tanahashi (4 pts) in 11:58. (****)

(4L’s Analysis: This was just some classic old school pro wrestling in front of a red hot crowd. Archer has been a revelation, even to those who were expecting him to be good. Tanahashi just keeps padding that CV as one of the best to ever do this.)

(7) KENTA (6) vs. EVIL (4) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH

This had some hate to it! EVIL had questioned whether KENTA deserved his spot in the tournament and the former NOAH star took great exception to that. The added spice definitely made KENTA feel more like KENTA. Whilst I think we can all agree now that he’s simply not capable of being as dynamic as he was in the 2000s, he did appear to have more of the fire that we’re hoping for in this match.

KENTA looked way more comfortable than he did on Thursday against Archer, and I think that may have been partly because he wasn’t caught off guard by the negative reaction from New Japan’s most passionate fans. Here, he expected it and was ready for it. As he bullied the popular EVIL, he was all too happy to throw it back in the face of the fans with a cocky sneer.

They brawled in the bleachers for a bit with a long tease for a suplex into chairs (a duel which KENTA won) and EVIL hitting his trademark double chair shot spot. Back in the ring it was strike city. They both leaned into each other’s hardest shots with EVIL’s elbows and lariats looking great and KENTA finally hitting a couple of awesome looking Busaiku Knees. The go 2 sleep was the deathblow though and much to the displeasure of the crowd (they were FUMING in a good way), KENTA made it four for four.

WINNER: KENTA (8 pts) in 15:03. (***3/4)

(4L’s Analysis: KENTA needed this. While the match wasn’t as good as when he faced. Tanahashi, this was a better KENTA performance. Hopefully he continues to grow into the tournament following this.)

(8) SANADA (2) vs. KOTA IBUSHI (2) IN A G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH

They played this like a one-upmanship contest with both men competing for the love of the crowd as much as the 2 points on offer. It worked for the story they’re trying to tell of these two being the popular babyfaces on the cusp of breaking through to the tippy top main event positions in the company.

Through a bunch of eye-pleasing sequences early in the contest, they really drove home the point that there was nothing between them athletically and that when it came to those athletic talents they were elite. As the match intensified though, it got grittier and there was some serious edge from Ibushi in particular.

The Golden Star was seemingly growing frustrated by SANADA’s refusal to depart from his stoicism and engage Ibushi emotionally (as I type this I realise it sounds more like a romance novel than a wrestling match but that’s kinda the best comparison for this!). He repeatedly tried to get him to slug it out, but SANADA picked his spots with measure and deliberation, choosing the exact perfect moments to engage. The contrast of approaches added so much to this and with it being a rare match-up (only their second singles) it felt like a really fresh dynamic.

Things were going well for SANADA until a thundering high kick from the Golden Star stopped him in his tracks. He followed up with a Boma Ye (paying full tribute to Shinsuke Nakamura with the corner appeal added in) for a great nearfall and then hit the match ending Kamigoye to hand Cold Skull his third loss on the trot.

WINNER: Kota Ibushi (4 pts) in 19:14. (****1/2)

(4L’s Analysis: This was incredible. An absolute pleasure to watch to masterful talents do what they do and push each other in different ways. The action was fast and furious, especially down the stretch. One of the best bouts of the G1 so far)

(9) KAZUCHIKA OKADA (6) vs. WILL OSPREAY (2) IN A G1 CLIMAX A BLOCK MATCH

WOWAWEEWAAAAH!!!!

It was IWGP Heavyweight Champion vs. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, CHAOS vs. CHAOS, Mentor vs. Protégé and it was happening in the perfect spot – the main event, Korakuen Hall, THE GRADE 1 CLIMAX!!!!

Ospreay has face Okada on three previous occasions in singles competition. In Rev Pro (the match that lead to Ospreay joining CHAOS), at the Anniversary show in 2018 and in the New Japan Cup earlier this year. All of those matches were very good, but none were particularly memorable. Within minutes, this felt different. Within minutes, this felt like we were watching an epic unfold. And it did.

From an early point in the match, Okada targeted Will’s neck with zero remorse. He delivered trademark offensive manoeuvres such as the over the shoulder neckbreaker with added force which was exponentially punctuated by Ospreay’s brilliant selling. Okada seemed on top of his game in every respect, whilst the junior champ was trying to hold himself together by tape and guts.

But Will refused to back down, he fired back at any opportunity, and he did so with gusto. One chop in particular brought the whole scene to a halt as the crowd, Ospreay and Okada all reacted like it was the most devastating chop ever delivered in that building. Everything stopped as the moment was soaked in. The match was a collection of great moments like that, weaved together by two of the best ever. A sequence leading to The Rainmaker’s first successful dropkick of the match was as incredible as anything you’ll ever see.

Will took desperate steps to stay in the fight including an OsCutter off the guardrails and a last gasp Solo Spanish Fly when he was in the jaws of The Rainmaker lariat. The crazy counters escalated from there, and after a series of Tombstones from both men, and Okada narrowly avoiding The Stormbreaker, we got the combo of the Rolling Rainmaker and the regular edition Rainmaker to put a valiant Ospreay away.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada (8 pts)i n 21:56. (*****)

(4L’s Analysis:UNBELIEVABLE MATCH. They swung at this, knocked it out of Korakuen, over to the Tokyo Dome and back out through the roof of The Big Egg like the were Hayato Sakamoto of the Yomiuri Giants. This was the match everyone knew Ospreay and Okada had in them. The scary thing is you know they’ll have more of these, in even bigger spots and may well go on to create one of the defining rivalries of both their careers!)

Overall thoughts: I didn’t think it would be possible to equal how good those three straight BOSJ Korakuen’s in May were, but the main event of this show brought this G1 trilogy all the way there to at least match it. An awesome show to close things out.

The main event is a must-see MOTYC, and underneath it you had four fantastic matches that were all completely different.

On top of all that quality, you have the fact that this A Block is now so exciting from a booking perspective. Okada and KENTA are now both 4-0, and they meet each other next! Could Okada win that and actually go unbeaten the entire way? This is the only time in modern G1 history that it feels genuinely possible.

UPDATED G1 CLIMAX 29 STANDINGS THROUGH NIGHT 7

A BLOCK

KENTA 4-0 (8 pts)
Kazuchika Okada 4-0 (8 pts)
Lance Archer 2-2 (4 pts)
EVIL 2-2 (4 pts)
Kota Ibushi 2-2 (4 pts)
Hiroshi Tanahshi 2-2 (4 pts)
Will Ospreay 1-3 (2 pts)
SANADA 1-3 (2 pts)
Bad Luck Fale 1-3 (2 pts)
Zack Sabre Jr. 1-3 (2 pts)

B BLOCK

Jon Moxley 3-0 (6 pts)
Juice Robinson 2-1 (4 pts)
Tomohiro Ishii 2-1 (4 pts)
Toru Yano 2-1 (4 pts)
Shingo Takagi 2-1 (4 pts)
Tetsuya Naito 1-2 (2 pts)
Jeff Cobb 1-2 (2 pts)
Taichi 1-2 (2 pts)
Hirooki Goto 1-2 (2 pts)
Jay White 0-3 (0 pts)

Follow Alan on twitter at twitter.com/Alan4L.

1 Comment on Alan4L’s 7/20 G1 Climax 29 Night 7 report: Archer vs. Tanahashi, Ibushi vs. SANADA, Okada vs. Ospreay (w/spoiler free viewing guide & updated standings)

  1. Goddamn! I love your writing style, dude. Keep it up. Passionate and enthusiastic without sounding silly or OTT. Looking to reading more of your reports. I actually came here after watching Night 7, you really did the show justice!

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