Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Japan Pro Wrestling - G1 Climax 23 Nights 1 & 2 Review

So for those who may not have heard, their is this company called New Japan Pro Wrestling that has been on fire recently. After hearing all the hype surrounding them in 2013, as well as hearing all the hype for the 23rd G1 Climax, I'd decided that it was about time I'd check them out. Before I do, I should stress that I'm a relative newbie when it comes to NJPW (I know a few things through some research but not a lot) so my knowledge of the product & storylines is limited.

Basically, the G1 Climax is a Round Robin Style Tournament. The field of competitors are split into two blocks, an A Block and a B Block. They then proceed to have a Round Robin Style Tournament, and the winners of the Two Blocks face off to determine the overall winner. The blocks are as follows:

Block A

Lance Archer
Prince Devitt
Hirooki Goto
Tomohiro Ishii
Satoshi Kojima
Togi Makabe
Kazuchika Okada
Katsuyori Shibata
Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Hiroshi Tanahashi

Block B

Karl Anderson
Shelton Benjamin
Kota Ibushi
Yugi Nagata
Tetsuya Naito
Shinsuke Nakamura
Minoru Suzuki
Yujiro Takahashi
Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Toru Yano

Now since I don't know a lot about New Japan, and since I'm going to try to review two shows at once, I'm just going to post star ratings followed by my overall thoughts on the show.

NJPW G1 Climax 2013: Night One
Shizuoka, Japan 8/1/13

1.) G1 Climax - Block B - Kota Ibusi vs. Toru Yano: **3/4

2.) G1 Climax – Block A: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Lance Archer: ***3/4

3.) G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shelton Benjamin: **3/4

4.) G1 Climax – Block A: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.: ***1/2

5.) G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi: ***

6.) G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki: ***1/2

7.) G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto: ***1/4

8.) G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Karl Anderson: ****

9.) G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Satoshi Kojima: ***1/2

10.) G1 Climax – Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs. Prince Devitt: ***3/4

Overall: 7.5/10

This was the first New Japan Show I have ever watched....in full....ever. It was pretty solid. Obviously I was familiar with guys like Anderson, Benjamin, Archer,  Smith Jr., and Ibushi from their time in companies like WWE, TNA, ROH, and so on. I had heard a lot about guys like Devitt, Okada & Tanahashi from a number of people. Overall, I'd say the first night was a good show. Not the best show, but still some pretty good stuff on here. There were two or three very good matches, then some pretty good matches, and the rest was decent.

NJPW G1 Climax 2013: Night Two
Tokyo, Japan 8/2/13

1.) G1 Climax - Block B - Karl Anderson vs. Shelton Benjamin: **3/4

2.) G1 Climax - Block B - Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yujiro Takahashi: **1/2

3.) G1 Climax - Block B - Yugi Nagata vs. Toru Yano: **3/4

4.) G1 Climax - Block A - Lance Archer vs. Prince Devitt: ***1/2

5.) G1 Climax - Block A - Satoshi Kojima vs. Katsuyori Shibata: ****

6.) G1 Climax - Block A - Togi Makabe vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.: ***1/4

7.) G1 Climax - Block B - Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi: ****

8.) G1 Climax - Block B - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Minoru Suzuki: ***3/4

9.) G1 Climax - Block A - Hirooki Goto vs. Kazuchika Okada: ***3/4

10.) G1 Climax - Block A - Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi: ****1/2

Overall: 8.75/10

The first three matches were pretty average, but everything from Archer/Devitt onwards is good to very good to great. Smith & Archer continue to impress me with how good they've gotten. It's a shame they were let go by WWE & TNA, respectively. Guys like Nakamura & Takahashi have pretty entertaining characters and guys like Ibushi, Okada, Devitt, Shibata, Nagata, Anderson & Kojima are putting on solid performances. You had four really good to excellent matches in the second have and a Tanahashi/Ishii main event that was just fantastic. Night Two is a show you definitely need to check out.

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