There’s so much wrestling. It’s constant, never stopping and all-consuming. And it’s absolutely bloody brilliant.
We’re basically three-quarters of the way through the G1 tournament with the finals on the weekend horizon but, for many, it’s hard to keep up with all the goings-on. Who’s doing well? Who’s surprising everyone? Who’s doing surprisingly terrible? (sorry Zack). And this is where I come in!
Below, please find my top five performers from this years G1 in terms of both match results and points gained whilst also looking at in-ring work and character development. This is obviously just my opinion though so you may fully agree with everyone here or think I’m a damn fool and Shingo is dominating…ok, nobody will think that BUT STILL. Again, as usual, the list is in no particular order as every one of these guys has had a fantastic tournament. Let’s have a look.
5. Tomohiro Ishii
Oh look, Daniel’s raving about how much he loves Ishii again, what a surprise. WELL ACTUALLY. This time, it’s irrefutable as he went four for three in terms of wins and losses so haha, he’s the best. Tomohiro has been on an interesting journey in this G1; almost in a win, loss, win, loss run. Losing to megastars such as Tetsuya Naito and Jon Moxley but getting huge wins against established New Japan talent such as Juice Robinson and Jay White; the stone pit-bull has been putting on fantastic matches. Earlier in the week, I saw a number of tweets from people who were using this years G1 as an introduction to New Japan as a whole who were blown away by both Ishii’s in-ring work and character base. He has been exceptional and, whilst he probably won’t be winning the B Block; has had a fantastic tournament overall.
4. Jay White
Going from a man everyone loves to someone who is as welcoming as steel (see what I did, knife/steel= switchblade); the kiwi Jay White has really turned it around in recent days. After losing his first three in a row; he has been on a tear But, when you win four in a row and give Jon Moxley his first pinfall loss in New Japan, you’re doing something right. Of course, being helped by his Bullet Club henchmen, White seems like a madman on a mission with his new bedraggled look and attitude. Not yet facing one of his most storied opponents in the form of Juice Robinson and one of the biggest and brightest talents New Japan has to offer in Naito, White will have to continue his crafty ways and break his duck if he wants to have a chance at winning the block. However, it would be foolish to argue that he’s not performed well in this competition, despite his most recent form. I’m probably biased due to my love for him but hey, that’s why you’re here.
Moving from the security of the B block to the complete and utter star power of the A Block; we fall at the doorstep of a potentially surprising addition, SANADA. Whilst Ibushi, Okada and his own tag partner, EVIL, have been fantastic this year in terms of results; SANADA was involved in one of the biggest moments in the tournament so far. Kazuchika Okada has defeated SANADA in every previous meeting between the two so, when they faced off against each other earlier this week, the same was expected by many of the fanbase who tuned in. But, with less than 90 seconds of the allotted time left, he did it. Not only did he break Okada’s streak against him, but he also handed the Rainmaker his first loss of the tournament. Apart from this one match, he hasn’t had that great of a tournament but has undoubtedly been a part of the biggest moment thus far.
2 Kazuchika Okada
Despite everything I’ve just said about SANADA…Okada’s only lost once. He’s just amazing. The Rainmaker is continuing his path of dominance and just walking past all forms of competition placed in front of him. Okada has even more eyes on him than even he is perhaps used to however due to that shiny thing around his waist. Being the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, it means he could find himself as a part of Japanese royalty again as, if he wins the tournament overall, he would become only the third ever IWGP Champion to win the G1 whilst holding the very championship everyone is attempting to claim. The only other two are Keiji Mutoh and Kensuke Sasaki. There is, however, another man on the horizon, who Okada could fall to. Kota Ibushi faces him in the final match of the block and, if Ibushi has kept winning, would mean the ‘Golden Star’ would overtake ‘The Rainmaker’. It’s going to be an incredible match. But regardless, Okada will be riding incredibly high right now.
1. Jon Moxley
Look how much fun he’s having. Look at the genuine joy he has in his eyes whenever he’s talking, wrestling, attempting to buy DVD’s – anything. Jon Moxley has been, in my opinion, THE standout from this year’s tournament purely down to his personality exploding through the screen and grabbing you by the throat. Whoever decided to pair Shota Umino with Moxley deserve a knighthood. They’re one of the most refreshing pairings in wrestling today, period.
They’re actually funny together which is incredibly hard to have happen – especially with two thrown together people who barely speak each other’s languages. Also, yeah he’s just won a lot. Despite losing his last two matches, he has been fantastic in the tournament and has had a renewed energy that hasn’t been seen in the man for years and years. I do think he’s going to win the B Block but, let’s be honest, he’s not winning the tournament. Due to his AEW connections, he won’t be winning. But still. He has been absolutely exceptional and the 29th edition of the G1 has provided Jon Moxley with the room to breathe he has needed for the first time in a long time.
You can find me on Twitter @McIverTheMark. Thanks for reading.