Though some fans might be among the idea that Jericho vs Omega not only should've been the main event, but would go as far to say that it was the main event. However, I am one of the members of the concept that the World Championship should always main event a card no matter how well other matches are hyped. For someone who has never seen New Japan or the "Rainmaker" himself Okada is a freaking machine in the ring & clearly the franchise of New Japan. With how freaking hard hitting this match was it is incredible how long both Okada & Naito were able to go in this match.
There is no doubt that both Naito & Okada had an incredible 2017 with both men moving to another level and helping New Japan expand into the United States. Now with Tanahashi taking a step down the card into the Intercontinental title picture it left a spot open for a new face & it is perfect timing for Naito who is finding his way up the card himself. Okada on the other is slowly becoming on par with legends of the past like Fujinami, Inoki, or Great Muta who helped carry the company.
Though some fans believed that Naito should've came out the winner of the match as it was his time to become champion. However, at this point Okada is still chasing down the legacy of the previous "Ace" of New Japan which meant he had his own story. Which is just another why New Japan is so unique, because their are so many different stories & what if situations that it is very hard to keep track of them all. But I will say that this match was the only match that could've headlined the first major event of what promises to be an incredible year for New Japan.
For the last month New Japan Pro-Wrestling wrestlers have been dazzling audiences with show stealing performances across Japan. The reason is everyone in New Japan during this time of year, because it is G1 Climax season. Last week the 29th edition of the most prestigious tournament in wrestling came to a close with a surprising winner. Even though Kota has always been a marque name in wrestling he has never reached the level to breakthrough the junior heavyweight stigma that was place on him early in his career.
However, this isn't Ibushi's first trip to heavyweight division as he had a classic match a few years ago with Shinsuke Nakamura challenging for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Interesting note Kota Ibushi actually Kazuchika Okada in 2017 at the NJPW 45 Anniversary show the only difference was Kota was under a mask as Tiger Mask W. Upon his return to New Japan as Ibushi something changed, because from the start his stock began to slowly rise and rise. It hit it's peak or so I thought in his feud with Cody, but then the reformation of the Golden Lovers led to a matches with the Young Bucks.
Fast forward to this year and Ibushi becoming Intercontinental Champion by defeating Tetsuya Naito and even though the reign didn't last still it was his first taste of gold outside of the junior division. In my opinion, after the departures of Cody, Hangman Page, Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega for AEW it was time for New Japan to step up and make new stars. This decision is evidence of that Ibushi definitely has what it takes to become a star in New Japan and with the bumps I have seen him take he has earned his spot and this victory. I for one can't wait for Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi to tear the house down on January 4, 2020!!!
At this point, there is only three days left of this years G1 Climax with Monday giving us the finals of the G1 Climax. For me we have seen performances based on the status of champion with no champion really sticking out with a poor performance. It is interesting to see the current IWGP World Champion Kazuchika Okada as the World Champion never really sticks out as the top performer during the G1 Climax. This tournament is normally designed to set up the main event of Wrestle Kingdom the following year.
In my opinion, this is the reason that the WWE has forgotten how important a tournament can be as it allows the company to book for the long term. Much like in a battle royal the company build feuds out of the tournament. Seeing Kota Ibushi, Jay White, and SANADA defeat Will Osprey, Jon Moxley, and Okada respectively this normally leads to a future title match for the victors against the champions. The one name that sticks out for me is Hirooki Goto cause he holds a victory over both Jon Moxley and Tomohiro Ishii during the tournament. His victory over Moxley was one of Mox's only two loses since debuting in New Japan ahead of the tournament.
Overall if Kota Ibushi gets a victory over Okada then there will be a tie in the A Block and we need to see the breaking of a tie in the B Block. Part of me thinks that Okada could take the win in the tournament and they could find another way to set up the Wrestle Kingdom main event as a way to do something different. Another part of me thinks that they could be trying something different by giving either Goto or Ibushi as these two have never been given that chance and they could take the next five months to prepare them for the spot.
A BLOCK -- Saturday, Aug. 10 -- Tokyo -- Nippon Budokan
Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Will Ospreay
KENTA vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
EVIL vs. Lance Archer
SANADA vs. Bad Luck Fale
B BLOCK -- Sunday, Aug. 11 -- Tokyo -- Nippon Budokan
Juice Robinson vs. Jon Moxley
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Taichi
Toru Yano vs. Jeff Cobb
Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi
Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White
FINALS -- Monday, Aug. 12 -- Tokyo -- Nippon Budokan
A Block winner vs. B Block winner
As always wrestling gives us both great memories and memories we try and forget, but with the amount of moments worth remembering that have happened we are bound to forget some. The same could be said about some talent that were very much underrated during their career or never at the top of a company during a run this unfortunately makes it easier for fans to forget certain talent. These two are very different talent and had two very different careers while they worked in this great business. Sometimes we encounter those that deserve to be remembered and acknowledged. I would like to wish a very big Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating their special day today and especially to the one featured below.
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