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New Japan on AXS report: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi, more from G1 '15


As we’re heading into the middle of this year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament, we’re also going back and taking a look at last year’s G1 tournament. We start off on action in Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center from July 20, 2015.

Tetsuya Naito vs. Bad Luck Fale

Solid match. Fale usually performs pretty well with great performers and this was one of those matches. Naito won with a roll up. Not much more to say about it other than Naito starting the Los Ingobernables phase seems way longer than just a year ago. I don’t know if it’s just time coming to a standstill or I just watch way too much New Japan.

AJ Styles vs. Katsuyori Shibata

Really good. Not out of this world awesome but a great 13 minute match. Good back and forth match with Styles winning after the Styles Clash. What a difference a year makes - AJ’s still the same performer that he was here in the WWE. I really think going to Japan gave him the confidence to be a true main event headliner, like TNA tried to do with him but there were always start and stop pushes that prevented him from really becoming a star. It’s all about the lay of the land.

Hiroshi Tanahashi talked about his match with Kota Ibushi. He said he felt insecure going into the match, mentioning his battles with Nakamura and Okada and wondered what he could do. Eventually, the last day before the match, he decided all he could do was be himself.

Kota Ibushi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

It’s so weird the career trajectory path Ibushi chose. He’s here having a match with one of the best babyfaces in world and in one of the biggest promotions, and now he’s in the IGF and wrestling blow up dolls. Sure, he might be in the Cruiserweight Classic tournament coming up but he’s really fallen off the radar with his weird side projects. This was really built up well. Crowd was hot, and it lead to some great near falls. Ibushi as a performer is just stellar- facials, mannerisms, everything. Ibushi isn’t as flashy as Ricochet or Will Ospreay but does enough crazy stuff as a heavyweight that he still stands out. Tanahashi got the win with the high fly flow.

Tanahashi promised to win the G1 in a post match interview. Backstage, Kota Ibushi says he accepted today’s loss as Tanahashi is an amazing performer. Tanahashi says Ibushi is ambitious, and as long as Ibushi is here the future is bright. Oops.

Tanahashi says he was impressed by Ibushi during the match. He was injured during the match, and mentioned his neck injury. The match wasn’t fun, but was interesting. When asked if he would want to face Ibushi again, he said absolutely, as he is looking forward to Ibushi coming back soon. Don’t think he is, unfortunately!

A fun show this week. Main event is great. I guess the underlying theme of the show is that a lot can happen in a year.