For the first time ever, the G1 Climax will begin in the United States.
The American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas will be home to the 29th opening day of the G1 tournament. Tonight’s card will feature A Block tournament matches, with Hiroshi Tanahashi taking on Kazuchika Okada in a battle between two of NJPW’s biggest stars in the main event.
KENTA will also officially arrive in NJPW as he faces Kota Ibushi in the semi-main. The other tournament matches set for tonight are: SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr., EVIL vs. Bad Luck Fale, and Will Ospreay vs. Lance Archer.
The undercard for tonight’s show will feature a mixture of B Block participants (minus Jon Moxley and Taichi), junior heavyweights, and young lions. Jushin Thunder Liger will be in action as he teams with Juice Robinson & Toru Yano against Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI. The opening bout will feature the Guerillas of Destiny taking on Roppongi 3K’s SHO & YOH.
The show will air live on AXS TV in the United States and will be live on New Japan World elsewhere. Join us for live coverage starting at 6 p.m. Eastern time.
TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA DEFEATED SHO & YOH
SHO and YOH hit big dives at the outset, but were quickly cut off. Tonga and Loa isolated SHO in their corner, working him over. Both Tonga and Loa delivered slingshot sentons.
SHO came back with a spear to Tonga, and made a tag to YOH. YOH landed a dropkick to Loa, then a flying forearm on Tonga. YOH hit a head-and-arm suplex into a bridge for a nearfall, as the crowd got behind Roppongi 3K.
YOH blocked a gun stun, and SHO and YOH hit stereo knee strikes on both members of G.O.D. Tonga popped up and hit a gun stun out of nowhere on SHO. Loa hit a super powerbomb on YOH off the second rope, and Tonga covered for the pin. A hot opener.
JEFF COBB & REN NARITA DEFEATED TOMOHIRO ISHII & SHOTA UMINO
Ishii and Cobb started off with an awesome big hoss battle. Ishii no-sold a dropkick, and Cobb no-sold a shoulder tackle. Umino and Narita tagged in, and Umino gave his team the advantage, dropping Narita with a back elbow.
Ishii tagged in. He teased a brainbuster, but Narita reversed it into a suplex. Cobb got a tag, and ran wild with suplexes on Umino and Ishii. Cobb hit a spinning backbreaker on Ishii for a nearfall.
Cobb and Ishii traded strikes, which got a nice reaction. Ishii ducked a forearm, and landed a German suplex. Ishii tagged Umino, who hit a missile dropkick. Umino went for a fisherman buster, but Cobb blocked it. Umino settled for a vertical suplex, earning a nearfall.
The match broke down. Ishii dropped Cobb with a forearm. Narita took out Ishii with a dropkick. Narita then hit a belly-to-belly on Umino, and Cobb hit the Tour of the Islands on Umino for the pin.
Cobb and Ishii got into a wild brawl after the bell. Narita and some security guys pulled them apart. Cobb ended up with a bloody nose. This was great.
HIROOKI GOTO & YOSHI-HASHI DEFEATED JAY WHITE & CHASE OWENS
Owens and White used a distraction from Gedo on the outside to score some early offense on Goto. Goto came back with a big right hand to Owens, then tagged YOSHI-HASHI. YH hit a dropkick to Owens, but another Gedo distraction allowed White to pull YH to the floor.
White sent YH into the barricade and the ring frame. Owens hit a backbreaker. YH hit a headhunter on Owens. White got a tag, and YH nailed him with a headhunter as well.
Goto tagged in, and hit White with a hip toss, a clothesline, then a Saito suplex. Owens jumped in for an illegal double team, but Goto locked him in a single-leg crab. Goto went for an ushigoroshi on White, but White turned it into a Saito suplex of his own.
Owens tagged in. He hit Goto with forearms, but Goto no-sold them. Owens hit a knee strike, then hit Jewel Heist for a nearfall. White hit a brainbuster, and Owens hit a running knee. He covered, but YH made the save.
Owens went for a package piledriver, but YH again made the save. Goto clotheslined White to the floor, then hit an ushigoroshi on Owens. Goto hit the GTR on Owens for the pin.
They didn't get a lot of time, but this was fine for what it was.
TORU YANO, JUICE ROBINSON & JUSHIN LIGER DEFEATED TETSUYA NAITO, SHINGO TAKAGI & BUSHI
BUSHI and Liger kicked things off. BUSHI raked the eyes. Liger tried for the Romero Special, but LIJ jumped in to triple-team him. Shingo and Naito took out Juice and Yano on the floor, while BUSHI went for Liger's mask on the inside.
Naito got a tag, and he used a sleeper on Liger. Shingo tagged in. He continued to work on Liger, until Liger cut him off with a Shotei. Juice got a tag. Shingo and Juice exchanged strikes. Shingo avoided a Juice Box. Juice avoided a sliding lariat, then hit a full nelson bomb for a two count.
Juice hit a series of jabs. Shingo hit a big left hand. They traded lariats, and Juice hit the Left Hand of God. Shingo countered with a noshigami, into a double down.
Yano and Naito tagged in. Naito untied a corner pad, exposing a turnbuckle. Naito hit the combinacion cabron. Yano used a schoolboy for a nearfall. They traded hair pulls. Naito hit a neckbreaker, then tagged BUSHI.
LIJ went 3-on-1 against Yano. Naito and BUSHI hit double dropkicks. BUSHI went for a cover, but Juice and Liger saved.
While Liger, Naito, Shingo and Juice brawled to the floor, Yano hit a low blow on BUSHI, then used a schoolboy for the pin. The crowd was super into seeing Liger, which really made the match.
They announced a U.S. tour, September 27 in Boston, September 28 in New York at Hammerstein Ballroom, and September 29 at the ECW Arena.
G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH: LANCE ARCHER DEFEATED WILL OSPREAY
Archer has a new look. Kind of a Ruby Riott/Michael Hayes/Bull Nakano haircut.
Archer charged Ospreay before the bell, but Ospreay caught him, and hit a standing Spanish Fly. He followed with a corkscrew dive off the post to the floor, then hit a springboard 450 for a nearfall.
Ospreay sent Archer outside with a springboard dropkick. He went for a Sasuke Special, but Archer caught him, then chokeslammed him over the barricade, through a table. Back inside, Archer hit a series of hard chops. He did the rope-walk spot, then used a chinlock. Ospreay was bleeding from the nose.
Ospreay came back with a handspring kick. He hit a top rope 619, then Pip Pip Cheerio, and got a two count. Ospreay avoided one Pounce, then hit a high kick. Archer got the Pounce on his second attempt, then hit a buckle bomb.
Archer hit a Last Ride, and Ospreay rolled outside. Archer hit a powerbomb on the apron. Archer went for another powerbomb on the ramp, but Ospreay turned it into a Code Red. Archer had a tough time going over for the move.
They teased a double countout, but both made it back in at 19. Ospreay hit a shooting star to Archer, and got a nearfall. Archer blocked one Oscutter. Ospreay hit an Oscutter, but Archer kicked out at two.
Ospreay teased a Storm Breaker and a Hidden Blade, but Archer blocked both. Archer hit a muscle buster, but Ospreay kicked out at two. Archer hit Blackout, and again Ospreay kicked out.
Archer used the EBD Claw, but Ospreay reached the ropes. They climbed to the top rope. Archer went for a top rope chokeslam, but Ospreay turned it into a Spanish Fly off the top for a two count.
Ospreay got Archer up for the Storm Breaker, but Archer slipped out. Archer went for a chokeslam, but Ospreay hit a series of kicks. Ospreay went for a super Oscutter off the ropes, but Archer cut him off. Archer hit a running knee with Ospreay seated on the top rope.
Archer hit a super Blackout off the top. He went back to the EBD Claw, and used it to drive Ospreay to the mat. With the claw still applied, Archer got the pin.
A very good match. Not at the level of Ospreay's recent stretch of incredible matches, but probably the best match of Archer's life. The big man/smaller man dynamic worked great here.
G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH: BAD LUCK FALE DEFEATED EVIL
EVIL went after Fale before the bell. They brawled to the floor, where Fale hit a slam on the ramp. Back inside, Fale used stomps to the abdomen. He hit a series of forearms to the back, then some more to the head. Fale made a cocky cover with one foot, and got a two count.
EVIL came back with a slam, then clotheslined Fale to the floor. EVIL grabbed a chair, but Fale cut him off. Fale grabbed the chair, but EVIL blocked a chair shot. He placed the chair around Fale's neck, then sent him head-first into the post.
Back inside, EVIL hit a senton in the corner for a two count. EVIL hit a lariat, but Fale didn't go down. EVIL hit a second, dropping Fale to a knee. He went for a third, but Fale cut him off with a shoulder tackle.
Fale hit a big splash for a two count. Fale brought a chair into the ring, but EVIL kicked it away, then hit a lariat for a nearfall. They traded finisher teases. Fale hit a Grenade for a nearfall.
Fale went for the Bad Luck Fall, but EVIL slid out. EVIL hit a lariat to Fale, but also took out the referee, who took a bump to the floor.
EVIL grabbed a chair. He went to swing it, but Fale hit a low blow. Fale put a chair around EVIL's neck, then hit the chair with another chair. The ref was revived, and Fale hit the Bad Luck Fall for the pin.
They tried. It's tough for anyone other than Okada to have a good match with Fale. They did a lot of Okada/Fale spots early on, but then they had to resort to smoke and mirrors.
G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH: SANADA DEFEATED ZACK SABRE JR.
They had a crazy exchange on the mat at the outset. They followed that up with a series of rolling cradle exchanges. SANADA went for a paradise lock, but Sabre slipped out. SANADA rolled to the floor to regroup.
They exchanged holds. Sabre hit an uppercut, the first strike of the match. SANADA hit a dropkick, and Sabre rolled to the floor. SANADA teased a dive, but Sabre stepped away. SANADA held the ropes for Sabre to get back in the ring, but Sabre took a stroll, stalling.
Back inside, Sabre caught SANADA in an armbar. SANADA quickly reached the ropes. SANADA hit the ropes, but Sabre caught him in a cobra twist. SANADA escaped, then hit a leapfrog dropkick. He teased the follow-up plancha, but Sabre rolled back inside.
SANADA applied the paradise lock over the bottom rope. He broke the hold with a dropkick, then hit the plancha. Back inside, SANADA hit a back suplex for a two count.
SANADA went for a TKO, but Sabre turned it into an octopus hold. Sabre slipped to a crucifix hold on the mat, but SANADA forced a rope break.
SANADA managed to apply Skull End, but Sabre broke the hold, hit a DDT, then applied his own variation of Skull End. SANADA powered out. He tried for a TKO, but Sabre slipped to a hanging guillotine choke. SANADA popped out, and hit a neckbreaker.
SANADA hit a TKO for a nearfall. He went for a moonsault, but landed on his feet, as Sabre rolled out of the way. SANADA tried for a backslide, but Sabre escaped, then hit a PK.
Sabre went for the Zack Driver. SANADA turned it into Skull End. He went up top for a moonsault, but Sabre got his knees up, then slapped on a triangle choke. SANADA powered out, then hit a moonsault into Skull End.
Sabre rolled into a European clutch for a nearfall.
SANADA reversed the clutch into one of his own, and got the pinfall.
This was something of a style clash. The last few minutes were good, but the first half of the match didn't do anything for me. The crowd loved it, though.
G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH: KENTA DEFEATED KOTA IBUSHI
Dueling chants early on. They locked up, but nothing came of it. KENTA hit a short kick. They locked up again. Ibushi backed into the ropes. KENTA did not break cleanly, and landed a hard slap on the break. Ibushi responded with a hard slap.
KENTA wore a sleeve on his left arm, and Ibushi began targeting that arm with kicks. KENTA draped Ibushi over the middle rope, then hit a knee drop off the second rope. KENTA hit a series of mid kicks, and Ibushi sold them big. KENTA covered for a nearfall, then went to a chinlock.
KENTA hit a knee lift, then a PK. KENTA hit a couple of knee drops to the back of the head. Ibushi fired up. He hit a series of short elbows to the neck. KENTA fired back with his own, then hit another big kick. He covered, but Ibushi kicked out at one.
KENTA went back to the chinlock. Ibushi elbowed out, then hit a dropkick. Ibushi hit a powerslam, then a second rope moonsault for a nearfall. KENTA hit a leg lariat. KENTA hit a series of bump-and-feed clotheslines, then hit an exploder.
KENTA went to the top, and hit a clothesline for a two count. He went for a tornado DDT, but Ibushi cut him off with strikes, and dropped him to the apron. Ibushi teased a deadlift German from the apron, but KENTA blocked it.
Ibushi sent KENTA to the floor with a backflip kick. Ibushi tried for a pescado, but KENTA caught him with a knee on the landing. It looked as though Ibsuhi jammed his ankle on the floor on landing.
KENTA draped Ibushi over the barricade, and hit a double stomp. Ibushi's head hit the barricade on impact. Back inside, KENTA hit a springboard dropkick, a yakuza kick, then a delayed dropkick in the corner.
KENTA hit a double stomp off the top for a nearfall. KENTA teased the GTS. Ibushi slipped out, and landed a hard clothesline. Ibushi hit a Last Ride for a nearfall.
Ibushi went for a Kamigoye. KENTA reversed into GTS position. Ibushi slid out, and KENTA landed a jumping knee strike.
They exchanged strikes from their knees. They got to their feet, and continued to trade. KENTA hit a high kick for a nearfall. With Ibushi on his knees, KENTA hit four head kicks. He made a cover, but Ibushi kicked out.
KENTA pulled down his knee pad, and hit the Go To Sleep for the pin.
They had an awesome match. But as I find myself saying far too often after an Ibushi match, I hope Ibushi is okay. He took some real shots to the head.
KENTA helped Ibushi to his feet after the match. They shook hands, then embraced.
G1 CLIMAX 29 A BLOCK MATCH: KAZUCHIKA OKADA DEFEATED HIROSHI TANAHASHI
The crowd gave them a standing ovation at the opening bell, then a "New Japan" chant broke out. They locked up. Okada teased breaking cleanly on the ropes, but Tana slapped him, and it was on.
They did a series of signature move teases. Okada went for a Rainmaker, Tana went for a Slingblade. Tana used a headlock takeover, and Okada used a headscissors to escape. Tana hit a senton, then played air guitar.
Tana went to the second rope for a senton, but Okada hit a dropkick, and Tana spilled to the floor. Okada hit a DDT on the floor at the five minute mark.
Back inside, Okada hit a dropkick to a seated Okada. Tana found himself backed into the corner. Okada hit a back elbow, then a dragon screw. He hit a neckbreaker for a nearfall, then used a chinlock. Tana got sent into the ropes, but bounced off, then hit a dragon screw of his own.
Tana hit a flying forearm, then a running dropkick in the corner. He followed up with a somersault senton off the second rope for a nearfall at the ten minute mark.
Okada hit a back elbow in one corner. He sent Tana to the opposite corner, hit another back elbow, then connected with a DDT for a two count.
Tana blocked an air raid crash. He stepped to the apron, then hit a dragon screw over the ropes. Okada caught Tana coming in, and landed a flapjack. Tana hit a dropkick to the knee, but Okada countered with an air raid crash for a nearfall.
Okada hit a slam, then went to the top. He landed an elbow off the top, then hit his Rainmaker pose. Tana pulled him right out of the pose into a cradle for a two count, then hit an inverted dragon screw. Tana used a cloverleaf, but Okada forced a rope break.
Tana hit another inverted dragon screw at the fifteen minute mark. Okada rolled to the floor. With Okada standing on the floor, Tana hit a High Fly Flow.
Back inside, Tana hit Twist and Shout. Okada countered with a shotgun dropkick.
Tana hit Slingblade, and Okada countered with a dropkick. Okada teased a tombstone, but Tana hit another Slingblade. Tana hit a standing High Fly Flow. With Okada down, he went for a standard High Fly Flow, but Okada got his knees up.
They tried to tombstone each other, but both blocked. Tana went for Slingblade, but Okada caught him in a backslide, pulled him up, then hit a Rainmaker. He kept wrist control, then hit a second Rainmaker.
He went for a third, but Tana pulled him into a small package for a very close nearfall.
Tana hit a dragon suplex into a bridge for another close nearfall.
Tana blocked a Rainmaker, and grabbed Okada's wrist. He hit a series of slaps to the face, maintaining wrist control. He hit the ropes, but ran right into a spinning tombstone from Okada.
Okada hit a third Rainmaker for the pin.
Okada cut a promo in English after the match. He said tonight was the first time G1 was in America, but it will not be the last. He said next time he comes to Dallas, he will be the G1 champion, and the IWGP Champion. He thanked the crowd.
A great main event, capping a very good show.