Now that the G1 Climax 29 is behind us, it’s time to look at and rank the best matches. Today we’ll be looking at matches 21-29 and like always feel free to tell me how wrong I am and what matches you would put in these spots instead. Let’s get started!
29. Jay White vs Taichi (ENG/JPN)
A battle between the two biggest sleaze balls of the tournament. This worked better than Bullet Club versus Suzuki-Gun matches of the past couple of years thanks in large part to neither guy trying to play the tweener. They didn’t care if you didn’t like them, this was about feeding their egos and by the end both were sufficiently fed.
28. Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto (ENG/JPN)
Two men of similar ilk having a classic big boy battle. Shingo’s entire tournament was one giant dream run. Each match felt like a special event and his tournament being capped off with a win over Goto was a perfect conclusion. Shingo now heads to the heavyweight division fulltime to the protest of no one.
27. Tomohiro Ishii vs Jay White (ENG/JPN)
You must bring your A game when you’re wrestling Ishii. He’s not going to fall for your tricks, you’re going to be forced to fight and Jay White showed he’s not ready for a fight at Ishii’s level. White gets knocked by some for leaning on his character work as opposed to pure in-ring wrestling but it worked perfectly in this situation.
26. Will Ospreay vs Lance Archer (ENG/JPN)
Kicking off his tournament with a huge statement, Archer came into the G1 super motivated to show that he’s more than a tag team wrestler. Fired up to be wrestling in his home state, Archer went all out and had the perfect opponent to showcase with in Will Ospreay.
25. Kazuchika Okada vs KENTA (ENG/JPN)
The former ace of Pro Wrestling NOAH meets the current ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling. This match had mouths salivating well before the blocks were announced. Classic KENTA made an appearance with his brutal strikes to the face and in classic Okada fashion, he took all of the abuse and showed his dominance.
24. Shingo Takagi vs Jeff Cobb (ENG/JPN)
Both guys came in with very little experience against the majority of the G1 field but they had history wrestling each other. Last year these two met in the PWG Battle of Los Angeles final which helped Cobb have some sort of base to work from to create both a fluid and entertaining match. Shingo treated his G1 a lot like Tomohiro Ishii in that he always found a way to make his opponent look great.
23. Tetsuya Naito vs Juice Robinson (ENG/JPN)
A common knock on Naito’s G1 was his reliance on character work rather than in-ring wrestling. This match may be the greatest example of that argument but there’s no denying this match was both memorable and wacky. These two goofing on each other, stealing poses and being all around jerks was one of the highlights in the middle stages of the tournament.
22. Tetsuya Naito vs Jon Moxley (ENG/JPN)
The biggest upset in the tournament to this point was when Moxley defeated Naito. Everyone thought the stars were aligned for Naito to be Moxley’s first loss. It was a main event and a big spot to give Naito that win but it didn’t happen. This was the match that turned the G1 on its head and a result that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
21. Zack Sabre Jr. vs Will Ospreay (ENG/JPN)
A rivalry that’s spanned across the UK and U.S. finally made its way to Japan. This was the first time two British wrestlers met in the G1 Climax, making this both a historic and really cool moment for British wrestling. A heavy dose of counter wrestling showed off their familiarity with one another and created an exciting match both in terms of in–ring and its historical significance.