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NJPW G1 Climax 2015 Final Recap

NJPW G1 Climax 2015: Final

Watch on: NJPW World

Well, here it is, the final showdown.  Nineteen 3 plus hour shows, extending over a month and a half–A daunting task for even the most hardcore wrestling fan. However, this kind of lengthy tournament is best enjoyed by picking and choosing what you watch, following who has a buzz around them, or simply following your favorite wrestlers matches.  This tournament wasn’t short on great match ups to choose from, consisting of many that could easily be put in the notoriously every growing match of the year category.

Throughout this tournament, I was hopeful for several individuals to have a good showing (Kota Ibushi and AJ Styles to be more specific), so I was more than a little underwhelmed when the final consisted of two seasoned veterans rather than someone more new, progressive and exciting. Despite the excitement factor being a little absent; the final between Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura delivered on all levels.  They’re well respected veterans for a reason, after all.

If you somehow managed to watch all these shows from start to finish, you are a greater fan than I, but It’s safe to say that most people will pick this show as their one and only foray into the G1 Climax.  If you think the final is good, then don’t cheat yourself out of seeing some great wrestling that has taken place over the past two months.  Kota Ibushi, AJ Styles, Shibata, Naito, Nakamura, and Tanahashi all had matches worth checking out in nearly all of their outings.

But now let’s dig into to the G1 Final that it’s all been leading to…

Young Bucks vs. reDRagon

It was refreshing to see a standard 4-man tag rather than the triple threats that usually involve these teams. There’s really no replacement for a classic tag match, and the Bucks and reDRagon have the formula bottled and ready to go at all times.  This particular outing didn’t really bring anything new to the table, but there were certainly great moments to warrant giving this match a watch.

The Young Bucks seemed a little slow at times, but reDRagon was more than able to keep the match on the up and up.  I’m not entirely sure why a title change was necessary here, but the crowd seems to really respond to reDRagon, so I guess that’s all that really matters.  I think the junior tag division could use some fresh opponents– despite these matches being perfectly executed, their excitement has waned.  These guys work so well together, but it would be nice to see them branch out.

Winner: and new IWGP jr. tag team champions reDRagon

Ricochet vs. Kushida

This was easily my favorite match on the card, and a perfect first title defense for Kushida’s newly won IWGP jr. heavyweight championship.  Ricochet, though not present on any of the New Japan shows for the past year, still holds a lot of clout as a competitor in the fan’s eyes.  That being said, Ricochet was the perfect man to take the pin fall from Kushida, not only because of his status, but also because of how well the two worked together.

The match itself mostly revolved around Kushida working over Ricochet’s arm to set him up for the hoverboard lock (which did eventually secure Kushida’s victory), but the pair executed some extremely athletic, progressive spots in the process.  Ricochet’s unassisted senton over the turnbuckle post was flat out ridiculous, yet he somehow managed to land as light as a feather. This turned out to be a general theme of the match. I haven’t been exposed too much of Ricochet’s work, but I hope he sticks around for a while.

I’m not entirely sure where Kushida goes from here.  At the conclusion of the match, Ricochet seemed adamant about getting another shot, but the victory was about as clean cut as it can get.  I was hoping Kenny Omega would do to a run in–which could lead to some great triple threats–but that was not the case.  Regardless, I’m excited to see which direction Kushida goes from here, wherever that may be.

Winner: Kushida

The Kingdom & Kazuchika Okada vs. The Bullet Club: AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson

I’m fairly certain if it weren’t for Maria Kanellis, the Kingdom would be non-entities in NJPW.  Fortunately, they are lucky that the Japanese audience appreciates gratuitous ass shots.  If you were to compare Matt Taven and Michael Bennett’s camera time to Maria’s during the Kingdom’s entrance, the percentages would be something like 10% Kingdom and 90% Maria.

This match was a match.  Okada seemed out of place, but his spots with AJ were the standout that made this match watchable.  The biggest thing that came out of this was AJ pinning Okada, and then holding the IWGP title over his head.  I can only assume that this will lead to another match between the two, but this could only serve as a detour to Okada’s likely destination that was decided in the final match of the show…

Winner: AJ Styles and the Bullet Club

G1 Climax Final: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Both men put on some great performances throughout the G1 this year, but Tanahashi had especially great matches with many of the competitors.  Last I heard, Tanahashi was dealing with the pains that come with being an aging, veteran wrestler–namely back problems–but his performances portrayed a man with significant gas left in the tank.

Nakamura and Tanahashi pulled off some of the closest false finishes possible, and they did it over, and over, and over again. The match was easily four-star quality, and the most memorable outing that I’ve seen these two men have in recent memory.  Tanahashi’s victory–though not particularly exciting–leads to one of the most logical rematches at Wrestle Kingdom 10.  I can only assume that Okada will remain IWGP champion until January 4th 2016, which would result in him possibly redeeming himself after his heartbreaking loss to the veteran at Wrestle Kingdom 9.  It would make sense to fully pass the torch to the young champion, however the first step in that direction was slightly underwhelming.

Winner: G1 Climax 2015 winner Hiroshi Tanahashi

About Blake Goodwin

Blake Goodwin
Blake Goodwin is a 26-year-old writer living in Austin, TX and has been a wrestling fan since 1997. He can be reached on Twitter @blakegoodwinn and email him at blakegoodwin136@gmail.com.

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