G1 Climax Recap: Naito wins G1

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At long last, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax Tournament has concluded and we have a winner: Tetsuya Naito.

Naito won in a physically tough final over Bullet Club leader Kenny Omega. As the standard, you should definitely go out of your way to watch this match.

For these two to go out and put on an incredible match, especially after a long-grueling tournament, it’s amazing. These two put their bodies on the line to give the crowd a show.

Both men, especially Omega, put on a hell of a tournament. And nobody is writing Omega off. He scored arguably the biggest win of his career Saturday over Kazuchika Okada. He’s the IWGP US Champion. It’s clear his star status isn’t dropping anytime soon. He’s far and away the best wrestler from North America, and quite possibly the world. He might even be the best wrestler in this universe.  I’d watch Omega wrestle and defeat space aliens on Neptune. We all probably would.

If I had to pick an MVP for this G1, it’s Omega. All of Omega’s A-Block matches were great. Whether against Suzuki, Juice Robinson, even Toru Yano, Omega brought it every night. He still had a lot left in the tank against Okada, and even Sunday versus Naito.

With all that, some took to Twitter to thank Kenny Omega and I’d like to do the same thing.

Thank you, Kenny Omega!

Thank you for busting your ass and making it an easy reason for me to wake up really early to watch you wrestle. I loved this G1 and you played a big role in that tournament.

Omega and Okada have been linked together as the best wrestlers in the world. However, we shouldn’t leave Naito out of that conversation. Naito had a terrific G1 Climax tournament, fighting his way through the A-Block.

With Naito winning, his biggest reward is not just the G1 Climax Trophy, but also a main event title shot at the January 4 show better known as Wrestle Kingdom. Naito and Los Ingobernobles de Japon are undoubtedly one of the hottest acts in New Japan. To discount Naito is to discount…well lots of things! Naito needed this win.

This G1 win was much different compared to when he won it in 2013. For one thing, he was a babyface during that time. Los Ingobernables de Japon didn’t even exist. A lot changed for Naito in between his G1 wins.

He became smoother, more confident, willing to kick a lot of ass. Naito became a wrestler that everyone could get behind, and most did. We’re obviously big Naito fans here at The Open Man, or at least I am.
I can’t speak for everyone else.

(Editor’s note: The author’s note alone, as the below LIJ t-shirt suggests.)

All in all, this tournament served as a way for us to know who the top guys are and why they’re important. We know these men. We know their strengths and weaknesses and we’re willing to go on a ride with them when they face off against each other.

The top guys of New Japan can easily be broken down to these four men:

  • Okada
  • Omega
  • Naito
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi

These four raised the bar in this tournament, especially Omega and Okada. Night after night, they put on some awesome matches. These are some of the best matches that anybody might ever see.

If this was your first time watching G1, you saw some amazing matches and probably a few that you’ll never forget. I know I’ll remember a lot of these matches. If you still have New Japan World, then you should definitely go back and watch these shows again.

In the end, I’m pretty sad to see this tournament end. On the plus side, I can finally get back to a normal sleeping pattern. We can all sleep in tomorrow…unless you have to work.

So…good night!