G1 29, SummerSlam, NXT: Highlights from great weekend in wrestling
Let’s start with G1 Climax 29, and who we should consider the MVP of the greatest 19 days in pro wrestling in 2019.
Kota Ibushi ended up the big winner, defeating Jay White in the main event of Monday’s show to earn the title shot at Kazuchika Okada at New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom show in January.
Ibushi finished the tournament with an 8-2 record, including wins over White, Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, so, there’s one obvious candidate for G1 MVP.
White went 6-4, but his course over the past month solidified his status as the Best Heel on Earth.
Jon Moxley finished 5-4, and on a four-match losing streak, after rolling to a 5-0 start in the B block, but, I have to say, he’s so much more compelling now than before he started his run in the G1.
I wasn’t much interested, for instance, in Dean Ambrose vs. Kenny Omega on the AEW “All Out” pay-per-view coming up later this month, but after G1, Ambrose is dead, long live Jon Moxley.
Shingo Takagi had a middling 4-5 record in the B block, but that’s actually impressive considering how New Japan normally books junior heavyweights.
Takagi’s matches with Tetsuya Naito and Tomohiro Ishii are must-watches.
Even Taichi came across as a star, and that’s saying something. Again, a match with Ishii is a highlight. The Taichi-Ishii match from the concluding night in B block action is worth a watch.
And we’re not even talking much here about Okada, who went 7-2, with classics all over: his losses to Sanada and Ibushi, his wins over Tanahashi, Kenta and Will Ospreay.
I’m going to go with the boring choice of Ibushi as my G1 MVP, mainly because, I’m looking forward to the Okada-Ibushi rematch in January, and the build over the next four months.
WWE Weekend: Highs and Lows
Surprised by the booking decision in the Seth Rollins-Brock Lesnar match, having Rollins go over again, cleanly, for the Universal title, if only because, what does that mean now for Lesnar?
You have to assume that Lesnar is going on the shelf for a while now, if not, is it possible that Lesnar is done now?
WWE has had Lesnar lose to a much smaller guy twice in the last four months, on the two biggest shows of the year.
Not sure what value he has anymore based on that.
- The booking on Kofi Kingston-Randy Orton made no sense. The double-countout finish itself wasn’t very well thought out, in terms of where they may want to go next with these two, and the execution of said dumb finish made it worse. Seriously, that had to be the fastest countout in wrestling history. That had to be a ref botch.
- Adam Cole is the next HBK. Johnny Gargano is the next Daniel Bryan. They’re being booked that way in NXT. Hope that lingers for both when they get the callup to the main roster.
- The best women’s match of the weekend, hands down, was Io Shirai-Candice LeRae. There were three title matches between NXT Takeover and SummerSlam, and none came close.
- The second best: Trish Stratus-Charlotte Flair. (Another match without a title as a prop. Huh.)
- Stratus, by the way, dang, she still has it. Good for her that her retirement match came off that well. Kurt Angle had his retirement match earlier this year, at WrestleMania, and didn’t look nearly as good. Of course, he was working with Baron Corbin, and Stratus had Charlotte Flair, so, maybe an unfair comparison.
- Natalya didn’t come across well to me in the submission match with Becky Lynch. Her lack of flexibility made it hard for Lynch to really sell her submission attempts.
- Ember Moon was booked as unbeatable in NXT. She’s basically booked now on the main roster as an afterthought.
- I like what WWE is doing with The OC. The booking on the AJ Styles-Ricochet match felt very much Bullet Club-in-New Japan. That’s a compliment. Next: please, after last night’s tease, add Finn Balor.
- Funny how Roman Reigns chased Brock Lesnar for years, and never did get over the hump in their rivalry, and now Seth Rollins has two big wins over Lesnar in four months. And yet, Reigns is the one on the cover of the video game. Makes sense.
- Missing persons alerts: Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Shinsuke Nakamura, The Miz, The Revival, The Usos, Kabuki Warriors, Baron Corbin
Review by Chris Graham