The new Japan Pro wrestling G1 Climax 29 ended on an epic Monday morning when Kota Ibushi defeated Jay White in the finals of the busy tournament. The win brought him a briefcase and gave him a match against Kazuchika Okada for the Wrestle Kingdom 14 IWGP heavyweight championship, which took place on January 4 and 5 at the Tokyo Dome.
The tournament rekindled the hype with incredible action during its six weeks in a showcase of strong wrestling with some of the best matches of the year.
Each night offered great action and dramatically played out who would win every block and compete against each other in the final. In the end, the popular Ibushi overtook the field and secured the title shot.
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After the tournament is over, check out the ten best games of the NJPW G1 Climax 29 here.
10. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Will Ospreay (Night 17)
Although both were no longer battling for the "A" block at this time of the tournament, it did not stop to get their "A" game. That was Old School vs New School with veteran Tanahashi against Youngster Ospreay.
Tanahashi knew that he had to slow down the high-flying Ospreay and put him on the ground, so he was constantly following his knee and even pulling a shamrock at one point. That did not keep Ospreay down too long, and he went on the offensive from a Shooting Star press to an Oscutter and eventually hit his Stormbreaker to claim the win.
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi (night 17)
That same night, there was this brilliant showdown where the winner reached the final. Ibushi showed so much emotion and wanted to win this tournament, but he had to go through everything the IWGP champion offered to get there. Even when Okada hit him with a shot, Ibushi immediately shot back with a large lariat.
He simply would not be denied, and when he came into contact with the Kamigoye twice in a row, he got that enjoyable victory to get the "A" block. As good as it was, there was still the feeling that they could reach a new level when they compete again at Wrestle Kingdom.
8. SANADA vs. Kazuchika Okada (night 13)
Okada had brought SANADA's number into play after beating him six times before. The question then was whether the series would last or whether SANADA would finally beat the champion and achieve the biggest win of his career. The answer would be the latter.
This went to the end of the 30-minute deadline when both men lay exhausted on the mat after beating almost every move in their arsenal. When Okada defeated him with yet another Rainmaker, SANADA turned him into a pop-up TKO and, with two consecutive moonsaults, scored the victory in just 12 seconds in a dramatic finish.
7. Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi (Night 5)
Expectations of this match were incredibly high before the start of the G1 and many wondered how far they would go beyond the limits of risk appetite for a classic match.
It never mattered because they had a fantastic match without going too far. They were quite forced to do so when Ospreay dealt with a bad neck and Ibushi slowed to an ankle injury. This became the focus of the game, where each ran after the weak spots of the other. There was still a lot of athleticism and storytelling with minimal risks when Ibushi won her last great encounter.
6. Shingo Takagi against Tomohiro Ishii (night 16)
This was an absolute war of attrition, as these two blew each other up with hard movement again and again. And they never stopped when they kept a brisk pace for almost 23 minutes.
It's exhausting to just watch this match and wince every time it's connected to a train. Takagi, who was considered a junior heavyweight before the tournament, hit his pumping bomber not only once, but also thrice, with Ishii surviving each. At that point, Takagi needed a Last of the Dragon to defeat the tough veteran and prove he was a heavyweight in the future.
5. Shingo Takagi vs. Tetsuya Naito (Night 14)
The tournament was already half way through the match and Naito, the incumbent IWGP Intercontinental Champion and one of the favorites in the G1, was only 3: 3 looking for a special moment. He got it here.
This was the classic slow-start match, which later evolved into a crescendo. Takagi looked as if he had something to prove when he was in contact with Lariats and Suplexes while Naito tried to hit his Destino trademark. After almost 27 minutes, Naito finally hit a Canadian destroyer and two Destinos later he got the fiercely contested victory over his LIJ brothers.
4. Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii (Night 6)
An all-action war, as they played anything but the proverbial sink against each other. The wild brawl spilled into the crowd, but the referee used his better judgment not to figure out these men or to face a possible uproar of the crowd, who did not care about any rules.
The typical grounded Ishii even went to the top rope and hit Moxley, causing him to crash through a table. Somehow, Ambrose survived to the end, scoring the victory and earning the respect of the Japanese public. This is a far cry from Dean Ambrose, whom we have seen in the WWE for years. This is someone who knows no bounds and fits much better with this system and style in NJPW.
3. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi (Night 13)
At the end of the game, it felt like a change of guards when Ibushi won an emotional match. The "Ace" has been a star for so many years, but now he's 42 with a lot of wear on his body.
But that does not mean that he can not deliver an incredible match. As arguably the best storyteller in wrestling, he relied more on emotions than on big moves he tried to keep Ibushi down when selling his bad knee.
Ibushi just had too much in the tank when he withstood a high fly flow before joining his kamigoye to achieve the emotional victory that brought tears to his eyes.
2. Kota Ibushi Vs. Jay White (final)
The crowd in the Budokan Hall was electrified as they came firmly to the ring behind the beloved Ibushi, hoping that he would defeat the most hated man in New Japan.
The NJPW referee, Red Shoes, sent the Bullet Club back in front of the bell to make the game a one-on-one. But after he had gone down, Gedo opened the door to help White, but Ibushi was not denied.
Give White the honor of surviving the Bomaye twice, and when Ibushi hit him a third time, it was the final blow when the crowd cheered. This was a heart-pounding roller coaster ride, which brought everyone on an incredible journey, especially given the stakes.
1. Will Ospreay against Kazuchika Okada (Night 7)
Ospreay and Okada have such great chemistry together that it's almost impossible for them to find any great match. And that was something special.
They make it look so graceful and straightforward as they move around the ring and counter each other in each round. The IWGP junior heavyweight champion tried to do the impossible and beat the reigning IWGP heavyweight champion. But it did not feel impossible during the game how he fought with so much heart and determination.
Ospreay hit Okada with almost everything in his arsenal, but could not abandon him. Just when he was a stormbreaker away from the win, Okada found another counterattack and hit a pair of Rainmakers to win.
A great match and a great showcase for two wrestlers at the top of their game.