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Puroresu Show Reviews

Reviews of puroresu shows in my collection

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


New Japan G-1 CLIMAX 2003 Vol.3

8.15.2003 Tokyo:
Yutaka Yoshie VS Tadao Yasuda (Block B)

Thrust Yoshie to be the man that brings a watchable match out of Yasuda! Yoshie has been really fun throughout the G-1, much like Nishimura, putting on enjoyable matches with whoever they are paired with. This wasn’t outstanding, but still enjoyable as Yoshie matched size and power with Yasuda who’s just lousy at selling anything and moves like he has no knees or elbows.
Match Rating: ***

Osamu Nishimura VS Hiroshi Tanahashi (Block A)

I’m really enjoying Nishumura’s work in this G-1, and he once again delivers! This is probably the second Tanahashi match I’ve enjoyed so far in the G-1, as he tries to outwit the master of Muga-World and they had some good mat exchanges. The spot where they roll out of the ring and hit the floor while locked in a figure-four looked genuinely painful for both of them! I wished they could have thought up a better ending for the match though, but I’m guessing they wanted to save time for the main event of the day.
Match Rating: ***

Yuji Nagata VS Shinsuke Nakamura (Block B)

The only weakness I can see in Nakamura (and Shibata) is that he has a very limited moveset. Nagata really schooled Nakamura here and showed his seniority. They exchanged a good series of strikes and submissions, but the ending of the match was really one sided.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Manabu Nakanishi VS Hiroyoshi Tenzan (Block A)

I remembered watching their 2001 G-1 match, and that was a very good match. But one thing I’ve constantly hated about Nakanishi throughout this G-1 is his lack of effort at selling and general laziness at times, there’s not much he can do when he’s not in control of the match. But this was an almost even back and forth contest as they traded chops and submissions and brawled in between. Good match.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Yoshihiro Takayama VS Katsuyori Shibata (Block B)

It’s pretty obvious that if Takayama was 100%, Shibata would not have had his way with him like he did here, and the match probably would have ended a lot sooner. Give credit to Takayama for selling big time for Shibata to make him look like a credible opponent. This match had it’s fun moments when Takayama is in charge, but Shibata really is boring and can’t carry a match to keep me interested for long.
Match Rating: ***

Masahiro Chono VS Jun Akiyama (Block A)

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they couldn’t just let Akiyama get over Chono. This was probably one of Akiyama’s weaker matches in the G-1 since Chono isn’t as mobile as the rest of the field. The match consists of a lot of rest holds from Chono as he tries to wear down the NOAH ace. Every time it looked like Akiyama would quicken the pace, Chono would slow it back down again. The final moments of the match weren’t all that good either since Chono was obviously exhausted, but still had to control the match.
Match Rating: ***

8.16.2003 Tokyo:

Yuji Nagata VS Katsuyori Shibata - Block B Semi-Finalist Decision Match.
The winner of this would face Jun Akiyama later in the night in the G-1 Semi Finals.
I really wished their first match in the tourney would have ended as quickly as this one, and it was smart of Team New Japan to finally take out the cheating Makai Club before they could have any effect on the match. They traded stiff shots and submissions like their previous match, but Nagata came out on top dominantly this time.
Match Rating: ***

Yuji Nagata VS Jun Akiyama - Semi-Finals

These two have a long history starting as friends and ending up as rivals even though they were from different promotions! In 2002, they main-evented New Japan’s annual Wrestling World Tokyo Dome show where Akiyama successfully defended the GHC heavyweight championship against Nagata. Then, just a month earlier, Nagata shocked everyone avenging his previous loss by defeating Akiyama on a NOAH show in just under seven minutes! Nagata may have already wrestled a quick bout earlier in the evening, but he brought 100% to this tie-breaker match with his NOAH equal.
And this match was definitely a lot better than their 2002 bout as the two looked almost dead even trading shots and submissions. At the end of it, this was one of those matches you wished could have gone just a few minutes longer.
Match Rating: ****1/2

Hiroyoshi Tenzan VS Yoshihiro Takayama - Semi-Finals

Takayama was not at 100%, but yet managed to put on a better match with Tenzan than anyone else he faced in the entire tournament! This was even better than their Yokohama Dead Out IWGP title match! Another great back and forth brawl with the crowd heavily heated cheering on Tenzan against the reigning IWGP champion.
Match Rating: ****1/4

8.17.2003 Tokyo:
Hiroyoshi Tenzan VS Jun Akiyama - FINALS

Who’d have thought the match that main evented the opening day would also main event the finals? This was just a totally awesome contest and surprisingly even better than their first encounter days earlier. Despite a power advantage, Tenzan was still the underdog here against Akiyama’s skill and cunning, which resulted in a lot of great exchanges. This match was definitely Match of the Year material and worthy of every bit of praise it received at the time.
Match Rating: ****1/2

Overall: This was indeed a collection of some of the better NJPW matches I’d ever watched. You will definitely want to get this, if you already haven’t, to watch Tenzan’s rise to the top, as well as the rising stars in Nakamura, Tanahashi and Yoshie. And the already established stars and one Jun Akiyama (who’s booking on the tour was rather questionable) all come together to put on one hell of a tournament. It started off good before slowing down a bit in the middle, but ended being truly a highly recommended offering from New Japan Pro Wrestling.


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