G1 Climax 29 night 4 at a glance

After two nights in Tokyo, it’s on to Hokkaido for night four of the tournament. This night of A block action comes on the Japanese national holiday of Ocean Day, as Japan waves goodbye to the rainy season and truly welcomes in the summer heat. The action in ring should prove to be even hotter as B block takes center stage!

Tetsuya Naito (0-1) vs Taichi (0-1)

Overall singles record: 3-2 Taichi

First G1 meeting.

The cold record book numbers may read 3-2 Taichi overall in singles competition, but this may be a little misleading; Taichi’s three wins over Naito came at a point where both were relatively new to NJPW competition, but at a stage where Taichi had the experience edge over a Naito who had just begun his journey.

In terms of heavyweight competition, Naito would become Taichi’s senpai, and in a violent first heavyweight singles match for Taichi, came out on top with a microphone stand blow followed by a Destino. That loss in March of 2018 left Taichi fuming, and the ‘Holy Emperor’ would seek to do anything he could to assert his seniority and perceived superiority over Naito. 

Earlier this February, in front of his home crowd in Sapporo, this involved recruiting Takashi Iizuka to viciously attack Naito before his IWGP Intercontinental Championship match. As Naito was taken for medical treatment, it seemed as if Taichi may win the IC title via forfeit, but a superhuman comeback saw Taichi defeated and left plotting once more. 

Now, Taichi gets his rematch, on the same home turf as at New Beginning. With Iizuka since retired, can Taichi follow through on the near upset at the start of the year on his own merits? Naito will certainly be coming in at a mental disadvantage, having taken Toru Yano lightly and lost his first group match. Then again, Taichi took immense punishment from Jon Moxley Saturday night… 

Tomohiro Ishii (1-0) vs Jay White (0-1)

First singles meeting.

Tomohiro Ishii and Jay White both head to Hokkaido battered and bruised after some hard fought wars on Saturday night. Both men would go straight to the back after their matches without comments to the media. That said, they will likely be in different mental states in Sapporo. Ishii came out on top after a raw, physical match with Jeff Cobb; one that pit strength against strength, and saw Ishii as the stronger man after a huge vertical drop brainbuster. 

White, meanwhile, was on the losing end of a match with Hirooki Goto that saw the fierce warrior pull out some new offense and old intensity. After months of White mocking Goto, it was a triumphant night in Ota. Ishii looks to press the CHAOS advantage with White and BULLET CLUB on Monday. 

Jeff Cobb (0-1) vs Jon Moxley (0-1)

First singles meeting. 

‘I don’t know who he is, but I respect him’. Jon Moxley’s comments Saturday night may have been delivered with  trademark coolness and with tongue in cheek, but truer words may not have been spoken in jest. Moxley is about to find out who Cobb is, and should definitely have respect for the former Olympian.

Cobb’s G1 campaign started with a loss, but in a phenomenal effort with Tomohiro Ishii. Cobb stated afterward that he isn’t finished with Ishii; while he may well want an opportunity at the NEVER Openweight Champion down the road, he has the IWGP United States Champion directly in front of him. A first G1 win for Cobb over Moxley will open a lot of doors, but Moxley will look to slam them with extreme violence.  

Juice Robinson (1-0) vs Hirooki Goto (1-0)

Overall singles record: 2-1 Goto

Of which G1: 1-0 Robinson (2018: watch on NJPW World!)

Until they met on the last day of block action in last year’s G1 climax, it had seemed as if Hirooki Goto was a hurdle that Juice Robinson was unable to clear. As Robinson emerged from the undercard into title contention, he twice challenged for Hirooki Goto’s NEVER Openweight Championship and fell short both times. In the Budokan however, as he turned around a slow start to his G1 campaign to end strong, a Pulp Friction would break his duck. 

In the months since, Goto would find himself going through a rough patch of his own, losing his NEVER title, missing out on a spot in Wrestle Kingdom 13’s main card and facing humiliation from the arrogant Jay White. Juice Robinson lost his United States Championship to Jon Moxley, and after weeks of relative silence from the usually outspoken Flamboyant One, questions were raised over Jucie’s mental state, and competitiveness in the tournament. 

Both men, then, got their G1 campaigns off to a perfect start. Goto managed to get massive revenge on Jay White with an emphatic GTR in Ota, while Robinson defeated Shingo Takagi in an epic hard hitting encounter. Sprits will be high for both men, and the will to win will be higher. 

Toru Yano (1-0) vs Shingo Takagi (0-1)

First singles meeting

While there are no nights off in the G1, Toru Yano had a tough first match draw against Tetsuya Naito in Ota on Saturday. Against all odds, with every trick in the book pulled out, Yano managed to defeat Tetsuya Naito, and win his campaign opening match for the first time since 2014. 

Now he faces another LIJ member in Shingo Takagi for his second group match. After coming out on the losing end ofan absolute war with Juice Robinson in Ota, Takagi will be in no mood to play mind games with Yano, but can the sublime master thief throw another metaphorical banana skin into the Dragon’s path?