Tomohiro Ishii vs Hirooki Goto
G1 Climax Block A Match
Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center, Sapporo, Japan
(reviewed 07/19/2017) When watching the Ishii/Shibata matches from January and February 2016, I remember being torn between thoughts that ranged from “wow, this is incredible” and “wow, this is really dumb”. That’s been a dichotomy central to most of the matches Ishii’s had over the last few years, especially against the likes of Shibata, Goto, Honma, and Makabe. Those four men, too, suffer from a lot of the problems that Ishii suffers from, but I think Ishii matches are where these problems are most condensed, problems with believability, excess, and repetition. (Problems, it should be noted, that are very common in all of NJPW) So here we have a match that, deep down, I do enjoy a fair amount, but a match that is tiresome, messy, lacking in nuance, and repetitive. It’s like when you’re a kid and you combine all the drinks in the soda fountain to make one big, muddled concoction that ruins most everything that made its individual elements work. It’s edible, sure, and maybe it gives you a rush from all the sugar and sensory overload, but there’s not a lot of substance there.