Yuji Nagata vs YOSHI-HASHI
G1 Climax Block A Match
Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center, Sapporo, Japan
(reviewed 07/19/2017) In 2016, this match would have been far less competitive. In 2015 it wouldn’t have even been a G1 match. But in 2017, we get a very specific confluence of events that brings us a match like this. YOSHI-HASHI, after years of being one of the lowest-ranked heavyweights in New Japan, is gaining popularity and getting pretty damn good in the ring. Nagata, on the other hand, is very clearly nearing the end of his career, announcing that this would be his final G1 Climax. So we have this rising non-star and the former, aging ace of a down period going at it in quite a competitive match full of spunk. Nagata is notably great, real fiery and spiteful, constantly taking pot shots and leaning into his strikes, with YOSHI-HASHI doing fairly well to respond in kind. The whole way through, you’re not quite sure which one of these guys will win, as it makes sense either way, and with the added oomph of Nagata’s situation, it makes for a fun little match. Not a great one, as you could shave a good seven minutes off of it and improve things quite a bit, but certainly an enjoyable one.