Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito – NJPW G1 Climax 27 Day 13

Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito

G1 Climax Block A Match

08/04/2017

Item Ehime, Matsuyama, Japan

(reviewed 08/09/2017) Sadly a match that peaks and then slowly drifts downward as time goes on, but an enjoyable match all the same. It starts hot with Zack, who is clearly not down with Naito’s ungovernable brand of antics after the last few non-tournament tag matches, blowing up over a Tranquilo pose and making the man pay for his crimes. In a style of wrestling so prone to boring, stoic indifference, it’s a refreshing moment of fire from an altogether proud and hotheaded individual. That fire continues into Zack’s technical work, first based around a nasty headscissors and later melding into general armwork that is far less nasty. Eventually Naito takes over and begins to target Zack’s neck, looking to weaken it for the Destino. Both of these strategies make for some questionable moments of selling/bumping from ZSJ and selling from Naito, with none of these things being either man’s strong suit, and while they do really add up by the end, they’re mostly small complaints moment by moment. Eventually, after some more neck work and arm work back and forth, Naito catches the Brit with a Destino for the win. Compelling and entertaining, but a match that is really good for the first five minutes and then slowly fades into just pretty alright in the next nine. When people say things like “Naito’s clearly taking it easy in this tournament”, I think they’re thinking of matches like this, and I can certainly see where they’re coming from.

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