Monday, July 27, 2015

Fave Five 7/20/15-7/26/15

1) Kota Ibushi: Obviously, the bulk of this week was taken up by the G1 Climax. It's usually really easy for WWE guys and girls to clog the list with all of their TV time each week. Well, there were five G1 shows and NJPW dominates this time around. Leading the pack is a guy that has greatly impressed all year, Kota Ibushi. I first saw him in Ring of Honor back in 2008 and liked him, but he is on another level now. He started the week by losing in a great match to Hiroshi Tanahashi. No shame in that. Then, he defeated Doc Gallows in what was one of the better Gallows' singles matches I've seen. He topped it all on day five by beating AJ Styles in what many are calling the match of the tournament so far. Day five is the only one I've yet to see, but I like both guys so I'm sure I'll be a fan. Basically, Ibushi is the MVP of the G1 Climax so far.

2) Karl Anderson: On night two of the G1 Climax, we were treated to our first upset. In the main event of that show, Shinsuke Nakamura, most people's favorites to win the entire G1, lost to "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson. The most shocking thing was that it was a clean win. No Bullet Club shenanigans or anything. He just beat Nakamura 1-2-3. On night four, he went out and beat the IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Hirooki Goto. While the quality of his matches haven't been up to par with some others on this list, they were both still enjoyable. The major reason he ranks so high is that both could be considered major upsets. He is surprising many as one half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions is doing more than fine for himself in this extremely competitive and important tournament.

3) Tetsuya Naito: Honestly, I was very tempted to put Hiroshi Tanahashi in this spot. Instead, I chose to go with someone who has completely won me over during this tournament. Tetsuya Naito and his new heel persona has been entertaining as hell. On night one of the tournament, he defeated Bad Luck Fale in a match that was kind of just there. Things picked up when he lost in a really good match against Katsuyori Shibata. It is probably my second or third favorite match of the G1 so far. His shining moment came on night five, when he topped Tanahashi. That is a pretty damn big win for Naito. His matches have been good, he's tied for the lead with 4 points and he's been super entertaining.

4) Hiroshi Tanahashi: The "John Cena of New Japan" is having a good G1 as expected. On the first night, he defeated our number one spot, Kota Ibushi in the main event. Following that great match, he competed in another main event against Hiroyoshi Tenzen and won that won as well. While it wasn't as good as the match with Ibushi, it still delivered and was worthy of a main event. On night five, he took on Tetsuya Naito in the match I discussed in Naito's spot. Besides having the obvious tie for first with four points, he also makes the list based on match quality, which has been, as expected, damn good.

5) Michael Elgin: When it was announced that Michael Elgin would compete in the G1 Climax, I saw a lot of unhappy people. There are a ton of fans who strongly dislike him. I honestly got out of following ROH during his run and missed a lot of his work. I figured the G1 would give me a chance to see him in action. So far, he has looked great. He has surprised a lot of people by putting on two very good matches. While he may not have any points, he deserves a spot for his performances. His match against IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada was masterfully booked as he came off looking like a beast. Then, he went toe to toe with Satoshi Kojima in another good match and another losing effort. While I don't expect him to rack up many wins, he is showing that he can hang, at least for now.