My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A look at the 2003 G-1 Climax participants

I'm not really a big New Japan fan, but watching the 2003 G-1 CLIMAX gave me a good look at the wrestlers both new and established. I thought I'd throw in my two cents as to what I think about the participants then as compared to where they are now.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan (Winner)
Tenzan's rise to the top started at the G-1. I'll admit he's got a limited moveset and ability, but he did earn his spot among NJPW's elite. If only New Japan could have followed up this win better than they did.

Osamu Nishimura
Surprisingly fun competitor who manages to have good mat based matches everytime. I do find that he tends to ramble on in his post match interviews though. Yes, we know your a student of Gotch-ism, but we don't need to hear a detailed explanation of how you applied the knowledge in every match you took part in.

Masahiro Chono
It still bothers me that Chono wouldn't put over Akiyama when he did for Nakanishi and Tenzan. He might be the booker, but there wouldn't have been anything wrong with putting Akiyama over to make him seem like a bigger threat to Tenzan's eventual win. The fact that Chono had a bad leg didn't do anything for Akiyama either when he couldn't put him away.

Manabu Nakanishi
Nakanishi is an intense wrestler, but seems really lazy at times when he wouldn't sell moves right, like not struggling when being pinned only to make the eventual kick out look more like his opponent let him up. He's a tough guy, but needs to carry a match to look good.

Hiroshi Tanahashi
Sure he has the look, the attitude and the charisma, but I didn't see the WORK that would make that a complete package. The best match he had in the whole G-1 was with Akiyama, and everything else was nothing special. What victories he garnered looked like flukes or dumb luck to me.

Jun Akiyama
I'm really puzzled at the way Akiyama was booked. He had alot of heat from the crowd booing him everytime, but for the most part he didn't look like the outside threat he was built up to be. NOAH was very generous of their handling of Yuji Nagata, too bad NJPW couldn't do the same for Akiyama.

Yoshihiro Takayama
The reigning IWGP champion was not at 100% throughout most of the tournament, but he still managed to be entertaining and even humble in defeat.

Yuji Nagata
I noticed Nagata needs to be put in with the right opponents to have good matches. He's at his best when he's fired up (aka pissed off). Much like Akiyama, Nagata's booking was puzzling to say the least as he would look strong against one guy, but not against others.

Shinsuke Nakamura
The young supernova. I can actually see the reason NJPW gave him the push they did. He comes off as the underdog here, unlike the cocky Tanahashi, and the victories he managed where hard fought. No cheap roll-ups and cradles for this guy! He does need to work on his moveset though, as his ring skills are very limited, much like the other young lions in the G-1.

Katsuyori Shibata
Shibata is a heavy striker, but is so darn boring to watch. He's almost a Murakami clone to me, but Murakami has more intensity. Shibata is really gonna have to improve his ring work to justify his status, a sentiment many on the internet seem to share.

Yutaka Yoshie
A fun surprise! Like Nishimura, Yoshie had alot of fun matches here, even though he was on the losing side of many, he managed to make it all watcheable and get you rooting behind him. The "Power Monster" is someone who should definately be pushed more in the future.

Tadao Yasuda
He looks like an ape and move like a rock. He moves like he's got no elbows or knees and can't even run like a normal person. Bottom line, he sucks!



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