The finals of the 30th annual G1 CLIMAX tournament delivered in some pretty amazing ways. This match saw one finalist go on to make history for the second year in a row and helped set up the continued rise of the other. Both competitors put it all on the line for the prize at stake, the chance to main event New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest night of the year and challenge for the international wrestling scene’s most prestigious title, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. It was also a battle between two performers who are counted among the best of their generation. They are the Golden Star – Kota Ibushi, and the Cold Skull – SANADA.
With G1 season now over, the stage is being set for huge things for the coming year for both men. One of the most interesting aspects of this match is how each of these two mega talents, who are similar yet different in so many ways, were able to make such an incredible match happen. Both are incredibly talented and compliment each other so well in the ring, but are unique in their own way. One is a free-spirited mad genius who is destined to be regarded as one of the greatest of all time. The other is a methodical mat technician known for his skill as well as his cool demeanor.
The road to the tournament finals wasn’t easy for either man. Block competition saw both of them drop three of their matches but still manage to win their respective blocks. As the previous year’s winner, Ibushi was looking to get his second consecutive G1 win. For SANADA, it was all about making an impact after making to the finals for the first time, and he did exactly that: matching Ibushi every step of the way. The two pushed each other to their absolute limits and delivered one of the best matches of the tournament.
Ibushi would win the tournament finals, becoming one of only three men to get back to back G1 wins. This makes two historic wins as last year’s G1 saw Ibushi become the first man to win all three major singles tournaments in NJPW. As for his opponent, SANADA’s performance in this match is further proof that he is truly a star on the rise. Their in ring chemistry is so great that critics and fans the world over are definitely looking forward to the next time their paths cross.
This year’s G1 CLIMAX finals has laid the groundwork for a potentially historic friendly rivalry, setting the stage for an incredible future for both men. Despite losing the rights holder certificate to Jay White, Kota Ibushi still appears poised to make a massive statement at WRESTLE KINGDOM 15 when he faces dual champion, Tetsuya Naito on Night One, with a potential match against Jay White on Night Two. SANADA’s role in WRESTLE KINGDOM has yet to be announced, but make no mistake about it; His rise will continue, and another shot at the biggest prize of them all is sure to come his way.
Both men are destined to become legends of the future. Their ability and passion will no doubt get them there. So will the love and support of their numerous fans around the world. That is what happens when passion, inherent beauty, and incomparable talent mix. In the case of this rivalry at least, you get one of the best battles of the beautiful.