Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito
July 1, 2017
Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, CA
NJPW G1 Special in USA (Day 1)
IWGP US Championship Tournament
I was there for this match! Both guys got big ovations because we felt special to be graced by their presence. Naito took a pounding here, bleeding from the mouth from Ishii’s usual stiff blows. It was that stiffness, though, that really got the crowd into this and made it feel special. They traded near falls and built heat with moves like the quick dragon suplex and hard clotheslines and powerbombs.
While I wouldn’t argue the ****1/4 rating, it remains ridiculous how WWE matches on Raw are often so much better than this and never crack the **** barrier. Good to know that Meltzer’s Japan bias isn’t just limited to Japan; it’s also for New Japan matches IN the United States. As someone who watches every single match he rates **** or more, the bias is so real and obvious that you’d have to be blind not to see it.