For the sake of my own sanity I will only be reviewing the actual tournament matches as I have 19 shows of the G1 and I don't want to burn myself out.
Night 1 sees Block A kicking things off. It's a stacked Block so there should be some belters on offer here. Without further ado let's get to the matches.
Block A Match - YOSHI-HASHI vs Yuji Nagata
There has always been something that has put me off YOSHI-HASHI. It could be the fact that he looks like he is doing Tanahashi cosplay, I'm not sure. This was a great way to kick off the tournament though. YOSHI decided to go strike for strike with Nagata which was a bad move. Nagata wasn't up for that and beat the shit out of him. What followed was a great back and forth that showed that, even at 49 years old, Nagata is still capable of putting on engrossing matches. ****
Block A Match - Togi Makabe vs Bad Luck Fale
This was a hoss match, plain and simple. Two double hard bastards beating the shit out of each other. They brawled into the crowd and hit each other with bombs for 10 minutes. I'm not going to claim that this was great by any stretch but it was a fun watch. ***
Block A Match - Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
Well we are cooking on gas now. This was a fucking war. I could honestly watch these hard hitting, give no fucks style matches all day. They trade clotheslines, forearms, kicks and headbutts for 15 minutes and it is glorious to watch. They also play into the fact that this is night 1 with some fighting spirit spots that will be less ans less prevalent as the tournament goes on. You actually get the feeling that both men will go above and beyond to put points on the board. Excellent stuff. ****1/4
Block A Match - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Zack Sabre Jr
To follow that hard hitting brawl we get an excellent technical wrestling match. Tanahashi goes into the match with an injured arm and Sabre Jr spends the entire match working it over. In turn Tanahashi attacks Sabre's leg, trying to get the win with the cloverleaf. It's a brilliantly structured match that plays even better against the match that came before it. It was also really nice to see limb work pay off in the finish. ****1/4
Block A Match - Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito
There aren't words to describe how excited I am for this one. Ibushi is an enigma. He turns up somewhere, blows everyone away, then leaves. Hopefully he stays around longer this time. Naito is straight fucking money. The match starts with dickhead heelishness from Naito, which is great. He goes after Ibushi's neck, hitting a reverse DDT on the apron. Ibushi doesn't take kindly to this and kicks the everloving shit out of him. From there we just ramp up the craziness with each man trying to straight up murder the other in the most outlandish way possible. Top rope reverse rana, a sick looking deadlift German from the apron to the ring, Ibushi reversing the Destino and lawn darting Naito into the corner, second rope piledriver and a bunch of other fantastic stuff. The crowd eats up every single minute of it too. It's not quite the best match this year but it may very well be the best match of this tournament. Watch it immediately. ****3/4 (I originally gave this ***** but have adjusted the score on rewatch)
Overall Grade - A+
How else could I possibly rate this? Of the five tournament matches one was 5 star, 2 were 4 1/4 and 1 was 4. It is an incredible way to start the tournament and may well end the year as one of the best shows. I'll be back in 3 days with night 2. It's gonna be a crazy ride.