New Japan Sets On The Youth In The G1, Nakajima Wins GLEAT Title | Weekly Puro Guide

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New Japan Pro Wrestling

After Forbidden Door, New Japan continued the Soul tour with a show at Korakuen Hall and at Tokyo Budokan that featured the semi-final and final of the G1 Qualifying Tournament, as well as the hometown return match of BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito and an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match between El Desperado and DOUKI.

The G1 Qualifying Tournament was fantastic and one of the best-booked things New Japan has done this year as everything worked perfectly well – from the match quality all over to the stories told. The semi-final show on July 3rd at Korakuen Hall especially was incredible.

Boltin Oleg defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in what was a well-worked match that put over Boltin strong as he eliminated ‘The Ace’ from the tournament, who won’t compete in the G1 Climax for the first time in 23 years. Oleg has been improving so well lately and showed that here again as he was put over strong by Tanahashi. Callum Newman’s win over KENTA achieved its goal of establishing Callum with KENTA having one of his better performances in a New Japan ring in a longer time. Taichi advanced over TJP in a great match, which showed that TJP can deliver even against the heavyweights. The two have great chemistry, which they have shown in the past, and build up a dramatic ending stretch with Taichi going through.

The main event saw YOSHI-HASHI defeat Tomohiro Ishii in a fantastic match as the two CHAOS members beat the hell out of each other in a match that went over 25 minutes. The final 10 minutes were spectacular, especially. Not putting Tomohiro Ishii in the G1 is a bold decision, especially considering how fantastic he is, but it’s an understandable one. The ‘Stone Pitbull’ is now 48 years old and simply can’t do a tough schedule like the G1 anymore without potentially getting injured early in, especially since he already has knee problems.

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Callum Newman has won the A Block Qualifier Tournament by defeating YOSHI-HASHI and has advanced to the G1 Climax as one of the youngest entries of all time in an okay match, where Callum didn’t have his strongest performance. The decision to put him in the G1 continues his development & establishes him in the heavyweight division of New Japan. He got this spot over the likes of Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI, who are two of the company’s most consistent workers, so he needs to deliver. He likely won’t be successful in that A Block, but it will be an important tournament for his career as he is getting high-profile matches against the likes of Naito, Shingo, SANADA, Zack, and more.

After a shocking victory over Taichi, Boltin Oleg has won the B Block Qualifier Tournament and has advanced to the G1 Climax in the B Block. Unlike Callum, he has more of a shot of actually getting results in the B Block, which is full of young & hungry talents. Taichi made Oleg look like a million bucks in this match and sold well for him. The finish saw Oleg hit the F5 and then the Kamikaze to win the match.

New Japan has decided to put more focus on the younger & less experienced guys recently, with the additions of Oleg & Newman meaning that the G1 now features 7 wrestlers of the new generation. Fans can only hope that this continues to be the case.

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In the main event of the show, DOUKI defeated El Desperado to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion in a surprising result as nobody saw it coming. The match was fun as Desperado & DOUKI have good chemistry, and they got the crowd totally into it. The result is shocking as it just felt like Desperado was taking over as the Ace of the Junior division, but now looking back his BOSJ win felt like a correction to get the belt on DOUKI, but without having SHO drop the belt to DOUKI, but instead the top guy of the division.

DOUKI came into New Japan as a replacement in the BOSJ back in 2019, where he just scored 2 points. Over the past five years, DOUKI developed into becoming a crowd favourite with his likeability. In the last BOSJ, he advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament with 12 points, including a victory over Hiromu Takahashi. After five years of suffering, DOUKI reached the mountain top of the Junior Division as the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.

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On July 1st, GLEAT held the Ver. 12 show in front of 1,511 in the Tokyo Dome City Hall as it’s the fourth anniversary show of the promotion.

As part of his 20th Anniversary, Kota Ibushi had an exhibition match against Daisuke Sekimoto of Big Japan Pro Wrestling, who was announced as “X” beforehand. The exhibition felt like a sprint as Ibushi was moving well and seemed to be in better shape. He took multiple bumps, including one on his head after a brutal lariat by Sekimoto. The match ended in a 5-minute draw after Sekimoto kicked out of the Kamigoye to the back of the head, followed by the normal Kamigoye. Ibushi looked fine in his first official appearance in the ring since the disaster against Naomichi Marufuji at the NOAH show in January, but to draw any conclusion is impossible, as a full match is needed to judge how good Ibushi’s condition is after his time off from injuries.

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In the main event of the show, Katsuhiko Nakajima defeated Takanori Ito in his first match since losing the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship in March to win the LIDET UWF Championship. The match itself was fine as it was built up that Nakajima was nearly losing on points but was able to lock in a submission at the last moment to win the match. Ito looked good, but he is on the verge of becoming someone not to be taken seriously in the promotion as he is yet to win a match in the Tokyo Dome City Hall for GLEAT in seven tries, including multiple major singles matches.

The last 9 months of Katsuhiko Nakajima’s career have been one hell of a ride and full of positives & negatives. Now, he is in GLEAT and is on top of the UWF division. His next feuds seem to be against El Lindaman & Minoru Tanaka, which could be two cool matches.


Pro Wrestling NOAH

The next major show of Pro Wrestling NOAH called ‘Destination 2024’ is happening on July 13th in Nippon Budokan. The card features WWE’s AJ Styles wrestling Naomichi Marufuji, Kaito Kiyomiya defending the GHC Heavyweight Title against YOICHI, and more. The show will be an Abema exclusive PPV, meaning the show is ONLY (!!) available to buy in the USA, Philippines, South Korea & Thailand. Nowhere else.

The card has eleven matches, and on paper, it is one of the better NOAH cards in recent memory. Aside from the fantastic top of the card, the undercard looks good as well with Kenoh & Yuji Nagata facing off and the return of Manabu Soya in a stacked six man tag team match. The most interesting part of the show is the GHC Heavyweight Championship match as Kaito Kiyomiya is defending his title against YOICHI, formerly known as Yoshiki Inamura, who will have his first major match after coming back from his excursion. He made an impactful return at Grand Ship 2024 by attacking Kitomiya and now wants to win his first Championship in NOAH.

  • Alejandro & Cristobal vs. Ninja Mack & Junta Miyawaki vs. Hajime Ohara & Super Crazy
  • Shuhei Taniguchi, Takashi Sugiura & Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Manabu Soya, Masa Kitamiya & Daiki Inaba
  • AKIRA, Eita & Shuji Kondo vs. Yu Owada, Ryohei Oiwa & Yoshinari Ogawa
  • Kenoh vs. Yuji Nagata
  • Jake Lee, YO-HEY & Tadasuke vs. LJ Cleary, Jack Morris & Anthony Greene
  • Akitoshi Saito (c) vs. Go Shiozaki for the ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship
  • HAYATA (c) vs. Ulka Sasaki for the GHC National Championship
  • Galeno Del Mal & El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Alpha Wolf & Dragon Bane
  • Daga (c) vs. AMAKUSA for the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • AJ Styles vs. Naomichi Marufuji
  • Kaito Kiyomiya (c) vs. YOICHI for the GHC Heavyweight Championship
AJ Styles set to face Naomichi Marufuji at NOAH Destination 2024

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