G1 Climax 29 Block A: Kota Ibushi vs Kenta

This will be an interesting meeting of two recent signees. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Kenta outside of the WWE environment. I feel like the best we ever saw of him there was his NXT Takeover title challenge against Bobby Roode.

Rocky mentions these two first met in 2005 in Pro Wrestling NOAH. I was curious how they’d handle the dynamic, with the crowd hot to see both of them, but Kenta seems to be working heel in this matchup, though Ibushi doesn’t seem to be shy about fire with fire.

It’s so great to see Kenta so unshackled in these early minutes. WWE can suck the life out of anyone. Kenta is really trying to work heel but the fans seem to be too excited to see him with some passion in him, returning to the form that made him famous. In situations like this, you’d have to wonder why any NJPW main-eventer would ever sign with WWE again.

Kenta takes the win with a GTS in a match that was entertaining, but a little underwhelming following the surprisingly show-stealing ZSJ-Sanada match. +2 pts for Kenta. +5 to Kevin Kelly referring to Kenya’s WWE career as “5 years of anguish and frustration.” Nice sportsmanship to close the segment and redeem Kenta from his heel match work.