G1 Climax 29 Block A: Will Ospreay vs Lance Archer

I’m a few weeks behind on the G1 tournament, so I’ve got a bottle of Bushmills and my New Japan World subscription teaming up for a “let’s make up for lost time / I have no interest in watching the Raw Reunion” evening.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Lance Archer match. I don’t recognize him at all. But he has more presence than a lot of big men — plenty of them seem content just being big, whereas he’s pairing some personality with his size.

Ospreay is probably my favorite wrestler active today, so I would be watching this regardless of who he was facing.

I’m legitimately surprised at Archer’s athleticism; they’re putting together a great story of the intimidatingly well-rounded big guy against the athletic smaller guy.

The audio mix is weird in this match. The crowd is completely drowning out Kevin Kelly. I’m not sure if it’s on my end or if they’re overcompensating on the production side for the poor ticket sales.

Seeing these two in the ring together, you wouldn’t expect Archer to be able to hold his own in a competition of speed, but that’s what’s happening. And Ospreay’s doing a fantastic job of selling Archer’s dominance.

Ospreay’s reversal of Archer’s powerbomb attempt on the ram was beautiful. Loved the Amazing Red shout-out too. I haven’t seen him wrestle since the early NWA-TNA Wednesday night $10 PPVs.

Archer’s “everybody dies!” mid-match battle cry was ok the first time, but he keeps saying it. I feel like that’s one of those things that gets less intimidating each time you have to say it, because implicitly your need to repeat it shows your opponent is doing a good job of not expiring.

Apparently Ospreay is the only man to ever kick out of Archer’s finishing move. I’m not sure I would have cashed those chips here but that was generous of Archer to give that to Ospreay for this moment.

Winner: Archer with the Iron Claw in 18:17. +2 points

Ospreay remains the greatest active wrestler, in my opinion, but this was a great showing for Archer. Either I’ve really never seen him wrestle before or he really showed up tonight. Either way, good match, and it sets up Archer as a scary competitor in the tournament.