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G-1 Climax 25 ends on a high-note

For wrestling fans, G-1 Climax is a gift that keeps on giving. It is indubitably the greatest tournament in wrestling history. Disparate to WWE, TNA, or most held wrestling tournaments - NJPW takes G-1 Climax exceedingly seriously. In fact, the tournament is not rushed at all. It is a round-robin tournament lasting about six weeks with 19 shows of tournament matches. The company then places wrestlers into two different groups and then the two wrestlers with the most points in those groups face each other in the finals.

Without a doubt, it is an outright honor to win the G-1 Climax. It is one of the biggest honors/achievements in wrestling history. Therefore, it goes to the most deserving wrestler, so a wrestler never wins to shock or swerve the audience. Besides, NJPW does not care if the winner is a foregone conclusion. The tournament's objective is not swerving the audience; instead, it is lauding someone for his contributions and diligence.

Not only does the successor earn a trophy -- they now also earn a world heavyweight title opportunity at Wrestle Kingdom. However, the winner has to defend his title shot at least once -- which makes for some highly dramatic matches and some good ole fashion doubt on whether the said wrestler will lose his privilege. So far, though, no one has lost his golden ticket to the main event of Wrestle Kingdom. Ideally, the ramification has been a method to give the challenger a copious amount of momentum heading into the main event match, insofar as the wrestler seems practically invincible.

G-1 Climax's most elegant quality, though, is its matches, as the high-volume of superb wrestling matches is the quintessential reason the tournament is immaculately credible, significant and must-see. It has grown to the point where most people's match of the year lists are overflowing with G-1 Climax matches, so the non-NJPW watchers believe they are biased. However, if those people watched educated themselves on NJPW and watched it, they would have those  matches as their frontrunners for match of the year too. It is simply irrefutable how miraculously G1-Climax provides incredible matches on such a consistent basis, and this year could not have ended with a better match.

By virtue of well-crafted booking, both Shinsuke Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi were about as evenly matched as possible. It was a 50/50, straight down the middle contest, between two forces to be reckon with, and both wrestlers had an excellent case on why they should win. The problem with most 50/50, hit each other with everything is they are overdone and, worse of all, not believable. The wrestlers are either not on the same playing field or the match's build does not call for or meet the requirements for an epic-styled match. This match was an exception.

Tanahashi is one of the greatest in-ring performances ever, as he possesses a consummate amalgamation of both physical (athleticism, speed, agility, strength, execution, stamina, endurance, fundamentals) and mental (psychology, storytelling, pacing, timing, and building a match) characteristics. And Nakamura is not far behind him. In fact, Nakamura arguably has better ring presence and is better at playing to the crowd. No one truly understands or comprehends Nakamura's gimmick, but it is beyond any doubt eye-catching.

By way of intellect and sheer force of will, both wrestlers created a magnum opus and an over 30 minute tour de force. This was an archetypical example of how to do an epic match instead of forcing it. Because there was something substantial at stake, the near-falls off moves that typically end a match meant something and were awfully dramatic. The match was also so well- structured and its intensity and craziness kept elevating to a point where no one wants to see it end.

Attributable to both wrestlers' immaculate selling and acting abilities, because of their amazing body language, facial expressions and mannerisms, both wrestlers sold the viciousness, brutality, and enervates of the match. After all, no matter what wrestlers to each other, the severity of it lies in the hands of how well someone sells it. A simple suplex can appear more devastating than falling off a 20-foot ladder, as it all depends how impressively the person receiving the move can sell. The selling is what really (pun intended) sold this match. The way they were dripping sweat, the way they were so slow to get back on their feet, the way they had to use the ropes to pull each other up truly conveyed the viciousness, magnificence and realism of the match (and it also made Tanasashi's win appear extremely well-earned).

It is a testament to both wrestlers' bravura that they can face each other an infinite amount of times and still put on these compelling matches. It is mostly due to their capability to have unique matches which playoff their previous matches and their clichéd spots. And so, just when the crowd believed they knew what was coming, the wrestlers spun the match's narrative in a completely different direction (especially how Tanahashi kept suddenly countering a majority of Nakurmua's offense by using clever ways to attack his wounded left leg). It was additionally impressive how well Nakurmua sold the leg and how the limb-psychology did not sacrifice the high-tempo pacing to the match. Instead of ignoring the leg-work, they just found ways to include it in the match's story.

This suspenseful, dramatic, ultra-physical and technically sound match had a twist at every turn and ergo took the fans on an amazing excursion. It was an journey's destination was completely unforeseeable, due to the back-and-forth nature of the match along with the fact that the match could turn or end at any second. This ultimately had everything: red-herrings, transitions, inventive spots, dramatic storytelling, realistic psychology, and artistic structure and build, which elevated all the way to the crescendo.

I am not sure if it was the best match of G-1 25, because I have not seen every match so far (a top list of the must-see G1 Climax 25 matches will be coming soon), but it was undoubtedly one of the best matches of the year and was one every wrestling fan should go out of their way to see.

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