136. AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki (NJPW G1 Climax 2014)

Inside The Ropes magazine (in issues 24 and 25) recently printed a two part feature on the 100 Greatest Matches of the Decade 2011 to 2021 . The WWE matches included are nothing new to me…but their NJPW matches? Some of them I hadn’t watched during my new odyssey of NJPW World. So, I started from the beginning of the list! The list is in date order, not quality order, by. the way.

In at no.21 is AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki at G1 Climax 2014. I haven’t seen much of AJ Styles during his NJPW stint, so this is something new for me! Here, he was the reigning, defending IWGP Heavyweight Champion, having defeated Okada for the belt. Could he prove his worth once more and win the G1 Climax tournament? Could he beat the legendary, fearful Suzuki? Prior to exploring this list, I’d only seen his battle against Bryan Danielson on AEW. That was great, as was his battle against Hiroshi Tanahashi at no.6 on this list (click here for my review). Would Suzuki and Styles provide me with another technical classic? I’d say it was watchable, but nowhere near a classic.

Here, the story was that Styles was outclassed by Suzuki in terms of pure wrestling and technical ability. Suzuki kept the action grounded, and targeted Style’s right arm (the one he uses for his Phenomenonal Forearm). Yes, Styles is a high-flyer, a flashy wrestler, but what about his technical ability? How good would he be down one arm? One of my favourite things about this bout was Styles’ selling of his arm. Usually, wrestlers still attempt to ise the limb their opponent targets. Here, Styles uses his weaker left arm to strike, meaning there wasn’t enough force behind his strikes. That’s the kind of selling I want!!! Realistic selling. He attempted to use his arm a couple of times, but the pain prevented it. Smart selling, and smart wrestling.

From that point of view, it was something every wrestler should watch. I’ve never seen Styles sell an injury so well, amd he isn’t an Omega/Okada type of wrestler that is guilty of inconsistent selling anyway. It meant his comebacks were limited, and he had to use his cunning and wiles to overcome Suzuki. I’m actually finding it difficult to pinpoint any glaring flaws in the bout. The crowd were hot, totally into the action in front of them. I suppose the mid-point interference from Bullet Club/Suzuki-Gun bothered me, as it led to nothing in the story of the bout (but presumably leant to a bigger story outside of the bout).

It just never gripped me. I was interested to see Styles in an NJPW ring (I believe I’ve only seen his Wrestle Kingdom bout against Nakamura). But something failed to click with me here. And I usually love G1 Climax matches: their essential brevity cuts out a lot of the fluff and excess that some wrestlers adore. Maybe on a rewatch I’ll pick put something that irritated me, or a glaring flaw that I missed. One of the best bouts between 2011 and 2021? I don’t think so. Great to watch to show the beauty of selling (from Styles, especially), and you may reap better rewards from this bout than I did. But it left me a little cold.

Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)

(Click here for more of ‘A Wrestling Match A Day‘)


2 thoughts on “136. AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki (NJPW G1 Climax 2014)

  1. duwango2 February 1, 2023 / 6:06 pm

    Hi. I was wondering if you could re-post the “Introducing My Wife to Bruce Lee Films” articles in your wordpress? Asking since FilmExodus is no longer around and stuff. Cheers!


    • Hammy Reviews February 6, 2023 / 12:02 pm

      FilmExodus is no longer around? That’s sad news. I will try to find them and repost them for you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.