Jon Moxley Shockingly Upset by Toru Yano in NJPW's G1 Climax 29

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2019

NAGOYA, JAPAN - JULY 28: Jon Moxley reacts during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling G1 Climax at the Aichi Prefecture Gymnasium on July 28, 2019 in Nagoya, Nagoya, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Toru Yano shockingly handed Jon Moxley his first loss in the G1 Climax 29 on Thursday at Fukuoka Citizen Gymnasium in Fukuoka, Japan. 

Yano hit Moxley with a low blow at one point during the bout, but the decisive moment came when he tied Moxley and Shota Umino together with tape, resulting in Moxley getting counted out.

While the loss ended his pursuit of a perfect tournament, Moxley is still atop Block B with a 5-1 record that includes wins over Taichi, Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito.

Although Moxley was a heavy favorite entering Thursday's match, he was far from a lock to win. While Yano was only 2-3 prior to the clash with Moxley, he earned victories over a pair of former IWGP heavyweight champions in Jay White and Naito.

Yano is an accomplished amateur wrestler who can get the job done with this mat game when needed, but he is perhaps best known for his trickery, which he often uses to take advantage of his opponent when they suffer a lapse in concentration.

Moxley has had few issues with remaining focused on the task at hand throughout the G1, as the bulk of his matches throughout the tournament have featured him taking the fight to his opponent with his hardcore, brawling style.

Thursday's match represented a different kind of test for Moxley than many of his previous encounters. He had an all-out fight against Ishii, bouts against Cobb, Taichi and Takagi that required him to show some of his technical acumen and a high-profile clash with Naito that featured no shortage of mind games.

Moxley had to toe the line between being cautious and aggressive against Yano since a loss would have opened the door for some of the other wrestlers in Block B to make up ground in the standings.

A win would have given Moxley a stranglehold on the top spot in Block B and a chance to run away with it, but he is now in danger of getting chased down if he doesn't bounce back.

Moxley is still in good position with three matches remaining; however, losing even one of his final three bouts could cost him a spot in the G1 finals.

Moxley will look to rebound when he faces White in Osaka on Sunday, while Yano will attempt to build on the momentum gained Thursday against Ishii.

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