NJPW G1 Climax 28 B Block Preview w/ The Chairman
It’s that time of year wrestling fans! New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax is coming fast and this year marks number 28. For those of you not familiar with NJPW’s biggest tournament of the year, here’s how it works.
There are two different blocks, A and B. Each block has ten superstars and each person faces everyone in their block once in a thirty minute match over the course of the next few weeks. Each superstar receives two points for a victory, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss. The winners of each respective block will face each other in a final match to determine the overall G1 Climax winner. The winner of the G1 Climax goes onto NJPW’s biggest event of the year Wrestle Kingdom with an opportunity to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. However the title shot is not guaranteed yet. Any superstar that defeated the G1 Climax winner in a match during the tournament will receive a one on one match to challenge for the Wrestle Kingdom title shot. Champions are also put on notice during the G1 as well because if they are defeated in the tournament in a non title match, the champions will owe the person that defeated them a title shot at a later event. Needless to say G1 will set up NJPW for the next several months.
I have been given the responsibility of covering the B block this year for HTCWrestling so before G1 really kicks off, I’m going to break down the superstars. I’m also going to tell you some of the most anticipated matches in my opinion. Lastly, the bold prediction of who represents the B block in the G1 Final. And now the superstars of B block.
Hirooki Goto – The current NEVER Openweight Champion looks to make his mark in the G1 Climax this year. Goto had a respective ten points last year, but wasn’t enough to secure his block that was won by Tetsuya Naito at fourteen. Goto however did win the G1 Climax back in 2008 so he’s definitely someone that knows what it takes to win it all. Being that Goto is a current champion, he definitely has a target on his back being anyone that beats could be awarded a shot at his championship. Realistically I can get Goto finishing in the top half of the block, but falls short of winning it.
Kota Ibushi – One half of the Golden Lovers makes another appearance in the G1 Climax. Ibushi like Goto racked up ten points last year, but wasn’t enough to win the block. Ibushi looks to win his first ever G1 Climax and some would consider him a favorite despite being tossed into a pretty stacked block of competition. I can see Ibushi finishing in the top half as well and could be a sleeper pick to win the B block.
Tomohiro Ishii – The Stone Pitbull returns to the G1 Climax as well in 2018. Ishii didn’t have the best success last year in the G1 only scoring eight points, but he’s still a threat every time he steps in the ring. Ishii will probably score an upset or two in the G1 Climax, but I don’t see him being anywhere near the top of the B block this year.
Tetsuya Naito – Without a shadow of a doubt Naito is a heavy favorite to win the G1 Climax this year. Naito of course was victorious last year where he defeated Kenny Omega in the G1 Final and he also was the winner of the 2013 G1 Climax. The two time G1 Climax winner is looking to win G1 for the third time which only two other superstars (Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) pulled off that achievement and Naito looks also to become the third superstar to win back to back G1 Climax’s since Hiroyoshi Tenzan did it in 2003 and 2004 along with Masahiro Chono in 1991 and 1992 which ironically enough were the first two ever G1 Climax. Naito definitely has the tools to add his name to the records books, but it won’t be an easy task by any means.
Kenny Omega – If you’re not predicting Tetsuya Naito to win the B block for the 2018 G1 Climax, chances are you’re probably predicting the Best Bout Machine. Definitely a worthy choice considering he’s the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion and ended the impressive 720 day reign of Kazuchika Okada. Omega is no stranger to winning the G1 Climax as he pulled off the accomplishment in 2016. In case you were wondering, there have been two current IWGP Heavyweight Champions that won the G1 Climax. Keiji Mutoh did it in 1995 and Kensuke Sasaki in 2000. Since the inception of the Wrestle Kingdom title shot in 2012, no current IWGP Heavyweight Champion has won the G1 Climax giving Kenny Omega something to strive for and become the first. Of course with Omega holding the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he’s definitely the biggest target in the B block.
Juice Robinson – The recently crowned IWGP United States Champion brings his title to the B block and looks to improve on his eight point performance from his G1 Climax debut last year. If you recall, Juice pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the G1 by defeating Kenny Omega. I think with Juice being a champion walking into the G1 this year, he’s definitely going to turn some heads. He will definitely make an impact and defeat some heavy favorites. Juice could very well finish in the top half of the B block. However I don’t think he’s going to be the one emerging as the champion of B block.
Zack Sabre Jr – Another one of my favorite NJPW superstars makes his return to the G1 Climax. Sabre Jr had a respective ten points in his first G1 Climax last year and could very make several of his B block opponents tap out as tries to make an example out of anyone that stands in his path. Sabre Jr you have to recall was the winner of the 2018 New Japan Cup so he has what it takes to get in the ring with the best of them. You also have to remember that since Sabre Jr is affiliated with Suzuki Gun, they’ll use any underhanded tactic they can to steal a victory. I think Sabre Jr could have a respective showing in the B block, but not enough to win it all.
SANADA – Sanada has had some success in tag team wrestling being affiliated with Los Ignorables de Japon. However singles action hasn’t been as kind. Last year he finished with eight points in the G1 Climax and he’ll look to improve on that mark this year. Unfortunately for Sanada, I see him finishing in the bottom half of a stacked B block.
Tama Tonga – Tonga is more known for his tag team work in Guerrillas of Destiny, but he can definitely go with the best of them in singles action. Tonga has the skills to steal some matches in the G1 Climax this year and he definitely will try to improve on his eight points from last year. However like Sanada, I see Tonga finishing in the bottom half of the B block.
Toru Yano – If you ever need a good laugh, watch a Toru Yano match. This guy is straight up goofy and can’t be taken seriously. Yano will use his comedy antics, low blows, and roll ups to steal victories. Yano will probably cost some points to some B block superstars looking to win it all, but Yano is definitely not someone I would predict as the overall winner.
That my friends is the 2018 G1 Climax B Block! Now I’m going to list some key matches that are definitely worth checking out. There’s definitely alot of good matches overall, but I’m just going to pick a few out that interest me personally.
Sunday July 15: Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito
Yep this is happening right out of the gates! Two heavy favorites and the rematch of the G1 Climax Finals from last year. This is a must see match everyone. Skip watching Extreme Rules this Sunday if that’s what it takes to see this match. This could very well set the table for the rest of B block.
Saturday July 21: Kenny Omega vs Tama Tonga
I have no idea what’s going on with the Bullet Club these days, but Omega and Tonga are on a collision course and it’s going to be interesting. Does anyone get involved? Can Tama finally get the one up on Kenny? This is going to be big.
Saturday August 4: Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi
These two met last year in the G1 Climax and I bet Ibushi has this match circled on his calendar. This in my opinion could very well dictate who wins and loses the B block. Be prepared for a twenty five minute match of intense action of seeing who wants it more between these two.
Wednesday August 8: Tetsuya Naito vs SANADA
The best part of the G1 Climax is seeing stablemates wrestle each other. Last year SANADA had to wrestle Evil and the match was absolutely brutal as those two didn’t hold back at all. I can only imagine how much worse it’ll be this time around as it’s well known Tetsuya Naito has no respect for anybody.
Sunday August 11: Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto
This match intrigues me more on the fact that both men in this match have respective titles. More than likely whoever gets beat in this contest is going to owe the other man a title shot. There’s a distinct possibility of a double champion emerging from this once it’s all said and done.
Sunday August 11: Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi
The Golden Lovers wrestling each other one on one is going to be an elite moment. Clear your calendars because this match could very well decide the winner of the B block. I have no idea what’s going to happen when these two wrestle, but prepare for a match of the year candidate.
There are many more great matches in store for the B block. Check around for the full list of matches you’ll see in the coming weeks for NJPW. With that being said, it’s time for my final prediction of who wins the B block……… And the pick is……
KENNY OMEGA. I strongly believe in the final day of B block that Omega and Ibushi are going to be tied and the winner of that match is going to decide the winner of B block. Now who does Omega face from A block you ask???
Let’s just say Omega is going to be wrestling someone he’s very familiar with. Someone he’s faced a few times now in the past few years. Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for another Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada showdown??? Mark it on the calendars, G1 Finals!!! I’m also predicting Okada wins the G1 Climax.
Anyways that does it for me. Stay tuned to HTCWrestling.com for my latest updates on G1 Climax 28 B Block and follow me on twitter @ChairmanSV for my latest tweets. Thanks for reading and enjoy the G1 Climax. Who do you think wins the A and B block? Who do you think wins G1 Climax 28??? Reply in the comments or tweet me your thoughts! I’d be curious to hear what you think.