With the full tournament match lineups for each G1 Climax card now available (click here!), I thought I’d take a gander down the ol’ list and select a couple shows (five in total) that I think are going to be, as the kids say, the real bangers of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual heavyweight round robin extravaganza.
Starting off, appropriately, with the opening night of the tournament in Dallas, Texas. Our first night of action brings with it two dynamite rematches– Lance Archer and Will Ospreay get to reprise their blockbuster New Japan Cup match from earlier in the year, plus finally, a legendary rivalry comes to US soil as Tanahashi and Okada face each other from opposite corners of the ring.
But not just those, no. We also get another round of SANADA vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. and the piece de resistance, KENTA’s first match back after leaving WWE… and he gets Kota Ibushi, a man he’s been on the other side of the ring from several times in tag matches, but never in a singles. Welcome back to puro, KENTA… hope you survive the experience!
Moving on to B Block, the next batch of matches I want to highlight is night eight in Hiroshima, with a one-two punch. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito is an established favorite, but Jon Moxley vs. Shingo Takagi, now that’s some new and exciting Dragon Gate USA-flavored dynamite! And carrying on with B Block, night twelve is getting the highlight for one reason and one reason only, folks…
Mox vs. Yano.
We know the erstwhile Dean Ambrose has comedy chops when he’s not being asked to do Vincent Kennedy McMahon’s “good shit,” and there’s no better comedy wrestler on the planet than (sing along with me at home!) Yano Toru! Whether Mox wants to play it as a clash of styles or a Looney Tunes cartoon come to life, this one has got a lot of folks looking forward to it and with good reason!
And then to the final block nights of the tour, A Block finishes up strong with a KENTA match that could have happened on 205 Live if ZSJ hadn’t gotten the hell out of dodge the second the Cruiserweight Classic was over, plus in matches likely to decide who goes to the finals, Tanahashi meets Ospreay and Ibushi meets Okada!
Last but not least, the final night of block competition sees Mox reprise his first New Japan match as he again faces Juice Robinson. Depending on the standings heading in to the final night, it might be Juice’s chance to play spoiler. Likewise for Switchblade and Naito, both former 1-time IWGP Heavyweight Champions that would like nothing more than to win the G1 winner’s briefcase and challenge whoever is champion at the Tokyo Dome in January.
There you have it, folks
There are other matches I’m looking forward to quite a bit (hello, Mox vs. Ishii!), but these are the five nights of the tournament that have me most excited right now. What say you, Cagesiders?