Based on the somewhat successful first edition of the new series I thought we'd define another stable from New Japan. Last time we looked at the stable that former IWGP World Champion Okada calls home and this time we move to one faction that was started in Mexico and expanded to Japan. For those who don't know early on in his career Tetsuya Naito was a plain white meat baby face & really couldn't get over to his potential. Naito would actually win G1 Climax and didn't land in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom which to my knowledge is extremely rare; the main event of that Wrestle Kingdom in particular was Tanahashi vs Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
Tetsuya Naito: Soon after Naito was sent on excursion to Mexico and would join Los Ingobernables in CMLL which was a stable lead by La Sombra, La Mascara, and Rush at the time of him joining the faction. It was here when Naito began to become the wrestler he is today and upon his return to New Japan it was clear that he was comfortable and might be on the road to find his potential. After seeing a number of matches and video clips from the leader of LIJ it is clear to me that nobody was better served to lead the expansion then Naito. Even though we have yet to see Naito get the long World Title reign that most of think his has the potential for well that gives us something to look forward to and that just means Naito hasn't hit his full potential just yet.
Hiromu Takahashi: Right now I think the only thing that anyone thinks when we see the name Hiromu Takahashi after the events of the G1 Climax special. During his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match with Dragon Lee we saw Hiromu take a nasty bump landing on his head. At first many thought that Hiromu broke his neck, but we know now that the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion was just a little shaken up but luckily didn't sustain any major injury from the spot. Overall all though I think that Takahashi really found his footing a few years ago when NJPW's roster went through some changes and spots were left open. If Takahashi does miss any time it is a big loss for the division, but the depth would allow them to handle it.
Sanada: I can't talk about LIJ without talking about the one man who can do anything in the ring and not have a hair out of place. For any fan that has never seen New Japan and might remember Sanada from his time in Impact he is totally different now and you will be entertained just by his hair dew. Anytime I've seen Sanada work I'm entertained by the fact that you watch him do things and his hair doesn't move which is puzzling. In my opinion I think that Sanada keeps you invested in the match just looking at his hair and seeing if it does ever move.
Prior to the start of this year's G1 Climax I made the assertion that this would be Jay White's biggest chance to prove that he could be a top star for the company in the future. Thus far he has shown a little bit more improvement from where he was earlier this year in his lackluster match against Hiroshi Tanahashi Wrestle Kingdom 12. A lot has changed since then though with his title reign and victory over Kenny Omega at New Beginnings. But it is clear that Jay has some new found aggression that he took with him into the tournament and it's working quite well for him with victories over both Okada and Tanahashi.
The reason that Jay White isn't the point leader is because he is currently tied with fellow former IWGP United States Champion and current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega with 6 points. Now I'm not surprised that Kenny has the lead as I believe that they are trying to make the new champion look stronger before starting to give tournament loses. In my opinion this is one of the tougher parts of having a new champion in the tournament because having him lose early risks making him seem weak. Looking at the B-Block I do think that when the time comes Omega could see defeat at the hand of either Naito, Ibushi or Sabre Jr. any of them could hand the current champion his first loss.
Right now it is to early to point out one major surprise for the tournament as we are still very early in the stages of this years tournament. Thus far it is a little surprising that Juice Robinson hasn't got a win yet after defeating Jay White for the United States championship just before the tournament. To find the full updated standings for the G1 Climax: Click Here
Now this might be an odd choice to select, but seeing Zack Sabre get a heavy push earlier in the year as a way to get him ready for Okada lends some credence to this idea. Recently, at the G1 Climax Special in San Francisco we saw Jay White lose the IWGP United States Championship to Juice Robinson which was a nice surprise. This does though lend some to wonder what will Jay be doing next and with the G1 Climax right on the horizon it is the perfect time for Jay not to really have a direction. I know that two years ago Jay was on excursion in Ring of Honor, but if you know anything about New Japan when they see something in someone they aren't against taking a chance. Speaking of the G1 Climax the first round match for Jay White will see him face the former World Champion Okada.
Some fans might forget that Jay White already holds a win over Kenny Omega when he defeated Omega for the IWGP United States Champion that is his claim to fame. The G1 Climax always brings about unique events with shocking victories and defeats in the matches. In reality I don't think that right now Jay White is near the top of the list, but he is a very interesting person to watch during this years tournament.
Though it is a tough start for Jay White going against the longest reigning World Champion in round one. However, based on his past success I think that Jay will go far in the tournament and could be one of the men leading the charge after we get a few weeks into the tournament. I believe that someone in New Japan does think that Jay White has it and I can't disagree with them as he does have a bright future in the business. It doesn't matter if Jay wins or gets a lot of points in the tournament, but if he does get the win against Okada in Round One that will show just how much they believe in this youngster who could challenge Omega by the end of the year.