Time for G1 Climax
To allow both Block A and Block B to get there proper spotlights I will be splitting them into two articles and instead of breaking it down and talking out of my a** I will let New Japan do the talking for me!! For the full article check out G1 Climax Preview B
The ironman of the G1 Climax, Hiroshi Tanahashi has already wrestled and won more matches in G1 Climax competition than anyone else, and with his 19th consecutive entry, ties Yuji Nagata for most years in succession at the top flight of wrestling tournaments. The question is whether The Ace has a fourth overall victory in him.
Tanahashi was not the pick of many in 2018 when his G1 entry came off the back of a debilitating knee injury but time and again Tanahashi pulls out all of the stops in order to compete at the very top of his game during the G1. In 2020, though, singles success has proven elusive. The year started with a loss to Chris Jericho in the Tokyo Dome, and on NJPW’s return to action for the New Japan Cup, a first round exit to Taichi was the result. In the ensuing IWGP Tag Team Championship feud with Dangerous Tekkers, Tanahashi proved to be the weaker link of the Golden ☆ Ace team before Kota Ibushi elected to break the duo up at least on a temporary basis after Summer Struggle in Jingu; can G1 Climax 30 once again spark a Tanahashi resurgence and prove that the Ace’s time isn’t over yet?
Key match Ryogoku October 17 vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Tanahashi and ZSJ have been all but joined at the hip over the last two years; their tag team wars through the summer of 2020 the continuation of a singles feud that saw five matches in 2019 alone. Now meeting one on one for the ninth time, the win:loss record stands at 4:4. A win over the British submission master would not only put the Ace ahead in their feud, but would also be a key indicator of Tanahashi being back in peak form if he can use victory to book his place in the final.
It’s been 12 years since Hirooki Goto made his G1 Climax debut, and with the assertion that ‘The G in G1 stands for Goto!’ became the first outside of the inaugural 1991 tournament to win the G1 on his first attempt. Hopes were high in the summer of 2008 that his G1 Climax victory would put Goto on a fast track to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but Goto was unable to wrest control of the title in the coming years, nor has he won another G1 tournament.
Yet Goto is always in the mix, and capable of putting together hot streaks that make him a clear and distinct threat. In 2016, he would make the final after Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi wrestled to a draw ahead of him in the block, and in 2019, despite questions over whether he would check out after defeating his rival Switchblade Jay White in his first match, he was present until the bitter end. Overlooking the fierce warrior would be a grave mistake indeed.
Key match Yokohama October 14 vs EVIL
When EVIL first debuted in NJPW as Tetsuya Naito’s pareja in what would become Los Ingobernables De Japon, EVIL was his first singles opponent, in a match that ended in disqualification. Almost five years later and many would argue that a disqualification should have been the result in the quarterfinals of the New Japan Cup, and a vicious assault from the King of Darkness that served as a prelude to EVIL’s betrayal of LIJ to join BULLET CLUB. There’s certainly a lot of history between EVIL and Goto, and all of it dominated by bad blood. Yokohama will see the next chapter.
G1 Climax Preview: Block A
To allow both Block A and Block B to get there proper spotlights I will be splitting them into two articles and instead of breaking it down and talking out of my a** I will let New Japan do the talking for me!! For the full article check out G1 Climax Preview 1
Jeff Cobb’s 4-5 record in last year’s G1 Climax wasn’t the positive win:loss record the Olympian wanted in his debut outing, but he nevertheless put in some impressive performances, including a spectacular win over Shingo Takagi. One of the most active wrestlers on NJPW of America’s roster, Cobb was itching to get back to action all the way through COVID enforced lockdown, getting right back into the swing of in-ring action on Lion’s Break Collision and then entering New Japan Cup USA. Cobb would crash out of the tournament, but only as a result of a low blow from KENTA after having a clear visual pinfall. It was a performance that helped re-establish Cobb’s reputation as a dangerous tournament wrestler, a reputation he seeks to build now back in Japan and in front of crowds for G1 Climax 30.
Key match Takamatsu October 5 vs Jay White
Much like Kota Ibushi, Cobb will have his sights set on Jay White in A Block competition. BULLET CLUB’s dominance Friday nights on NJPW STRONG is yet to be broken, and a win over the Switchblade will make a lot of difference when it comes to each man’s respective standing when back in the US.
2nd entry, 2nd consecutive
Will Ospreay’s 2019 G1 Climax debut campaign ended with a landmark victory over Hiroshi Tanahashi that seemed set to propel him to brand new heights. After losing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Hiromu Takahashi in the Tokyo Dome, Ospreay formally transitioned to heavyweight on winning RPW’s British Heavyweight Championship, and in his time away from the ring during lockdown, has removed the ‘aerial’ aspect of his nickname, preferring to be known simply as ‘The Assassin’ Will Ospreay from here on out.
It’s a hint as to his possible style in the tournament, and his attitude to boot. No longer aiming to impress with acrobatic ability, Ospreay will be focused and driven to pick up results, and to be in the mix come Ryogoku.
Key match Kobe September 27 vs Shingo Takagi
Their Best of the Super Jr. 27 final confrontation was head and shoulders ahead in 2019 match of the year polls worldwide, making a sequel a dead certainty. It seemed as if that match would come in March in the first round of the New japan Cup, but when Coronavirus played haywire with match schedules, many wondered if the bout would ever come. Now Kobe will see a dream bout that will have serious implications on the end block results.
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