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NJPW G1 Climax 28, LIVE AT THE BUDOKAN! 7/14-8/12

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Only interest in A for me is Okada/Tanahashi and both vs. Suzuki. B gives you Omega/Naito (be more like the 2016 G1 Climax match and not the final last year), Omega/Ishii and the biggie in Omega/Ibushi.

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Is it wrong that I'm more excited for a Omega/Yano rematch after their comedy classic last year?

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Ugh, no Taichi and now Golden Lovers in the same block? Not a great build. At least Fale can have two good G1 matches this year. 

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Gonna quote myself:

10 hours ago, Archibald said:

Yeah, I kinda hope that we won't get obvious outcome with him winning G1 since it would immediately brush that aside. On other hand when he got in the ring with Tanahashi my first reaction was "they aren't done, are they?" and I'm ready for him to move up something else.

I'm a bit baffled by them doing another Okada/Tanahashi so soon. Okada needs something new, instead he gets paired against Tanahashi again who despite his age and lower status in terms of kayfabe will always be more liked by the audience. Its like despite all the record breaking and other accolades Okada still can't move past him while Naito and Omega (and Ibushi to certain extent) are moving on. I hope that at least it won't be a semi-final match with Okada once again beating former ace, yet still not being able to move past him. 

Okada looks very obvious winner of A Block. So obvious that you almost expect something weird to happen. I think we shouldn't probably write out Elgin and Evil. Elgin despite all his problems continues to get strong booking so I wouldn't write him off either. Evil got upcoming Jericho match and had strong G1 last year, he also has history with Okada in G1 with being first man to drop him once his legendary title run started.

Block B on the other hand looks crazy.

My insane prediction for whole thing: Okada wins finals against Ibushi. Naito beats Omega here and at KoPW to take the belt. WK rematch with sides switched.

 

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I’m ok with revisiting Okada/Tana so soon if it builds to something crazy a hair vs hair match at WK. We got one last year and the heat would be insane. Plus, if you wanted to main event Okada without a belt, there you have it. That’s my crazy prediction, which is not really a prediction so much as a wish for Ibushi to win; I’m basically going to insist he’ll do so until math says otherwise. 

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Jay White was super nice when I talked with him at War of the Worlds. Looking forward to a few big wins for the Knife Pervert!

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3 hours ago, Beech27 said:

I’m ok with revisiting Okada/Tana so soon if it builds to something crazy a hair vs hair match at WK. We got one last year and the heat would be insane. Plus, if you wanted to main event Okada without a belt, there you have it. That’s my crazy prediction, which is not really a prediction so much as a wish for Ibushi to win; I’m basically going to insist he’ll do so until math says otherwise. 

It hurt so much when he didn't make the finals and Kenneth did. Like, I remember people gushing over Ishii/Tanahashi but it was directly after Ibushi dropped points which meant that he was all but toast. I couldn't enjoy it. I knew what I saw was great but I was just too emotionally down and then numb to really soak it in properly.

Prepare for disappointment, friend. :( I'm ready to be heartbroken. 

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Looking at Tanahashi's photo I'd say he's already succumbed to his genetic destiny by becoming a grumpy vet and is hiding it from his fans with the power of his hair alone. There's a wig-snatch double turn in there for sure.

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Knife Pervert even managed to get a knife into his headshot! Meanwhile, Makabe's middle fingers look like drumsticks so you know what that makes him look like...

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As Ibushi as pointed out, this means his Budokan ban has been lifted.

 

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I'm sure that someone is going to post full list of announced matches, but few initial thoughts;

1. It might be just me and I didn't count it, but it looked to me like Makabe got lots of semi-mains and 2 main events I think. I'm fine with Makabe being in G1, but this might be a bit too much. On the other hand it speaks volumes about A Block wrestlers I suppose since they need to place Makabe so high on the card to sell tickets.

2. Jay White also got lots of good spots and he is semi-final on the last day against Evil hinting that he will probably stay alive till last day(s). I like him, but he still needs to improve and I wonder if him getting strong first G1 won't piss some people off since he is already divisive a bit.

3. Okada/Tanahashi is main event of the last day. I'm sure it will be great match, but this sounds terribly boring. Unless it indeed turns out into some hair vs hair WK match, but if not then it really is hard to get excited about it.

4. B Block on the other hand opens up with Omega/Naito. First thought would be that if Naito wins then he probably takes the title at KoPW, if he doesn't win then he makes the finals.

5. Obviously Omega/Ibushi on the last day. Naito and Zack are also on the last day so I think it is possible that Omega/Ibushi results in a draw, Naito gets his win back from Zack and moves to the finals. But if he wins first match against Omega then that sounds a bit redundant.

6. B Block looked stronger on paper and announced schedule hasn't really changed that.

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-Okada/Jay opening is interesting. If White still has the title, and Okada beats him, does he even bother challenging for it? If White wins, we're for sure getting progression on the slightly hand-wavey "seeds of discord" aspect of his character: I broke up Bullet Club, now I'm doing the same to Chaos, etc.

-I still think Okada winning the block looks incredibly obvious. So obvious that, combined with the super obvious semifinal against Tanahashi, I almost expect something else to happen. Although, a loss in the finals to Ibushi or Naito would still provide a worthwhile character moment; I'm not sure winning the whole thing does.

-I'm assuming one of those two will advance from Block B, and I think Ibushi would be a favorite over Okada, whereas I'd expect Naito to lose. He could then win the title at KOPW (assuming he beats Kenny earlier), and finally, finally, vanquish Okada in the main event at the Tokyo Dome. 

-I think this is somewhere between the last two years, in terms of predictability. For all my blind Ibushi fandom, Naito was the clear favorite last year, whereas I certainly didn't expect and Omega/Goto finals the year before. For me, Okada, Naito, and Ibushi all have obvious reasons to win this year--though again, I'm gonna ride for Ibushi, because come on. I want him versus Kenny for the title, and I want him solidified as a New Japan main eventer. The thing that hurts him is I can imagine him doing other stuff: He and Kenny don't need a title to have their WK match; they could win the tag league, then the tag belts; etc.

-I love that, although they're once again on speaking terms, Kenny and Kota are still, years later, vaguetweeting when it comes to fighting one another. Kota only alludes to fighting "him..."; Kenny just tweets "Ibutan...". It's so stupidly melodramatic and I love it.

-Not having the IC title in the tourney is weird. It certainly feels like Jericho keeps it until WK, and then drops it to...?

-"Who will win" hysterics aside, I'm also excited to see who, if anyone, has a bit of a coming out party. There will be the usual dream matches, but so much of what makes this tournament fun is the "I didn't know I wanted this, and now it's the best thing I've seen... well... today" matches.

-I'm already stoked/sleepy.

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I love the G1 not just for dream matches but due to it being the time of year we get to see a lot of singles matches in NJPW. A lot of these guys get hampered down in tags, 6 man, 8 man, etc.  Now it's time for guys like Yoshi, Juice, Sanada, Evil  to show what they can do.  I am interested in both blocks but obviously prefer B to A.  

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Full schedule below (h/t Reddit):

Spoiler

July 14 @ Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • A Block: Togi Makabe vs. YOSHI-HASHI

  • A Block: Bad Luck Fale vs. Hangman Page

  • A Block: Michael Elgin vs. EVIL

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki

  • A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White


July 15 @ Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo

(7/14) 11PM Pacific, 2AM Eastern, 7AM UK, 3PM Japan, 4PM East Australia

  • B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. Tama Tonga

  • B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. SANADA

  • B Block: Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega


July 16 @ Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center, Sapporo

2AM Pacific, 5AM Eastern, 10AM UK, 6PM Japan, 7PM East Australia

  • A Block: YOSHI-HASHI vs. EVIL

  • A Block: Michael Elgin vs. Hangman Page

  • A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale

  • A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White


July 19 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • B Block: SANADA vs. Tama Tonga

  • B Block: Toru Yano vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. Kota Ibushi

  • B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito

  • B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Kenny Omega


July 20 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • A Block: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Minoru Suzuki

  • A Block: Michael Elgin vs. Jay White

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale

  • A Block: Togi Makabe vs. EVIL

  • A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hangman Page


July 21 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • B Block: Kota Ibushi vs. Toru Yano

  • B Block: SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. Tetsuya Naito

  • B Block: Kenny Omega vs. Tama Tonga

  • B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii


July 22 @ Esforta Arena Hachioji, Tokyo

12:30AM Pacific, 3:30AM Eastern, 8:30AM UK, 4:30PM Japan, 5:30PM East Australia

  • A Block: Michael Elgin vs. YOSHI-HASHI

  • A Block: Jay White vs. Minoru Suzuki

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hangman Page

  • A Block: EVIL vs. Bad Luck Fale

  • A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Kazuchika Okada


July 26 @ Aore Nagaoka, Niigata

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Toru Yano

  • B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Tama Tonga

  • B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega

  • B Block: Kota Ibushi vs. SANADA


July 27 @ Act City Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • A Block: EVIL vs. Hangman Page

  • A Block: Jay White vs. Bad Luck Fale

  • A Block: Michael Elgin vs. Minoru SUzuki

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Togi Makabe

  • A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI


July 28 @ Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Nagoya

2AM Pacific, 5AM Eastern, 10AM UK, 6PM Japan, 7PM East Australia

  • B Block: Tama Tonga vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. Toru Yano

  • B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito

  • B Block: Kenny Omega vs. SANADA

  • B Block: Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii


July 30 @ Takamatsu City General Gymnasium, Takamatsu

3AM Pacific, 6AM Eastern, 11AM UK, 7PM Japan, 8PM East Australia

  • A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Bad Luck Fale

  • A Block: Jay White vs. Hangman Page

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. YOSHI-HASHI

  • A Block: EVIL vs. Minoru Suzuki

  • A Block: Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada


August 1 @ Kagoshima Arena, Kagoshima

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tama Tonga

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. SANADA

  • B Block: Toru Yano vs. Tetsuya Naito

  • B Block: Kenny Omega vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi


August 2 @ Fukuoka City Civic Gymnasium, Fukuoka

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • A Block: Jay White vs. YOSHI-HASHI

  • A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Hangman Page

  • A Block: Michael Elgin vs. Bad Luck Fale

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. EVIL

  • A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki


August 4 @ EDION Arena, Osaka

1AM Pacific, 4AM Eastern, 9AM UK, 5PM Japan, 6PM East Australia

  • B Block: Toru Yano vs. SANADA

  • B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Tama Tonga

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi

  • B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega


August 5 @ EDION Arena, Osaka

(8/4) 11PM Pacific, 2AM Eastern, 7AM UK, 3PM Japan, 4PM East Australia

  • A Block: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale

  • A Block: Hangman Page vs. Minoru Suzuki

  • A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Jay White

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Michael Elgin

  • A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL


August 8 @ Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. Tomohiro Ishii

  • B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Kota Ibushi vs. Tama Tonga

  • B Block: Toru Yano vs. Kenny Omega

  • B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. SANADA


August 10 @ Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • A Block: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hangman Page

  • A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Michael Elgin

  • A Block: Bad Luck Fale vs. Minoru Suzuki

  • A Block: Jay White vs. EVIL

  • A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada


August 11 @ Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

  • B Block: Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga

  • B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs. SANADA

  • B Block: Juice Robinson vs. Hirooki Goto

  • B Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

  • B Block: Kota Ibushi vs. Kenny Omega


August 12 @ Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

(8/11) 11PM Pacific, 2AM Eastern, 7AM UK, 3PM Japan, 4PM East Australia

  • Final: A Block Winner vs. B Block Winner

 

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I almost feel like Tanahashi can't lose to Okada so soon again. Draw to eliminate probably makes the most sense but an outright victory in Okada's moment of self doubt/weakness would be perfect. The hair match is such a great fucking idea too that will never happen. 

Omega losing the belt to Naito, who has seemingly cooled off, before getting to defend it at WK after putting in that performance at Dominion reeks of Baba booking Kawada to be a dork. 

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7 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

I almost feel like Tanahashi can't lose to Okada so soon again. Draw to eliminate probably makes the most sense but an outright victory in Okada's moment of self doubt/weakness would be perfect. The hair match is such a great fucking idea too that will never happen.

That's a good point. Tanahashi himself making the finals would make a compelling opponent for Ibushi. Were they to draw, I think it's worth keeping an eye out for Jay White--especially if he drops the US title first. I know the collective opinion is that he may not deserve it, but he's still the guy Gedo chose to debut at WK against Tanahashi, and he tends to have plans--and stick to them--when it comes to his big projects. White, like Tana, would take a good fall for Ibushi, given he beat Kenny and was present for the famous apron distraction.

EVIL, of course, is also in that semimain, if they want an all LIJ final. (Though I agree, Naito seems cooled off, and maybe we have to entertain the idea that he's just never getting that massive push that once seemed inevitable.) 

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I don't think anybody would believe in White is close to ready for the WK main event. His matches are almost always drawn out and have little or no heat until perhaps the very end. I think he has a strong future but right now anything above playing spoiler for one of the big names is a terrible idea. I don't think a single person would see him as a legitimate threat to whomever wins B Block.

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Yeah, that's fair. It's also why I think the more compressed nature of G1 singles might make his work look better than his attempted epics have. As much as anything, I think I'm trying to talk myself into someone other than Okada maybe winning the block, even though he's the only person on that side I can imagine standing in the ring as Wrestle Kingdom ends. (Though again, I couldn't really picture it with Goto or Omega, and here we are.)

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No excuses if Jay White has a shitter against Kazuchika Okada, IMHO the best wrestler in the world.

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A bit of a rant on couple of points.

Okada/Tanahashi: yes it feels wrong for Tanahashi to lose again this soon, but I don't think that it would make sense to chalk it up on Okada's self doubt since their match is happening on last day. By that point Okada should be either back in the game or gone from the running. It would make more sense if their match was happening on the opening day. And well, here is the thing, if Okada is eliminated either due to Tanahashi winning or them drawing again then it kinda asks for another Okada/Tanahashi match down the line. Because it is not the same to lose random G1 match and semi-final match. It probably would be better if Okada won to reaffirm that he has moved past Tanahashi.

If we look at the entire Okada's career once he returned he was in one big story arc: becoming the new ace. At one point AJ provided something different with "you are still young boy from TNA" story, but that was more of a temporary distraction before he moved back to Tanahashi. Some time ago one of my problems with Omega was that while I felt that his matches were spectacular he never really did for me much in terms of story/character since "who is better" plot that he had with Okada is very simplistic that anyone can have. But slowly his "change the world" idea started getting shape via US title and match with Jericho, eventually we got a rift in Bullet Club that started with Adam Cole and shifted to Cody (while I think that they dropped the ball with whole BC drama story and I have very little interest in Omega/Cody II I can't say that it wasn't an entertaining premise), but most importantly he got back with Ibushi that resulted in some heart warming moments and we all are eagerly awaiting for their clash. And what he did once he won the belt from Okada? Immediately started talking trash about Japanese wrestlers. Sure, LiJ guys immediately went back at him asking where he is during Kizuna Road if he is such a hard worker. But well, thats the point isn't it?

So moving back to Okada. For most of the career he either fought Tanahashi or sat on his throne and awaited for next challenger. And it looks like he is bound to continue either his fight with Tanahashi or sitting on the throne. And I feel like he has hit the ceiling here, he needs new storyline that would be personal, because while he has great chemistry with Omega in the ring, there isn't anything between them in terms of story that couldn't be easily replicated with other wrestlers. I think it is a problem that despite being featured at the top of the card for almost all of his career he still isn't most popular wrestler in the company. And it looks like Gedo's solution to that is: keep doing same thing.

And Gedo sure likes to stick with his plans, but I'm not sure if that is always a good idea. I remember last year there were some people complaining that he didn't gave Omega the main belt after their WK match broke the internet. And you look at it back now and I think you kinda have to wonder what could have been? Sure, people are saying that their latests match was greatest match ever, but despite getting critical acclaim... it feels like it had much smaller impact than their WK match. So maybe Gedo should have thrown away his long term plan and tried to catch the lightning in the bottle after WK11? We can't know for sure obviously, but I'd guess that Omega winning the title last year would have been bigger deal than him winning it now.

And it goes back to Naito as well. Plan was for Okada to break all the records so it didn't matter that their biggest crowd in years was ready for Naito's victory. As a result Naito now is in weird place. Like, when I write about scenarios where Naito might win the title at KoPW or get to the finals I realize that this is a bit of fan fiction and that 10 time more likely outcome is Naito/Jericho II at WK13. Anyway, I see lots of people writing about how they are probably saving another Okada/Naito match for 2020 (if I'm not mistaken) since then it will be on weekend and they'll attempt to sell out the dome, but... if Naito already started cooling off due to this weird booking then how over will he really be for 2020 WK? I think that if Naito's entire 2018 will end up being about 2 matches with Jericho then that boat has likely sailed and Naito is not getting another WK main event unless people get bought by WWE or injuries happen.

So yeah, I would be surprised if White ends up in G1 finals, but at the same time if it happened I'd think "Gedo doing Gedo things" so probably it has a chance of happening.

One more thing. I really don't like the "business has been growing with Okada as the top guy so it is fine" argument, because it completely ignores Nakamura's work with IC title, Bullet Club's formation, Omega and The Elite, Naito and LiJ or how Tanahashi has been working almost in every possible position during all that.

tldr; Gedo's long term plans might suck, Okada has been booked into the corner, Omega's coronation should have happened earlier, Naito is fucked, Tanahashi is still the ace.

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I really don't get your concern over Naito's situation.  The guy hasn't cooled off a bit since losing at WK.  The guy got nuclear heat for a Yoshi-Hashi match for goodness sake.  The Taichi match was hot.  The Suzuki feud was hot.  The Jericho feud was hot.

He's still hot.

His G1 match announcements got some of the biggest live reactions, especially the Sanada match.

Speaking of which....the reaction to the announcement for Okada/Yoshi-Hashi as a main event was hilarious.  Almost as funny as the audible groaning and grumbling when Yoshi-Hashi was announced as a participant.

But what's going to be even funnier is when he wins that match.

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