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

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Plot twist: on first day Taichi assaults/injuries Yoshi-Hashi and replaces him in G1.

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Hi, random lurker, very rare poster, but I have a question:

How/why is EVIL so popular with the Japanese crowd? I like the guy, but the reactions he got on the G1 announcements were right up there with the top guys and I saw on Twitter some results from random Japanese fan polls about who they want to see in the finals, he was battling out with Tanahashi as the fan's choice to take on Ibushi in the final.  I guess he could be a real dark horse in his group

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EVIL beat Okada last year, that might have been part of it.  He has some credibility, and he is a good wrestler, though he does come off as "just a guy" to me, whereas Sanada comes off as something more.  Then again I enjoy Sanada more than Naito.

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people like LIJ and EVIL put in a real shift in the G1 last year, I think they respect the effort. I also think they like his gimmick. As do I. Like Alstein, I think SANADA is the future star there.

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EVIL's big thing is he fits the NJPW style of storytelling with selling.  I mean, dude had the entire world pissed at Omega because we all thought he liquified his brain with the V-Trigger.  Fans like the high end selling.

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And people like a good underdog. He is not on the same level as Okada and Tanahashi, but he is close enough that him winning A Block wouldn't be ridiculous (like if White won it) so I'd assume that if some fans want to see surprise winner then they are going to gravitate towards Evil.

To think that before his return lots of people had already written him off and expected him to be a jobber in undercard matches.

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It's hard not to enjoy and respect the commitment he shows to such a ridiculous gimmick. Dude is a chubby rainbow goth who literally calls himself EVIL, enters with a giant plastic scythe and a Fisher-Price "my first Satanic ritual" robe, and sells it with total sincerity. Like, he's a good wrestler too, which is certainly an essential part of the equation; but the whole thing is just audacious as hell, and I love him for it. (Not being sarcastic here. He's one of my favorite people in the company.)

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I'm on board with the possibility of Taichi taking out Yoshi-Hashi toward the end of this tour and/or at G1 Special and replacing him in G1.  I like Hashi, but I'm on the "yeah, he probably should be out for someone new" train.

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A potentially interesting note: Champion or not, Okada still has by far the most main events in this G1 with 8; Kenny and Ibushi are tied for second place with 4; Naito only has 2, which is one fewer than Goto and Ishii, and the same as SANADA, Tanahashi, and Jay White.

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Thanks guys for the answer. I did EVIL and would like to see him do well, but do agree SANADA will be the star.  I just found him an odd choice for the Japanese fans to get behind, but not that I'm complaining. 

Really looking forward to night 1 as I'll be there!  Seeing Tanahashi vs Suzuki live is going to be something else. Also really curious about White vs Okada. Picking an upset win for White to finally set some internal conflict in CHAOS. 

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Kenny did X-Pac's podcast, and while it covered quite a bit I'm going to lead with the G1 part, to justify putting it all in this thread:

-Both he and Kota think it's too early to wrestle one another; they told the office that; he reiterated the desire that they save it for the Dome; office begged, and they relented. (It would be endlessly wild to speculate what he's successful vetoed, since he mentioned he usually gets to do that.)

-While he thinks an invading wrestler in the G1 is fun, New Japan's roster is too strong--and people would be angry at being excluded--to accommodate it. Mentions Shuji Ishikawa specifically.

-In part, this is because he's a big guy, and he'd like to work a David/Goliath match. Problem is, New Japan really only has Fale, and they're still faction buddies.

-That style of match stemmed from discussing Vader, who actually got Kenny his first Japanese work visa.

-He reiterates that he lives in Japan now--"I pay all my taxes in Japan"--and so he doesn't really consider himself a foreign wrestler.

-He'd like to defend against Naito and Tanahashi. He... half jokes? that the Tana match would be interesting because "he hates me in real life". He sorta walks that back and calls it mutual professional jealousy, and then says they just have different views on wrestling.

-There were two "great ideas, that people would have gone crazy over" that he and Okada left out of their match, because they assume--though don't know--that it'll be revisited on a big stage at some point.

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Pre-tournament prediction: Ibushi goes into the last night needing a draw to win the group, and Omega beats him right at the finish to cost him, which will be used as fuel for an Ibushi heel turn down the road.

Hope that Tana wins block A, but fearful that Elgin does.

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I was working on predictions of how the blocks could play out and got a pretty interesting last night of Block A where Tanahashi, Suzuki and Fale were tied and the last three alive and Okada could only play spoiler to Tanahashi (due to a draw with White). I will be surprised if Okada doesn't end up in the final but I think this presents so many interesting choices and match dynamics. Suzuki and Fale match up on the last night and the way I had matches play out was that Tana had a fall over Fale but not Suzuki so if Fale wins Tana could have the tie breaker over him but he gets bested by Okada again and Fale moves on to the final against Ibushi (my Group B predictions are a nightmare scenario of possible outcomes going into the last night involving Omega, Naito, Ibushi, ZSJ all being alive and wacky tiebreakers needing for certain people to possibly win but Ibushi wins by 1 point).

I think Fale/Ibushi with Omega in his corner could be an interesting match that would further the Bullet Club story and actually bring the GoD into it since they've been kinda left out since the Ibushi stuff started (I had Tama upset Omega in the group stage to also work toward this goal.

All this speculation aside from going through the predictions I've realized there are a lot of really interesting stories that these groups can tell and I'm not as down on Block A as I was when it was announced once I started looking at how things play out. And that's with YOSHI HASHI in the mix if he ends up swapped with Taichi who knows what things could look like. I've gotten myself even more pumped for the G1.

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All will be forgiven if Taichi actually replaces YOSHI-HASHI. NJPW doesn't usually reward terrible behaviour of their wrestlers in angles like WWE does.  I mean, during the match, basically anything goes but the matchmaking usually makes sense.

I was really hoping for a big outsider name (Shuji, Shingo, Sekimoto, WALTER, or Cobb) and Taichi prior to the announcements. It was a bummer when neither materialized but I'd settle for just Taichi now gladly.

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On 6/19/2018 at 3:35 AM, Archibald said:

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.

Doesn't Makabe do a lot of TV morning shows?

 

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While it is true that Makabe is a minor TV celebrity, my gut feeling tells me this is more like him being on his final G1 legs, if not this year then next year.  So perhaps that's a story waiting to be told (maybe the booking is telegraphing it a bit as well), as he goes out with a bang with some main events along the way.  

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I'm all back in on NJPW in preparation for Serious Business Yano's undefeated G1 run.

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SANADA and EVIL are interesting to me, because they are such a Western idea for a tag team. One guy who is crazy athletic and looks like a future breakout star, and one guy who is really solid but not spectacular in ring, but has great charisma and character.

I like them a ton.

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In an article talking about the G1 and predictions on the official site with Liger and Chono, Liger chose Tanahashi to win it all over Ibushi and Chono chose...Hangman Page. It seems like an amusing interview, but auto-translation of conversational stuff is kind of screwy and hard to figure out. It likes to use Butterfly a lot because of the meaning of Chono's name too. ;)

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NJPW released short promo videos for each participant. They are not translated, but you can kinda get the idea due to visuals chosen. Few that I found interesting:

Goto is pretty much presented as a national hero since he is only Japanese guy that holds heavyweight title. This could be an interesting angle I guess if it wasn't Goto and I will be a bit surprised if he ends up getting more than 6 wins.

Jay White had "I will show you my... CHAOS" words in his video. I suppose this gives some more credibility to "White beats Okada on opening day" theory.

If I got it right they played up on Okada and Yoshi-Hashi returning at the same time in WK and how one ended up as a star and another as a jobber. I think this also could be an interesting angle if it wasn't Yoshi. His video also received a ton of dislikes (2x more than likes while every other wrestler got very few dislikes) and I know how it doesn't represent anything, but at the same time I wonder if he isn't going to get some go away heat.

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43 minutes ago, Archibald said:

Goto is pretty much presented as a national hero since he is only Japanese guy that holds heavyweight title. This could be an interesting angle I guess if it wasn't Goto and I will be a bit surprised if he ends up getting more than 6 wins.

Kinda fits with Milano's commentary at the G1 special, emphasizing how he's sort of a Westerner's idea of a Japanese bushido wrestler man.

Quote

Jay White had "I will show you my... CHAOS" words in his video. I suppose this gives some more credibility to "White beats Okada on opening day" theory.

I am, to be clear, all in on this theory. I've totally convinced myself that it's happening. Jay lost his title to a rollup, but kicked out of a loaded punch then finisher, and didn't hit his own. The Bladerunner counter to the Rainmaker is also so, so easy to picture.

Random thing: With BC splitting the way it has, I'm really hoping we get more of Chase Owens tagging with Ibushi. They were weirdly compelling together.

Formal prediction: Ibushi over Tana in the finals; Jay and Okada tie for second in A block; Kenny finishes second in B block, but loses to Naito, thus setting up their title match at KOPW.

I'm pretty stoked about this whole tourney.

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I have White losing to Ibushi (why do I do this to myself?) with Tanahashi costing Okada a spot in the finals on the last day. And yeah, I think this is where the early investment in White pays off. I agree with Naito going over Kenny as well. I will be furious IF Ibushi were to win and Kenny loses the title before WK. Not having one of the big 4 in the final would be really risky in a sense but also fantastic. They've all but sold out the final show anyway, so really how big of a risk is it? The more established guys near the top the better, within reason of course. 

The more I dwell on the SF main event the more I am disappointed in Omega's performance. He can be so amazing at integrating character work into the final third of a match but struggles to do so in the opening third and this may have been the most glaring example. I thought after the Bucks/Lovers tag that maybe he had started to figure it out but nope. He needs to sort that out because it's something Okada does so extraordinarily well (same with Naito) and that makes Kenny's weakness stand out in comparison even more. He can plant seeds in the first bit of a match in the very least that can be returned to later on. 

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