Credit: NJPW/TV Asahi
It’s been a long, grueling road for the participants in this year’s New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax, but there will be no rest for the weary as we roll into the final three nights of competition. All three shows will run back to back from August 11-13 at Ryogoku Sumo Hall, broadcast live on New Japan World featuring both traditional Japanese commentary as well as English commentary from our friend Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.
In previous years the final nights of block competition have been tough to call, with so many mathematical scenarios and tiebreakers that trying to figure it all out could make your head spin. This year it’s simple: four men remain, two bitter rivalries that have spanned the entirety of 2017 – win or go home.
The A Block finals (Friday at 5:30AM EST) will potentially settle the score between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito, whose battle began at Wrestle Kingdom 11 when wrestling’s most destructive nihilist Naito defeated the New Japan ace to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. It was Tanahashi who won the rematch at Dominion on his quest to restore honor (and a fresh coat of paint) to the broken down title. Both men are legitimately hurting heading into the final night of block action. Tanahashi’s ruptured bicep has played a huge roll in the storytelling of his matches so far, particularly early on with Bad Luck Fale and Zack Sabre Jr., but the injury is absolutely legit.
The B Block finals (Saturday at 5:30AM EST) culminates exactly as everyone expected. It came as a bit of surprise when both Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega were announced in the same block, but once the lineup was confirmed there was no doubt it would come down to the two in the end. The IWGP Heavyweight Champion sits at 13 points with one loss and one time limit draw, while Omega follows closely behind at 12. Kenny must now do what he couldn’t do at Wrestle Kingdom, and what he couldn’t do in 60 minutes at Dominion. A draw here will not be enough; the Cleaner must finally defeat Okada in 30 minutes, effectively tying their feud at 1-1-1 each, or watch his second chance at the Tokyo Dome slip through his fingers.
Credit: NJPW/TV Asahi
Of course the G1 doesn’t end with these two massive rivalries. The top four stars in New Japan will be narrowed down to two for the G1 Finals (Sunday at 2:00AM EST). It really is anyone’s game at this point.
A Kenny Omega victory sets up his path back to Wrestle Kingdom and the finale of one of wrestling’s all-time great programs. Naito was the odds-on favorite to win the G1 in 2016 and is still the leader of Japan’s most popular stable, so pulling the trigger here makes a lot of sense and many seem to have him on their prediction sheets this time around. Tanahashi is the least likely to advance but you can’t ever count out the greatest star of the last decade. Okada is in the midst of the greatest IWGP Heavyweight Championship reign of all time and will break the record before it’s all said and done, but it’s potentially relevant to point out that he’s done so without a single match against the ace that made him the champion he is today.
We have a lot to look forward to outside of the tournament finals over the next three days, with the return of the Young Bucks, War Machine, Cody Rhodes and the rest of Bullet Club, plus Kushida, Ryusuke Taguchi, the Young Lions roster, Ricochet and more.
A Block Finals
August 11, 2017
– Katsuya Kitamura, Tomoyuki Oka & Hirai Kawato vs. Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & Desperado
– Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Sanada & Bushi
– Juice Robinson & Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiromu Takahashi & EVIL
– War Machine, Michael Elgin, Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet vs. Cody Rhodes, Young Bucks, Hangman Page & Chase Owens
– Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano vs. Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi
– Yuji Nagata vs. Bad Luck Fale
– Togi Makabe vs. Yoshi-Hashi
– Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
– Kota Ibushi vs. Hirooki Goto
– Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito
B Block Finals
August 12, 2017
– Kushida, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & Hirai Kawato vs. TAKA Michinoku, Desperado, Taichi & Kanemaru
– Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens
– Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Takashi Iizuka
– War Machine, Ryusuke Taguchi, Ricochet & Katsuya Kitamura vs. Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page, Young Bucks & Bad Luck Fale
– Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi & David Finlay vs. Tetsuya Naito, Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi
– Michael Elgin vs. Juice Robinson
– Tama Tonga vs. Sanada
– Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki
– Satoshi Kojima vs. EVIL
– Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega
G1 Climax Finals
August 13, 2017
– A Block Winner vs. B Block Winner
– War Machine (c) vs. Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page for the IWGP Tag Team Championships
– The Young Bucks (c) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet for the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championships
– More TBA
The post NJPW G1 Climax Finals Preview: Two Massive Rematches, Okada/Omega III, Tournament Finals, Young Bucks Return, Cody Rhodes & More appeared first on Wrestlezone.