Connect with us

NJPW

NJPW Full G1 Climax Predictions

Published

on

Making your G1 Climax picks is one of the most exciting and equally daunting tasks of the year. Twenty wrestlers, nine matches a piece and the finals makes for a total of ninety-one predictions to be made before the tournament even begins. Everyone’s story must be represented in logical fashion if you want to stand any chance of getting your picks right. Everyone has a different approach that’s unique to them but we’re here to talk about me so here is how I tackled the G1 Climax.

Bad Luck Fale (5-4)
Since Fale is one of the more consistent performers in recent years, I started off by looking his direction. In his four years of participating in the G1, Fale has never finished with a losing record so I penciled him in for at least five wins. Now, what’s Fale’s current story? The weight loss. Previously, he’s used his weight in order to squash the likes of Tanahashi and Okada but now that he’s slimmed down, I don’t see that tactic being as effective. He’ll be somewhat more agile, have better cardio and still be as strong as an ox but his weight advantage won’t be as large as it has been in the past. For this reason, I see Okada and Tanahashi getting through Fale this year but he’ll remain being an obstacle for those looking to overpower him rather than out-finessing.
Wins: Page, EVIL, White, Makabe, Y-H
Losses: Okada, Tanahashi, Elgin, Suzuki

Togi Makabe (3-6)
Next, I moved to another consistent performer, Togi Makabe. The last four years has seen Makabe finish with a losing record and with time working against him, I don’t think that streak is coming to an end. His long time tag partner, Honma, recently made his return so I see Makabe starting off strong with Honma by his side. He’ll beat YOSHI-HASHI to open up his tournament but I can’t see him getting past Suzuki on the following day. Next up is EVIL, which is a tall task, but since he’s in the main event with Okada after that, I see Makabe pulling off a surprise win over EVIL in order to look like a credible threat to Okada. Once he loses to Okada begins the downward spiral for the aged veteran. I see him surprising Page on night eleven to set up a more credible win for White the following night but that’s the last win I see for Makabe this year. Finishing with his worst record as his descent down the totem pole continues.
Wins: Y-H, EVIL, Page
Losses: Suzuki, Okada, Tanahashi, Fale, White, Elgin

YOSHI-HASHI (1-8)
Here is a man trending in the wrong direction. Ever since beating Omega in his G1 premiere, nothing has gone right for Y-H. His first tournament saw him finish with three wins and the year after that, two. Y-H is in complete spoiler mode. No one believes he can actually get it done but what he can do is catch someone by surprise and make sure they don’t win either. He may be able to sneak out a couple of wins but I only have him marked down for one. I see him costing Big Mike Elgin a win which would have taken Elgin to the finals. The following night he faces off with Okada in the main event so a win over Elgin makes Y-H seem as dangerous as you could reasonably expect. He may upset Page on the final day but I have Page already out of contention at that point so it wouldn’t do either of them any good.
Wins: Elgin
Losses: Makabe, EVIL, Suzuki, Okada, Tanahashi, White, Fale, Page

Michael Elgin (5-4)
The middle of the pack is where Elgin has found himself his first three years in the G1, his best outing consisting of five wins and his worst being four. That’s the ballpark he should be expected to be in again this year. His first match is against EVIL which can go either way but as LIJ’s sole member in the A Block, I’m giving EVIL the nod. Next he has Page, who’s going facing off with Okada the following night so I see Page coming out with the win. Already behind the gun with two losses, Elgin next has White and I don’t think Elgin will drop three in a row right off the bat. With a win over White, Elgin will look as if he’s on the right track and overlook Y-H, suffering yet another loss. With his back against the wall, Elgin gets serious and rips off three wins in a row against Suzuki, Okada and Fale before meeting his buddy, Tanahashi, who won’t be denied. Elgin will finish off his tournament with a consolation win over Makabe and a respectable five wins but the loss to Y-H will haunt him for a long time.
Wins: White, Suzuki, Okada, Fale, Makabe
Losses: EVIL, Page, Y-H, Tanahashi

Minoru Suzuki (5-4)
This was the first time I had to ask myself whether I think this participant will win the tournament. The answer I gave myself was no so what’s the best way to tell Suzuki’s story? He starts off strong with wins over Tanahashi, Makabe and Y-H. He meets a struggling and desperate White who is coming off back-to-back losses to Tanahashi and Elgin. A third straight loss won’t be in the cards for White and he looks impressive by beating the undefeated Suzuki. This sends Suzuki spiraling down, losing to the other youthful wrestlers, Elgin, Okada and EVIL. He’ll get his groove back at the end over Page and Fale which will give him five wins while helping the young guys, especially White and EVIL, take that next step.
Wins: Tanahashi, Makabe, Y-H, Page, Fale
Losses: White, Elgin, EVIL, Okada

Hangman Page (4-5)
Another guy I see in the spoiler role man than anything else. Page has had a great year in New Japan, even if somewhat under the radar. He’s looked like a credible threat in every match he’s competed but isn’t quite at that level where people believe in him. I fully expect the G1 to change that perception with Page getting monumental wins over Elgin, Tanahashi and EVIL. Him showing that he can hang with the big boys will do a lot in helping his perception amongst fans across the world. Sure, he’s not winning the tournament but I’m positive that Page will be given the opportunity to be the breakout star of the A Block.
Wins: Elgin, Tanahashi, EVIL, Y-H
Losses: Fale, Okada, White, Makabe, Suzuki

Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-4)
Before the G1 Special in San Francisco, Tanahashi is who I had circled to win the block but now I’m not so sure. With such a packed block, I see Tanahashi flying a little bit under the radar early on, losing the opening day to Suzuki but stacking up enough wins to have a chance on the final day. Ultimately, I’ve changed my mind on this being Tanahashi’s tournament but won’t be surprised if my first instinct was the right one. He remains relevant throughout the entire tournament but falls to Okada for the second time this year.
Wins: White, Fale, Makabe, Y-H, Elgin
Losses: Suzuki, Page, EVIL, Okada

EVIL (5-4)
2017 was EVIL’s breakout year, one win over Omega away from winning the tournament. EVIL will start off hot, representing LIJ as the block’s sole member but soon after end up on a losing streak. Over the last year, crowds have been all in on EVIL so I expect them to rally behind him as he puts on an incredible run of wins in the closing stages of the tournament by beating Suzuki, Tanahashi and Okada but falling to White in his last match. EVIL does nearly everything right but comes up one loss too many for a second year in a row. All signs point north for EVIL and if he continues to trend upwards, I can see him being in the finals next year.
Wins: Elgin, Y-H, Suzuki, Tanahashi, Okada
Losses: Makabe, Fale, Page, White

Kazuchika Okada (6-3)
You have to go back to 2012 for the last time that Okada wasn’t competing for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom. He won this tournament on his first attempt and every time he’s entered without the belt, he’s wound up winning the G1. Okada enters this year without the belt so history points to another G1 victory for the Rainmaker. But I don’t see it happening. Instead, I believe Okada’s world will begin crumbling around him, starting this year’s tournament with a loss to Chaos stablemate, Jay White. Okada will rally after that loss but a win over Tanahashi will prove to no longer be enough, a new era has begun.
Wins: Fale, Page, Makabe, Y-H, Suzuki, Tanahashi
Losses: White, Elgin, EVIL

Jay White (6-3)
This is why you wait until the last moment to make your G1 predictions. White came out of the G1 Special in SF looking like the next big star. He was ruthless, absolutely destroying Juice Robinson and he’s been planting seeds about the destruction of Chaos all year. I don’t think he was bluffing. White will send shockwaves through Chaos when he defeats Okada on the opening day and while I don’t believe he’ll get to the finals without a bit ofa struggle, I do see him cleaning house in the closing stretch with four consecutive wins to end the tournament. Both Chaos members, Okada and Y-H, will fall to White and the foundation surrounding Chaos will continue to shake.
Wins: Okada, Suzuki, Page, Y-H, Makabe, EVIL
Losses: Tanahashi, Elgin, Fale

A Block Winner: Jay White

Hirooki Goto (4-5)
Being amongst two other champions and two high-profile competitors (Ibushi and Naito) Goto has a whole lot working against him this year. One of the unspoken arrangements of the G1 is that if you pin a champion you reserve the right to challenge for their title down the line. Goto’s tournament opens with a match against SANADA, a perfect fit for a future challenger. Then you have guys like Ishii and Yano, Chaos stablemates with Goto but another unspoken rule is that stablemates don’t challenge each other in New Japan so Goto suffering a loss to either of them is somewhat pointless. In a block filled with champions and top guys, there is zero room for pointless losses. I don’t see this being a successful tournament for Goto in terms of wins and losses but if he manages to get a couple of exciting title challengers down the line I’d call it a success in its own way.
Wins: Ishii, Yano, Tama, Sabre
Losses: SANADA, Omega, Naito, Ibushi, Juice

Zack Sabre Jr. (4-5)
Someone who has had as strong of a year as Zack finishing with a losing record would be bizarre but also a testament to how strong the field is this year. He can make up for a sub par record by defeating one or more of the current champions. In fact, I have beating both Juice and Omega. Two chances for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in one year is a bold statement that says the competitor has arrived and is here to stay. With the recent announcement of a third U.S. show later this year, fans in the states would love the opportunity to see Sabre challenge Omega for the title. G1 is about making the most of your opportunities so if you can’t win the entire thing, beating a champion is the next best prize.
Wins: Yano, Tama, Omega, Juice
Losses: Ibushi, SANADA, Ishii, Goto, Naito

Tomohiro Ishii (4-5)
My love for Ishii known no bounds but I’ve got to be realistic here, he has no chance of winning. Ishii hasn’t had a winning G1 record since 2015 and despite my love for him, I don’t see the win ever coming his way. I’ll be cheering him on each and every match but my best hope is he pins a champion and receives a title shot later in the year.
Wins: Yano, Sabre, Tama, Juice
Losses: Naito, Goto, Ibushi, Omega, SANADA

Toru Yano (0-9)
While we all my applaud Yano for declaring that he’ll change his game plan this year, this is obviously not going to end well for him. Everyone on the roster outclasses Yano and he seems to have forgotten that but the message will be received loud and clear when he fails to pick up a single win. With wins needing to be distributed as evenly as possible, there’s no logic to having Yano find success this year. He’s there to take the losses and bolster up everyone’s record as much as possible.
Wins: None
Losses: All of Them

Tama Tonga (3-6)
He saw his opportunity to take the spotlight and took full advantage of the situation at the G1 Special in SF. Tama has more eyes on him now than ever before as everyone is looking to see what he’ll do next. With that being said, I’m not expecting a huge win total for Tama but the wins he does have will be as impactful as possible. I don’t see any title but one having his attention, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. I believe that Tama will be the first to defeat Omega since winning the title and will have ever intention on challenging for the belt at a later date. Also, I see Tama being a thorn in Ibushi’s side as well. He’ll take his shots at both the Golden Lovers and put a beat down on Yano in his final match, furthering to paint the picture that’s serious.
Wins: Omega, Ibushi, Yano
Losses: Juice, SANADA, Naito, Sabre, Ishii, Goto

SANADA (5-4)
This year will see SANADA featured in two main events, one against Ibushi and one against Naito. His last two tournaments saw mixed results both in wins and standing out. SANADA has yet to really break through and this year will be his biggest test to date. I see him stepping into his first main event of the tournament against Ibushi undefeated. He’ll slide down after that but it’s sure to be set up as if it’s a big moment in his career. This needs to be his best tournament yet because another year of middling around doesn’t bode well for his future.
Wins: Goto, Tama, Sabre, Yano, Ishii
Losses: Ibushi, Omega, Juice, Naito

Juice Robinson (5-4)
A career win over the weekend earned Juice what is arguably the second highest profiled title in the company. What a huge moment for the career of Juice and now he’s the one with the target on his back. Juice will have no shortage of challengers as he’ll still be defeated on a semi-regular basis once again this year but the tables have turned as the hunter has become the prey. There are a lot of great potential championship matches to be had with Juice holding the title.
Wins: Tama, Naito, Yano, SANADA, Goto
Losses: Ibushi, Omega, Sabre, Ishii

Kenny Omega (6-2-1)
Since the IWGP Heavyweight Champion has extremely low odds of making the finals, he’s bound to lose matches. Those matches better matter because they’ll be his immediate challengers before Wrestle Kingdom rolls around. There are various competitors who have a chance at being the one to beat Omega but some are too big for the upcoming venues and others are too small. For example, Naito challenging for the title is too big and SANADA is too small so there is a balance in who should pick up the wins. With what we saw in SF, Tama seems like more than a logical choice and Sabre has defeated the upper echelon of the roster so he wouldn’t seem out of place either. I don’t see Omega advancing to the finals but conversely don’t see him taking many losses.
Wins: Naito, Goto, Juice, SANADA, Ishii, Yano
Losses: Tama, Sabre
Draws: Ibushi

Kota Ibushi (6-2-1)
The match the wrestling world is buzzing for is Ibushi and Omega at the Tokyo Dome. I believe that Ibushi is determined to give us the best performances of his career as he makes his way through the field. The buzzing will start becoming louder as his winning streak reaches six before finally suffering his first loss to Naito, thirteen days into the tournament. Naito will be the beginning of the end to Ibushi’s dreams of facing Omega at the Dome. The next night Ibushi will fall to an extremely motivated Tama Tonga and his tournament will end in a draw with Omega. The hopes and dreams of the wrestling world will be crushed by Naito as we’re all forced to wait longer for Ibushi and Omega.
Wins: Sabre, Juice, Yano, SANADA, Ishii, Goto
Losses: Naito, Tama
Draws: Omega

Tetsuya Naito (7-2)
Are we possibly about to see the first back-to-back G1 win since Hiroyoshi Tenzan did it in 2004? I believe there is a very strong probability that we will. Naito is the hottest wrestler Japan has to offer and is a heavy fan favorite everywhere New Japan travels. You strike when the iron is hot and it cannot get any hotter than it is right now. All year, Naito has been floundering, unable to get his footing sice his loss to Okada at Wrestle Kingdom. This is the perfect time for Gedo to do his classic Tanahashi trick where just when you think all hope is lost, the ace emerges. I see Naito stumbling out the gate, losing to Omega on the opening day and furthering the narrative that he’s unable to sustain his footing. After a loss to Juice, everyone will be sold that Naito has lost all his steam. That’s when he begins collecting his wins and before you know it, Naito has made his way to the finals.
Wins: Ishii, Tama, Goto, Yano, Ibushi, SANADA, Sabre
Losses: Omega, Juice

B Block Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Finals: Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito
The story of White stepping over Okada as the one to lead Chaos to the finals will be a great story. He comes into the match with credibility by defeating Okada as well as Omega earlier in the year. Naito’s story is he’s found his groove again, pulling off six consecutive wins to make it to the finals. White being the massive heel with no redeeming qualities completes Naito’s face turn. There won’t be a split from the crowd, everyone will be rallying behind Naito, which is sure to create an incredible atmosphere. I genuinely believe this will be the finals but if by some chance I’m wrong, I dare you to revisit this and tell me this isn’t the finals we all deserved.
G1 Climax 28 Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Block Results

A Block
Jay White (6-3)
Kazuchika Okada (6-3)
EVIL (5-4)
Minoru Suzuki (5-4)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-4)
Bad Luck Fale (5-4)
Michael Elgin (5-4)
Hangman Page (4-5)
Togi Makabe (3-6)
YOSHI-HASHI (1-8)

B Block
Tetsuya Naito (7-2)
Kenny Omega (6-2-1)
Kota Ibushi (6-2-1)
Juice Robinson (5-4)
SANADA (5-4)
Hirooki Goto (4-5)
Zack Sabre Jr. (4-5)
Tomohiro Ishii (4-5)
Tama Tonga (3-6)
Toru Yano (0-9)

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trending