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NJPW ‘G1 Climax 29’ Night 1 Preview & Predictions

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Every day leading up to the G1 Climax I’ll be making predictions and today we start off with the tournament opener, set to take place on July 6th in Dallas, Texas. The A Block will be kicking off the tournament with five matches, let’s get started!

Will Ospreay vs Lance Archer
The junior heavyweight division will be represented in the G1 Climax for the first time since 2013. Then, it was IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Prince Devitt, now it’s Will Ospreay and he’s holding the same title. This will be Ospreay’s G1 debut and Lance Archer will be making his first G1 apperance since 2014 where he finished with a 4-6 record. These two met in this year’s New Japan Cup, a match many thought was the best of Archer’s career and was a match that Ospreay won. This time they will meet in Archer’s home state but Ospreay is a fan favorite anytime he travels under the New Japan banner. I expect Ospreay to make a statement by showing he belongs with the heavyweights.
Prediction: Will Ospreay

EVIL vs Bad Luck Fale
Both men are coming into this year’s tournament after a down year where they didn’t reach the success of past years. EVIL finished with a positive record of 5-4 but was left without any notable wins. Fale decided to throw his tournament away by doing all that he could to try and get disqualified every night. These two met last year in a match that saw EVIL come out on top and I expect to see the same result this time.
Prediction: EVIL

Zack Sabre Jr. vs SANADA
These two traded wins last year, Sabre winning a match in the New Japan Cup and SANADA responded with a win of his own in the G1. Sabre ended up placing higher in the tournament and did better than the year before, managing to finish tied at the top of the block at 6-3 but missing the final due to tiebreakers. SANADA has been a model of consistency ever since making his G1 debut, finishing with a 4-5 record three years in a row. He has recently taken on a new look which may lead to him breaking out of his usual losing record in the G1. I expect him to make a strong statement to start off his tournament.
Prediction: SANADA

Kota Ibushi vs KENTA
In typical fashion, the G1 Climax is kicking off with a dream match. Ibushi and KENTA will be in the ring for the first time in a decade and for the first time ever, it’ll be a singles match. Two of the most influential wrestlers of this generation squaring off in the G1 is what this tournament is all about. There are question marks concerning whether or not KENTA still has what it takes to produce classics and he’ll have a chance to show exactly how he has left in the tank right off the bat. Big statement match from New Japan. I expect this to be a serious highlight of the tournament.
Prediction: Kota Ibushi

Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
New Japan’s rivalry of this generation is making it’s way west for the first time ever. Just over seven years since Okada shocked New Japan by defeating Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and setting the tone for what was to follow for the rest of the decade. This will be their fourth encounter in the G1, all three previous meetings went to the thirty minute time limit. Every time they’ve been in the ring together the match has been considered a classic. Now it’ll be happening outside of Japan for the first time. This is a truly special moment.
Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Standings
Kazuchika Okada (1-0)
Kota Ibushi (1-0)
SANADA (1-0)
EVIL (1-0)
Will Ospreay (1-0)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-1)
KENTA (0-1)
Zack Sabre Jr. (0-1)
Bad Luck Fale (0-1)
Lance Archer (0-1)

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.

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