Every day leading up to the G1 Climax I’ll be making predictions and today we’re onto the A Block’s sixth night of the tournament, set to take place on July 30th in Kagawa. Like all block nights of the G1, there will be five tournament matches. Let’s get started!
Kota Ibushi (3-2) vs Bad Luck Fale (1-4)
I pretty much have Fale being a punching bag for the entire tournament after his match with Okada. It’s hard to see where he’d have any relevance after that match. Fale owns Ibushi in the G1, having won both of their previous encounters. Their 2017 match gained a significant amount of praise due to how they handled their size difference. It’s a fun dynamic to play with and Ibushi enjoys being creative so there’s no doubt this will be another memorable match.
Prediction: Kota Ibushi
Zack Sabre Jr. (3-2) vs Will Ospreay (3-2)
These two are no strangers to one another. This will be their eleventh singles meeting but the first to ever happen in Japan. Sabre currently owns the record at 6-4 but many believe this is one Ospreay can win to set up a match for Sabre’s RevPro title. I can see that argument but I’m leaning the other way. Since I have Sabre picked as my guy to win the block, I don’t think one of his select few losses should be to a junior. With ten matches under their belt there’s no doubt the chemistry will be strong. Definitely a tournament highlight.
Prediction: Zack Sabre Jr.
Kazuchika Okada (4-1) vs Lance Archer (2-3)
Although I had Archer start off his tournament 0-3, he’ll be coming into this match having defeated both Tanahashi and Ibushi on back-to-back nights. This will bring him into his match with Okada feeling like a threat. I’m not sure how far they’re going to go with Archer now that he’s without Davey Boy Smith Jr. but a win over Okada would be a bold pick. Much too bold for my taste. Archer’s tournament will be interesting to monitor. Maybe he’ll be able to have a nice showcase here with Okada.
Prediction: Kazuchika Okada
SANADA (3-2) vs KENTA (3-2)
I haven’t seen any hype for this match but I certainly feel like it can be something that delivers in a big way. It’s an interesting match. Both guys are well traveled, spent a significant portion of their careers overseas and came into New Japan from outside promotions. The difference in styles should create an interesting dynamic and a fiery SANADA will want to cement his place and not be upstaged by the company’s newest get. I have this match circled as one I’m very interested to watch play out.
EVIL (2-3) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-4)
The 1-4 record I have for Tanahashi isn’t a typo but it doesn’t feel right. My idea going in was that this would be a desperate Tanahashi who is clinging to keep his place on top. He’s dropped matches to Okada, Sabre, Archer and SANADA, now he’s pressing against EVIL. These two are coming in with a singles record that’s tied at one win each. Tanahashi defeated EVIL in last year’s G1 in a match that greatly underdelivered on expectations. I can vividly remember how clunky the match turned out. Tanahashi wanted EVIL to bring it but EVIL was standoffish and felt timid in key spots so this being a main event this year is a genuine surprise to me. I think Tanahashi moves by EVIL yet again and starts finding his groove late in the tournament. The key word here being late. Too late.
Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Kazuchika Okada (5-1)
Kota Ibushi (4-2)
Zack Sabre Jr. (4-2)
Will Ospreay (3-3)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-4)
Lance Archer (2-4)
Bad Luck Fale (1-5)