Every day leading up to the G1 Climax I’ll be making predictions and today we’re onto the A Block’s seventh night of the tournament, set to take place on August 3rd in Osaka. Like all block nights of the G1, there will be five tournament matches. Let’s get started!
KENTA (4-2) vs Bad Luck Fale (1-5)
Good ‘ol punching bag Fale. He’s almost certainly winning more than one match but who he’s spoiling, I have no clue. I need KENTA to keep pace with Sabre going into the final night so no upset for Fale here. The further along I get into these predictions, the less I like them.
Zack Sabre Jr. (4-2) vs Lance Archer (2-4)
The battle of Suzuki-Gun! Two guys in the faction who couldn’t be more opposite from the other. The dynamic will be interesting to watch play out. Like Fale, I basically have Archer stepping in for a punching bag. He’ll get more wins but not by much. These aren’t highly pushed commodities so I struggle to see where their wins come in.
Prediction: Zack Sabre Jr.
Will Ospreay (3-3) vs EVIL (2-4)
One of my most anticipated matches of the tournament. You have EVIL serving as a great base for Ospreay’s wacky offense and the power of EVIL to completely wreck Ospreay at will. These two will have a very exciting match. I know a lot of people see Ospreay coming out of the tournament with a positive record but I don’t see why New Japan would want a junior to come in and put on a clinic to the heavyweights. I see him having a good tournament but coming out of it with more to prove. You don’t give a junior the entire rub while he’s still a junior. EVIL has a main event with Okada in his next match so he can’t be dropping a match to Ospreay here.
Kota Ibushi (4-2) vs Hiroshi Tanahahi (2-4)
For the third year in a row we’ll be seeing Tanahashi and Ibushi square off in the G1. These two were last year’s G1 final match which was won by Tanahashi, who owns the series with at 3-1. Tanahashi and Ibushi create magic every time they’re in the ring together. There’s a natural feeling that Ibushi is supposed to be the Tanahashi of the next generation but his unwillingness to sign a contract has put a strain on him ever reaching those heights. Now that the signing has officially happened, it feels like the sky is finally the limit for Ibushi. I believe they’ll have that generational match sometime soon but this is one that has to go to Tanahashi because like Ospreay, you can’t give everything to Ibushi right off the bat. There needs to be somewhat of a struggle so that you have something to rally behind.
Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Kazuchika Okada (5-1) vs SANADA (3-3)
One of the very few one-sided rivalries in modern day New Japan is between Okada and SANADA. Okada has kicked SANADA’s ass all over Japan whether to be in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka or Nagaoka, every time Okada has come out on top. He owns the record at 6-0 and has already defeated SANADA twice this year. The two have claimed to be each other’s rival and SANADA now has a new look that’s completely different from anything in LIJ so it feels like the break out is happening. I’m not sure you change SANADA’s look, put him in a third match with Okada and beat him again. What would be the point? This match is at the very least going to a draw but I wouldn’t be all that surprised if SANADA finally got one over on Okada to cement the rivalry.
Kazuchika Okada (5-2)
Zack Sabre Jr. (5-2)
Kota Ibushi (4-3)
Will Ospreay (3-4)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (3-4)
Lance Archer (2-5)
Bad Luck Fale (1-6)