Every day leading up to the G1 Climax I’ll be making predictions and today we’re onto the A Block’s final night of the tournament, set to take place on August 10th in Tokyo. Like all block nights of the G1, there will be five tournament matches. Let’s get started!
SANADA (4-4) vs Bad Luck Fale (1-7)
I agree, it’s completely ridiculous that I have Fale this low on the final day. The problem is, I didn’t see where he could pick up any meaningful wins. They’ll definitely happen, I just struggled to find where exactly they’d happen. With that said, I again see him taking a loss here. I had SANADA pin Okada for the first time ever earlier in the tournament so he should close out his G1 on a high note rather than ending it by being defeated by Fale. For the first time in his four year G1 history, SANADA breaks his 4-5 curse and bumps up to a 5-4 finish.
EVIL (4-4) vs Lance Archer (3-5)
Not quite as low as Fale, I have Archer around an area I feel more comfortable. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finished with four wins but for the same reasoning I had with SANADA, I’ve picked EVIL to close out his tournament with a win. EVIL just defeated Okada the night before. You don’t want the fans to forget that moment by having him go on to lose his final match. Have him finish strong and put emphasis over this win.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (4-4) vs Will Ospreay (4-4)
One of, if not thee, biggest match of Will Ospreay’s tournament. Both men come in unable to win the G1 but still with a lot of prove. If you’re Tanahashi there’s no way you want to be beat by the junior champion. If you’re Ospreay, a win over the eight time heavyweight champion would be monumental. I’m seeing a lot of people believe Ospreay has a great chance at pulling off several big wins throughout the tournament. I’ll grant you that he’s not the prototypical junior, as he’s defeated several super heavyweights and has held the openweight title, but a win over Tanahashi would be insane. Now, it’s very well possible but know that you’re banking on Tanahashi stepping down a couple of levels if you’re predicting this to happen. I don’t see Tanahashi allowing a loss of this magnitude. Give Ospreay something to fight for in the years to come.
Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Zack Sabre Jr. (5-3) vs KENTA (5-3)
My tournament predictions come down to one of these two advancing to the block final. They have the same records as both Okada and Ibushi, who I see going to a draw in the main event. My pick is Sabre beats KENTA and moves on to face Naito. Those two have history stemming back to last year’s G1 where it was Sabre’s win over Naito at the block final that bumped Naito from winning the block. KENTA has ties to the venue these two will be wrestling at, as Budokan was the home base for NOAH like Sumo Hall was/is for NJPW. Him returning to the legendary arena for the first time and picking up a win to advance to the final would be a wild moment but I’m not sure how much stock NJPW will put into his story. I’m picking the somewhat safer route by having the NJPW commodity in Sabre come out with the win and face off with Naito in the final.
Prediction: Zack Sabre Jr.
Kazuchika Okada (5-3) vs Kota Ibushi (5-3)
For the first time in over five years (if you don’t count the Tiger Mask W match) Okada and Ibushi are scheduled to face off in a singles match. This is one of the most protected matches in New Japan today. Ibushi has been in the 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018 G1 and these two were in separate blocks all four times. This was not an accident. New Japan knows how big this match is and saving it for the final day is massive. Okada has won their two previous encounters (three if you include the Tiger Mask W match) so an Ibushi win would be special. The way I see it, these two are going to a draw as a way to keep the hype for Ibushi’s win going even longer. The Okada final day draw has become somewhat of a trope over the last several years but it’s a way for him to end the tournament without taking a loss and also not advancing him to the final where he’d be facing his Wrestle Kingdom opponent just a few months out from the big event. Keep Ibushi off the top of the mountain, have Sabre squeak through and give the fans the Naito G1 moment on the final day. That’s how I’ve booked this year’s A Block.
Zack Sabre Jr. (6-3) – Winner
Kazuchika Okada (5-3-1)
Kota Ibushi (5-3-1)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-4)
Will Ospreay (4-5)
Lance Archer (3-6)
Bad Luck Fale (1-8)