Every day leading up to the G1 Climax I’ll be making predictions and today we’re onto the A Block’s second night of the tournament, set to take place on July 14th in Tokyo, Japan. Like all block nights of the G1, there will be five tournament matches. Let’s get started!
Bad Luck Fale (0-1) vs Lance Archer (0-1)
This is where looking ahead in the schedule becomes beneficial for making predictions. On the surface these two are near the same level in terms of how they’re utilized but if you look at their upcoming matches you’ll see Fale’s next match is Okada. A win for Fale here would make him a bigger threat to Okada on the following day. This system isn’t fool proof but when you have toss up matches where you can’t decide which way to go, it’s better than nothing.
Prediction: Bad Luck Fale
SANADA (1-0) vs Will Ospreay (1-0)
If you use the same process of looking ahead at the schedule for these two, something will stand out. Later on in this show SANADA’s LIJ stablemate, EVIL, has a match with Ibushi. That’s a match EVIL will lose more often than not and SANADA’s next match is against EVIL. Since they’re LIJ stablemates who frequent as tag team partners, I see them both going into their match together with mirrored records which would mean an Ospreay win. If you look at Ospreay’s schedule he has back-to-back main events against Ibushi and Okada following this match so it lines up that he’d walk into his first G1 main event with a 2-0 record.
Prediction: Will Ospreay
Kazuchika Okada (1-0) vs Zack Sabre Jr. (0-1)
The match that was the main event of last year’s Sakura Genesis finds itself third from the top in the G1 Climax. How Sabre’s tournament is structered is a head scratcher. He’s someone who has been featured in several main events and has another one coming up just next week but will not receive any during the G1. I’m not sure if that’s a statement on Sabre’s placement or if New Japan feels it’s more important to feature KENTA and Ospreay right now. No matter where they are on the card, Sabre is a threat to Okada. They split wins last year, Okada winning in Japan and Sabre in the U.K. I have a hard time believing that the IWGP Heavyweight Champion will drop a match in the middle of the card.
Prediction: Kazuchika Okada
Kota Ibushi (1-0) vs EVIL (1-0)
This is a match I’ve wanted for a while now so on a personal level I’m really happy to see this is finally taking place. Like I said in the SANADA/Ospreay preview above, this isn’t a match I see EVIL winning although I wouldn’t mind these two having a series. Since Ibushi has a match with Ospreay the following day and I have Ospreay coming into that match 2-0, it’d make since to have Ibushi mirror that record, especially considering they’ll be that show’s main event. EVIL and SANADA would both move on to 1-1 record in an LIJ clash which I think lines up well.
Prediction: Kota Ibushi
Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-1) vs KENTA (0-1)
A dream match of sorts where we’ll see the ace of New Japan challenged by the former ace of NOAH, KENTA. The fact that this match is a main event really helps highlight just how important of a match up this is in Japan. You have these two huge main event players who have both logged a lot of miles but will want to establish their dominance. There’s a real big fight feel when looking at this match on paper. If Tanahashi were a champion I could see KENTA winning and setting up a title match but I don’t think KENTA is going to come into New Japan and beat the ace without any clear signs of a rematch.
Prediction: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Kota Ibushi (2-0)
Kazuchika Okada (2-0)
Will Ospreay (2-0)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-1)
Bad Luck Fale (1-1)
Zack Sabre Jr. (0-2)
Lance Archer (0-2)