July 16th: New Japan’s G1 Schedule and Preview

Let’s Discuss Night One

New Japan Pro Wrestling has changed up their famous G1 Climax 32 Tournament. Many are throwing fits and upset about it. They are saying they liked the two-block system. They liked only concentrating on a block a night. But NJPW is saying the 4-block system with 28 wrestlers will make it more exciting and give you different kinds of matchups every night. 

Dave Meltzer thinks this G1 is weaker than normal. I totally understand that especially since the one guy I wanted to see isn’t in it. Bryan Danielson. We all know he’s out with a concussion and we aren’t sure when he’s coming back. I think that we can all gripe as much as we want until tomorrow, July 16th. However, once the matches begin, I think we settle down and enjoy the different matches how they are presented. We focus on the wrestlers that are here and what they can do. 

Is G1 Tournament Fatigue Real?

I’m looking forward to writing to you every day about it. Maybe it will keep me from getting G1 Tournament Fatigue. Is that a real thing? YES, it is. Staying up during a 1:00am start like on Sunday isn’t usually so bad. However, like tonight (Friday night) I’m watching WWE Smackdown which leaves a lot to be desired then AEW Rampage. I will probably do some work on the Daily Sports Betting Overtime podcast because the G1 Tournament doesn’t start until 4:00am and will run probably until at least 7:00am. 

I know some of you are saying well why not go to bed in between. Because I don’t know that I can go to sleep that fast and I think it will be too short of a time for my body to run on Saturday morning. My issue (as with any wrestling program) is when the card is subpar and mediocre. I know every night isn’t going to be unbelievably awesome. But when I tried to watch every card last year it became a grind or even a marathon. You guys know I hate to run. I know I’m not the only one. I’ve heard others talk about staggering to the finish line. We’ll have to see how I do. I’ll fully admit when I miss or when I gave up on a card. 

Day 1: Saturday (4:00am EST)

I don’t think I have to worry about that tonight at all. It seems like New Japan made sure that the opening and closing nights are pretty good. Remember Saturday and Sunday are free for you to view at www.NJPWWorld.com. So, you can count on the first card being a banger. You are seeing Jay White the current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada who Jay White just beat for the championship, Will Ospreay who has also been the champion and Hiroski Tanashashi the legend who has won the championship numerous times. 

The schedule card contains: 

C Block: Hiroshi Tanashashi vs Aaron Henare

Hiroshi Tanahashi dominates the top of this card and will start it off hot. I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that he will bring it on Saturday. He holds almost every G1 Climax record in matches, wins and match length. When Tanahashi starts the first night’s match on Saturday, he will officially tie Hiroyoshi Tenzan with 21 G1 Climax entries. He hasn’t won a G1 in 3 straight years and is wanting to reverse that this year. Most fans aren’t counting “The Ace” out of winning C Block. He has been known to run off a stretch of victories before. Tanahashi says he isn’t worried about not main eventing the first night. 

I have to talk about one record that wowed me. Tanahashi holds the highest all-time G1 Climax Tournament Total Match Time. He has 42 hours, 55 minutes and 55 seconds. Yes, that says FORTY-TWO HOURS. That’s just crazy to me. However, among this year’s wrestlers the one coming in second is Kazuchika Okada at 27 hours, 53 minutes and 14 seconds. Yes that’s right the next guy is 15 hours behind him in match time. Craziness. 

I like his opponent, Aaron Henare. He is part of the tag team, Aussie Open and the team United Empire. Will Ospreay has already challenged him to match himself and Jeff Cobb in the tournament. I have enjoyed Henare’s work and love his enthusiasm. However, Henare is making his G1 Climax debut this year. He is looking for his first singles wins against every single member of the C Block with 5 out of his 6 block matches are first time matchups. I look for him to lose almost all his matches. 

D Block: Will Ospreay vs El Phantasmo

I can’t tell you how excited I am for Will Ospreay vs El Phantasmo. I enjoy both of these wrestlers. Their styles used to be somewhat similar until Ospreay’s injury and El Phantasmo upped his game in the last 6–9 months. I look for Ospreay to possibly win the D Block or at least be “screwed” again so that he can complain. But I think the surprise that a lot aren’t seeing is going to be the “discovery” of El Phantasmo. He is going to wow people this year. Is he going to win a lot of matches? No, but he is going to tell a lot of stories and give you matches that you will remember. Especially on this first night with Ospreay, but also on the last night with Shingo Takagi. I think a lot of people are going to be talking about him after this G1.

B Block: SANADA vs Jay White

Jay White is coming off of upseting and winning the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship from Kazuchika Okada, then having a great match at AEW Forbidden Door and appearing on AEW Dynamite stealing the attention from their stars. He left many fans saying who is that? But after all that, Jay White isn’t headlining the opening night while champion. This from what I understand is somewhat unusual. The champion not headlining the opening night has happened three times in the 12 years. How it was explained to me? That NJPW wants the well-known, “sexy,” “hot” star to main event and draw in the fans around the world that are getting the tournament for free. This may be some of their first times ever watching NJPW’s G1 Climax Tournament and they want to put on a show. 

SANADA is good…very good. He is exceptional and was headed for a great year after winning the US IWGP Championship. However, he had his face broken and ruined some of his good looks by Will Ospreay. That setback hasn’t stopped him from picking up where he left off. This should be his coming out party in the G1. We’ll have to see. Look for with his talent and Jay White’s snub of not headlining the first night as champion to push these two to the unbelievably night NJPW is wanting. 

A Block: Kazuchika Okada vs Jeff Cobb

Kazuchika Okada lost his championship to Jay White but has still shown that “The Rainmaker” is the one to main event over “Switchblade” tonight. Okada is the defending G1 Climax champion. He may have beaten Tanahashi. But, in order to rise to main event status above him, he had to fight for years. You better believe that Okada is going to make Jay White do the same thing. But everyone says that Okada will supplant Ishii one day as the greatest modern G1 Climax wrestler. 

Jeff Cobb is unreal with his power wrestling. He had a record-tying 16 points with an 8–1 record last year but lost out to Okada. The former Olympian has put on three spectacular matches with Okada. One of which was on the last night of last year’s G1 Climax Tournament. Cobb has the moves and sequences to make crowds come alive, however, there won’t be any cheering this year due to the Covid restrictions. He sometimes reminds me of a WWE superstar with his entertaining nature and his confident attitude. 

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