July 17th: New Japan’s G1 Schedule, Recap and Preview

Let’s Discuss Night Two

New Japan Pro Wrestling put on a very good show on Saturday, July 16th. 

Aaron Henare beat Hiroshi Tanahashi

Jay White beat SANADA

Will Ospreay beat El Phantasmo

Kazuchika Okada vs Jeff Cobb

G1 Tournament Fatigue

So, I finished Day 1. Yea!!! I never thought that I wouldn’t. I mean it’s only Day 1 of the whole tournament. Am I fatigue? Not yet. I watched WWE Smackdown (horrible) and AEW Rampage (just ok). After that I stayed up and recorded new podcast episodes of Daily Sports Betting Overtime and Pro Wrestling Overtime. You can hear these on The Overtime Network. Then I listened to some wrestling podcasts. None that I want to mention though. However, I wanted to go to bed afterwards though. 

Day 2: Sunday (1:00am EST) in Hokkaido at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center Hokkai Kitayell

Remember Saturday and Sunday are free for you to view at www.NJPWWorld.com

The schedule card contains:

B Block: Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi

Tomohiro Ishii may not win a lot, but he has been delivering top-tier G1 performances for 10 years. Ishii is a barometer of quality for G1 competitors, new and old. Last night he was in a tag team match, and you got to see him battle throughout the match. He wasn’t as battered and bruised as he normally is, but that’s good for tonight’s match. I look for him to take it to Taichi and this to be a short match. 

Taichi is still searching for a breakout G1 tournament. He is entering his 4th G1 Climax and has never ended with a winning record (4–5, 4–5, 3–6). In the tag team match last night, he wasn’t memorable. Just not sure that within B Block that he can make any noise and be a serious contender for winning it. Taichi has a 11-day gap between wrestling SANADA and Chase Owens is the second-longest such gap on the schedule. Taichi’s 0-day gap between wrestling Jay White and Great-O-Khan is obviously the shortest such gap on the schedule.

A Block: Toru Yano vs JONAH

Toru Yano is a perennial G1 Climax competitor but isn’t ever really considered a serious contender for winning the block. He DOES have a knack for playing spoiler through his comedic ways. Yano may see his toughest competition yet in this year’s A Block. In the press conference last week, the wrestlers and the reporters were calling this the “Monster Block” or the “Hoss Block.” The problem for him is that he’s not a large man, so can he get creative enough to pull off some wins.

JONAH is debuting in his first G1 Climax tournament. He is in Japan for the first time since 2015 when was with New Japan Pro Wrestling. JONAH recently did a stint in NXT as Bronson Reed, but he was let go. Since he has been back on the scene JONAH has been the talk of the town. I’m looking forward to seeing him try to squash Yano to be taken seriously. In the block he has only taken on Jeff Cobb.

JONAH has one of the most erratic schedules among this year’s G1 competitors. He will begin his tournament on the 2nd night of tournament action, but then he will have 12 days without a singles match before his 2nd tournament match on July 30th. He will then have 5 days away from singles. action before wrestling in 3 singles matches in 5 days between August 5th and August 9th.

C Block: Zach Sabre Jr. vs KENTA

Zack Sabre Jr ran through the first half of his G1 Climax tournament last year like a buzzsaw. He caused Naito, Shingo, Kota Ibushi, and Great-O-Khan to submit. However, then he hit a brick wall in Ishii. This year Zack is really shooting his mouth off at not only his block, but also the D Block. He’s never been able to win a block. Sabre Jr’s tournament ends against Tetsuya Naito who will have additional motivation to defeat the submission master after he injured Naito in last year’s tournament.

KENTA produced a career-high 12 points during last year’s G1 climax campaign but still couldn’t win the block to go to the G1 Final. This year, KENTA will face the toughest block competition in his G1 career, but after two consecutive years of G1 improvement, KENTA stands a chance to wreak havoc on this year’s C Block.

D Block: Shingo Takagi vs Juice Robinson

In 2021, Shingo Takagi entered the G1 Climax tournament with a target on his back as the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, and in 2022, Shingo entered the G1 Climax with the Provisional KOPW 2022 trophy. That’s not to say that Shingo has fallen from his perch as one of the best wrestlers on the planet, but the rest of the field may be a little less motivated to catch Shingo off-guard this year, as he no longer holds the top prize in the company.

Rock Hard Juice Robinson returns to the G1 Climax as a new man after one year away from the tournament. He has broken with his partner, David Finlay in FinJuice. Juice’s recent heel turn to the nefarious ways of Bullet Club has pumped new life into his character. Juice did show up to Sapporo last night with “his” he claims IWGP United States Championship. No one from NJPW came out to retrieve it though. Look for Juice Robinson to bring it out tonight, but I will not be surprised if Will Ospreay comes out to collect it himself. 

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