NJPW G1 Climax 29 B Block Preview

Image result for g1 climax 29
Credit: NJPW

Hopefully, the fact that you’re reading this means you’ve already read my preview of A Block in the 29th G1 Climax, and you know the deal. If for some reason you aren’t reading every word I produce, it might make more sense to start there? Click the link and enjoy. Done it? Great, onto Block B.

Tetsuya Naito

Previous record: Entered 2010-18 winning in 2013 and 17.

With Ibushi placed in the same block as Okada, Naito has stepped into the role of my favourite for the G1. His quest to beat Captain Kazu for the IWGP Heavyweight Title has been thwarted on more than one occasion, but it’s time. He should go into what will potentially be the biggest Wrestle Kingdom of all time (it definitely will be if you combine the gates), and pin the Rainmaker. The lead Ingobernable will also have a badass tournament, putting on outstanding matches with the likes of Ishii, Shingo and Goto. He’s one of, if not the, most entertaining wrestlers on the planet, he’ll never be less than fantastic.

Key matches: Hirooki Goto (July 19th), Shingo Takagi (August 4th) and Jay White (August 11th)

Tomohiro Ishii

Previous record: Entered 2013-18

Tomohiro Ishii will not win the G1. I’d love it to happen, but that wish will never come true. Ishii is not in the G1 to win it, he’s in the G1 to have everyone else’s best match. He’ll go out and belligerently headbutt his way through opponents while making them looking amazing in the process. Throw in the fact that he’s got the NEVER Title and he can a drop a few falls to set up future opportunities for that, and you’ve got the foundation for what will no doubt be a standout month from the Stone Pitbull. Yes, he’ll finish in the middle of the block, but he’ll be still a badass, just not a badass that’s going after the IWGP Heavyweight Title.

Key matches: Tetsuya Naito (July 24th), Shingo Takagi (August 8th) and Taichi (August 11th)

Juice Robinson

Previous record: Entered 2017 and 18.

Juice Robinson is all set for an intriguing G1. Last year he came in as US Champion, which would normally see him protected. However, a packed block and a broken hand meant his narrative was one of defeat and, while he looked good in those defeats, it cemented him as a mid-card player. In the year since Juice has lost, regained and lost again that title, but coming into the 29th tournament, he feels like a bigger star. The ceremonial cutting of the braids before his war with Moxley was a transition into the next stage of his New Japan career, and it will be interesting to see if the results back that up. He’s not going to win this, but who he beats will give us an insight into the future of the always popular Juice.

Key matches: Hirooki Goto (July 15th), Jay White (August 8th) and Jon Moxley (August 11th)

Toru Yano

Previous record: Entered 2005, 2007-18.

There is more chance of me winning the G1 than Toru Yano. However, like Ishii, Yano is in there for a reason, unlike Ishii, it’s not to have great performances. He’s the something different that you add to spice everything else up a bit. The Master Thief will go out and have a bunch of short comedy matches, breaking up the flow of the hard-hitting action and, even more importantly, giving wrestlers a night where they don’t have to bump too much. If last year is any indication, we’ll get a little bit of Yano’s amateur wrestling background, but it will mainly be duct tape and turnbuckle pads with at least one shock win thrown in. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Key matches: Juice Robinson (July 24th), Jon Moxley (August 1st) and Taichi (August 8th)

Hirooki Goto

Previous record: Entered 2008-18 winning in 2008.

Poor Goto has had a rough year. Jay White didn’t just beat him but has consequently begun using his name as a synonym for failure. Even worse, it’s hard to disagree with White’s point as since winning his first tournament Goto has become the ultimate bottler, losing every big chance he’s had and never making it to the top of the company. Sadly, that’s not going to change here, even if he did take a trip to America to train with Shibata in the build-up. However, the White story is continuing into the B Block and don’t be surprised if Goto beats him setting up the need for a rubber match somewhere down the line.

Key matches: Jay White (July 13th), Tetsuya Naito (July 19th) and Tomohiro Ishii (August 1st)

Jay White

Previous record: Entered 2018

Jay White is in an interesting spot right now. He won his first IWGP Heavyweight Title this year which cemented his position as a main eventer in New Japan. However, since he dropped that belt, he’s been a bit directionless. Wins over Tanahashi and Goto suggested he was in line for another title shot, but it hasn’t proven to be the case despite NJPW touring Australia. Instead, he has to enter the grind of a G1 and try to earn it that way. Truthfully, I can’t see it happening, but this is a chance for him to prove himself to a lot of doubtful fans. Last year’s run positioned him as the king of the shenanigans, with low blows and chair shots galore in his matches. Now that he’s cemented as one of New Japan’s top heels, it’s time to let him show what he can do. If he has four or five fantastic showings, it will go a long way towards getting people in his corner.

Key matches: Hirooki Goto (July 13th), Jon Moxley (August 4th) and Tetsuya Naito (August 11th)

Jeff Cobb

Previous record: First tournament

It says a lot about the strength of this field that Jeff Cobb is a slight afterthought. Cobb is a good wrestler, one who you’ll be able to rely on to deliver strong performances throughout most of the tournament, but there’s no real excitement around him coming into the G1 – perhaps because no-one watches ROH. Still, this is a huge opportunity for him. He’s previously done some of his best work at BOLA, so if he can bring that tournament form over to Japan, he’ll prove himself at a level above what he has before and perhaps open up the opportunity to do more there than the occasional tour.

Key matches: Tomohiro Ishii (July 13th), Shingo Takagi (August 1st) and Hirooki Goto (August 4th)

Shingo Takagi

Previous record: First tournament

My boy Shingo! With Will Ospreay in the other block, the defeated half of the BOSJ Final wanted in on the action too, and while Billy will be great, it’s Shingo that I’m craving. Takagi is basically already a heavyweight and if the thought of him clashing with Ishii, Goto and Naito isn’t getting you all hot and bothered then perhaps wrestling isn’t for you. The question is, how many wins does he get? I’ve got that match with Ishii circled already, as surely Takagi is a perfect challenger for the NEVER Title. Outside of that? I really don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.

Key matches: Tetsuya Naito (August 4th), Tomohiro Ishii (August 8th) and Hirooki Goto (August 11th)

Taichi

Previous record: First tournament

The singing ballbag finally swindled his way into a G1. What is the world coming to? Jokes aside, Taichi needs to deliver if he’s to convince people like me that he’s worthy of investment. He’s shown that in one-off matches he can bring it, but nearly everyone in New Japan can do that. If, however, we get a month of him performing at a high level and leaving the shenanigans at the door, I will finally accept him gratefully into my affections. Fingers crossed he does it.

Key matches: Tetsuya Naito (July 15th), Shingo Takagi (July 19th) and Tomohiro Ishii (August 11th)

Jon Moxley

Previous record: First tournament

Moxley, Moxley, Moxley. Jon Moxley has stormed the independent scene and gone from the bloke wrestling in jeans in WWE to the biggest star around. I openly admitted I was anxious about his NJPW debut, but he even smashed that, engaging in a war with Juice Robinson that got everyone talking and set him up to appear on this tour. Now, the question is, what can we expect from him? He can’t go out and have bloody brawls every night, and Jon Moxley is a very different wrestler to a lot of the people in this block. It leaves me with the suspicion that for every great match he has in the coming weeks, there may well be a stinker. I can 100% see him and a Naito or a Goto completely failing to click, but then I can also see him having fantastic dangerous brawls with both of those guys. He’s the ultimate wildcard, and I’m super excited to see how it goes.

Key matches: Tomohiro Ishii (July 19th), Tetsuya Naito (July 28th) and Juice Robinson (August 11th)

Watch New Japan: https://njpwworld.com/

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