G1 Climax Recap: Starting to figure out A-Block


Another night has come and left us in the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament. Night 13 just finished up in Ehime and while it’s still close, we still have two leaders tied at the top of the leaderboard.

If that’s not enough, we still have a couple of wrestlers close behind. Quite a few contenders remain in this tournament. But with a few matches left, we might be seeing the likely contenders in those tied at the top.

Tanahashi and Naito still leading A-Block

Both Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito have managed to hang on to their spots at the top of the A-Block, despite some legitimate contenders trying to take them down.

For Tanahashi, Togi Makabe was on the docket in the main event of Friday’s show. Makabe put up a valiant effort and even showed good sportsmanship by not working over Tanahashi’s bicep.

In the end, Tanahashi won with the High Fly Flow, his patented…well…high-flying finishing maneuver.

Tanahashi has navigated the difficult waters of A-Block, for the most part. His lone losses came against Zack Sabre Jr. and Kota Ibushi.

It won’t get easier for Tanahashi, however. His two remaining match-ups are against Naito and Tomohiro Ishii, the latter he’ll face next.

Makabe’s loss kills his chances of winning A-Block. He still has YOSHI-HASHI and Naito on the schedule, so he can play spoiler.

As for Naito, he stayed tied at the top with Tanahashi thanks to his win over Sabre Jr. Far and away, I loved this match and it was my favorite. You should definitely watch this match.

It went from a lot of grappling early on to brawling between the two. Sabre Jr. has been outstanding in this G1. He’s had a lot of good matches with a variety of different wrestlers. ¬†ZSJ came really close to getting the win, getting a few near falls.

However, it all favored Naito when he leveled Sabre Jr. with Destino. Both men came into Friday with eight points. Only one could win to stay on pace.

Sabre Jr. isn’t out of contention, by any means. However, it won’t be easy as he’s got both Ishii and Yuji Nagata left in this G1. He’ll need to win both matches, plus hope Tanahashi and Naito don’t win their remaining two matches (Tanahashi-Naito would need to end in a draw).

Quite the crowd for third place

Sabre Jr. sits in a tie for third place, along with Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii, Bad Luck Fale and Hirooki Goto.

Much like Sabre Jr., these four other wrestlers still have hope of winning A-Block. However, it’s all contingent upon Naito and Tanahashi stumbling down the stretch. I could probably break down all the scenarios, but my head is hurting, so you can probably figure it all out for yourself.

Ibushi picked up his fourth win in the G1 Climax by defeating Yuji Nagata. I enjoyed this match. Nagata has took part in some great matches in his final G1. It’s clear he’s making the most of this experience. I wish he could get a win.

Truth be told, there were a couple near falls where I thought (and hoped) Nagata would win. Nothing against Ibushi, who is outstanding and I hope he can still make a run in A-Block.

However, Nagata is terrific. I really want him to get one win in this G1 before it all ends. Nagata has been out of contention for A-Block for awhile. I’d really love to see him get one more win in his last G1. He should at least get a win. Both Sabre Jr. and Fale remain on his schedule. He’ll need a win against one of those two. And it could be a spoiler moment.

Ibushi has YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto still on his schedule. He’ll face YOSHI-HASHI next.

Fale, meanwhile, picked up a win over Ishii in their G1 match. Once again, with both being hard-hitters, it was a hard-hitting match. Although with Ishii as the smaller guy, he did a bit more flying than usual. He even did a flying armbar.

Ishii did quite a bit to hang in there with Fale. However, Fale needed the win to keep his A-Block hopes alive.

Left on the schedule for Ishii is Sabre Jr. and Tanahashi. With Tanahashi next for Ishii, a win can keep him in contention. But he’ll need Makabe to defeat Naito.

Fale has Goto and Nagata remaining in the G1.

Goto defeated YOSHI-HASHI and that was how he kept his A-Block hopes alive. There was a lot of desperation between the two, mostly Goto. A loss would’ve eliminated Goto from A-Block consideration. But now, Goto needs to continue winning to keep any kind of hope alive to repeat as a G1 finalist.

What’s next?

B-Block returns to action on Saturday. And I must say, these matches look terrific. Those last three could be very fun to watch. Here are the match-ups:

  • Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga
  • Satoshi Kojima vs. SANADA
  • Michael Elgin vs. Minoru Suzuki
  • Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL