The G1 Climax heads north for nights three and four
The G1 Climax is now officially underway for both blocks, and the journey around Japan takes us next to the cool northern climes of Hokkaido. Who emerges with two more points to their records?
Main event Kota Ibushi (1-0) vs Jay White (1-0)
Overall singles record: 1-1 G1 record: 1-0 Ibushi
The main event in Hokkaido sees a rematch of last year’s G1 Climax final. While there are no easy nights in the G1, this is a tough pair of back to back matchups for Ibushi indeed after Okada in Osaka. Although the G1 29 finals saw Ibushi overcome insurmountable odds with the presence of BULLET CLUB members and, most present of all, Gedo, a rematch in the Tokyo Dome on January 5 was much less successful. Despite Ibushi tapping into his intensity, the supreme defensive wrestling style of Jay White was able to successfully defuse the Golden Star, and ensured that Ibushi went out of the Double Gold Dash with a pair of losses.
Neither man will have come out of the G1 starting blocks 0-2 however. Ibushi defeated Kazuchika Okada in the main event of night one, and full of the kind of confidence only Ibushi can have, promised to not only take the G1 throne but become an actual living deity in the process. In White’s own mind, at least he has already attained god-like status, but his opening win against Shingo Takagi came after liberal bending of the rules. Still, all’s fair until you’re caught, and the Switchbade will meet Ibushi likely with similar designs in Hokkaido. Will the Golden Star have an answer?
Tomihiro ishii (0-1) vs Will Ospreay (1-0)
First singles meeting
The first CHAOS derby of A Block sees Tomohiro Ishii take on Will Ospreay for the first time ever. This is one of the most intriguing clashes of style in the entire tournament, with Ishii’s hard striking meeting Ospreay’s athleticism. Then again, with Ospreay ditching the ‘aerial’ part of his nickname to be known as ‘The Assassin’ for this tournament is indicative of how seriously he’s taking his new heavyweight role, and his striking style. That said Ishii has been known to prove on occasion that even Stone Pitbulls can fly, and after a crunching loss to Minoru Suzuki in Osaka, Ishii will only ramp up the aggression Wednesday. Strap yourself in for a wild ride in the semi-main event.
Minoru Suzuki (1-0) vs Taichi (1-0)
First NJPW singles meeting
From all CHAOS to all Suzuki-Gun. This first time NJPW matchup has happened away from the cerulean blue once in the past, but all the way back in 2016 Taichi was not the same man he is now. Brimming with confidence as IWGP Tag Team Champion, and with a mean streak that grows more pronounced day by day, Taichi has been making some hints that he might no longer be a follower, and is ready to take the lead in Suzuki-Gun. His attempts to coax Kota Ibushi over to his side during the summer is just one sign of the Holy Emperor’s desire for power and control, something Minoru Suzuki might respect, but will never allow.
Heading in to the G1, Suzuki and Taichi butted heads on the New Japan Road event September 11, a clear indication that despite spending the best part of the decade as teammates, there will be no love lost in Hokkaido. Both men are riding high after hard fought victories Saturday in Osaka, and Taichi always has something up his sleeve for his home town of Sapporo; could he shock the world on Wednesday night?
Kazuchika Okada (0-1) vs Yujiro Takahashi (0-1)
Overall singles record: 3-0 Okada G1 record 2-0 Okada
Kazuchika Okada and Yujiro Takahashi continue their long standing 2020 feud with this G1 matchup. A 3-0 record in one on one competition in Okada’s favour is supplemented by a one on three handicap victory for the Rainmaker as well during the Summer Struggle tour; form is most certainly not in the corner of the Tokyo Pimp. Yet if history is any indicator, on any given night an upset is possible in the G1. Could Okada possibly go 0 for 2?
Jeff Cobb (0-1) vs Shingo Takagi (0-1)
Overall singles record: 1-0 Cobb (2019 G1)
Jeff Cobb and Shingo Takagi face off in the third match of the evening in what will probably be one of the hardest hitting matches of the tournament. Certainly that was the case in last year’s G1, Shingo bringing the very best out of an angered Cobb who eventually prevailed in a thriller.
After night one saw Cobb lose in a hard fought bout with Taichi and Shingo Takagi only just fall short against Jay White with heavy liberties taken with the rule book, both men will be focused and driven to balance out their early records in the tournament. Someone will walk out with a win, but someone too has to go 0-2.
Gabriel Kidd (0-1 this tour) vs Yuya Uemura (1-0 this tour)
Singles record 2-0 Uemura
The Young Lions continue their opening match battles. Now all three participants have matches under their belts, after Uemura scored a much needed confidence boosting win against rival Yota Tsuji on the opening day, and Tsuji got his momentum back with a submission win over Kidd the very next night. It’s a marathon and not a sprint for all three young men this tour, but Kidd needs to get some steam in Sapporo.