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WWE 2K

10 Jul 2018

G1 Climax 28: Full schedule, preview, & prediction

G1 Climax 28: Full schedule, preview, &
prediction

Dominion gave us a new champion, and now the G1 Climax is coming to give us a new challenger. Who is competing? And who could win?

Jump To
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Block A

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Key matches

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Prediction

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Block B

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Key matches

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Prediction

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Full schedule & times

(Photo credit: NJPW)

Kenny Omega is the new IWGP Heavyweight champion after his seven-star match with Kazuchika Okada at Dominion. New Japan's summer show was a remarkable exhibition of wrestling brilliance, but the world of wrestling never rests on its laurels.

On July 14 New Japan starts the greatest tournament in wrestling, the G1 Climax. 20 heavyweights in two blocks will battle it out over the course of four weeks in what is the most physically demanding stint of the wrestling calendar for those involved. For fans though, it is the best time of year.

New Japan has announced the participants as well as the schedule and the fact that all 19 shows will be streamed live on NJPW World with English commentary. So, let's take a look at the blocks and see just who could take their spot in the Tokyo Dome main event on January 4. 

Block A

Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Minoru Suzuki, Jay White, Hangman Page, Michael Elgin, EVIL, Bad Luck Fale, Togi Makabe, YOSHI-HASHI

Block A is headlined by the Rainmaker himself Kazuchika Okada as well as Hiroshi Tanahashi and Minoru Suzuki. One of those three is almost guaranteed to make it to the final, as all three would be worthy main eventers at Wrestle Kingdom 13. The last time Okada met Tanahashi and Suzuki in the G1 the matches went to a time limit draw, and I wouldn't be surprised if the matches between these three features at least one draw.

Behind those big three is the former IWGP United States champion Jay White, who is slowly becoming a remarkable talent in his own right. Michael Elgin's inclusion will turn some fans away, but in the ring he is a solid competitor, while EVIL comes in as a dark horse after his win over Okada last year and his recent stint as a tag team champion. Hangman Page is perhaps the most exciting inclusion though. The 26-year-old has been having a meteoric rise of late and put on a terrific match with White for the US title recently. He could be the breakout star of this block and is set to pick up invaluable experience by sharing a ring with Okada, Tanahashi, and Suzuki.

Key matches

July 14: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki; Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White

July 16: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White

July 20: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hangman Page

July 22: Jay White vs. Minoru Suzuki; Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hangman Page

August 2: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. EVIL; Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki

August 5: Hangman Page vs. Minoru Suzuki; Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Michael Elgin; Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL

August 10: Jay White vs. EVIL; Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada

Prediction

Okada has to get to the final, right? After his two-year IWGP Heavyweight title reign it would crazy if he doesn't go into the final day with a chance of making the final. That last match however, is against Tanahashi, leaving the door open for someone else to sneak through on a time limit draw.

If it isn't Okada that gets though, I wouldn't be surprised if Minoru Suzuki is the one that does. The leader of Suzuki-gun has been a legitimate threat to everyone since he returned to NJPW at the start of 2017. Everyone fears him, and while he may not always win, his matches are always terrific and putting the toughest 50-year-old in the world into the final would certainly create a brilliant match.

Block B

Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Tomohiro Ishii, Zack Sabre Jr, Hirooki Goto, SANADA, Tama Tonga, Juice Robinson, Toru Yano

Just like Block A, Block B has a trio of mega stars in Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, and Tetsuya Naito. Omega won the 2016 G1, and then lost the 2017 final to Naito. They are the crowd favorites, but the inclusion of Ibushi in this block sets up the match that fans have been dying to see in New Japan of Omega vs Ibushi, and very smartly that bout is booked for the final day of Block B action.

Behind those stars are a trio of brilliant talents in Ishii, Sabre Jr, and Goto. Sabre is something of a tournament specialist, having added the New Japan Cup to his trophy cabinet that also includes BOLA, SSS16, and 12 Carat wins. Ishii, the current RevPro champion, is a silent master of brawling and ring psychology, while NEVER Openweight champion Hirooki Goto is a masterful babyface full of honest hard work and fighting spirit.

That core of six make Block B far and away my favorite, and the other four are just the icing on the cake. SANADA and Tama Tonga are both terrific athletes that can put on good matches with anyone, while new IWGP US champion Juice Robinson is an up-and-comer similar to Hangman Page. His inclusion was in doubt after he suffered a broken hand recently, but his performance in the G1 special in San Francisco showed he is more than capable of putting on a show.

As for Toru Yano... Well his comedy isn't everyone's cup of tea but I love it, and he will give the others a night off from stiff, serious, wrestling.

Key matches

July 15: Hirooki Goto vs. SANADA; Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.; Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega

July 19: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito; Hirooki Goto vs. Kenny Omega

July 21: SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr.; Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii

July 26: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

July 28: Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito; Kenny Omega vs. SANADA; Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii

August 1: Kenny Omega vs. Zack Sabre Jr.; Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi

August 4: Hirooki Goto vs. Tama Tonga; Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.; Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi; Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega

August 8: Hirooki Goto vs. Zack Sabre Jr.; Tetsuya Naito vs. SANADA

August 11: Juice Robinson vs. Hirooki Goto; Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.; Kota Ibushi vs. Kenny Omega

Prediction

Kenny Omega is IWGP Heavyweight champion now, which means he is very unlikely to make the G1 final, though that doesn't mean he won't be alive in the tournament going into the final day against Kota Ibushi.

Ibushi's position as Kenny's best friend and ally makes his winning the entire tournament a wet dream for fans, but Tetsuya Naito is a big threat as well. He is arguably the most popular wrestler in the company, and after his failure in the Wrestle Kingdom 12 main event his chance for redemption and to complete his journey makes him a serious threat to become the first back-to-back winner since Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 2004.

The match between Tama Tonga and Kenny Omega takes on a lot of importance after the Guerrillas of Destiny firmly split from Bullet Club at the G1 special in San Francisco.

The dark horse of the group is Ishii, who's stoic brilliance makes him a constant threat, while Hirooki Goto made the final in 2016 and could well do so again. Still, my heart says that Ibushi takes the whole thing, and I have to go that way.

Full schedule & times

July 14 @ Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

July 15 @ Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo

(7/14) 11PM Pacific, 2AM Eastern, 7AM UK, 3PM Japan, 4PM East Australia

July 16 @ Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center, Sapporo

2AM Pacific, 5AM Eastern, 10AM UK, 6PM Japan, 7PM East Australia

July 19 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

July 20 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

July 21 @ Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

July 22 @ Esforta Arena Hachioji, Tokyo

12:30AM Pacific, 3:30AM Eastern, 8:30AM UK, 4:30PM Japan, 5:30PM East Australia

July 26 @ Aore Nagaoka, Niigata

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

July 27 @ Act City Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

July 28 @ Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Nagoya

2AM Pacific, 5AM Eastern, 10AM UK, 6PM Japan, 7PM East Australia

July 30 @ Takamatsu City General Gymnasium, Takamatsu

3AM Pacific, 6AM Eastern, 11AM UK, 7PM Japan, 8PM East Australia

August 1 @ Kagoshima Arena, Kagoshima

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

August 2 @ Fukuoka City Civic Gymnasium, Fukuoka

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

August 4 @ EDION Arena, Osaka

1AM Pacific, 4AM Eastern, 9AM UK, 5PM Japan, 6PM East Australia

August 5 @ EDION Arena, Osaka

(8/4) 11PM Pacific, 2AM Eastern, 7AM UK, 3PM Japan, 4PM East Australia

August 8 @ Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

August 10 @ Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

August 11 @ Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

2:30AM Pacific, 5:30AM Eastern, 10:30AM UK, 6:30PM Japan, 7:30PM East Australia

August 12 @ Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

(8/11) 11PM Pacific, 2AM Eastern, 7AM UK, 3PM Japan, 4PM East Australia

Let us know who you think will win this year's G1 Climax in the comments below!