With only a few weeks before 2018 G1 Climax 28 draws to a close, a number of interesting developments have already taken place since mid-July. We have seen nefarious actions by different factions, commentators being struck, and North American talent that have captured championships.
With the closing matches quickly approaching, it is only a matter of time before fans find out who will walk away as the winner. They will then contend for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom in January. Here are predictions for the final matches in Block A on August 10th.
Bad Luck Fale vs. Minoru Suzuki
This will be a battle between two veterans that are as stiff as they are experienced, and Suzuki and Fale will surely get fans to pay attention to their first-round match. Both men are members of factions, with Fale being a founding member of the Bullet Club and Suzuki the leader of Suzuki-gun. There is sure to be fireworks during the match, and fans can anticipate outside interference by members of their respective factions.
This isn't the first time and it most certainly won't be the last time these two have crossed in their careers. This match will include some of the hardest strikes and kicks of any match in the tournament. Suzuki is frightening on a number of levels, and fans can anticipate another display of insanity on the part of the Suzuki-gun leader.
Hangman Page vs. Yoshi-Hashi
This is an interesting matchup between two men that are fairly evenly matched. The biggest difference is that Page has the backing of his Bullet Club brethren, whereas Yoshi-Hashi's CHAOS allies rarely escort him to the ring or intervene in his matches. However, Yoshi-Hashi has an enormous heart and has had significant wins in his career against the likes of Kenny Omega, Sanada, and current WWE UK champion Pete Dunne. He has always been something of a dark horse in this tournament, someone that fans may easily overlook.
With Page, his growth both in North America and in Japan has been extraordinary. He continues to take part in meaningful matches either against fellow Bullet Club members or against those within other factions. Page continues to be a threat in each match he is a part of and has turned heads in this tournament. If we had to pick a winner, however, let's go with Yoshi-Hashi.
Jay White vs. 'King of Darkness' EVIL
These two will likely have the show stealer matchup of the night. Fans are aware of what took place earlier in this tournament, with 'Switchblade' Jay White not only creating issues outside the CHAOS faction but within it as well. In a match a few days prior to the tournament, he suplexed Juice Robinson into a barricade that struck play-by-play announcer Jim Ross, and was merciless in his matchup against CHAOS leader and teammate Kazuchika Okada, even cheating to win that bout.
If White is willing to do this to those that trust him as a teammate, what would he do to someone from a rival faction? The King of Darkness often has an expressionless, blank look on his face, but considering what he is capable of, White has a great deal to be concerned about. As noted, EVIL will represent Los Ingobernables de Japon while White ostensibly represents CHAOS. With the roll White has been on lately, it would be hard to bet against him on this night.
Togi Makabe vs. Michael Elgin
Much like the Fale/Suzuki matchup, these two will hit each other with everything but the kitchen sink in order to get the better of their opponent. Unlike with other matches on the card where an entrant has a faction behind him, both of these men will be on their own. This will certainly be another hard-hitting match up where fans will see the 'Unchained Gorilla' do anything and everything.
Meanwhile, Elgin has continued to be successful in New Japan Pro Wrestling and always gives a great showing in this style of brawling match. One would anticipate that Elgin will be successful in this matchup, as Makabe may likely do something to jeopardize his chances to win.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
These two legends face each other once again, and fans will likely see their history with one another play a part in his matchup. Despite losing the IWGP Heavyweight championship and dealing with the disrespect of fellow CHAOS member Jay White, Okada is still a renowned competitor in the promotion. He is a legitimate threat each time he steps into the ring. For Tanahashi, he is widely respected for what he has achieved, and this match will only see that respect increase.
With the 30-minute time limit, it could be a case where they run out of time and neither man walks away from this as the winner. However, it could be a case where outside interference could cost both men, leading to a double disqualification that costs both their chance at the final.
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As a wrestling enthusiast for over 30 years, my fondness for professional wrestling explores the irrational in a rational way. I will explore the details inside and outside the ring and hopefully have a laugh with you in the process. I've had the fortune to interview wrestlers from Lucha Underground, TNA, Ring of Honor, GFW, and former WWE talent as well. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram and feel free to visit my website Pro Wrestling Post.