As the G1 Climax 28 draws to a close, previous years indicate that the last few days of the tournament will be the most notable. The final day of the A block is the day before, and the finals are taking place on the following day on August 12th, with the result sure to be something special. Who will walk away as the winner and face the IWGP Heavyweight champion? It certainly is anyone's guess. Here is our preview for the final day of the G1 Climax 28 tournament B block.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr
If there was ever a match featuring two men who can put on a technical wrestling clinic, it would be this one. It won't simply be a collection of strikes, but also an array of holds, transitioning from one to another that allows them to show how to stretch their opponent. There is no question that it will be a hard-hitting affair as well, but it is important to acknowledge that both men will work on a body part and inflict pain upon it.
The two men also have the distinction of being part of factions. In the case of Naito, he is the leader of Los Ingoberables de Japon, and Sabre Jr is a member of the Suzuki-gun faction led by Minoru Suzuki. Could other group members play a role in this match up? While that may be possible, it doesn't seem likely, and sensible booking would be that these men battle each other until there is a winner.
Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi
Good friends, better opponents? This could be used as the subheading for this match up, as these reunited tag team partners square off against one another. Fans will recall that their reunion as a team came about after Ibushi came to the aid of Omega during a time when the cleaner seemed on the outs with the rest of the Bullet Club. The Golden Lovers were back together, and the result was nothing short of magical.
Following this match, fans should anticipate that, regardless of the end result, their friendship will remain intact. However, if the long-term plan isn't for Omega to hold the title until Wrestle Kingdom, then he could walk away as the winner. If he doesn't win the tournament, though, we could very well see Omega hold the title until NJPW's premiere event in January. This is certainly a match fans should keep their eyes on.
Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga
Has there been a more newsworthy character in New Japan Pro Wrestling recently, outside Jay White, than Tama Tonga? Tonga has fired shots and spearheaded the Firing Squad, a sub-group within the Bullet Club that consists of the Tongans and Bad Luck Fale, who have already attacked the remaining members of the Bullet Club. Tonga's character has generated so much attention as the attack on Omega, Cody, the Young Bucks, and the remaining members of the Bullet Club. He brought the civil war within the group to a new peak.
While predictions are often sometimes difficult to make, could Yano be the victor in this instance? Tonga's growing prominence and headline-grabbing suggest he will be the one who is, successful. While he may not win the entire tournament, he will walk away leaving his mark and sending another message to the Bullet Club in the process. Tonga is coming, and he certainly has back up!
Sanada vs. Tomohiro Ishii
This is an interesting matchup. With Sanada, we have a lean and faster performer with an effective acrobatic arsenal, whereas Ishii is thicker, and uses a stiffer collection of moves and strikes. Sanada continues to quietly move up the ranks; look no further than his matchup against Okada this past winter. He can raise his profile with a quality match against a tough opponent like Ishii.
What fans may be hoping for is a scenario where Sanada makes it out of the block and moves on to face Naito in the final. This would ensure that one member of Los Ingobnernables de Japon walks away as the winner of the entire tournament. Ishii is no slouch, though, so this match will have a lot of fans interested in the result.
Juice Robinson vs. Hirooki Goto
Robinson may just be the man of the hour. He is someone that has generated as much attention as anyone in the promotion after capturing the IWGP United States Championship. Juice has often stated that he has reached a stage where he has overcome the obstacles that were in his way while competing in North America. A match against Goto is another example of how much faith the promotion has in him.
Goto is a respected competitor, but Robinson's popularity has grown tremendously, even just in the past few weeks. While a tournament win may not be on the cards, a loss on the final day doesn't appear likely. Goto is aware of all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds Robinson and will not sit idly by as Robinson attempts to make him a stepping stone. It could be the sleeper match of the block, as it's often the battles that don't have much expected of them that end up with the greatest response.
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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.