Every year, the announcement of NJPW’s G1 Climax competitors causes much excitement and hype for the tournament ahead. But 2019’s edition could be the most spine-tingling line-up in G1 history.
As well as the likely top dogs (Okada, Tanahashi, Naito, etc.) we have a quartet of utter wildcards – all of whom happen to be some of the best and most talked-about wrestlers in the world today. Best of the Super Juniors finalists Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi have stepped up to take on the roster’s top heavyweights, while recently-departed WWE stars Jon Moxley and KENTA set the wrestling world ablaze by announcing their intention to compete.
As is the case every year, the G1 Climax has thrown up a large collection of highly-anticipated matches, so narrowing them down to ten has been very tricky indeed. Therefore, I feel it’s only right to begin this list with a hefty helping of Honourable Mentions:
Okada vs. Tanahashi is set to (probably) headline Night 1 in Dallas, Texas, and despite Tanahashi’s current injury woes, should still captivate on historic value alone.
Ospreay vs. KENTA is a real dream match-up, but both men have a whole host of fascinating match-ups in A Block – as you’ll see later on.
Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – an all-England clash of two of the nation’s best.
Shingo Takagi vs. Jeff Cobb is an exciting partial-rematch of the 2018 PWG Battle of LA final (minus Bandido).
Naito vs. Ishii doesn’t have any particular story to it right now, but you just know it’s going to be good.
Moxley vs. Yano because obviously.
Now, without any further ado, on with the top ten!
10. Tetsuya Naito Vs. Jon Moxley – Night 10, July 28th
Two of the most charismatic men in all of wrestling should provide a compelling contest on Night 10. It’ll be interesting to see which style of match Naito and Moxley opt for here; will they lean more towards the brawling side of things, or offer up a more straightforward encounter? Both wrestlers are fully capable of doing both, so this is set to be a particularly intriguing one.
Prediction: Naito. Moxley is yet to lose in New Japan (although admittedly, at the time of writing, he’s only had two matches), but Naito looks to be his most high-profile opponent in B Block. Going through the G1 Climax undefeated is a near-unimaginable prospect for even somebody like Okada, so Moxley’s guaranteed to slip up at some point. The LIJ leader could well be his trickiest obstacle.