The G1 Climax can play host to several dream matches due to it’s round-robin style format, this has led to a ton of names that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Matches like Minoru Suzuki vs AJ Styles during the height of his Bullet Club era of the Phenominal One’s career, and the second Okada vs Omega match which went to a time limit draw. 2019 promises to be one of the more stacked years in G1 history with people making their debut, people that are looking to establish dominance over the roster, and even people looking to prove themselves to the heavyweights of the roster. With both the A and B blocks of the G1 being announced on the 16th of this month there are plenty of mouthwatering matches that are being presented this year even on the first night that is emanating from Dallas, which will be the first time a G1 Climax match will take place outside of Japan.
As stated in the previous paragraph night one of the G1 Climax will be an absolute wonder for NJPW fans as we get to see another addition to a historic rivalry between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada. The pairing that gave us the Rainmaker Shock and multiple IWGP Title matches is coming back to dazzle audiences, in what will be their 13th singles match against each other Tanahashi has the chance to get another title match should he be able to hit the Rainmaker with the High Fly Flow and secure the pin. The one concern would be how well can Tanahashi hold up health wise, it’s no secret that Tana has been falling apart over the past few years, with stuff like torn biceps and various knee injuries. So who knows how long this feud can go on, all the more reason to enjoy it while it lasts.
Another wonderful A Block match that could prove to be one of the best matches of this year’s G1 is the Aerial Assassin Will Ospreay vs Sanada. Ospreay is making things clear that he has eyes on the heavyweight division as a whole, with Sanada looking to possibly break out of the tag team competitor slot that he has been pegged in, even having a five star quality match against Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight title at the end of the New Japan Cup tour. The pace for this match will breakneck as despite his heavyweight status Ospreay is still capable of the high-flying acrobatics of his Jr. days, same can be said for the Cold Skull Sanada even going as far as using his mentor the Great Muta’s famous moonsault. That being said this isn’t going to be anything similar to Ospreay vs Ricochet either, seeing as how both men has added power moves to their arsenal, Ospreay has even lifted Bad Luck Fale and Lance Archer up for the Stormbreaker, with both men easily topping 300 lbs.
Skipping forward to the July 24th show in Hiroshima, we get a match with two people who both have something to prove in NJPW and to NJPW management. The Dragon Shingo Takagi vs Jon Moxley, after the very high caliber match that Shingo had with Will Ospreay the Dragon demanded that he face more heavyweight talent, seeing that as a reason why he lost the Best of the Super Jr final to the Aerial Assassin. Besides a handful of other names there isn’t much of a bigger challenge than that of the Death Rider, Shingo would stand to gain a lot of favor with fans and management if he puts out a great match with Mox. Much like the Okada and Tanahashi if Shingo were to gain a victory he would get a title shot at Moxley’s IWGP US championship, which would be the first shot at heavyweight gold in his NJPW tenure.
The last match we will look at will be from one of the last B Block shows, taking place on August 4th in Osaka with Jon Moxley vs Jay White. Switchblade Jay White is one of the most hated heels in the entire wrestling industry, and with Moxley having all of the momentum in the world following his AEW debut and him capturing the IWGP US title he will certainly have little issue getting the fans behind his back. This match will be interesting from the heel/face dynamic, with the fact that even though Mox has been cheered on by the NJPW faithful he has embraced some heelish tactics in the ring, using the ref’s 5 count before breaking a hold and others like it, this is all child’s play to Jay White who will have Gedo by his side to interfere should Switchblade call for it. In ring wise there is a similarity between White and Moxley, who both have a very heavy emphasis on being methodical and making sure that they wear their opposition down with grit and grinding moves before hitting their respective finisher.
The legacy of this G1 will likely lie with how star studded this year’s A and B blocks are, with the feeling that there is a wide number of people who could realistically have a chance to win the final. The final in of itself is likely to produce a 5 star instant classic, something akin to last year’s Ibushi and Tanahashi’s final. Looking foward even more (assuming Okada is still the champ by the time of Wrestle Kingdom) imagine whoever winning the G1 having to face the Rainmaker in the main event of NJPW’s biggest show. This is setting up to be possibly one of the greatest G1 tournaments of all time let alone recent memory.