It’s been a long tournament full of highs (Toru Yano matches) and lows (Firing Squad matches) but here we are on the home stretch. Who will make it to the finals? Who spoils who? and what can we see from the standings? Due to the bite-sized nature, I will provide both my own personal recommendations as well as Meltzer’s ratings (where available) to be used as a viewing guide:
Day 15 Results (05/08/18)
YOSHI-HASHI (2-6-0) Def. Bad Luck Fale (3-5-0) (**1/4)
Hangman Page (3-5-0) Def. Minoru Suzuki (4-4-0) (***1/4):
For any Page fans, this is a must watch to see him get a win over one of the top guys in New Japan.
Jay White (6-2-0) Def. Togi Makabe (2-6-0) (***)
Hiroshi Tanahashi (7-1-0) Def. Fuck Michael Elgin (3-5-0) (****)
Kazuchika Okada (6-2-0) Def. EVIL (4-4-0) (****1/4)
Day 16 Results (08/08/18)
Tomohiro Ishii (4-4-0) Def. Juice Robinson (2-6-0) (****)
Zack Sabre Junior (5-3-0) Def. Hirooki Goto (3-5-0) (***3/4)
Tama Tonga (3-5-0) Def. Kota Ibushi (5-3-0) (***3/4)
Toru Yano (2-6-0) Def. Kenny Omega (6-2-0) (**1/2):
These two are always good together. Fun little match that didn’t even go 10 minutes
Tetsuya Naito (6-2-0) Def. SANADA (4-4-0) (****1/4):
This is the one to watch for all the LIJ fans, and boy is there a lot of you.
Day 17 Results (10/08/18)
Togi Makabe (3-6-0) Def. Fuck Michael Elgin (3-6-0)
YOSHI-HASHI(3-6-0) Def. Hangman Page (3-6-0)
Minoru Suzuki (5-4-0) Def. Bad Luck Fale (3-6-0)
EVIL (5-4-0) Def. Jay White (6-3-0):
Watch this before the main event to see the drama unfold.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (7-1-1) Def. Kazuchika Okada (6-2-1):
The defining rivalry of a generation continues as these two deliver another classic.
Day 18 Results (11/08/18)
Toru Yano (3-6-0) Def. Tama Tonga (3-6-0)
Juice Robinson (3-6-0) Def. Hirooki Goto (3-6-0)
Tomohiro Ishii (5-4-0) Def. SANADA (4-5-0)
Zack Sabre Junior (6-3-0) Def. Tetsuya Naito (6-3-0):
Like the last Semi main event watch this to see Naito getting eliminated and the stage set for the main event
Kota Ibushi (6-3-0) Def. Kenny Omega (6-3-0):
This was pure violence. Not the 8-star classic people expected but a fantastic match.
Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi
Toru Yano Vs Kenny Omega (Hi Jozef)
Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
YOSHI-HASHI vs Bad Luck Fale
Toru Yano vs Tama Tonga
Hiroshi Tanahashi– 15 Points
Kazuchika Okada– 13 Points
Jay White– 12 Points
EVIL– 10 Points
Minoru Suzuki– 10 Points
Bad Luck Fale– 6 Points
Hangman Page– 6 Points
Togi Makabe– 6 Points
Michael Elgin– 6 Points
YOSHI-HASHI– 6 Points
The top two were to be expected but Jay White was positioned as a future IWGP Heavyweight Champion. As for EVIL, he continues the slow climb. MiSu and Makabe are falling with age and the debutants were in the lower end as expected.
Kota Ibushi– 12 Points
Kenny Omega– 12 Points
Zack Sabre Junior– 12 Points
Tetsuya Naito– 12 Points
Tomohiro Ishii– 10 Points
SANADA– 8 Points
Tama Tonga– 6 Points
Toru Yano– 6 Points
Hirooki Goto– 6 Points
Juice Robinson– 6 Points
Naito fans might worry about his standing but he still tied for 1st. Similar for ZSJ who was eliminated early but rallied late to prove he is now a top 10 guy in NJPW. Goto and Juice tying for last say more about the standing of their titles than anything I could write.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi is our G1 final. The big matches delivered late but there were no 5+ star matches in the last four days. A Block started out as Jay White’s block but in the end, Okada and Tana managed to show their abilities. B Block was all Kenny until he lost his final three and we saw Ibushi win the clash of the Golden Lovers.