Inside G128 is an in-depth look at the 20 participants of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s 2018 version of the G1 Climax tournament. The G1 is considered to be the most prestigious tournament in wrestling. Every individual in the field has their own unique story, as they prepare to make their claim as the best endurance wrestler in the world.
The past eighteen months for Michael Elgin have been full of controversy, embarrassment, and a New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) career which seemed to stall until his NEVER Openweight Championship victory at Dominion on June 9th when he pinned Taichi in a three-way match which included champion, Hirooki Goto. However, he would lose the belt back to Goto eight days later during the Kizuna Road tour.
Elgin has been a G1 entry every year since 2015. His biggest victory to date was in 2016 when he defeated Kenny Omega [16:44]. Despite getting off to a fast start early in his NJPW career, the former Ring of Honor (ROH) World Champion winning both the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, Elgin has dropped further down the card.
While he’s only been an average G1 competitor thus far, he is in danger of having his worst performance this year when he has to face numerous opponents for the first time in the tournament. Below is a list of Elgin’s G1 opponents, the date he wrestles them, and his G1 record against them:
Evil, July 14th, 1-1
Hangman Page, July 16th, 0-0
Jay White, July 20th, 0-0
Yoshi-Hashi, July 22nd, 1-0
Minoru Suzuki, July 27th, 1-0
Kazuchika Okada, July 30th, 0-2
Bad Luck Fale, August 2nd, 0-0
Hiroshi Tanahashi, August 5th, 0-0
Togi Makabe, August 10th, 0-0
Elgin’s opening match against EVIL is key for him. Other important matches are his dates against Minoru Suzuki, Jay White, and Hangman Page. Elgin will need those victories if he has any chance of advancing out of the ‘A Block.’
It would be shocking to see him defeat Bad Luck Fale, Hiroshi Tanahashi, or Kazuchika Okada — each of which has something to prove in the tournament and present matchup problems for Elgin.
Elgin has compiled the following record during his three G1 entries:
13 Total Wins
14 Total Losses
48.1 Winning Percentage
Elgin definitely isn’t a favorite to advance through the ‘A Block’ and is a candidate for having the biggest drop off in performance from last year’s G1. Elgin could finish with anywhere between four (two wins) to eight (four wins) points.
It’s likely he will end up in the role of ‘spoiler’ during the second half of the tournament with matches against Okada, Fale, and Tanahashi having finals implications.
Whatever happens, Elgin’s performance will draw a strong response from fans who both despise him and from those who remain his fans. Will he be able to get out of his own way, or has his best days in NJPW already past him? These questions will find answers during the G1.