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 Stone Pitbull” Tomohiro Ishii is a 4x NEVER Openweight Champion and earned his way to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) after years of working the indie scene in Japan. During his early days with the company, he was most known for his 2011 program with Tiger Mask, which saw him have a short run as the sixth generation Black Tiger. Ishii quickly dropped the mask against his rival in February 2011 at The New Beginning.
Since that time Ishii has endured himself to international NJPW fans due to his straightforward brawling style and unmatched grit inside the wrestling ring. Despite not being able to capture the more prestigious singles championship in NJPW, Tomohiro Ishii has won the Ring of Honor (ROH) Television Championship and the Revolution Pro Wrestling (RevPro) British Heavyweight Championship over the past several years.
The Stone Pitbull has been a G1 entry every year since 2014 and remains one of the more difficult participants to defeat each year. His participation in the ‘B Block’ will provide numerous stories throughout this years G1. Below is a list of Ishii’s G1 opponents, the date he wrestles them, and his G1 record against them:
Toru Yano, July 15th, 0-0
Tetsuya Naito, July 19th, 1-0
Hirooki Goto, July 21st, 0-3
Zack Sabre Jr., July 26th, 0-1
Kota Ibushi, July 28th, 0-1
Tama Tonga, August 1st, 0-1
Kenny Omega, August 4th, 0-0
Juice Robinson, August 8th, 0-0
Sanada, August 11th, 0-1
With a combined record of 1-7 against his ‘B Block’ opponents, it’s going to be important for Ishii to defeat his what we can call ‘Stone Thieves’ tag team partner and Chaos stablemate, Toru Yano on the opening day of ‘B Block’ competition for any hope of advancing to the finals.
He was able to defeat Tetsuya Naito (G127 winner) last year in block competition, yet that task will be difficult to duplicate. His match against Hirooki Goto is littered with history. Ishii is 2-10 all-time against Goto in singles matches with those victories coming in July 2006 during the NJPW Circuit 2006 Takeoff tour [11:27].
Ishii was also able to earn the pinfall over Goto in November 2014 at Power Struggle which was his v1 defense during his second reign with the Never Openweight Championship. Goto famously defeated Ishii in May 2012 during the NJPW 40th Anniversary tour [18:14] in Goto’s v2 defense of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship during his first reign.
Goto also defeated Ishii in March 2013 during the 2nd round of the 2013 New Japan Cup [18:46]. Despite Goto and Ishii being Chaos stablemates, their upcoming match is likely to be an intense brawl; with Ishii having something to prove.
While Ishii and Kenny Omega have never wrestled in the G1, the two had a three-match rivalry from March- July in 2017. Ishii beat Omega in their first match in the second round of the 2017 New Japan Cup [29:45] prior to losing their rematch in May at Wrestling Dontaku. In their final singles match to date, Omega defeated Ishii in July in the finals of the United States Heavyweight Championship tournament at the G1 Special in USA.
Ishii has compiled the following record during his four G1 entries:
18 Total Wins
19 Total Losses
48.6 Winning Percentage
His biggest G1 win to date came in 2016 when he defeated Chaos leader Kazuchika Okada [18:43] who was IWGP Heavyweight Champion at the time. During the same G1 he also defeated Naomichi Marufuji [12:14]. While Ishii doesn’t have a sparkling G1 record, he’s proven that he can defeat anyone on his best day…except for Goto.
At 42-years-old this may be his last opportunity to make a splash in the G1. While his ‘B Block’ road is a tough one, there is no doubting that Ishii will go into each match with the unyielding determination and tenacity his fans love him for.