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.
Hiroshi Tanahashi was the centerpiece of New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s (NJPW) rise from their darkest days into an exponentially booming international powerhouse. He is a former 2x IWGP U-30 Openweight Champion, 3x NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion, GHC Tag Team Champion, 2x IWGP Tag Team Champion, 2x IWGP Intercontinental Champion, and a record 7x IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
This year ‘The Ace’ made it to the finals of the New Japan Cup where he was defeated by Zack Sabre Jr. (ZSJ). He followed his strong performance by challenging Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestling Dontaku in May, despite Tanahashi losing [34:36] his performance received critical acclaim. All of this came after he lost the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Minoru Suzuki [32:28] at The New Beginning in Sapporo this January in a grueling match which led to him missing several weeks of action.
Does The Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Have Something To Prove?
His last singles match of the year came at the end of May when Hangman Page upset him [11:26] at Honor United in England. While talk has begun of Tanahashi no longer having a main event caliber skill level due to several nagging injuries, and a loss of some agility — he remains one of the favorites in the ‘A Block.’
Below is a list of Tanahashi’s G1 opponents, the date he wrestles them, and his G1 record against them:
Minoru Suzuki, July 14th, 1-0
Jay White, July 16th, 0-0
Bad Luck Fale, July 20th, 2-2
Hangman Page, July 22nd, 0-0
Togi Makabe, July 27th, 6-2-1
Yoshi-Hashi, July 30th, 1-0
Evil, August 2nd, 0-0
Michael Elgin, August 5th, 0-0
Kazuchika Okada, August 10th, 0-0-2
His opening match against Minoru Suzuki will be extremely important for each competitor. His July 16th match against Jay White is a rematch from January’s Wrestle Kingdom where Tanahashi defeated White in V4 defense of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship [19:43].
‘The Ace’ will look for revenge against Hangman Page on July 22nd and his final ‘Block A’ match against Okada on August 10th could determine who advances on to the finals.
Tanahashi has been a great tournament performer winning the New Japan Cup in 2005 and 2008, along with winning the G1 in 2007 and 2015. Here is a look at his record-setting G1 resume:
69 Total Wins (65 Total Bracket Wins) [Record For Most G1 Wins]
45 Total Losses (42 Total Bracket Losses)
7 Total Draws
2-3 in G1 Finals
57.0 Winning Percentage
Tanahashi has the second most G1 finals appearances ever (Masahiro Chono has 6), making him a threat against a relatively young bracket. His ultimate ranking may depend on the result of his July 20th match against Bad Luck Fale. The two have had numerous competitive matches over the years, providing a healthy background for their match.
How much does ‘The Ace’ have left? Does he have the endurance left to capture his third G1 trophy? Who is anyone to ever doubt Hiroshi Tanahashi?