Inside G128: Is Kota Ibushi Prepared To Soar?

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.

“Golden Star” Kota Ibushi started 2018 with a bang when his Golden Lovers team with Kenny Omega reformed at The New Beginning in Sapporo. He has also had an eventful year in singles competition. He defeated Cody Rhodes (ROH) [15:08] at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in January, lost to Zack Sabre Jr. (ZSJ) [21:02] in the second round of the New Japan Cup, defeated Hangman Page (ROH) [14:30] at Supercard Of Honor XII, and lost his rematch against Cody [23:36] on the Wrestling Dontaku tour.

Photo: NJPW

Since the reunion with Omega, the Golden Lovers only 2vs2 tag defeat happened at the hands of Cody and Hangman Page [23:52] at Sakura Genesis. If Ibushi remains focused throughout ‘B Block’ action the field will be even more competitive. It’s extremely difficult for any opponent to match the athletic ability of Ibushi, even his partner and IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega.

Photo: NJPW

Below is a list of Ibushi’s G1 opponents, the date he wrestles them, and his G1 record against them:

Zack Sabre Jr., July 15th, 1-0
Juice Robinson, July 19th, 0-0
Toru Yano, July 21st, 1-1
Sanada, July 26th, 0-0
Tomohiro Ishii, July 28th, 1-0
Hirooki Goto, August 1st, 0-1
Tetsuya Naito, August 4th, 1-2
Tama Tonga, August 8th, 0-0
Kenny Omega, August 11th, 0-0

Ibushi’s July 15th match against ZSJ will see the two meet up for the third time in tournament competition; currently, both have a win in the series. His July 19th match against the new IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Juice Robinson could have major titles implications later on in the year.

Photo: NJPW

His July 26th match against Sanada has the potential to be one of the best G1 matches this year. Finally, he faces Golden Lovers tag team partner, Golden Elite stablemate, and IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega on the final day of ‘B Block’ tournament action. The match will be the third between the two and the first since August 2012.

Ibushi defeated Omega in a ‘Hardcore Rules 2/3 Falls’ match [17:42] by a margin of 2:1 in August 2008. Nearly four years later Ibushi again defeated Omega in what was his V2 defense of the KO-D Openweight Championship (DDT) [23:33]. If Ibushi is again able to defeat his partner, he will certainly receive an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match.

Photo: NJPW

Ibushi has been a G1 entry in 2013, 2015, and 2017. He earned the following G1 record during those competitions, along with one forfeit victory in 2013 which don’t count as an earned victory for the purpose of these statistics:

12 Total Wins
14 Total Losses
46.2 Winning Percentage

Ibushi’s mental focus is always a wildcard when he competes in singles competition, it has yet to be seen if he will fulfill his potential and become a headliner in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). This is the best opportunity he has had in his career to prove that he is the star that everyone sees him as.

Part 1: Can Tetsuya Naito Go Back To Back?

Part 2: Who Can Stop Kenny Omega?

Part 3: Will YOSHI-HASHI Finally Break Out?

Part 4: Is Juice Robinson About To Get Loose?

Part 5: Will Michael Elgin Find Redemption?

Part 6: The Curious Case of Tomohiro Ishii

Part 7: Is The Hangman Ready To Take A Big Step?

Part 8: Does Makabe Have One Last Run Left?

Part 9: Decorated Goto Looks To Add Another G1 Trophy

Part 10: Will The Cold Skull Heat Up In Time?

Part 11: Good Luck For Bad Luck Fale

Part 12: Does The Ace Have Something To Prove?

Part 13: Yano Is Going To Spoil Someone’s G1

Part 14: Oh The Web Tama Tonga Has Begun To Weave

Part 15: Will G128 Be EVIL?

Part 16: The King Is Coming For His Throne

Part 17: Just Tap Out!

Part 18: Is Kota Ibushi Prepared To Soar?

Part 19: Will The G1 Breathe With The Switchblade?

Part 20: Can Okada Bring Rain A Third Time In The G1?