After the longest break in the G1, action returns Monday as the A Block is still anyone’s to win. After a slew of hot starts, five guys are seated on six points apiece. Monday could go a long way to separating the pack and starting to see finals contenders emerging.
Kota Ibushi (3-1) vs Will Ospreay (3-1)
Kot Ibushi and Will Ospreay head into their matchup as two of the clear favorites to win the A Block. As one loss wrestlers, the two Monday opponents are at the top of the standings. This is hands down a meeting of two of the best in-ring talents NJPW has to offer. Expect a high risk, fast paced match as these two look to outdo each other and will look to gain any advantage. Such was the case when these two met last year, also in the G1 and the matches didn’t fail to deliver. One of these men will move to eight points and with both well-rested, it’s a toss-up as to which one that will be.
Tomohiro Ishii (1-3) vs Taichi (3-1)
This has not been the tournament Tomohiro Ishii would have wanted. Ishii lost his first three matches before getting a huge win over Shingo Takagi. Taichi meamwhile started red hot before dropping his last match to a desperately-in-need of points, Kazuchika Okada. Momentum swings can happen at any time and Taichi will be looking to avoid a negative one against Ishii. A win for Taichi puts him on eight points, enough to stay tied at 4-1 with the block leader. These two have met just once prior with Taichi winning the meeting. That should give the Suzuki-gun member confidence heading into Monday’s crucial G1 outing.
Kazuchika Okada (2-2) vs Minoru Suzuki (3-1)
Bitter rivals for sometime now, Minoru Suzuki and Kazuchika Okada will meet for the ninth time in eight years with this particular meeting having extremely high stakes. While Okada does have the head-to-head advantage, 7-1, in these meetings, Suzuki has given him all that he can handle in brutal showdowns. While Suzuki hasn’t beaten Okada since 2013, a win Monday could make up for a lot of that past frustration as it will put Suzuki on eight points and with a clear path to win the A Block.
Jeff Cobb (1-3) vs Jay White (3-1)
The Jay-1 took a bit of a step back last time out as Jay White collected his first loss of the tournament against a tough out in Kota Ibushi. Cobb meanwhile has struggled of late, losing his last two matches. His G1 is likely over but Cobb could play spoiler should he get an upset win over White on Monday. White meanwhile will look for the win to stay atop the A Block with eight points. As the tournament winds down, anything less could be disastrous as the field will start to separate itself.
Shingo Takagi (1-3) vs Yujiro Takahashi (0-4)
It was pretty clear that Yujiro Takahashi was in this tournament to take pins, and take pins he has. Meanwhile, Shingo Takagi had a good shot on paper, but has failed to come up with wins, winning just one of his matches against Will Ospreay. With so many wrestlers sitting on six points, it is a little late for Takagi or Takahashi to make any kind of splash. They are playing for pride at this point.
Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Make sure to watch New Japan Pro Wrestling on NJPW WORLD. Check back at LWOPW throughout the tournament for previews of each day’s card. You can view our full tournament coverage here.
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