It all comes down to this. In just a few short hours, the A Block of the G1 Climax, one of the most competitive blocks in the tournament’s recent history, will reach it’s conclusion. And it’s only fitting that everything is coming down to the wire and could very well come down to tie breaks as well. So let’s set the stage. Of the field, four men – Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada, Jay White and Will Ospreay, remain alive to win the block. Okada, White and Ibushi all stand at 6-2 records, tied atop the block with 12 points apiece. Ospreay, sitting at 5-3, needs some help but should the stars align, he too could win the block. It’s the final night of A Block competition and it’s going to be a good one. If ever there was a can’t miss night of this year’s G1 Climax, it would be Night 17.
Main event: Jay White (6-2) vs Tomohiro Ishii (3-5)
By nature of his victories over both Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi, Jay White holds his destiny in his own hands. The road for him to win the Jay-1 is simple. All he has to do is beat the Stone Pitbull and her another of his former Chaos running mates. Sounds easy enough. Only, beating Tomohiro Ishii is never easy even if the bruiser has been mathematically eliminated from winning this tournament. Ishii has nothing left to fight for except revenge and to play spoiler and he’d like nothing more than to put the cocky White in his place. White seems to think Ishii, despite owning the victory in their only head-to-head matchup, is an easy out. But overconfidence has only gotten the Switchblade so far. He may have picked up some of his biggest career victories thus far but White would be foolish to rest on his laurels. The finish line is in sight. Will White be able to book his place in the G1 Climax final or will Ishii use his power to get one of his current Chaos teammates, Okada or Will Ospreay, one step closer to that final spot instead?
Kota Ibushi (6-2) vs Taichi (4-4)
There is no doubt Kota Ibushi will be watching the A Block’s main event very closely as only Jay White stands in his way of a third straight G1 Climax final. Ibushi needs to defeat Taichi as well as get some help from Tomohiro Ishii to defeat Jay White. And if this final day of block action is anything like the rest of this tournament, this will likely come down to the night’s final match. But before that Ishii/White match happens, Ibushi will have to handle his own business with a win over Taichi. Taichi started the G1 looking like he’d have his own chance at winning the block but a string of losses led to that slipping away. Now, all Taichi can do is plag spoiler. For Ibushi, if ever there was a man he likely didn’t want to see in this do-or-die match, it would be Taichi. A thorn in Ibushi’s side for the past few months, Taichi helped take away Ibushi’s tag team title this summer, marking his second of three wins over the golden star. Taichi tried to coax Ibushi to join Suzuki-gun to no avail as Ibushi opted to remain one of few in NJPW without faction allegiance. Will that pay off as he looks to make history with his third consecutive G1 Climax final? Or will Taichi continue to have the last laugh over one of 2020’s wrestling MVPs?
Kazuchika Okada (6-2) vs Will Ospreay (5-3)
Kazuchika Okada is in a rare position. One of NJPW’s all-time greats, Okada finds himself needing a decent amount of help in order to win the A Block. To lay things out simply, Okada, whose match takes place fourth in order on the night, needs to win or draw and have both the following matches result in losses for Jay White and Kota Ibushi. It is unlikely that Okada will go into the final match of the night with his hopes still alive, but it would be unwise to count out the Rainmaker. Especially as he takes on a man he’s never lost to, his Chaos faction mate, Will Ospreay, who’s own path to an A Block victory isn’t all that different. Ospreay also needs White and Ibushi to lose but unlike Okada, who can afford a time limit tie, Ospreay needs to win in order to stay alive. Fortunately for Ospreay, Okada has not fared well on the final night of the G1, winning just two of his eight matches. The Rainmaker started this year’s tournament shaky and that could come back to cost him. But does Ospreay realistically have a chance with all he needs to go right? Perhaps not, but just as important to the rising star could be the feather in his cap of finally beating Okada. This should be an incredible bout and one with far-reaching implications, both in the G1 Climax and beyond.
Shingo Takagi (3-5) vs Minoru Suzuki (3-5)
With both men mathematically eliminated, Minoru Suzuki and Shingo Takagi are merely wrestling for pride here. Both Suzuki and Takagi began their 2020 G1 Climax campaigns quite strongly but in the end, the big four were just too much and Suzuki and Takagi found themselves on the outside looking in. There is nothing tangible on the line, but make no mistake, these two competitors will still fight hard for a victory. Expect violence for violence sake when these two share the ring for just the second time ever. And while there is little more than a match to be won for Suzuki, a win by Takagi over the current NEVER Openweight champion, could earn him a rematch of the title he lost in the summer.
Jeff Cobb (4-4) vs Yujiro Takahashi (0-8)
Win-loss record aside, this was a pretty successful G1 Climax for Jeff Cobb, who is NJPW’s newest signing. Cobb, who started slow, actually picked up huge victories over Jay White and Will Ospreay, inserting himself very much into how the A Block could play out. Cobb could end on 10 points with a win against Yujiro Takahashi, which would be a pretty good spot for him. But Takahashi, who is sitting on zero wins, will do everything in his power, legal or not, to avoid finishing the tournament with a goose egg. Takahashi has been close to getting points on the board. Perhaps his breakthrough will come in the block’s final night.
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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