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Early Thoughts on the 2018 G1

July 26, 2018
By: Lou Pickney

The 2018 G1 Climax tournament is off to a strong start, with several outstanding matches among the 35 tournament matches in the books thus far.

There are plenty of legitimate gripes to be made about New Japan Pro Wrestling billing itself as the King of Sports, yet tolerating the abuse/mistreatment of referees. But it's a Gedo booking trope that appears unlikely to change anytime soon.

Luckily, the shows are so much fun and the matches are so great that it more than makes up for the excessive abuse/mistreatment of referees and whatever else I might find to complain about. And at least the referee nonsense led to this great moment from Red Shoes, who shot a double tall man to the Firing Squad when he had seen enough.

Best moment from Red Shoes since that one time when he threw a crotch chop at members of Bullet Club back in the AJ Styles era.

The Block B shows have generally been better thus far, though Michael Elgin is quietly having a great tournament in Block A. The mega-push for Jay White continues with wins over Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada to open the tournament, and a 3-1 start overall.

If you are playing catch-up on the G1, here are my recommended matches from each night, along with the star ratings given by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and the cagematch.net score (at the time of this writing).

Night 1 -- Tokyo Ota Gymnasium (Block A)
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki (****1/2 7.90)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White (**** 7.84)

Night 2 -- Tokyo Ota Gymnasium (Block B)
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano (***1/2 7.02)
Hirooki Goto vs. SANADA (****1/4 7.69)
Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (****3/4 8.97)
Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (***** 9.55)

Night 3 -- Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan (Block A)
Michael Elgin vs. Hangman Page (**** 7.80)
Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki (****1/4 7.62)
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White (**** 7.70)

Night 4 -- Tokyo Korakuen (Block B)
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Toru Yano (***3/4 7.63)
Juice Robinson vs. Kota Ibushi (****1/2 8.17)
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito (****3/4 9.14)
Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto (***** 8.83)

Night 5 -- Tokyo Korakuen (Block A)
Jay White vs. Michael Elgin (**** 7.64)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Hangman Page (****1/4 8.38)

Night 6 -- Tokyo Korakuen (Block B)
SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (TBA 8.02)
Juice Robinson vs. Tetsuya Naito (****1/2 8.85)
Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii (***** 9.70)

Night 7 -- Tokyo Korakuen (Block B)
YOSHI-HASHI vs. Michael Elgin (****1/4 7.53)

Night 8 from Niigata will probably be underway (if not finished) by the time you read this, and it features a very strong card with SANADA vs. Kota Ibushi in the main event spot ahead of Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega (upset alert there) and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (which I saw in person both in Long Beach last year and at the RevPro show over WM34 weekend in New Orleans).

Also, if you're looking for current G1 standings, I strongly recommend that you bookmark the G1 Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G1_Climax) for easy reference.

See any mistakes, omissions, or needed corrections? Please let me know: @LouPickney

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