Stretch Run for the 2018 G1
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Stretch Run for the 2018 G1

August 2, 2018
By: Lou Pickney

We're 2/3 of the way through the 2018 G1 Climax tournament. Here's an overview of the standings for both blocks and a look at what might be expected going into the stretch run.

Block A

10 points (5-1)

Hiroshi Tanahashi
Remaining matches: 8/2 EVIL, 8/5 Elgin, 8/10 Okada
W: Fale, Hangman, Makabe, Minoru, YOSHI-HASHI
L: White

Tanahashi is all alone in first place at the moment, not surprisingly with the build toward his match at Nippon Budokan against Okada.

8 points (4-2)

Remaining matches: 8/2 Tanahashi, 8/5 Okada, 8/10 White
W: Fale, Hangman, Makabe, YOSHI-HASHI
L: Elgin, Minoru

Kazuchika Okada
Remaining matches: 8/2 Minoru, 8/5 EVIL, 8/10 Tanahashi
W: Elgin, Hangman, Makabe, YOSHI-HASHI
L: Fale, White

Minoru Suzuki
Remaining matches: 8/2 Okada, 8/5 Hangman, 8/10 Fale
W: Elgin, EVIL, White, YOSHI-HASHI
L: Makabe, Tanahashi

Jay White
Remaining matches: 8/2 YOSHI-HASHI, 8/5 Makabe, 8/10 EVIL
W: Elgin, Hangman, Okada, Tanahashi
L: Fale, Suzuki

It's an interesting mix at 4-2. Beware of White with the head-to-head tiebreaker over Okada and Tanahashi, which could come into play. White vs. EVIL looks to be the favorite at this point to be the semi-main behind Okada vs. Tanahashi at Budokan.

6 points (3-3)

Bad Luck Fale
Remaining matches: 8/2 Elgin, 8/5 YOSHI-HASHI, 8/10 Minoru
W: Makabe, Okada, White
L: EVIL, Hangman, Tanahashi

The BCOGs intentionally getting disqualified and perpetually bumping the refs actually makes sense relative to the Firing Squad members' motivations. But it makes New Japan management look incompetent for tolerating it over and over and over without doing anything about it, even though it's all part of the show.

Fale did have a very good match against Tanahashi though, and he is moving better in the ring after cutting significant weight in the weeks leading up to this tournament.

4 points (2-4)

Michael Elgin
Remaining matches: 8/2 Fale, 8/5 Tanahashi, 8/10 Makabe
W: EVIL, Hangman
L: Minoru, Okada, White, YOSHI-HASHI

Togi Makabe
Remaining matches: 8/2 Hangman, 8/5 White, 8/10 Elgin
L: EVIL, Fale, Okada, Tanahashi

Elgin has a torn biceps, but it appears he will try to gut through the rest of the tournament. Both Elgin and Makabe have been eliminated from contention, though each of them will have opportunities to play spoiler down the stretch.

2 points (1-5)

Hangman Page
Remaining matches: 8/2 Makabe, 8/5 Minoru, 8/10 YOSHI-HASHI
W: Fale
L: Elgin, EVIL, Okada, Tanahashi, White

Remaining matches: 8/2 White, 8/5 Fale, 8/10 Hangman
W: Elgin
L: EVIL, Makabe, Minoru, Okada, Tanahashi

Hangman keeps building the case for him to win the Wrestling Observer Newsletter award for Most Improved in 2018. YOSHI-HASHI really needs a character jump-start. Maybe he will be drawn over to the dark side by Switchblade when/if he splits from CHAOS.

Block B

12 points (6-0)

Kenny Omega
Remaining matches: 8/4 Ishii, 8/8 Yano, 8/11 Ibushi
W: Goto, Juice, Naito, Sabre, SANADA, Tama
L: N/A

If Omega beats Ishii and Yano, he will clinch the win in Block B before he makes it to Budokan. Losing to Ishii would set up the Stone Pitbull to challenge Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, which I would welcome as Omega vs. Ishii is great every time out.

And, of course, there are special rules for Yano that allow him to potentially beat anyone at any time without harming his opponent's rep like most losses normally would. YTR is the Sublime Master Thief, after all.

10 points (5-1)

Tetsuya Naito
Remaining matches: 8/4 Ibushi, 8/8 SANADA, 8/11 Sabre
W: Goto, Ishii, Juice, Tama, Yano
L: Omega

Naito is only two points back of Omega, but with Omega holding the head-to-head tiebreaker he is in a tougher spot than it might appear at first glance.

8 points (4-2)

Kota Ibushi
Remaining matches: 8/4 Naito, 8/8 Tama, 8/11 Omega
W: Goto, Ishii, Juice, Sabre

For Ibushi to have a chance to win the block by beating Omega at Budakon, he needs to cut Omega's four point lead over him in half by the end of the 8/8 show in Yokohama.

6 points (3-3)

Zack Sabre Jr.
Remaining matches: 8/4 Juice, 8/8 Goto, 8/11 Naito
W: Ishii, Tama, Yano
L: Ibushi, Omega, SANADA

Remaining matches: 8/4 Yano, 8/8 Naito, 8/11 Ishii
W: Ibushi, Sabre, Tama
L: Goto, Juice, Omega

Both Sabre and SANADA have been eliminated from contention to win the block. But the SANADA vs. Naito match is quite intriguing, while Sabre could be in position to play spoiler for Naito at Budokan if Naito is still in the running by that point.

4 points (2-4)

Hirooki Goto
Remaining matches: 8/4 Tama, 8/8 Sabre, 8/11 Juice
L: Ibushi, Ishii, Naito, Omega

Tomohiro Ishii
Remaining matches: 8/4 Omega, 8/8 Juice, 8/11 SANADA
W: Goto, Yano
L: Ibushi, Naito, Sabre, Tama

Juice Robinson
Remaining matches: 8/4 Sabre, 8/8 Ishii, 8/11 Goto
L: Ibushi, Naito, Omega, Tama

Tama Tonga
Remaining matches: 8/4 Goto, 8/8 Ibushi, 8/11 Yano
W: Ishii, Juice
L: Naito, Omega, Sabre, SANADA

It's amusing to me that Goto has as many wins as he does five-star match ratings from Dave Meltzer in this tournament, at least as of this writing. It will be champion vs. champion on the final night when Juice (IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion) takes on Goto (NEVER Openweight Champion) at Budokan.

2 points (1-5)

Toru Yano
Remaining matches: 8/4 SANADA, 8/8 Omega, 8/11 Tama
W: Ibushi
L: Goto, Ishii, Juice, Naito, Sabre

Reinventing himself as Technical Toru, going back to his amateur wrestling roots, Yano has managed to have some surprisingly good matches in this tournament, especially his match with Sabre. Yano yelling phrases like "Sportsmanship!" and "Fair Play!" made me laugh more than they should have, but thus is the charm of YTR.

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

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