The A Block returns to the forefront with Sunday’s G1 Climax 25 – Night 9 show live on Though the main event (Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Toru Yano) may be worthy of an eyeroll after their painfully long feud throughout the spring, the rest of the card stacks up as a solid all-around show. We’ll, of course, have coverage both live and immediately following the event so make sure you’re following us on Twitter (@voiceswrestling) and checking out throughout the night for coverage.

A Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2) vs. Kota Ibushi (4)

  • All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): N/A
  • Last Singles Match: N/A
  • Favorite: Kota Ibushi (94%)
  • What to Watch For: Kota Ibushi has arguably been the MVP for this year’s G1 Climax. He’s been in each of my top three matches thus far and he’s putting together the most dynamic, crowd-pleasing and intriguing matches almost every night thus. Tonight, he opens against Tenzan. This may be one of his stinkers but given the run he’s on, I expect it to deliver.

A Block: Katsuyori Shibata (6) vs. Bad Luck Fale (6)

  • All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): 1-0 Bad Luck Fale
  • Last Singles Match: NJPW G1 Climax 24 – Night 9 (August 4, 2015) Bad Luck Fale def. Katsuyori Shibata
  • Favorite: Katsuyori Shibata (70%)
  • What to Watch For: Those who have been waiting for Shibata to get his push in New Japan are finally getting what they want, Shibata is currently tied for 1st in the A Block with a number of big victories. Of course, he’s also delivered in the ring putting together some of the more talked about matches throughout the tournament. He draws a tough opponent tonight in Bad Luck Fale who can be carried to a decent match (see: vs. Tanahashi Night 8) but can also drag a match down (see: the majority of his New Japan career). Fale, like Shibata, is also tied for the Block lead with Tetsuya Naito. I expect a solid but unspectacular match with Shibata getting the victory and moving to the top spot in the block… for now.

A Block: A.J. Styles (4) vs. Doc Gallows (2)

  • All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): N/A
  • Last Singles Match: N/A
  • Favorite: A.J. Styles (99%)
  • What to Watch For: Doc Gallows needs to send a gift basket to Yujiro Takahashi when the G1 Climax 25 is finally over. If it wasn’t for Yujiro’s outwardly awful matches, more fingers would be pointed at Gallows who has had equally uninspired, terrible matches throughout the tourney. Tonight he draws A.J. Styles, another G1 MVP contender. If anyone is going to drag a good match out of Gallows it’s going to be Styles so I’ll be paying close attention to this one. Styles is a 99% favorite in this match, tied for the highest total through the entire tournament.

A Block: Togi Makabe (4) vs. Tetsuya Naito (6)

  • All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): 4-1 Togi Makabe
  • Last Singles Match: NJPW G1 Climax 24 – Night 7 (August 1, 2015) Togi Makabe def. Tetsuya Naito
  • Favorite: Tetsuya Naito (74%)
  • What to Watch For: An easy contender for Match of the Night, Makabe/Naito has the potential to really steal the show. Makabe has been just okay throughout this year’s tournament but Naito has not only delivered great matches throughout but his character work (and his new heel edge) have taken the G1 by storm. I expect another definitive Naito win in a match many people will be recommending. I can’t wait to see what these two bring to the table.

A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi (4) vs. Toru Yano (2)

  • All-Time Record (Head-to-Head): 16-3 Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • Last Singles Match: NJPW Dominion (July 5, 2015) Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Toru Yano
  • Favorite: Hiroshi Tanahashi (94%)
  • What to Watch For: Phew, I was worried we’d have to wait a whole month to see Tanahashi/Yano again. Thankfully, New Japan got in just under the mark and give us the historic 20th (!) all-time singles match between Yano and Tanahashi. I’ll be fair though, I talked a lot of crap about Yano being in the G1 but he’s had a lot of fun matches and this one should be no different. Tanahashi has brought it all tournament long, silencing any and all critics so I expect this to be far and away better than their other two 2015 singles matches. There will of course be some Yano comedy but in a main event slot, expect to see a bit more edge to his character as a win in this spot is of the utmost importance.