Let the countdown begin! This morning on their Kizuna Road show, New Japan Pro Wrestling officially announced cards for the upcoming G1 Climax 28 tour. Long-time fans of NJPW know just how important these schedules are as they can give fans insights into who may be winning blocks and who has a chance to win the entire tournament and get a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom.
G1 Climax 28 kicks off July 14 from Tokyo’s Ota City General Gymnasium as the A Block takes center stage with the featured match of Kazuchika Okada battling his hesitant CHAOS stablemate “Switchblade” Jay White.
Given the history of G1 Climax upsets on Night 1, don’t be surprised if White comes out with the shocking win.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki
- Togi Makabe vs YOSHI-HASHI
- Michael Elgin vs EVIL
- Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White
- Bad Luck Fale vs Hangman Page
The B Block kicks off their tournament on July 15 again at Tokyo’s Ota City General Gymnasium. The highlighted match is a rematch of last year’s G1 Climax Final between IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega and Los Ingobernables de Japón leader Tetsuya Naito.
Naito is an early favorite to maybe win the tournament but some—myself included—theorized that he could possibly win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at some point between G1 Climax 28 and Wrestle Kingdom. Perhaps he defeats Omega here, doesn’t win the tournament but faces off with Omega and wins the title at a show in the fall. We’ll see… either way, a fascinating matchup and a great way to kick off B Block play.
- Juice Robinson vs Tama Tonga
- Hirooki Goto vs SANADA
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Toru Yano
- Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito
- Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr.
A Wrestle Kingdom rematch between Jay White and Hiroshi Tanahashi highlights the July 16 show from Hokkaido’s Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center Hokkai Kitayell. Keep your eye on Bad Luck Fale and Okada as well. Fale is an interesting case each G1 as he’s a monster capable of getting an upset or out-of-nowhere win, don’t be surprised if he beats Okada and puts the former champ in a precarious situation after two nights.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White
- Togi Makabe vs Minoru Suzuki
- Michael Elgin vs Hangman Page
- Kazuchika Okada vs Bad Luck Fale
- YOSHI-HASHI vs EVIL
Kenny Omega and Hirooki Goto—the G1 Climax 26 Final—highlights July 19 in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall. We’re also treated to Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito, a matchup that back in 2014 was one of the highlights of NJPW’s year. The two have insane chemistry so while Goto vs. Omega will get most of the hype, Ishii vs. Naito could very well be the match of the night, if not the tournament.
- Juice Robinson vs Kota Ibushi
- Hirooki Goto vs Kenny Omega
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito
- Toru Yano vs Zack Sabre Jr.
- SANADA vs Tama Tonga
July 20 sees the G1 Climax back in Korakuen Hall, this time for the A Block. Hangman Page gets the biggest opportunity of his career.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale
- Togi Makabe vs EVIL
- Michael Elgin vs Jay White
- Kazuchika Okada vs Hangman Page
- YOSHI-HASHI vs Minoru Suzuki
Don’t sleep on this July 21st show from Korakuen Hall. Juice Robinson vs. Tetsuya Naito, Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii and SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr all have a chance to be excellent matches. Kenny Omega and Tama Tonga will leave it all on the table and, while I don’t want to get into the Toru Yano argument again, there’s no better matchup for Yano than the equally eccentric Kota Ibushi.
- Juice Robinson vs Tetsuya Naito
- Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
- Toru Yano vs Kota Ibushi
- Kenny Omega vs Tama Tonga
- SANADA vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Day 7 (July 22) keeps the G1 Climax 28 in Tokyo but this time at Esforta Arena Hachioji, an arena to the best of my and Cagematch.net’s knowledge that NJPW has never run. The card doesn’t jump out but has some interesting potential with Jay White vs. Minoru Suzuki and a monster battle between EVIL and Bad Luck Fale.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Hangman Page
- Togi Makabe vs Kazuchika Okada
- Michael Elgin vs YOSHI-HASHI
- Jay White vs Minoru Suzuki
- EVIL vs Bad Luck Fale
July 28 in Niigata is highlighted by SANADA vs. Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and a sleeper Match of the Night contender in Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega.
- Juice Robinson vs Kenny Omega
- Hirooki Goto vs Toru Yano
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Zack Sabre Jr.
- Tetsuya Naito vs Tama Tonga
- SANADA vs Kota Ibushi
Night 9 takes place July 27 from Shizuoka and features Kazuchika Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Togi Maka… okay, this may be a night to take a much-needed G1 Climax 28 break.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Togi Makabe
- Michael Elgin vs Minoru Suzuki
- Kazuchika Okada vs YOSHI-HASHI
- Jay White vs Bad Luck Fale
- EVIL vs Hangman Page
Now we’re back on track! July 28 in Aichi at the famed Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. Kenny Omega vs. SANADA, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kota Ibushi, Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito. Wow, Day 10 could be the best show of the entire tournament.
- Juice Robinson vs Toru Yano
- Hirooki Goto vs Tetsuya Naito
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Kota Ibushi
- Kenny Omega vs SANADA
- Tama Tonga vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Day 11 sees the A Block take their talents to Kagawa’s Takamatsu City General Gymnasium #1 on July 30. “Big” Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada highlights the night but there is plenty to like in the undercard including Jay White vs. Hangman Page and a potentially fun EVIL vs. Minoru Suzuki match.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs YOSHI-HASHI
- Togi Makabe vs Bad Luck Fale
- Michael Elgin vs Kazuchika Okada
- Jay White vs Hangman Page
- EVIL vs Minoru Suzuki
We’re in August now and the G1 Climax 28 grind is happening. Luckily, we have a fantastic night of B Block action to keep us sane. I can’t wait to see Kenny Omega vs. Zack Sabre Jr but Juice Robinson vs. SANADA and Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi all sound like a ton of fun.
- Juice Robinson vs SANADA
- Hirooki Goto vs Kota Ibushi
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Tama Tonga
- Toru Yano vs Tetsuya Naito
- Kenny Omega vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Day 13 brings A Block action to Fukuoka’s Fukuoka Citizen Gymnasium and also gives us a big time match between Minoru Suzuki and Kazuchika Okada. The two have had some of more polarizing matches in NJPW history and August 2 should be no exception. Keep an eye on Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. EVIL and Michael Elgin vs. Bad Luck Fale as well.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs EVIL
- Togi Makabe vs Hangman Page
- Michael Elgin vs Bad Luck Fale
- Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki
- Jay White vs YOSHI-HASHI
I can’t wait for August 4 from Edion Arena Osaka—the former Bodymaker Colosseum, one of the greatest names in arena history—as we’ll get a match that everyone should peg as a favorite for Match of the Tournament between Tomohiro Ishii and Kenny Omega. These two have made plenty of magic together over the last handful of years so expectations are certainly high. The night also features Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr and oh yeah, Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi.
What a night!
- Juice Robinson vs Zack Sabre Jr.
- Hirooki Goto vs Tama Tonga
- Tomohiro Ishii vs Kenny Omega
- Toru Yano vs SANADA
- Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi
The A Block gets their turn at Edion Arena Osaka on August 5 in a night highlighted by EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Michael Elgin.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Michael Elgin
- Togi Makabe vs Jay White
- Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL
- YOSHI-HASHI vs Bad Luck Fale
- Hangman Page vs Minoru Suzuki
We’re getting down to the final few nights here with the B Block’s penultimate show on August 8 from Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium. The night is highlighted by the battle of LIJ: Tetsuya Naito vs. SANADA as well as Hirooki Goto vs. Zack Sabre Jr, Juice Robinson vs. Tomohiro Ishii and whatever the hell we’re going to get from Toru Yano and Kenny Omega.
- Juice Robinson vs Tomohiro Ishii
- Hirooki Goto vs Zack Sabre Jr.
- Toru Yano vs Kenny Omega
- Kota Ibushi vs Tama Tonga
- Tetsuya Naito vs SANADA
The final night for the A Block kicks off NJPW’s three-night stint in Nippon Budokan Hall, the famed arena that NJPW has not run on their own since 2003.
Oh yeah, and we’re getting Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada in a potential block determining match. Cool, cool. People are also noting Jay White vs. EVIL and the placement of that match in the card for a potential White block upset.
Either way, this will be a massive show with Wrestle Kingdom implications.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada
- Togi Makabe vs Michael Elgin
- Jay White vs EVIL
- YOSHI-HASHI vs Hangman Page
- Bad Luck Fale vs Minoru Suzuki
The final night of block play brings us probably the most anticipated match of the entire tournament as the Golden Lovers explode with Kenny Omega battling Kota Ibushi inside Budokan Hall. This is not a first-time affair for Omega and Ibushi as the two had a spectacular match in Budokan back in 2012. Ibushi’s moonsault off the balcony at the arena was the center of much controversy and rumors of Ibushi being banned from the arena made waves earlier in the year.
Clearly everything has been worked out or so we hope. Either way, Omega vs. Ibushi, on the final night of block matches in Nippon Budokan Hall in a match that could determine the B Block. What more can you ask for?
Well, Naito vs. ZSJ. You’re getting that too. What a night.
- Juice Robinson vs Hirooki Goto
- Tomohiro Ishii vs SANADA
- Toru Yano vs Tama Tonga
- Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi
- Tetsuya Naito vs Zack Sabre Jr.
And we’re finally there. Nearly 30 days after the opening night, the G1 Climax 28 comes to its final stop August 12 from Nippon Budokan. We’ll find out who the G1 Climax winner is as well as one-half of the Wrestle Kingdom main event.
Voices of Wrestling G1 Climax 28 Coverage
Keep checking VoicesofWrestling.com for G1 Climax news, notes, previews and more in the coming weeks. Be sure to keep an eye on our Twitter account @VoicesWrestling and forums (VoicesofWrestling.com/forums) for announcements on our annual G1 Climax Pick’Em game as well!