NJPW G1 Climax 33 Previews

The NJPW G1 Climax 33 C Block this year is an interesting compilation of wrestlers, to say the very least. The block is full of violent brawlers and large men ready to beat the piss out of each other. And also, Mikey Nichols is there for some reason. Barring that odd inclusion, the identity of this block as the wild brawl block should be pretty obvious to anyone who’s watched the participants in action. 

Most people see this as one of the weaker blocks in the tournament, but I think a lot of that is based on people carrying around preconceived notions about many of its participants, and an odd underestimation of what the inclusion of Shingo Takagi and Tomohiro Ishii will mean for the quality of a block. If there is a single night of the tournament without at least a 4-star match from this group, I would be sincerely surprised.

This block is unlikely to yield a tournament winner, as the name value involved is, by and large, pretty low-end. You can’t totally rule out Gedo doing something crazy with David Finlay as the new leader of BULLET CLUB, god knows he likes his goth boys, but I am safely predicting that this block will not be a factor in the Final. 

The potential for low-end matches in this block really stems from three points.

  1. There is some potential that Eddie Kingston will be a limbless husk by the end of the G1, and I don’t believe Finlay or Ishii will be able to get a great match out of that. Some of you might say that it’s impossible for Ishii not to have a great match, even with someone whose limbs have fallen off, but Adam Cole has proven that this is in fact not the case by notching the first-ever mediocre Ishii singles match while having fully functional appendages. Well done to him, and prayers up for Eddie Kingston’s health running through the G1 this season. 
  2. The House of Torture stinks, and often overperforms in the G1 relative to my preferences. They haven’t been a pushed commodity in a while, but the ever-looming threat of Gedo getting a bad idea and opting to give them some credibility by allowing them victories in this tournament lingers in my mind. Still, if this tournament’s low point is seven minutes of bad run-ins and the rest of the block is able to carry their weight, I’ll have a pretty hard time feeling bad about the inclusion of the worst heel stable since The Social Outcasts. 
  3. Can Mikey Nichols succeed in keeping both himself and the crowd awake? I should clarify for the sake of fairness that some of this isn’t Mikey’s fault, but a lot of it is. When he first returned to Japan as Mad Mikey Nichols, he worked a very weird and very bad 1980s WWF house show style of match that simply didn’t fit the company he was in. He does seem to be a bit revitalized coming into the G1 now that he’s been able to team with Shane Haste, but he’s hardly proven himself as a top-end worker in his previous showings. I believe that Mikey Nichols could garner a lot of goodwill by having an above-average G1, and I even believe he has the ability to do it! Unfortunately, if he is unable to do so he may very well snuff out the hopes of live viewing G1 watchers everywhere, as a 5:30 AM Mikey Nichols match may be enough to send them off to the sandman in short order. This is my plea to you Mikey, please, do not watch 80s WWF tapes in the buildup to this G1. In fact, watch maybe anything else that has ever happened and incorporate that instead. Please.

G1 Climax 32 Participants Not Returning:

  • Lance Archer
  • Bad Luck Fale
  • Tom Lawlor
  • Jay White
  • Juice Robinson
  • Yujiro Takahashi

Debuting or Returning Participants Absent from G1 Climax 32

  • Hikuleo (debuting)
  • Ren Narita (debuting)
  • Shota Umino (debuting)
  • Yota Tsuji (debuting)
  • Gabe Kidd (debuting)
  • Kaito Kiyomiya (NOAH representative, debuting)
  • Eddie Kingston, AEW representative, debuting)
  • Mikey Nicholls (debuting)
  • Shane Haste (debuting)
  • Alex Coughlin (debuting)
  • Tanga Loa (returning, missed G1 Climax 32)

Preview Format

There are five elements to each participant’s preview this year:

  • Current Situation
  • Past Performance (unless debuting)
  • Booking Strength and Final Match Situation
  • Chances of Winning
  • What-to-Look-For Matches

An Explanation of Booking Strength

Every night in the G1 Climax has a set number of matches. This year’s G1 Climax has 8 matches per night through Night 12, then 4 matches for each single-block final night. If you take the match number for each participant and average them, it gives you their Average Card Placement. This is a good indicator of where that wrestler stands in the division hierarchy. The higher their CP average, the stronger their booking strength.

Booking strength usually correlates to tournament success. By looking at this number and a wrestler’s match-up on the final block night, one gets a richer idea of a wrestler’s chances in the tournament. 

G1 Climax 33 – C Block

  • Tomohiro Ishii
  • EVIL
  • Tama Tonga
  • Shingo Takagi
  • David Finlay
  • Aaron Henare
  • Mikey Nicholls
  • Eddie Kingston

Tomohiro Ishii

  • 11th entry, 11th consecutive year

Current Situation

Ishii is on the downslope of his career, his body is breaking down like most wrestlers his age and the expectation of him pulling off an upset in a meaningful match feels like a thing of the past. That isn’t to say that Ishii is necessarily in a bad spot, but he doesn’t have the aura of being able to pull out weird victories like he did in the past. He’s clearly on his way to becoming one of the dads, and I think if the tournament had been scaled down as far as participants there’s an outside chance he would’ve been one of the first guys on the chopping block.

Past Performance

  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – 4 points (2-6), T-4th in B Block (4-way tie)
    • 2021 – 10 points (5-4), 6th in A Block
    • 2020 – 8 points (4-5), T-5th in A Block (4-way tie)
    • 2019 – 8 points (4-5), T-5th in B Block (6-way tie)
    • 2018 – 10 points (5-4), 5th in B Block
    • 2017 – 8 points (4-5), 7th in A Block
    • 2016 – 8 points (4-5), T-6th in A Block  (4-way tie)
    • 2015 –  10 points (5-4), 5th in B Block
    • 2014 – 10 points (5-5), T-5th in A Block (4-way tie)
    • 2013 – 6 points (3-6), 10th in A Block

With all of that being said, Tomohiro Ishii is Mr. G1 and is perhaps the greatest performer in the history of the tournament. Excluding last year and his first year in the tournament, he has been a guy who hovers in the middle of the road and almost always notches a victory that is well above his respective placement. I don’t think he’ll return to the highs of his past, in fact, I think it’s likely that his win total either stays the same or dwindles, but you can never rule out a big Ishii victory throwing a wrench in things on one of the final nights. 

Booking Strength and Final Match Situation

  • T-10th in booking strength
  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – T-12th (28)
    • 2021 – T-5th(20)
    • 2020 – 7th (20)
    • 2019 – 5th (20)
    • 2018 – T-11th (20)
    • 2017 – T-8th (20)
    • 2016 – 16th (20)
    • 2015 – T-7th (20)
    • 2014 – 12th (22)
    • 2013 – T-14th (20)
  • Card Placement slate: 1-8-6-5-5-4
  • Final night opponent: Mikey Nicholls

If you’re a man pining for that great Tomohiro Ishii finals run, I’d recommend buying a copy of TEW 2020 and booking it yourself because the hope for that is gone. Tomohiro Ishii is great, but he’s old, and based on how he’s been booked domestically the past few years he is trending down. On the final night he’ll be facing Mikey Nichols, at best the 5th most popular Australian to make appearances in Japan and that’s generously excluding Gino Gambino who would probably kick him out of that spot. The days of Ishii the main eventer are gone, his hopes of making it out of this block are nil, and the final match of his tournament will see Ishii and his opponent doing battle for the sake of pride with both having been long since eliminated. 

Chances to advance from block: 0%

Chances to win: Less than 0%

What-to-Look-for Matches

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Eddie Kingston: Night 8 (July 26)

Ishii and Kingston will complete their trilogy for this year on night 8 of the G1 in Korakuen Hall. Korakuen Hall is one of the venues that brings a guy like Ishii to life, and it’s a venue that someone like Kingston will have an unbelievable amount of reverence for. If I had to guess, both men are going to put on their best performance of the tournament here tonight, and it should end up being the best match of a surprisingly great trilogy. 

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Aaron Henare: Night 12 (August 2)

The match with Henare is a sneaky picky, and while the Tama main event is the more obvious selection I’ve decided to go with it instead. Henare is a uniquely underrated performer, and many of his best matches historically have been losses to Ishii. The two have a unique chemistry that hasn’t been explored lately, and I for one look forward to seeing what could be a violent passing of the torch from Ishii to Henare. 


  • 8th entry, 8th consecutive year

Current Situation

This is going to be a big tournament for EVIL. Gone are the dog days of COVID where House of Torture was a pushed act, and in are the days of EVIL the comedy goon who seemingly never wins a major match. Make no mistake, the House of Torture has its supporters, and they’ve perfected the art of dumb interference comedy in a way I never could’ve expected them to, but this year’s tournament may be make or break for them. If EVIL can’t rattle off some wins in a block as thin as this one, it’s safe to say his days in the upper mid card, let alone the main event, are finished. 

Past Performance

  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – 6 points (3-3), T-3rd in C Block (4-way tie)
    • 2021 – 14 points (7-2), 3rd in B Block
    • 2020 – 12 points (6-3), 2nd in B Block
    • 2019 – 8 points (4-5), T-3rd in A Block (7-way tie)
    • 2018 – 10 points (5-4), 5th in A Block
    • 2017 – 12 points (6-3), 3rd in B Block
    • 2016 – 8 points (4-5), 7th in B Block

Until last year EVIL had been an oddly well-protected G1 performer, always rattling off more wins than you might expect him to. If I were a more unscrupulous and petty individual, I might point out that tournament performance does often serve as a precursor to being selected for a push, but we’ll talk about a good example of this further down the document. Even still, when you look at EVIL’s past G1 performances it’s hard to write him off entirely, and I don’t think anyone should be surprised if he comes out of this tournament looking more dangerous than he did going in. The House may not always win, but the G1 does seem to swing in their favor more often than not.

Booking Strength and Final Match Situation 

  • T-12th in booking strength
  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – T-18th (28)
    • 2021 – 12th (20)
    • 2020 – 2nd (20)
    • 2019 – 10th (20)
    • 2018 – 8th (20)
    • 2017 – T8th (20)
    • 2016 – 11th (20)
  • Card Placement slate: 7-4-8-1-5-2
  • Final night opponent: Shingo Takagi

EVIL is being positioned pretty strongly relative to his block peers, and his final match of the G1 being against Shingo screams spoiler to me. I myself am not exactly in love with the idea of a KOPW Shingo EVIL feud, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it makes a lot of sense. There’s a good chance the winner of this match advances in the tournament, or at the very least, isn’t eliminated until later in the night. 

Chances to advance from block: 33%

Chances to win: .5%

What-to-Look-for Matches

EVIL vs. David Finlay: Night 6 (July 23)

EVIL vs. David Finlay is intriguing for very different reasons, and I actually don’t think the match will be all that compelling. The style fit is weird, and I think the more curious aspect will be whether or not the two opt to fight the match clean or if their factions get involved. More importantly, two BULLET CLUB sub-faction leaders having a main event match feels like the perfect setup for some tomfoolery to occur. This might be the most important storyline match of EVIL’s entire tournament, even if the in-ring may not be overly exciting. 

EVIL vs. Shingo Takagi: Night 18  (August 8)

EVIL vs. Shingo will almost certainly mean something on the final night of the block, and it’s probably fair to expect the winner of that match to advance into the finals. My personal pick is Shingo, but EVIL makes plenty of sense and given his past G1 performances it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he found a way to pull this one out. More importantly, given that Shingo is involved this match has the potential to be fantastic as Shingo is one of the best wrestlers in the world when wrestlers are feeding into him. 

Tama Tonga

  • 6th entry, 3rd consecutive year
  • Semi-Finals: 2022

Current Situation

Tama Tonga is booked with more care than most people would like to admit. He isn’t the most pushed member of the NJPW roster, but he only really loses to guys in the upper mid-card and main event these days. This year, his two big singles losses were to David Finlay, the new leader of BULLET CLUB and I’d have to think he’ll be looking to avenge one of those losses here. 

Past Performance: 

  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – 10 points (5-1), won B Block
    • 2021 – 6 points (3-6), 6th in B Block (4-way tie)
    • 2018 – 6 points (3-6), 7th in B Block (4-way tie)
    • 2017 – 8 points (4-5), T-5th in B Block (5-way tie)
    • 2016 – 8 points (4-5), T-6th in A Block  (4-way tie)

Until last year, Tama has been presented as a middle-of-the-pack G1 contender but he really seems to have found his footing lately, and last year he managed to make it to the semi-finals against Okada after scoring a huge upset against Jay White. I think this year, there should be an expectation of regression towards the mean, but Tama is beloved in Japan, and if he overperformed, it would hardly be a surprise. 

Booking Strength and Final Match Situation 

  • T-3rd in booking strength
  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – T-12th (28)
    • 2021 – 18th (20)
    • 2018 – 19th (20)
    • 2017 – 19th (20)
    • 2016 – 17th (20)
  • Card Placement slate: 7-8-2-7-7-6
  • Final night opponent: Aaron Henare

Tama is booked very strongly, and for those who watch the product and see the connection he has with the NJPW crowd this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The final match with Henare may seem odd if you don’t watch the backstage interviews, but Tama and Henare laid the groundwork for a feud during the New Japan Cup, and Henare is itching to get his win back. I believe Henare will be playing the role of spoiler, and I would expect that Tama will be in play to win the whole thing on the final night. 

Chances to advance from block: 35%

Chances to win: .5%

What-to-Look-for Matches

Tama Tonga vs. David Finlay: Night 8 – 2023-07-26

I would expect that Tama Tonga and David Finlay will be pulling out all the stops in a Korakuen Hall co-main event, and I would also expect that Tama will be getting his win back. It would feel odd for him to lose to Finlay 3 times straight in a calendar year, and Tama would serve as a reasonable NEVER Openweight title defense down the line at a Destruction show or a KOPW show. I think this match will probably help iron out the details for the rest of the tournament, and sets up my personal pick for spoiler match of the tournament.

Tama Tonga vs. Aaron Henare: Night 18 – 2023-08-08

I think Aaron Henare is going to ruin Tama Tonga’s chances to advance into the next round of the G1 by beating him on the final night. This may seem weird to some of you who aren’t paying attention, but Henare has knocked it out of the park every time he’s been put in a position to do so and the groundwork for a feud between the two has already been laid bare during the New Japan Cup. I believe this match could overperform both in the ring, and as far as anticipated importance towards the tournament’s ending. 

Shingo Takagi

  • 5th entry, 5th consecutive year

Current Situation

Shingo is a bit of an oddball. He’s never booked as strong as you might think, and yet he always feels like a top guy because his work is outstanding and prevents me from ever seeing him as lower down the card where he actually is. Realistically, Shingo is generously positioned as an upper midcard babyface and a strong gatekeeper to the top of the card. This year, he gave Henare the most substantial win of his career in the New Japan Cup and last year, he did the same for ELP in the G1.  I think in a block this thin, it would be safe to assume that New Japan could afford to rehab Shingo, but I could just as easily see him being there to push others. 

Past Performance

  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – 6 points (3-3), T-2nd in D Block (5-way tie)
    • 2021 – 13 points (6-2-1), 2nd in A Block
    • 2020 – 8 points (4-5), T-5th in A Block (4-way tie)
    • 2019 – 8 points (4-5), T-5th in B Block (6-way tie)

Shingo’s G1 performances have all been middle of the road sans one outlier in 2021. Last year he was eliminated on the final night by ELP, and he ended up tying for 2nd in the block with 5 other people. This year he will need to do better than that if he wants to advance, and he’ll need to have a performance more in line with the one he had in 2021 if he wants to advance into the quarterfinals. 

Booking Strength and Final Match Situation

  • T-5th in booking strength
  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – T-18th (28)
    • 2021 – 2nd (20)
    • 2020 – 8th (20)
    • 2019 – T-13th (20)
  • Card Placement slate: 5-6-6-3-7-8
  • Final night opponent: EVIL

Shingo is being booked very strong in a block that lacks true established main eventers, and I don’t think that should come as a surprise. On the final night, he will be in the co-main event vs EVIL and my personal opinion is that he will probably defeat him in order to advance to the next round of the tournament. Whether he comes in 1st or 2nd is somewhat immaterial, but I think it would be foolish to think that this match on night 18 won’t decide who goes forward. 

Chances to advance from block: 50%

Chances to win: 5%

What-to-Look-for Matches 

Shingo Takagi vs. Eddie Kingston: Night 2 (July 16)

Shingo vs Eddie Kingston being booked for their first night of the G1 isn’t an accident, these are two men who are going to relish the opportunity to work a stiff match and beat the piss out of each other. For most of the matches to look out for, there has been some story element involved that I’d tell you to look out for but I don’t see that in this match at all. I just see two big burly men who are going to relish the opportunity to kick G1 season off with a bang, even if they’ll both live to regret it down the line. 

Shingo Takagi vs. David Finlay: Night 12  (August 2)

Similarly to the Eddie Kingston match, I don’t have a story reason for the David Finlay match. These two are co-main eventing a G1 show as favorites to win their block, and this match might serve to answer a lot of the questions people have had about David Finlay’s in ring abilities. Personally, I think he answered all those questions loudly last year against Will Ospreay, but for those who quickly forget this will be a great opportunity to show what he can do. Personally, I think Shingo wins this match and sets up a NEVER title defense against Finlay, but the main measure of success for this match won’t be determined by who’s looking at the lights. This match feels like it needs to deliver, and I can’t think of anyone better for that role than Shingo Takagi. 

David Finlay

  • 2nd entry, 2nd consecutive year

Current Situation

Who could have foreseen a push for David Finlay in the year of our lord 2023? Oh wait, I did, and presciently wrote about it here on the award-winning Voices of Wrestling website. David Finlay has ushered in a new era of BULLET CLUB that I personally could not approve of more than I already do. They’re mean, they’re violent, they talk the talk and then they walk the walk and they piss off just the right niche of fly-by-night NJPW viewers. The same people who said Jay White was actually bad in 2019 and that Omega was actually bad in 2016 and that AJ was actually bad in 2014 are here to tell us that actually, those eras all ruled and this era is the one that will be actually bad. Make no mistake, David Finlay will not reach the booking highs of the three men mentioned above, but I believe he is already a better leader for the group than all but one of them. 

For the first time in years, BULLET CLUB feels like it has a direction and a cause, and Finlay sits in the leadership spot ready to take them to the next level. 

Past Performance

  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – 6 points (3-3), T-2nd in D Block (5-way tie)

Last year’s G1 Debut for Finlay was outstanding, he scored pinfalls over Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi, and while he finished the tournament at 3-3, he was only one win away from advancing. This year, I think it’s safe to assume that David Finlay, riding a wave of momentum, will do even better this year and finish at the top of his respective block. 

Booking Strength and Final Match Situation 

  • T-12th in booking strength
  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – T-15th (28)
  • Card Placement slate: 1-2-8-7-1-8
  • Final night opponent: Eddie Kingston

Finlay isn’t being positioned as strongly as some of his peers in this block, but that doesn’t really surprise me the way some might think it would. He hasn’t been tested as a main eventer yet, and this type of booking is pretty common for a guy at his level of push. Frankly, I think his card placement is actually a bit understated, given he has two openers to his name, one co-main event, and two main events. Depending on how you view the importance of the opening match, one might argue his overall push is a little understated. 

As for his final match situation, I think this match will largely determine who moves forward in this block. Personally, I think it is optimistic to assume that Eddie Kingston is still in one piece by this point in the tournament, and I’d have a hard time believing that he’d get one over on Finlay. Kingston may have sent Jay White packing to AEW mid card mediocrity, but I believe he’ll have met his match when he runs into David Finlay on the final night. 

Chances to advance from block:  90%

Chances to win: 10%

What-to-Look-for Matches

David Finlay vs. Shingo Takagi Night 12 (August 2)

David Finlay vs. Eddie Kingston Night 18  (August 8)

One of my first repeats on the list, I believe the Shingo and Kingston matches will both help determine what we’re going to get in-ring from a heel David Finlay. These matches are uniquely positioned to be in-ring showcases for Finlay, and overperforming in one or both of these matches could help him answer a lot of the questions that have been levied against him as a top-level guy in New Japan. Personally, I think these questions will be answered by the time the Kingston match rolls around, but if they haven’t been it’ll become that much more important on the final night. I would expect Finlay to bring his A game to the G1 this year, and these will be the matches where it’ll be showcased the most. 

Aaron Henare

  • 2nd entry, 2nd consecutive year

Current Situation

Aaron Henare is in a weird position, yet things do seem to be trending up for him. He isn’t what I would call pushed, but he knocked his first singles title challenge out of the park this year against Shingo after scoring the biggest career victory against him in the New Japan Cup. Henare is the definition of a lower mid-card act, but maybe he could solidify himself somewhere above that through a strong performance in this G1.

Past Performance

  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – 2 points (1-5), 7th in C Block

Last year, Henare got his first and only victory in the G1 over Hiroshi Tanahashi. Had that been his one victory a few years ago, I would say that was meaningful, but getting a win over this version of Hiroshi Tanahashi doesn’t amount to much. I think it’s safe to say a repeat of the same performance for Henare in this G1 would be a bit of a disappointment for him, and I’d look for him to at least be a little more competitive this time around. 

Booking Strength and Final Match Situation

  • T-25th in booking strength
  • Prior Years: 
    • 2022 – T-24th (28)
  • Card Placement slate: 3-6-4-1-1-4
  • Final night opponent: Tama Tonga

Henare is positioned precisely how one would think he’d be positioned. He hasn’t done much to be placed higher on the card than he is currently, but I still think he’ll receive plenty of opportunities to shine given the block he’s in. His final match of the tournament is going to be against Tama Tonga, and while I don’t think this gives him any chance of advancing in the tournament, I do think there’s a pretty good chance he upsets Tama Tonga and prevents him from advancing. I’ve mentioned my reason for thinking this in Tama’s profile, but this would be one of the more meaningful wins of Henare’s career if he could manage to pull it off. 

Chances to advance from block: .5%

Chances to win: 0%

What-to-Look-for Matches 

Aaron Henare vs. Shingo Takagi: Night 4 (July 19)

I’ve already talked about the Tama Tonga match, and I would expect that to be a real glimpse into where exactly they see Henare going forward.  The Shingo trilogy match is a lot more interesting to me, the first match was excellent and the 2nd one was a legitimately great match that defied any reasonable expectations. I don’t necessarily see Henare winning the third match in the trilogy, but if he could manage to turn in a great performance it could do a lot to raise his stock in the eyes of the fans. 

Aaron Henare vs. Tama Tonga : Night 18 (August 8)

Mikey Nicholls

  • Debut entry

Current Situation

It’s Mad Mikey Nicholls, man. What do you want from me? Mikey Nichols is a perfectly good worker who will have a bunch of solid matches, but he hasn’t exactly been positioned in a way that will make anyone outside of his immediate family excited to watch him. I’m sure he’s a wonderful person and someone cares for him deeply, and I hope he gives them a satisfactory performance here. 

Booking Strength and Final Match Situation 

  • T-30th in booking strength
  • Card Placement slate: 3-2-2-3-3-2
  • Final night opponent: Tomohiro Ishii

He and Ishii will play rock paper scissors on the final night to determine who wins what will be a perfectly perfunctory 11-minute opener to go 2-5. 

Chances to advance from block: 0%

Chances to win: Less than 0%

What-to-Look-for Matches

None of these matches have any real importance, but I would bet Mikey will have his best performances with Shingo and Ishii. Hot takes, here, I know. 

Mikey Nicholls vs. Shingo Takagi: Night 8 (July 26)

Mikey Nicholls vs. Tomohiro Ishii: Night 18 (August 8) 

Eddie Kingston

  • Debut entry

Current Situation

Eddie Kingston is an odd guy to rate for a G1. In AEW, he isn’t really pushed as a winning singles wrestler, in fact I couldn’t tell you his last major singles victory he notched within the promotion. On the bright side, NJPW has no problem giving AEW mid-carders big singles pushes and for once, I’m actually thankful for that, as I find Eddie Kingston to be a more than welcome breath of fresh air. In a block of gritty brawlers, Eddie Kingston I believe will be right at home and will have the vast majority of his flaws as a wrestler covered up, and his strengths will be accentuated. Make no mistake, Eddie Kingston is more than willing to go toe to toe with the Ishii’s of the world and have a stiff brawl that leaves you wincing on your couch, and that’s exactly the type of energy I’m looking for in my wrestling in 2023. 

Booking Strength and Final Match Situation

  • T-12th in booking strength
  • Card Placement slate: 5-4-4-5-3-6
  • Final night opponent: David Finlay

With all of that being said, I would be lying if I said I expect Eddie Kingston to advance. The story on the final night is too perfect, Eddie Kingston, the guy that vanquished the last BC leader Jay White is going to be defeated by David Finlay in a match to decide who advances to the quarter-finals. Eddie will do his damnedest to put Finlay down just like he did vs. Jay White, but Finlay will come out on top and establish himself in his role, and what happens from then on is gravy. I hate to speak about this with such confidence, but this feels as telegraphed as any match in the tournament. David Finlay is hitting Eddie Kingston with some move that sounds like it should be in a Dark Souls game, and he’s river dancing over his body. 

Chances to advance from block: 10%

Chances to win: 0%

What-to-Look-for Matches

Eddie Kingston vs. David Finlay: Night 18  (August 8)

Eddie Kingston vs. Shingo Takagi Night 2 (July 16)

I have already touched on both of these matches, and I’m not going to bother repeating myself on either one. Shingo and Eddie Kingston on the first night of their respective G1 blocks are going to destroy each other in a way that’s going to make people question whether or not Eddie can make it through the tournament, and the Finlay match is going to be a clear test for Heel Finlay against a babyface that can’t help but be cheered. These matches both have very high ceilings, and yet the odd magic of an Eddie Kingston match is the belief that they could also fall apart and become an awkward spectacle at any time. If Eddie Kingston makes it to David Finlay healthy on the final night, it could be something very special. 

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