My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A look at the 2005 G-1 CLIMAX

Looking at this year’s G-1 CLIMAX, which kicks off this Thursday, it’s really an intriguing set of matches they have going for it this year. The addition of Toshiaki Kawada even caught my interest as much as Jun Akiyama did in 2003 when he took part. I just might actually get this year’s show just for Kawada alone.

But anyway, here are some predictions from myself on what I’m expecting to go down this year. I might be right or wrong though, since anything can usually happen in these tournaments.

Block A (big name veterans theme)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan (11th participation; 2003 and 2004 winner)

- Expect to see the former 4-time IWGP champion lose a lot more this year compared to his past two tournaments. The time to start phasing him out of the title picture like Nagata after he lost the IWGP title is now. Even if he wins the G-1 now, so what? It’s not like New Japan will do anything good for him after. But who knows.

Masahiro Chono (15th participation: 1991, 1992, 1994, 2002 winner)
- Will beat everyone EXCEPT Kawada, which will go to a DRAW. Trust me on this. Also wouldn’t surprise me if KaShin & MiSuzuki GAVE him a free pin since he’s the Black New Japan team leader.

Tatsumi Fujinami (8th participation: 1993 winner)
- The guy the fans will be rooting for big time, even if he doesn’t stand a chance in hell of winning it. I’m guessing he’ll score points over Nishimura, MiSuzuki & KaShin. And I hope Kawada doesn’t stiff the old guy too much either or it’s going to be a short comeback for him.

Yuji Nagata (7th participation: 2001 winner)
- Will probably beat everyone in his block except Chono and Kawada.

Osamu Nishimura (7th participation)
- The only win he’ll probably pick up is a big upset over Kawada, and he’ll job to everyone else.

Toshiaki Kawada (1st participation)
- THE man to watch in the tournament as no doubt every match he’ll be apart of will be good to great. Kawada will easily get to the semi-finals and will probably be one point behind Chono due to the afore predicted time limit draw the two will have. On the other hand, I could also see Kawada losing a match or two by count out to keep him out of the semis and protect a big selling Fujita/Kawada match down the line.
For the love of God I hope Kawada will be the man to finally rip MiSuzuki’s tongue out or kick his teeth in cause I’ve been really disappointed with Kobashi, Akiyama & Misawa when they faced MiSuzuki in the past.

Minoru Suzuki (2nd participation; GHC Tag Team Champion)
- The man who’ll probably put me to sleep if I watch the G-1 this year. He’s always very protected in tag matches, so now should be the time to see him get beaten up, which of course won’t happen. I hope Kawada gives him the big right hand when Suzuki is smiling and sticking his tongue out so that it shuts him up good.

Kendo Kashin (1st participation)
- The good news is, like MiSuzuki, he’ll have no tag partners to hide behind, and will lose some matches. The bad news is, it’s KaShin, so I wouldn’t be surprised he if didn’t lose directly, but by count out or so. His match with Suzuki could be interesting though.

Block B (young generation & "high wall to cross" theme)
Shinsuke Nakamura (3rd participation; IWGP Tag Team Champion)

- The only man next to Kawada that I have solid support for to win whole damn thing, and also the guy who probably does have the best chance of doing it. He’s not as flashy as Hiroshi Tanahashi, but he does have all the right tools to get the job done.

Hiroshi Tanahashi (4th participation; IWGP Tag Team Champion, IWGP U-30 Openweight Champion)
- He’s had some good showings in previous G-1s, but this year look for him to be toned down a bit and lose a few matches to keep the standings interesting. He won’t win it, but he’ll still have his U-30 title belt to flash in the faces of anyone who cares.

Yutaka Yoshie (5th participation)
- He’s got at least 2 points in the bag for this one, but I’m not really sure how well he’ll really do as he’s one of the guys NJPW doesn’t seem to know what to do with. When you think he’s getting a push, he instead gets pushed back down the line. Win or lose, it’ll be fun to follow the Fat Man of New Japan.

Tatsutoshi Goto (3rd participation)
- One word: WHY?!?!? You’ve got Josh Barnett who was kicked out of Block A and replaced by Kawada to help put asses in 3,000 seater arenas with the excuse that Barnett hasn’t fully recovered, but Barnett says he’s good and ready to go. Blue Wolf can’t participate due to a legit injury and instead of bringing back Barnett, they bring in old Goto??? The only reason I could gather that they would not put Barnett in Block B is to protect a potential big selling Fujita/Barnett match. Yeah, and feed everyone else to Kawada in Block A for a cheap ticket sales boost (which isn’t working btw). They need to do something with Barnett soon, or else everyone would have forgotten who he is by the time he does get used.

Kazuyuki Fujita (1st participation; IWGP Heavyweight Champion)
- The IWGP champion is so confident in total victory that he claims he’s not even going to train to prepare for the tournament. Wow, doesn’t that send a message of how far below him everyone is when he beats them all within 10-minutes each and didn’t even have to train for it.

Manabu Nakanishi (9th participation; 1999 winner)
- The last time I saw Nakanishi in the G-1 (2003) he was just a total mess. He was sluggish and just didn’t sell properly for everyone. He’s going to be the senior guy the youngsters like Nakamura & Tanahashi beat to advance onward and get big pops from the crowd while doing it.

Togi Makabe (2nd participation)
- A good showing last year by this underated talent. The man needs to find a proper finisher cause the lariat and German suplex are overused enough as it is by almost everyone else in the business. This guy could easily be on the same level as Nakanishi if given the chance which he so rightly deserves.

Toru Yano (1st participation)
- DQs galore headed our way with this guy. But maybe not now that he’s getting serious. Not sure what more to say cause I’ve found him to be rather boring in the past and whether or not his new image will equal wins against anyone in his bracket remains to be seen. His sole win of the block could come from Goto.



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