G1 Special in San Francisco predictions
This weekend, the G1 special at the Cow Palace marks the return of New Japan Pro Wrestling in the USA. This is the 3rd show they’ve ever done in the states and the 2nd this year. The card is STACKED this weekend with nearly every title being defended and a slew of fun tag team matches. Here’s how I think it will all go down.
1st match: Chaos (Sho, Yoh, Rocky Romero, Gedo, Yoshi-Hashi) vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, King Haku)
Bullet club wins. They’re in the USA and are arguably the most popular wrestling faction in the world right now. Next.
2nd match: Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii vs Zack Sabre Jr. and Minoru Suzuki
This is surprisingly one of my most anticipated matches of the entire night. Yano’s stooge-like antics are always so damn hilarious. Whether it’s a silly low blow, running to the corner to untie the padding and use it as a weapon, or hiding in the ropes and yelling “BREAK! BREAK! BREAK! BREAK!” Sabre, I’m admittedly not too much a fan of, so I really hope Yano can get some good offense in on him.
Ishii and Suzuki are like 2 rabid dogs that can’t help but destroy everything in their wake when they see each other. Every time they fight, they end up hitting each other so hard it echoes throughout the entire arena. I still am waiting for a singles match where these two inevitably kill each other, but Hell if I’d say no to any reason for them both to be in the same ring.
Last time NJPW came to California, Sabre and Suzuki got the win against Okada and Ishii, so I’m going to go with Yano and Ishii.
3rd match: KUSHIDA and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Marty Scurll and Hangman Page
I expect this to be a really exciting bout. KUSHIDA and Scurll have put on some really good showings together, and Hangman and the Ace will no doubt impress as well.
I think KUSHIDA and Tana will take this one.
4th match: Hiroki Goto vs Jeff Cobb, Never Openweight Championship
This match is interesting due to the back and forth of the Neverweight title. Goto lost it to Mike Elgin at Dominion and won it back almost immediately. Now we have Jeff Cobb getting an opportunity almost out of the blue. Fans have wanted Cobb to have more of a presence in NJPW for a while now, and this will be great exposure for him against a veteran like Goto.
While I don’t think Cobb will walk out the new champ, they’ll definitely want him to look good in his first match. Goto will retain.
5th match: Young Bucks vs SANADA and EVIL, IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
As much as I love LIJ, The Bucks have just gotten started as heavyweights. They’re the greatest tag team in the world and California natives. They’re not losing those titles so soon, especially so close to home.
6th match: Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada vs BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito
Ospreay and Okada were the kings of their divisions in New Japan not too long ago. Both have been on a losing streak ever since losing their titles. They need to find their groove, but they won’t here. Naito and BUSHI will have their hands raised.
7th match: Hiromu Takahashi vs Dragon Lee, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
This is my most anticipated match of the show. Every time these two meet, it’s magic. They hit hard and fast and show more explosiveness than any other paired up in the ring. Most probably won’t expect this, but I think it’ll be the best match of the night. Hiromu has worked so hard for that title, and he won’t be letting it go yet.
8th match: Jay White vs Juice Robinson, IWGP US Heavyweight Championship
Jay White has been the IWGP US Champion since New Beginning in Sapporo in January. And since then, he’s not done a whole lot with it. He had a decent match against Hangman Page in March at the Long Beach show, a match defending on a peculiar David Finlay, and a match against Punishment Martinez at ROH/NJPW War of the Worlds. Not a huge resume there.
Now we have Juice stepping up to the plate. I’ve wanted to see Juice Robinson go for the US title for some time now. He’s such a natural babyface, and he’s made leaps and bounds these past few years to get better. He just needed a good spotlight for it. This is his moment. Juice Robinson will be our new IWGP US Heavyweight champion.
9th match: Kenny Omega vs Cody, IWGP Heavyweight Champion
Kenny and Cody have had many twists and turns this past year in their feud to be the rightful alpha at the head of Bullet Club. It’s winner take all here, title and faction, as the all-time fan favorite Kenny Omega takes on the most dastardly villain in wrestling today, Cody. Having pinned Kenny in April, Cody thinks he has a serious shot at winning Japan’s top prize, Kenny’s new baby, the IWGP Heavyweight title.
Kenny worked himself into the best shape of his life to win that title, but Cody always has tricks up his sleeve. It’s interesting to note that a year ago at the first G1 shows in California, Cody was up against Okada for a chance to steal the belt. Now Cody has his second chance against the one that dethroned the best Japan had to offer.
As clever as Cody is, he doesn’t stand a chance at winning. He’ll come close, but he won’t win. Kenny will remain champion.
The G1 special in San Francisco starts tomorrow at 5 PST and 8 EST. Check out a short preview below.
Braden Jackson – @Dembrae
Image provided by NJPWorld.com