WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)
NJPW has announced the participants in the G1 Climax 29 for the A and B blocks. The blocks for G1 Climax 29 are as follows:
- Kazuchika Okada
- Zack Sabre Jr.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi
- Kota Ibushi
- Bad Luck Fale
- Lance Archer
- Will Ospreay
- Tetsuya Naito
- Tomohiro Ishii
- Juice Robinson
- Toru Yano
- Hirooki Goto
- Jay White
- Jeff Cobb
- Shingo Takagi
- Jon Moxley
Radican’s Analysis: There are a lot of fresh faces in each block. Cobb, Takagi, Taichi, KENTA, Ospreay, and Archer are all new faces in the tournament this year. The A block is loaded with the most star power, which is interesting given that Jon Molxey was placed in the B block. Placing Moxley in the B block keeps him away from marquee matches against Okada, Tanahashi, and Ibushi. Leaving those matches on the table for Moxley is a great booking maneuver from Gedo.
Although the A block is loaded, there are plenty of great wrestlers in the B block. Watching Taichi and Yano matches every time the B block is up during the tournament isn’t the most exciting reveal from NJPW, but the thought of seeing Moxley take on Naito, Ishii, White, Cobb, and Takagi should make for some really exciting matches during the tournament.
The most notable absences from the tournament are Minoru Suzuki, Mikey Nicholls, and Tama Tonga. Suzuki is turning his exclusion from the tournament into an angle, so that will be something to keep an eye on during the undercard during G1 this year.
I really like the A block. Fale is really the only wrestler in the block that doesn’t consistently deliver exciting matches. Tanahashi, Ibushi, and Okada are a strong top 3 in the block, but the rest of the field should make for some very competitive matches with the likes of Sabre, KENTA, Ospreay, EVIL, and SANADA all beating each other up to earn points. This block is going to be a war and I suspect a lot of the wrestlers will hover around the .500 mark in terms of wins and losses.
-The block matches for the entire G1 Climax tournament have been announced by NJPW. Most notably, the lineup for the first night in Dallas, Texas has been announced and it will feature the following A block matches: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi vs. KENTA, Will Ospreay vs. Lance Archer, EVIL vs. Bad Luck Fale, and SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr. There will also be four undercard matches as well, but those haven’t been announced by NJPW yet. The show will air in the U.S. as a live exclusive on AXS TV. It is unknown whether or not Jon Moxley will appear on the card as of yet.
Radican’s Analysis: This is a very good card for the first night of A block action, especially with longtime rivals turned friends Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi wrestling for the first time in the U.S. Moxley not being in a block match on this card will limit his drawing power for NJPW, as they look to increase ticket sales to the show in Dallas.
It’s likely if Molxey appears on the show, it will be in an undercard tag match, which won’t move ticket sales as much as a singles match in the tournament would have.
-The entire lineup of A block and B block matches have been announced by NJPW. The schedule for Block matches is as follows:
July 6 (A Block, Dallas, Texas)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
- Kota Ibushi vs. KENTA
- SANADA vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- EVIL vs. Bad Luck Fale
- Will Ospreay vs. Lance Archer
July 13 (B Block, Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo)
- Jon Moxley vs. Taichi
- Jay White vs. Hirooki Goto
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jeff Cobb
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano
- Shingo Takagi vs. Juice Robinson
July 14 (A Block, Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA
- Bad Luck Fale vs. Lance Archer
- Kota Ibushi vs. EVIL
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Will Ospreay vs. SANADA
July 15 (B Block, Sapporo)
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Taichi
- Jon Moxley vs. Jeff Cobb
- Jay White vs. Tomohiro Ishii
- Hirooki Goto vs. Juice Robinson
- Shingo Takagi vs. Toru Yano
July 18 (A Block, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo)
- Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay
- EVIL vs. SANADA
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale
- KENTA vs. Lance Archer
July 19 (B Block, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo)
- Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii
- Shingo Takagi vs. Taichi
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Hirooki Goto
- Jay White vs. Toru Yano
- Juice Robinson vs. Jeff Cobb
July 20 (A Block, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
- KENTA vs. EVIL
- Kota Ibushi vs. SANADA
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Lance Archer
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Bad Luck Fale
July 24 (B Block, Hiroshima)
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii
- Jon Moxley vs. Shingo Takagi
- Jay White vs. Jeff Cobb
- Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi
- Juice Robinson vs. Toru Yano
July 27 (A Block, Nagoya)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. KENTA
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. EVIL
- Will Ospreay vs. Bad Luck Fale
- Kota Ibushi vs. Lance Archer
July 28 (B Block, Nagoya)
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Jon Moxley
- Hirooki Goto vs. Toru Yano
- Jay White vs. Shingo Takagi
- Jeff Cobb vs. Taichi
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Juice Robinson
July 30 (A Block, Takamatsu)
- KENTA vs. SANADA
- Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. EVIL
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Lance Archer
- Kota Ibushi vs. Bad Luck Fale
August 1 (B Block, Fukuoka)
- Jay White vs. Taichi
- Jon Moxley vs. Toru Yano
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Juice Robinson
- Shingo Takagi vs. Jeff Cobb
August 3 (A Block, Osaka)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi
- Will Ospreay vs. EVIL
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Lance Archer
- KENTA vs. Bad Luck Fale
August 4 (B Block, Osaka)
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Shingo Takagi
- Jon Moxley vs. Jay White
- Hirooki Goto vs. Jeff Cobb
- Juice Robinson vs. Taichi
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano
August 7 (A Block, Hamamatsu)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL
- Will Ospreay vs. KENTA
- Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale
- SANADA vs. Lance Archer
August 8 (B Block, Yokohama)
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Shingo Takagi
- Toru Yano vs. Taichi
- Jay White vs. Juice Robinson
- Jon Moxley vs. Hirooki Goto
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Jeff Cobb
August 10 (A Block, Budokan Hall, Tokyo)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Will Ospreay
- SANADA vs. Bad Luck Fale
- EVIL vs. Lance Archer
- KENTA vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
August 11 (B Block, Budokan Hall, Tokyo)
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White
- Jon Moxley vs. Juice Robinson
- Jeff Cobb vs. Toru Yano
- Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Taichi
August 12 (Budokan Hall, Tokyo)
- A Block winner vs. B Block winner in the G1 finals
Radican’s Analysis: It looks like the tournament could come down to Okada and Ibushi in the A block and Naito and White in the B block looking at the top matches on the last two nights of block action on Aug. 10 and Aug. 11 at Budokan Hall in Tokyo. Usually the top matches on each night determine who goes to the finals, but there have been exceptions in the past with someone not in the main events of the final night of block action for each block getting into the finals by virtue of the main event results.
Outside of the top names in the tournament, I’m most interested in following Jeff Cobb and Jon Moxley’s big matches. Jeff Cobb vs. Tomohiro Ishii on July 13 is a dream match for many people familiar with both men. Moxley and Cobb match up with each other in block action on July 15, which will likely be the only time you’ll see these two face off anywhere given Cobb being signed by ROH and Moxley being signed by AEW. A sleeper match for the entire tournament could be Jeff Cobb vs. Shingo Takagi, which will open block action on Aug. 1. That should be an incredible war in the ring between two heavy hitters.
The matches I’m looking forward to most for Moxley outside of his match with Cobb begins with his main event match against Tomohiro Ishii on July 19. Moxley’s other big match in the block is a main event match against Tetsuya Naito on July 28.
Overall, there’s a lot to look forward to in this tournament with so many fresh matches announced. I highly suggest getting a subscription to NJPW for less than $10 with the conversion rate per month to watch the entire tournament.