NJPW, "G1 CLIMAX DAY 1", 2015/07/20
Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Centre
.1. Yuji Nagata, Jushin 'Thunder' Liger, Tiger Mask & Yohei Komatsu vs Tomoaki Honma, Mascara Dorada, Jay White & David Finlay
A nice run-out for the young lions on the opening night of the tour, with the exception of Sho Tanaka who is participating in NOAH's Global Jr. Heavyweight League (It's Sho Time!). Nagata finds himself in the opening match again, which has been something of a sore point for Yuji this year and something he'll be looking to change with his performances in his G1 matches.
.2. Hirooki Goto & Captain New Japan vs Yujiro Takahashi & Cody Hall
Poor Captain New Japan. Left out of the G1 and here he's likely to get lariated out of his boots by Cody Hall or dropped on his head by Yujiro Takahashi.
.3. Shinsuke Nakamura & YOSHI-HASHI vs Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga
Nakamura & YOSHI's a fairly irregular CHAOS pairing in 2 vs 2 tag matches, so that's something. You could argue that YOSHI & Tonga deserved a spot in the tournament this year and I'd expect the bulk of the work to be on the both of them in this match, I'm a fan of both guys and am looking forward to this.
.4. Satoshi Kojima, Michael Elgin & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo
The first New Japan outing for Michael Elgin, this one should be worth a watch for that alone, but this looks like it could be a fun six-man tag regardless. Elgin & Kojima face off on day 4 of the tournament, so it'll be interesting to see how they cooperate as tag partners here.
.5. G1 Climax - Block A: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Doc Gallows
Not the most auspicious of matches to kick of the 25th G1 Climax Tournament, but one from two men who will both be looking to improve on their performances last year.
.6. G1 Climax - Block A: Togi Makabe vs Toru Yano
I can't see this match going on very long. Either Yano steals a win (as he did last year, defeating Makabe in under 3 minutes via typically nefarious means), or he gets battered by Makabe. 'The Unchained Gorilla' of NJPW will likely be out for revenge after being embarrassed in 2014.
.7. G1 Climax - Block A: Tetsuya Naito vs Bad Luck Fale
Naito's 1/3 in singles competition against Bad Luck Fale and the big man of The Bullet Club is undoubtedly a tough opponent to overcome, but Naito's done it before and can do it again. Fale shouldn't be taken lightly, however, as with a strong performance in last year's tournament, this year he'll be looking to go all the way. Naito, meanwhile, has found a new swagger in Mexico and it'll be interesting to see how this new breed of Naito will handle the tournament this year.
.8. G1 Climax - Block A: Katsuyori Shibata vs AJ Styles
One of the most anticipated matches of the tournament, a real modern dream match between two huge fan favourites. Styles & Shibata have barely shared the ring together before, let alone wrestled in singles competition, so this will be a hugely compelling match between two wrestlers with vastly different styles. But while Shibata is something of a submission specialist, AJ Styles is a proficient amateur wrestler in his own right and won't present much of a weakness for Shibata to exploit in that regard. Regardless of the outcome, I've little doubt that this could prove to be one of the matches of the tournament.
.9. G1 Climax - Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
Another huge match here for the first main event of the 25th G1 Climax Tournament. This is also another first-time singles match and one hugely anticipated by New Japan fans, ever since Ibushi made the switch to the heavyweight division. Tanahashi & Ibushi both have something in common: they both shine brightly on the biggest of stages and, to set the tone for the tournament to come, my money's on Ibushi & Tanahashi putting on one hell of a show.