It’s been a busy month, and this blog as fallen behind unfortunately. I’m in the middle of a move, and in the middle of getting married, and am woefully behind on my professional wrestling. And holy crap, with the upcoming wrestling in the month of July and August, I may just have to say farewell to everything I missed in June, because there is so much upcoming stuff that I want to watch.
We have, in no particular order, Ultima Lucha Dos, The Cruiserweight Classic, The Super J Cup, and the G1 Climax. We have the chaos of whatever is going to happen with the WWE Draft, Battleground and Summerslam. Last night Brock Lesnar won his fight at UFC 200, and is fighting Randy Orton at Summerslam. Roman Reigns has been suspended, but is still, by all appearances, being kept as a babyface in spite of all logic.
So let’s briefly look at two of the big tournaments coming up. The WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic looks phenomenal. If you haven’t watched the Bracketology special (on the award winning WWE Network), go watch it now. It did such a great job of setting up the tournament. Once again, the NXT people continue to do things in a simple but smart manner. The WWE proper could really stand to take a few notes.
My final four are Gran Metalik (Mascara Dorada), Zack Sabre Jr, Johnny Gargano, and Kota Ibushi. They are making a big deal about “diversity” in this tournament, and this way you have four different nations represented in the final four. And they are really emphasizing the difference in styles. These four would give us Metalik vs ZSJ, lucha libre vs technical submissions, and Ibushi vs Gargano, two guys who merge many styles together. It should be a great tournament, and I have high hopes for the presentation.
Then we have the G1 coming. I was going to do a longer post on this, and still might, but time keeps slipping away. In order to predict the G1, we have to look at WrestleKingdom, since the winner gets a title shot at New Japan’s biggest show of the year. The only match that can headline their biggest show is Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito. Since Okada is the champ right now, it would make perfect sense for Naito to win, and indeed he is the strong favorite going in. But it’s such an obvious outcome that I wonder. Okada has vowed to win the G1 as champion, and doing so would be a big testament to his power in New Japan. We also have Hiroshi Tanahashi coming back from his injury, and don’t sleep on Katsuyori Shibata. Shibata just finished a great feud with the New Japan dad’s, and left it with the respect of the fans and roster. Picking Shibata is something of a yearly joke with some fans, but this time he actually has a chance.
It all comes down to the last night of A block. Tanahashi vs Okada, a continuation of their famous rivalry, will almost certainly determine the winner of the block. If Naito is winning the G1, he would have to face Tanahashi in the finals. He has fought Okada twice this year already, and would do so again at WrestleKingdom, so I really can’t see them using that for the finals as well. Plus, a decisive win over Tanahashi, the Ace of New Japan, would be huge for Naito’s budding superstardom. That would mean Tanahashi would beat Okada in their match though, which would mean we might still get more Okada/Tanahashi matches. They have excellent matches, but it’s really time for New Japan to move on. A decisive win for Okada would put this feud to rest for good. Okada could face Shibata in the finals, or even someone else like Kenny Omega.
It’s circular booking, and I’m not sure what they are going to do. With New Japan, betting on the safe, predictable option is usually smart. They don’t take a lot of risks, and the safe option here is Naito beating Tanahashi in the finals. In any case, it’s going to be a really busy month, both in the wrestling ring, and out.