Inside G128 is an in-depth look at the 20 participants of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s 2018 version of the G1 Climax tournament. The G1 is considered to be the most prestigious tournament in wrestling. Every individual in the field has their own unique story, as they prepare to make their claim as the best endurance wrestler in the world.
Even before forming the Firing Squad faction of the Bullet Club at the G1 Special Show in San Francisco, Tama Tonga and SANADA were the most likely breakout performers of the 2018 G1 Climax. Since from his CMLL excursion in 2013, the Bullet Club OG has made his mark in the tag team division. Tama has been a 3x IWGP Tag Team Champions with his brother Tanga Loa as the Guerrillas of Destiny (G.O.D), along with being a 2x NEVER Openweight 6-Man Champion. Of note, Tama was also a 2x CMLL World Tag Team Champion during his stay with the company.
While Tama has yet to make his mark in singles competition, his potential to be a headliner is absolutely undeniable. While his biggest solo victory to date came in the 2016 version of the G1 when he defeated Bullet Club stablemate and former IWGP Intercontinental Champion Bad Luck Fale [8:39]. His G1 victories against Sanada (2) and Tomohiro Ishii are also of note.
While Fale has been silent since the formation of the Firing Squad, leaving his potential allegiance with either Bullet Club branch a lingering question as the G1 approaches. Tama has been in the G1 the past two years below is a list of Tama’s G1 opponents, the date he wrestles them, and his G1 record against them:
Juice Robinson, July 15th, 1-0
Sanada, July 19th, 2-0
Kenny Omega, July 21st, 0-1
Tetsuya Naito, July 26th, 0-0
Zack Sabre Jr., July 28th, 0-0
Tomohiro Ishii, August 1st, 1-0
Hirooki Goto, August 4th, 0-0
Kota Ibushi, August 8th, 0-0
Toru Yano, August 11th, 0-1
Tama’s opening match against new IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson will be one to watch, especially with Juice continuing to have issues with his hand. Tama should be seen as the favorite going into what should be a spirited contest.
His second match against Sanada could determine which of the two is poised to overshadow the other by the time ‘B Block’ bracket competition comes to a close. However, there is no bigger match for Tama than his July 21st contest against IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kenny Omega.
Omega defeated Tonga in the G1 last year [11:42]; Tama was game but didn’t appear to be prepared to compete against a focused Omega. After spending some time away from the ring and weaving the foundation for the Firing Squad, could he possibly defeat the current ace of the Golden Elite faction of the Bullet Club?
His match on August 8th against Kota Ibushi already has a lot of intrigue after the Firing Squad beatdown of Omega and the rest of Bullet Club (besides Taiji Ishimori, Fale, and Ibushi); however, by the time of the match, there will be even further plots surrounding the encounter.
Tama’s record from his two G1 entries is as follows:
8 Total Wins
10 Total Losses
44.4 Winning Percentage
Tama decided to shoot his shot in time for the G1 Climax, it’s now in his hands to back it up and show that he can indeed reach his potential. The pressure will be on him to perform, but he wouldn’t have put himself in this position without a plan.