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.
The newly dubbed ‘King’ Minoru Suzuki is currently on a tear since losing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Tetsuya Naito in April at Wrestling Hinokuni. While holding one-half of the RevPro Undisputed British Tag Team Championship with Suzuki-Gun stablemate Zack Sabre Jr. (ZSJ), Suzuki also became the RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion earlier this month at Strong Style Evolved UK, when he defeated rival Tomohiro Ishii.
Combined with his IWGP Intercontinental Championship victory over Hiroshi Tanahashi at The New Beginning in Sapporo this January, and it’s understandable why Suzuki is one of the favorites to win the ‘A Block.’
Suzuki is 0-4 in G1 competition against Toru Yano, therefore, the trickster being in the ‘B Block’ also plays to Minoru’s advantage. Losses to Yano cost Suzuki G1 finals appearances in both 2012 and 2013.
One of Suzuki’s biggest G1 victories came in 2005 when defeated that years winner Masahiro Chono [17:50], in what would be Chono’s record-setting fifth G1 trophy. The freelancer Suzuki has previously been a G1 entry in 2004-2005, 2011-2014, and 2017. Below is a list of Suzuki’s G1 opponents, the date he wrestles them, and his G1 record against them:
Hiroshi Tanahashi, July 14th, 0-1
Togi Makabe, July 16th, 1-0
Yoshi-Hashi, July 20th, 0-0
Jay White, July 22nd, 0-0
Michael Elgin, July 27th, 0-1
Evil, July 30th, 0-1
Kazuchika Okada, August 2nd, 0-1-1
Hangman Page, August 5th, 0-0
Bad Luck Fale, August 10th, 0-0
His opening match on July 14th against Hiroshi Tanahashi is a key match. If he is to join Yuji Nagata as a winner of the G1, Champion Carnival (AJPW), and the Global League (NOAH) – he’s going to have to defeat Tanahashi for the second time this year. Suzuki won the Champion Carnival in 2009 and 2010 prior to winning the Global League in 2016.
His July 22nd match against Jay White will have interesting psychology as the cerebral Jay White has never faced someone with the sadistic nature of Suzuki. Finally, Suzuki’s August 2nd match against Kazuchika Okada could determine the fate of both warriors in ‘A Block’ bracket competition.
Suzuki has the following impressive G1 record:
30 Total Wins
24 Total Losses
3 Total Draws
52.6 Winning Percentage
Suzuki has had a decorated career being an All Asia Tag Team Champion (AJPW), Never Openweight Champion, GHC Tag Team Champion (NOAH), IWGP Tag Team Champion, World Tag Team Champion (AJPW), IWGP Intercontinental Champion, GHC Heavyweight Champion (NOAH), and 2x Triple Crown Champion (AJPW).
He also won the 2011 G1 Tag League (now known as the World Tag League) with Suzuki-Gun mate Lance Archer. Adding the G1 trophy and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship would cement Minoru Suzuki as a future Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame member if he hasn’t already secured that honor.
The 50-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down and is prime to prove that he is, Ichiban.