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 Flamboyant” Juice Robinson may come across like the fictional love child of Prince and Britney Spears, but that’s part of why he has gained a significant following among New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) fans. Juice made his G1 Climax debut in 2017, after working his way up from Young Lion status to a full-time roster member.
Since February 2017 Juice has earned four singles championship matches, which nearly mirrors Sting‘s rise to stardom in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). While being unsuccessful each time, Juice has impressed with his ‘fighting spirit’ and limitless heart. The show, championship, and champion:
New Beginning In Sapporo (Feb. 2017), Never Openweight Championship, Hirooki Goto [14:41]
Wrestling Toyonokuni (April 2017), IWGP Intercontinental Championship, Tetsuya Naito [26:42]
Destruction In Kobe (Sep. 2017), IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, Kenny Omega [32:55]
Road To Wrestling Dontaku (April 2018), Never Openweight Championship, Hirooki Goto [26:36]
On July 7th at the G1 Special in San Francisco, Juice Robinson has another opportunity to capture the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship when he challenges Jay White. A championship victory in the United States could catapult Robinson to an impressive G1 showing.
Another excellent post match interview by Juice Robinson who is not a doctor and does not have Twitter. pic.twitter.com/7z6bz3nMb7
— JJ Williams (@JJWilliamsWON) June 18, 2018
Last year, Juice scored the biggest victory of his career when he pinned Kenny Omega [15:36], which lead to him receiving his first opportunity at the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. This year, Juice’s journey in the G1 will be the biggest under the radar storyline throughout the tournament. He is on the cusp of breaking out and becoming one of the pillars of NJPW; a strong G1 could see him fulfill his potential earlier than anyone expected.
Below is a list of Juice’s G1 opponents, the date he wrestles them, and his G1 record against them:
Tama Tonga, July 15th, 0-1
Kota Ibushi, July 19th, 0-0
Tetsuya Naito, July 21st, 0-0
Kenny Omega, July 26th, 1-0
Toru Yano, July 28th, 1-0
Sanada, August 1st, 0-1
Zack Sabre Jr., August 4th, 0-0
Tomohiro Ishii, August 8th, 0-0
Hirooki Goto, August 11th, 0-0
His encounters with Tama Tonga, Sanada, and Zack Sabre Jr. (ZSJ) are matches to watch. Each is close to stepping up to the next level, especially ZSJ who went through a tumultuous path to win the New Japan Cup earlier in the year. Of note, ZSJ defeated Robinson on day one of the G1 Special last year in the first round of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship tournament [10:04].
Juice’s July 26th match against Omega will be intriguing after Robinson was able to upset the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion last year. Juice was able to compile the following record at last year’s G1, his first entry into the tournament:
4 Total Wins
5 Total Losses
44.4 Winning Percentage
While Juice is far from the favorite to win the ‘B Block’ and reach the finals he could very well be the breakout star of the tournament this year. It would not be surprising to see Juice finish with eight (four wins) or ten (five wins) when block action comes to an end.
Do not be surprised if Juice does pick up a victory over one of the ‘B Block’ favorites whether that be Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, or IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega. This could be the G1 where Juice takes a leap forward and puts himself into position to become an NJPW headliner.