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.
Toru Yano, or ‘The Sublime Master Thief’ as Kevin Kelly calls him, is one of the most popular New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) roster members on the international stage. While he’s been known more for his tag team wrestling throughout his career, being a 3x NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion, 2x GHC Tag Team Champion, and 3x IWGP Tag Team Champion, he has often been a spoiler in G1 competition.
Yano’s trademark antics often frustrate and annoy his opponents, allowing him to pick up numerous victories throughout his career. While Yano relies on trickery, he shouldn’t be taken lightly.
While it would take a miracle for Yano to win the difficult ‘B Block’, he’s definitely going to cost someone a finals appearance by using his wit to obtain a sneaky and surprising upset.
Below is a list of Yano’s G1 opponents, the date he wrestles them, and his G1 record against them:
Tomohiro Ishii, July 15th, 0-0
Zack Sabre Jr., July 19th, 0-0
Kota Ibushi, July 21st, 1-1
Hirooki Goto, July 26th, 1-1
Juice Robinson, July 28th, 0-1
Tetsuya Naito, August 1st, 2-4
Sanada, August 4th, 0-1
Kenny Omega, August 8th, 0-2
Tama Tonga, August 11th, 1-0
Yano’s first G1 match is interesting as he takes on his ‘Stone Thieves’ tag team partner and Chaos stablemate, Tomohiro Ishii. Will Ishii beat his partner into a pulp? His match against Tetsuya Naito on August 1st is a major upset alert as Naito can be complacent at times, which could lead him to take Yano lightly.
His matches against Kenny Omega and Tama Tonga could also weigh heavily into the final ‘B Block’ standings, as Yano is more than capable of stealing a victory against either Bullet Club opponent.
Yano has been a G1 entry every year since 2007 (was also in the 2005 field) and has compiled the following record:
41 Total Wins
50 Total Losses
2 Total Draws
44.1 Winning Percentage
Yano’s overall record in the G1 shows that he should be taken seriously, even though he’s unlikely to finish in the upper half of the rankings. In 2010, Yano was actually one victory away from advancing to the finals. He may not have that much success in 2018, but he is going to make things extremely interesting.
He may even sell a DVD or two while he’s at it.