Jon Moxley has made a major impact in such a short space of time since leaving WWE. He made a surprise appearance at the end of AEW’s first official show, signed with the company, came over to New Japan, put on one of the best matches of his career, won the IWGP United States Championship, and entered himself into one of the most historic tournaments in the world. But why is this such a big deal?
Since Moxley was announced for his first match in New Japan, the traffic for my Beginner’s Guide to New Japan and guide for using their streaming service have both exploded. Clearly Moxley has brought along a wave of new fans to NJPW curious to see what a post-WWE Dean Ambrose is like, so for everyone signing up to NJPW World just to see more of Moxley, or for those who will be experiencing their first G1 this summer, and still aren’t totally familiar with everyone on the New Japan roster, this is a guide to help you out.
After I’ve explained what the G1 is, the importance of Moxley’s entrance into it, and how you can watch all of the matches, I’ll examine each of Moxley’s confirmed opponents for the tournament. I will explain their style, important information on that wrestler, what you can expect from their match with Moxley, when each match is taking place, and also recommend a match that you can watch on NJPW World. With that being said, let’s take an In-Depth Look at Every Jon Moxley G1 Climax Match.
What is the G1?
- The G1 Climax is an annual round-robin tournament for heavyweight wrestlers in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
- Entrants in the tournament are split into two blocks: each wrestler must face every other member of their block in a singles match during the tournament.
- Two points are awarded for a victory, one point for a draw, zero for a loss.
- At the end of the tournament, the wrestler with the most points in each block will face off in the finals to determine the overall winner.
- If two or more men finish with the same amount of points, the winner will be determined by who won when they faced each other during the tournament (e.g. wrestler A and wrestler B both finish with 16 points, but wrestler A beat wrestler B in their match, so wrestler A wins the block).
- If their match ended in a draw, the winner will be determined by a coin toss, which has happened in the past.
- The winner of the G1 goes on to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at New Japan’s biggest show, Wrestle Kingdom.
- This year’s G1 starts on the 6th of July.
Why is it a Big Deal?
- G1 Climax is known for hosting some of the best matches of the year, every year. For most New Japan fans, it’s the most important time of the year thanks to how regularly they get to see five-star matches.
- It’s an opportunity for NJPW’s heavyweight division to show off just how good they are against some of their top peers.
- With matches taking place several times a week, it’s very easy to make a big impression in such a short space of time.
- Moxley will be facing nine opponents during this year’s G1 (he’s in the B Block) – with him being such a big name worldwide, and a fresh foe for the rest of his block to work with, it’s likely that they will each try to have the best match possible with Mox to get some of that worldwide spotlight on them, so expect several brilliant matches for the former WWE Champion in this one.
- If anyone manages to pick up a victory on Moxley during the tournament, they will then be eligible to get an opportunity for his IWGP United States Championship, most likely during the Destruction shows in September.
- I will be posting a guide to this year’s G1 in the coming weeks with more info on the history of the tournament, as well as the dates and times for every show.
How to Watch
- The only way to watch all of these G1 Climax matches is through the company’s streaming service – NJPW World. – CLICK HERE FOR MY GUIDE ON USING AND GETTING THE MOST OUT OF NJPW WORLD
- NJPW World can be accessed through an official app on Amazon Fire Sticks, as well as through on the Xbox One browser, laptops, phones and tablets with Chromecast support.
- Do not use the iOS/Android app. Just use your browser if watching on your phone or tablet.
- Every show will have English commentary available.
- Not only does it work out at slightly cheaper than WWE Network every month, it offers regular live shows, as well as access to previous events from decades past, matches from select indie promotions such as Ring of Honor and RevPro, and exclusive documentaries that follow the lives of both their Japanese and English speaking roster members.
- Please note that there is no free trial period available, so you will need to purchase the service in order to watch.
- Regardless of when you sign up, the billing date for NJPW World is the first day of every month for every user (so you could be charged 2 days in a row if you signed up on the last day of a month) – IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON SIGNING UP, DO IT AS CLOSE TO THE BEGINNING OF THE MONTH AS POSSIBLE.
- This year’s G1 Climax starts on July 6th, so unless you wants to spend a couple of weeks catching up on past New Japan matches, the best time to sign up is July 1st or after.
- Once you cancel your subscription (if you decide to), you immediately cannot use your account, even if you have weeks left until your next billing date – IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON CANCELLING, DO IT AS CLOSE TO THE END OF THE MONTH AS POSSIBLE.
- Live shows are available to watch in full usually within thirty minutes after they’ve been broadcast.
With each of Moxley’s opponents, I’ve given a run down of their style and what to expect from their match. I’ve also included a match recommendation that will give you the best idea of what they are like – included is a link to the match on NJPW World. Each match has English commentary.
Juice Robinson – August 11th
Out of the nine men Moxley will face in the G1, Juice Robinson is the only one to have ever stepped in the ring with him before, and he’s the only one who knows him on such a personal level.
Formerly known as CJ Parker and Dean Ambrose respectively, Juice and Moxley have known each other for eight years, dating back to their days in FCW, the predecessor to NXT. As noted by Juice in one of his spectacular promos, Moxley was like a mentor to him: he would invite him out for beers and give him advice on his character and ring work as he was much more experienced.
Fast-forward to 2019, a mysterious video targeting Juice Robinson began to air during every New Japan show showing a man sat at a bar wielding a knife. For weeks, the identity of the challenger went unknown despite much speculation, repeatedly telling Juice that his “Time’s Up”. Finally, not long after his appearance at Double or Nothing, the man sat at the bar was revealed to be Jon Moxley to much excitement.
By this point, the video had gotten into Juice’s head, feeling angry and disrespected by the constant targeting, the weeks of mystery, and the fact that Moxley was planning to make his New Japan debut at Juice’s expense, and take his IWGP United States Championship in the process. When his first post-WWE match came, Juice and Moxley ripped each other apart in one of the most violent melees seen in NJPW this year.
Brawling all over ringside, Moxley brought out a viciousness never seen in Juice before, forcing him to bust out moves not usually in his repertoire, and take risks never before considered, such as a dive from the top of the entrance structure. As much as Juice managed to push Mox to the limit, his brutal efforts proved to be ineffective as the result ended with a Moxley win and a brand new champion, taking away Juice’s pride and his most prized possession along with it.
Post-match saw Juice bust out an extremely passionate backstage promo, clearly beaten and devastated by his loss. Well, it’s not going to be long before he gets another shot at the former WWE Champion. Given that this is the only match-up we’ve actually seen before, we’ve got an idea of what Juice vs. Moxley will be like: an extremely entertaining street fight that will most likely break a few rules, and maybe even break a few bones as well.
Due to how gruelling the G1 is, it’s wise to keep a match from escalating too much in order to keep your body as fresh as possible for the rest of your matches, yet emotions may completely cloud over those reservations for Juice, so Moxley better expect his opponent’s best and most savage efforts in their G1 encounter. This will be the last match of block competition for both men: how much left will they both have in tank? Will Moxley being in the final come down to a victory in this bout?
Of all of his tournament meetings, this will be the most typical of Moxley’s style – expect fist-fights in the crowd, leaping off structures, blood, guts, maybe even a table or two. If you want to know what to expect from an uncaged, post-WWE Jon Moxley during the G1, this is your best bet.
Jeff Cobb – July 15th
In terms of sheer size and strength, the handsome suplexing machine that is Jeff Cobb will be the biggest test for Moxley during his entire G1 experience. The former Olympic wrestler, ROH Television Champion, NEVER Openweight Champion, Lucha Underground Champion, and current PWG Champion uses his vast array of impressive suplexes, transitions and throws to overcome the majority of his opponents. Plus, Cobb isn’t all brawn, he can hit some amazing displays of athleticism that rival moves seen in the junior heavyweight division.
Considering Jeff Cobb can catch men in mid-air like they’re children, throw them around like a pillow, and then hit a standing moonsault on them for good measure, Moxley is going to have to bring the fire directly to Cobb, turning it into an anarchic street fight rather than a pro wrestling match. By keeping the match to strikes and out of the ring action, it will give Cobb less opportunity to employ counter throws and set up big power moves. However Moxley decides to approach this clash though, it should be a delight to watch nonetheless.
Toru Yano – August 1st
If there’s anybody who’s got a chance of getting a sneaky victory over the IWGP United States Champion, it’s the ridiculous yet crafty Toru Yano. Known for his cowardly and comedic style in the ring, Yano may not get much real offence in on his foes, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting some major upset victories in past G1 tournaments.
Thanks to his underhanded tactics, ability to catch his foes off-guard with a roll-up, and mastering of the low blow, the dirty yet lovable Yano has picked up G1 wins over Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Minoru Suzuki and more. Don’t expect a five-star technical masterpiece in this one, but the combination of Yano being terrified of the ultra violent, chaotic, hardcore brawler that is Moxley, and Jon trying to work out the eccentric, comical style of Toru Yano will be an absolute delight to watch.
On paper, it’s a complete mismatch of styles, yet many fans are looking forward to this Moxley match the most during the G1 purely for the comic potential. Will Mox bring the violence for a three count, or will Yano cheat his way to victory? I can’t wait to find out.
Jay White – August 4th
Brace yourselves, we’re in for a knife fight.
‘Switchblade’ Jay White is a young sensation in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Claiming the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in early 2019 at the age of 26, it didn’t take long for the Bullet Club leader to make a major impact in NJPW. With the backing of his mentor Gedo, and his lightning quick ability to turn a match around in his favour, White has gotten victories over the biggest stars in the company, including Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada, making him a serious challenge for Moxley during the G1.
Given Moxley’s debut hype video centred around him etching his logo into a bar counter with a knife, it’s going to be a battle of the knife wielders in this fight. For White, this will be a new challenge, a new top star to learn from with a different style to the Japanese world champions he’s used to facing, and it will also be an opportunity to pick up a major victory that will have his name spoken around the world.
In the Moxley vs. White match, you can expect Moxley to better Switchblade when it comes to traditional brawling and wrestling, but at any moment, White can turn it around thanks to his dirty strategies, or one of his Bullet Club buddies at ringside causing a distraction. Plus, Moxley needs to watch out for Blade Runner, White’s deadly finisher which is known to come from out of nowhere, and can easily be set-up from a variety of different counters and transitions.
If this one ends in a loss for Moxley, it won’t be as a result of a chain of major moves or a hard-fought effort from White, it will be from a spilt-second opportunity taken by Switchblade, and the match will end in the blink of an eye. If he picks up the win however, it will mean Moxley has bested the leader of Bullet Club and is the king of the knife perverts.
Taichi – July 13th
Taichi is a very divisive character amongst New Japan fans. Competing as a junior heavyweight up until last year, this will be Taichi’s first ever G1: some are happy about this, others aren’t.
Taichi’s style is mostly to win as cheaply and as easily as possible. Very few can really bring out the fight in Taichi, he much prefers to pick up victories thanks to underhanded methods. If Moxley can bring out the other side of Taichi, the side which hits hard and doesn’t back down, we could be in for a pretty decent brawl, otherwise, expect shenanigans, interference from his Suzuki-Gun stablemates, weapons, and maybe even a huge shock victory. Oh, and at some point in the match he will rip his trousers off. Just go with it.
Shingo Takagi – July 24th
Recently, Shingo Takagi was considered a junior heavyweight in New Japan, hard to believe given how he’s an absolute unit. Well, his demands for more heavyweight competition were met when he was added to this year’s G1 Climax.
After putting on a string of epic matches during Best of the Super Juniors in May and June, including a tournament finale which may just be the best match of 2019 so far, expectations are high for Shingo in the G1. What many fans won’t realise is that Moxley and Shingo do have some history together. They were members of a relatively short-lived faction in Dragon Gate USA called KAMIKAZE USA. However, despite being in the same stable, they never actually had a match with or against each other, so this will be their first ever official meeting inside a ring.
Much like with Jeff Cobb, Moxley will have to overcome a series of power moves in this match, except he will also have to deal with Shingo’s lightning speed, willingness to take big risks, and his devastating lariat known as the Pumping Bomber.
Right now, Shingo Takagi is on a hot streak that very few in pro wrestling can match, while Moxley is riding a wave of creative freedom and newly infused excitement following his WWE departure that we saw with Juice Robinson can result in a brilliant contest. If Shingo and Moxley can align their chemistry right, and are both willing to bring a high level of punishment to the other, we could be looking at Moxley’s best match of the G1 Climax.
Tetsuya Naito – July 28th
Cocky, disrespectful, highly skilled, and tranquilo – that’s Tetsuya Naito. The leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon is one of the best in New Japan, a superb athlete capable of incredible, and some times extremely dangerous, matches, but he’s not exactly a welcoming presence in the ring. Naito employs the idea of being tranquilo: staying relaxed at all times. He shows his opponents little respect, and often mocks them by casually laying down in the ring, spitting in their face, or rolling out of the ring several times to avoid facing them.
Given that Moxley is a brand new foreign presence in New Japan, one that has used his WWE success to immediately become a champion and earn a spot in the G1 after just two matches, Naito is not going to be happy about that whatsoever. Naito had to work hard for a long time to get the spot he’s at. He tried to be a fan favourite for years but was met with a disappointing response. When he won the G1 Climax in 2013, his victory was received so poorly that fans voted for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship match to main event Wrestle Kingdom, rather than the heavyweight title bout Naito had earned thanks to his tournament victory.
Since his change in attitude, Naito has become arguably the most popular wrestler amongst Japanese fans despite his complete lack of respect towards any of his opponents. With Moxley entering at such a high level so quickly, expect Naito to show no good will towards him when they clash in the G1. Naito will taunt Moxley, he will literally spit at him, he will avoid all attempts to turn this into the fight Moxley wants it to be, which will only enrage the former WWE Champion even more. Expect a slow first five or ten minutes as Naito dictates the pace, before an explosion of rage from both men ends the match in a chaotic, vicious, and entertaining affair.
Hirooki Goto – August 8th
When he wants to, Hirooki Goto can bring out one hell of a match. So far, Goto’s 2019 has been rather uneventful, but a brilliant match with one of the world’s most talked about wrestlers right now would definitely up his stocks once again in the company, so expect Goto to bring the fight.
Goto is a strong style master, a reliable and often overlooked member of the New Japan roster. He will bring the fight right to you, hit you with big strikes, explode with fire when required to, and toss you straight onto his knee for his Ushigoroshi. Goto has some stunning, innovative yet seriously painful moves that can capture him a victory at any time, so with him wanting to make the most of this opportunity, look for Goto to bust out some of his best work against Moxley.
Tomohiro Ishii – July 19th
Personally, this is the one I’m most looking forward to. For New Japan fans, Tomohiro Ishii is a gift during the G1 Climax. Despite being known as a fantastic wrestler anyway, Ishii seems to just step it up a gear during the annual summer tournament. Something about the G1 seems to invigorate him with extra fire to bust out several five-star classics. With his hard-hitting style, barrage of stiff strikes, and knack for absorbing inhuman levels of punishment, Ishii should be a fantastic fit for Moxley.
You’re not going to get any underhanded tactics, backing down or flashy moves in this one, just a straight up fight between two extremely tough men with too much pride to show any weakness the other. This won’t be a quick flurry of a match that ends in a one move counter, this will push the thirty minute time limit with the two men scrapping until the very end, exchanging blows and blood along the way.
With Ishii vs. Moxley, you should expect them to stand toe-to-toe and beat the absolute crap out of each other for as long as they can possibly stand it. Punches, forearms, lariats, headbutts, and a few signature moves – that’s about as diverse as this match will get, but for my money, it’s probably going to be the most exciting of them all. Seriously, whatever you do, don’t miss this clash between two of New Japan’s toughest champions.
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