Tha Sports Junkies 101

New Japan’s G1 Tournament Offers Opportunity

G1 Climax via Wikimedia Commons


The Tournament Breakdown

New Japan is set to kick off their annual spectacular the G1 Climax Tournament. For those unaware, the G1 Climax Tournament is the premier wrestling tournament of the year. Twenty of the world’s best wrestlers will be broken into two blocks. The tournament showcases each talent in block A facing off in a round robin style matchups. Block B does the same with each block assigning points based on wins, losses, and draws. The top point earner in each Block advances to a Final Match going head to head with the opposing Block Winner.

The Talent

This year’s tournament showcases some of the best talent from around the world. Block A features New Japan superstars including Bad Luck Fale,  Kota Ibushi, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Togi Makabe, Yuji Nagata, Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshi-Hashi, and the legendary Hiroshi Tanahashi. Block B features Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson, EVIL, Sanada, Satoshi Kojima, Minoru Suzuki, Tama Tonga, Toru Yano, Kenny Omega, and the current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada.

Limitless Opportunities

With this plethora of talent, New Japan finds themselves with an opportunity to produce some of the most amazing and action packed matches in wrestling history. Coming off of the energy of New Japan’s Dominion event on June 11, the stage is set for some monumental rematches. In Block A, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito will face off in a Dominion rematch. At Dominion, Tanahashi walked away with Naito’s IWGP Intercontinental Title.

Likewise, in Block B, the rubber match that the entire wrestling world waits for will take place on August 12th.  To close out the round robin matches as Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada meet yet again. Coming off their 60 minute draw at Dominion, could they put on an instant classic once again? Curiously absent from the tournament is new Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Champion Cody Rhodes. He faces Kazuchika Okada Saturday night, July 1st for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.

Potential Spoiler

With Cody challenging for the IWGP World Championship Saturday and his absence at the G1 Climax Tournament, speculation is high that Cody may be winning the championship from Okada in Long Beach, California. The winner of the G1 Climax Tournament earns the opportunity to challenge for any NJPW championship they choose but it has traditionally been used to garner a world championship opportunity. With Okada wrestling in the round robin tournament phase as the IWGP Champion, it offers little incentive for him as he is already the title holder. However, if Cody were to win the title at the New Japan G1 Special in the US, a tournament win could lead to a rematch at Wrestle Kingdom for Okada.

Big Opportunity for a Big Surprise

Projecting a winner can be a daunting task. However, smart wrestling marks see a huge opportunity. Should Cody be successful this Saturday night and earn the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship and Kenny Omega win his second G1 Climax Tournament, could we see a match between fellow Bullet Club Members at New Japan’s biggest show of the year? Would New Japan allow two Gaijin or Non-Japanese talents headline Wrestle Kingdom? It would easily be a huge draw. It would also draw in the American audience they covet and who they are targeting with their North American Expansion. In the mean time, the G1 Climax is sure to be action packed and full of amazing matches.


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