In the biggest month of wrestling in the Summer, one of the definite highlights of the year is coming to a close. New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax is wrapping up its 26th year this weekend in Sumo Hall in what has been a somewhat predictable run of the blocks. However starting tomorrow morning, the predictability might change as we see a number of Finals scenarios that can happen. While the overall quality of the G1 hasn’t been as superb as the last three years, this year might be one of the most intriguing.
First things thing, let’s go over the Friday A-Block decider show and their standings at this moment:
- Kazuchika Okada (10 points)
- Naomichi Marufuji (10 points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi (10 points)
- Bad Luck Fale (10 points)
- Hirooki Goto (10 points)
- Togi Makabe (8 points)
- Tomohiro Ishii (6 points)
- Tama Tonga (6 points)
- SANADA (6 points)
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4 points)
The Friday Sumo Hall show will feature the storied rivalry of the decade in Tanahashi vs. Okada main eventing in what could be the deciding winner of the block barring a few stipulations. Okada has lost to Marufuji in the opening night and Bad Luck Fale this past Monday. In order to secure a spot in the Finals, not only he must win his match with Tanahashi, but hope for a Fale loss against Tonga and a Marufuji loss to Goto. Fale and Tanahashi have the two strongest chances respectively, with Fale getting in with a win and a Tanahashi loss.
Hence why it’s very clear that Tanahashi is going to repeat as a block winner into the Finals since the story is already there. Tanahashi’s 2016 hasn’t been the best success wise, losing to Okada at the Tokyo Dome and then suffering a number of injuries that took him out for months. With his health and age starting to catch up to him, this year’s G1 looks to be the one for Tanahashi to be the clear ace one more time. He started out losing his first three matches but proceeded to bounce back in a big way, including two back-to-back incredible matches with Tomohiro Ishii and Naomichi Marufuji. Anticipation for his match with Okada is at an all-time high, considering that they had the best match this year so far at the Tokyo Dome for Wrestle Kingdom 10.
In Gedo-land, 50/50 booking is done only when it matters and this would captivate the Tanahashi comeback narrative with a big win over his rival as he holds the ultimate tie-break over all in the block. As IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Okada being in the final wouldn’t make sense at this point as the winner normally challenges the champion at Wrestle Kingdom. Get ready to watch Okada staring at those lights tomorrow…unless we get a draw.
So again A-Block Scenarios:
- Hiroshi Tanahashi (via win vs. Okada)
- Bad Luck Fale (via win vs. Tonga and Tanahashi loss and Goto loss)
- Kazuchika Okada (via win vs. Tanahashi AND Fale loss AND Marufuji loss)
- Naomichi Marufuji (via win vs. Goto AND Fale loss AND Okada loss)
- Hirooki Goto (via win vs. Marufuji AND Tanahashi/Okada draw)
- SANADA (Eliminated)
- Togi Makabe (Eliminated)
- Tomohiro Ishii (Eliminated)
- Tama Tonga (Eliminated)
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan (Eliminated)
Now onto the B Block, to which many believe didn’t have the star power of the A Block, but the quality of workers were just as equal and more unpredictable in match layout. A new underdog star was born in YOSHI-HASHI, showing a great amount of determination and pulling a number of upsets along the way. Katsuhiko Nakajima is showing and proving from outside of NOAH obscurity to becoming a possible challenger for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Toru Yano continues to provide short, yet entertaining matches that are pivotal spoilers and finally Katsuyori Shibata is within arms’ length of the Finals.
Here are the B Block Standings:
- Tetsuya Naito (12 points)
- Kenny Omega (10 points)
- Michael Elgin (10 points)
- Katsuyori Shibata (10 points)
- Katsuhiko Nakajima (8 points)
- Toru Yano (8 points)
- EVIL (6 points)
- YOSHI-HASHI (6 points)
- Yuji Nagata (6 points)
- Tomoaki Honma (4 points)
Tetsuya Naito has been the favorite of B Block from the very beginning, recently losing the IWGP Championship to Okada at Dominion two months ago. He’s closed out most of the shows with long, good matches with his best against Michael Elgin at Korakuen Hall. Perennial stable rival Kenny Omega’s run has also been impressive, winning matches against Nakajima, Nagata, Honma, and EVIL, but loss crucial matches to Elgin and Shibata. On Saturday, Naito and Omega square off in a battle of Los Ingobernables de Japon vs. Bullet Club for potential block supremacy.
All Naito has to do is win or draw against Omega to secure a spot in the Finals. For Omega, he will need help in the form of an Elgin loss and Shibata loss along with a victory against the former champ. Michael Elgin on the other hand has been on a tear since defeating Shibata a week and a half back on Day 6. He hopes to make a huge comeback into the Finals with a 6-3 record beating Nakajima on Saturday while banking on a Naito loss. The real dark horse in Shibata holds the tiebreak against both Naito and Omega, but need for Naito to lose in order to get in with a win of his own.
Everything is shaping up to be a repeat of the 2013 final with Tanahashi vs. Naito, which could be the best match to do as Tanahashi is desperately looking cling to the title of ace while Naito has revenge on his mind. Not only does he want the IWGP Title back, but he wants to do it as the main event of the Tokyo Dome defeating Okada in the process.
B Block Scenarios:
- Tetsuya Natio (via win vs. Omega)
- Kenny Omega (via win vs. Naito AND Elgin loss AND Shibata loss)
- Michael Elgin (via win vs. Nakajima AND Naito loss)
- Katsuyori Shibata (via win vs. EVIL AND Naito loss AND Elgin loss)
- Katsuhiko Nakajima (Eliminated)
- EVIL (Eliminated)
- Yuji Nagata (Eliminated)
- YOSHI-HASHI (Eliminated)
- Tomoaki Honma (Eliminated)
- Toru Yano (Eliminated)
The scenarios can be confusing at times, but the next few days will have everything sorted out for the big Final on Sunday. Will New Japan stick with the go-to Final or throw a curveball just to be different?