Come one, come all, to one of the most must-see events of the NJPW calendar: the G1 Climax. The 29th incarnation of this annual tournament kicks off on Saturday, and this year’s line-up is cause for excitement.
We’ve got KENTA, formerly known as WWE’s Hideo Itami, in his first NJPW appearance for over a decade. We’ve got Jon Moxley, aka Dean Ambrose, whose departure from WWE has given him a new lease of life.
Junior Heavyweights Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi make the jump to the heavyweight tournament after a gruelling Best of the Super Juniors. And keep your eye on Kota Ibushi, whose long-awaited commitment to New Japan may well see him emerge from the tournament triumphant.
The G1 Climax has historically been the home of some of the most thrilling matches New Japan has to offer.
With the likes of Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi and of course Toru Yano forming the backbone of two very strong brackets, we’re in for some truly exciting matches – some of which we’ll be seeing for the very first time. Let’s take a look at this year’s competitors, and scout out some of the must-see clashes in the coming weeks.
The G1 Climax is a Round Robin tournament that features 20 wrestlers from all around the world, and features two blocks. The winner of each block goes on to the finals of the tournament, where the winner gets a contract for a title match at Wrestle Kingdom. If a current champion wins, they can choose their own challenger.
Usually, the winner challenges the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, but before they get there, they have to defend the title 3 times. The champion has never won since the contract rule was introduced.
Parts written by Josiah will be marked with (J) and parts written by Laura will be marked with (L). We hope you enjoy this introduction to the G1 and jump on board with NJPW! You can subscribe to NJPW World here.