The annual round-robin tournament will kick-off in the United States for the first time on July 6. With the winner going on to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Title at the Tokyo Dome, the stakes are higher than at any other time in NJPW’s calendar year.
Hoping to get ahead of the visa issues that plagued them for The New Beginning In USA tour, NJPW has officially announced a handful of huge names for the G1 Climax 29 in Dallas. With the US government shutdown causing issues for New Japan talent at the start of the year, the company is hoping to produce a true NJPW show with the stars fans have come to expect to see.
Many fans were upset with the number of wrestlers unable to make it for The New Beginning including a planned Tomohiro Ishii/Yuji Nagata match which wound up happening in the first round of the New Japan Cup instead.
With the G1 Climax and its considerable weight as a storyline device to build toward Wrestle Kingdom on January 4, being able to secure names for the event is more important than ever. While most fans would assume everybody involved in the tournament will be at the show, New Japan is closing the door on questions by announcing names months in advance.
The tweet announcing the talent notes that “tournament entrants will be announced at a later date”, but the four men who headlined the G1 Supercard in Madison Square Garden are more than likely to compete in the tournament.
With ticket sales not doing as well as the company would have liked, New Japan is looking to get behind the promotional machine for the event to boost interest and profits. Many have been critical of their method of waiting to announce shows until the last minute.
While relying on the faithful fan base in Japan works to fill arenas, the same isn’t necessarily the case for fans in the US who may not be as familiar with the product and are looking to give the company a shot.
Last year’s winner, Hiroshi Tanahashi, may be questionable for the tournament as he is currently nursing an elbow injury aggravated by his battle with Zack Sabre Jr at G1 Supercard. Whether or not Tanahashi makes it to the G1 kickoff in Dallas, or the G1 as a whole, remains to be seen.
The G1 Climax is a weeks-long tournament pitting wrestlers against one another in two round-robin brackets with the winners of each bracket going on to face one another for a chance to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom.