The G1 Climax has taken off in recent years to hold the title of wrestling’s greatest tournament.
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual tournament has featured dozens of wrestlers since its inception in 1991, some of which you may not know or remember.
The tournament has seen many rule and format changes over the years. Recent tournaments have been held under a round-robin format with two blocks of wrestlers.
The wrestler who finished with the most points in each block would compete against one another to win the tournament.
Past tournaments have been held under single-elimination rules, round robins with one block and four blocks, and other formats as well.
There have been 29 G1 Climax tournaments to date. Historians will be quick to point out that the precursors to the G1 featured many former WWF stars.
Everyone from Andre the Giant to Adrian Adonis to Hulk Hogan competed in the World League, International Wrestling Grand Prix, and Madison Square Garden League.
However, for the sake of uniformity, we will only be including wrestlers who competed in the G1 Climax. So without further adieu, here are 15 WWE and AEW wrestlers you did not know competed in the G1.
15. Andrade El Idolo (2011)
Before Andrade was made his way to WWE and later AEW, he was one of CMLL’s biggest stars.
CMLL and New Japan Pro Wrestling have a long-standing working relationship and thus Andrade was invited to compete in the 2011 G1 Climax.
Then known as La Sombra, Andrade only managed to pick up four points in his lone G1 appearance.
His two wins came against Wataru Inoue and Strong Man, leading to him finishing tied with those two for last place.
14. Bam Bam Bigelow (G1 Climax 1991-92)
Bam Bam Bigelow competed in two G1 Climaxes in his career, first in 1991 and again in 1992. While he saw great success in the WWF over the years, he failed to make much of an impact in his G1 appearances.
He went 1-3 in 1991, defeating only Riki Choshu. This resulted in him finishing behind Masahiro Chono and Shinya Hashimoto in his block.
The next year the tournament was held under single-elimination rules. He was eliminated in the first round by Scott Norton.
13. MVP (2012)
Some may remember MVP’s run in New Japan Pro Wrestling following his departure from WWE in 2010.
A fun piece of trivia is that MVP was the inaugural IWGP Intercontinental Champion, before Shinsuke Nakamura became synonymous with the title.
During his run with New Japan, MVP only competed in two G1 tournaments. His first coming in 2011 where he had a very strong 12 points.
He finished just shy of Nakamura’s 14 point total but followed up his performance with an eight point showing the following year.
12. Arn Anderson (1992)
The enforcer of the Four Horsemen is not known for his work in Japan by any means. This makes his participation in the 1992 G1 Climax that much more of a piece of trivia.
The ’92 tournament determined who would win the vacant NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship.
Thus, the tournament featured far more American stars than in other years. Arn Anderson was eliminated in the first round.
11. Terry Taylor (1992)
He is best known for his run as the all-time horrible gimmick The Red Rooster, Terry Taylor also competed in the 1992 G1 Climax tournament.
Taylor was given a first round bye due to his opponent, Hiroshi Hase, suffering a shoulder injury prior to their match.
He advanced to the quarter-finals where he was defeated by Kensuke Sasaki. Taylor went on to work for WCW as well as WWE as a trainer and producer.