When it comes to New Japan Pro Wrestling, it is known for some of the best matches in history. In particular, the annual G1 Climax tournaments have provided fans with Match of the Year contenders.
Alongside the big matches, fans also love to see wrestlers reach the 30-minute time limit in a war of attrition.
Yet, the tournament has seen the complete opposite. With New Japan, sometimes quantity doesn’t always mean quality and many shorter matches have caught the attention of fans.
Here is a look at the six shortest matches in G1 Climax history.
7. TAJIRI vs. Takao Omori – 2009 Day 7 – 1 minute 5 seconds
When it came to the G1 Climax, New Japan brought some of the best and most diverse talent from Japan. The match between veterans TAJIRI and Takao Omori in the 2009 G1 was no different.
Both men went into their match on four points and there was a lot to gain.
The match itself lasted just over one minute and with two seasoned athletes, fans expected a lot.
Yet, after some basic offence, the match was ended via disqualification after TAJIRI used his green mist and was caught. In the end, Omori won, but not in the way he would like.
Although fans expected TAJIRI to use his mist for the win, many fans expected it to go a lot longer.
Although sometimes fans love a quick match, this seemed to be an exception as fans wanted to see a proper bout between two veterans. It is proof that these kinds of matches don’t always work.
6. Toru Yano vs. Kota Ibushi – 2015 Day 15 – 50 seconds
When it comes to Kota Ibushi, his matches are quick, full of action, but usually intense.
Yet, when he faced Toru Yano in the 2015 G1 Climax, there was no denying it would be very different from his other bouts.
As expected, Yano came into the match hoping for a quick finish and easy one and that’s exactly what he got.
As soon as the bell rang, Yano went to take off a turnbuckle while Ibushi ran towards his opponent for a quick start.
Yet, uncharacteristically, after Yano failed to remove it, Ibushi finished the task and Yano fell victim to his own tactics.
At first, it seemed like Ibushi had momentum even after a failed initial roll-up from Ibushi and twisting moonsault.
Yet, Yano managed to distract Red Shoes Unno and hit a low blow to eventually get a roll-up victory.
Although fans have come to love Yano’s tactics during this match, this was when Ibushi was the firm fan favourite.
Despite this, fans in the crowd loved this short match and it was definitely a shock to Ibushi. It was this match that helped to cement Yano’s legacy of quick G1 matches.
5. Yutaka Yoshie vs. Kensuke Sasaki – 2002 Day 3 – 41 seconds
Although recent years have seen Yano set several records with short G1 Climax matches, this seemed to be the norm in the early 2000s.
In 2002, it saw two of the shortest matches in the tournament’s history and the first came from Yutaka Yoshie and Kensuke Sasaki in their block A match.
In their match, the duo battled for only 41 seconds, which wasn’t as rare as many expected back then.
Kensuke Sasaki got the win in the end, and it was enough to keep him in the upper portion of the block leaderboard.
Although the two had been wrestling in the tournament for many years, this was by far their shortest match while wrestling in New Japan!
Despite the tough competition, neither man advanced to the finals, with Sasaki earning six points and Yoshie finishing bottom of his block with two.
In the end, the tournament was won by legend Masahiro Chono, but it was definitely a year that saw a range of matches going from under a minute to time limit draws.