The G1 Climax tournament is one of the biggest highlights of the year for New Japan Pro Wrestling. With this year’s tournament officially in the books, now we can look at how everyone did. With 20 participants competing across two separate blocks, each wrestler reached different levels of success.
So without further adieu, here is every G1 Climax 30 participant ranked from worst to best.
20. Yujiro Takahashi (1-8-0)
Best Match: Tomohiro Ishii – Day 11
Worst Match: TAICHI – Day 5
This is an easy place to start. Many people groaned when Yujiro Takahashi was announced for the G1 Climax. Unsurprisingly, he comes in at the bottom of this list. Competing in the ridiculously stacked A Block, Takahashi managed to have solid performances from time to time. However, he very clearly stuck out like a sore thumb.
He only picked up one win and would almost certainly not been in the tournament if more foreign talent could make it in. If you need further evidence of his position on this list, look at everyone in the A Block’s worst match from the tournament.
19. Toru Yano (3-6-0)
Best Match: Zack Sabre Jr – Day 12
Worst Match: KENTA – Day 14
It is always difficult to place Toru Yano on a list like this. He is not in the G1 Climax to have classic, five star matches. He’s there to do his comedy and provide something different to break up the rest of the card. He does this quite well, however, it is really difficult to place him above others on this list.
Yano is good at his comedy with his match with Zack Sabre Jr. being an excellent example of this. However, he also had many people in the B Block’s worst match of the tournament. If you want to place him higher, to each their own.
18. EVIL (6-3-0)
Best Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi – Day 12
Worst Match: Tetsuya Naito – Day 14
What a disappointment EVIL has been this year. His heel turn at the New Japan Cup Final shocked the fans and his resulting run as IWGP Double Champion left a lot to be desired. He lost the title in quick fashion and the G1 Climax was his chance to change his fortunes.
He didn’t. EVIL is terribly miscast as a top heel. Whereas someone like Jay White does a great job in his role, EVIL’s matches greatly suffer as a result of his role. He never had a great match in this year’s tournament and that is something that needs to happen if you are consistently in main event matches.
17. YOSHI-HASHI (2-7-0)
Best Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi – Day 8
Worst Match: Toru Yano – Day 18
YOSHI-HASHI surprised a lot of people with his performance in the G1 Climax this year. He missed last year’s tournament after a weak performance in 2018, but the pandemic meant he could return to the tournament.
Despite his solid matches, YOSHI-HASHI suffered from being in the lesser of the two blocks and often being the curtain-jerker. In New Japan, you are heavily affected by your placement on the card. If you often work the early matches you won’t be able to steal the show very often. Such was the case for YOSHI-HASHI and thus he finds himself near the bottom of the list.
16. Hirooki Goto (4-5-0)
Best Match: Tetsuya Naito – Day 6
Worst Match: Toru Yano – Day 10
Hirooki Goto was incredibly pedestrian in this year’s tournament. Whereas last year he had a strong feud with Jay White heading into the G1 Climax, this year he was just a guy. In the past, he has been able to have absolute blow-away matches but nothing in this year’s tournament came close to that level of quality.
There was nothing in Goto’s performance to inspire passion from fans this year. Also, two of his matches were extremely short. His match with Zack Sabre Jr. clocked in at under four minutes and his match with Toru Yano was only 18 seconds. With matches like those it is hard to put together a great tournament from an in-ring perspective.