15. KENTA (5-4-0)
Best Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi – Day 10
Worst Match: Toru Yano – Day 14
Similar to Goto, there wasn’t much to get excited about for KENTA this year. Last year he had an incredibly strong start to his tournament and had very good matches throughout. This year? Not so much. He didn’t pick up a win until his third match, basically putting him out of the running to win the block.
His matches were alright but it was clear that the B Block was way lower in quality of their participants. Had he been in the A Block, he would undoubtedly place higher, but that goes for every member of the B Block on this list.
14. Juice Robinson (4-5-0)
Best Match: Tetsuya Naito – Day 12
Worst Match: Toru Yano – Day 8
After a number of lacklustre G1 Climaxes, Juice Robinson stepped up to start the tournament. He had solid performances against Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi and KENTA in his first three matches but struggled to pick up wins in the middle of the tournament.
Another guy who was hurt by his placement, Juice’s only really big match was against Tetsuya Naito. A really great 25-minute match that was but unfortunately it marked the beginning and end of Juice’s top-level matches. At least he looks like a Blues Brother now.
13. Zack Sabre Jr. (5-4-0)
Best Match: SANADA – Day 10
Worst Match: Hirooki Goto – Day 8
I wanted to put Zack Sabre Jr. higher on this list. I really did. This is where we have reached the group of guys who were all great in the tournament, it just comes down to ranked them. Unfortunately, Sabre suffered from being in the B Block, although he did better than most.
Sabre has his famously unique technical style and it really works to his strength. He is constantly set apart and is able to have really good matches. If the A Block didn’t have so many fantastic matches Sabre would have places higher.
12. Hiroshi Tanahashi (4-5-0)
Best Match: Tetsuya Naito – Day 2
Worst Match: Toru Yano – Day 4
Now, THIS one hurts. Hiroshi Tanahashi is one of the very best wrestlers of all time. However, it seems that New Japan is content to move on from The Ace. It is incredibly disheartening as he was still one of the very best competitors in the B Block and he remains one of the best wrestlers in the world. He wasn’t in the running going into the final night once again and it wasn’t a big deal like it was last year.
Additionally, he lost matches to Toru Yano, EVIL, and Hirooki Goto, which did not help his case this year. This is a real shame as Tanahashi still has the talent to be a top star. By all respects, there really isn’t a reason why he shouldn’t be pushed like one.
11. Jeff Cobb (4-5-0)
Best Match: Tomohiro Ishii – Day 13
Worst Match: Yujiro Takahashi – Day 17
When I did this list for the 2019 G1 Climax, Jeff Cobb finished very close to the bottom of the list. Now that the rumours are that Cobb has signed on with New Japan, he was given the opportunity to have some really great matches. Cobb stepped up big time in this year’s tournament with some fantastic matches against Will Ospreay and Tomohiro Ishii.
Another guy suffering from his position on the card, Cobb never got a chance to main event a show. That being said, he made the most of his opportunity. This tournament felt like a test for Cobb and he passed with flying colours.