The G1 Climax 30 tournament is upon us. It will be different this year but so has everything else. New Japan Pro Wrestling’s summer classic has found its way to the Fall as a result of both the originally planned 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean the tournament won’t deliver.
With twenty participants all making their return to the competition, 2020 should see another quality G1 Climax. But how will each of the participants do? Not all of this year’s participants would appear to be a front-runner to win so allow us to take you through each member of the field and give you an idea of who might come out on top.
Kota Ibushi – A Block – 8/10
We start things off with last year’s tournament winner, Kota Ibushi. Ibushi’s 2020 has not been ideal as he began the year with back to back losses to Kazuchika Okada and Jay White. He failed to make the most of his G1 Climax victory from last year but now he has the chance to redeem himself.
Ibushi finds himself in the stacked A Block of the tournament and could very well be the man to emerge on top. Ibushi seems destined for another big clash with current tag team partner Hiroshi Tanahashi, which could happen at Wrestle Kingdom 15. A match like that could take him out of the running but it is clear Ibushi is still one of New Japan’s biggest stars and will likely be pushed as such.
Hiroshi Tanahashi – B Block – 7/10
Hiroshi Tanahashi won the G1 Climax two years ago resulting in potentially his final IWGP Heavyweight Championship run of his career. The reign was short as Tanahashi fell in his first title defence to Jay White and he has never really gotten his legs under him. Last year’s tournament saw Tanahashi fall outside of contention earlier than ever before and it was portrayed as the passing of the torch.
With that being said, Tanahashi is still one of the greatest wrestlers on earth and always a potential winner. Tanahashi is in a similar position as Ibushi as the two seem set to collide with one another. However, Tanahashi is in the B Block with possibly less competition in his way. This could be a make or break year for ‘The Ace of the Universe’.
Jeff Cobb – A Block – 3/10
Jeff Cobb appears to be set for an increased role in New Japan Pro Wrestling going forward. That being said, he had an average showing in last year’s tournament and will be looking to rebound this year. Cobb will have a number of opportunities for great matches in the A Block this year with competition against the likes of Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Kota Ibushi, and Shingo Takagi waiting for him.
Cobb is almost certainly not the type to win the title shot at Wrestle Kingdom 15 but you can expect him to have a larger role going forward. What that means we will have to wait and see but consider Cobb’s odds of winning the tournament low.
Juice Robinson – B Block – 3/10
Juice Robinson is one of the most interesting members of this year’s field. In 2018 it appeared as if his stock was on the rise as he captured the IWGP United States Championship from Jay White. However, he has never quite gotten rolling again since. He had a particularly bad showing in the G1 Climax 28 and an average one last year without much of note in between.
If Robinson is going to make his ascent in the main event scene, he needs to step on the gas. That being said, with a number of other possible contenders in the B Block, Robinson will more than likely be on the outside looking in again this year.