New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s G1 Climax is professional wrestling’s greatest tournament. New Japan has held annual tournaments with various names dating back to 1974, when Antonio Inoki defeating Karl Krupp and Seiji Sakaguchi in the final round of a 16-man round robin tournament, then simply known as the World League.
The G1 Climax, as it is known today, was introduced in 1991 when young and up-and-coming wrestlers Keji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono went one on one in the tournament finals. The match is one of the most historic in New Japan‘s history as Mutoh and Chono would go on to rule the company for the better part of a decade alongside fellow Three Musketeers member Shinya Hashimoto.
Nowadays the G1 Climax is a 20-man round robin tournament featuring the twenty best heavyweight wrestlers in New Japan. The wrestlers are split into two ten-man blocks and the wrestler who has the most points at the end of the round robin competition from each block move on to the finals. The winner of the G1 Climax Final receives a trophy and a championship certificate guaranteeing the holder a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom the following January.
So with the tournament built on a rich history of matches and past winners, it is worth analyzing just why exactly the month-long tournament remains so successful in 2018.
The success of the G1 Climax can be explained through three distinct yet equally important factors. These factors are New Japan‘s meticulous attention to detail, the rare quality of singles matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the styles of New Japan‘s matches and wrestlers.
In this article I will go in depth into how these factors play their parts in making the G1 Climax a success in New Japan Pro Wrestling and why the tournament may not work in other promotions.