You know that G1 season is ready to kick off when New Japan Pro Wrestling the line-up is announced. During a New Japan Road show, the company treated fans to the full list of twenty participants who will participate in the 30th annual G1 Climax.
Luckily, the change of season to Autumn seems to be the only difference in this year’s tournament. Despite everything going on in the world, both of the blocks are jam-packed with wrestlers from across the world.
With so many amazing athletes, it almost seems impossible to pick a winner. So, here are five wrestlers who have the potential to be this year’s G1 Climax winner.
For many, this will not be a welcomed choice and will not be many fans’ choice to win this year’s G1. There was once a saying that said, ‘Anyone but TAICHI’. Yet, there is no denying that New Japan’s resident Holy Emperor TAICHI is on a roll this year with a string of victories and being one-half of the IWGP Heavyweight tag champions.
He is charismatic, and he is a decent wrestler. We’ve seen it time after time. When put against some of the best the company has to offer, he produces spectacular matches without the need for dirty tactics. With some of the wrestlers in his block, this is going to be easy. Tomohiro Ishii always brings out the best in TAICHI and can you imagine what would happen when he faces off with his boss Minoru Suzuki. They will be nothing short of brutal fights.
Also, imagine what the G1 briefcase would look like in the hands of TAICHI. I’m seeing black and gold embellishments which would make it look stylish and evil looking at the same time. It might break some hearts, but it would be worth it.
4. Tomohiro Ishii
It is no secret that Tomohiro is always a stand-out when it comes to New Japan tournaments. However, this makes it even more surprising to hear that the ‘Stone Pitbull’ has yet to win the G1 and achieve his dream of becoming the IWGP Heavyweight Champion and headlining Wrestle Kingdom.
Whether it’s in tag matches or singles bouts, Ishii manages to produce picture-perfect matches and bring out the best in whoever he’s fighting. There is a raw determination and passion from the ‘Stone Pitbull’ rivalled by only a few. With a gritty wrestling style that borderlines a brawl, it surprisingly blends with his opponents and creates a match that is spine-tingling.
For Ishii to finally win the G1 and put his name in the Wrestle Kingdom main event position would be welcomed by fans from across the world. It would be a fairy tale ending for New Japan’s resident workhorse.
3. Tetsuya Naito
Despite being the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, it might surprise many to say that Tetsuya Naito is a dark horse for winning the G1. Since it’s conception, only two men have ever won the tournament as champion in the form of Keiji Mutoh and Kensuke Sasaki. Yet, if anyone can be added to that exclusive list, then it’s the Ungovernable One.
Despite failing to reach the final last year as the Intercontinental champion, he has had one of the best years in his career. That doesn’t even take into consideration just how talented Naito is. The LIJ leader has this talent in the ring which, combined with his Tranquilo personality, makes him a lethal opponent.
Also, considering that he was the first-ever double IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental, I can imagine that the prospect of being the champion and winning the G1 is something that excites Naito. This is not a bad idea as it’s his 11th consecutive G1, but it’s also a tournament that he’s won twice before in 2013 and 2017. So, despite everything, maybe we shouldn’t underestimate Naito and he could become an even bigger part of the New Japan record books.