We’re through Day 6 of the G1 Climax, New Japan’s premier tournament. I’m doing very well on my picks so far. The website Voices of Wrestling is holding a bracket for the tournament, and I’m sitting in second place right now with 26 out of 30 points. As far as match quality goes, nothing this year is equal to some of the stuff from last year, but we are only a third of the way through the tourney, and there have been several very good matches so far. I have seven matches at ****, and I’ve seen some people rank a few of those matches even higher. There hasn’t been anything outright bad either, and the undercards have been largely entertaining.
So far, A Block is very top heavy, with six wrestler tied for first with 4 points. Block B has two wrestlers on top with 6 points, as both Kazuchkia Okada and Tomohiro Ishii are undefeated. A few highlights of the tourney so far:
Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi spent most of the previous few months taking it easy in a humorous feud with Toru Yano and many many tag matches. And it’s paying off big time for the Ace of New Japan. He looks well-rested and healthy, and each of his three matches so far have been 4-star affairs. He’s my pick to win it all, and so far, he’s looking like he deserves it.
Shinsuke Nakamura: The favorite to win the tournament, Nakamura had to forfeit his last match due to an elbow injury, and it’s unknown if he is out of the tournament for good. If so, that’s going to bust a LOT of brackets, and take a lot of the luster out of B Block, which was already low on star power.
Tetsuya Naito: Naito’s new “don’t give a fuck” heel attitude has really shined in his tournament matches. His match with Tanahashi might be my favorite of the tournament so far, and he even un-veiled a new finisher, countering a clothesline into sort of a standing Sliced Bread. As people have pointed it, it would make a great counter to the Rainmaker Clothesline. Naito and Okada have an interesting history, so Naito winning Block A is a new, exciting possibility.
Yujiro Takahashi: And let’s end this on a sour note. Yujiro is the worst wrestler in the tournament. He hasn’t been awful, but I’ve rated each of his matches **, though to be fair, I haven’t seen his match on Night 6 yet. ** is a competent but utterly flat match, and that describes Yujiro pretty well. Whenever he goes on offense the crowd goes absolutely silent.