We are almost to the end of the G1 Climax. The winner of Block A will be determined by the winner of AJ Styles vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, and the winner of Block B will almost certainly be determined by Kazuchkia Okada vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. There is an outside chance Karl Anderson can win Block B if Okada loses and Anderson wins his final match against wily veteran Satoshi Kojima. One of those five men will win the G1. I said at the beginning of the tournament that Styles, Tanahashi, Okada, and Nakamura were the only ones with a realistic chance of winning, and it’s looking like I will be proven correct.
I will get into a more regular updating schedule after the G1 is over. It’s been a crazy ride trying to keep up with everything, and it hasn’t given me much time to blog. I’m still behind on Lucha Underground and NXT. With all that being said, let’s take another look at some of the other wrestlers in the G1 Climax.
AJ Styles: Styles is the only one of the Big 4 I haven’t written anything about yet, so here we go. Styles is a guy who deserves his own post someday, but in short, he has shined as the leader of the heel faction The Bullet Club, and is in the running for Wrestler of the Year. Only two gaijen wrestlers have made it to the finals before, and none have ever won. It would certainly be a giant feather in AJ’s cap if he is able to beat Tanahashi and advance to the finals.
Karl Anderson: Anderson is one of the two foreigners to advance to the G1 Climax finals, having done so a couple years ago. He’s not treated as seriously anymore as he was, often taking a backseat to stablemate AJ Styles. He’s still half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions, and the fact that he is still in the running to advance is a testament to how respected he is. We could see a Bullet Club showdown in the next couple months, as there has been some tension between Anderson and Styles as the tournament nears it’s end.
Michael Elgin: There was a lot of criticism about New Japan only bringing in one newcomer for the G1, and Elgin was no one’s first choice. I had never seen him work before, as I don’t watch a lot of Ring of Honor, but he has certainly proven the critics wrong. He’s picked up a couple of big wins, but even more importantly, he’s had some really good matches, and looks right at home in the New Japan ring. His power game is suitably impressive, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him in the New Japan ring.
Hiroyoshi Tenzen, Satoshi Kojima, and Yuji Nagata: I’m lumping these three together because, despite all three men’s illustrious careers in New Japan, they are largely placeholders in this tournament, scoring a few feel-good wins and showing the young guys they still have a few tricks of their sleeves. It also might be the last G1 for each of them. Tenzen has been in 19(!) G1 Climax’s, and has not looked very good in most of his matches. Nagata is the oldest man in the tournament, and has been battling rib injuries. Only Kojima has looked passable in the ring this tournament, and has a chance to play spoiler to the Bullet Club by beating Karl Anderson in the last night of the tournament. I had not seen any Kojima singles matches before, as he usually tags with Tenzen, but I have enjoyed this new look at him.