Shelly Deathlock cares too much about Japanese wrestling and, as Captain of the S.S. Strong Style, she’s here to welcome you on board and fill you in on what’s going on in the world of puro.
The G1 (Grade One) Climax is a heavyweight tournament held yearly by New Japan Pro Wrestling. The G1 Climax 25 this year has 20 entrants, and takes place over 19 days in July and August – the longest tournament in G1 history. You are not ready. I am not ready. However, we have until July 20th to get ready. Let’s go!
What is the G1?
The G1 is a round robin tournament with two blocks of participants. Each participant in Block A will wrestle every other participant in Block A. Each participant in Block B will wrestle every other participant in Block B. Participants score two points for each victory.
At the end of the tournament, the wrestlers with the most points in each block advance to the final on August 16th where they face each other.
The prize is a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (currently held by AJ Styles) at Wrestle Kingdom 10 on January 4, 2016.
Why should I watch?
In the G1 tournament last year, Minoru Suzuki wrestled AJ Styles in a match that won the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match of the Year as well as the Deathlock Match of the Year. I’ll let you decide which of those things is more prestigious, but it’s cool that they aligned.
Everyone expected that the match could be good, but I don’t think anybody expected it to be the masterpiece it was. The Korakuen crowd was insane, and everything was perfect.
That’s the kind of thing that can happen when you throw twenty men into a tournament and have them wrestle singles matches against each other for nineteen days — fresh match ups, unexpected classics. The G1 is a great time, and the pinnacle of pro wrestling as a sport.
The G1 Climax 25 Schedule
DEATHLOCK THAT SOUNDS AMAZING WHERE DO I SIGN UP!? I know, right!? As of now, it looks like every show will air on NJPWWorld. NJPWWorld is an online streaming service available for ~$8.50 USD per month. Go sign up!
Because I love you, I maintain a schedule of events that are live on NJPWWorld, including all the G1 dates. This calendar should convert to your time zone so you don’t have to do math. You can download the .ics and plan your summer around the events like I have (this is not a joke and frankly I’m offended that you thought it might be).
If you don’t trust me/love me/want to use my calendar, you can just reference the official G1 schedule at the official G1 site.
The G1 Climax 25 Entrants
This year’s entrants were JUST ANNOUNCED. Let’s do a rundown of each wrestler, and let’s include the Google translation of their official nicknames from the NJPW site for fun!
“1 person of talent in 100 years” Hiroshi Tanahashi
True facts: Tanahashi won the G1 in 2007. This is his 14th appearance and 14th consecutive year.
Nickname: There’s no good way to translate that so let’s go with it. Anyway, Tanahashi thinks he’s a once in a century talent. 1/100 Ace of the Century.
“Rowdy” Hirooki Goto
True facts: Goto is the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion. He won the G1 in 2008. This is his 8th appearance and 8th consecutive year.
Nickname: I always thought 荒武者 translated to “daredevil” but I guess it’s “rowdy” too. Nevermind, I’m over here imagining him in Roddy Piper cosplay and I’ll be useless for the rest of the day.
“Runaway King Kong” Togi Makabe
True facts: Makabe is the current NEVER Openweight Champion. He won the G1 in 2009. This is his 12th appearance and 12th consecutive year.
Nickname: That’s about right.
“Stardust Genius” Tetsuya Naito
True facts: Naito won the G1 in 2013. This is his 6th appearance and 6th consecutive year.
“The Wrestler” Katsuyori Shibata
True facts: Shibata has never won a G1, but I threw all my stars at the matches he wrestled in it last year. This is his 3rd consecutive year, and his 5th appearance in the tournament.
Nickname: He even has shirts that just read “The Wrestler.” It’s amazing.
“Golden Star” Kota Ibushi
True facts: This is Ibushi’s second appearance. He had to withdraw from the tournament last year due to a concussion, and there was much sadness. I couldn’t be happier to have him in it this year, officially at heavyweight.
Nickname: Yep. One half of the Golden Lovers with Kenny Omega back in brighter days, and one half of Golden Stardust with Tetsuya Naito.
“Takeshi Cow” Hiroyoshi Tenzan
True facts: Tenzan is the current NWA World Heavyweight Champion. He won the G1 in — ready? — 2003, 2004, and 2006. This is his 5th consecutive year and 20th appearance. TWENTY. TWENTY TIMES.
Nickname: 猛牛 is probably better translated as “Raging Bull.” I have no idea why Google thinks he’s “Takeshi Cow.” Get with it, Google.
“Gowan” Satoshi Kojima
True facts: Kojima won the G1 in 2010. This is his 6th consecutive year and 14th appearance overall.
Nickname: Google is just stating 剛腕 phonetically. It means STRONG ARM. HE IS THE BEST LARIATER OF THE WORLD.
“Blue Justice” Yuji Nagata
True facts: Nagata won the G1 in 2001. This is his 17th consecutive appearance and his 17th appearance overall.
“Everyone Kokeshi” Tomoaki Honma
True facts: This is Honma’s second appearance in two years. He entered last year to fill in for Kota Ibushi, who had a concussion and had to withdraw. Famously, he lost every single match. Every single one. And every time, we thought this might be the one he wins. Maybe this year he’ll have better luck.
Nickname: It’s probably better translated as “KOKESHI EVERYONE,” which is what he attempts (and fails, really fails a lot) to do. Kokeshi is his headbutt finisher. It’s great. And tragic.
“King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura
True facts: Nakamura won the G1 in 2011. This is his 9th consecutive appearance and 12th appearance overall. You can watch his G1 2011 public exercise on YouTube, you’re so welcome, thanks for coming to Wrestling On Earth and reading this post, can I get you a cold cup of juice?
Nickname: More like The King of Every Goddamn Thing and The Golden, Beautiful, and Brutal Embodiment of All That is Wonderful About Professional Wrestling but hey, I don’t get to make the official nicknames, I just sit here and type my very correct opinions on the Internet for you to read.
“Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada
True facts: Okada won the G1 in 2012 AND 2014 — crazy. This is his fourth consecutive appearance, and his fourth appearance overall. You read that right. He won 2 of the 3 G1 tournaments he’s participated in so far. I think this kid might be something special.
“Sublime Thief” Toru Yano
True facts: This is Yano’s 10th appearance and 9th consecutive year.
Nickname: It’s probably better as “Noble Thief.” He has a million nicknames though. A YTR NJPW shirt reads “brain of the evil.” Evil noble brain, that’s him.
“CHAOS of suicide asshole” Tomohiro Ishii
True facts: This is Ishii’s 3rd appearance and 3rd consecutive year.
Nickname: Wait. What? Okay, first of all, it should probably be “The Suicidal Asshole of CHAOS” since CHAOS is the faction. And still, what? What happened to the Stone Pitbull?! I’m so upset right now.
“Phenol Menard” AJ Styles
True facts: AJ Styles is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion. This is AJ’s second G1 appearance in two years.
@indiandeathlock Phenol Menard sounds like an NPC in WoW
— Owens wins lol (@ItsYaBoyBigJoe) June 7, 2015
“The Machine Gun” Karl Anderson
True facts: This is Karl’s 6th consecutive appearance in 6 years. He’d find me and kill me if I didn’t mention that he’s one of only two gaijin to make it to the G1 final — Karl Anderson in 2012, and RICK RUDE in 1992. Gaijin don’t win the G1. Good luck boys.
Nickname: Pew pew pew.
“Di Outlaw” Doc Gyarozu
True facts: This is Doc Gallows’ second consecutive year and second appearance.
Nickname: When Google Translate attempts katakana transliteration and has no frame of reference. I don’t know why Karl’s katakana “the” is “za” and Doc’s is “di.”
“Di under boss” Bad Rack Fales
True facts: This is Bad Rack Fales’ second appearance in two years. His name is also Bad Luck Fale but it’s just too funny.
Nickname: Still The Underboss. I guess he never moved up. Damn Bullet Club leadership keeping the young talent down.
“Mr. R Designation” Yujiro Takahashi
True facts: This is Yujiro’s sixth consecutive appearance in six years.
Nickname: MISTER R DESIGNATION HAHAHA. That’s what you get for stealing Edge’s nickname — it breaks in google translate.
“Unbreakable” Michael Erugan
True facts: This is Michael Elgin’s first G1! Congratulations!
I’ll say more about all this once the actual blocks and potential matchups are revealed — I don’t want to start salivating over Ibushi/Nakamura III too early, there’s still a month to prepare.
Things to look forward to in the Wrestling on Earth G1 Climax 25 series:
- G1 Survival Strategies
- Blocks & Matchups
- MY PREDICTIONS~!
- And more!