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.