The G1 (Grade One) Climax, professional wrestlings greatest annually held tournament, is scheduled to start September 19th. Since 1991, New Japan has faithfully held the tournament that has become a beloved cornerstone of the New Japan year. Many great wrestlers have been apart of the G1 and fewer more have gone on to win it. But, what makes the G1 season so exciting, what makes it such an important tournament for New Japan, and what exactly is the G1 Climax?
While the G1 has seen other variations, the commonly use formula consists of two pools of wrestlers. Each group, or “block”, goes through a round robin style tournament, earning points per match. 2 points are awarded for a win, 1 for a draw, and 0 for a loss. After all the matches in a block are finished, the wrestler with the highest points in each block continue onto the final. If there is a tie in a block for highest points, the winner in the head to head match between the two is used as the tiebreaker. The two block winners face off to crown the G1 winner.
Winning the G1 isn’t just for bragging rights. Since 2012, the winner is awarded a certificate to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom in the Tokyo Dome. Besides finding a challenger for the top title, the G1 can also be used as a way for up and comers to prove themselves. Getting a win over proven veterans or a champion can help elevate a wrestler into title shots or prove their mettle in the ring. Many rivalries stem from match ups at the G1, and its the starting point for many story lines leading into Wrestle Kingdom. It’s a showcase of talent that has helped make stars since its inception.
The G1 season seems to bring an abundance of excitement every time it comes around. While the wrestlers are working hard to put on the best show, the fans get into the action as well. Trying to guess the winners of each block is remiss of making March Madness predictions and brackets. The mathematical gymnastics of figuring out what scenario a wrestler needs to win can be confusing, yet rewarding when the odds fall in their favor. Every point counts as the tournament continues; allowing even those eliminated from the final to play spoiler to others. The great matches, unpredictable nature, and title opportunities available are what makes the G1 Climax a must watch tournament for fans.
With September 19th closing on the horizon, we await the surprises G1 Climax 30 will bring. While surprise entries such as Jon Moxley, Kenta, and Will Ospreay added to the tournament’s awe last year; Covid-19 will probably make travel difficult for outside wrestlers to attend. Nevertheless, whether New Japan is able to bring outside talent or allow the junior division to fill the ranks, they have options for exciting match-ups to make guessing and watching the G1 another exciting endevour this year. The G1 Climax has and will be the exciting first trial as we blaze towards Wrestle Kingdom.
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