July 15, 2016 by Everett Barilla
Starting Monday NJPW’s biggest tournament of the year kicks off the 26th G1 Climax tournament. The tournament will feature 20 competitors divided into 2 blocks, Block A consists of: Bad Luck Fale, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toagi Makabe, Naomichi Maryfuji, Kuzuchika Okada (C), Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tama Tonga. While Block B will be comprised of: Michael Elgin (C), Evil, Tomoaki Honma, Yuji Nagata, Tetsuya Naito, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kenny Omega, Katsuyori Shibata, Toru Yano, Yoshi-Hashi. The first place finishers in each block will square off and the winner will receive a shot at either the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship currently held by Okada or the IWGP Intercontinental Championship held my Michael Elgin.
I do no have knowledge of everyone competitor but I feel I can get a prediction of who will win or be in high contention to win their block. For Block A I think he top of the group will be Ishii, Okada (C), and Tanahashi these are he obvious picks to lead the block but lets be honest its likely one of the three men, but Okada as the champion it is likely he will not be the one heading to the final but it is always possible. I see potentially Ishii being the one to come out of the group as Tanahashi vs Okada is something I feel they may want to potentially leave for a bit longer, but could win the block and lose in the finals or challenge Elgin for the Intercontinental title he had to pass up his shot for due to injury. For Block B I see the winner being either Omega, Shibata, or the former champion Naito. Naito would be the obvious choice to have win the block and as a winner for G1 tournament, but Omega winning the block brings him a rematch for the Intercontinental title he recently lost or a Bullet Club member since AJ Styles to go for the big gold the IWGP World Heavyweight title. Shibata to me personally is one I’d love to see win the NEVER Openweight Champion win the block and go onto to win the G1 Climax as he has really been a shining star outside of the World title picture, a match between him and Ishii for the final, a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom 10 would be amazing to see.
There are many different combinations for winner of each block and finals results this should be another classic tournament for NJPW despite missing Styles, Nakamura, Anderson and Gallows who were regulars in the tournament with Styles and Nakamura often on of the top of their blocks or in Nakamura’s case winner of the block and of a G1 tournament.