New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax 2017: Pro Wrestling at its best
Going to change it up today from the world of Mix-Martial Arts to another world that isn't too far off but is also a passion of mine, Professional Wrestling. Currently New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) is in the midst of its 27th annual G1 Climax tournament.
A little bit of a background, NJPW is the second largest wrestling company in the world, next to obviously WWE. The G1 Climax is an annual round robin style tournament, filled with 2 brackets, 10 competitors in each, running from mid-July to mid-August and spanning 19 events with the winners of each bracket meeting in the finals and the winner earning a Heavyweight title shot in January at the promotions premiere event, Wrestle Kingdom.
I started watching NPW about 3 years ago and with all the wrestling that is out there these days I tend to only watch the big events that they put on. More and more lately I have been drawn towards these tournaments that they hold, the other being Best of the Super Juniors, same style of tournament but for the Light Heavyweights.
For these tournaments NJPW brings in competitors from all over the globe, this year they have competitors from: Canada, USA, UK, New Zealand and Japan. Last year, the Canadian Kenny Omega made history by becoming the first non-Japanese winner in its 26 year history. Bringing in all these different competitors helps to give the tournament a big fight feel and almost any wrestler on the Independent circuit dreams of competing in this.
G1 Glimax 2017
I love the fact that this is a round-robin tournament because you never know who is going to rise to the occasion and pull off a victory. You can tell so many different stories over the month long tournament, for example Michael Elgin, a wrestler who finished tied for 2nd in points last year started off this year's tournament at 0-2, though one of his loses is to the current champ, has since gone 2-0 with his most recent win being over last year's tournament winner, Kenny Omega. Kenny is also the holder of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion in NJPW, so regardless of how either Michael or Kenny finish in this year's tournament, Michael can argue a title shot for Kenny's belt in the future. Additionally the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada, is competing in the tournament, so any losses in the tournament for him would set up the exact same thing giving him future challenger until the big main event at Wrestle Kingdom, though currently he is 4-0 but very unlikely is he to go undefeated.
At this stage of the tournament, I have no idea who is going to win. Currently everyone has had at least 1 loss, besides Okada, and there is still another 10 events to go so any one can win it. Personally I would love to see Zack Sabre Jr. take Block A and Kenny Omega take Block B and have Kenny take it for a second year in a row, the two of them both have their very own unique style and I think would make for an intriguing matchup. But first it is going to come down to the last day of the tournament, and the most anticipated match of the whole thing, that being Omega vs Okada. The two have met before Okada winning the first and the second going to a 60 minute draw. With tournament matches having a 30 minute time limit their third match really could go anyway, but Omega would need the win to if he were to take the tournament, which would make their series 1-1-1 and then grant him the rights to face Okada for the belt again.
With this tournament still having 2 weeks to go I cannot wait to see how it plays out