NJPW G1 Climax 27 Results & Predictions

G1 Climax 27 Results

Editor’s Note: Article Results are current as of August 11, 2017 (Night 17 of the G1 Climax 27).

A Block Final Standings

Tetsuya Naito 14 Points (A Block Winner)

Hiroshi Tanahashi 12 Points

Kota Ibushi 10 Points
Bad Luck Fale 10 Points
Zack Sabre Jr. 10 Points
Hirooki Goto 10 Points

Tomohiro Ishii 8 Points
Togi Makabe 8 Points

YOSHI-HASHI 4 Points

Yuji Nagata 2 Points

B Block Current Standings

Kazuchika Okada  13 Points

Kenny Omega  12 Points

The following are already eliminated

EVIL 10 Points

Minoru Suzuki 9 Points

SANADA 8 Points
Michael Elgin 8 Points

Toru Yano 6 Points
Tama Tonga 6 Points
Juice Robinson  6 Points

Satoshi Kojima 2 Points

New Japan Pro-Wrestling embarks on yet another arduous G1 Climax (Grade One) tournament. A double block round robin competition that lasts almost an entire month. Throughout 19 shows, 20 men battle to win a briefcase. Inside said briefcase is a title opportunity at NJPW’s biggest show of the year Wrestle Kingdom 12. However, like any major sporting event, only a certain few can truly challenge for that opportunity.

In the A Block, there’s the former ACE, current IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi. The former IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito. A prodigal figure returning, could it finally be Kota Ibushi’s hour? There’s also the Stone Pitbull Tomohiro Ishii who is beloved by all. Last year’s finalist Hirooki Goto too.

The B Block is certainly top heavy with the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion and the man with a target on his back, Kazuchika Okada. For if he loses a match in the tournament, he could face that person again in a title defense. Okada is no stranger to coming into the G1 as the title holder, but he’s faced a grueling series of matches prior to this.

Can he really stave off all of these men? Then, there’s his fiercest rival, last year’s G1 winner, and leader of the Bullet Club, Kenny Omega. He’s had a phenomenal year, could he win it twice in a row? Suzuki-Gun leader and current NEVER Openweight Champion, Minoru Suzuki may have a say in that too. Could someone like a SANADA, EVIL or Michael Elgin be a dark horse? You’ll have to wait and find out by watching this year’s tournament.

The first night on Monday is free for everyone, after that, you only have to pay $10 for NJPW World twice to see the entire 19 night marathon. It’s truly worth the price of admission. This is our NJPW G1 Climax 27 Results & Predictions.

NJPW G1 Climax 27 Results & Predictions

G1 Climax 27 Results

An Introduction to the Article

This article will be updated throughout the tournament with current standings and point totals for the wrestlers. This is also a little bit different than our usual roundtables. Here, each wrestler gets their own individual preview. Finally, our predictions for how they could fare in the G1 Climax 27.

Just in case this is your first G1 Climax tournament, here’s how this works. 20 men are divided into two blocks, with 10 wrestlers each. Each wrestler in a block, faces every other wrestler in the same block once. Every win grants two points. a Draw is one point. While the loser of a match gets no points. Once every match has finished, the wrestler in each block with the most points advances to the final. There, they have one match, which determines who wins the G1 Climax 27. – Sean Garmer

W2Mnet Staff

Sean Garmer, Co-Host of Wrestling 2 the MAX, W2Mnet Editor in-Chief

Paul Leazar, Co-Host of Wrestling 2 the MAX, W2Mnet Wrestling Dept. Head

Glenn Smith, W2Mnet Wrestling Contributor

Tom Reese, W2Mnet Wrestling Contributor

Robert Cooper, W2Mnet Wrestling and Games Contributor

A Block

Hiroshi Tanahashi (Winner in 2007, 2015)

Current Point Total: 12 Points

Losses: Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi, Wins: Bad Luck Fale, Yuji Nagata, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Togi Makabe, Tomohiro Ishii

Hiroshi Tanahashi some would argue is still the perennial ACE of NJPW. Even though Kazuchika Okada is the number one guy now. The popularity of modern NJPW was built on his shoulders and fans recognize it. Even if he’s not the top guy anymore. The G1 is a classic example of why. Once again he comes into the tournament nursing an injury. Several years ago it was a bad back. Last year was the shoulder. And now it’s a torn bicep. He always comes through and delivers. No easy feat considering the high demand of the style and importance of this tour.

While he surely will not win, as IC Champion he’ll be protected in booking with minimal but meaningful losses. If he holds up to the grind, Tanahashi is a key guy to watch with big matches against Kota Ibushi,  Tomohiro Ishii, Zack Sabre Jr, and Tetsuya Naito. He and Ibushi had an opening night classic a couple years back. Ishii’s career was made with a G1 win over Tanahashi in 2013. Tanahashi and Naito have had two classics this year at the Tokyo Dome and Dominion. I think Tanahashi will be in the thick of things late into the final week before being eliminated. – Tom Reese

Tom’s Point Prediction: 12 points

Sean’s Point Prediction: 10 points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 6 Points.

Togi Makabe (Winner in 2009)

Current Point Total: 6 Points (Eliminated)

Losses: Bad Luck Fale, Tomohiro Ishii, Zack Sabre Jr., Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Wins: Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata

A former winner of this tournament, Togi Makabe has had a largely off year. Due in part to the terrible injury suffered by his tag partner and the other member of Great Bash Heel, Tomoaki Honma. Makabe has mainly been a tag wrestler since the latter part of 2015, after winning the NJPW World Tag League with Honma two years in a row. So, he’s in the six or eight man tag matches on most shows these days.

A 20 year mainstay of New Japan, and one time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, is more well known outside of wrestling. Having his own TV show, and doing voice over work for video games and films. When Makabe is in the ring, he employs heavy duty offense with rough lariats, shoulder blocks, and of course his King Kong Knee Drop. The man that plays homage to Bruiser Brody in many ways, is usually protected in this tournament getting no less than eight points since 2010. Ironically, in 2009, when he won the G1 Climax, he finished his block with seven points. Expect Makabe to get wins when you think he won’t. – Sean Garmer

Sean’s Point Prediction: 8 Points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 8 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 8 Points.

Yuji Nagata (Winner in 2001)

Current Point Total: 2 Points (Eliminated)

Losses: YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Togi Makabe, Tomohiro Ishii, Kota Ibushi, Wins: Zack Sabre Jr.

Yuji Nagata: Yuji Nagata announced that this would be his final G1. At 49 years old this is his 19th consecutive tournament. One of the more consistent in-ring performers in modern times, Nagata is often overlooked when the topic of great workers comes up. He won the tournament once back in 2001. He’s been consistently finishing in the middle of the pack with three to four wins while delivering solid to great matches. Nagata should score a few nice wins as fans will be behind him in his final G1 run. – Tom Reese

Tom’s Point Prediction: 6 points

Sean’s Point Prediction: 2 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 2 Points.

Kota Ibushi

Current Point Total: 10 Points

Losses: Tetsuya Naito, Togi Makabe, Bad Luck Fale, Wins: Zack Sabre Jr., Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata, YOSHI-HASHI

I was really hoping for one name to be a surprise entrant into the tournament, his name? Kota Ibushi, of course! Why wouldn’t the guy behind the mask of Tiger Mask W actually take it off to wrestle for the tournament?  So when he was announced, the crowd, and I, went bananas! He’s always been exciting to watch.  Even when he doesn’t win, he tries to put on a solid performance.  He’s largely come up to being in the middle of the pack, with a scratch in 2014 leading to him being sidelined.

Ibushi works a style that I would say is the best of the junior, and heavyweight styles.  He works a lot of flips into some matches, but can also wrestle on the ground, and can throw some wicked suplexes into his matches too.  He’s always exciting, and a bit reckless in the ring, but still enjoyable. Although, he hasn’t done anything in the company this year, at least in kayfabe.  He’s been wrestling as Tiger Mask W, racking up wins, and even challenging Okada for the title in a stellar match.  But it’s interesting to see what he does in this tournament.

I think his commitment to New Japan plays a large factor into his win/loss record for this tournament. Ibushi is largely a freelancer, so he will not be winning anything official until he settles in with NJPW.  I see him being at least middle of the pack. If not at least contending for the block, before losing it later on.  I think they’re going to push him like the Golden Star that he is, but I do not see him quite reaching the stratosphere like some of his contemporaries. – Robert Cooper

Robert’s Point Prediction: 10 points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 14 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 14 Points. Sean’s Point Prediction: 10 Points.

Hirooki Goto (CHAOS) (Winner in 2008)

Current Point Total: 8 Points

Wins: Tomohiro Ishii, Yuji Nagata, Zack Sabre Jr., YOSHI-HASHI, Losses: Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Bad Luck Fale

Goto always presents an interesting challenge for the G1. He might be the most famous case of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” in New Japan history. Many people thought that with the talent losses New Japan took last year, Goto might finally find himself in a position to break that label. However, he has yet to do so. His G1 history is a living testament to the label. Last year, he found himself in the finale in a losing effort against Kenny Omega (which was a phenomenal five star match). After that, he has either finished near the top, or in the middle of the pack since his G1 tournament victory back in 2008.

Goto’s journey this year has seen him capture the NEVER Openweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom, which was sold as him “finally winning the big one.” Some might say he had a lackluster reign, but I enjoyed it all the way up until he was dethroned by Minoru Suzuki. If you’ve never listened to the Wrestling 2 The MAX podcast when we talk about New Japan, I’m sure you don’t know that I’m a huge mark for this guy. He’s the prototypical “strong style” build wrestler, and he has a great work ethic. But he seemingly lacks that little bit extra that fans want to latch onto.

As for this year’s G1, Goto finds himself in a tricky position once again. Block A is stacked from top to bottom with champions, top tier talent, and people looking to make their mark and move up the ladder. For me, Goto’s most interesting bout during the tournament is with his CHAOS stablemate, Tomohiro Ishii, whose virtues I’ll expound upon later.

I wager these two will have a dynamite match-up, and with Goto being advertised in the semi-main event on the final night of the A Block against Ibushi, wager this could be the match that positions Goto to make a strong run for winning the block. When the dust settles, I have Goto earning six points, with his losses coming to Ibushi and Naito. Notably, I have him beating Tanahashi to setup a future Intercontinental title match with him down the line. – Paul Leazar

Paul’s Point Prediction: 6 points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 8 Points. Sean’s Point Prediction: 10 Points.

Tomohiro Ishii (CHAOS)

Current Point Total: 8 Points

Losses: Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi, Bad Luck Fale, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Wins: Togi Makabe, YOSHI-HASHI, Tetsuya Naito, Yuji Nagata

Tomohiro Ishii’s position on the card might be the most tragic thing to happen in New Japan this year. After making the NEVER Openweight Championship into what it is today with some of the most terrific matches of the decade against some of the toughest hosses New Japan has to offer. Ishii has been teaming with Toru Yano. While it has made for an interesting dynamic in the ring. Ishii is capable of so much more, as many have seen this year with New Japan’s other, whiter “best bout machine,” Kenny Omega.

Ishii has never won the G1 before, and since he began competing in the tournament yearly back in 2013, he’s been another middle of the road finisher. However, last year might have been his strongest tournament performance at the tender age of forty years old. He even managed to snag a victory against the man himself, Kazuchika Okada. And in this humble wrestling fan’s opinion, is still owed a IWGP Heavyweight Title match despite the fact that Okada and Ishii are both members of CHAOS.

Ishii’s age might be a thing that holds him back from ever being the top guy in New Japan. However, I think he’d make for a dynamite Intercontinental Champion. Look for him to make another strong case for New Japan to use him more often in big singles matches. Terrific matches with Tanahashi, Ibushi, Naito, and Goto (who are the big stars in this block), are the ones to look out for in the A Block. Even though, Ishii and Sabre should be a sneaky great match that could steal the tournament.

Trying to pin down a point total in this case, proves difficult. Many people in Block A could use the strong win against Ishii going forward. I’m looking at YOSHI-HASHI and Zack Sabre Jr. in particular. I have Ishii penciled in to earn ten points. While also earning the big victory over Tanahashi to earn an Intercontinental Title match down the line, much like I have Goto doing. – Paul Leazar

Paul’s Point Prediction: 10 points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 8 Points. Sean’s Point Prediction: 12 Points.

YOSHI-HASHI (CHAOS)

Current Point Total: 4 Points (Eliminated)

Wins: Yuji Nagata, Bad Luck Fale, Losses: Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr., Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Kota Ibushi

YOSHI-HASHI made his G1 Climax debut last year amassing six points. He also revealed a new Screwdriver type finisher named Karma as well. What really came out of that is that he’s now firmly out of the preliminary shadows and became a legitimate pushed member of the NJPW roster. Since then, he’s had a ROH World Title shot and had a great match against Minoru Suzuki for the NEVER Championship as well. YOSHI brings energy to his matches and gets the crowd behind him.

He has a mixture of underrated technical ability, along with the right amount of flare to catch folks attention. You’d imagine he would get at least the same amount of points as last year. However, with how stacked this block is, it’s hard to see a big jump for him. – Sean Garmer

Sean’s Point Prediction: 8 Points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 6 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 10 Points.

Bad Luck Fale (Bullet Club)

Current Point Total: 10 Points

Wins: Togi Makabe, Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Losses: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Zack Sabre Jr., YOSHI-HASHI

A former IWGP Intercontinental Champion and monster of the Bullet Club, Bad Luck Fale has mainly played his role as the muscle since that title win. However, he does get a bone thrown to him for big matches against Okada, Tanahashi and others from time to time. Much like his IWGP Heavyweight Title match against Kazuchika Okada at Wrestling Dontaku. Since his first G1 Climax in 2014, Fale has never earned less than 10 points.

New Japan brass may not see him as a man to build around, but he’s always kept strong in this tournament. Usually churning out drab affairs against much of his block. Although, when matched up against a Tanahashi, Ishii, or other great talents they get the best out of the Underboss. Expect much of the same this go around for Fale. I don’t see his streak of at least 10 points ending here either. – Sean Garmer

Sean’s Point Prediction: 10 Points

Tom’s Prediction: 8 Points. Paul’s Prediction: 10 Points.

Zack Sabre Jr. (Suzuki-Gun)

Current Point Total: 8 Points

Wins: Hiroshi Tanahashi, YOSHI-HASHI, Bad Luck Fale, Togi Makabe, Losses: Kota Ibushi, Hirooki Goto, Tetsuya Naito, Yuji Nagata

Here comes some fresh blood into the tournament. The technical wizard of Suzuki-Gun, Zack Sabre Jr. This came as a somewhat of a surprise considering I assumed he’d be working as a Junior to start out, very much in the same vein as Kenny Omega.  Seeing him wrestle the much larger wrestlers of the company has been quite the treat.  His style of wrestling is centered around submission holds, pure and simple.  A lot of his signature offense requires some sort of transition to, or from, a submission.  It makes his matches very interesting to watch, depending on the opponent.

He hasn’t been in a whole heck of a lot of singles matches in NJPW this year.  Sabre lost to Goto in a good match, and beat Juice Robinson in the U.S. Title tournament too. Well, that’s before succumbing to Tomohiro Ishii in the Semi-Finals.  With him being new, and them not having a clear sort of direction for him in the company, it’s hard for me to see him going past a middle of the road sort of outcome for him in this.

I don’t really see him beating guys like Tanahashi, or Naito, but he could beat a guy like Goto, or Makabe. It’s just hard to call, because his offense makes him a guy who could feasibly beat anyone at any time. – Glenn Smith

Glenn’s Point Prediction: 10 Points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 6 Points. Sean’s Point Prediction: 8 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 8 Points.

Tetsuya Naito (Los Ingobernables de Japon, Winner in 2013)

Current Point Total: 12 Points

Wins: Kota Ibushi, YOSHI-HASHI, Yuji Nagata, Hirooki Goto, Zack Sabre Jr., Togi Makabe, Losses: Bad Luck Fale, Tomohiro Ishii

Naito is certainly one of the favorites to win. Naito’s career is heavily linked to G1. After winning in 2013, the fans crapped all over him because he wasn’t perceived as a main eventer, despite his talent. In the 2015 G1, he reinvented himself with the Los Ingobernables character that he picked up in Mexico.

Then, a star was born. L.I.J is now ridiculously popular and a merchandise bonanza for NJPW.  And Naito has lived up to the billing as well. He made it to the final weekend last year, before losing in a classic to Kenny Omega. I expect him to be right there again this year. Possibly winning it all. – Tom Reese

Tom’s Point Prediction: 14 points

Sean’s Point Prediction: 12 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 16 Points.

B Block

Satoshi Kojima (Winner in 2010)

Current Point Total: 2 (Eliminated)

Losses: Juice Robinson, Toru Yano, Michael Elgin, Kazuchika Okada, Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki, Tama Tonga Wins: SANADA

Satoshi Kojima competed in his first G1 all the way back in 1996. 10 years later, he made it all the way to the final against on and off again tag partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Finally, in 2010 he defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in the final to win the G1 Climax. The Strong Arm can still go with the best at his age, and he usually can pull off a few gems in this tournament.

Since 2012 though, he’s been middle of the pack, as younger talent start rising above him in the standings. Kojima challenged for the NEVER Openweight Title last year and continues as part of TenKoji as well. In fact, last year, he showed so much care for Tenzan, Kojima let him take his spot in the tournament. So, after a year off, Kojima looks to prove he can hang. While probably finishing middle of the pack again. – Sean Garmer

Sean’s Point Prediction: 6 Points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 6 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 4 Points.

Michael Elgin

Current Point Total: 6 (Eliminated)

Wins: Satoshi Kojima, Kenny Omega, Minoru Suzuki, EVIL, Losses: Tama Tonga, Kazuchika Okada, SANADA, Toru Yano

Big Mike is competing in his 3rd G1 Tournament and seeking to improve on his past tournament appearances. As of late, Big Mike wants to prove that he still matters in New Japan after having a stellar 2016. Only to have it all come crashing down on him after a significant injury to his eye socket and promptly ending his best run to date in pro wrestling.

Block B is the Block of Vengeance for Elgin. He’s also seeking vengeance after being knocked out of the IWGP U.S. tournament by the eventual winner in Kenny Omega. However, by far the match I’m looking forward to the most is him versus Minoru Suzuki.

This match is easily going to be the absolute stiffest and most hard-hitting match we may see from this year’s G1 tournament. Elgin winning that match could determine how far he goes in the tournament. Not to mention, defeating Okada, which makes him a championship contender. Elgin once again wants to be in a prime spot in New Japan – Glenn Smith

Glenn’s Point Prediction: 12 points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 10 Points. Sean’s Point Prediction: 6 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 10 Points.

Juice Robinson

Current Point Total: 4 (Eliminated)

Wins: Satoshi Kojima, Kenny Omega, Toru Yano Losses: EVIL, Minoru Suzuki, Tama Tonga, Kazuchika Okada, SANADA

Entering into his first G1 Tournament, with everything to prove and nothing to lose. Juice has definitely been flying under the radar as of late periodically emerging when he wants something so badly he’ll do everything he can to take it as his own.

Throughout the course of this year, Juice has challenged for the IC and NEVER Openweight titles. Although, he came up short both times, but even while doing so he’s quickly becoming such a fan favorite to all that see him. Who at any given time could easily take a title as his own.

So, after doing some very thorough dissecting of the Block he is competing in, I have come to the conclusion that this Block either: makes him a bigger star in New Japan, or this could very easily Break him. When you consider he has to beat not only the current NEVER Openweight champion and an all-around terrifying inhuman-being in Minoru Suzuki. The current IWGP Heavyweight champion, and as of late just going on an absolute Match Of The Year Candidate maker streak. Plus, he has to beat Last Year’s G1 winner who’s single goal is to claim the IWGP crown as his and to beat Okada.

This is going to be a super daunting task, not impossible whatsoever but so very improbable for him to do so. – Robert Cooper

Robert’s Point Prediction: 6 Points

Tom’s Point Prediction: 6 Points. Sean’s Point Prediction: 8 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 6 Points.

Kazuchika Okada (Winner in 2012, 2014, CHAOS)

Current Point Total: 12

Wins: Toru Yano, Michael Elgin, SANADA, Satoshi Kojima, Juice Robinson, Tama Tonga, Losses: EVIL, Draws: Minoru Suzuki

The current IWGP Champion might be on the greatest run of any champion in history. Okada is a two time winner of this tournament. However, in the tournament’s current format where the winner gets a championship match at Wrestle Kingdom, no champion has won the tournament. This could be a perfect idea to add to the incredible run Okada finds himself on. However, we all know that Okada tends to mail in a couple of performances against lesser names as we have seen in years past.

While heavily criticized for this in the past, I think he’ll get a pass this year given this run that he’s on. A lot of his matches may wind up anticlimactic, because in theory, everything leads to his final block match against Kenny Omega. I’ll talk more about this in the Omega post. So, while Okada is the number one guy in the business right now, he’ll have a hard time keeping fans believing he will lose more than once before the Omega match. As champion, he has to drop at least one match to set up a challenger for the fall, but will it be Omega? – Tom Reese

Tom’s Point Prediction: 15 points based on a 7-1-1 record.

Sean’s Point Prediction: 14 Points. Paul’s Point Prediction: 12 Points.

Toru Yano (CHAOS)

Current Point Total: 6 (Eliminated)

Losses: Kazuchika Okada, Kenny Omega, SANADA, EVIL, Juice Robinson Wins: Satoshi Kojima, Michael Elgin (Via DQ)

Yano’s history in the G1 is a very interesting one. He has had his fair share of dismal years, yet always has the aura of a guy that could win anytime, anywhere. He’s one of those competitors who can beat world champions, like he did to Makabe in 2010, and Tanahashi in 2011.  Now, he’s an easy night for anyone in the block. He’ll rack up some wins the only way he knows how because, often times, you need some levity in such a serious tournament.

Last year, Yano beat who he should have beaten, with some surprise victories over Michael Elgin and Katsuyori Shibata.  Most of the wrestlers that beat him did so in a very quick fashion.  In fact, EVIL, Naito, and Nakajima all managed to finish Yano in 5 minutes, respectively. Earlier this year, Yano was involved with tag team division. However, since Yano and Ishii lost the titles, he hasn’t really done much else.  I don’t expect his run this year to be anything new. He’s a cheater, and will win or lose based off of how much cheating he gets to do, plain and simple.  I love the guy, but your mileage may vary with him.

I see him winning against Suzuki, and maybe against Tama Tonga.  After that, he might beat someone like EVIL, or SANADA, but he’s not going over any of the main event talent this go around. – Glenn Smith

Glenn’s Point Prediction: 4 points

Sean’s Point Prediction: 10 Points, Tom’s Point Prediction: 4 Points, Paul’s Point Prediction: 8 Points

Kenny Omega (Winner in 2016, Bullet Club)

Current Point Total: 10

Wins: Minoru Suzuki, Tama Tonga, Toru Yano, Satoshi Kojima, EVIL, SANADA, Losses: Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson

Kenny Omega is possibly the hottest star in the business. He’s managed to position himself to be a top guy no matter where he winds up as he’s been able to have WWE and NJPW throw big offers at him. He’s a guy that mails it in during meaningless tag matches, where he sticks mostly to comedy. However, when it comes to high profile singles matches, he delivers at a level that very few can match. The G1 will be nine singles matches, ten if he reaches the finals.

Omega won last year in thrilling fashion. An absolute classic win over Naito on a Saturday night, and coming back hours later with a win over Goto in the finals on a Sunday afternoon. In my opinion, it’s one of the best back-to-back performances ever seen. After winning the G1 last August, Omega challenged Okada in January at the Tokyo Dome in the now famous six star match that many argue to be the best match of all time. They followed that with an equally as good, if not better, match last month at Dominion. Omega won the IWGP U.S. championship earlier this July in a two night tournament during NJPW’s U.S. debut. The biggest story in the G1 this year will almost certainly be Kenny Omega.

Can he win again to earn another title opportunity? His final block match will be against Okada. Like Okada, he faces the challenge of keeping fans invested in his matches until the end since nobody believes he will lose more than Okada. That’s the match that will most likely send the winner to the finals. Or will it? The most likely outcome is for Omega and Okada to be tied heading into their match on the final night of the B Block. There would be several possibilities there.

Their first match was 48 minutes and their second match was 60 minutes. G1 matches have a 30 minute time limit, except for the final. A draw is the natural guess, but what if a draw eliminated both of them based on someone else getting hot? What if Omega absolutely needs to win to get to the final? Many possibilities exist should it come down to these two. I’m guessing Omega wins for second straight year. – Tom Reese

Tom’s Point Prediction: 16 points

Sean’s Point Prediction: 16 Points, Paul’s Point Prediction: 14 Points

Tama Tonga (Bullet Club)

Current Point Total: 4 (Eliminated)

Wins: Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson, Satoshi Kojima Losses: Kenny Omega, EVIL, Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano

It was until recently that Tama Tonga came to the forefront of New Japan, and it wasn’t as a singles competitor, but as a tag team with his brother, Tanga Roa. The Guerrillas of Destiny have improved leaps and bounds, but it’s been on Tama Tonga to carry the work in the ring. Some might say that the team has held Tonga back some, but he’s been given a great position on the card, and the sky is the limit for him in the future because he’s just so darn fun to watch in the ring. Most of this year has seen him in the hunt for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles, but we get the rare opportunity to see him work the tournament once again.

Tama made his G1 debut last year to the tune of eight points. I preached on many occasions that a great tournament could really allow him to break out, and he succeeded in some fashion to that point. While getting off to a rocky start, match quality wise, he ended up finishing really strong with some terrific performances against Tanahashi, Ishii, and Marufuji (unfortunately, Tonga fell victim to Okada “taking the night off” during their match last year).

This year, the same idea still stands in place for Tama Tonga. Have a fantastic tournament performance, and you’re golden. If the opposite proves true, well, it’s not like New Japan loses much with that other than maybe casting some doubt on a future singles run for the guy. The former idea, however, should prove to be true. He has tons of great match-ups on his plate this year once again. Matches with SANADA, EVIL, and Juice should really be breakout performances for all parties involved there because like Tama, they have the most to gain from consistently great performances.

Tonga does share the block once again with Okada and his Bullet Club stablemate, Kenny Omega, but we should all be wary that those might be “night off” opportunities for those guys (although, I’m hopeful Kenny wears the serious pants throughout the entire tournament). I have Tonga getting eight points during his sophomore year in the G1, simply because there are so many others in the tournament who I think New Japan has bigger aspirations for than Mr. Tonga this year. – Paul Leazar

Paul’s Point Prediction: 8 points

Sean’s Point Prediction: 2 Points, Tom‘s Point Prediction: 6 Points

Minoru Suzuki (Suzuki-Gun)

Current Point Total: 8 (Eliminated)

Losses: Kenny Omega, EVIL, Michael Elgin, Wins: SANADA, Juice Robinson, Tama Tonga, Satoshi Kojima, Draws: Kazuchika Okada

Minoru Suzuki is a face that longtime fans of New Japan should be familiar with in terms of G1 competition. Suzuki debuted in the G1 in 2004, having a largely unimpressive run, with a win over semifinalist Katsuyori Shibata.  An uneventful run in 2005 capped off what would be a 6 year absence from the G1. He would return in 2011 to be a decent force in the tournament, and would have a strong year in 2013, when he came within a match of the finals.

Beyond that, this is his return to the G1 Climax after 3 years in NOAH, and a lot has changed since then. Suzuki started with a bang by attacking Kazuchika Okada after his match at New Year’s Dash. However, after a loss at New Beginning, he has been largely relegated to the mid-card, culminating in a winning of the NEVER Openweight Title.

His matches are very heavy on mat wrestling, and largely feature outside shenanigans from his Suzuki-gun stable.  With the correct player, Suzuki can have a hell of a match. It just depends on his motivation, and involvement of his stable. Expect a lot of submission holds and mallet shots from his matches.

Expect him to beat Juice, Tonga, and Kojima handily. What intrigues me is EVIL and SANADA being in the same block as him. These matches should lead to opening up title matches down the line should those guys win matches against Suzuki.  I see Yano beating him, as Yano always does that. – Robert Cooper

Robert’s Point Prediction: 10 points

Sean’s Point Prediction: 14 Points, Paul’s Point Prediction: 8 Points, Tom’s Point Prediction: 11 Points

SANADA (Los Ingobernables de Japon)

Current Point Total: 8 (Eliminated)

Wins: EVIL, Toru Yano, Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson, Losses: Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada, Satoshi Kojima, Kenny Omega

SANADA debuted early last year with high expectations. He hasn’t quite lived up to expectations yet, which may or may not be by design. He’s had few singles matches aside from the G1 last year where he finished in the middle of the pack with 8 points. He did score wins over Goto, Ishii, and Tanahashi, but really didn’t gain any momentum coming off those wins. SANADA’s spent the better part of the past two years in tag matches with his L.I.J stablemates. With the career ending head injury to Katsuyori Shibata earlier this year, there’s a spot near the top of the card that needs to be filled. A perfect opportunity for SANADA if he’s booked to go deep into the final mix. SANADA will be interesting to follow, and it’s very possible he gets a chance to break through here. – Tom Reese

Tom’s Point Prediction: 8 points but with meaningful wins.

Sean’s Point Prediction: 8 Points, Paul’s Point Prediction: 12 Points

EVIL (Los Ingobernables de Japon)

Current Point Total: 10

Losses: SANADA, Kenny Omega, Michael Elgin, Wins: Juice Robinson, Tama Tonga, Minoru Suzuki, Toru Yano, Kazuchika Okada

EVIL has found himself in the middle of the Los Ingobernables de Japon’s feud with Taguchi Japan, which has seen them trade the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Titles for most of 2017 so far. He also had some brief dalliances with the NEVER Openweight Championship in 2016. EVIL and many other wrestlers in Block B stand to gain from a great tournament.

This will also be EVIL’s second year in the tournament after finishing with eight points last year. This year, he looks to be in a bit of different spot, as he’s definitely been portrayed as supporting cast while Hiromu and Naito dominate the LIJ landscape. This has shifted very recently with both Hiromu and Naito losing their respective championships, and SANADA being tempted with a spot in Taguchi Japan on the 6/27 show. While SANADA will probably be the LIJ member to watch in Block B (as he seems to be on the cusp of getting a big push), EVIL isn’t one to be slept on.

Looking down the block, EVIL’s matches with Elgin have always been spectacular, and I can’t wait to them lock up once again. EVIL also has a date with New Japan’s resident “Oni Torture Machine” in Minoru Suzuki, which should make for not only a great match, but some interesting interactions as well. By the end of the tournament, I’m looking at EVIL to have another middle of the pack finish with eight points. – Paul Leazar

Paul’s Point Prediction: 8 points

Sean’s Point Prediction: 6 Points, Tom’s Point Prediction: 8 Points

Block and Tournament Winners

G1 Climax 27 Predictions

Tom Reese

A Block – Kota Ibushi

B Block – Kenny Omega

G1 winner- Kenny Omega

Sean Garmer

A Block – Tetsuya Naito

B Block – Kenny Omega

G1 Winner – Tetsuya Naito

Paul Leazar

Block A Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Block B Winner: Kenny Omega

G1 Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Glenn Smith

Block A Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Block B Winner: Kenny Omega

Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Robert Cooper

Block A Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Block B Winner: Kazuchika Okada

G1 Winner: Kazuchika Okada