Now that we’ve seen two nights of matches from the A Block, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax 26 is starting to take shape. As the tournament wears on, I intend to use this space to recap the new things we learn each night about the performers, and especially how the most recent matches affected the overall standings. Night 3 continued the trend of surprises in this year’s tournament. Let’s see What We Learned.


  • The potential Tenzan dream run will make me watch a Tama Tonga match.
  • Tenzan is so motivated for this tournament that he got a better match out of Tonga than we normally see.
  • We will get a better sense of how Tenzan’s G1 is going to go when he meets Naomichi Marufuji on Night 5.


  • Goto and Ishii did not think they should have gone on second, so they tried to steal the show.
  • Ishii is now going to have to work to get back in the running to win the block. He noted before the G1 that he’s lost a lot this year. We’ve heard before that the wrestlers only learn their booking before each show, but it will be interesting to see whether Ishii is going to have a comeback story or find himself in the middle of the pack.
  • Goto will be strong going into his next matchup with Kazuchika Okada, whom he beat in last year’s G1 but had little success against afterward.


  • Fale is a surprise star of the early part of this tournament. I enjoyed his opening match with Goto and this was the Match of the Night. He is working hard and coming off like a monster.
  • As some predicted, Marufuji showed he fits perfectly in the G1.
  • It’s slightly less clear where Marufuji stands going forward than it appeared to be after Night 1. After a convincing win over Okada, Marufuji fell to Fale without him having to use the Bad Luck Fall.


  • I was a little too excited when I suggested SANADA could sweep Tanahashi and Okada to go into his Night 5 main event with Togi Makabe at 2-0.
  • Many women love SANADA.
  • Okada is the king of using counters and reversals to build a hot closing stretch.


  • Makabe and Goto are the block leaders after two nights.
  • Before the finish, the most entertaining part of the match was Makabe demanding, in English, for the ref to “ask him,” and Tana responding, in English, “nope!”
  • Tanahashi has the perfect opponent, Tama Tonga, to get back on track on Night 5.
  • If you want to look far ahead, a fun fantasy booking scenario would be for Tanahashi’s eventual redemption story to run into Tenzan’s dream run on Night 15.

Night 4 of G1 Climax 26 is on Sunday, July 24, and it features five matches from the B Block, including the top two matches of Tomoaki Honma (2) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (2) and Katsuyori Shibata (0) vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima (2).