Here we go… NJPW’s G1 Climax 26 is nearing its end and with only two more tournament nights left to go and the G1 Finals looming large this Sunday, it’s time to take a look at what scenarios could play out over the final nights of New Japan’s summer spectacular.
Only three members of the Block still have a chance of winning: Tetsuya Naito—presently atop the block with 12 points—as well as Katsuyori Shibata and Kenny Omega (both men are tied for second with 10).
While Michael Elgin is also tied for second with 10 points right now, his chances of winning the Block. Elgin can beat Katsuhiko Nakajima and tie Naito (with a Naito loss to Omega) but a tiebreaker loss to Naito on Night 4 eliminates him from the running.
Edit: There are a few convoluted scenarios that would allow Elgin to win the Block (provided New Japan wouldn’t do a playoff). These are pretty wild and have almost no chance of happening but hey, we’re having fun here, right? Here are the scenarios:
@voiceswrestling In a four-way tie, Elgin would have wins over both Omega & Shibata, while Naito would have lost to both.
— Sean Sedor (@SASedor2994) August 10, 2016
@voiceswrestling if Elgin, Naito, Omega, and Shibata all tie whoever has best record between the 4. Elgin and Shibata would be 2-1
— Eric Vanvelson (@enriquevv75) August 10, 2016
Naito is first up to bat and this is simple, folks. Naito has to win or draw and he’s in. His days of paying dues over.
He has Kenny Omega for his final block match and we’ll get to him more in a moment. 78.9% of our G1 Climax Pick’Em participants had Naito slotted for the finals and he remains a heavy favorite in the final days of the tourney.
Shibata has a surprisingly easy path to the finals. While unexpected (only 9.3% of our participants saw him in the spot), all Shibata needs is to beat EVIL and have Naito lose to Omega. Shibata holds the tiebreaker over Naito thanks to a Night 8 defeat of the Los Ingobernables leader.
Omega looked like a longshot earlier in the tournament but has snuck up on the competition in the final few days. His path is much more bumpy than Shibata but it’s not impossible. Omega faces Naito in the final tournament day, so a victory ties him with Naito at 12 points. The only problem? Shibata holds the tiebreaker over Omega. Omega needs to root for EVIL to defeat Shibata for Omega to move onto the finals.
This is a mess. Currently, five men are tied atop the block with 10 points. Each with their own wild path to the G1 Climax 26 Finals. Sit back and relax for these scenarios.
The simplest of the finals paths, Tanahashi simply needs to be Kazuchika Okada in their much-anticipated Sumo Hall showdown and he’ll win the block. Tanahashi’s early tournament losses were very well planned out this year as he lost to some of the lower rung talents in the Block while holding tie breakers over the remainder of the A Block top dogs: Bad Luck Fale, Hirooki Goto and Naomichi Marufuji.
Bad Luck Fale
The Bullet Club muscle needs to beat Tama Tonga to stay in the running. Seems simple enough, right? Not so fast. Fale could advance with an Okada and Tanahashi draw. He will also need Marufuji to defeat Goto. If Okada and Tanahashi draw but Goto beats Marufuji, Fale is still out as Goto holds the tiebreaker. Alternatively, if Okada wins and Marufuji wins, Fale will advance due to holding tiebreakers over both.
Goto’s path isn’t too complicated. Obviously it started with the CHAOS newbie beating Marufuji. That gets him into the dance. After that, he’ll need Okada and Tanahashi to draw. If those two things happen (regardless of the outcome of Fale’s match), Goto is in the finals.
NOAH import Marufuji as a G1 Climax 26 A Block winner would be a shock to many as he was picked by only 3% of our pick’em participants to be in the spot. But, it can happen and it’s not too wild. It starts with Marufuji defeating Goto, a very do-able task. Unfortunately, Marufuji does not hold a tiebreaker over Fale so he would also need Tama Tonga to defeat his Bullet Club stablemate Bad Luck Fale as well as Okada defeating Tanahashi.
You think it’d be easy for Okada but think again. He may have the most confusing route to the G1 Climax 26 Finals. He beats Tanahashi in an epic match and he’s there, simple, right? The problem is, Okada took some bad losses throughout the tournament losing tiebreakers to Fale and Marufuji along the way. Not only will Okada have to defeat his legendary rival Tanahashi but he also needs Tonga to pull off a huge upset over Fale and for his CHAOS stablemate Goto to defeat Marufuji. Okada has been known to do the impossible like Broadway Joe so we’ll see if can pull it out again this year.