The thing I love most about hosting our annual G1 Climax 29 Pick’Em contest (which, by the way, if you haven’t entered yet you need to before July 6) is being able to dive into the data of our contest predictors and see what we can find out. This year offers one of the most unique datasets with a few potential G1 Climax winners, a grab bag of probable block winners and the inclusion of two juniors in Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi that can throw the whole G1 Climax for a loop.
Before we begin I encourage you to read Andrew Rich’s massive G1 Climax preview to get an idea of all the major players in this year’s tournament as well as some background on the tournament itself. Once you’ve done that, we can begin here looking at data from our nearly 600 pick’em entrants.
Most Lopsided Match
This one is pretty self-explanatory: the G1 Climax 29 matches with the most lopsided/one-sided predictions. There were a few contenders this year including Tetsuya Naito being favored by 91.1% over Toru Yano on July 13, Kota Ibushi being a 92% favorite against EVIL on July 14 as well as two unfortunate picks for Lance Archer with Kazuchika Okada (93.5%) and Kota Ibushi (92.3%) being heavily-favored over the former Killer Elite Squad member.
There was one match that stood above the rest in this year’s Most Lopsided Match: Jon Moxley over Taichi on July 13. Our pick’em participants overwhelming went with Moxley in this one to the tune of 96.4%… think about that: nearly 97% of our 600ish pick’em entrants chose Moxley to defeat Taichi on July 13. My reaction was shock as I think there are several matches throughout the tournament that seem like more obvious wins than Moxley over Taichi. While I picked Moxley to defeat Taichi, I would absolutely listen to an argument that Taichi could beat Moxley on that night. If that does occur, there’s a pocket of pick’em participants that will have a heavy advantage that night over their competitors.
The flip side of our most lopsided match looks at the match with the closest odds. The inclusion of former Pro Wrestling NOAH and NXT star KENTA has added a wrench to this year’s G1 Climax and it shows in the voting patterns of our pick’em participants. KENTA currently has three matches in the running for the closest match with his August 10 match against Zack Sabre Jr. being split 51.2%/48.3% in favor of KENTA. On July 30, KENTA’s match over SANADA has a 51.7%/47.8% split—again in favor of KENTA. But all of these pale in comparison to the closest match in this year’s pick’em: the July 27 match between KENTA and Okada. At the time of this writing, that match has a 49.5%/48.3% split with the slightest of edges going to KENTA.
Other contenders for this year’s closest match are the July 15 match between Juice Robinson (51%) and Hirooki Goto (48.6%), the July 18 match between Hiroshi Tanahashi (51.7%) and Sabre Jr. (47.9%) and lastly July 19’s Tomohiro Ishii (51.2%) vs. Moxley (48.1%) match.
If there’s one thing Voices of Wrestling G1 Climax Pick’Em participants love: it’s a draw. This year 614 draws in total were predicted for the tournament. For reference, there has been only one draw per year in the last three G1 Climax tournaments. They don’t happen very often… but hey, don’t tell that to our pick’em participants!
This year two matches stood above the rest in terms of generating the most draw picks: Okada vs. Tanahashi from the opening night of the G1 Climax tournament in Dallas and Okada vs. Ibushi on the final A Block night (August 10). Currently, the opening night Okada/Tanahashi match has 13% of participants thinking it’ll end in a draw. That number rockets up to 20.2% for the Okada vs. Ibushi tilt.
Okada Post-G1 Climax Title Defenses
One of the coolest aspects of NJPW’s G1 Climax tournament is the buildup of future matches via wins in the tournament. The eventual winner of the G1 Climax briefcase will often defend his Wrestle Kingdom title shot over guys that beat him throughout the tournament. The same typically occurs with the incumbent IWGP Heavyweight Champion, who will defend his title against anyone who beat him during the G1 Climax. This year, current champion Okada is heavily-favored to win all but two of his matches with the lone exceptions being the July 27 match against KENTA and the aforementioned A Block final night against Ibushi. If our predictors are accurate, we’ll see two awesome Okada main event title defenses in the coming months.
A Block Winner
Despite several picks for A Block winner including KENTA, EVIL, SANADA, Sabre Jr. and Okada, three names emerged as heavy-favorites to win the A Block. Tanahashi’s 7.9% puts him firmly in third. Junior Will Ospreay, surprisingly, comes in second among our pick’em participants with 8.6% thinking “The Aerial Assassin” can win his respective block.
The overwhelming favorite, though, to come out of the A Block is Ibushi who currently has 64.7% of pick’em participants pegging him for an A Block championship.
B Block Winner
Like the A Block, the B Block features another heavy favorite in Naito who received 73.8% picks to win the block. In a very distant second is Jay White who sits at 19.3%. Other folks picked to win the B Block in small numbers are Ishii, Cobb, Goto, Moxley, Shingo and Taichi.
G1 Climax 29 Champion
Now, this is where things get interesting. We know that Naito and Ibushi are heavy favorites to win their blocks but who emerged as the favorite to win the entire G1 Climax? It’s probably more lopsided than you think with 54.6% of participants building to another Okada/Naito Wrestle Kingdom main event. This would put a cap on a multi-year story of Naito working his way back to Wrestle Kingdom and finally, definitively defeating Okada for the title. Still, 31.3% of our pick’em participants are feeling the newly-contracted Ibushi to finally take his rightful place atop NJPW.
While those two seem like and are the overwhelming favorites to win G1 Climax 29, we did receive quite a few additional picks for tournament champion. While this may be people trying to play the game and have a better chance at prizes via surprising picks some of these are… yeah… don’t bet your house on any of these names I’m going to mention. Anyway, additional people to receive picks for G1 Climax 29 champion are Cobb (Jeff Cobb Tokyo Dome main eventer!?!), White, Moxley, Taichi, Ospreay, SANADA, Sabre Jr, KENTA, Okada, Tanahashi and Shingo.
Average G1 Climax 29 Match Time
We ask each pick’em participant to give us a G1 Climax Final match time to help break up any potential tiebreakers. This works two-fold as it’s also a fun exercise to see how long people think that match is going to go. This year the average time predicted is 46:49! Nearly 50 minutes to decide the G1 Climax 29 champion?!
For reference, last year’s final went 35 minutes, the longest G1 Final in history. In 2017 Naito and Kenny Omega set their own record at 34:35. To date, no G1 Climax final has gone above 40 minutes. Could this be the year that finally breaks that threshold? If we look at the chart below plotting G1 Climax Final match times, you’ll see a clear and steep rise in G1 Climax Final match times over the last decade.
Additional Fun Facts/Stats
- As you can assume, both Ibushi and Naito were picked to have the most victories throughout the tournament with Naito coming in at 7.58 wins during the tournament and Ibushi slightly under at 7.32. Archer, who will be returning to the G1 Climax for the first time in a handful of years, is predicted to have the lowest amount of total wins at 1.91, that’s even below G1 lynchpin and comedy act Toru Yano who is pegged for 2.05 wins.
- The highest variation in win totals predicted is surprisingly Ibushi who is predicted by some to sweep the entire G1 while others have the block favorite at only one victory. Ospreay and Shingo are both close in variation with Ospreay win totals ranging from nine all the way to one. Similarly, Shingo has win totals predicted at nine and even a few zeros.
You have until the opening bell of G1 Climax 29’s opening night (July 6) to get your pick’em entries in. We will not accept any entries past this point so if you want a chance to win great prizes from our contest sponsors, this is your last reminder. Sign-up today at voicesofwrestling.com/g1pickem.