If you scan the current leaders in the A and B Blocks for NJPW’s G1 Climax 29 you’ll notice some peculiar surprising names sitting at the top of their respective blocks.
Both Lance Archer and Jon Moxley have four points. Juice Robinson—who only had 6 points in total last year—is also tied for first in his block with four. Tomohiro Ishii, a yearly underperformer in the summer tournament, has four himself.
If we bring our attention to the bottom of each block, well, that’s where the real shock comes.
There’s a three-way tie for last place in the A Block right now as Hiroshi Tanahashi, Zack Sabre Jr. and Kota Ibushi are tied for dead last with zero points. Zero?! Really? For those guys? It’s true. The B Block also features a three-way tie for last place. While Jeff Cobb is one of those, this article won’t be about him (sorry Jeff). Rather it’s about the other two names with zero points in the B Block: Tetsuya Naito and Jay White.
Ibushi, Tanahashi, Sabre Jr., Naito and White all have zero points through four nights of the G1 Climax. How insane is that? How unpredictable? Nobody could have seen that coming, could they?
Thankfully, we run a G1 Climax Pick’Em contest so we can see just how unpredictable this scenario was. I want to give a special thanks to VOW Forum poster thechrissamsa for the inspiration on doing this research as they asked on our forums:
So, who had Ibushi, Tanahashi, ZSJ, Naito, and Jay White all with 0 points through the first 4 nights?
Starting at the top with Ibushi, only 53 VOW Pick’Em contestants (6%) had Ibushi with zero points through Night 4. Tanahashi’s goose egg was the most predictable as 42% (354) entrants had Tana striking out on his first two G1 Climax 29 matches. In a similar ballpark to Tanahashi, 193 Pick’Em contestants (23%) predicted the British import losing his first two matches.
Now, we get to the real rarities.
White had only 53 entrants (6%) choose him to go 0-2 but the real shocker to everyone is Naito, the presumed G1 Climax 29 favorite, now stuck tied for dead-last in his block. Only 26 VOW Pick’Em contestant (3%) saw Naito losing both of his first two G1 Climax 29 matches.
Now to thechrissamsa’s original question: who had all five going 0-fer to start the tournament?
Unfortunately, nobody. Yeah, nobody was bold enough to call for the shock of all shock and have two tournament favorites, a multiple-time tournament winner, a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and one of NJPW’s most-pushed gaijin wrestlers at zero points through four nights.
We did, however, have one entry that had the five men winning a combined one match. Surprisingly this person chose White to be the lone victor among the five with Ibushi, Tanahashi, Sabre Jr. and Naito being picked to lose. So close!
On the flip side, nobody choose all five men to do clean sweeps of their first two G1 Climax 29 matches. 14 people did pick the combination to win 9/10 and 87 pegged them to go at least 8/10.
Now, we all know that once the tournament winds down both Naito and Ibushi will either be in the mix or outright win their blocks. Likewise, the chances of any of these five being at or near the bottom of their respective blocks by the time the tournament ends are very low.
Quickly, let’s look at the shocking block leaders right now: Archer, KENTA, Moxley, Ishii and Robinson (we’ll include Okada too just to be fair).
Surprisingly 290 Pick’Em entrants (34%) thought the reinvigorated Archer would go 2/2. Similarly, 30% (252) of Pick’Em contestants pegged the former NOAH and NXT star KENTA to be perfect through two. While those aren’t huge numbers by any means, they aren’t total shocks.
As mentioned Okada will be in this exercise just for fairness but to my surprise, Okada wasn’t a heavy favorite to go 2/2 as only 352 Pick’Em participants (42%) had him perfect at this point.
Nobody was quite certain what we’d see in-ring from Moxley during his first G1 Climax but the idea of him winning his first two matches was all but set in stone. 691 total participants (82%) picked the FKA Dean Ambrose to be perfect through two.
I spoke early about chronic G1 Climax underperformer Ishii being one of the biggest shocks atop the block and that seems to hold true as only 83 Pick’Ems (10%) had The Stone Pitbull at 2/2.
Lastly, Robinson who nursed a broken hand through much of last year’s G1 Climax came into this year much healthier and looked poised to perform far better. Or, well, at least I thought so. Juice, like Ishii, didn’t have much confidence among our Pick’Em contestants to be perfect through his first two matches as only 89 folks (10%) picked the clean sweep for Juice.
Overall, just one Pick’Em participant picked these six men to be perfect through the first four nights. Safe to say that person is very happy with their picks so far!
Like our zero score folks, things will no doubt change on the top of the blocks. Archer, for as great as he’s been so far, won’t be in contention for the block win. Robinson and Ishii are nice stories now but both men will find themselves in the middle of the pack by the tournament’s end. The early momentum for KENTA, Okada and Moxley is definitely not surprising as the two while not tournament favorites, all figure to play important roles in the top of their respective blocks with all three having a chance to even emerge as block champion.
This article was small sample size theater at its finest but still a fun exercise to see how unpredictable the first four nights of the G1 Climax 29 have been.
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