If you would like to gander at the document from which this article is based, and which yearly stretches the author to a molecular level of sanity, please follow this link.

More G1 than G1

We’ve written for years now about the fervent transformation of the Best of the Super Juniors, nominally the Junior divisions G1 Climax, into a proper junior facsimile of the heavyweight tournament.

The effects of this year’s changes are, of course, interpretive. We personally loved the old G1 Climax vibe of seven double-block nights in eight days. Others were enervated and overwhelmed.  Likewise, we are not enamored with the Wild Card format where two wrestlers advance per block. We feel that it undermines the distinction of winning a block and vitiates the importance of the block final main event. Others are smitten with the peculiarity and capriciousness resulting from so many different scenarios.

The G1 Climax completely fucked over everything good and decent with their switch in 2022 to a format of four blocks, exacerbated by their helplessly detached, glacial, momentum-less scheduling. Maybe tossing a certain irascible dickhead into the basement wasn’t the best idea, if the result was mixed block nights with one match per block, per night. It was dreadful.

Best of the Super Juniors might have recaptured something of their own tradition with the four-man mini-tournament final format, but they also revitalized the G1 Climax tradition as well. Double block nights, and the crucial consequence of them:  equal pacing. Let alone the average match time of 9:44. When was the last time the G1 Climax had a match average that low?

Who knows (we actually do know)? My data only goes back to 2010. And going back to 2010, the shortest G1 Climax average match length was 10:22 in 2011.

Making Sense of Best of the Super Juniors 30’s Final Nights

For the projected volatility of the Wild Card system, it actually ends up being fairly easy deciphering the critical match-ups and potential avenues of each block. It really comes down to two things: Lio Rush and Mike Bailey in the A Block, YOH and Master Wato in the B Block.

B Block
YOH and Master Wato

For the sake of the monthlies, here’s what YOH’s been up to this last fortnight:

If LIJ and TMDK weren’t filled to the brim with juniors, we’d say YOH’s performative Daffy Duck eccentricities would fit well with either group. But he’ll probably just be a living art installation in the amorphous meta-unit CHAOS. He actually requested that KEVIN Knight join CHAOS after their match on May 2, suggesting that the most demonstratively odd thing about YOH’s new character is that he still views CHAOS as an actual group.

YOH and Master Wato are in a similar situation to Mike Bailey and Lio Rush: one of them is going through. Bailey and Rush had the advantage of a head-to-head match-up to guarantee a place for one of them. But YOH and Wato are, contextually, nearly as assured. Here’s how:

If One of the Two Win

If one wins and the other loses, the winner reaches 14 and can only be reached by El Desperado. The winner is automatically in. What happens with the loser is where things get interesting.

If YOH wins and Master Wato loses:

  • YOH wins the block with 14 points
  • If El Desperado and Robbie Eagles draw
    • Desperado advances with 13 points
    • Wato is eliminated with 12 points
    • Robbie Eagles is eliminated with 11 points.
  • If El Desperado defeats Robbie Eagles
    • El Desperado advances with 14 points.
    • Wato is eliminated with 12 points
    • Eagles is eliminated with 10 points

But none of that matters, because:

  • If Robbie Eagles defeats El Desperado, we have an unbreakable three way tie at twelve between Desperado, Eagles, and Wato.
    • Desperado would have a win over Wato and loss to Eagles
    • Eagles would have a win over Desperado and loss to Wato
    • Wato would have a win over Eagles and loss to Desperado
    • Rejected for not being realistic.

So right there, we can eliminate the idea of YOH winning and Master Wato losing. The possibility of an unbreakable tie totally shatters this option. If YOH wins, you can almost certainly ensures that Wato will win as well, lest they sully all their good will with a totally fucked cauldron of convoluted nonsense.

If Master Wato wins and YOH  loses:

  • El Desperado defeats Robbie Eagles
    • El Desperado wins the block with 14 points
    • Wato is second place, tied with 14 but losing the tiebreaker.
    • YOH is eliminated with 12 points and Eagles with 10 points
  • If Robbie Eagles defeats El Desperado
    • Wato wins the block outright at 14 points.
    • Eagles advances at 12 points with wins over both YOH and Despy.

This one makes a lot more sense. Scenario number two seems very logical.

If YOH and Wato Both Win

The first part of this is simple: if YOH and Wato both win, YOH wins the block. He would have 14 points, and hold all the tiebreakers (wins over Wato and Desperado). Eagles would be eliminated, four points behind and unable to catch them. Because, if:

  • El Desperado defeats Robbie Eagles, we would have a three-way tie at 14 between YOH, Desperado, and Wato.
    • YOH would advance with wins over both Desperado and Wato (2-0)
    • Desperado would advance with a win over Wato and loss to YOH (1-1)
    • Wato would be eliminated with losses to both YOH and Despy (0-2)
    • This is how any tie between the three would play out whether at 12, 13, or 14 points. Nice and clean.
  • If Robbie Eagles defeats El Desperado
    • YOH and Wato advance with 14 points (YOH wins the block by tiebreaker)
    • Eagles and Desperado both eliminated at 12 points
  • This is lightly repudiated because it makes zero sense for Eagles to be eliminated before the Eagles-Despy match even takes place. This isn’t like Titan the night before, where there was a  chance he could be eliminated before is match. Robbie Eagles was the champion within the last two years.

There Is a Light and It Never Should Go Out Before the Main Event Begins, Part II

We noted in the A Block preview how, from 2010-2014, there was a very peculiar trend, one that happened almost every single block. Wrestlers in block final matches were often eliminated from winning a block—but not from advancing—before their match began. As in, the fucking final match of the block. The stakes of the block final match: WHO amongst these modern gladiators will take second place. Even recently this happened, and to Robbie Eagles himself (2021). But that was a unorthodox single block pandemic Best of the Super Juniors, and, again, Eagles wasn’t totally eliminated, he just couldn’t win the block.

What we don’t see, in any fashion, is someone eliminated entirely before the final match. Not in 2010-2014, at least. Not with a playoff final format.

There is one example of this happening: the 2017 B Block, which we have noted before as some of the most fanciful fucking booking the Gedo Era has unleashed. Going into the final night, every single wrestler in the block was tied.  Three guys won their matches on the undercard to eliminate Volador Jr.—remember, this was well into the single-match-final era. KUSHIDA then Volador to win the block outright. If KUSHIDA lost, fucking BUSHI would have won the block from the opening block match.

Funny enough, they did the everyone-is-tied bollocks in 2014’s B Block, as well. All eight wrestlers entered the final night with 6 points, with Ryusuke Taguchi vs. El Desperado as the block final match. Nick Jackson and Taichi won underneath to eliminate El Desperado’s chances of winning the block, he still had a chance to advance when the block final match began. But that was 2014 Despy, and 2014 Despy was not the ruthless motherfucker we saw at Korakuen on May 21st. He lost to Taguchi, who took second place (Alex Shelley had already won the block from underneath).

And so, even if we go back to the wild booking of the pre-single match final era, block final match participants were protected in some way. No one—besides Volador Jr.— is totally eliminated before their block final match. Robbie Eagles will not be a Volador Jr. Not legally, anyway.

If YOH and Wato Both Lose

This is where things get interesting. If YOH and Wato both lose, the status quo is maintained momentarily. Then it all comes down to Desperado v. Eagles:

  • If Desperado and Eagles draw,
    • Desperado advances with 13 points
    • YOH advances with 12 points, holding the tiebreaker over Wato
  • If Desperado defeats Eagles
    • Despy wins the block at 14 points.
    • YOH advances, tied with Wato at 12 and holding the tiebreaker
  • If Eagles defeats Desperado, get a load of this:
    • We have a four way tie at 12 points, and it is not unbreakable
    • Eagles advances with wins over YOH and Desperado
    • YOH advances with wins over Desperado and Wato
    • Desperado is eliminated, having a win over Wato but losses to both Eagles and YOH
    • Wato is eliminated, having a win over Wato but losses to both YOH and Desperado
    • In this situation, Robbie Eagles comes from the brink to win the block, having the tiebreaker over YOH

If YOH and Wato Both Draw

Fuck off, we’re not doing this.

My Favorite German Band? (Robbie Robbie Robbie) Neu! Neu! Neu!

Considering the stature of the participants it would be ludicrous if Robbie Eagles was eliminated before the match begins. But will it be winner-take-all (Wato and YOH both lose)? The history suggests no.

As noted in the A Block preview, from 2010-2014, 16 out of 20 wrestlers in the block final match had no chance of winning the block when the match began. If New Japan reverts to this booking style, now that they’ve reverted to a playoff final, Wato and YOH should lose. But, more likely, they’ll simply amalgamate the newer booking trends with the old format.

In the 2015-2022 single-match final era, there were 14 block finals (with only one block in 2020 and 2021). Seven times out of 14 the block final match was winner-take-all. 50%. That jumps to four out of six times since 2019. 67%. Compare that to the G1 Climax over the same period: 16 out of 18 times. 89%. We’re not kidding, they really just do the exact same thing in the G1 Climax every year.

Let’s run with the idea that Robbie goes into the match with Despy with a chance to win the block. What chances does he have, then?

The come-from-behind victory is definitely a G1 Climax thing. They do that relentlessly. Just looking at 2015-2022, they did the come-from-behind winner narrative 11 out of 18 times in the G1 Climax. 61% of the time. And make no mistake, when they do it, they do it. Wrestlers that come into the block final match leading their opponent have an abysmal record: 1-9-1 (with two extra matches where the leading wrestler faced someone already eliminated).

Best of the Super Juniors? 3 out of 14 times with come-from-behind block victories, 21%. And two of those times happened just last year. Before that, only once in 12 block finals had a come from behind victory in the block final. They’ve had as many block final matches where both wrestlers were mathematically eliminated (2015B).

B Block Summary

So the B Block really has two possible scenarios:

  • Wato wins, YOH loses, and the winner of Desperado v. Eagles advances (with Wato either winning the block or merely advancing)
  • Wato and YOH both lose, and winner of Desperado v. Eagles wins the block (with YOH advancing)

Final Predictions

As we noted, history can only take us so far in this case. Past trends provide some intellectual support, but with a new format—and one so far removed from the last time it was used—we’re not sure how much it helps us. What will they retain from the past booking methods, if anything? Those questions will only be answered with the triumph or vanquishment of the four wrestlers analyzed above.

Like any historical thesis, any rubric, or any attempt to STEM the liberal arts, all you’re really doing in the end is finding a fancy, technical excuse for your own capriciousness. It still comes down to educated conjecture. Historical methods and criticism favors the bold, and that is why Simon Schaama is better than any literary writer that has ever lived.

B Block Predictions:

Block Winner: El Desperado

  • As shown in his last three matches, Desperado is a truly special talent that is aging magnificently. He drew favorable matches out of Clark Connors and Dan Moloney when both of those guys were floundering. His match with Francesco Akira at Korakuen Hall was breathtaking, Despy willing Akira into the passions of the crowd and Akira meeting the challenge with panache. Despy is the Ace Understudy, and if they are going to have a semi-finals in Tokyo, they probably won’t leave him out, either.
  • And let it be known here, Eagles vs. Despy is most difficult choice of Best of the Super Juniors 30. Because Eagles lost on Night 8 and Desperado won, we are extremely reticent to even make a choice. We don’t want to appear clownish, but there is no erudite dance around this. It’s a coin flip.
  • Both choices has merits and detriments. Both, for instance, would be considered a match worthy of Yoyogi. But,why waste Desperado v. Hiromu VIII  on a semi-final? And in that case, Desperado has to win. It was be audacious, but I do not forsee them booking Hiromu in the Super Juniors finals. He would have to lose, and then beat the winner at a Dominion re-match. That doesn’t seem like a galvanizing path.
  • Likewise, Robbie just challenged unsuccessfully only a month-and-a-half ago. Do they go back to that match so soon? Or is this where Eagles gets his win back, before losing in the final? That question haunts us. Robbie has never wrestled Lio Rush or Mike Bailey, just for the record.

Block Wild Card: Master Wato

  • More needs to happen for Wato to advance than other, but every since he was pinned by Hiromu on January 4th, we have been marching towards a return engagement at Dominion. This time Wato has the chance to face Hiromu one-on-one. The January 4th four-way brought Wato to another level; assuredly, a singles with Hiromu would amplify that sentiment.

Addendum: The Realistic Outright Win (and Advance) Scenario

If you’re interested, here is the unfortunately exhaustive 2023 ROWS and ROAS for the 2023 Best of the Super Juniors:

The Realistic Outright Win Scenario

The Realistic Outright Win Scenario (ROWS) is the sequence of events that must happen for a wrestler to be the sole winner of a block.

“Realistic,” in this case, means that we only acknowledge events that are likely to happen. “Unrealistic” events are those that would confuse or antagonize the fans, and thus would be illogical to book.

ROWS follows these two basic concepts:

  •   Unbreakable ties are unrealistic; one winner will emerge as the victor of a block
  •   Each match on the final night will result in positive points of some kind; Outright Win Scenarios that require zero-point contests are therefore considered unrealistic.
    • Double-countouts were previously viewed as unrealistic, thought to be a zero-point “no-contest” type finish. Shingo Takagi v. Yujiro Takahashi proved this incorrect in 2021. DCO’s are worth one point.
    • It is uncertain whether double-disqualifications would be treated the same.

The Realistic Outright Advance Scenario

The Realistic Advance Scenarios (ROAS) is the sequence of events that must happen for a wrestler to advance out of a block without winning the block, when two or more wrestlers can advance from a block. It follows the same precept as ROWS



  •     B Block
    • In Block Final Match: El Desperado at 12 points
      • Realistic Outright Win Scenario: To win the block, El Desperado needs to defeat Robbie Eagles and have YOH lose or draw. He could also win the block by drawing Robbie Eagles and having both YOH and Master Wato lose.
        •  El Desperado holds the tiebreaker over Master Wato
        • El Desperado has already lost to YOH.
      • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Win Scenario: If El Desperado wins, he advances
      • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Loss Scenario: El Desperado could not advance with a loss. If El Desperado lost, he would lose on tiebreakers to both YOH and Robbie Eagles
      • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Draw Scenario: Robbie Eagles could advance with a draw. If El Desperado drew and Master Wato lost or drew, El Desperado would advance
    • In Block Final Match: Robbie Eagles with 10 points
      • Realistic Outright Win Scenario: Robbie Eagles trails Master Wato by two points and has already lost to him
        • Robbie Eagles could not realistically win the block.
      • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Win Scenario: If Robbie Eagles wins, he advances if YOH lose
        • Robbie Eagles holds the tiebreaker over YOH
        •  Robbie Eagles has already lost to Master Wato
      • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Loss Scenario: Mike Bailey could not advance with a loss. If Robbie Eagles lost he would trail El Desperado, YOH, and Master Wato.
      • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Draw Scenario: Mike Bailey could not advance with a draw. If Robbie Eagles drew he would trail El Desperado, YOH, and Master Wato.
    • In Block Final Match: YOH at 12 points
      • Realistic Outright Win Scenario: To win the block, YOH needs to defeat Yoshinobu Kanemaru. He could also win the block if he draws Yoshinobu Kanemaru and both El Desperado and Master Wato lose.
        • YOH holds the tiebreakers over El Desperado and Master Wato
        • YOH has already lost to Robbie Eagles, but holds a two-point advantage over him
    • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Win Scenario: If YOH wins, he wins the block outright.
    • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Loss Scenario: YOH could advance with a loss. If YOH loses and both Robbie Eagles and Master Wato lose, YOH advances.
    • b: Hiromu Takahashi could advance with a draw. If YOH draws and either El Desperado or Master Wato lose or draw, YOH advances.
  • In Block Final Match: Master Wato at 12 points
    • Realistic Outright Win Scenario: To win the block, Master Wato needs to defeat Kevin Knight and have both El Desperado and YOH either lose or draw. He could also win the block if he draws Kevin Knight and both El Desperado and YOH lose.
      • Master Wato holds the tiebreaker over Robbie Eagles
      • Master Wato has already lost to El Desperado and YOH
    • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Win Scenario: If Master Wato wins and either El Desperado and YOH either lose or draw
    • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Loss Scenario: Master Wato could not advance with a loss. If Master Wato lost, he would lose on tiebreakers to YOH and El Desperado
    • Realistic Outright Advance-with-Draw Scenario: Master Wato could not advance with a draw. If Master Wato drew and either El Desperado and YOH lost, Master Wato would advance

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