We’ve reached the denouement of another set of G1 Climax blocks, and as we have done in the past, we look back to the history of the tournament, and the final night scenarios of each year, for guidance. And this year, it’s pretty simple:

We have no fucking clue. There’s almost no history from which to draw.

Gedo and Co. took over as booker, as noted in this seemingly innocuous blurb from a September 2008 Wrestling Observer:

Gedo & Jado have achieved their dream as they are now booking the promotion. They and Jushin Liger are running the shows. Riki Choshu no longer has any involvement in the booking and is strictly talent. Liger apparently was the impetus in Choshu being out.

Since then, they have redefined G1 Climax booking. Before them, it was a hodgepodge of frustration and deflation. There were many awesome G1 Climaxes before them, for sure, but the booking was atrocious. Anything beyond a cursory glance reveals a bounty of missed opportunities, slapdash scrambling, and outright fucking lunacy. Just malfeasance.

Gedo & Co. Essentially Invent Good G1 Climax Booking

Gedo & Co. established the G1 Climax pattern that has brought the company to unprecedented international heights:

  • Two blocks
  • One advance per block, one match final
  • Winner take-all block final matches
  • Come-from-behind block victories, both over the course of the tournament and on the final night itself

But the two-block, one-match-final is not the only way they’ve booked the G1 Climax. Their first G1 Climax in 2009 was, indeed, two-advance with a four man mini-tournament final. As we’ll note below, they already showed the trademark booking patterns that would galvanize the company, with a winner-take-all final in one block…

They also booked an unbreakable tie in the other block, and solved it with a coin flip.

It can’t be stressed enough how much cleaner and more exciting they made final nights. Previously, G1 Climaxes were replete with block final matches for second place, wrestlers in the block final match eliminated before the match began, wrestlers clinching the block before the final night, and dopey, DOPEY fucking booking. 

Take 2005’s A Block, one of the most tortuous blocks to scrutinize:

  • In the block final match was Hiroyoshi Tenzan at 8 points. He had lost to Toshiaki Kawada but lost to Masahiro Chono
  • Also in the block final match was Yuji Nagata at 6 points. He had lost to Kawada and Chono, so he was eliminated before the night even began, in the block final match. Oy vey
  • Kawada and Chono both sat at 8 points, and did not face each other.

The way it played out: Kawada won, Cho… Ok let’s stop there. Already, Tenzan has been eliminated from winning the block. Now, our block final match is between Nagata, a guy that has no chance of even advancing, and Tenzan, who is playing for 2nd place. Chono won, and then Nagata spoiled Tenzan.

Compare this to 2019’s A Block:

  • A-Block
    • In Final Block Match: Kazuchika Okada at 14
      • To win, Kazuchika Okada needed to defeat or draw Kota Ibushi.
    • In Final Block Match: Kota Ibushi at 12
      • To win, Kota Ibushi needed to defeat Kazuchika Okada.
    • RESULT: Kota Ibushi defeated Kazuchika Okada. Kota Ibushi won the block, tied with Kazuchika Okada at 14 points.

Sure, you knew from Day 1, before a match even happened, that Okada and Ibushi would be a winner-take-all for the block. What was sacrificed? Nothing! A bunch of mid-tour nights that were serviceable at best. Obviously, it’s great that they diffused the matches this year, which solved the Dog Days of G1 dilemma, but that was at the detriment to the opening and closing nights.

Two-Advance vs. One-Advance

Two-advance is a much more complicated system historically than one-advance. With one-advance, you pretty much have to win to advance. With two-advance, there were scenarios every year where a guy could advance with a draw, or even a loss. They could lose but still claim second place. Two-advance kinda sucks, but it does give more options.

What we sacrifice is the beauty of the one match final. The two competitors carry the weight of accumulated credibility for their entire block into that match. In the direct elimination tableau, that credibility is dampened. Just as we saw in this year’s Best of the Super Juniors. No doubt, DOUKI gained something by beating Mike Bailey, and Titan gained something by beating El Desperado, both in high profile matches..

But couldn’t the same have been accomplished in the block final nights, with strong block final main events? Those are equally as high profile. Perhaps we’re just clinging to the idea that winning a G1 Climax block should mean something, a status symbol that carries the avoirdupois of a block finalist.

Anyway, we’re going to put our predictions up front. They are based on historical precedents, partially described below, the context of this G1 Climax, the paths opened or closed by each final block night result, and potential match-ups in the 8-man playoff.

G1 Climax 33 Final Night Match Cards and Historically Rock Solid Unimpeachable Predictions

A Block

  • Yota Tsuji (5) vs. Gabe Kidd (5)
  • Ren Narita (4) vs. Kaito Kiyomiya (6)
  • SANADA (12) vs. Chase Owens (4)
  • Shota Umino (6) vs. Hikuleo (6)

Our Prediction

  • Ren Narita defeats Kaito Kiyomiya

  • Shota Umino Umino defeats Hikuleo

  • 1st Place: SANADA

  • 2nd Place: Shota Umino

B Block

  • YOSHI-HASHI (4) vs. KENTA (4)
  • Taichi (6) vs. Great-O-Khan (4)
  • Kazuchika Okada (10) vs. Tanga Loa (6)
  • Will Ospreay (8) vs. El Phantasmo (6)

Our Prediction

  • Kazuchika Okada defeats Tanga Loa

  • Will Ospreay defeats ELP

  • 1st Place: Kazuchika Okada

  • 2nd Place: Will Ospreay

C Block

  • Tomohiro Ishii (2) vs. Mikey Nicholls (4)
  • Tama Tonga (7) vs. HENARE (4)
  • David Finlay (8) vs. Edie Kingston (8)
  • EVIL (8) vs. Shingo Takagi (7)

Our Prediction

  • HENARE defeats Tama Tonga

  • David Finlay defeats Eddie Kingston

  • Shingo Takagi defeats EVIL (though we’re really hoping for EVIL, just for the fallout)

  • 1st Place: David Finlay

  • 2nd Place: Shingo Takagi

D Block 

  • Toru Yano (4) vs. Alex Coughlin (4)
  • Jeff Cobb (8) vs. Shane Haste (4)
  • Zack Sabre Jr. (8) vs. Hirooki Goto
  • Tetsuya Naito (8) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (6)

Our Prediction

  • Shane Haste defeats Jeff Cobb

  • Zack Sabre Jr defeats Hirooki Goto (but, for avoiding safe picks and chalk finishes, we’re rooting for Goto, who can advance if he wins)

  • Tetsuya Naito defeats Hiroshi Tanahashi

  • 1st Place: Tetsuya Naito

  • 2nd Place: Zack Sabre Jr.


That’s how we believe things will play out. Here are some things that stand out in each block, that may or may not illuminate our perspective.

A Block: SANADA Has a Historically Great Run, Matching His Historically Great Crowd Reactions

Before the tournament began, there were many people galvanized by the sharp, strategic, and slightly shameless idea of the Reiwa Three Musketeers into one block, flanked by two same-age peers: an ostentatiously truculent Brit, and a former world champion whose better known for being ostentatiously obsequious to the calcified husk of Keiji Mutoh. Some speculated that SANADA, the champion, might not even make it out of his block in this, a two-advance year.

Those people are eating the whole ass on this one. SANADA is not only advancing, he’s already clinched the block by winning every one of his matches/

There have been 64 blocks in the 33 years of the G1 Climax. And thus, 64 people have won their block. Of that number, only three have ever clinched their block before the final night:

  • 1996 A Block: Riki Choshu, of all people. He clinched the A block by running the table, 4-0. He had a comfortable 4 points lead heading into the final night. This stands as the one and only time a block was clinched before the final night in a one-advance format. Choshu proved the stroke was still robust as he went on to defeat Chono in the final.
  • 2006 B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan. He held a two point lead on his closest competitor, Koji Kanemoto, but had already defeated the sour bastard. Tenzan went 5-0 in his block and ran through Giant Bernard and the his soul mate Satoshi Kojima, also-undefeated, in the final.
  • 2009 B Block: Shinsuke Nakamura. He held a four point lead over the pack. He had one of the most impressive tournaments ever record, running a 6-0 record in his block, before losing the final to Togi Makabe.

If you’re shouting at your screen about Masahiro Chono in 2002’s B Block, we have two things to clarify:

  • If you even know about this, we beg of you: please pitch Rich Kraetsch an offer to write articles like this one, and vow to keep your word limit under 5000, so Rich can toss us in the dustbin of history like the other longwinded fuckfaces.
  • We’ve thought about this a lot, and Chono doesn’t count. Chono technically clinched the block, because he had a one point lead over the pack and his final night opponent, Tadao Yasuda, had already medically withdrawn. This, Chono was guaranteed to go 3 points ahead of the field before they even had a match that night.
    • BUT… Chono wouldn’t get those points until the night began. The forfeit only happens during the show, not outside of it. And so, Chono didn’t officially clinch until the night began.

Anyway, the point here is that SANADA has done something that has only happened 6.25% of the time in the G1 Climax. Not only that, he’s the very first champion to ever clinch their block before the final night. He has gone 6-0 thus far to do so, and he will go into the final night with the largest lead in the history of the tournament.  

Even when wrestlers have dominated, there was always someone keeping pace:

  • In 2005, Kaz Fujita… well, for one, he actually fucking wrestled a G1 Climax. Previously, he had sat out the tournament twice… as champion both years. And no, there was no such tradition at the time as the champion sitting out the G1. Fujinami participated in the first G1 Climax as the champion. This was just dopey-ass Fujita, famous for getting his ass beat so badly by Ken Shamrock that Shamrock quit, thinking that his heart exploded as he teed off on Iron Head Fooj.
    • Of course, 2005 would be a performance 2022 Fujita would be proud of: 7-0 in the blocks. But even then, Shinsuke Nakamura kept pace, coming into the final night with 11 points to Fujita’s 12.. Their block final match was winner-take all, the only winner-take-all match for a block win in any two-advance G1 Climax. Fujitawon, on his way to a semi-final win over Toshiaki Kawada, and then a finals loss to Masahiro Chono.
  • In 2021, Jeff Cobb and Kazuchika Okada both teased running the table. Cobb went 8-0 before succumbing to Okada on the final night. However it played out, neither guy pulled away from each other (and, in fact, had a third wheel in EVIL breathing down their neck the whole time)

SANADA’s big question, now: can he go undefeated? It’s happened four times:

  • 1991 B Block: Masahiro Chono, who went 2-0-1, had to win a tiebreaker match against Shinya Hashimoto to determine the block winner, and then defeated Keiji Mutoh in the final.
  • 1996 A Block: Riki Choshu. See above.
  • 2000 B Block: Kensuke Sasaki. The 2000 G1 Climax was a mind-melting conflating of execrable decisions, the worst format in the history of the tournament, perhaps only eclipsed by its defective child, the 2022 G1 Climax. Sasaki won the B Block with a 3-0-1 record, defeated Yuji Nagata in the semi-finals, and then Manabu Nakanishi in the finals. He stands as the last champion to win the G1 Climax.
  • 2006 B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan. See above. 

If SANADA can pull this off, it will be the greatest feat in the tournament’s history. He would end up 10-0, going through three direct elimination bouts to do so.

A Block: A Battle of Alliances: The Hikuleo/Tsuji Compact v. the Shota/Kidd Syndicate

Yota Tsuji and Gabe Kidd are out. They both sit at 5 points, trailing several wrestlers who have 6 points. The dilemma is that two of those 6 point wrestlers face each other, and thus are guaranteed to get at least to 7 points, which is the limit of both Tsuji and Kidd. Whomever wins the bout would have to hope for a Hikuleo-Umino draw. But that is only a paper tiger of hope, because both Kidd and Tsuji come up short in any possible scenario:

  • In a three-way tie between Kidd, Umino, Hikuleo, Umino advances with the best record within the group, 1-0-1.
  • In a four-way tie between Kidd, Umino, Hikuleo, and Kaito Kiyomiya, Umino advances with the best record within the group, 1-0-2
  • §  In a three-way tie between Tsuji, Hikuleo, and Umino, Hikuleo advances with the best record within the group, 1-0-1.
  • §  In a four-way tie between Tsuji, Hikuleo, Umino, and Kaito Kiyomiya, Hikuelo advances with the best record within the group 2-0-1.

Notice a pattern there? While Tsuji and Kidd’s match has no relevance for their own fortunes, the outcome of their match has a very big impact of the potential second place finisher in the block. Basically, if Kidd wins then Umino is provided with a bounty of options to advance, because Kidd beat Hikuleo and lost to Umino. On the other hand, if Tsuji defeats Kidd, then the pathways open up for Hikuleo, since Tsuji beat Umino but lost to Hikuleo.

That’s why, even as the opening match, Tsuji v. Kidd is one you want to pay close attention to, and not just because of their shared history as pandemic Noge Dojo young lions, or because Kidd attacked Tsuji at the press conference, although those are certainly sturdier reasons than his egghead historical data charade. You’ll want to pay attention because the outcome of this match could start a domino effect which could decide who will face the winner of the D Block.

A Block: Kaito Kiyomiya, Shota Umino, Hikuleo, and the Ghoulish Spectre of 2002’s B Block

Listen, we know this is a long shot. It requires three different draws to happen on the A Block’s final night. There’s is almost zero chance this happens. But, because it is a possibility, we have to mention it, if only to jinx this fucking atrocity from every happening again.

If Tsuji and Kidd draw, they end up at 6 points. If Kaito Kiyomiya draws with Ren Narita, he reaches 7 points. If Hikuleo and Shota Umino then draw in the main event, they will tie Kiyomiya at 7 points. We then break the three-way tie between Kiyomiya, Umino, and Hikuleo thusly:

  • Kiyomiya has a 0-1-1 record within the group, having lost to Hikuleo and drawn with Umino
  • Umino has an incredible 0-0-2 record within the group, having drawn with both Kiyomiya and Hikuleo
  • Hikuleo would have a 1-0-1 record, having defeated Kiyomiya and drawn with Umino

Easy, Hikuleo advances, having the only win in the group, and thus the best record. Even if you went by a points system, Hikuleo would have 3 points, Umino would have 2 points, and Kiyomiya would have 2 points. Simple.

EXCEPT IT’S NOT SIMPLE AT ALL, because the historical precedent says so. Because this exact situation happened, back in 2002, and it’s a prime example of how G1 booking in the past was unspeakably frustrating, obtuse, and flat out fucking incomprehensible.

In the 2002 B Block, Masahiro Chono had a lead going into the final night, and his final night opponent, Tadao Yasuda, had medically withdrawn. And so, first place was essential clinched, and the battle was for second place. Here were the actors in this danse macabre:

  • Manabu Nakanishi, who had 3 points. He was facing Kenzo Suzuki on the final night. He had already defeated Yuji Nagata, and drawn with Osamu Nishimura
  • Yuji Nagata, who had 4 points. Nagata faced Osamu Nishimura in the block final match. Nagata had already been defeated by Nakanishi.
  • Osamu Nishimura, who had 4 points. Nishimura faced Nagata in the block final match. He had already drawn with Nakanishi, In fact, he would end up with three draws in the 2002 G1 Climax… out of five matches.

Nakanishi defeated Kenzo Suzuki to reach 5 points. Nagata and Nishimura drew in the block final match, leaving both tied with Nakanishi at 5 points. The three way tie was, at a cursory level, fairly self-evident. It was clearly a win for Nakanishi:

  • Nagata had a 0-1-1 record within the group, and was instantly eliminated.
  • Nishimura had a 0-0-2 record within the group
  • Nakanishi had a 1-0-1 record within the group

Any sane person would see this and conclude that, despite the Nakanishi v. Nishimura match having ended in a draw, obviously Nakanishi’s win outweighs Nishimura draws. He should have moved on. Of course, that was not the case. This was declared an unbreakable tie, and a tiebreaker match occurred. And, of course, the wretched course of life’s affairs, a demeaning exercise in futility and injustice, is replicated in this fake sport. Nishimura won this bogus tiebreaker match to advance to the tableau.

The odds of this happening in 2023 are incredibly slim. But, this is also the first time, in the 21 years since, that it’s even been a possibility for this scenario to be repeated. The fact that it has a chance to take place is opprobrious enough. If they follow through with it again, there’s no defending anything anymore. In wrestling, politics, the arts, just everything. Fuck all of it.

B Block: Taichi, Tanga Loa, and the Immaculate Beauty of the Any-Result-Eliminates

Tanga Loa and Taichi are two of the top effort guys in the tournament, and they’ve been rewarded by finally achieving some results. At 3-3, they are within 2 points of the lead. And, incredibly, they both have the tiebreaker over Will Ospreay, who firmly and single-handedly hold the #2 spot at 8 points. Things look pretty favorable to Tanga and Taichi.

They don’t have a fucking chance. They are literally incapable of advancing. Their tournaments are already over.

That’s because they both find themselves in our favourite of all final night scenarios, and one that has popped up continually throughout the years, especially under Gedo & Co.: the any-result-will-eliminate scenario, the “whatever happens in this match, you’re thoroughly fucked” situation that this booking regime loves to exploit.

It works like this:

  • Tanga Loa and Taichi are both at 6 points.
  • They have both defeated Will Ospreay, who is alone in 2nd place at 8 points
  • They are tied with ELP at 6 points, and have both lost to him
  • Because Ospreay and ELP face each other, there are three results:
    • Result # 1: Ospreay defeats ELP and moves to 10 points, either winning the block by tying Kazuchika Okada (and holding the head-to-head tiebreaker), or coming in second place, with 10 points to Okada’s 12.
    • Result #2: Ospreay and ELP draw. Ospreay takes second place with 9 points.
    • Result #3: ELP defeats Ospreay, and takes second place with 8 points, tied with Ospreay and holding the head-to-head tiebreaker
  • In result #1 and result #2, Will Ospreay ends up out of Taichi and Tanga Loa’s reach
  • In result #3, ELP ends up at 8 points with head-to-head tiebreakers over anyone who could end up at 8 points.

Between 2010 and 2022, there were twenty-five instances of this situation. If you’re really interested, they are: 2010A, 2011A, 2011A, 2012A, 2012B, 2012B, 2012B, 2013A, 2013B, 2013B, 2014A, 2015A, 2015A, 2015B, 2015B, 2017A, 2017A, 2018B, 2019B, 2019B, 2020B, 2021A, 2022A, 2022C, and 2022C. These represent 66% of all the Any-Result-Eliminate scenarios.

There are 14 other ones spread out. Only once have they done it in a single-advance tournament: twice in 1994A. In two-advance, it happened 13 times, sometimes for first place and sometimes for second place. Oddly, there were none in 2009, the first year Gedo & Co. booked a G1 Climax. This was something they certainly exploited when they went to one-advance, although it is not only found in one-advance tournaments.

14 other times, an Any-Result-Eliminates occurred in an advance-with-loss scenario, and we’re not counting that nonsense. Regardless of those, this isn’t something exclusive to single-advance tournaments, but they are significantly less impactful in two-advance.

B Block: Will Ospreay, El Phantasmo, and The Battle for Being Not as Good as That Other Guy

If Kazuchika Okada defeats Tanga Loa, the match between Will Ospreay and ELP will automatically become a winner-take-all for second place. It’s the strongest argument for Okada defeating Tanga Loa besides, ya know, that they fucking booked Kazuchika Okada vs. Tanga Loa for a block final night. 

If Okada somehow loses, Ospreay vs. ELP will still be winner-take-all, but Ospreay would be gunning for first place and ELP for second. Forget that scenario. Let’s focus on two wrestlers in a block final match vying for the same prize.

The one aspect of the 2010-2022 G1 Climaxes under the Gedo & Co. booking consortium that stands above all others: the winner-take-all final. They do it almost every single time.

In that time period, there were 28 blocks, with 56 block final match participants. Of those 28 blocks, 24 came down to winner-take-all block final matches. That would be 86% of the time. In fact, it’s easier to note which ones weren’t winner-take-all:

  • 2014A
    • One wrestler was mathematically eliminated in the match (Davey Boy Smith)
  • 2014B
    • One wrestler was mathematically eliminated in the match (Minoru Suzuki)
  • 2020A
    • One wrestler was mathematically eliminated in the match (Tomohiiro Ishii)
  • 2022A
    • One wrestler was mathematically eliminated by tiebreakers (ELP)

In three of those four cases, the eliminated wrestler defeated the block leader, playing the ultimate spoiler. Those leaders lost the block to someone outside the block final match. 

Of course, if both wrestlers in the block final match had a chance to win the block outright, they always started the match with the chance to win intact. Anyone outside the block final match with a tiebreaker over a wrestler in the block final match, those people are the most fucked people in G1 Climax history. In the 2010-2022 period, there were twenty-seven of those wrestlers. 

Their record? 0-27. Every one of them lost. Gedo & Co. were masters of this: setting up plausible possibilities and fomenting intrigue, then demolishing all of those possibilities one-by-one, clearing the way for a tidy winner-take-all block final match.

This is not inherent to the one-advance system. In the six years of one-advance before 2010, there were 14 blocks, and only 5 of them had a winner-take-all block final match. In fact, in one year, 1996A, both block final match wrestlers were eliminated. What in the fuck? Imagine that happening today, a one-advance block being decided before the final night. You’d be in that emerald green tracksuit the next fucking night.

“There’s No Real Advantage to Coming in First Place”

Winner-take-all matches were actually even less prevalent in two(and three)-advance G1 Climaxes before 2010. They did happen, but usually not for first place. More often, the final block match was for second place, which sounds lame, but ultimately the matches had stakes, and, as Joe Lanza pointed out in his daily audio, in a two-advance system there is no advantage to first place. It’s a fundamental reason why this concept sucks so professionally hard.

Looking at the two-advance nights, we see block final matches for second place the majority of the time. Over the 18 blocks that were two-advance prior to 2023, we see:

  • 4 block final matches that were, indeed, winner-take-all for second place (2002B, 2006B, 2007B, 2009B)
  • 4 block final matches between a wrestler vying for first place vs. a wrestler vying for second place (1995A, 1995B, 2002A, and 2007B)
  • 5 block final matches with an eliminated opponent, twice with opponents eliminated from advancing from an earlier result (remember, this has never happened under Gedo & Co.) 
  • 1 honest-to-God winter-take-all bout for first place and the outright block win (2005B, Fujita vs. Nakamura)

So, there’s equal precedent for either scenario for Ospreay vs. ELP. That said, Gedo & Co. had two chances to create this scenario in 2009, and they chose to run with it in one of their blocks. With their preference for clean winner-take-all matches since 2009, it’s highly suggested that Ospreay and ELP will be fighting for second place.

Of course, there is another block which could see a battle between a wrestler gunning for first vs. a wrestler gunning for second place, in the D Block. We’ll analyze that scenario later, but if it happens, abandon fucking ship.

D Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi’s One Chance, and The Most Fucked, Dog-brained, Capricious G1 Result in History

D Block is quite simple, really. Jeff Cobb, Tetsuya Naito, and Zack Sabre Jr. all sit at 8 points, and neither of them face each other. Thus, if all of them take care of business, we would end up with a three way tie that falls like dominos:

  • Jeff Cobb wins the block with a 2-0 record within the group
  • Tetsuya Naito takes second place, with a 1-1 record within the group
  • Zack Sabre Jr once again fails to emerge from a block, with a 0-2 record within the group.

And, of course, we can play around with any of the two-tied scenarios from this. Cobb over Naito, Cobb over Sabre, Naito over Sabre. In fact, everything really revolves around Jeff Cobb. His performance is what propels every scenario path in the block.

There’s some wacky but plausible ones. For instance, Hirooki Goto, Samurai Cosplayer Waterfall Fetishist Dopey Dad, could advance if he ends in a three way tie with Sabre and Cobb. If Sabre and Cobb both lose and Naito wins, Goto takes second place with a 2-0 record in that group. Not bad after he lost his status as the most persecuted dude to have his scrotum caved in from a Kojima elbow.


But the worst of all would be if Cobb, Sabre, and Naito all lose. That would result in a 5-way tie at 8 points, and this is how it plays out:

  • Cobb would win the block with a 3-1 record in the group
  • Sabre would be eliminated with a 1-3 record within the group
  • Goto, Tanahashi, and Naito would all be tied at 2-2
    • Tanahashi would prevail and take second place with a 2-0 record in that sub-group

And so, the Ace is not done. I mean, his body is fucking done. He moves worse than Honma. But his chances are still alive in this scenario, and only this scenario.

Here’s the problem: THAT SCENARIO IS FUCKING INSANE, convoluted, and has almost no bearing in the historical record. Almost. Because there is one instance, one corrosive, obscenely abominable result that we could cite: the 2004 A Block, a woeful conflation of some of the worst idea a G1 Climax has ever had, such as THREE ADVANCING PER BLOCK. OUT OF EIGHT. There was zero wiggle room, as they found out on the final night.

Ok, it’s only two bad ideas, but the amalgamation of them conspired for one godawful result. Here’s how it played out:

  • Yuji Nagata was in the block final match at 8 points
    • Yuji Nagata held the tiebreaker on Katsuyori Shibata and Genichiro Tenryu
    • Yuji Nagata had already lost to Shinsuke Nakamura and Masahiro Chono 
  • Minoru Suzuki was against Nagata in the block final match at 6 points
    • Suzuki had lost to a bunch of people and was eliminated by an earlier result
  • Shinsuke Nakamura and Masahiro Chono both had 8 points and faced each other
    • Shinsuke Nakamura held the tiebreaker over Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki
    • Shinsuke Nakamura had already lost to Katsuyori Shibata and Genichiro Tenryu
  • Katsuyori Shibata had 6 points
    • Katsuyori Shibata held the tiebreaker over Masahiro Chono, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Genichiro Tenryu
    • Katsuyori Shibata had already lost to Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki
  • Genichiro Tenryu had 6 points
    • Genichiro Tenryu held the tiebreaker over Masahiro Chono, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Minoru Suzuki
    • Genichiro Tenryu had already lost to Yuji Nagata and Katsuyori Shibata

Tenryu and Shibata both won to reach 8 points. Nakamura and Chono wrestled to a double count-out. And Nagata got spoiled by Suzuki. And so, we come down to a five way tie between Tenryu, Shibata, Nakamura, Chono, and Nagata.

But wait, how could that be? Shouldn’t Nakamura and Chono have reached 9 points due to the DCO draw? No, because this year, and in this one result, in all the results in G1 Climax history, gave 0 points for a double count-out.

Double Count-Outs in the G1: The Simple Made Infuriating

Actually, that’s not true. In 2000, they changed the point system to one point for wins, and 0 points for anything else. The year they tried four blocks, by the way. What a conflation of dumb fucking concepts. But as far as years where draws were worth a point, for some reason they decided that double count-out didn’t count in 2004. 

The only conclusion we can conjure is that they had no fucking clue what they were doing, they did not have the capacity to handle three-advance, and they got caught flat-footed going into the final night, because they did not want both Chono and Nakamura to advance. And so, they just make something the fuck up, since they hadn’t done a double count out that year.

By the way, there have been 15 double count outs in the G1 Climax, including the Kidd-Kiyomiya result from this year. If we toss out the three from 2000 that had zero points by rule, were left with 12. And, again, only once did they just upend orthodoxy. They totally fucked up the points and scrambled to cover it at the last second.

Anyway, here’s how 2004A played out:

  • Katsuyori Shibata won the block with a 3-2 record within the group, tied with Genichiro Tenryu and having held the head-to-head tiebreaker.
  • Genichiro Tenryu advanced in second placed, tied with Katsuyori Shibata with a 3-2 record within the group and having lost the head-to-head tiebreaker
  • Shinsuke Nakamura and Masahiro Chono were locked in an unbreakable tie for third place, with 2-2-1 records and having wrestled to a double count out draw Nakamura defeated Chono in a tiebreaker match to win 3rd place.
  • Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki were both eliminated with 2-3 records within the group

So, the obvious question: WHY? This was totally avoidable, but apparently they had enough foresight to want Nakamura to be the 3rd place finisher, and only the 3rd place finisher, but lacking the wherewithal to actually construct that situation through backwards design. Or any kind of fervent design. It’s not even like other years, where they just could have had someone win or lose to avoid the cluster, or to make the final result cleaner. This one was inherently fucked up.

It also stands as one of the few times they went to these secondary tiebreaker scenarios. That is, where they take the tied wrestlers and break them down into smaller ties, a sort of bastardized repechage until one wrestler prevails:

  • 2002B, as noted above
  • 2004A, as noted here
  • 2009A, which we’ll discuss later

We have gotten some dense tie scenarios in the 2010-2022 period, but they were exceptionally precise:

  • A SIX-WAY tie at 10 points in 2013B. Tetsuya Naito won the block with a 5-0 record within the group. It’s probably the most exceptional booking in G1 Climax history, a testament to the current regime’s intricate, delicate touch in handling a round robin tournament
  • A four-way tie in 2018B. Kota Ibushi famous beat Kenny Omega on the final night, to give him a 3-0 record within the group.

And so, even though we have seen Gedo & Co. do this, way back in 2009, it’s not going to happen here. If the tiebreaker scenario involves more than one layer, consider it unrealistic.

C Block: Tama Tonga, Shingo Takagi, and the Rancid, Radiating Open Sores of Unbreakable Ties

C Block is funny, because the most likely result is David Finlay, at 8 points, winning the block by defeating Eddie Kingston, even though in just about every tiebreaker scenario Finlay comes up short. The only way he advances is if he ties with EVIL at 8 or 9 points. Anything else and Finlay falls short, because he’s lost Shingo and Tama, both on his heels at 7 points.

And yet, we will probably see just that, because if Kingston defeats Finlay it would trigger a bounty of multi-layer tiebreaker scenarios like the ones listed above. And our conclusion remains the same: anything beyond “one guy in this group defeated everyone else” is unrealistic. Not impossible, but unrealistic. And fucking stupid. Like we said, abandon ship if this happens, because if they are willing to go that route we don’t want to see which avenues it opens up.

Anyway, the likely scenario is that Finlay wins and the Shingo-EVIL match becomes a winner-take-all for second, just like the Ospreay-ELP match. That would be fun because it would already establish a pattern for this booking crew in a two-advance system.

But for the sake of comfort, if EVIL-Shingo is for second place then that means that Tama Tonga has already lost. That’s comforting because if Tama Tonga wins, we have a very odious scenario brewing. This one is also found in the A Block, with Kaito Kiyoiya and Shota Umino:

The chance for an unbreakable tie, a tie between wrestlers who drew in their block match.

Obviously, this has never happened in the 2010-2022 era. Even the possibility of unbreakable ties were remote, limited to guys that were in the Any-Result-Eliminates boat, and could only induce an unbreakable three way tie. For example, Michael Elgin could have forced an unbreakable three-way tie with Tetsuya Naito and Kenny Omega back in 2016. Imagine the wrestling landscape if that fucking happened.

Unbreakable Ties, Broken Mental Spirits

We do see unbreakable ties embedded in the G1 Climax fabric, going back to the very first G1 Climax, but they account for an incredible small percentage of matches. True unbreakable ties, ties in which the wrestlers drew, account for 5 of the 80 wrestlers that have advanced from a G1 Climax block. 6.25%. They are:

  • 1991 – Masahiro Chono v. Shinya Hashimoto (tied for 1st, time limit draw) – only one-advance unbreakable tie, Chono wins TB match
  • 2002B – Manabu Nakanishi v. Osamu Nishimura (tied for 2nd, time limit draw), Nishimura wins TB match
  • 2003B – Yuji Nagata v. Katsuyori Shibata (tied for 2nd, DCO draw), Nagata wins TB match
  • 2004A – Masahiro Chono v Shinsuke Nakamura (tied for 3rd, DCO w/ no points), Nakamura wins TB match
  • 2009 – Hiroshi Tanahashi and Togi Makabe (tied for 1st, time limit draw, coin toss)

And even there, we can eliminate some. As we noted above, 2002 was a travesty and 2004 was a clusterfuck. They never should have happened, and if sanity prevails they will never happen again. That leaves us with three true, credible unbreakable ties. Just three, in the 32 years of G1 Climax action.

Of course, Gedo & Co. were at the helm for one of them…

Flipping a Coin or Having One More Barbarous Fight

In 2009, there was a three-way tie between Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, and Masato Tanaka at 7 points. It played out like this:

  • Togi Makabe, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Masato Tanaka tied at 7 points. Tanaka was eliminated with the worst record within the group, 0-2. Makabe and Tanahashi, both advanced, tied with records of 1-0-1 within the group. 
  • The tie between Makabe and Tanahashi was unbreakable, as they had wrestled to a time limit draw. A coin toss was held to determine the 1st and 2nd place finishers Makabe won the coin toss to win the block. Tanahashi advanced in second place

There are no chances for an unbreakable tie at first place this year. As noted, the A and C blocks have plausible scenarios where two guys would be tied for second place. In that case, there would be a tiebreaker match. The coin toss in 2009 was strictly because Tanahashi and Makabe had both qualified to advance, they just needed to determine who was first place and who was second. Logically, you wouldn’t want to risk having another match just for placement since, as we’ve noted before, there’s no advantage to winning first place in a fake sport.

If the stakes go from placement to advancement entirely, things change. You certainly would want a match to determine if you advance or not. In total, there have been eight tiebreaker matches in G1 Climax history.

Wait, why aren’t the number of unbreakable ties and tiebreaker matches equal? Well, because of a little wrinkle in G1 history. In 1999 and 2000, they did not use tiebreakers. That is, it didn’t matter what the result of the block match was, if two wrestlers were tied they had a tiebreaker match. That is why we used the phrase “true tiebreaker” earlier. Because we sure as fuck do not count anything from 1999 and 2000. These are the tiebreaker matches:

  • 1991 – Masahiro Chono v. Shinya Hashimoto (tied for 1st, time limit draw) – only one-advance unbreakable tie, Chono wins TB match
  • 1999 – Keiji Mutoh v. Yuji Nagata (Tied for 1st, Mutoh beat Nagata, no tiebreakers), Mutoh wins TB match
  • 2000 – Yuji Nagata v. Takashi Iizuka (tied for 1st, Nagata beat Iizuka, no tiebreakers), Nagata wins TB match
  • 2000 – Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Manabu Nakanishi (tied for 1st, Tenzan beat Nakanishi, no tiebreakers), Nakanishi wins TB match
  • 2002B – Manabu Nakanishi v. Osamu Nishimura (tied for 2nd, time limit draw), Nishimura wins TB match
  • 2003B – Yuji Nagata v. Katsuyori Shibata (tied for 2nd, DCO draw), Nagata wins TB match
  • 2004A – Masahiro Chono v Shinsuke Nakamura (tied for 3rd, DCO w/ no points), Nakamura wins TB match
  • 2009 – Hiroshi Tanahashi and Togi Makabe (tied for 1st, time limit draw, coin toss)

And thus, Hiroyoshi Tenzan stands as the only wrestler in G1 Climax history to beat someone in the blocks, and then get knocked out by them in a tiebreaker match. Part of the reason why? They only gave one point for a victory in 2000, and Nakanishi trailed Tenzan by one point going into the final night. One might ask: why not just have Nakanishi beat Tenzan in the blocks, instead of having that useless match. The answer: fuck everything.

Anyway, because unbreakable ties do tend to happen infrequently in a two-advance system, we have to acknowledge them, although, as noted above, we do not condone the miserable little things, and we refuse to predict one. But if one was to happen, it would be in the A Block. 

In the A Block, all that is needed for the Kiyomiya-Umino tie is for Kiyomiya and Umino to win their matches. In C Block, Shingo and Tama would have to win, and also require a clear winner in the Eddie Kingston-David Finlay match. Just that little extra puts the A Block ahead. Also, the idea that Kiyomiya could get an extra match seems more plausible than an extra match for Tama and Shingo. More plausible there is that either HENARE or EVIL spoil their opponents. Always watch out for the capitalized among us.