NJPW G1 CLIMAX 27 [Wrestler Profiles]: Suzuki! Tonga! Yano! Evil! Naito!

NJPW G1 CLIMAX 27 [Wrestler Profiles]: Suzuki! Tonga! Yano! Evil! Naito!

“The” Christian Orozco

Ringside Apostle “The” Christian Orozco will constantly update this story with profiles for each of the twenty G1 Climax combatantants. Keep this bookmark saved until July 17th, when the annual New Japan Pro Wrestling tournament begins!

Today’s update:

7/17 – Minoru Suzuki, Tama Tonga, Toru-Yano, EVIL, Tetsuya Naito

7/15 – Bad Luck Fale, Togi Makabe, Yoshi-Hashi, Satoshi Kojima, Kazuchika Okada

6/30 – Zack Sabre Jr., Yuji Nagata

6/29 – Hirooki Goto, Michael Elgin

6/27 – Kota Ibushi, Juice Robinson

6/26 – Tomohiro Ishii, Kenny Omega.

6/24 – Hiroshi Tanahashi, Seiya Sanada.

Name: Minoru Suzuki
Age: 49
G1 Climax Participations: 7
Best Results: Group Stage

The Suzuki-Gun leader is making his return to the G1 Climax after being away on an excursion to Pro Wrestling NOAH. Suzuki took over NOAH, won the GHC Heavyweight Championship, and now has his sights set on two things. 1.) Winning the G1, 2.) Winning the IWGP Heavyweight title at the Tokyo Dome. In fact, if Suzuki, at the seasoned age of 49, ever wins the IWGP Title he will become part of the elite wrestlers to have win all 3 major titles in Japan (AJPW’s Triple Crown, NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Championship, and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship); a feat only accomplished by the legendary Kensuke Sasaki, and Yoshihiro Takayama.

Name: Tama Tonga
Age: 34
G1 Climax Participations: 2
Best Results: Group Stage

He’s been a wrestler in NJPW for over 7-years, and this past June obtained IWGP gold for the first time alongside his brother. But above all else, Tama Tonga is underutilized — with great physical presence, good in-ring movement, and mic skills to match. I’m surprised he hasn’t been a singles competitor all year long. This G1 Climax will be a test for Tonga to see if he has the talent to achieve single competitors status; if not, then it’s back to the Shadows of the Bullet Club he goes.

Name: Toru Yano
Age: 39
G1 Climax Participations: 11
Best Results: Group Stage

This is Yano’s 11th G1 Climax… Why? At least to me, the G1 is suppose to be the best month of professional wrestling on the planet, where the top competitors vy at the chance to be in the main event at Wrestle Kingdom. That said, most of Yano’s matches usually consist of him running away — or some other kind of odd in-ring, albeit entertaining antics — but nothing on the level to compete in this tournament. I wish the DVD Selling Blob-fish the best…

Name: EVIL
Age: 30
G1 Climax Participations: 2
Best Results: Group Stage

While only accumulating 8 points at last year’s G1 Climax, EVIL has shown quite the development as a professional wrestler. At first he doesn’t seem like much; but once he’s in the match for 4-minutes you start to see his brawling and power mat skills at qork. With EVIL having Suzuki, Elgin, and Kojima in his block, he will need those skills — and some help from the supernatural — if he ever wants to make it past the group stages.

Name: Tetsuya Naito
Age: 35
G1 Climax Participations: 8
Best Results: 2013 Winner

Naito is my pick (and Moody’s) to take the G1. With his role as the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon, his charisma, and heel status has me thinking he will be the winner of this year’s tournament. He’s been consistently putting on amazing matches, and has won just about every title in the company has to offer. Naito is ready for main event status, and looking to do so by winning the G1 Climax to ensure he gets his spot at WK12 at the Dome. With guys like Tanahashi, Zack Sabre Jr, and Ibushi in his Block it will not be an easy feat, but I’m willing to bet any amount that the leader of L-I-J will prove Destino conquers all.

Name: Bad Luck Fale
Age: 35
G1 Climax Participations: 4
Best Results: Group Stage

The current senior member of the Bullet Club has had an interesting year so far. Of course most of them involving him in the lower card in those 3-on-3 tag matches Gedo likes booking. While Fale is always a 50/50 during normal matches, for some strange reason during the G1 Climax he always seems to be kicking ass left and right. Last year, he defeated not only Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji, but also took out the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion OKADA! Never the less, you so never misunderestimate “The Under Boss”, because you never know who’s gonna be his next victim.

Name: Togi Makabe
Age: 44
G1 Climax Participations: 14
Best Results: 2009 Winner

“Sweets” Makabe, as known by the Japanese fans due to his advertisements of sweet bread in his native country, is one of the greatest bruisers in NJPW; he’s always putting on a hell of a match. Now considered a seasoned vet, most don’t expect him to be in the top 5 of his group but.. this year could be different. Makabe will have some extra motivation to bring home the trophy for his great friend Honma. So seeing how Honma-mania won’t be running this year, can we see the uprise of Makabe-mania?

Age: 35
G1 Climax Participations: 2
Best Results: Group Stage

Oh Yoshi… The Captain New Japan of the tournament. While Yoshi-Hashi hasn’t exactly had an awful year, he’s always on the bottom of the totem pole of wrestlers likely to win the G1 Climax. YOSHI’s G1 debut was last year, walking away with only 6 points. He did however beat the champion of 2016 G1 clean: Kenny Omega. I hope YOSHI can prove me wrong this year by claiming another upset victory.

Name: Kazuchika Okada
Age: 29
G1 Climax Participations: 6
Best Results: 2012 & 2014 Winner

The era of the “Rainmaker” is here, and it’s here to stay. But unfortunately for Okada, he is placed alongside 9 other wrestlers that want the strap he holds around his waist. Some of his block-mates include Sanada, the dangerous Minoru Suzuki, and his new rival Kenny Omega of which fans got treated to one of the greatest matches in the last 10-years at Tokyo Dome (and again this past month at Dominion). There’s sure to be some memorable matches and more, from all the other encounters the CHAOS leader will have at this year’s G1.

Name: Satoshi Kojima
Age: 46
G1 Climax Participations: 15
Best Results: 2010 Winner

BREAD! The legendary Satoshi Kojima hits the G1 stage for the 15th time in his career. While I know he won’t be on the top picks to winning the G1 Climax, he is gonna be chopping the living hell out of anything or anyone that gets into his way. The biggest plus to him is that he is in the same block as Michael Elgin — with fans in for a real treat in the “beating the crap” out of each other department.

From 6/30

Name: Zack Sabre Jr.
Age: 29
G1 Climax Participations: 1
Best Results: First Participation

Zack Sabre Jr., the “Technical Wizard”, is having the best year in his professional career. Champion in the UK (again), Debut in Mexico in a classic technical match against the legendary Negro Navarro, to still being PWG World Champion. Zack is a wrestler vastly improved from midcard status to someone who is and should be in the top matches of any card! With his classic style, he has managed to captivate an audience who isn’t very use to seeing a wrestler perform using a moveset based from the roots of professional wrestling. The G1 is simply another stage for Zack to show the world what the word “WRESTLE” in “WRESTLER” means.

Name: Yuji Nagata.
Age: 49
G1 Climax Participations: 19
Best Results: 2001 Winner

“The Anti-Aging Hero” of NJPW is on his 19th G1 Climax. Some guys on the card are debuting for the first time while Nagata has seen more G1 competition facing Legends like The Great Muta, Masahiro Chono, and Scott Norton, just to name a few. Nagata might be well passed his glory days but sure as hell isn’t showing it. With stiff opponents in his block such as Makabe, Ishii, and Goto, I am sure we will see “The Anti-aging hero” put on quite the performance for us fans to enjoy. – Christian Orozco

Name: Hirooki Goto
Age: 38
G1 Climax Participations: 10
Best Results: 2008 Winner

Goto is no stranger to the G1 Climax Stage. As a matter of fact, Goto has something only a very small chosen few have done: win the G1 Climax in his debut during the 2008 edition. Eight years later Hirooki reached the finals once again, only to lose against Kenny Omega. Goto will have his work cut out for him in this year’s G1, placed in the same block as longtime rival Naito, and Zack Sabre Jr., who gave him quite the match earlier this year. I highly recommend you keep a close eye on Goto because his fighting spirit might just take him to the finals once again.

Name: Michael Elgin
Age: 30
G1 Climax Participations: 3
Best Results: Group Stage

Michael Elgin is an example to follow in the world of Professional Wrestling, going from an ROH Champion who wasn’t content with just being a star in the company. Big Mike Wanted to be more! He left a few months before his contract was done, signed with NJPW, became Intercontinental Champion, and not stopping there, headed to Mexico to also become a World Champion. The Pro Wrestling Guerilla vet is currently on a roll — with no sign of him stopping on his way to the G1 Trophy. In the best shape of his life, Elgin should place in the 3 top of the B block. Hell, I’m calling it now: “Big Mike” will pin Okada clean when they meet in the ring. – Christian Orozco

Name: Kota Ibushi
Age: 35
G1 Climax Participations: 3
Best Results: Group Stage

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… NO–it’s KOTA IBUSHI! Ibushi is one of my favorite wrestlers to watch. He’s all fast paced action with strong suplexes under his belt, and quick reversals that will make you jump out of your seat. The former IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion is on a mission to becoming the first wrestler in history to not only win the Best of Super Junior’s Tournament, but to also win the G1 Climax. If successful, he will be given the opportunity to be the first man whose name is engraved in the Heavyweight and Junior IWGP Belts. The sometimes Tiger Mask W is sure to finish in the top 3 of his A-Block.

Name: Juice Robinson
Age: 28
G1 Climax Participations: 1
Best Results: First Participation

Juice Robinson (FKA CJ Parker in NXT) is one of those wrestler many people have looked over in the last few months. Usually competing in the opening matches, and usually being involved in those crazy 4-on-4 mindless tag match that Gedo likes booking. He is seeing a good level of improvement, and after that match he had against Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship Wrestling at Toyonokuni 2017, it certainly shows that NJPW is starting to have faith in him. Juice will have the opportunity to show the world to why he is ready to becoming part of the upper card in the world of NJPW! – Christian Orozco

Name: Tomohiro Ishii
Age: 41
G1 Climax Participations: 5
Best Results: Group Stage

Ishii is one of the wrestlers I always recommend to people who are new to NJPW. Ishii constantly gives 110% in every match, and is an example of what Japanese Pro Wrestling is all about. Strong stiff hits, and insane endurance is this man’s game, and if you get in his way he can and will break you. No doubt, you’re guaran-damn-teed a great 1-on-1 match when the “Stone Pitbull” is involved.

Name: Kenny Omega
Age: 33
G1 Climax Participations: 2
Best Results: 2016 Winner

No one else in professional wrestling currently has accomplished what this man has in the past two-years. He went from wrestling with 9-year old girls and blow-up dolls to winning last year’s G1 Climax, and not only headlining Wrestle Kingdom 11 but giving one of the greatests performances in the last 10 years. I predict Kenny Omega will be in the G1 Climax Final once again as he is the top heel in Japan. I also predict “The Cleaner” will return from the G1 Special with the IWGP US Championship. – Christian Orozco

Name: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Age: 40
G1 Climax Participations: 16
Best Results: Winner of 2007 and 2015 Editions

Tanahashi has had an interesting year so far, He want from headlining the 2016 Tokyo Dome Event to being the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion; Not to say the IC belt is worthless (unless, maybe, a certain “Ass Man” somehow attains the strap in Long Beach), but Tanahashi has definitely seen better days on the top of the NJPW Mountain. The G1 Climax will be the perfect opportunity for Tanahashi to show why he is referred to the ACE of NJPW.

Name: Seiya Sanada
Age: 29
G1 Climax Participations: 2
Best Results: Group Stage

SANADA’s powerful strikes — mixed with his brutal brawling style — make him a very dangerous opponent. Being the only member of L-I-J to not hold a single title is surely very unfair; but there’s no doubt that SANADA is shaping up to be a big star in the company in the next few years. Mark my words: this G1 Climax will be the stepping stone for the tag trio champion’s future. SANADA will be this tournament’s break through wrestler. – Christian Orozco

Initial news announcement6/20

Travis “Heihachi” Moody

Tiger Mask no more.

One of the most electrifying wrestlers in the world, Kota Ibushi has been announced to participate in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax 27. Ibushi, likely known most to U.S. audiences for last year’s spectacular WWE Cruiserweight Classic (CWC) has ditched the anime attire and will join 19 of NJPW’s finest, including G1 newcomer (and current British, Evolve and PWG champ) Zack Sabre Jr., the first Brit to compete in the popular event since William Regal in 1997.

The grueling 4-week round robin tournament (ala NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors), will see the winner vy for the chance to meet the IWGP Heavyweight Champion on January 4th at the Tokyo Dome for Wrestle Kingdom 12. That man could be either current year-long title-hold Kazuchika “The Rainmaker” Okada or the “American Nightmare” Cody, who face-off on July 1st at the G1 Special in Long Beach.

When the Grade 1 Climax hits July 17th and sees the winners of the tournament’s A-Block and B-Block clash on August 13, the man with the briefcase could very well be a newly crowned IWGP United States Champion, too. – Travis Moody

G1 Climax 27 Competitors

(red font denotes wrestler profiles up above)

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • Togi Makabe
  • Michael Elgin
  • Kazuchika Okada
  • Hirooki Goto
  • Tomohiro Ishii
  • Toru Yano
  • Kenny Omega
  • Bad Luck Fale
  • Tama Tonga
  • Tetsuya Naito
  • EVIL
  • Satoshi Kojima
  • Yuji Nagata
  • Juice Robinson
  • Minoru Suzuki
  • Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Kota Ibushi