The 2021 edition of the G1 Climax finally has a confirmed list of participants, with the full tournament blocks also announced.
As announced during night two of Wrestle Grand Slam in Metlife Dome, the tournament will kick off on the 18th of September. Lasting just over a month, this year’s G1 Climax will conclude on the 21st of October, taking place in the legendary Budokan Hall in Tokyo.
- Kota Ibushi
- Shingo Takagi
- Tetsuya Naito
- Toru Yano
- Tomohiro Ishii
- Zack Sabre Jr.
- Tanga Loa
- Yujiro Takahashi
- The Great-O-Khan
- Kazuchika Okada
- Hiroshi Tanahashi
- Hirooki Goto
- Jeff Cobb
- Chase Owens
- Tama Tonga
Arguably the most prestigious tournament in all of professional wrestling, the G1 Climax is New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s annual round-robin singles tournament. Two points are earned for every victory, one point is earned for a draw and zero points are awarded for a loss.
Twenty men, competing in two blocks of ten, compete in nine gruelling matches for a chance to top their block. The winners of each block then compete in the tournament final, with the winner earning an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 16.
Should the current IWGP World Heavyweight Champion – currently Shingo Takagi – win the tournament then he will earn the right to choose his opponent at New Japan’s biggest show of the year.
Kota Ibushi has won the last two G1 Climaxes and reached the final every year for the past three years. Though he will no doubt be a favourite to succeed once again this year, he will have to contend with another former tournamen winner in Tetsuya Naito. A win for Naito could set up a blockbuster Wrestle Kingdom main event between two of LIJ’s most dominant members.
In the B block, fans are guaranteed a new installment in the mesmiric feud between New Japan’s biggest stars of the past decade: Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada. However, with Okada losing to Jeff Cobb at Wrestle Grand Slam in Metlife Dome, momentum is not on his side. Moreover, last year’s tournament runner-up SANADA will look to take the next step towards championship glory.
The 2021 edition of the G1 Climax is missing many of New Japan’s top stars, with Jay White, Minoru Suzuki and Will Ospreay all missing the tournament in favour of stints in the United States. All three are scheduled for appearances on New Japan Strong, the promotion’s U.S. branch. Suzuki also has a number of appearances across the United States scheduled, including a showdown with Jon Moxley in AEW.
With such big names missing, this year’s tournament has three G1 debutants: Chase Owens, Tanga Loa and Great-O-Khan.
As with all of their events, the G1 Climax 2021 can be watched on NJPWWorld.