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NJPW: Who Is Winning the G1 Climax?

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Following patterns is a smart way to help you find success but are there any patterns to be found in the G1 Climax? Starting from 2012, where the modern tournament structure began, I’ve combed through every G1 Climax, searching for any and all leads that can help us determine this year’s winner.

The Block Separation
A pattern most people have picked up on is that nearly every year the winner is in the block opposite of the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. This has been the case five out of the six years with 2014 being the exception.
2012: Winner: Okada (B Block) Champion: Tanahashi (A Block)
2013: Winner: Naito (B Block) Champion: Okada (A Block)
2014: Winner: Okada (B Block) Champion: Styles (B Block)
2015: Winner: Tanahashi (A Block) Champion: Okada (B Block)
2016: Winner: Omega (B Block) Champion: Okada (A Block)
2017: Winner: Naito (A Block) Champion: Okada (B Block)

If you want the best shot at picking correctly, hedge your bets on someone who sits in the opposite block of the champion.

Main Events
Every year when the tournament’s schedule is released, a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking the more main events, the higher likilhood a wrestler will win. The statistics don’t always line up with this view so don’t give this line of thought any merit.
2012: Kazuchika Okada – 2 Main Events (8 Possible)
2013: Tetsuya Naito – 0 Main Events (9 Possible)
2014: Kazuchika Okada – 5 Main Events (10 Possible)
2015: Hiroshi Tanahashi – 7 Main Events (9 Possible)
2016: Kenny Omega – 1 Main Event (9 Possible)
2017: Tetsuya Naito – 4 Main Events (9 Possible)

With main events ranging from zero to seven, it’s not safe to count on them giving any insight on this year’s winner.

Day 17 & 18 Main Events
Since the blocks were separated into two different nights in 2015, the announcement of each block’s finals has been seen as a spoiler. This year the A Block final match is Okada/Tanahashi and B Block is Omega/Ibushi. That would lead some to assume one combination of these pairings will be the finals.
2015
A Block Finals: Tanahashi vs Styles
B Block Finals: Okada vs Nakamura
Tournament Finals: Tanahashi vs Nakamura
2016
A Block Finals: Okada vs Tanahashi
B Block Finals: Omega vs Naito
Tournament Finals: Omega vs Goto
2017
A Block Finals: Naito vs Tanahashi
B Block Finals: Omega vs Okada
Tournament Finals: Naito vs Omega

An A Block Finals draw between Okada and Tanahashi in 2016 lead to a Hirooki Goto win. You can’t conclude that the wrestlers involved in the block finals main events are automatically locked in as the only possible winners. With that said, it’s a relatively safe bet.

Champions Don’t Win
If you’re betting on a champion to win, consider yourself bold. Since the 2012 rule change, no title holder has gone on to win the tournament and not since 2000 with Kensuke Sasaki has the IWGP Heavyweight Champion won the G1 Climax.

The One Constant
There is one interesting statistic that every winner has accomplished. Since 2012, every G1 Climax winner has a victory on their second to last block match. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help choosing the winner before the tournament starts. The one constant is that every year the G1 Climax winner is extremely tough to pin down with 100% certainty. Hopefully I’ve helped narrow down the field for you a little bit.

Recap
– The winner is in the opposite block of the champion 83% of the time.
– The amount of main events is a non-factor
– The day seventeen and eighteen main eventers advance to the finals 83% of the time.
– Champions never win.

Safe Bets
– Kazuchika Okada
– Hiroshi Tanahashi

Above Average Possibility
– Kota Ibushi
– Tetsuya Naito
– EVIL

Fair Possibility
– Kenny Omega
– Minoru Suzuki
– Jay White

Not Likely
– SANADA
– Tomohiro Ishii
– Bad Luck Fale
– Zack Sabre Jr.
– Hirooki Goto
– Michael Elgin

No Chance
– Toru Yano
– YOSHI-HASHI
– Togi Makabe
– Hangman Page
– Tama Tonga
– Juice Robinson

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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