Here Are The Finalists For New Japan Pro Wrestling’s 2019 G1 Climax Tournament


After eighteen live broadcast events spanning over a month, New Japan Pro Wrestling has decided the finalists of G1 Climax 29. When the tournament that started on July 7 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas will end on August 12 at Budokan Hall in Tokyo ends, it will be main-evented by A Block winner Kota Ibushi vs. B Block winner Jay White. Ibushi and White will be fighting for not only that big, shiny G1 trophy, but for a match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 14.

Ibushi showed he could beat the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion and earned his spot in the finals in the same match when he defeated Kazuchika Okada on the last night of A Block competition. Okada had racked up an impressive fourteen points with a record of 7-1 in his previous matches in the round-robin portion of the tournament. The only person who could stop the Rainmaker reaching the final was his August 10 opponent, Ibushi, who had gained twelve points with six wins and two losses. By defeating Okada, Ibushi tied him at fourteen points and advanced to the G1 final because he held the tiebreaker win.

After the match, Ibushi thanked the fans in the Budokan, thanked everyone he had wrestled in A Block, and brought up the fact that he also made it to the finals last year only to lose to Hiroshi Tanahashi. “I will not go down the same path I went down last year,” Ibushi declared. “I will fight to the very end. That’s my promise.”

Going into the last night of B Block competition on August 11, there was potential for a more complicated tiebreaker situation. Jon Moxley, Hirooki Goto, Tetsuya Naito, and Jay White were tied at ten points with five wins and three losses. Before Naito and White faced each other in the show’s main event, both Moxley and Goto had the chance to stay in the game by defeating their opponents, respectively Juice Robinson and Shingo Takagi. If Moxley beat Robinson and Naito beat White, Moxley would advance to the finals via a tiebreaker over Naito. If Goto beat Takagi and White beat Naito, Goto would advance to the finals with the tiebreaker over White. These were some the less complicated options for a complicated B Block ending!

However, by the time the main event came about, NJPW had made its stakes as simple as possible. Robinson beat Moxley, Takagi beat Goto, and now the first-ever White vs. Naito singles match was winner-take-all. White won and the audience was very disappointed. Though White’s rise to the top of B Block was, in a way, a story of a man beating the odds, the Switchblade coming back from losing three matches in a row to start the tournament to win his last six and make it to the final was hardly inspirational since he cheated and used outside interference in order to pick up all of those Ws. Plus, he was very obnoxious, as usual, throughout the G1.

White didn’t take a break from his characteristic heel shenanigans after winning the block. While being soundly booed, he mocked Naito on the mic, yelled at the audience for not believing in him, and called out Ibushi. When Ibushi entered the ring, White told him their August 12 match would be “me and you one-on-one, no Gedo.”

No one believed this though, not even Ibushi, who was ready to dodge a kick from White after White offered him a handshake. However, Ibushi didn’t manage to outthink all of White’s chicanery. Gedo grabbed his leg from behind while Ibushi was still focused on White, allowing White to attack the ankle Ibushi had injured in his first G1 Climax 29 match against Kenta.

With the threats of outside interference and ankle injury looming, the drama is high for the first singles match between White and Ibushi. Winning the G1 and main-eventing the Tokyo Dome would be huge moments for Ibushi and ones befitting his talent and popularity, especially since he signed with NJPW full time for the first time this spring. For White, a victory on Monday would give him the chance to regain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship he held briefly earlier this year before he was beaten by Okada at Madison Square Garden. It would also make him one of two non-Japanese G1 winners along with Kenny Omega.

Whoever ends up winning the G1 final, the matches in which these wrestlers made the final also opened up other potential opportunities for them. Since Ibushi defeated Okada, he could get a less prestigious match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship this fall, one that most New Japan fans would expect him to lose. Since White defeated Naito, he could get a shot at the IWGP Intercontinental Championship whether he wins the G1 or not. As G1 Climax 29 boils down to one final match, these are just a few of the potential future matches for which it has laid the groundwork.