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New Japan announces 2016 G1 Climax field, highlights key matches

NJPW World

Every Summer, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) holds the G1 Climax tournament. For nearly a month, wrestlers compete within one of two assigned blocks for a berth in the winner-take-all final. Accumulating points (two for a win, one for a draw, zero for a loss), the man with the highest score in each group faces the other with a IWGP Heavyweight title/main event spot at January’s WrestleKingdom on the line.

It’s a highly anticipated event among puroresu fans, even moreso now that the company’s streaming service, NJPW World, makes watching the multitude of shows more convenient and affordable.

Earlier today, New Japan announced the field and block assignments for the 26th annual G1 Climax:

Block A:

* Togi Makabe
* Satoshi Kojima
* Tomohiro Ishii
* Hirooki Goto
* Bad Luck Fale
* Tama Tonga
* Naomichi Marufuji
* Kazuchika Okada
* Hiroshi Tanahashi

Block B:

* Katsuyori Shibata
* Yuji Nagata
* Tomoaki Honma
* Michal Elgin
* Toru Yano
* Tetsuya Naito
* Kenny Omega
* Katsuhuko Nakajima

They also highlighted some of the more anticipated showdowns and when they’ll occur over the course of the tourney, which runs for 19 shows from July 18 until the final on August 14:

July 18: Tanahashi vs. SANADA, Okada vs. Marufuji

July 22: Nagata vs. Naito, Shibata vs. Honma

July 23: Tanahashi vs. Makabe, Okada vs. SANADA

July 24: Nakajima vs. Shibata, Honma vs. YOSHI-HASHI

July 25: Makabe vs. SANADA, Okada vs. Goto

July 27: Yano vs. Naito, Shibata vs. Elgin

July 28: Ishii vs. Marufuji, Goto vs. SANADA

July 30: Omega vs. Elgin, Shibata vs. Naito

July 31: Makabe vs. Marufuji, Tanahashi vs. Goto

August 1: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Nakajima, Honma vs. Naito

August 3: Tanahashi vs. Ishii, Makabe vs. Okada

August 4: Nakajima vs. Naito, Shibata vs. Omega

August 6: Tanahashi vs. Marufuji, Okada vs. Ishii

August 7: Omega vs. Nagata, Naito vs. EVIL

August 8: Ishii vs. SANADA, Tanahashi vs. Kojima

August 10: Honma vs. Elgin, Shibata vs. Nagata

August 12: Goto vs. Marufuji, Tanahashi vs. Okada

August 13: Shibata vs. EVIL, Naito vs. Omega

Doesn’t exactly look like a wide-open field (for my money, it’s hard to see anyone other than Tanahashi, Okada, Naito or maybe Shibata winning), but there’s plenty of storyline intrigue with personal rivalries and intra and inter-stable warfare.

How does it look to you? For which matches are you pumped? Who do you have winning it all?

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