With the final climb to the peak known as G1 in sight, it’s a good time to stand back and take stock of who’s still alive and kicking (and who’s on life-support) heading into the final night of each block.
There are plenty of permutations out there, most having the need for draws or three or even four-way ties to make something happen, which means the likelihood of them happening is scant, especially multi-draw scenarios, so for the sake of simplicity, we’re sticking with wins and losses here.
Also, it’s safe to assume that each competitor with a shot to win their block needs to win their match, so everything below is what else needs to happen for them to advance to the final.
Eliminated: Tenzan, SANADA, Makabe, Ishii, Tonga
Point totals: 10 (Tanahashi, Okada, Goto, Marufuji, Fale)
Everyone who is in contention is on 10 points and four of the five are facing one another, so it’s exceptionally likely that at least two people will be on 12 points when all is said and done, but no more than three competitors can reach that number.
Needs: Win over Okada
Really, that’s all.
Tanahashi’s comeback trail has seen him pick up wins over the other three individuals on 10 points, so a win over Okada and nothing else matters.
Needs: Goto win AND Fale loss
Alternatives: Goto win AND Fale win
A win over Tanahashi is no guarantee of a final spot for the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. A Marufuji or Fale win immediately puts Okada in danger as he lost to both the NOAH stalwart and Bullet Club big man.
If Fale were to pick up a win, he would need Goto to win in order to create a three-way tie as Goto beat Fale, Fale beat Okada and Okada beat Goto, which would needs sorted out somewhere in the first half of the G1 Climax Final show.
Bad Luck Fale
Needs: Marufuji win AND Okada win
Alternative: Okada win AND Goto win
Fale, like everyone else not named Tanahashi, needs Okada to get a win with the Ace of the Universe holding all the head-to-head tiebreak cards. A Marufuji win would see Fale walk into the finals with wins over Marufuji and Okada.
Fale also qualifies for the triangle tie in the event of an Okada and Goto win.
Needs: Okada win AND Fale loss
Marufuji’s fate rest on two specific results as his losses to Tanahashi and Fale leave him in a spot where the only head-to-head win he has would be over Okada. Thus, he needs it to be a two-way tie to make it through as a Fale win eliminates him from contention,
Alternative: Okada win AND Fale win
Technically, Goto has a chance to go to the finals with an Okada/Tanahashi draw as that would push both of his losses out of the way. Seeing as NJPW wants to remain viable as a serious company, Okada/Tanahashi is not ending in a draw.
With that in mind, Goto needs a three-way tie to realistically advance to the finals, the same one as mentioned above.
Eliminated: Honma, EVIL, YOSHI-HASHI, Nagata, Yano, Nakajima
Point Totals: 12 (Naito), 10 (Elgin, Shibata, Omega)
It’s possible to have four individuals reach the 12 point plateau but only one can reach 14 points and be a decisive winner of the group. It’s likely two individuals end up on 12 points with a head-to-head separating things but not necessary.
Needs: A point
Alternative: Loss to Omega AND Elgin win
In truth, Naito only needs to not lose his match to Omega in what will presumptively be the main event in order to advance to the G1 Final. No one can surpass Naito’s total, only tie him at this point.
Should Omega pull off the win, however, an Elgin win create three-way tie with the LIdJ leader beating Elgin and Elgin having beaten the Bullet Club top dog.
Needs: Omega win AND Elgin loss
Now, should Omega hold up his end of the deal, a win for Shibata would create a three-way tie on 12 points but, unlike the first three-way tie, Shibata has the head-to-head over both Omega and Naito, meaning he would go to the final over the pair.
Needs: Shibata loss AND Elgin loss
Alternative: Elgin win
Omega would be able to walk into the G1 Final with a little help from those sitting on 10 points, namely by losing so that a win over Naito gives him the head-to-head tiebreak and a clean path.
A win and an Elgin win creates a three-way tie as mentioned above.
Alternative: Omega win
Alternative II: Omega win AND Shibata win
Sadly, #BIGMIKE is pretty much DOA at this point.
Elgin does have one extra reprieve aside from the three-way tie with Omega and Naito listed above. Should Shibata and Omega win, it would create a four-way tie at 12 points and a very highly-convoluted scenario.
Elgin and Shibata in the four-way tie would have 2-1 records while Omega and Naito would have 1-2 records. The theory holds that Shibata and Elgin would have a tiebreak with a better record within the mini table against Naito and Omega and then go to the head-to-head, one which #BIGMIKE holds over Shibata.
Needless to say, it’s not happening, but the possibility exists.