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New Japan unveils field for 2017 G1 Climax tournament

NJPW Global on Twitter

It’s almost that time of year, where puroresu devotees and graps fans around the world change their sleep patterns for the preeminent pro wrestling tournament, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)’s G1 Climax.

The 2017 version begins on July 17, so New Japan announced the field of twenty competitors earlier today (June 20). They are:

- Togi Makabe
- Michael Elgin
- Juice Robinson
- Minoru Suzuki
- Kazuchika Okada
- Hirooki Goto
- Toru Yano
- Hiroshi Tanahashi
- Kenny Omega
- Bad Luck Fale
- Tama Tonga
- Tomohiro Ishii
- Tetsuya Naito
- Satoshi Kojima
- Yuji Nagata
- Zack Sabre, Jr.
- Kota Ibushi

The last two names may be the most notable. Current Evolve and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla champion Sabre’s will be competing in his first G1, while Ibushi is working NJPW under his own name for the first time in a couple years (he’s been working as the anime tie-in character Tiger Mask W of late). Both men spent last Summer in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic.

We don’t yet know what match-ups we’ll be seeing, as the block designations won’t be revealed until New Japan’s Kizuna Road shows on June 26 - 27. Separated into two groups, wrestlers face each of the other nine men in their block, earning two points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. The person with the most points moves on to face the winner of the other block in a final match, scheduled for Aug. 13.

The winner - provided it’s not current champ Okada - receives a briefcase which entitles them to an IWGP Heavyweight title match at next year’s Wrestle Kingdom event on Jan. 4 (New Japan’s equivalent of WrestleMania).

We’ll have more analysis of the field when we receive block assignements and as we get closer to the start of the G1.

In the meantime, speculate away! Will we see Okada vs. Omega in the G1? Can Kenny win back to back tournaments? Will the champ become only the third man to win three G1s? What plans does New Japan have for Nagata’s last run?

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