The G1 Climax 30 kicks off this Saturday on NJPW World. With all of the biggest stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling in the tournament, some of the best matches of the year usually happen during NJPW's premier round robin series.
The prize for the winner of the G1 Climax 30 is a title shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the main event of the Tokyo Dome at WrestleKingdom. The January 4 super show is the biggest event of New Japan's calendar year so each competitor in the G1 fight with all they have. This year's tournament will feature the return of multiple competitors coming back for the first time since the start of the pandemic as well.
Here, we break down the five must-see G1 Climax 30 matches for the month-long round robin tournament. Some of these encounters are rematches, reigniting of long standing rivalries and first time ever matchups.
#5 Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi (G1 Climax 30 Night 1 on September 19th)
Ever since losing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on Night 2 of WrestleKingdom 14, Kazuchika Okada has not been able to find his footing again in the upper echelon of NJPW. The G1 Climax 30 is his chance to get back to the top. However, the first match of his A Block competition is the man who beat him in the block finals last year and the winner of the G1 Climax 29.
Kota Ibushi won his first G1 Climax tournament last year, defeating Switchblade Jay White in the finals. At WrestleKingdom 14 Night 1, Ibushi came up short losing to Okada in a Match of the Year candidate. In a near 40-minute battle, the two men battered each other in an absolute war. Now to kick off the G1 Climax 30, these two warriors battle it out once again.
With the two men splitting their last two encounters, this A Block opener of the G1 Climax 30 is the rubber match to find out who the true better man is. Okada will be trying to prove that he is once again the top star in all of NJPW, while Ibushi will be trying to rebound from his loss at the beginning of the year. For the Golden Star, Kota Ibushi will try to become the first competitor since Tenzan in 2004 to win back-to back G1 tournaments.