There has been a handful of discussions regarding New Japan Pro Wrestling since the pandemic, surrounding when and how the company would return to hold events, which will be adressed next Tuesday during a press conference by New Japan itself. However, today we will be looking at Hiromu Takahashi’s suggestion regarding both the next G1 Climax and the for now postponed / cancelled Best Of Super Juniors tournaments.
In order to remind everyone about what it is that Hiromu suggested, the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion talked about holding the Best Of Super Juniors tournament at the same time as the next G1 Climax, meaning both tournaments would take place in between September and October. As soon as this rather interesting suggestion fell into the fans’ hears or upon their eyes, excitement peaked and you could find a really good amount of people raving about the idea, myself included at first. The purpose of this piece you are now reading is to break things down, discussing what makes this idea a good one or a bad one, how can it be done properly and if this something New Japan should do.
Ready ? Well then, let’s get started !
Taking the pandemic related influence on whether or not the G1 will be able to occur during the scheduled timeframe out of the window, let’s focus on the wrestling aspect of this whole G1 x BOSJ idea Hiromu dropped on us all. First things first, let’s look at how both tournaments are organized. Usually, how New Japan does things with their tournaments is, they keep the undercard to build up the matches scheduled for the following show, while the scheduled tournament matches take the latter half of the card. Bringing up this first point is important, as in regards to holding both tournaments at the same time, some people have suggested New Japan holds shows filled with tournament matches alone. While this is something which could potentially work for the last block matches in each tourney, for the entire tournaments it is hardly sustainable. Not only do you break away from what has been one of New Japan’s habits in terms of how they build their shows, but you take the risk of exhausting the audience mid-way through both tournaments. Following a month long tournament like Best Of Super Juniors or the G1 is already quite a ride, and no shows are 100% filled with tournament matches.
Then, how do you not take the risk of exhausting the audience ? How do you pace the tournaments better ? Well, the only solution I can think of is to make both tournaments last a bit longer, while keeping the usual New Japan format with the undercard serving its original purpose, and with four to five tournament matches depending on how exactly you set things up. For example, do you mix the BOSJ and G1 matches on the same card ? Or do you keep them separate, thus having one G1 show, followed by a BOSJ show the next day and scheduling both like that ?
Keeping the exhaustion factor in my mind, as much for the audience as it would be a factor for New Japan’s staff, I’m not entirely sure holding shows every day, with occasional pauses, for two different tournaments is the wise idea here, so let’s keep this piece going with the other idea I just brought up.
Let’s now say New Japan holds, in the most literal way possible, both the G1 and BOSJ at the same time by having both G1 and BOSJ matches on their shows. How do you go with that ? Obviously, the undercard would have to serve a doubled purpose, but this hurdle is not the hardest to overcome. The real hurdle here would be New Japan’s habit of putting the Junior Heavyweights below the Heavyweights on cards featuring big matches from both divisions. Rare, if not non-existent, have been the occurrences of the Junior Heavyweight title main eventing a show where one of the top Heavyweight titles was also featured on the same card. This title only sees the main event when it is the only singles belt to be defended. Now, given that in our little scenario here, the Best Of Super Juniors tournament is going on, the logical thing would be that the bigger Junior Heavyweight matches actually end up main eventing a few tournament shows. To do that, New Japan would have to schedule them alongside some of the minor Heavyweight matches, and vice-versa when to comes to Heavyweight matches being the main event, though here it wouldn’t matter as much due to New Japan’s inherent logic.
However, one other question suddenly arises. What about the tournament finals ? Surely, both are more than worthy to main event their own show, and even New Japan probably wouldn’t want to diminish their Junior tournament by having its final occur as the « semi-main » to the G1 final. The solution here would then be to have two final nights, one dedicated to the BOSJ final, and the other to the G1’s.
Now, while all this planning sounds rather nice and not impossible to pull off on paper, would rescheduling both tournaments in such a way be the right move ? After all, taking the usual New Japan calendar, World Tag League, which you have to wonder if you’d keep running in such a situation, is supposed to start the following month, and then, Wrestle Kingdom 15 would be at the horizon. All of which leads me to wonder about yet another alternative. Maybe, instead of ending the year with the usual Tag Leagues, holding the G1 at the scheduled time while holding the BOSJ as the « winter tournament » during most of November and December, may be even wiser than mixing both tournaments into the « Autumn one-two punch ». That way, both tournament winners get to make their challenge at the Tokyo Dome, which by the way would be a first time ever for the BOSJ winner, thus making Wrestle Kingdom 15 an even bigger deal than it already is in essence.