10 NJPW Stars Who NEED A Memorable G1 Climax Run

10. Kazuchika Okada


The handling of Kazuchika Okada is crucial.

Okada lost only the IWGP Heavyweight Title at Dominion. He left Osaka-jo Hall with his unprecedented star aura intact. This was something cultivated over the course of six years of hermetic, ballsy, consistent storytelling. Okada is the true Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling. An appearance in the final is the minimum requirement to preserve it.

Togi Makabe can earn a near-fall or two, but that's it. Victory must be comprehensive. Minoru Suzuki should fare better, but still fall decisively. YOSHI-HASHI, Bad Luck Fale - to really put over the idea of Okada's vengeful atonement, they would ideally eat Rainmakers very quickly in short, shocking losses atypical of the competitive context of the G1. There's no value whatsoever in either man competing with Okada. The only slight, valid criticism of that reign saw fans somewhat put off by the extent to which Okada sold for the lesser challengers; to deflect that criticism and drive the new chapter of his career, Okada cannot, to be blunt, f*ck around.

At a push, to preserve the legacy rivalry and to create some sense of unpredictability, Tanahashi could take him to their third G1 draw.

Beyond that, a two-horse race to the A Block final ran by Okada and his plagued stablemate seems the only sensible option...


Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!