|Ibushi's tournament slate this summer is in New Japan|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Kenny Omega, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata, Juice Robinson, Zack Sabre, Jr., Minoru Suzuki, Kota IbushiNotable by his absence is the possible next IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Cody Rhodes. While Rhodes will headline the G1 Climax Preview Special show July 1 in Long Beach, CA with a title shot against Okada, he has several other notable North American dates during the run of the tournament. Most notably, he'll be working for WrestleCircus in the tour the company named after him. Still though, you won't hear me complain, especially since the tournament will also include two Cruiserweight Classic semifinalists who happen to be among my favorite workers in the world.
This tournament won't be Ibushi's first rodeo, but the fact that he's working it as Ibushi and not Tiger Mask W is perhaps the biggest surprise. Some expected a Ring of Honor, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, or even an All-Japan Pro Wrestling entrant, but it's a solidly NJPW-native field. Sabre's addition is nice because he's currently working on a worldwide resume high in prestige. The G1 will help with that. Also, much like this year's Best of the Super Juniors was Jushin Liger's final big NJPW tournament run, G1 Climax 27 will be Nagata's final tango. He won the 2001 tournament, and has been in every field since 1997.
Only the field of wrestlers has been announced. The blocks and individual cards will be announced at later dates. However, the lack of form has not stopped people from making predictions, namely for an Omega/Ibushi final. The two best friend wrestlers have an inextricable history that dates back to their days together in Dramatic Dream Team. Of course, that final, or any final that has Omega as the presumptive winner, hinges on him locking down some kind of deal to stay with NJPW for another year after WrestleKingdom. His year-to-year contract status always puts him (and the Young Bucks) in the crosshairs of WWE contract rumors. Personally, I think WWE would squander Omega's talents, but it's also not up to me to decide his future. Either way though, while this year's field doesn't seem exotic, it does, from top to bottom, feel like a complete field.