The most wonderful time of the year has wrapped up. No, I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m talking about New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax 26. This tournament ran for almost a month and provided some of the best wrestling matches of the year. I watched and ranked all 91 tournament matches (find the list here) and I’m going to use those rankings to put together some stats. Please keep in mind that all of this data comes from my personal opinion and can’t be treated as being objective facts.
The table below ranks every wrestler in the tournament by their average match rating.
Just as the case was for my breakdown of the Best of the Super Juniors, the winner of the tournament finds themselves in the top spot. Kenny Omega had an average match rating of a very impressive 4.18 stars. He was followed closely behind by the excellent Tomohiro Ishii (4.08) and Naomichi Marufuji (4.06). Marufuji wasn’t the only NOAH wrestler to leave an impression. Katsuhiko Nakajima came in 6th place with a 4.03 rating and many great matches to go along with it. The boys from NOAH came in with something to prove and they brought it every night. All of the top 7 wrestlers on the list have a rating at 4 stars or higher, which says a lot for the quality of the tournament matches.
A majority of the wrestlers on the list fall into the 3 star range, but one certain someone didn’t even crack that. I like Toru Yano and I appreciate the role that he plays in the tournament, but he drove down the averages of the B Block wrestlers. Even with Yano dragging things down, his antics didn’t seem to affect the overall show averages very much. The blocks are pretty mixed up in the rankings until the 12 spot there we get a chunk of four B Block wrestlers followed by four A Block wrestlers. I think it’s fair to assess that, outside of Yano, the lower tier of the B Block was stronger than the lower tier of the A Block, which helps explain why the overall show averages weren’t affected very much by Yano.
As you can see in the chart above, aside from a few dips, the average star ratings for each show were pretty high and the difference between the blocks wasn’t very noticeable. There wasn’t one clearly stronger block in this tournament, which was nice. It kept me from hand waving any shows and paying only half attention to them. Where the biggest differences in numbers comes in is comparing peak and average star ratings.
If find it interesting that the largest difference between peak and average was on the very first night of the tournament and the second largest difference was on the final night of B Block action. It goes to show that for those nights, the guys in the main event (Okada/Marufuji and Omega/Naito) really went out of their way to make a memorable main event. The line for the average rating shows that outside of a few peaks and one valley, things were all at a level that was pretty good. Not amazing, but still great matches. There was only one night where the top rated match for the night dipped below four stars, but the peak was only .05 off from the average so the night had a pretty even level of quality throughout.
As much fun as I had ranking and rating every match, I don’t think I’ll do this again next year. I love the G1, but it can become a grind. Now that it’s over, I feel like I have so much free time. If I’ve learned anything from all of these ratings and stats, it’s this; this tournament probably isn’t meant to be consumed in this way. That being said, you have a better chance of me doing all this again than a ranking of every World Tag League match.