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  August 6, 2000



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Sasaki wins G1 Climax
By JOHN F. MOLINARO -- SLAM! Wrestling


New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 Climax 2000 tournament concluded today as IWGP Heavyweight champion Kensuke Sasaki defeated last year's winner Manabu Nakinishi in 19:42 with his signature move, the Northern Lights Bomb before a sellout crowd of 11, 500 fans at Tokyo's Sumo Hall.
G1 Climax 2000 Champion, Kensuke Sasaki. (Photo courtesy Tokyo Sports)


Sasaki, who won his division, Block B, with a perfect 3 and 0 record, advanced to the finals after defeating Yuji Nagata in the semi-finals earlier on the show. Nagata defeated Takashi Iizuka in a sudden death playoff match to win Block A to advance to the semi-finals.

Nakanishi won Block C after defeating Hiroshi Tenzan in a sudden death playoff match earlier in the show. He then went on to defeat Block D winner, Masa Chono, in the semi-finals.

This is the second time Sasaki has won the G1 tournament having defeated Tenzan in the finals in 1997. Sasaki becomes only the second reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion to win the G1 tournament - the other one being Keiji Mutoh in 1995.

This year's G1 was considered a failure by both Japanese fans and media. Only two of the six shows were sellouts -- unlike years past where the tournament sold out automatically, many of the marquee matches were sub-par, the booking suspect at times and many critics question booker Riki Choshu's decision to give the tournament to Sasaki instead of a young star such as Satoshi Kojima, Tenzan or Nagata, thus elevating them to the upper echelon of New Japan's roster.

Critics are also questioning Choshu's decision to burry Jushin "Thunder" Liger and Tatsuhito Takaiwa, the two lone junior heavyweights in the tournament who were both making their G1 debuts.

New Japan G1 CLIMAX 2000 Final Standings


Block A Yuji Nagata Takashi Iizuka Tatsumi Fujinami Jushin Liger Tatsutoshi Gotoh Total Points
Nagata
  WON WON WON LOST 3
Iizuka
LOST   WON WON WON 3
Fujinami
LOST LOST   WON WON 2
Liger
LOST LOST LOST   WON 1
Gotoh
WON LOST LOST LOST   1

Block B Kensuke Sasaki Satoshi Kojima Brian Johnston Osamu Kido Hiro Saito Total Points
Sasaki
  WON WON WON N/A 3
Kojima
LOST   WON WON N/A 2
Johnston
LOST LOST   WON WON 2
Kido
LOST LOST LOST   N/A 1
Saito
N/A N/A LOST N/A   0

Block C Manabu Nakinishi Hiroshi Tenzan Tadao Yasuda Osamu Nishimura Kenzo Suzuki Total Points
Nakinishi
  LOST WON WON WON 3
Tenzan
WON   WON LOST WON 3
Yasuda
LOST LOST   WON WON 2
Nishimura
LOST WON LOST   WON 2
Suzuki
LOST LOST LOST LOST   0

Block D Masa Chono Shiro Koshinaka Yutaka Yoshie Junji Hirata Tatsuhito Takaiwa Total Points
Chono
  LOST WON WON WON 3
Koshinaka
WON   WON LOST LOST 2
Yoshie
LOST LOST   WON WON 2
Hirata
LOST WON LOST   WON 2
Takaiwa
LOST WON LOST LOST   1

  • History of New Japan's G1 Climax

  • A look at this year's tournament




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