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  August 4, 2000



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

New Japan Pro Wrestling presents G1 CLIMAX 2001
New Japan Pro Wrestling presents
G1 CLIMAX 2001

Starts: August 4, 2000 - Furitsu Gym, Osaka
Finals: August 12th, 2000 - Sumo Hall, Tokyo


As part of SLAM! Wrestling's continuing commitment to provide in-depth coverage of international wrestling, we are proud to present a full preview of New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 Climax 2001 tournament. Two six-man divisions will compete in a round robin format, (two points for a win, one for a draw) with the winner of each division advancing to the semi-finals where they'll face the second place-finisher in the other division. Fans unfamiliar with this special event should check out our story on its history and last year's winner. In handicapping this year's event, SLAM!'s own John Molinaro focuses on all twelve wrestlers in the tournament and examines what their chances are.

A LOOK AT THE FIELD -- BLOCK A


Yuji Nagata

Best Moves: Northern Lights Suplex, lethal stiff kicks
Tournament Experience: 2 appearances
Best Tournament Finish: Semi-finalist ('99, '00).

Tatsumi Fujinami

Best Moves: Dragon Suplex, Octopus
Tournament Experience: 6 appearances
Best Tournament Finish: Winner ('93).

Manabu Nakanishi

Best Moves: Torture rack, spear
Tournament Experience: 4 appearances
Best Tournament Finish: Winner ('99).

Minoru Tanaka

Best Moves: Northern Lights Suplex, springboard dropkick
Tournament Experience: None.
Best Tournament Finish: This will be his first G1.

Tadao Yasuda

Best Moves: Front Guillotine
Tournament Experience: 4 appearances.
Best Tournament Finish: Quarter-finalist ('98)

Kazunari Murakami

Best Moves: stiff kicks
Tournament Experience: None.
Best Tournament Finish: This will be his first G1.


A LOOK AT THE FIELD -- BLOCK B


Keiji Mutoh

Best Moves: Moonsault, Figure Four Leg Lock
Tournament Experience: 8 appearances
Best Tournament Finish: Winner ('95), Finalist ('91, '99), Semi-finalist ('92, '93)

Masa Chono

Best Moves: STF, Yakuza kicks
Tournament Experience: 10 appearances
Best Tournament Finish: Winner ('91, '92, '94), Finalist ('96), Semi-finalist ('93, '95, '98, '00).

Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Best Moves: Diving head-butt
Tournament Experience: 6 appearances
Best Tournament Finish: Finalist ('97).

Satoshi Kojima

Best Moves: Running lariat, Diamond-cutter
Tournament Experience: 5 appearances
Best Tournament Finish: Semi-finalist ('98, '00).

Osamu Nishimura

Best Moves: figure four
Tournament Experience: 2 appearances.
Best Tournament Finish: 4th Place, Block C ('00)

Jushin "Thunder" Liger

Best Moves: Running Liger Bomb, Palm Blows
Tournament Experience: 1 appearance
Best Tournament Finish: 4th Place, Block A ('00)

G1 CLIMAX PREDICTIONS - BLOCK WINNERS

  John Molinaro
BLOCK A WINNER Yuji Nagata
BLOCK B WINNER Satoshi Kojima
BLOCK A RUNNER-UP Manabu Nakanishi
BLOCK B RUNNER-UP Keiji Mutoh


What the expert says

  • John Molinaro: Block A appears to be the weaker of the two divisions. Tanaka and Yasuda will be jobbed out, while Fujinami and Murakami might score some upset wins. Nagata is primed and ready for a major push so I would expect him to cruise through the round robin portion and finish in first place. Nakanishi will finish in second because he's the biggest name from the rest of the pack. Block B is a little more difficult to get a handle on. Liger and Nishimura will be used as fodder while the other four battle for the two spots. Kojima, like Nagata, is ready to get pushed to the next level and I look for him to score some big wins over veterans like Mutoh and Chono to win the group. Mutoh will just edge out Tenzan to finish second.


    G1 CLIMAX PREDICTIONS - FINALS

      John Molinaro
    SEMIFINAL A Nagata over Mutoh
    SEMIFINAL B Kojima over Nakanishi
    G1 FINAL Nagata over Kojima


    What the expert says

  • John Molinaro: The way I see it, booker Masa Chono will take a page from the first G1 in 1991 that saw New Japan elevate him and Mutoh by having them defeat veterans to advance to the finals where they had a hell of match, thus making them into the new stars of the promotion. Chono will have Nagata go over Mutoh while Kojima will beat 1999 G1 winner Nakanishi in the semi-finals to set up a Nagata vs Kojima final. By beating Mutoh and Nakanishi, both Nagata and Kojima will be eleavated to the next level and will seize the occasion by putting on a clinic in the final that will see Nagata go over. Shades of 1991 all over again.


    More on the G1 Climax:

    History of the G1 Climax
    Sasaki wins 2000 G1 Climax
    SLAM! International Wrestling




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