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NJPW’s Major Shift: Young Stars Shine in G1 Climax 34 Qualifiers

One big thing: NJPW signals changing of the guard in G1 Climax qualifiers

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) is embracing a new era, as evidenced by the shocking results of the G1 Climax 34 qualifier matches at the July 3 Soul event.

• Boltin Oleg, a former NJPW young lion, defeated company President Hiroshi Tanahashi in under seven minutes.
• Tomohiro Ishii, a G1 Climax staple, was eliminated by YOSHI-HASHI.
• Callum Newman upset KENTA in another qualifier match.

These results mark a significant shift in NJPW’s direction, with younger talent taking center stage.

Why it matters

NJPW is clearly positioning itself for the future, following the departures of top stars like Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay in 2024.

• This is the first time in 20 years that Tanahashi won’t participate in the G1 Climax.
• The elimination of veterans like Ishii and KENTA signals a new era for the tournament.
• Young stars like Shota Umino, Yota Tsuji, and Gabe Kidd are getting more prominent roles.

By the numbers

• 18: Number of participants already announced for G1 Climax 34
• 20: Years since Tanahashi last missed a G1 Climax tournament
• 7: Minutes it took Oleg to defeat Tanahashi

What’s next

• Oleg will face Taichi on July 5 for a spot in the B Block of the G1 Climax 34.
• Newman will face YOSHI-HASHI for a place in the A Block.

The bottom line

NJPW is taking bold steps to refresh its roster and tournaments, giving younger talent the spotlight in its most prestigious event. This strategy could shape the company’s future for years to come.

What do you think about NJPW’s decision to push younger talent in the G1 Climax? Leave a comment below with your thoughts on this new direction for the company.

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