Wrestling and tournaments have always had a wonderful history dating back multiple decades. If its for a championship, a shot at said championship, or just simply bragging rights; there is always room for a good old fashioned wrestling tournament in the hearts of fans. As wrestling fans we are currently in the golden age of tournament style contests, even WWE are getting back into the game with stuff like the Cruiserweight Classic and the Mae Young Classic. However there are three tournaments that stand above the rest, NJPW’s G1 Climax, Progress’ Super Strong Style 16, and PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. All with their own unique qualities and selling points and even a different format in the case with the G1.
Progress runs a 16 man tournament in late April and Early May called Super Strong Style 16, and this tourney has played host to some of the best in the world in ring. People like Marty Scurll, WALTER, Tomasso Ciampa, and Tommy End (known today as Aleister Black), and even some of the brightest prospects in wresling such as Chris Ridgeway, Jordan Devlin and others. The matches as a result has been not only of a surprising nature, but also of incredible quality, take for example Tyler Bate vs Kassius Ohno; Bate was treated as the underdog because of the size and experience advantage that Ohno had. Bate had been taking a beating at the hands of Kassius over the course of the match and yet he had managed to overcome sustaining an injury to beat Ohno to move on the the next round.
New Japan’s G1 Climax is honestly one of the more unique tournaments that is run in all of wrestling, primarily due to it’s two block round robin format. Like with Super Strong Style 16 there is a serious pedigree to those who have competed with the G1; especially in the days of the WCW partnership where you had people like Ric Flair, Steve Austin, and Vader in addition to Masahiro Chono, Kazuchika Okada, and Kenny Omega. With the extended format there lies opportunities to take storylines and condense them down into a month-long time frame and allow them to manifest as the time goes by; where even one loss at the wrong time could keep the first or second place guy at the top of the block from seeing the final match. NJPW even gets more bang for their buck by employing the same format for another great tournament in the Best of the Super Jrs, where some of the Junior Heavyweights can compete even in both competetions.
PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles is where wrestlers go to crown who is the king of the indies of a certain year. Sticking with a traditional formula of 16 wrestlers in a single elimination format the level of appreciation is that where celebrities will buy tickets just to see what the buzz is about, people like Ronda Rousey, Luke Perry, and others. The winners list is a murderers row of the top names in wrestling, Adam Cole, Kenny Omega, Ricochet, and has produced multiple Dave Meltzer 5 star rated matches. But whats the most underrated part of this legendary tournament is that it’s led to the unearthing of people like Dave Finlay, CIMA and Shingo Takagi, to name a few.
I say all that to say this, tournament wrestling is alive and well, not just well but thriving in 2019 without companies having to bring back dead brands such as the King of the Ring. More are popping up with each passing year and its becoming more and more competitive with each one, and the fans stand to gain from it. Regardless if its from watching a stellar match, finding a new favorite, or just enjoying the whole damn thing, at the end of the day there is always going to be a tournament to bond over and enjoy.