Hirooki Goto Makes G1 Finals

One half of the finals of New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 Climax is set. Hirooki Goto emerged in first place of Block A of G1 Climax 26, and will face the winner of Block B on Sunday from Tokyo's Sumo Hall at the G1 finals.

The winner of the G1 Climax tournament will challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Title at Wrestle Kingdom on January 4.

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Goto won Block A by defeating Naomichi Marufuji in their match at Sumo Hall on Friday. Then, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi battled to a 30-minute time limit draw in the main event. Either Okada or Tanahashi would have won the block ahead of Goto, as both defeated Goto head-to-head during the tournament, which consisted of 20 wrestlers in two blocks of 10 facing one another in round-robin action in a tournament that began back on July 18.

Tanahashi and Okada also were part of the most recent G1 draw prior to this, which happened during the 2013 tournament.

Block B holds its final round-robin matches Saturday. Tetsuya Naito currently has the lead with 12 points, with Michael Elgin, Katsuyori Shibata and Kenny Omega all trailing close behind with 10 points each. Naito will face Omega tonight, and teased that match with their interactions during a multi-man tag on Friday's undercard that pit Naito's Los Ingobnerables de Japon stable against Omega and the Bullet Club.

This is the first time Goto has won his block of the G1 since he won the entire tournament back in 2008. That also marked Goto's first participation in the G1, and he has been part of the annual round-robin tournament in every year since. 

A two-time IWGP Intercontinental Champion and a former IWGP Tag Champion teaming with Shibata, Goto has never won the IWGP Heavyweight Title. He joined the CHAOS stable, led by Okada, earlier this year, which would create an interesting dynamic if Goto wins the finals on Sunday and Okada is still champion heading into the new year.

Both today's G1 event and the finals on Sunday will offer a feed with English commentary provided by Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino.

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