Tetsuya Naito wants qualifying matches.
The 2019 G1 Climax is well underway, but some fans are still disappointed by the names who did not make the cut. The one man everyone thought would be in the tournament is Minoru Suzuki, but he was left to sit on the sidelines. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Tetsuya Naito, who is competing in his 10th G1 tournament.
Speaking to NJPW, Tetsuya Naito gave his thoughts on Suzuki not making the cut.
"To be honest, they probably needed to make a stronger case for themselves before the lineup was announced. Too little, too late. Eh, it’s better than somebody just accepting it and not doing anything at all, but it’s a case of going ‘oh, so they did want in?’" said Naito. "Take Suzuki. He doesn’t get in and he’s complaining about the G1, saying ‘how dare you call this the tournament to determine the toughest man of the summer?’ I thought ‘why talk badly about a tournament your lackies are entering? It’s not like you have the right to say anything you want. You need to be more constructive, offer some idea to make things better."
Naito wondered out loud if maybe it's time for NJPW to change up how they determine who joins the field in the G1 Climax tournament.
"Well, maybe it’s time to rethink the selection procedure for the G1. Maybe have the champions get automatic entries while everybody else has to win qualification matches to enter," pondered Naito. "It’s probably difficult at this point to increase the field past 20, but maybe there should be a system of looking at people’s recent records, or perhaps putting it to a vote to decide who gets in. I’ve wondered in the past, we have so many cards in the tournament, how are we deciding to let these people in? There’ve been entrants that definitely didn’t deserve their spots. It really should be a case of this scale, with this strict criteria is allowing the G1 and NJPW to be as big as it is."
Naito was a favorite coming into the 2019 G1 Climax tournament but currently finds himself in the middle of the B Block. You can view the latest G1 standings by clicking here.