Wrestling Observer Exclusive: Tomoaki Honma’s Heartbreaking G1 Journey

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Last year, Tomoaki Honma replaced an injured Kota Ibushi in New Japan’s G-1 Climax 24 tournament. As part of Block A, Honma would finish the tournament in last place on ZERO points. Despite losing every single G-1 match in his debut appearance in the now legendary New Japan heavyweight tournament, Tomoaki Honma won the love and support of fans around the world – Honmania ran wild, and it has’t stopped running!

Honma’s 2014 tournament matches against Katsuyori Shibata, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura and Tomohiro Ishii were some of the most brutal, breathtaking and heartbreaking matches of the year. What made Honma’s performance in 2014 so great is that he is a master of making believers out of the most cynical fans. It became clear early on that Honma was going to be taking a lot of falls in his G-1 matches. In the end, he was defeated in all of them, but during every one of those matches, he made us believe that it was possible he could pull off that one big victory. And every time he didn’t, it made us want to see it happen even more (and it made my heart break a little more).


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