5. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Though he isn’t the oldest participant in this tournament, Hiroshi Tanahashi will be 40 years old when this year’s G1 Climax starts. Though that’s not too old by NJPW standards – many wrestlers in Japan keep going well into their forties and even into their fifties in some care cases – it’s still something to worry about for the Ace of the Universe.
Yet despite that age, Tanahashi’s still in great shape and is more than capable of putting on a good match with anyone. He has proven experience as a top draw, and is doing very well as NJPW’s equivalent of John Cena.
That said, one last attempt at glory at Wrestle Kingdom wouldn’t be too farfetched a possibility. After all, Tanahashi and current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Okada have a storied past together, and the two of them have put on some critically-acclaimed matches.
If NJPW’s bookers have any concerns about the other participants, they could always play it safe and book Tanahashi to win. The only real problem with that, however, is that the Okada/Tanahashi match-up at Wrestle Kingdom has been seen several times. It really comes down to whether NJPW wants to add another chapter to that story, or whether to leave that one in the past.