Kobe World Hall in Hyogo is the site for today’s G1 action, with Jay White and Kazuchika Okada reigniting an old rivalry in the main event today.
Gabriel Kidd pinned Yota Tsuji in 7:40 (**¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Taichi pinned Yujiro Takahashi in 11:04 (**¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Minoru Suzuki pinned Jeff Cobb in 9:24 (***¼)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Kota Ibushi pinned Tomohiro Ishii in 15:41 (****)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Shingo Takagi pinned Will Ospreay in 22:03 (****½)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Jay White pinned Kazuchika Okada in 18:48 (***)
That 9mm Parabellum Bullet song isn’t the same level of banger of a G1 theme that we’ve had in the last few years, eh? I miss Break The Contradiction…
Gabriel Kidd vs. Yota Tsuji
Having beaten Yuya Uemura, Kidd’s looking to get on the board against the tour’s other Young Lion.
We start with Kidd going in with a front facelock as he looked to take down Tsuji, but he’s neutralised on the ground before they rolled into the ropes. Tsuji returns with a wristlock, but Kidd rolls out and takes him down with a wristlock of his own, but it’s escaped as Tsuji retaliates with a leglock. Kidd uses his free leg to switch it into a cross armbar, but again they roll into the ropes as Tsuji looked to break free. A lock-up sees Tsuji overpower Kidd, moving into a side headlock before shoving him away for a shoulder tackle… despite taking a quick flurry of shots from Kidd.
There’s a nice back body drop from Tsuji, then a slam and a splash for a near-fall, before following that up with a half crab. Kidd manages to drag himself to the rope as the crowd clapped him on, and he’s able to muster a comeback with a back elbow off the ropes. He charges Tsuji’s head into the corner ahead of a shoulder tackle for a near-fall, only to get his suplex reversed as Tsuji hung in there. Tsuji comes back in with a Stinger splash, only for Kidd to hit back with a dropkick before he hit the butterfly suplex… and that’s a winning streak for Gabe! Pretty solid for the time they got, with Kidd weathering an early storm before picking up the W. **¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Taichi
In a card full of bangers, there’s always going to be one match that raises eyebrows for other reasons. Let’s see if Taichi can keep his form up.
Yujiro attacks before the bell, jabbing Taichi with his pimp cane… and for some reason the referee lets the match start while Taichi was getting choked. Taichi gets thrown into the corner for some stomping, following in with a low dropkick as Taichi rolled outside to try and compose himself. He manages to come back into things, using the bell mallet to choke Yujiro with, before he switched to camera cable for choking. Back inside, Taichi keeps up the throttling, forcing referee Kenta Sato to try and break them up, so Taichi just prods Yujiro with his foot, and it ends with them heading outside with Yujiro rebounding off the guard rails before he returned the favour.
A reverse DDT leaves Taichi on the floor, before they returned to the ring to trade kicks. Yujiro caught Taichi’s, then swept the leg for another low dropkick as a Fisherman suplex landed for a near-fall. Taichi rakes the eyes to get out of a Miami Shine, before catching Yujiro in the corner with a gamengiri, leaving both men laying. A Buzzsaw-ish kick drops Yujiro for a near-fall, before Yujiro started nibbling away at Taichi. An eye rake neutralises the cheating, before the pair traded front kicks off the ropes. Elbows from Yujiro follow, knocking Taichi into a heap, as a lariat then put Taichi back down… Taichi misses a leaping enziguiri, leaving him open for an Incolle Slam that nearly got Yujiro the win.
The Pimp Juice DDT looks to follow, but Taichi snaps out with a Dangerous backdrop driver. Taichi’s back up with an Axe Bomber for a near-fall, and off come the trousers! A thrust kick is caught as Yujiro somehow counters with Miami Shine, before Pimp Juice was pushed away… Taichi shoves the referee so he can punt Yujiro low, as a Gedo clutch gets the win. Sometimes, in a battle of scumbags, you’ve got to be the scummiest, and Taichi did just that. This match wasn’t as bad as you’d expect, but this was pretty much its ceiling, given the names involved. **¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Jeff Cobb vs. Minoru Suzuki
There’s only one prior match between these two men, and it surprisingly was under the Rev Pro banner, with Suzuki dispatching of Cobb in a little over ten minutes on a WrestleMania weekend show in 2018.
We’ve no jump start here as Suzuki politely waited for the bell, with Cobb looking for an early ankle pick. Suzuki decides to go to ground, scooting on his arse as he then trips Cobb and caught him with some headscissors on the mat. A cross armbar from Suzuki’s snuffed out as Cobb works into a chinlock, but Suzuki gets free… and ends up grabbing Cobb’s ankle out of nowhere. Pew pew. Back on their feet, Cobb takes Suzuki into the corner, landing some chops before whipping Suzuki into the opposite corner. The follow-up back elbow misses as Suzuki sidesteps, allowing him to come in with a hanging armbar that helps take Cobb outside for the seemingly-mandated trip into the guard rails. Kicks and forearms follow as the referee decided to just go back to the ring and start the count-out as the two lads were fighting on the floor, but Cobb dives back in to break the 20-count.
Unfortunately, he’s at the feet of Suzuki who followed in with elbows and a running front kick, before a PK led to a nonchalant pinning attempt. A front kick from Suzuki keeps Cobb at bay, but Jeff responds by hitting the ropes for shoulder tackles, as Cobb began to mount a comeback, taking Suzuki into the corner for the leaping uppercut. A running back suplex is next out of the corner for a two-count, before Suzuki started a strike battle. You might be able to guess where this goes. CLONK. Cobb returns fire with a dropkick, before he back body dropped out of a Gotch piledriver attempt. Rolling gutwrench suplexes follow as Cobb got a little closer to home, only for Suzuki to stop him with a n armbar… before Cobb spun him out for an Oklahoma Stampede!
Things get flashier with a standing moonsault for a near-fall, before a Tour of the Islands was countered with a nice, snug front facelock, as Suzuki rolled them to the ground. Rear naked choke, Gotch piledriver… and that’s it! A pretty emphatic win for Suzuki, who took most of the match and successfully baited Cobb out of his usual game. ***¼
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kota Ibushi
They’ve had three prior singles outings, with Ibushi winning both that came in G1s in 2017 and 2018. Can Ishii finally get on the board this year by breaking that streak?
We start with a lock-up as Ishii’s taken into the ropes early on for a clean break, before he returned the favour… except he swung for a chop, forcing Ibushi to duck as they reached a tense stand-off. A side headlock from Ibushi ends up with him in the ropes before Ishii swung with elbows, only to get taken into the ropes for a mid kick. Ishii comes back with elbows, with Kota returning the favour before he got charged down with a shoulder tackle. Ishii bullies him into the corner, daring Ibushi to elbow away at him… he’s knocked down, but barely registers as Ishii kicks away at him, before my feed dropped out.
Ibushi comes back with mid kicks and a standing moonsault for a near-fall, as the pair began to trade chops and kicks in the middle of the ring. Neither man looked to budge, but those kicks stung Ishii as he got kicked into the ropes. He’s back with a headbutt before Ibushi whipped him into the corner, catching him with a scoop slam on the way back before heading to the apron as Ibushi returned with a springboard dropkick. Ishii’s right back there to catch Ibushi with a scoop slam, which barely fazed Kota, who’s back with a German suplex… which Ishii returned quickly. They turn up the tempo briefly, with Ibushi catching Ishii off the ropes with a dropkick. On the mat, they tease each other with kicks and slaps as things continued to stay catty… but Ishii’s caught with a right hand from Ibushi as he’s sent flying to the mat.
Ishii pops up with some chops to the goddamn throat, prompting Kota to just punch him there. Impressive aim on a man with no neck. A Last Ride powerbomb’s next, before Ishii headbutts away a Kamigoye as an enziguiri bought him some time. A powerbomb from Ishii lands for a near-fall, before he spun Ibushi with a lariat for another near-fall. Another Kamigoye attempt ends with Ishii spinning away Kota with an uprising headbutt, before the sliding lariat almost got the win. An overhead kick from Ibushi lands, as does a brainbuster as Ishii tried to cut him off. He successfully lands another lariat to spin Ibushi down, before a slap fight ended with another head kick from Ibushi that looked to knock Ishii loopy.
Ibushi flips out of a German suplex and dives in with a Bomaye knee for a near-fall, but Ishii counters out of a Kamigoye with headbutts and clotheslines. A second knee strike flattens him… and a quick Kamigoye ends up getting Kota over the line. Another good match, but the crowds here simply aren’t helping these matches land to a TV audience. There’s something about Ishii in this G1 that hasn’t quite connected as well as in prior tournaments, and it’s showing in the results as well. He was still loopy after the match as he tried to throw some strikes at Ibushi long after the bell… I guess being punched in the throat will do that to you. ****
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay
Just the one prior meeting here, in that cracker of a Best of the Super Junior finals last year… I have a feeling this match will have a lot of trouble to be quite as universally-received in the same way.
We open with a lock-up, as Ospreay can’t quite power Shingo towards the ropes. Instead, they go for a knuckle lock that Ospreay breaks, going in with a side headlock before he was shoved into the ropes for back-and-forth shoulder tackles. An early attempt at a sliding lariat from Shingo is avoided, before he blocked an OsCutter… then rana’d out of a Storm Breaker attempt as the pace was way too quick for tired eyes to keep up with. Ospreay offers a handshake, but Shingo doesn’t trust him… he comes in with a knee before some tijeras sent him outside for a faked-out dive. Ospreay keeps his eyes on Shingo, who stood back before seemingly embarking on the search for a chair. Back inside, Ospreay catches him with Kawada-style kicks, but one of them’s blocked before a leaping stomp again took Shingo outside.
Shingo avoids a plancha, but an Irish whip is reversed as he ends up going into the guard rails… only to come back with a pop-up death valley driver. Back inside, Shingo hangs up Ospreay on the ropes ahead of a snap DDT for a near-fall, before a cravat kept Will at bay. Shingo rolls him to the mat in the hold, but can’t get a pin, so he instead moved to some Danielson elbows, with a knee drop following that up. The pair break down into chops, but it’s Shingo who edges ahead… until Ospreay bounced off the ropes for a handspring enziguiri. Another enziguiri out of the corner helps build up for a standing shooting star press for a near-fall, with Ospreay missing a springboard forearm… another enziguiri works, before he ate the Shingo combination of an elbow, a jab and a lariat.
Shingo looks for noshigami, but Ospreay countered out… and eats a Dragon screw for his woes. A sliding lariat followed for a near-fall, before Shingo ducked a hook kick, only to find himself caught with a Stundog Millionaire after another quick flurry. The springboard forearm lands at the second time of asking as Shingo’s knocked outside for a Sasuke special. Ospreay doesn’t follow-up instantly though, choosing to roll Shingo back inside for a front kick before a Storm Breaker in the corner was countered into a Tree of Woe… with Shingo hooking himself in the ropes as Ospreay set up for a Coast to Coast dropkick. A lifting reverse DDT followed for a near-fall, before an old school shooting star press off the top rope almost got him the win.
Another OsCutter’s caught as Shingo countered out into a noshigami, before he teased Made in Japan, only to switch it into a gutbuster. A charging clothesline squashes Ospreay in the corner, only for Will to respond with another handspring. It’s caught as Shingo bounced him off the ropes, only for Ospreay to retaliate with a sitout powerbomb. Ospreay again goes for Storm Breaker, but Shingo swivels out as they trade elbows and lariats… but a jab just spun Ospreay into position for a hook kick. Another Storm Breaker’s escaped as Shingo lands Made in Japan instead for a near-fall, before a Pumping Bomber spun Ospreay down for another two-count.
Last of the Dragon looks to follow, but Ospreay slips out, landing another hook kick before he spiked Shingo with a reverse ‘rana. A rolling elbow’s stopped with a headbutt, as we restart with a battle of elbow strikes. Shingo rattles off a sequence of elbows, before running into a one-man Spanish Fly for a near-fall… which led to counters back and forth as both men looked for a pin. Ospreay dives in with a clothesline to leave both men laying. He’s back up to tease a Hidden Blade, but Shingo ducks it… only to eat a thrust kick and a rolling elbow. Will doesn’t go for the cover, but instead heads up top for an OsCutter… Shingo shoves him down and instead clotheslines him back into the ring with a thud.
From there, Shingo lifts Ospreay up on his shoulders for an avalanche death valley driver, but Ospreay kicks out at one. A second lariat spins Ospreay for a two-count, before the Last of the Dragon finally lands for the win. This was yet another match affected by the crowd being relatively muted. This absolutely was not on the same level as the much-vaunted BOSJ final, and a lot of it for me is down to Ospreay not quickly finding his feet as a heavyweight while he moves away from his “old routine.” A weird nit pick, I know, but a sign that if New Japan’s looking to give Ospreay the rocket pack, even among the criticism, the finished product isn’t quite there. ****½
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada
This’ll be their fourth meeting in singles action, with White winning at the start of the G1 Climax in 2018, and at WrestleKingdom the following year before Okada won back the IWGP title from him at Madison Square Garden in April 2019.
Jay White’s still a shit-house, grabbing the house mic to try and start “Okada” chants during his entrance. Oh, and of course he rolls outside at the bell, as he tried to keep unsettling the unsettled Okada. When we get going, Okada locks up into the ropes with White, who of course rolls outside on the break. Back inside, White locks up with Okada into the ropes, and does Okada’s own “mocking” clean break, which earns him a forearm or two before Okada caught him with a big boot and a low dropkick. That took the Kiwi outside again, and a quick distraction from Gedo helps turn it around as White attacks Okada from behind, taking him outside and into the guard rails.
The charges into the guard rails and ring apron follow, as White began to commandeer the match, stomping on Okada’s back as he got back inside. A backbreaker keeps Okada down as White found out that the clapping and stomping stuff that got Juice Robinson over the other day didn’t work so well for him. He continues to work the lower back, only for Okada to come back with a flapjack, then a sliding back elbow as he threatened to find his groove. A DDT out of the corner follows for a two-count, but White rolls outside… so Okada gets distracted by Gedo again, only to join them both on the raised walkway for a double DDT. He returns to the ring to catch White with elbows, only to get caught himself with a Manhattan drop and a DDT, before my feed taps. It’s back as White returned with a Blade Buster for a near-fall, only for Okada to catch him out of the corner with a neckbreaker slam as both men were left laying.
Okada looks to dictate the pace some more, throwing some elbows… but White throws back in kind, only for Okada to drop him with a big shot. Again, Gedo pops up to distract, but he’s knocked down as Okada dropkicks White into him… before a second dropkick misses. White instantly capitalises with a German suplex, further battering Okada’s taped-up back, but given time, Okada’s able to land the dropkick. A tombstone’s next out of the Rainmaker, before… that goddamn Money Clip. I always prefer a wallet anyway. White gets to the ropes, as he then had to block a second tombstone attempt, then a third, as he then slipped out for a Blade Runner. That’s ducked, but he lands a uranage moments later, before Okada had to elbow his way out of a Regalplex attempt.
It’s back to the tombstone as Okada’s doing anything but a Rainmaker, but White counters out… and gets dropkicked once more. Gedo hits the ring because he, too, is sick of that Money Clip, but he’s taken out as Okada reapplies the hold to White. Hey! Okada leds go for a rolling lariat, and it’s back to the Money Clip… Gedo pops up again, distracting the ref as White low blows his way free, but his attempt at the Blade Runner ends with another Money Clip. He quickly counters out into a sleeper suplex, before a Blade Runner ends things. Yep. that quick and definitive – as Okada now has the mountain to climb, losing two of his first three matches. Just use the goddamn Rainmaker, Okada, and quit pissing around! The story’s good, but man, it’s dragging down these main events… ***
Taichi, Jay White (3-0; 6pts)
Kota Ibushi, Will Ospreay, Minoru Suzuki (2-1; 4pts)
Jeff Cobb, Kazuchika Okada, Shingo Takagi (1-2; 2pts)
Tomohiro Ishii, Yujiro Takahashi (0-3; 0pts)
Tetsuya Naito, Juice Robinson, Toru Yano (2-0; 4pts)
EVIL, Hirooki Goto, KENTA, Zack Sabre Jr. (1-1; 2pts)
YOSHI-HASHI, SANADA, Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-2; 0pts)
(Unofficial) Block C
Gabriel Kidd (2-1)
Yota Tsuji (2-2)
Yuya Uemura (1-2)
It’s a day-off tomorrow, as the G1 returns on Tuesday for a run of three shows – with the first two in Korakuen Hall. Tuesday’s main event in the B block is Goto vs. Naito, while EVIL becomes the latest person to have to deal with Toru Yano’s trickery.
A lot of your mileage on this show will depend on how you read the second half. Three good matches, but all of them for me felt like they lacked something. If you’re able to overlook or accommodate for the covid-era crowds, you’ll really love this show, as even the forecast “worst” match was shockingly decent.