The G1 rolls into Aichi as Tetsuya Naito and EVIL battle in the main event – with EVIL’s shots of winning the block all-but resting on this match.
Gabriel Kidd pinned Yota Tsuji in 7:08 (**¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: Zack Sabre Jr. submitted YOSHI-HASHI in 13:34 (***)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: KENTA defeated Toru Yano via count-out in 8:56 (*)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: SANADA pinned Juice Robinson in 15:06 (***¼)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: Hirooki Goto pinned Hiroshi Tanahashi in 13:37 (***½)
G1 Climax 30, Block B: EVIL pinned Tetsuya Naito in 23:57 (***¼)
We’re at the Prefectural Gymnasium in Aichi here for this stop of the tour as the G1’s about to hit its final week…
Gabriel Kidd vs. Yuya Uemura
We get going with a lock-up here, as neither man was willing to relent early on – but it’s Kidd who’s backed into the ropes as we get a break of sorts.
Kidd throws an elbow as Tsuji wasn’t letting go, and gets some back before we got shoulder tackles and a hiptoss out of Kidd, albeit just for a one-count. Chops follow, eventually knocking Tsuji down for a two-count, before Kidd snapmared Tsuji in for a chinlock. Tsuji gets to the ropes, then sent Kidd into the ropes for an eventual dropkick. A slam and a flip senton from Tsuji lands, then a running splash for a near-fall, before he tied up Kidd in a cross-legged stump puller before pulling all the way back to roll them down for a pin. Kidd’s back with an elbow off the ropes, following up with some rapid-fire elbows as Tsuji was trapped in the corner.
They struggle over a suplex, which Kidd lands for a near-fall, and then he sets up for the double underhook suplex, but Tsuji backs into the ropes to save himself. Clubbing overhand forearms knock Tsuji down, but he’s back with a spinning bodyslam for a two-count, before the obligatory Boston crab followed. Kidd gets to the ropes, but Tsuji hauls him up for a running powerslam. It’s escaped as the pair trade palm strikes, before Kidd hits a dropkick of his own as a double underhook suplex gets him the win. Some nice energy here with Kidd taking a more measured approach, and it was more than enough to get him the decisive win. **¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Sabre’s 2-0 in his past two matches against YOSHI-HASHI, including one in 2017’s G1, and a Rev Pro title defence last June, back when we thought they were gonna troll Britwres!
Sabre goes in for a waistlock early, but YOSHI-HASHI switches as they scrambled for a hold, leading to an arm wringer from YOSHI-HASHI being rolled out. A tie-up from YOSHI-HASHI ends in the ropes, as Sabre cheapshots his way into a side headlock, holding on before YOSHI-HASHI rolled free… as we then went to shoulder tackles that had Sabre down. Another body blow from Sabre led him to take a tijeras from YOSHI-HASHI, before he came back in in search of a double wristlock. Unfortunately they’re right by the ropes, as YOSHI-HASHI forces a break…
Sabre kicks away at YOSHI-HASHI, who responds with a chop… but Zack just pushes him down and proceeded to tie him up with a modified Anaconda Vise. Again, right by the ropes. Another kick to the arm follows as Sabre rolls YOSHI-HASHI into the middle of the ring for a scissored armbar, eventually getting it as YOSHI-HASHI got to the rope. YOSHI-HASHI fought back, landing chops and forearms before whipping Sabre into the corners. A second chop and a thrust kick has Zack down, before he got suplexed into the ropes ahead of a dropkick to the back. A low dropkick follows for a near-fall, as YOSHI-HASHI then looked to go for a powerbomb, but Sabre just rolls him to the mat and stomped the elbow.
Sabre runs into the corner, looking to rebound but lands into a chop from YOSHI-HASHI, who followed up with a Ligerbomb for a near-fall. A Butterfly lock follows, but Sabre counters into a Cobra twist, before YOSHI-HASHI reversed and went back to the Butterfly lock, wrestling Sabre down as he tried to escape, and then a double wristlock, which Sabre manages to escape via the ropes. Sabre responds with a PK to YOSHI-HASHI for a near-fall, but YOSHI-HASHI powers up and trades more strikes with Sabre. Chops and uppercuts go back-and-forth, before he finally took Zack down with a lariat. A running Meteora’s good for a near-fall, but Sabre then escapes Karma, only to get dumped with a superkick.
YOSHI-HASHI pushes on, but his Karma’s countered into a crossarmbar, stopping via a roll-up that nearly got YOSHI-HASHI the win. Sabre switches that armbar into an omoplata, then back to the cross armbar before Sabre used his legs to trap YOSHI-HASHI’s arms behind his back for the eventual submission. Apparently that’s called the Clarky Cat – one for Brass Eye fans – as Sabre keeps his G1 alive after a match that was a little on the slow side, but did the job well. ***
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: Toru Yano vs. KENTA
These guys have met once before, back in June 2013 when KENTA was the GHC Heavyweight Champion. I strongly suspect they won’t be matching the 24:31 they went on that night as KENTA successfully defended the title in NOAH…
KENTA demands the referee check Yano, and of course, there’s bulges in his gear, It’s tape. Yano offers himself up for a cavity search it seemed, but referee Marty Asami declines as KENTA started by… grabbing his broken briefcase? Yano’s got his chair as retaliation, and tosses it aside as the referee counted to five. KENTA did not, so Yano goes for a turnbuckle pad, and yet again, KENTA refuses to throw aside his briefcase. So Yano goes for another pad, which prompts KENTA to put down his briefcase and roll outside. It’s been two minutes and they’ve not touched, folks!
Yano remains frustrated as KENTA rolled in and out of the ring to break the count… then decided to join him. So far this has been two almost-middle-aged men doing nothing but yell at each other. They roll back into the ring to break the count, before heading back outside as after four minutes, they finally touch! Yano throws KENTA into the guard rails, then grabs some tape… KENTA kicks him away and grabs the tape himself, only to get sprayed in the eyes with Yano’s disinfectant spray. Yano throws a turnbuckle pad at KENTA to try and keep him there, but KENTA beats the count at 19, before landing a DDT.
KENTA undoes the spray top on Yano’s bottle and has something evil in mind. The referee takes it off him as Yano goes for a roll-up, but it only gets a two-count before Yano blocked the spray. Second time’s the charm before KENTA just poured it into his eyes as a roll-up gets him a near-fall on the newly-disinfected Yano. There’s still something left in the bottle, and in the struggle for it the referee gets doused with it. The pair brawl up the aisle, as KENTA went to use his briefcase… Yano ducks it, then got knocked through the curtain as the briefcase exploded revealing ALL THE TAPE. KENTA grabs a roll and tapes Yano to the entrance way, before just about making it back to the ring in time to get the count-out. Eh, there was some comedy here, but this dragged a little on the way to the pay-off. That win may not be enough for KENTA, who’s going to need a LOT of results to go his way if he’s to win the block – including a final-night tie-breaker win over Tetsuya Naito… *
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: SANADA vs. Juice Robinson
This’ll be the third time these two have met up, having split the wins in their G1 outings,, with SANADA winning in 2017 and Juice in 2018.
Juice starts off by trying to work SANADA’s wrist, but it’s countered back-and-forth before headlocks and headscissors got us back level. A leg lariat from Juice misses, as a low dropkick from SANADA finds the mark instead, before he tripped Juice out of the corner in the search for a Paradise Lock. It’s pushed away, as Juice returns with a spinebuster instead, taking SANADA outside for some respite. Juice followed him out, giving SANADA Snake Eyes on the railings before an Irish whip knocked the gate door open. SANADA makes it back inside, but takes a backbreaker and a back senton as Juice stayed on top… avoiding a standing moonsault before dumping SANADA with a backdrop suplex.
SANADA’s taken into the corner for some kicks next, before a clothesline dropped SANADA… who avoids a cannonball in the nick of time. The double leapfrog/dropkick catches Juice next, sending him outside for a plancha, before trapping Juice in a Paradise Lock back in the ring. He’s freed with a low dropkick for a two-count, before he tried to backflip over Juice… only for Juice to hit right back with a full nelson slam. Juice crashes in next with a cannonball, before he rolled together a superplex and a Jackhammer for a near-fall. SANADA slips out of a powerbomb as the camera hid behind the referee, before SANADA went for a ‘rana… and has that countered into a powerbomb for a near-fall.
Dusty punches looked to have SANADA rocked, but he comes back in with a tiltawhirl into a Dragon sleeper… only for Juice to walk up the ropes to get out of it. A Pulp Friction misses, as does a SANADA moonsault, before SANADA came back in with TKO-into-a-Skull End. Yet again, Juice flips free, but his Pulp Friction is also countered back into Skull End. Juice goes for a Skull End of his own, before it’s all stopped with a simple dropkick. SANADA backflips out of the corner into a Skull End, but Juice countered out with a roll-up for a near-fall. An O’Connor roll takes SANADA back into position for a Skull End, swinging Juice around before dragging him down… and of course Juice slips out on the mat, as SANADA then went up top for a moonsault that actually lands for the win. A solid outing, but that continuous exchange of counters for finishers felt a little rough at the end – but at least SANADA’s “I let go of my submission to go for a moonsault” actually paid off this time. ***¼
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: Hirooki Goto vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
There’s a fair amount of history here, with these two having had a dozen prior singles matches, going back to 2004 when Tanahashi fought a five-minute draw against Goto… then beat him in an instant rematch in 47 seconds. Overall Goto has only ever won once against Tanahashi, in 2012’s New Japan Cup final…
From the opening lock-up, Goto looked to work over Tanahashi’s arm, but gets tripped to the mat as Tanahashi went in for a leg grapevine. He gets free, eventually knocking down Tanahashi with a shoulder tackle before a wheelbarrow roll-up almost led to the quick win as Tanahashi then went for a GYR-like move on Goto’s knee. Inventive. Tanahashi flips Goto’s leg next, then dropped an elbow on it as he went for that body part – rather than the taped-up shoulder. A leg spreader keeps Goto on the deck, as he has to drag his way to the ropes. A missed charge in the corner from Tanahashi opened him up for a backdrop suplex from Goto, who followed up with a bulldog out of the corner for a near-fall.
Goto goes for an ushigoroshi, but Tanahashi elbows out of it and lands a Dragon screw for good measure. More of those follow as Tanahashi keeps on the left leg, trapping it in the ropes before a low dropkick staggered Goto ahead of an ushigoroshi… using the bad knee for the landing. Back-and-forth elbows see the match break down into a brawl, leading to a clothesline from Goto. Tanahashi ducks a second clothesline and counters with a Slingblade, before going up top… he’s caught by Goto, who’d shrugged off a big shot earlier, and gets brought down with an avalanche ushigoroshi… because Goto must hate his knee.
A mid kick keeps Tanahashi down, as does a GYR – this time onto the good knee – before Tanahashi tried to slip down for a roll-up. It backfires as Goto counters back with a GTR, and that’s gotta be something of an upset given Goto’s earlier G1 form. I had a hard time really sinking my teeth into this match, with the injury-wracked Goto not exactly helping his cause throughout. ***½
G1 Climax 30 – Block B: EVIL vs. Tetsuya Naito
We close out with a match with a lot of recent history – back in July, EVIL won the New Japan Cup, only to turn on Los Ingobernables de Japon and join Bullet Club. EVIL won the double gold at Dominion earlier this year, but lost it right back to Naito at Summer Struggle in Jingu – and with both men in the running for the block, this could be an important tie-breaker to hold.
A win for Naito effectively hands him the block, while a win for EVIL means you’ve got to start looking at tie-breakers. They don’t rush at each other at the bell, as instead EVIL heads into the ropes for a shoulder tackle before he ran into an armdrag as Naito then took him outside with a tijeras and faked out a resulting dive. EVIL finds a chair under the ring, because of course he does, but he leaves it outside as Naito worked away on him with chinlocks and elbows. Headscissors on the mat take EVIL to the ropes, with the referee needing to break the hold before Dick Togo got involved, tripping Naito in the ropes and dragging him outside. It took less than five minutes. Naito’s thrown into the guard rails as EVIL came out looking for chairs – piling them up as he drop toe holds Naito into them.
The chairs come back into play seconds later as EVIL hits a home run, which almost led to a count-out win as Naito rolled back in just in time, only to take a neckbreaker for a two-count. A chinlock keeps Naito down, before EVIL misses a back senton that bought the double champion some time. Naito’s back up to take EVIL to the corner for Combinacion Cabron, before a baseball slide took Togo into the railings. A neckbreaker drops EVIL for a two-count, before EVIL used Naito’s hair to avoid a second one… then passed a kick to the referee for the ol’ thrust kick spot. EVIL followed up with a push-down stomp out of the corner, only for Naito to respond with Pluma Blanca.
Togo pops up again to interfere, but Naito sidesteps as EVIL charged him off the apron… then went back to Pluma Blanca, ending when they roll into the ropes. Naito plays with EVIL, booting him in the head, but a swinging DDT’s blocked as EVIL instead came back with a Fisherman suplex. Naito’s taken up top next for a superplex, which bounced him into the middle of the ring for a near-fall, before a Darkness Scorpion quickly ended in the ropes. EVIL goes for a second clothesline, but it’s blocked as Naito came in with a Koppo kick, before Gloria dumps EVIL down for a near-fall.
EVIL charges into the ref to try and mask a low blow, which came to nought, before he shoved down a neckbreaker attempt, following that up with a low blow moments later. EVIL throws Naito into the exposed corner before a half-and-half suplex dropped Naito high on his neck, as a follow-up lariat folds the double champion in half for a near-fall. EVIL looked to go for Darkness Falls, but Naito countered mid-move into a Destino as we crossed by 20 minutes. More back-and-forth leads to Darkness Falls, before Naito elbowed his way free of Everything is EVIL. Togo comes in to distract as EVIL finally lands a low blow, before he went to grab some chairs. Of course it’s a distraction as Togo gets the garrote wire that Tanahashi easily overpowered… and this time Naito gets free of the Spoiler Choker too.
Naito’s back with a leaping forearm to EVIL, before he blocked Everything is EVIL and ran in with a Destino for a near-fall. A second Destino is blocked, before EVIL definitively swept Naito down with Everything is EVIL – a result you had to expect, lest them piss off the crowd with a meaningless show on their Yokohama Budokan show on Wednesday! Eh, you knew the Bullet Club rubbish was coming, but a lot of this match totally washed over me. It wasn’t as shtick heavy as usual, but not one you’ll be running back to see time and time again. ***¼
With two matches left, we’ve not got that many with realistic shots of winning…
Block A (not taking tie-breakers into account)
Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Jay White (5-2; 10pts)
Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Shingo Takagi (3-4; 6pts)
Yujiro Takahashi (0-7; 0pts) * eliminated
Block B (not taking tie-breakers into account)
EVIL, Tetsuya Naito (5-2; 10pts)
Hirooki Goto, Zack Sabre Jr., SANADA (4-3; 8pts)
KENTA, Juice Robinson, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano (3-4; 6pts)
YOSHI-HASHI (1-6; 2pts) * eliminated
(Unofficial) Block C (W-L-D)
Yota Tsuji (4-4-2)
Yuya Uemura (4-4-1)
Gabriel Kidd (4-4-1)
Your runs ins, not counting Tanahashi and Juice because they’ve lost tie-breakers to Naito and EVIL… KENTA could qualify, but we’d have a three-way tie…
Naito – Yano, KENTA
EVIL – Goto, SANADA
Goto – EVIL, Juice
ZSJ – Juice, Tanahashi
SANADA – Tanahashi, EVIL
Yano – Naito, YOSHI-HASHI
KENTA – YOSHI-HASHI, Naito
The tour’s got Monday off as they travel to Shizuoka for block A action on Tuesday – Kazuchika Okada takes on Tomohiro Ishii in the main event there as we seem to be setting up for a shoot-out in Sumo Hall on Friday. This was always going to be a bit of a comedown after Saturday’s excellent show… I was just surprised by how much of a drop-down it was. Take out the Yano/KENTA match (which wasn’t awful, it just went too long with the material they had), there was nothing that stunk the joint out here, but there similarly wasn’t anything to grab you either.