It’s the start of another week of G1 action, with Minoru Suzuki and Kazuchika Okada locking horns as part of a loaded card in Kagawa today.
Yuya Uemura submitted Gabriel Kidd in 7:36 (**¾)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Shingo Takagi pinned Yujiro Takahashi in 13:38 (**)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Jeff Cobb pinned Jay White in 12:24 (***¼)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Kazuchika Okada pinned Minoru Suzuki in 14:10 (***)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Tomohiro Ishii pinned Taichi in 18:42 (****¼)
G1 Climax 30, Block A: Kota Ibushi pinned Will Ospreay in 15:56 (****)
We’re at the Takamatsu City General Gymnasium in Kagawa for this one…
Gabriel Kidd vs. Yuya Uemura
Kidd went to a time-limit draw with Yota Tsuji last time out, and he’s not taking any chances this time, coming out of the blocks as he and Uemura scrambled for an early hold.
Kidd ends up in the ropes for a clean break, before he came in with a knuckle lock that saw him try to edge out Uemura in a Test of Strength. He bends back Uemura over his knee, but can’t break the neck bridge before Uemura monkey flipped free and took Kidd to the mat. A side headlock followed, with Kidd escaping with headscissors as they continued to go hold-for-hold.
Uemura stands up with an armbar that transitioned into a hammerlock, but Kidd gets to the ropes for another separation. More back-and-forth ensues, with Kidd’s wristlock getting countered into a hammerlock, then a side headlock, before Uemura took him down into an armbar. Kidd cartwheels free and lays in elbows as things descended into a strike battle, with chops from Kidd stinging Uemura before he charged back in with a shoulder tackle. A running elbow’s next for a near-fall, but Kidd returns fire with a dropkick for a near-fall, before Uemura dead weighted him on a double underhook suplex attempt.
That prompts Kidd to leap in for a sunset flip as we get see-saw near-falls, ending with Uemura rolling out for a Boston crab, but Kidd drags his way to the ropes to force the break. Undeterred, Uemura picks him up for the release capture suplex, before going back to the Boston crab, and that was enough to make Gabe tap. Interesting flex there from Uemura, who went for the submission, rather than a pin… **¾
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Shingo Takagi
Time to turn down your speakers or feel incredibly grimy – it’s Yujiro’s theme!
We’ve polite applause to start this one off, as the pair trade side headlocks before they went back-and-forth on hair pulling. Shingo edged that out, as he did when things moved to elbows… before Yujiro went in for an eye rake. A shoulder tackle charges down Yujiro, who rolls outside for our obligatory trips to the ring post and the guard rail. Yujiro blocks another whip to the rails, sidestepping Yujiro’s charge before he returned the favour. Shingo responds by sweeping Yujiro’s legs on the apron, befores he got shoved back into the ring post ahead of a reverse DDT on the edge of the ring. Shingo beats the count to get back to the ring, but he’s met with punches, elbow drops and a falling headbutt that gets Yujiro just a one-count.
A running front kick traps Shingo in the corner, with a low dropkick getting Yujiro a two-count, before things descended back into strikes. Shingo’s double-handed chop stuns Yujiro, who bites back before he had a front kick pushed away… allowing Shingo to charge right back in. Shingo bites back when Yujiro countered out of noshigami, before landing a suplex. Another noshigami is blocked, as Yujiro kicks back and lands a second reverse DDT, then a release Fisherman buster for a near-fall. Shingo slips out of Miami Shine as things descended back into strikes, leading to Shingo getting a hot shot in the ropes. He shrugs it off with a Pumping Bomber… but Yujiro lands a lariat of his own, before he threw in an Incolle Slam at the ten minute mark. Yes. Miami Shine followed as Yujiro almost got the upset, as he then set up for Pimp Juice… but Yujiro powers out of it.
Another thrust kick drops Shingo, but he responds with the jab/elbow/lariat combo, before Yujiro again but his way free. Having gotten out of Last of the Dragon, he shoves down the referee, then went for his pimp cane. Shingo blocks it, lariating it away before Yujiro ran into noshigami. A second Pumping Bomber is blocked, but Yujiro eventually eats it, before Last of the Dragon finally put Yujiro away. This had absolutely no business going as long as it did, given the disparity in their spots on the roster – and we don’t even have the Honma-like charm with Yujiro losing out. **
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Jay White vs. Jeff Cobb
A rematch from last year’s G1, where White picked up the win in a shade over 15 minutes.
Of course, White rolls outside at the bell, but when he returns to the ring, Cobb meets him on the mat with a waistlock as White scurried to the ropes. Wash, rinse, repeat, as the Kiwi realised he was going to have to change his game plan. A shoulder tackle bounces White into the ropes, as he looked to be going for cheapshots, hitting and running before the inevitable happened.
White rolls in to beat the count, and came in with elbows to Cobb, who just fires back with a dropkick. He drags White away from the corner, bringing Gedo into the ring as well before bouncing the two into each other. Is this the G1 or a holiday camp show? Cobb follows White outside, but gets caught by Gedo as he tried to roll in… allowing White to hit some stomps before charging Cobb into the guard rails. More stomps follow back inside, as does a neckbreaker, before Cobb hit back with a Samoan drop. Cobb keeps going with an overhead belly-to-belly, before a back suplex out of the corner got him a near-fall.
White escapes a suplex and DDT’s Cobb as he tried to cut off the momentum, before he suplexed Cobb into the corner. A Blade Buster followed for a near-fall, but he made the mistake of going back to strikes as Cobb struck back harder, only to run into a Flatliner as White looked to put away the big man. Elbows help Cobb get free of a waistlock, but he’s instantly caught with a uranage for a near-fall. A chop block took Cobb down to his knees, but even from that position Cobb’s able to power back as he whipped White into the corner. Commentary’s cackling as Cobb pulled White into a spinning back suplex, before a standing moonsault gets a near-fall, as he looked for a Spin Cycle, only to settle for a German suplex,
White clings to the ropes to avoid a Tour of the Islands, but then grabs the ref as Gedo came in to distract. He stops so White can dump Cobb on his head with a sleeper suplex, before a Blade Runner’s countered into a Tour of the Islands. Gedo’s back, and gets thrown into White, before a second Tour of the Islands plants the former IWGP champion and gets the upset. Well, there’s my picks busted for the day! A surprisingly good outing for Cobb, who outlasted White’s BS and came away with a surprising two points. ***¼
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Minoru Suzuki vs. Kazuchika Okada
Suzuki’s not won since their first meeting, all the way back in 2013. Save for a time limit draw on Suzuki’s 30th anniversary show in 2018, it’s been all one-way traffic, with their most recent outing being that classic at Royal Quest last year.
We’ve a tentative opener as Suzuki worked the arm and dragged Okada down into an armbar, then a pinning attempt, before he got tripped to the mat by Okada, who eventually decided on a toe hold. He switches it into a leg lock, but Suzuki rolls free and takes Okada’s back, switching into a side headlock then a crossface as Suzuki rotated around Okada. After a stomp in the ropes, Okada got back up and began to throw elbows at Suzuki. You can probably guess how great of an idea that was, with Suzuki throwing the CLONKING elbows, before sidestepping Okada in the corner as he added a hanging armbar in the ropes.
An Irish whip takes Okada into the guard rails, before Suzuki wrapped the arm around the guard rails and kicked it away. Kicks keep Okada down, before they go back to elbows in the ring… only for Suzuki to kick Okada in the arm. A PK follows, as Suzuki them went for a double wristlock as Okada fought to get to the ropes for a break. Okada’s able to return with a neckbreaker, but Suzuki’s just shaking his head as he returned with another elbow. They go back-and-forth again, swapping elbow strikes until Suzuki’s CLONKERS knock Okada to a knee. Okada gets back up with an uppercut, but Suzuki slides under for a rear naked choke, only for the Gotch piledriver to get countered into a neckbreaker slam. Suzuki has his hands willingly behind his back as he dared Okada to hit him, but Okada’s efforts are laughed off until an uppercut stung Suzuki… with a dropkick actually putting him down.
Suzuki blocks a tombstone as he headbutted away on Okada, but fell to a spinning tombstone before Okada fell into his own trap. Money Clip. Suzuki finally counters into a cross armbar, with Okada forcing a break in the ropes, before he went for a backslide and rolled Suzuki up for… a short-arm lariat. He’s getting closer to the Rainmaker, eh? Okada keeps control of the wrist, but gets caught out as Suzuki dragged him into a rear naked choke. Okada gets free, then went for the Money Clip, only for Suzuki to switch into a rear naked choke… Okada backdrops out of the Gotch piledriver, then sat down on Suzuki to snatch the win out of nowhere. That win felt intentionally out of nowhere in a match that never really got going, while Okada was inching closer to his old self – he got the win, but importantly, a) he didn’t use the Rainmaker and b) it wasn’t with his new “favourite” move. ***
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Taichi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Taichi’s win over Ishii in the G1 last year was his first singles win over Big Tom – having had four singles losses in the prior ten years.
Taichi isn’t exactly in a hurry to get going as he just chills in the corner, then came out with a front kick that angers Ishii. It quickly breaks down into chops and kicks, with Taichi eventually edging out there. They head outside, where Ishii’s taken into the guard rails, while Taichi grabbed the timekeeper’s mallet and whacked Ishii on the head with it. Some more orthodox choking followed, along with some more back inside, with Taicho using his boot and shin to try and restrict Ishii’s breathing. Kicks just rile up Ishii, who caught one and elbowed Taichi in the knee before landing a powerslam off the ropes. Taking it to the corner, Ishii adds chops and elbows to wear down Taichi, before charging him down off the ropes.
Taichi elbows away a back suplex attempt, then met Ishii in the corner with a leaping enziguiri as the Kagawa crowd tried to clap Ishii back into life. A buzzsaw kick drops Ishii once more… but he pops up as Taichi ripped off the trousers, only to get dropped with another leaping enziguiri. Ishii blocks a Last Ride powerbomb, but can’t back body drop his way free as Taichi came in with Kawada kicks. An elbow sinks Ishii once more, as but Taichi can’t quite get Ishii up for Black Memphisto, as Ishii struck back. He avoids getting low blowed and headbutts Taichi, before shrugging off a head kick as he decks Taichi again, following up with a folding powerbomb for a near-fall.
Ishii keeps going with a lariat that drops Taichi for a near-fall, but Taichi wriggles out of a brainbuster, then hid behind the referee as he tried to come back with a low blow and a Gedo clutch to steal the pin. He follows that up with a Last Ride, folding up Ishii for the pin, but still Ishii kicks out at two, and eventually comes back with as he charged through Taichi again. Headbutting the turnbuckles – intentionally – Ishii gees himself up for another lariat, but Taichi’s up at one… then tried to hit back with an Axe Bomber. A Dangerous backdrop driver nearly gets Taichi the win, before he hit the ropes in search of another Axe Bomber. Instead, he goes for a thrust kick, then a leaping enziguiri, as Ishii then ran into a Black Memphisto… countering out of it as he finally landed an enziguiri of his own.
Ishii followed that up with a sheer drop brainbuster, planting Taichi in the middle of the ring, and that’s your lot. This started out slow, but blossomed beautifully with both men swinging for the fences – and finally Ishii’s back on the board after coming painfully close lately. ****¼
G1 Climax 30 – Block A: Will Ospreay vs. Kota Ibushi
In their two prior meetings, these guys are 1-1, with Ospreay taking the NEVER title from Ibushi at WrestleKingdom 13, before Ibushi “got his win back” in last year’s G1. The winner here will stand alone at the top of the block, for whatever that’s worth…
We start with Ospreay taking Ibushi to the mat, but Kota’s cross armbar gets him free as the pair went back-and-forth on wristlocks, before they went to the ropes, with Ospreay breaking cleanly. While ruffling Ibushi’s hair. Ospreay marches on Ibushi’s back, which left Kota non-plussed as he kicked through the Rev Pro champion… but Ospreay returns with some tijeras to take Ibushi outside. He fakes out a dive, and almost left himself open for a Kamigoye, but avoids it as a handspring enziguiri took Ibushi outside, where he avoids a plancha before walking into an apron PK.
A diving forearm off the apron almost took Ibushi into the guard rails, before they returned to the ring as Ospreay chopped Ibushi into the corner. Ospreay’s half crab ends in the ropes, as Ibushi then blocked a suplex, hooking the leg before he took Ospreay into the ropes for a dropkick. Another kick and a standing moonsault gets Ibushi a near-fall, but Will’s back with a chop, before Ibushi popped up and countered a low dropkick by almost stomping on Will’s Ospreays. Ibushi flips Ospreay onto the apron, but gets sent outside with a springboard forearm as a Sasuke special awaited in the aisle.
Back inside, a lifting reverse DDT gets a two-count, before slamming Ibushi into the corner… but he’s met on the top rope as Ibushi fought back, teasing a butterfly superplex, only to get clotheslined off the top turnbuckle and onto the apron. Ibushi returns with a springboard ‘rana that Ospreay just about styled his way out of, before Ibushi scooped up Ospreay with the intention of lawn darting him. Ospreay avoids that, but gets pulled into a German suplex for a near-fall. A Bomaye-ish knee gets Ibushi another near-fall, as Ospreay avoids a Kamigoye, and returned with a hook kick. He tries for Storm Breaker, but ends up countering Ibushi’s counter of a ‘rana into a Ligerbomb for a near-fall. Gnawing at his elbow pad, Ospreay tees up for a Hidden Blade, but Ibushi caught him with an elbow and a head kick instead, before a sit-out Last Ride powerbomb drew a two-count.
Ibushi teases another Kamigoye, but gets rolled up for a near-fall, before he floated over Ibushi for a Storm Breaker… which is again countered before an OsCutter’s blocked with a knee strike. Third time’s the charm for Kamigoye, as Ibushi blasts through Ospreay, and that’s enough to get the win in a surprisingly-short main event that showed flashes of both men’s “former” selves, but it’s the more-developed Ibushi who stood alone at top of block A tonight. ****
Kota Ibushi (4-1; 8pts)
Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Jay White (3-2; 6pts)
Jeff Cobb, Tomohiro Ishii, Shingo Takagi (2-3; 4pts)
Yujiro Takahashi (0-5; 0pts)
Tetsuya Naito, Juice Robinson, Toru Yano (3-1; 6pts)
EVIL, KENTA, Zack Sabre Jr., Hiroshi Tanahashi (2-2; 4pts)
Hirooki Goto, SANADA, YOSHI-HASHI (1-3; 2pts)
(Unofficial) Block C (W-L-D)
Yota Tsuji (3-2-1)
Yuya Uemura (3-3)
Gabriel Kidd (2-3-1)
We’re back tomorrow for some block B action in Hiroshima, with KENTA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi headlining the card, while Hirooki Goto gets his night off against Toru Yano. Can Yano beat Zack Sabre Jr’s time? Tonight was another night where the A block didn’t quite hit the heights imagined – and I think right now we can safely say that the Okada “struggling to find form” story is sacrificing that subjective match quality for the sake of a story. I can heavily relate to “real sports”, being a Sunderland supporter and all, as Okada’s unattractive style is grinding out results, with the feint hope of glory at the end of it all. Still, at least the top two more than delivered to help get us through the sometimes-ropey middle part of the G1 tour.